Four years strong, we are a literate to advanced Dragon Age roleplay that focuses on the events post-Trespasser, while also following the timelines of the Warden, Champion and Inquisitor.
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Played by Holly
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As stands empty, the bustle of the crowd has become deafening, families and companions share their favorite moments of the final rally as well as suggestions for what would come next. In the dying ruckus you can hear it — barking. The kennels are not far and it could easily be coming from across the way. But the sound persists. Through a crowd of youth denied the pets they were hopeful for, you can see a mabari bounding from one dismissive maritime goer to the next.
Undeterred, the dog has made his way to you, tongue out and chest heaving, he pants frantically between incessant yowls. His ears have flattened and you can make sense from constant looks back where he came from and his growing whimpers that the mabari is desperate you follow him.
There is no telling what he may wish to show you, but he has decided that your hesitation is all he needs to pad back towards the southern end of the trail in route towards what you can now see is another, less impressive, spectator's arena. For whatever awaits, your canine client appears to be losing his battle with the heat.
What happens next is in your hands.
In a sea of so many, she'd been impossible to spot, one too many wrong choices resulting in a shamefaced fluster after the last had screamed and swatted his hand away in surprise. With no sense for how long she'd been missing, his survey proving fruitless to the point where shielded eyes were abandoned by their visor, the walk to the designated booth'd narrowly been started when——
Cullen'd have rather it'd been instinct that'd turned him, rather than a familiarity with the nickname. Gifted during his first year in training, used less frequently, now, the connection still raised brows in unspoken question. From across the way, the bodies between them dwindling, he could just make out the figure of a woman, hunched above what he only knew from experience was a mabari, toppled and panting frantically. If, at the end of all this, someone had asked him why he'd obliged her, rather than returned to his duties, he wasn't confident he'd have had an answer for them. Was it the desperation in her tone? Was it the knot in his stomach that said he had a duty to assist? Or, more likely, an unsung part of him yearned for the chance to let her roam. Let Tallulah do as she pleased, here, where no one was any the wiser.
He'd have enjoyed that freedom himself. Regalia gleaming, garnering more than a few sidelong stares and a series of whispers behind veiling hands. Everyone always had an opinion. At least here, now, his beckoner approached and a gloved hand lain atop the exhausted canine's hip, he could be more than a glorified babysitter.
"Is he yours?" Judging by the state of him, it was unlikely.
Her wear suggested nobility, dark hair sticky with a sweat that mirrored his own — stern but lovely. No reason to warrant his, very brief, stare, of course. Throat cleared, the ground around them were given sweep enough to know that, whoever the owner was, they weren't close, were they looking. "Where did he come from?" Assuming she'd seen, despite knowing the likelihood was slim and, had she, she'd not have needed his aid.
Free hand sweeping the wrap from around his knees, the crouch taken allotted easier access to offer the mabari inspection. Dangerously overheated. Dehydrated. Panting to a fearful rhythm. For once, the weight of the leather skin hanging heavily beneath his sash was appreciated, as was the helmet he'd brought on the off-chance he'd need it, knowing well enough that the odds were unlikely. Not the best choice for a water bowl, but it would serve its purpose once filled and presented to a tongue that eagerly lapped away.
"What would you have of me?" Had he sounded more like a Templar, that'd have been the Chant of Light.
In his crouch, armor pinched and dug, adding further to the beads of sweat that trickled into his collar and made his uniform stifling. Fortunate, at least, that he'd not be needing chase maleficar anytime soon, her sharpened comments were swatted aside as the same frustrations he could take registry of in himself. Anger for the pup's neglect. Anger for the people who had let him wander between them, too drunk on their merriment to spare him time or notice. It was a familiar sensation and, for his ignoring that, Cullen was able to raise his head and meet her words forthright.
"Over there," he echoed, surveying the direction noted with an overall ease for the rapidly cooling urgency. Still present, but as the dog lapped clean the makeshift dish, his hands absently replenishing the offering, he could feel his shoulders slipping back into a careless slump that spoke confidence for seeing the chore to a well-coordinated end.
Months spent lamenting strategies had uses outside of mage hunting, after all.
As did all of his training, it seemed.
Her question earned her a grin, stifled as he could muster, but there all the same. Waiting for the mabari to register the suggestion, his hands already scooped beneath his hide, when the weight went from tense and unaccommodating to lax acceptance, Cullen hoisted him with the heft of the great weight he was. Sturdy beasts, the haul was difficult to adjust at first, hind legs kicking about for a position that wouldn't offer his belly and settling only once the compromise was reached and standing accomplished. No small feat by any standard, he'd hoped his enjoyment hadn't breached the outward calm he'd angled towards. After all, contrary to what Orlesians may have said, it wasn't every day a boy from Ferelden was gifted the chance to hold a mabari.
"Knig—..." She was no mage. Not another Templar or cleric. She wasn't a sister to his eyes and, for all she wasn't, he'd not be a knight, either. "Cullen. You may call me Cullen." Tasting foreign as it did, no title to bolster it, later, maybe, he'd segregate the time to understand why that weighed so hollow.
It wouldn't be far to walk, even as the dog in arms wallowed and woofed, his weight shifting and making itself uncomfortable all over again. Good for many things, to those who understood them, mabari were skilled vocalists who'd not let you traipse far beyond their goal. Judging by his snuffling, it wasn't going to take them long to get there. Fortunate, that.
"And you, serah?" Over a pointed, furry, twitching ear, eaves dropping on their conversation, no doubt, Cullen eyed his temporary companion with a grin that insisted he'd not let it idle for no reason. "Or should I start thinking of nicknames as well?"