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Gallows Humor [Solo]


Commander of the Inquisition
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Haring, 9:31 - Templar Barracks - Late Evening
(OOC: used Samson's background and this short story for inspiration)

It had been a month since his transfer. Cullen hadn't been sorry to leave Ferelden behind, but he was grateful that Knight-Commander Greagoir had not demoted him - he was still a Knight-Lieutenant. Truth be told, he rarely thought of his old life at Kinloch Hold - revisiting those memories were much the same as revisiting old demons; so Cullen let those sleeping demons lie, sealed away to the darkest corners of his mind. The air in Kirkwall smelled strange to him, especially in Lowtown - it took some getting used to. So, too, did sharing a cell with his current bunkmate - Raleigh Samson. Cullen didn't altogether dislike Samson. As far as he could tell, his bunkmate seemed as good a fellow as any. A little too crass or familiar, at times, for Cullen's liking - but otherwise, tolerable. Save for nights like the present, when Samson crept back into their cell smelling of ale and horse-shit.

Cullen lay in his bed, in the bottom bunk. "It must be well after midnight," he complained, as Samson stumbled around in the dark.

"Yes, mother," Samson chuckled.

The Knight-Lieutenant sighed, long-sufferingly. All the same, Cullen couldn't help but be a little curious, "Where do you even go? Clearly not within the city or you wouldn't stumble in at ungodly hours smelling like a horse's ass."

His bunkmate's chuckling subsided. Cullen could only see Samson's silhouette in the dark, but the other man moved closer. His shadowy figure loomed over where Cullen lay. "Can you keep a secret?" he asked, deadly serious.

Cullen considered for a moment, then propped himself up to answer in earnest, "Yes."

Samson burst out laughing again, hauling himself up to the bunk over Cullen's, "Well, so can I." Cullen rolled his eyes in the darkness, which became less obsidian when Samson pushed aside the curtain to a small window above their beds. As if he wagered the Knight-Lieutenant's reaction, Samson thereafter peered over his bunk to look at Cullen squarely. Enough moonlight had filtered into their cell that Cullen could make out Samon's expression. He seemed, genuinely concerned. "You're not going to report me, are you?"

Annoyed, Cullen admitted, "I might."

Samson's next question left him nonplussed, however. "Have you ever been in love?" he inquired. The earnest nature of his tone did nothing to make Cullen feel remotely comfortable with the question.

Seeking to avoid looking Samson in the eye, Cullen rolled over onto his side when answering, "If I have, I cannot fathom how it would be any of your business."

Cullen didn't have to look at Samson to know his bunkmate was sneering, "Touched a nerve, have I?"

"No," he answered, sourly, "Forget I even asked. I don't care where you were. Just, next time, do your bunkmate a courtesy and have the sense to bathe before skulking back into our quarters. How am I supposed to sleep when it smells like a stable?"

The bunk above him creaked, as Samson's face disappeared. He lay back in his bed as well, but continued to speak to the Knight-Lieutenant below. "That, my friend, is the smell of a good deed done," Samson sighed. There was a ring of truth to his words and, Cullen thought, pride. "Besides," Samson added, "Since when do you sleep?"

Fair point, Cullen silently granted. Some time passed before the sound of Samson's snores finally commenced. Cullen lay in the bunk below, wide-awake. The snores weren't to blame. Samson's line of questioning had gotten to him. Awoken some of the sleeping demons that Cullen had hoped to let lie. He lay there, a with a bitter look upon his face. Have you ever been in love? Samon's question echoed in his mind. Eventually dawn would begin to break and with the rising of the sun, Cullen would push down a name that fought to ascend from his locked-away memories of the Circle.

Samson would later rouse from his slumber, late for his scheduled patrol, to find a mop rested beside one of the wooden posts of their bunk. In the clearer light of day, it was obvious that he'd tracked in a great deal of horse-shit the night before. Cullen was nowhere to be found, but the Knight-Lieutenant left a note upon the small wooden table whereupon their wash basin rested. Samson unfurled it, to read what Cullen had written:

You stink.