Thursday, July 15, 2021

Microstory 1669: Of Kindness and Cruelty

For every Hypostate in Adverse, there was an opposing force called an Apostate. These postates—to use an unauthorized collective term—could be anyone. It was never really clear whether someone was born this way, or became so over time. Some were humans, others were demons, and a few were original Maramon. There were twenty-three of each, plus the primaries, and they represented the virtues and sins that could be found in anyone and everyone. There are two of these special people that I want to talk to you about today. The virtuous one was named Kindness. Of course, that wasn’t his original name, but once he learned what he was, and what role he played in the fight against evil, he started going by it. It was kind of expected of him, and since he was so kind, he didn’t try to stop it. Kindness was a gentle human being, who genuinely cared about people, both on a personal level, and in a general global sense. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at him, though, and maybe not even after an interaction with him. He was tall, muscular, tan; all the generic traits of a dude-bro. He liked to work out, but he did it for all the right reasons, and he didn’t look down on those who didn’t do it at all. He was tan mostly because it was his natural skin color, but also because he spent a lot of time outside, and sunscreen can only do so much. He didn’t treat people unkindly, and he never felt awkward, but he wasn’t the most outgoing individual, and people wouldn’t have ever called him fun. Remember that kindness was his virtue, not friendliness. Friendliness is someone else. Those are two distinct characteristics, and while there’s often a lot of overlap, it’s not technically necessary, especially not for a hypostate, whose every trait is exaggerated, and whose mind is usually hyperfocused towards a goal.

Kindness grew up with a boy who would come to be known as Cruelty. Cruelty was exactly as you think he would be. He was a man, still—not a demon—but he shared the demons’ compulsion for wickedness. He was clever, always making sure the chaos he caused couldn’t be directly linked to him. People didn’t know that he was essentially a manifestation of evil, but they didn’t think he was a swell guy either. They generally didn’t want to be around him. However smart or careful an apostate is, they have a hard time completely masking their sick and twisted ways. His true nature was no more apparent than when the two of them were together. Everyone believed them to be friends, and most couldn’t understand why, since they were so clearly incompatible. This was a misunderstanding that neither of them refuted. Kindness was too kind to get angry at people about it, and Cruelty enjoyed how much it bothered Kindness. They just kept running into each other throughout their lives, no matter how much Kindness tried to get away. It wasn’t a constant pairing, but the relief was never very long. They were roommates in college, co-workers at their respective second jobs, and ended up moving to the same street several years later. Cruelty claimed it was an honest coincidence, but I think we all know how unlikely that is. Kindness and Cruelty weren’t the only two postates to have known each other before The Rapture, but they were the only opposing forces to know each other, and they were the only ones to know each other so well. They obviously didn’t get along, though. Cruelty would get tired of Kindness’ incessant need to make sure everyone around him was safe and cared for. It was sometimes even enough to keep him from torturing his frenemy. They never fought each other when they were alive, but they were directly at odds once both of them died. It was up to a small group of heroes to find all the hypostates, and defeat all the apostates. They were scattered throughout the three realms, including heaven where Kindness was found, and hell, where Cruelty was unsurprisingly sent to.

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