And it wasn’t the dreaded feeling that was usually associated with the emotion; rather, an elated phenomenon that left his lungs tight and his heart pounding in his chest.
He only ever got that way whenever his beloved was involved, Cullen eventually discovered, and it was a welcome sensation he knew he’d never tire of. Arian was everything to him - he lived to see her smile.
And now, he resided at the end of a makeshift aisle in the courtyard of the Winter Palace, his new canine comrade standing proudly on all fours beside him, waiting for the object of his thoughts, the love of his life, to take her place at his side.
He had already botched the proposal he had spent months planning, and though Arian had accepted regardless he still knew he wanted to get this particular moment right.
The Commander thought back on the occurrence from just the day prior, a disbelieving smile gracing his lips at the ridiculous nature of it all. Arian had approached him soon after he’d acquired the abandoned mabari at his feet, and after a brief explanation of such he found himself gazing upon her, all other thoughts vanishing.
She had always been beautiful; it was the first thing he had noticed about her all those years ago when she’d been discovered in Haven. When he looked upon her then, however, he saw the future, he saw a woman that right then and there he wanted to spend every last moment of his life with, whether they be joyous or sorrowful.
And that’s when, somewhere in his clouded mind, he had panicked - the realization of the Inquisition’s upcoming fate and the situation regarding Arian’s hand that no one wished to voice compiling into a single word that unceremoniously blurted past his lips.
He’d always been one for on the spot situations - it seemed getting married was no different.
Arian had accepted, by the grace of the Maker, a bubbling laugh and happy tears accompanying her confirmation. Though he had insisted they could wait until the Exalted Council was over, his lover… his fiancee, assured him she wished to be married as soon as possible. After convincing Mother Giselle to oversee the ceremony, and alerting an ecstatic Vivienne that they would need a gown and beautician as soon as possible, their makeshift - and yet seemingly perfect wedding came together.
And so here Cullen stood, waiting for his betrothed to enter the courtyard, his nerves at their wits end and the goofiest smile possible donning his cheeks. Their friends and allies stood far off to the sides of the garden, observing fondly with their own smiles. Even Sera was being on her best behavior, flashing two thumbs up to him when his eyes scanned the small crowd.
All at once, the bystander’s heads turned to the entrance of the courtyard, and just a few seconds later Arian appeared, her arm winded with Dorian’s, who was leading her toward the rotunda.
When his eyes fell upon her, Cullen couldn’t remember why he had been nervous at all.
Donned in a white gown and shimmering lace, his fiancee steadily made her way to him, the same gorgeous blue eyes that always left him weak in the knees nearly sparkling as she met his gaze with a rosy, breathtaking smile. Her wavy platinum hair had been twisted into curls that were carefully pinned around her head, a number of strands entwined with flowers of varying color.
In that moment, it was just she and him - and if he had his way it would remain as such for the rest of eternity. Nothing else mattered.
Arian quickly glanced to Dorian as he released her arm, leaning up on her toes to press a soft kiss to his cheek. For once, the Tevinter man seemed speechless, instead offering her a heartfelt nod as he stepped away from the couple and took his place amongst their inner circle.
Wearing his signature smirk, Cullen reached for his wife-to-be, taking her hands in his and kneading his thumbs into her warm flesh. As Arian happily stared up into his eyes, only one thought crossed his mind; everything he had faced up until that point, every trial and tribulation, he’d willingly face again if it meant being here in this moment with the love of his life.
“Just know, everything feels like it was worth fighting for.”
A soft giggle. A knowing smile. “It was.”
Whatever uncertainty Cullen had felt previously, whatever doubt, it was chased away by the knowing that from this day forward, he’d be bound to the woman who had stolen his heart and broken his chains.
Listen, I love my inquisitor, but I also have this great vision of her and the advisors standing around the war table like “we have so few resources, here in our massive castle where we’re training an army, how can we possibly hope to defeat Corypheus” and then the doors bang open and there stands the Hero of Ferelden. She cracks her knuckles. “Listen up kiddos - oh hey, Cullen - listen, back in my day, I defeated a god with the help of like 5 randos and a dog. What seems to be the problem.”
If you haven't already writtwn something similar in the past, I'd lile to suggest a drabble of the exact moment Arian and/or Cullen realized they loved the other.
Fools in Every Aspect
(Set right after Arian’s rescued from the snow after Haven :3)
Jolting from where she lay, Arian woke, and was instantly overcome with pain. Wherever she happened to be was shrouded in darkness, the only light source coming from a small lantern off to her side. Even that was fuzzy to make out, the way her head pounded and vision blurred.
“Where-” she began, but as her sight became adjusted to the dark she registered the insignia of the Inquisition covering a banner in the corner of the space.
Right. She had been rescued from the snow, and brought back to the Inquisition camp in the valley outside of Haven. At the moment she seemed to be in her own tent, bundled by at least five layers of blankets.
Whatever gods had favored her, she thanked them excessively. No one could’ve survived an avalanche, nor a darkspawn abomination, nor a mile-long trek through an icy wasteland in a single day. And yet, she had.
Perhaps she was blessed by this Andraste after all.
As the elf lay back down against the cot she was resting on she cried out in discomfort. There was no telling how many bones she’d broken in her fall through the mine shaft, but they had been mended by magic and now ached from the aftermath.
