Commander of the Inquisition
Post DAI Timeline
Name: Cullen Stanton Rutherford
Date of Birth: 27 Kingsway, 9:11 Dragon
Occupation: Veteran of the Inquisition (Semi-Retired Commander); Former Templar
Companion(s): A yet-unnamed Mabari that followed him back from Orlais
Cullen has wavy, dirty blonde hair. It was far curlier in his youth than it appears today. Presently, he maintains a well-groomed appearance despite a perpetual five o’clock shadow. His eyes are light brown, perhaps even hazel – their color is not something he’s often pondered. He bears a noticeable scar, across his lip – one that he earned shortly after meeting Cassandra Pentaghast in the midst of his, luckily, successful undertaking of restoring order to Kirkwall following the rebellion. As far as Cullen’s build goes, he stands with an alert, broad-shouldered posture and is taller than most human males at 6’3”. Despite regular bathing habits, he typically smells like grass and leather.
Weapons & Armor: Following the Kirkwall Rebellion, around the time of Cullen's recruitment into the Inquisition, he began to don armor not typically associated with the Templar Order, or the Inquisition for the matter: a silverite cuirass and gorget worn beneath a fur-collared mantle – mind you, the latter's wool fabric still echoes Chantry colors. He does, however, possess a standard-issue Inquisition sword and shield – both forged of unremarkable iron. He also possesses a ceremonial-looking helm, forged to resemble a lion's head. It was a gift, from his peers in Kirkwall, presented to him before his departure. He felt it would be rather awkward to reject the lavish item but he appreciated the gesture, all the same. When not dressed for duty, Cullen simply wears leather trousers and a cotton tunic – his civilian attire is far more nondescript in comparison.
Prior to his studies with the Chantry, Cullen’s earliest years had exposed him to his family’s humble yet respectable tanning business – as such, he knows a great deal about the make and quality of leatherworks. This knowledge transferred later in life, after he became a Templar – re-emerging by way of a warrior’s pride when taking special care of his soldier’s kit, especially his boots. Similarly, he grew up close to a river as well as a lake – which developed in his becoming a very strong swimmer early on, though, notwithstanding such has been a skill he’s not revisited in quite a number of years.
Cullen’s mother taught him how to dance. While he’s not one to flaunt this, at all, he secretly credits the practice with helping him become a much more coordinated fighter later in life.
Both the Chantry and Templar Order have afforded Cullen with an education that some may covet while others might sneer at. Outside of martial training, he is particularly astute in martial and historical lore. He can both read, write, and is, usually, capable of carrying himself with courtesy when amongst his betters.
The Templar Order taught Cullen how to survive and navigate rustic terrains. He was, at one time, tasked with retrieving wayward mages and returning them to the Circle. He had to learn basic wilderness survival, how to hunt small game, set up camp, as well as how to scout and track.
None too long ago, Cullen was a Templar at the top of his game. A deadly opponent who could go toe-to-toe with the mages he pursued in the name of the Chantry. As a Templar, he grew accustom to the burdens of both medium and heavy armors and could fight ferociously while donning such. The sword and shield were, and yet remain, his preferred arms of choice but he is a capable unarmed fighter as well.
Given that Cullen gave up lyrium during his tenure as Commander in the Inquisition, and continues to abstain from such, he now finds, more often than not, that he must rely on the mundanities of martial combat as opposed to the more esoteric abilities that his Templar training affords him. The latter not being as potent or enduring when performed without the amplification of lyrium. He is still capable of using the abilities of his specialization, though only at greater cost to himself – physically and mentally. The more advanced the Templar ability, the more disorienting, and sometimes altogether disabling, it is for him afterward.
Cullen’s primary motivation, even since the days of his youth, has been to help others if and whenever possible. This was the characteristic that initially propelled him toward the Chantry and by extension, the Templar Order, in his formative years. The Fifth Blight hardened Cullen toward mages for quite some time, however. Only in more recent years has he begun to revaluate his own bias towards them. Nonetheless, he will still err on the side of caution when dealing with those with magic. He knows, first-hand, what mages are capable of doing and, in worse cases, becoming.
In terms of religion, Cullen remains a devout Andrastian. In times of any great struggle, he turns to his faith for comfort and guidance. That said, he’s also reflective by nature and does not leave his opinions or decisions to be wholly influenced or altogether shaped by his faith.
