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Fetterless In The City Of Chains [Closed]

Cullen

Commander of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
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Templar
Posts
30
#1
[Early Firstfall, 9:31; Hanamene Thornecroft]

The voyage had been unpleasant. Cullen had found it difficult to breathe below-deck and thus spent the majority of his time amongst the working crew of the vessel bound for Kirkwall. He slept little during the whole of the journey. The ship's captain seemed to appreciate his presence, for some reason. Even if the templar half-dozed where he stood, half of the time. Again, he slept little. Between the nightmares that jerked him awake and to attention and the frigid air of the Waking Sea, Cullen couldn't have slept if he'd wanted to. And he didn't want to. He wanted to be awake the moment Kirkwall came into view, because only then would he truly believe that the life he'd left in Ferelden was really behind him. Good riddance to it. And good riddance to the boy he was there. In Kirkwall, he was to be afforded a fresh start and fresh opportunity to become the man he had wished to be. He'd only recently turned twenty.

The weather turned. Not that it had been terribly pleasant to begin with, but just as he caught his first glimpse of the City of Chains on the horizon ahead of them – a wintry storm rolled in, wholly unlike those he was accustom to in Ferelden. Icy rain beat down upon Cullen and the crew of the ship, the latter were undeterred by the elements and diligently brought the vessel to its berth safely. Just in time, too, as hale soon followed. Disembarking from the vessel, Cullen sheltered himself and, briefly, another passenger using his templar's shield to deflect the hale. Gentle clinks were followed by resonant clangs, depending on the size of each pellet. Up ahead, a dark-haired woman held a shield of her own, not dissimilar from Cullen's, aloft all the same – waiting for his arrival.

"Your pardon," Cullen told the fellow, former passenger, "This is where we must part ways." The former passenger in question nodded appreciatively, if with a rueful expression, before darting out from beneath Cullen's shield and into the rain and hale. The templar turned toward the dark-haired woman, and steadily approached.

"Knight-Lieutenant Cullen?" she asked, her gaze shrewd but not unfriendly. She had a gentle voice, which he found a little surprising.

Cullen nodded. Knight-Commander Greagoir may have seen to his transfer, none too long after his return to Kinloch Hold after a brief stay in Greenfell, but Cullen was grateful he hadn't been demoted as well. The transfer was a welcome one, either way. Rumors about Cullen had already begun to swirl at the Circle. Had he been overzealous upon his return from Greenfell? Perhaps. Had he gone on a killing spree, striking down three mage apprentices? Absolutely not. He struggled with what happened to him during the Blight, but he maintained his sanity in the end. Only just? Again, perhaps.

The dark-haired woman introduced herself, extending her free hand, "Ser Agatha." She was a templar, like him. "Let's not dally in this weather," she told him, "If you will, follow me."

Of course, he would. Cullen fell in line behind her, allowing himself to be led through the streets of Kirkwall. The buildings were largely made of stone and loomed higher than he would have thought possible. It was his first exposure to the grandeur of Tevinter architecture, but the piss poor weather and Ser Agatha's hurried pace meant there was no time to stand and marvel at it like an idiot. At least, in that, he held off until they arrived at the Gallows where Cullen stopped dead in his tracks. The statues with tortured expressions caught him completely off guard. "Maker-" he uttered.

Agatha turned around to note his astonishment, telling him, "You get used to them."

"How?" he muttered under his breath while furrowing his brow and following suit of Agatha for the second time. She led him to their destination at last: Templar Hall. Cullen's heart sunk. It looked like a prison. He wouldn't allow that first impression to unman him, however. He pressed on, following the other templar.

They passed through a large set of gates to a courtyard yet exposed to the elements still. "I'm not sure which quarters you're to be assigned," Agatha admitted, "But there's a common hall just up ahead, you can rest a moment and meet more of our number while all that's being sorted."

"That's perfectly fine, thank you," Cullen said, grateful to be led from out of the hale and into a warm, firelit common hall. Both Agatha and Cullen made for the large hearth situated to their left upon entry. It was a massive stone fireplace. Again, unlike anything Cullen had ever laid eyes upon in his lifetime. A dozen souls could, and did, take their rest near it – Cullen gathered they must have likewise just come from outside, ahead of his and Agatha's arrival, in turn. He looked sidelong at the lot noting, by their respective vestments and uniforms, as many recruits as full-fledged templars.
 

