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Backwards in Time | Forwards in Time

7 Heavenly Virtues - Kindness: Kindness

Title: Kindness
Fandom: Abhorsen Trilogy
Characters: Lirael, mentions of the Disreputable Dog & the Clayr
Prompt: # 02 - Kindness
Word Count: 775
Rating: G
Summary: ‘Kindness’ is a funny word. They think I’m ‘kind’, you know. But I’m not so sure …

Disclaimer: All rights belong to Garth Nix and his publishers. I own nothing.
Author's Notes: No 2 in my 7 Heavenly Virtues Series.



‘Kindness’ is a funny word.

It’s one of those words that just rolls so beautifully off the tongue. And it writes well, too – if you’re one of those people who has an elegant, sophisticated, and clearly legible hand, then the curled letters and dainty marks upon parchment are candy for the eyes.

But that’s not why it’s a funny word.

No, the reason I think it’s funny is because it’s so often misused. So many people catalogue things beneath it without fully understanding the true meaning of the word.

Take me, for example.

They think I’m kind, you know.

But that isn’t a word I’d generally use to describe myself.


Timid? Yes. Quiet? Absolutely. Hard-working? Most definitely. Lonely? Completely. I couldn’t be more lonely if I tried!

But kind?

I’m not so sure.

What they take to be kindness I see as being … well, me, I guess. I do as is asked of me. I complete tasks and accomplish goals just like everybody else who works here. I take my time with jobs, take the time to do them properly, take the time to make sure I’ve done said job to the best of my ability. I work in silence, keeping my head down and avoiding as many people as I possibly can simply because I can’t handle the pitying looks they shoot me.

Because let’s face it – standing out like the proverbial needle in a hay-stack is a sure-fire way to catch peoples’ attention, and when dark hair and dark eyes are a complete contrast to the blonde hair and blue eyes of everybody else around, there’s no need to guess who the proverbial needle is.

So keeping myself to myself is pretty much the only way of life I’ve ever known.

Which is exactly why I can’t understand how everybody else has come to the conclusion that I’m a ‘kind’ person. I just do what I do because it’s who I am. It’s all I am.

I work in silence to avoid others. I take my time with jobs simply because I don’t want to end up having to do the same job a second time. I do what I’m told to do straight away because kicking up a fuss usually results in nothing but punishment or unwanted consequence, more often than not with me on the receiving end.

To me, those don’t seem like the sorts of reasons a ‘kind’ person would give if asked why they acted in the way they did.

Although saying that, the Dog would probably disagree with me completely on that one. She’d say those are perfectly legitimate reasons that merely congress to form a warm, adventurous, lovingly kind young woman, who just happens to have the longest streak of bad luck ever known to have coalesced within one soul.

Charter bless her. She’ll do anything to lift my spirits.

And I’m truly grateful. Seriously, I couldn’t ask for a better friend. She’s everything to me, these days, the only creature I can confide in with complete confidence no matter what is on my mind. But she just won’t accept the fact that I can’t not think badly about myself. It’s just been such a long time. So many things have happened, and I just feel like I don’t know myself, anymore. If, indeed, I ever did know myself in the first place.

Who knows? Maybe I did, once. Back when I had a family. I suppose back then I’d probably have said I was a kind person. I hate violence – always have, always will. And I’ve always tried to do what’s best for others, tried to keep my mistakes to a minimum or tried to patch things up before they could wrongly affect my cousins.

But ever since … well, I don’t know when, really. All I know is that after Mother left, my kindness became nothing short of a burden. An act. A constant performance.

And these days, I don’t believe myself worthy of labelling my ‘kind’ acts in such a way, simply because they’re more selfish than kind.

Yet even deep within myself there’s that vain, desperate hope, clinging dearly to the light of life, that I can still change. That acts I perform in the future can at last warrant, in my own eyes, that very title. That for once in my life I’ll be able to do something completely selfless rather than selfish.

Only then will I be able to accept what my cousins so often try to tell me, as though they know more about myself than I do; that I am, actually, beneath it all, a ‘kind’ person.


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