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Fairy Tales

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“So you imagined that the Nevarran bogeyman resembled your second cousin?” Cullen chuckled.

“Yes,” Cassandra replied, snorting, “I was not very fond of that man. He smelled strongly of fermented meat and antiseptic.”

Cullen shook his head and smiled.

“Nevarran folk songs sound so…macabre,” Cullen noted, taking a sip of ale.

Cassandra shrugged.

“Just the ones my uncle used to sing to Anthony and I. He was a mortalitasi, I suppose it suited his profession.”

“Well, thank the Maker my parents were farmers. The folk songs they sang to me never involved bogeyman who preyed on eyeballs,” Cullen joked.

Cassandra chuckled.

“So of what nature are Fereldan folk songs about?” she said, clasping her hands.

Cullen watched the candlelight flicker against the wooden walls of the Herald’s rest. And immediately it came to his mind.

He stretched his legs and cleared his throat.

“I don’t remember much, but there was one my Da used to sing to my siblings and I,” he began, “It was from before Andrastianism was common in Ferelden.”

Cassandra rested her cheek on her palm.

“What was it about?” she asked.

The warm flickering candlelight and the sweet smell of ale brought Cullen back for a second. A bittersweet pang pinched at his chest. His Da would sing them the song by the fireplace when Branson couldn’t sleep. Any type of orange warmth sounded like his father’s voice.

“It was about this woman, Sorcha, who was the kindest in her village. They adored her so much that she was literally radiant,” Cullen told, “She was also very beautiful that nearly all the villagers vied for her hand. But the god of the sky didn’t think anyone deserved her and brought her to the sky to make the sun brighter.”

“No romance?” Cassandra asked, disappointment tinged in her voice.

“Alas, no,” Cullen chuckled. He remembered a part of the song that went fast with a mouthful of words. He, Rosalie and Branson would try to see who could sing it the fastest.

“So what did she look like?” Cassandra asked, taking a gulp of ale.

“They never described it. Just that she was very beautiful,” Cullen answered, “All my life I wondered if I’d ever encounter someone who was as beautiful as Sorcha.”

“And have you?”

Cullen felt a smile tug at his lips.

“No. Imryll is more beautiful.”