Hanamene Thornecroft

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Posts
50
#2
Rumours about a templar named Cullen Rutherford had arrived in Kirkwall weeks before the man himself. This being the case, and although she rarely humoured gossip, Hanamene had a hard time ignoring the accounts tied to the name. They were far too specific to be untrue and, as such, she'd a mind to dislike the man in question before ever having laid eyes on him. "I bet that's him," Wilmod whispered amongst the other recruits, likewise warming themselves along and aside the fireplace yet still at a distance from Ser Agatha and the new arrival. It was unlikely, though not altogether impossible, that the latter would have overheard them.

"Can't be," Hanamene snorted, "Look at him. He's too… ordinary." She'd come in from the rain not too long ago herself. Her wet hair hung straight and unflatteringly clung to her face in some places. She rubbed her hands together and then extended them, palms facing the roaring fire in an effort to warm them. The recruits had all been training with Ser Luther, among others, in the yard. Even as the frozen rain came down hard upon them, gracing their exposed skin - faces, hands - like shards forged of malevolence and ice. Their instructors only dismissed their drills when the hailstones started falling from the sky. One struck Ser Luther right on the nose. Collectively, it had taken the recruits everything in their power not to laugh.

Ruvena disagreed, stretching out her hands all the same, "Well, I wouldn't say ordinary…"

"What's this?" another recruit approached, having just come in from the bad weather as well. He was soaked, from head to toe. Hana knew his name to be Hugh. She furthermore knew him to be one of the Knight-Commander's least favourite recruits. She felt sorry for him.

Wilmod sneered, "Ruvena thinks Ser Cullen's handsome."

"Shut up, Wilmod," Hanamene defended her friend. Ruvena offered an appreciative tip of her chin. "Besides, we don't even know if that is-" Hana went about albeit was interrupted.

"Knight-Lieutenant Cullen," the bearer of the voice was unmistakable, as evidenced by the entire hall suddenly coming to stand at attention. Hana was, in fact, one of the first to do so. Upon her entrance, Meredith Stannard would have taken command of the hall by her mere presence alone. She was flanked by two other templars, those with expressions as serious as the Knight-Commander's own. She welcomed the newcomer, in her way - yet still managing to sound indifferent, "It is good to see that you made it to Kirkwall in one piece."

"See," Wilmod whispered, a little too loudly in Hana's ear a second time, "I knew it was him."

Meredith's even gaze turned from the templars to the recruits themselves. She was little amused by Wilmod's lack of subtly, or at Hanamene's somehow being part of it. "Is there something you wish to say, Wilmod? Hanamene?"

Inwardly, Hana cursed Wilmod with a flurry of Tevene vulgarities. Outwardly, she bowed her head in deference to the Knight-Commander. "No, Knight-Commander," she stepped forward to answer. Wilmod did nothing, rather cowered where he stood. Meredith noted this with a disgusted scowl. Though she hadn't liked him all too much herself, at least when compared to the other recruits, Hanamene felt bad for Wilmod in that moment.

The Knight-Commander addressed Hana next, as though by stepping forward she'd volunteered, "The weather is dour. Has anyone offered Ser Cullen drink to warm him?"

Hanamene's gaze left Meredith to set upon Ser Cullen briefly, before returning to the Knight-Commander a second time. "Apologies. Right away, Knight-Commander," Hana responded, deferentially.

"Do not apologize to me," Meredith rebuked coolly. There was an air of disappointment on her face, where Hana was concerned, as well.

Not wholly understanding what she, specifically, had done wrong – Hana, abashedly turned to do as the Knight-Commander pointedly requested. She crossed the space between those gathered by the fireplace, to take up a mug and pitcher from a nearby trestle table. Uncomfortably, though fortunately without spilling anything, Hanamene poured ale from the pitcher into the mug in hand ere she set the former down. She turned and approached the newcomer, handing him his beverage whilst amending, "Apologies, Knight-Lieutenant."

Hana had looked sidelong thereafter to her friends, the other recruits, and noted that Wilmod had slunk behind the others. That coward. Hugh and Ruvena both shrugged, as if to make their inability to assist Hanamene known. In contrast to her feelings towards Wilmod, she did not begrudge them.
 