Though perhaps a tad bashful for most of his life, Cullen has grown into a confident soldier and advisor. He prefers straight-forward solutions to dithering diplomacy or underhanded tactics, and generally does not suffer fools or foolishness with much patience. Yet he’s not so stern as to avoid camaraderie altogether, either – it just takes him a little bit longer to let his guard down and open up to others.
While the Rutherford name has origins in cattle farming, Cullen’s father, and grandfather before him, had both been leatherworkers and ran a family-owned tannery in Honnleath. His mother, in turn, was a seamstress. Cullen grew up the second eldest of four Rutherford children and endured his siblings’ teasing when he told them, at the tender age of eight, that he would become a Templar someday.
Admittedly, Honnleath had but few templars to the its name yet those that had been stationed at the village’s humble Chantry eventually took the determined, second eldest Rutherford child under their wing. Formal training, however, came years later. Cullen did not become a Templar recruit until the age of thirteen, something that, at the time, set him apart from the much younger recruits in turn. That said, given his focus and conviction, Cullen quickly made up for lost time and soon caught up to the boys his own age in expertise and learnedness. Eventually, at the age of eighteen, Cullen took his vows. Thereafter, he was assigned to Kinloch Hold – Ferelden’s Circle Tower – a post that would alter the course of his life, altogether.
Merely a year into his new position, the Fifth Blight found and ravaged Ferelden. To say that Cullen and his peers at the Circle had not been prepared would be an understatement. Kinloch Hold was quickly overrun with darkspawn and abominations. He, in turn, fell victim to a magical prison – one that tortured and tormented him, leaving him half-mad by the time the Warden and the Warden’s companions arrived. Though Kinloch Hold was reclaimed in the end, and Cullen freed in turn, the once-tenacious young man was forever changed. Even to date, Cullen has difficulty speaking of this trauma. For a time afterward, the experience altogether hardened Cullen toward mages.
Following the Fifth Blight, and in an effort to collect his own wits again, Cullen spent a period of time recovering at the Chantry in Greenfell. It was not far from where his siblings fled to, and resettled in, South Reach after Honnleath was destroyed. Mia, his eldest sister, was the first family member that Cullen allowed to visit him – it was through her that he would come to learn that their parents did not survive the darkspawn attack on Honnleath. Cullen’s recovery in Greenfell was as much for his broken mind, then, as it was for a broken heart.
Eventually, Cullen was recalled to duty by Knight-Commander Greagoir and sent quite a journey away, across the Waking Sea, to Kirkwall’s Circle. He’d never imagined leaving Ferelden prior, but after the Fifth Blight he was glad to leave his old posting behind to begin anew. In Kirkwall, Cullen was afforded a fresh start – he even rose to the rank of Knight-Captain; Knight-Commander Meredith’s second-in-command. Initially, Cullen stood behind Meredith’s heavy-handed treatment of Kirkwall mages – but even he eventually began to question her motives, particularly once the Knight-Commander invoked the Right of Annulment. Perhaps Cullen saw in Meredith the reflection of the addled mind he’d hoped to have left behind in Greenfell? Either way, the Knight-Captain and Knight-Commander soon stood at opposing sides. Many of the other Kirkwall Templars rallied to Cullen’s side, when he in turn chose to support the Champion of Kirkwall rather than Meredith. After the Knight-Commander’s defeat, Cullen inherited her title and was instrumental in restoring order to the City of Chains.
Cullen’s deeds in Kirkwall caught the attention of the Right Hand of the Divine herself, Cassandra Pentaghast. Through her, the once bright-eyed boy from Honnleath became the furrow-browed Commander of the Inquisition’s military forces. Their mutual respect for one another developed into a firm friendship, with Cassandra’s guidance and support being instrumental in Cullen’s decision to wean himself off lyrium. Of his time with the Inquisition overall, and in hindsight, Cullen feels a sense of accomplishment. At the same time, however, he did find himself exposed to a number of unfathomable firsts. First time going up against a magister-turned-darkspawn? Check. First time deferring to the leadership of a Qunari? Also check. The list goes on.
In the years following the events of the Inquisition, Cullen semi-retired from his former post to oversee land given to him by Divine Victoria – land upon which he established a sanctuary for former templars who, like himself, have ceased taking lyrium. He has grown far more confident in himself and his ability as a leader since the Inquisition.
Only in more recent years has Cullen made slightly more concerted efforts at reconnecting with his siblings. Despite his efforts to stay in touch, and even occasional visits, Cullen has yet to fully overcome the divide that exists between himself and his family.