However loud she had been, it got the attention of someone outside, who quickly burst inside to check on her.
“Herald? Are you alright?” She didn’t even have to look up to know who it was.
“Cullen,” Arian replied, her eyes settling on his handsome, startled face. The man wasted no time in moseying over to her side, then knelt down and scanned her for injury.
“I heard you cry out,” he said, suddenly looking unsure. “Are you in pain?” His eyes were tired, and he had shadows circling them. It was apparent the man hadn’t slept at all in the last few days.
Then it dawned on Arian, no one could’ve heard the sound she had made unless they were right outside the tent. Had he been waiting for her to come to?
“Just bruising,” the woman reassured him with a gentle smile. She didn’t wish to pester the man with her curiosity, but she was genuinely intrigued by his behavior - coupled with the fact that he had been the one to carry her to the camp.
The thoughts made her cheeks heat, knowing he might care for her in the same way she did for him.
Cullen looked relieved by her answer, the lines in his forehead softening. “You were in pretty bad shape when we brought you back here. The healers said you might-” he paused, turning his head and staring off to the side of the tent. “I… I’m just glad you’re alright.” he finished with a sigh.
Arian felt a pang of emotion sweep up inside her, seeing the man she was starting to hold dear concerned with her well-being. It had obviously taken a toll on him, the way he grew distant at the thought of her not surviving.
“I’m alright, Cullen,” she promised him, then in a moment of courage, reached for his hand and kneaded his fingers with her own. Cullen looked flabbergasted at the gesture, whipping his head back toward the woman with parted lips.
“Arian…” he murmured so tenderly, and the elf offered him a heartfelt smile. She always appreciated when he referred to her by name.
In fact, she appreciated practically everything about him.
If it hadn’t been Leliana who had stepped into the tent in that moment after, Arian likely would’ve committed murder on the spot.
“Comman-oh!” the redhead squeaked in surprise, “Herald, you’re awake!”
Arian was visibly annoyed by the interruption, and her mood was only soured further by the fact that Cullen had nervously retrieved his hand from her grasp.
“Yes,” she replied simply, her heart sinking as the Commander stood and moved away from her.
“Leliana. P-perhaps you can fill in the Herald on the status of our situation,” he rambled to the spymaster, before turning back to nod to Arian and then taking his leave. Arian’s head fell back against the cot, unexpected tears beading in her eyes at the frustration that boiled inside her.
“Before I bore you with follow-ups, perhaps you’d like something hot to drink?” Leliana inquired, moving to retrieve a canister placed near the exit.
Arian didn’t answer - too absorbed by the onslaught of feelings she suddenly had. Normally she could control her emotions - but with everything she had faced in the recent days, coupled with the fact that Cullen had basically rejected her just then, she found it harder to reign in control.
And that was it, wasn’t it? She could control her emotions up until Cullen was involved, then they were essentially scattered to the wind.
Oh Creators… I’m falling in love with him, aren’t I?
She didn’t even have to answer, the revelation known in the silent tears that slipped down her cheeks. It would be typical of cruel fate for her to be the “chosen one” in every aspect - excluding the possession of the Commander’s heart.
Cullen stood on the outskirts of the camp, trying to calm the erratic pounding of his heart. Part of him, the part that ached for something unspoken wished that Leliana hadn’t interrupted the moment between he and Arian but-
He sighed. It was for the better. This was just another sign that he wasn’t meant to be involved with her. He had to remain in his place, no matter how much it pained him.
But the way she had looked at him, the way she had held his hand - he could almost believe she reciprocated the silent affections he felt for her.
It had almost killed him to leave her behind in Haven, to know that she could possibly die if she didn’t find a way out. When they had found her in the snow, when he had hoisted her into his arms and cradled her icy body to his, he knew he was lost. His heart belonged to the elven woman, whether she knew it or not - whether she cared or not.
The Commander crossed his arms, inhaling a deep breath of air and releasing it slowly. He couldn’t face her like this, not when they had to plan their movements and decide what the Inquisition would do next. And so, straightening his back, he proceeded back to the inner workings of the camp, alerting a few soldiers to retrieve the other advisors so they may figure out their next move.
Perhaps it would all distract him from thinking about Arian - the way her eyes lit up when she was excited, the way her hair curled loosely around her shoulders, the way she laughed adorably when she heard a corny joke.
Commission of the stunning inquisitor of @inan-bellanaris, Lyrathil! It was so so so so pleasant to paint all the details you created on her! I’m completely in love with her witchy aesthetic 😍 Again, thank you so much for asking for this commission. <3
“Shit! Damn it! We save Ferelden, and they’re angry! We save Orlais, and they’re angry! We close the Breach twice, and my own hand wants to kill me! Could one thing in this fucking world just stay fixed?!”
The whole world seems to be in a stage of shock. To all my american (and also non-american) friends, I’m with you! You’ll get through this, I promise. It doesn’t end here, you’ll outlast him. Don’t forget that you are a gigantic nation and that every single one of you has rights. You can protest, you can campaign, you can sign petitions. And most importantly, you can support one another and show kindness and compassion.
As a small act of kindness and compassion I decided to do a give away. I don’t care if you follow my blog or anything, you really don’t have to in order to win this. I just hope I can make one or two people smile in such depressing times. Don’t give up and remember to breathe! I love you guys! <3 Deadline: November 20th