Cullen

Commander of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Templar
Posts
30
#3
"Mages aren't allowed in this hall-" It was difficult for the young templar to concentrate on Ser Agatha's attempts at small talk, when it became plain to him that some of the recruits had evidently expected his arrival well in advance. Their whispering lacked subtly, or tact for that matter. Agatha carried on, while Cullen remained half invested in what she was saying. He was more concerned about the recruits, and what tales they might have heard attached to his name. In truth, he suspected which but worried how twisted the rumors might have grown by the time they reached Kirkwall.

"I see," the Knight-Lieutenant replied, more so out of courtesy than active participation in whatever Ser Agatha was hoping to explain to him. Had the older templar thought to look at Cullen head-on, she would have noted his attention was clearly divided. Instead, she seemed focused on warming her hands over the fire. Meanwhile, Cullen strained to hear more of the hushed exchange occurring not far aside them.

"I bet that's him," said one.

"Can't be. Look at him. He's too… ordinary," said another.

Ordinary? His posture straightened as he considered the remark. Should he be insulted? Rather, should he have even cared what those beneath his rank, whom he'd moreover yet to come to know, even thought of him?

Ser Agatha continued, but Cullen had lost track of what she was saying, "It hasn't always been like this. Knight-Commander Guylian, Maker rest his soul, was more flexible-"

"Ruvena thinks Ser Cullen's handsome."

Much as he would have preferred to turn a deaf ear to the prattling of the recruits, curiosity got the better of him. Cullen even ventured another sidelong glance, wondering which among the group was the Ruvena in question. He felt his ears redden, but told himself it was just the heat of the fireplace roaring before them all. A short-lived affliction, either way. For when his name was stated far more loudly, for all within the hall to hear, Cullen's attention snapped round.

"Knight-Lieutenant Cullen," a woman's voice boomed, prompting those seated to rapidly rise to stand at attention. The woman and two other templars at her side approached. Given the reaction of the other templars, including Ser Agatha still at his own side, Cullen had very little difficulty appreciating the identity of the one approaching, "It is good to see that you made it to Kirkwall in one piece."

Cullen saluted the fearsome looking woman with penetrating eyes. "Knight-Commander Meredith, it is-" he began, only to be interrupted by the less than discreet whispering of one of the recruits.

"See. I knew it was him."

The Knight-Lieutenant had only known his new Knight-Commander for all of less than one minute, and already gathered she was not someone he would ever wish to cross. When Meredith's infiltrating gaze left Cullen to set upon the recruits, he immediately felt wretched for them. So far, his was not the mundane introduction that he'd have hoped for. The Knight-Commander singled out two of the recruits in particular, "Is there something you wish to say, Wilmod? Hanamene?"

It wasn't the first chastisement of recruits that Cullen had ever seen. Knight-Commander Greagoir was devoted to his duty and expected no less from those he saw fit to shape into soldiers befit of the martial arm of the Chantry. A far rarer sight, however, were those who willingly stepped forward to own their missteps in front of their peers. Cullen quirked a brow, curiously, as one such recruit did so. "No, Knight-Commander," she said.

Hanamene, he figured. Like himself, and the others near the fireplace, she appeared to have come into the hall from the outdoors. Her hair and attire were wet, but he likewise gathered that she seemed of an age to himself – or close enough to it. Briefly, he wondered why she was still a recruit – but it was not a thought he mused long on, as Meredith continued.

"The weather is dour," the Knight-Commander granted. Cullen thought that to be an understatement. A number of templars in the hall had fresh or recovering hailstone welts on their faces. "Has anyone offered Ser Cullen drink to warm him?" The question was not posed as such. Before the Knight-Lieutenant could cut in, for he wasn't much of a drinker, Hanamene had already obeyed Meredith's veiled command.

"Apologies. Right away, Knight-Commander," she addressed Meredith with the utmost respect. Cullen relaxed his shoulders, feeling as though that ought to have been the end of the tense exchange.

Meredith was no Greagoir, it seemed. Where the latter would have already felt an example had been set, the former sought to prolong the spectacle. "Do not apologize to me," the Knight-Commander rebuked.

Cullen felt sorry for the recruit. He also felt incredibly uncomfortable with what happened next. Meredith had Hanamene fetch for him an ale, no differently than a lord might have expected of a serf. It was as unnecessary as awkward, he felt, but Cullen did not voice such aloud. The last thing he wanted to do on his first day in Kirkwall was find himself on his new, steely Knight-Commander's bad side. Soon, Hanamene stood before him – mug in hand, "Apologies, Knight-Lieutenant."

Cullen had resolved to offer her some look of regret or condolences, but was taken aback by the recruit's eyes. From a distance, they seemed hardly noteworthy. Up close, a vivid and resolute grey-green. They sparkled olivine in the firelight. Cullen had opened his mouth to thank her, for the ale he did not want yet would most certainly be obliged to drink, but found himself at a loss for words.

"Better. Thank you, Hanamene," the Knight-Commander cut in without delay. Cullen was thankful for it. "Wilmod," she then said, turning to the other recruit cowering behind his fellows, "You could learn a thing or two from your peers about accountability. Consider this a lesson. Now, go collect any equipment left in the yard and bring it to the storeroom."

Wishing for the entire exchange to be over with, Cullen was relieved when Hanamene's gaze broke away from his own. He took it as an opportunity to step aside from the recruit, to address Meredith directly. "Knight-Commander," he said, "I've yet to be assigned quarters."

Ser Agatha, having kept quiet for a short while, stepped forward to add, "I wasn't sure of arrangements, Knight-Commander."

"Ah, yes," Meredith considered, "Normally I would assign someone of your rank their own quarters, Knight-Lieutenant. However, our numbers have swelled since taking on the survivors of Starkhaven's Circle, which burnt down earlier this year. Space is limited. I'm afraid you will have to share quarters with one of the Knight-Templars. Ser Raleigh?" No one responded to the name in question, which seemed to vex Meredith to no end. She snapped, "Oh for the love of Andraste, has anyone seen Samson?" The recruits and templars nearest to the exchange shook their heads or shrugged when the Knight-Commander's eyes fell to them. She half-grunted, half-exhaled her frustration. "Hanamene," Meredith said, her irritation plain for all to hear, "Please show Ser Cullen to Ser Raleigh's assigned quarters. If you find him there, tell him to come see me immediately."

And with that, Knight-Commander Meredith, and those flanking her, took leave of the hall through an archway leading to some other interior corridor. Not quite knowing what to do with his unwanted ale, Cullen handed it to Ser Agatha. She seemed nonplussed by the gesture. "Sorry – but, thank you, also," he told her.

Before Cullen and Hanamene would turn away, Ser Agatha replied, echoing the earlier sentiments she had shared when she had first brought him through the Gallows, "You'll get used to it."

Maker, he hoped that was true.
 

Hanamene Thornecroft

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#4
The gesture seemed to appease the Knight-Commander enough, if not Ser Cullen. Hanamene hadn't expected a thank you, however. It became more evident to her that, judging from the Knight-Lieutenant's expression, he'd clearly overheard at least some of what she and the other recruits had been speaking of. She regretted the behaviour and not simply because Meredith publicly chastised her for it, but because Hanamene knew that had her templar father been present to witness the exchange he would have been very disappointed in her. It was one of the few times that she had been glad that the Knight-Tracker had been called away on duty.

Hanamene only briefly met Ser Cullen's eye in kind, relieved in his stepping away from her to address Meredith directly. "Knight-Commander, I've yet to be assigned quarters," he informed.

"I wasn't sure of arrangements, Knight-Commander," Ser Agatha cut in. Hanamene noted the reservation in Ser Agatha's voice. She certainly hadn't wanted to evoke the ire of Meredith Stannard either. Present circumstances in mind, Hana didn't blame her.

The Knight-Commander's penetrating gaze had left them both, however, and returned to Ser Cullen. Both Hana and Agatha's posture relaxed at that. Well, just a little. "Ah, yes," Meredith explained, "Normally I would assign someone of your rank their own quarters, Knight-Lieutenant. However, our numbers have swelled since taking on the survivors of Starkhaven's Circle, which burnt down earlier this year. Space is limited. I'm afraid you will have to share quarters with one of the Knight-Templars. Ser Raleigh?"

Hanamene scanned the hall for the man in question. He wasn't present. Her jaw clenched as if bracing herself for the Knight-Commander's reaction to such. Ser Raleigh Samson was rarely where he was expected and more rarely, if ever, where he needed to be. Her father did not care for the Knight-Templar in question and had called him a goldbrick on more than one occasion, occasionally to Ser Raleigh's face in point of fact. "Oh for the love of Andraste, has anyone seen Samson?" the Knight-Commander snapped. The sharpness of her tone recalled Hana's attention immediately. Although she'd been among those that had shrugged, it seemed Meredith wasn't done with her just yet, "Hanamene, please show Ser Cullen to Ser Raleigh's assigned quarters. If you find him there, tell him to come see me immediately."

Withholding the temptation to sigh, Hanamene gave a singular nod to the Knight-Commander as Ser Cullen and Ser Agatha shared a final exchange of their own. Afterward, Hana stole another quick glance toward her friends—garnering a couple looks of commiseration from both Hugh and Ruvena—before she returned to stand before the Knight-Lieutenant. "Ser Cullen," she said, mustering the utmost of formalities, "If you would, follow me."

She would go on to lead him through a similar archway as the Knight-Commander had taken her own leave through, only they came upon an entirely different corridor. Hanamene walked at a conservative pace. It was a rather long and, some might say, uncomfortably quiet hallway outside of the overheard murmurs of those templars currently at prayer in the privacy of their own respective quarters. "All sins are forgiven... all crimes pardoned... let no soul harbour guilt... let no soul hunger for justice... by the Maker's will I decree... harmony in all things... let Balance be restored..." Hanamene recognized the Canticle of Exaltations, as they passed one room in particular, and sighed.

"I am, you know," she told Ser Cullen. She spoke evenly, a note above a whisper yet below what was ordinary of her tone. Hanamene did not want to disturb those in their quarters, but did wish to extend an olive branch of sorts to the man she and her friends had so disrespectfully discussed in the common hall. She added, "Sorry, I mean. I wanted to say that, without being made to. By the Knight-Commander. In front of all our peers." A, perhaps, hardly perceptible smirk crossed Hana's face.

"You must be exhausted," she ventured a guess, explaining, "I made the journey from Ferelden to Kirkwall myself once. As did many of our countrymen during the Blight. Did you come by way of Highever or Denerim? We'd heard there was some sort of trouble in Amaranthine, but that it's all sorted now." As they made their way down the corridor, walking side by side, Hanamene every so often eyed the Knight-Lieutenant sidelong. For a templar rumoured to have purportedly gone unhinged, he was markedly temperate in nature thus far.
 

Cullen

Commander of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
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Templar
Posts
30
#5
The young woman turned to him. "Ser Cullen. If you would, follow me," she said, though he gathered the deference used was more for the Knight-Commander's benefit than his own. Either way, he was content to oblige. The fire had warmed him well enough, and he was glad to be away from the common hall by that point. Cullen didn't like having all eyes upon him thusly. He kept apace with the recruit, as she led him through another archway to some other interior corridor of the stronghold.

He was relieved by the sedated shift in atmosphere. For the first time since arriving in Kirkwall, he was beginning to relax a little. "All sins are forgiven... all crimes pardoned... let no soul harbour guilt... let no soul hunger for justice... by the Maker's will I decree... harmony in all things... let Balance be restored..." Cullen's heart found comfort in the hushed prayer. He exhaled and, for half a second, allowed his mind to wander.

"I am, you know," the recruit's gentle voice drew him back, "Sorry, I mean. I wanted to say that, without being made to. By the Knight-Commander. In front of all our peers."

Even in dimly lit torchlight of the corridor, the Knight-Lieutenant found the recruit's gaze too vivid to hold for long. When she regarded him sidelong, his own gaze turned away to look straight ahead despite his not knowing where he was being led. "Ah. Well," he responded, though perhaps smirking slightly in turn as well, "No harm done."

"You must be exhausted. I made the journey from Ferelden to Kirkwall myself once. As did many of our countrymen during the Blight. Did you come by way of Highever or Denerim? We'd heard there was some sort of trouble in Amaranthine, but that it's all sorted now." While Cullen was glad that their introduction had decidedly turned cordial, he was still unsure of how to participate. Small talk was never easy for him. He was beginning to see that, in contrast to Kinloch Hold, such would be a skill required of him in Kirkwall. He should have anticipated as much, given that Kirkwall's Circle was within a bustling city's confines versus upon a remote and rocky holm in the middle of a lake.

"Denerim," he confirmed, adding, "About Amaranthine, I heard the same before embarking for Kirkwall. Trouble with darkspawn lingering about after the Blight, I suppose. Grey Wardens were able to purge them from the city. Thank the Maker they were there." Had they not been, it would've stood to reason that the darkspawn would have assailed upon Denerim once more. Cullen was glad he hadn't needed to go toe-to-toe with the creatures.

They walked a bit longer still, before it registered in the Knight-Lieutenant's mind that he ought to reciprocate the young woman's attempt at civility in turn. "Hanamene, is it?" he said after a moment, recalling the name Meredith had addressed the recruit as, "You made the journey from Ferelden as well, you say. You are Fereldan, then?" That was not a terribly insightful question. Her accent might have justified that, had she not also implied as much. Cullen stopped momentarily, turning away in his embarrassment albeit as if to casually regard a mural of Andraste upon one of the walls. He rubbed his neck, stammering, "I mean to ask... what part?"

The location of Kirkwall's Circle and templar garrison wasn't the only thing Cullen would have to get used to. While there were a number of women amongst the mages of Ferelden's Circle, and protocols existed to ensure a respectful measure of distance between the templars and their charges, there were not as many women in the templar ranks in Ferelden as there appeared to be in Kirkwall. Afflicted by his own awkwardness where this was concerned, he amended, "I beg your pardon, I am... actually... rather exhausted." That much was true. The voyage hadn't agreed with him and Cullen felt all out of sorts, besides. Inwardly, he lamented that Wilmod hadn't been assigned as his guide instead.
 

Hanamene Thornecroft

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#6
The Knight-Lieutenant was understandably standoffish, Hanamene noted. Her own fault, that, she wagered. With maybe a handful of exceptions, first impressions had rarely been a strong suit of hers. She and the other recruits had been unfair to Ser Cullen, besides. Forming opinions of him before even meeting the man. Again, had her father been present, Ser Graeven would have given her an earful. Still, as with most rumours, there was usually some ring of truth within. She wondered what that truth was.

"No harm done." An equanimous response from Ser Cullen, followed by what she thought was a smirk seemed to sort things between them. Again, she wondered, how it could be that someone so reasonable as he could have the reputation that he'd had? It didn't add up at all, but then, she'd only just met him. He went on to answer her fully, relating his route from Ferelden to Kirkwall, "Denerim. About Amaranthine, I heard the same before embarking for Kirkwall. Trouble with darkspawn lingering about after the Blight, I suppose. Grey Wardens were able to purge them from the city. Thank the Maker they were there."

Speaking of the Fifth Blight was hardly a beloved topic by Fereldans. It was a horrid experience that many would sooner forget than speak of so casually. Something in the Knight-Lieutenant's tone made Hanamene regret having brought it up. They didn't speak for a moment thereafter, which only made things more awkward when Ser Cullen did speak once more. "Hanamene, is it?" he asked, "You made the journey from Ferelden as well, you say. You are Fereldan, then? I mean to ask... what part?"

She turned to regard him head-on, and the mural he regarded in turn. "Hanamene Thornecroft," she confirmed but, in another effort to extend an olive branch, added, "Hana is fine. I'm from Redcliffe. The arling, not the village. Grew up near it though." It was difficult to discern whether or not he was actively interested in their exchange or if he was just being civil. With his next words, Hana came to assume the latter.

"I beg your pardon, I am... actually... rather exhausted," he told her, before she'd the chance to ask where he'd come from within Ferelden as well.

"Of course," Hanamene said, trying not to bristle. It bothered her that she even cared about what a man with his reputation might think of her. Her posture straightened and she turned, stating, "It's just ahead. Right this way." She would lead them almost to the end of the corridor itself, stopping just short of a turn toward another. The doorway to Ser Raleigh's quarters, which was to henceforth be Ser Raleigh and Ser Cullen's shared quarters, remained wide open. Hanamene led them into the room, which was far more akin to a cell despite a few creature comforts. Samson was no where to be found. "Ser Raleigh isn't here," she stated the obvious, frowning. She turned back to address the Knight-Lieutenant directly once more. "Well," she said, gesturing to the room's humble interior, "This is it. I'm not sure if it's what you expected, or if it's to your liking but..."

She half-shrugged, admitting, "It did used to be a prison."
 

Cullen

Commander of the Inquisition
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Templar
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30
#7
In his poor judgement, he spoke again in haste without allowing Hanamene the opportunity to even respond in turn. In fact, he spoke over her as she answered. He'd come off as impatient, which wasn't exactly his intention. He was tired, yes, but not trying to be impolite. Hanamene Thornecroft, he repeated the name in his mind. As much committing it to memory as recalling some familiarity there. Hanamene was an unusual name and likely not one he'd soon have, or ever have, forgotten. Thornecroft, however... it bothered him that he could not remember where he'd heard that name before.

She obliged him, either way. Eventually they came to Raleigh Samson's quarters. Hana seemed vexed not to find him therein. Cullen was vexed that he found himself suddenly alone with a young woman in what was also to be his room. "This is it. I'm not sure if it's what you expected, or if it's to your liking but..." Hana told him, "It did used to be a prison."

He remained in the doorway, feeling it improper to enter the space fully with it just being the two of them. "That explains a lot, actually," he granted, thinking back to the statues in the Gallows. Kinloch Hold wasn't exactly posh by comparison, however. All the same, it was different and would take some getting used to. "It's perfectly fine," he'd go on to add, rubbing his neck a second time. He gestured afterward, "There's a window. That's... nice."

He was well and truly horrible at small talk. Inwardly he prayed for an interruption, any interruption. Nothing came of it. He sighed and half-stepped into the room, making room through the doorway for Hana to pass. "Thank you for showing me to my quarters. I'm sure I will meet Ser Raleigh soon enough, but for now... I could certainly use the rest."

It wasn't until Hanamene would actually go about her leave that it finally struck him. "Thornecroft," he said, "Ser Graeven Thornecroft. I knew that name sounded familiar. A templar who served out of Kinloch Hold. Well before my time, but... I still heard stories of a man by that name. Didn't he have..." Cullen trailed off. If the stories were true, his wasn't the only name tied to scandal or rumor. That said, the Knight-Lieutenant dared not finish his original train of thought by ending his sentence with bastards. "You're his... daughter?" he finished.
 

Hanamene Thornecroft

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#8
The Knight-Lieutenant seemed apprehensive about entering what was to be his new, shared quarters. She wondered the reason behind that. The Knight-Commander had already extended her apologies that Ser Cullen would have to room with another templar beneath his rank. Kirkwall's Circle had taken in a number of Starkhaven's mages, and a few of their templars, after their Circle burned down. She wagered that those of the templars still remaining in Starkhaven were likely trying to make do with limited accommodations in turn. Probably sharing quarters with Chantry layfolk, Hana reasoned. Perhaps Ser Cullen wasn't so much displeased by the arrangement as he was by the room itself.

"That explains a lot, actually," he said after a moment, "It's perfectly fine. There's a window. That's... nice."

For the second time, she observed him rub his neck. Hanamene tilted her head and inquired, "Are you in pain? Would you like me to send for one of our healers?"

Halfway, Ser Cullen moved aside within the doorway. Hana knew that to be a universal gesture in the sense that he was requesting that she'd leave him be. "Thank you for showing me to my quarters," he said, confirming her assumption, "I'm sure I will meet Ser Raleigh soon enough, but for now... I could certainly use the rest."

Hana had little to no intention of lingering further. Meredith was expecting Ser Raleigh, and she'd grow more cross if Hanamene didn't at least inform her that the templar wasn't actually in his quarters. "Of course," she said, intending to make her leave. She stopped dead in her tracks when he spoke again, just as she was brushing past him.

"Thornecroft," he'd said, in the manner that one does when a notion finally dawns in their mind.

She answered him with her gaze though, standing in the doorway with him and at closer proximity, Hana had to look up to meet his eye for he was a rather tall man—something that hadn't quite registered in her own mind until that very moment. It made her feel rather young, which made her rather uneasy. Far as Hana could tell, they were more likely quite close in actual age.

"Ser Graeven Thornecroft," he'd go on to say, "I knew that name sounded familiar. A templar who served out of Kinloch Hold. Well before my time, but... I still heard stories of a man by that name. Didn't he have..."

An illicit affair with an elven mage that begot two children? Why, yes. The jury was still out on whether or not the Thornecroft siblings had actually been born out of wedlock. Her father rarely spoke of Hana and Caeth's mother. Her grandparents simply pretended the woman in question never existed. Hanamene's lineage was a sensitive subject, for as much her family as it was for the Templar Order. If the name was familiar to Ser Cullen, then no doubt he already knew that the latter transferred Ser Graeven from Kinloch Hold to Hossberg—which was why her father and the young, Knight-Lieutenant would not have crossed paths in Ferelden.

"You're his... daughter?"

Hanamene briefly shut her eyes when offering a nod of affirmation. It was gracious of the templar not to say bastard. Hana was appreciative. "I am," she said, looking up at him again, "After we came to Kirkwall, my brother and I were reunited with him. His vocation yet calls him away often, but… every so often… I am afforded some time with him."

Her gaze fell away briefly, as she added, "We were raised by our grandparents, for the most part."
 
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