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Starting Rumors

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Cullen dithers uncharacteristically and he can see the unease in the messengers following him. There's no crisis for once, despite them being in Val Royeaux, so Cullen ignores them for once. All they have for him are the same flurry of perfumed notes he's been receiving and burning since the Winter Ball. He's found that ignoring them all as they try to discreetly slip the notes to him as per their instructions works better than acknowledging them. Acknowledging them only encourages more to be sent, and then he will end up doing nothing else but accepting the damn things all day long.

The masked flower seller seems unperturbed by the number of messengers following Cullen as he browses her wares as long as they maintain their respectful distance. Her unseen glare enough to keep Cullen from being overwhelmed. For that alone Cullen knows he will be buying something from her for the consideration alone. The question is, what will he be getting.

He doesn't know what this day is called in Orlais. He knows it's called something far more complicated than the lover's day it's called in Ferelden. He's been told what it is called a dozen times already, but he's used to it as a children's holiday. Something observed only by them and especially young lovers. Something Cullen has never seen the point in celebrating. Not even now that he does have someone to celebrate it with.

Though Cullen's sure if he tried bringing any flowers to Krem he'd only get that amused little smirk the man gives him when he thinks Cullen's being ridiculous. And the thought of that is enough to make him consider which of the ridiculously colored batches would make Krem's eyebrows rise the highest.

"Do you like the roses?" The merchant asks in her lilting voice as Cullen stares at the improbable array of colors. He's fairly sure that roses don't come that color naturally. "They are especially breed for today so that all sorts of messages can be sent with them to a paramour."

"Of course, messages," Cullen shies away from that thought, because the thought of the flower language is not something that he has ever studied nor cared to study. He reaches for a slim bouquet of green roses because they seem the most interesting of the lot. Light green and dark green together forming a pleasing array to look at.

"Ah," the merchant says with a knowing tone that makes Cullen want to put the flowers back. She's smiling slightly in approval though as Cullen reluctantly hands over some coin. "Congratulations, I wish you and your lady well."

"Right," Krem would be twitching over the implication, but Cullen doesn't correct her only because he's afraid she'll tell him why the flowers he's now clutching are completely wrong. "Thank yo-"

Cullen stops abruptly when he turns because the messengers are gone. No trace at all of any of them at all on the streets. Cullen blinks bemusedly at the empty street before looking down at the flowers he's holding. "What, ah, what exactly do these mean?"

"Why they are a hopeful wish for fertility," the merchant is kind enough to only smirk a little as she tucks his coins away somewhere. "Traditionally given by newlyweds seeking to conceive."

"Ah," Cullen coughs hard as the embarrassment wars with the amusement, because he knows now why the messengers are gone. He'll be getting an earful from Josephine later about the rumors that will come from this no doubt, but it may be well worth it if it cuts down on the messages he gets.

"Would you care to select something a bit more appropriate now that you have given your other, ah, admirers something else to think about?" The woman asks far too sweetly to be sincere.

Cullen wordlessly hands the green bouquet back and plucks up another with various shades of orange roses. He pointedly doesn't ask the meaning of these ones. He doesn't need to know what it means as he marches back through the streets of the city. Unimpeded by the annoying messengers he makes it back to the bar in almost no time.

It's off from the more well traveled roads, away from the well maintained streets. This area is for travelers, for the rougher crowd that comes through and none of the regular citizens of Val Royeaux wish to deal with. Cullen slides through the crowd of mercenaries and caravan merchants with ease. Aiming to the loudest corner where the Chargers appear to be in a drinking contest with a band of dwarven merchants.

"You took your time," Krem observes as Cullen sits next to him. An empty stool ready next to him from where he sits on the edges of the chaos. Watching with critical eyes for the first sign of trouble, his own bottle of wine barely touched in this tavern. Too far from the normal safety of Skyhold for him to indulge too much. "What are those?"

Krem's right eyebrow raises as he looks at the flowers incredulously.

"A feint," Cullen says with a smile, he presents the flowers to Krem proudly. Only slightly selfconscious of it. "I think I may have gotten married in the eyes of Orlais."

"Should I be worried?" Krem smirks and bumps the flowers with the bottom of his bottle. A single petal falls off and flutters to the dirtied floor of the tavern. "Or am I going to be accepting duels for your affection?"

"Can you duel with a mace?" Cullen tucks the bouquet back against his side and takes the bottle from Krem instead. The wine is sweeter than he's used to but Krem leans against him when he hands the bottle back and doesn't pull away.

"Not according to any Orlesian, but what's it matter as long as I win?" Krem snakes out one of the roses and looks at it in bemusement before he starts to pluck the petals off one by one until only the stem remains. He tucks it under a strap of his armor so that it sticks out at a jaunty angle. A flowerless stem with only a few leaves and a single thorn on it. "Not my fault they don't know how to dodge."

Cullen wants to ask about that, because it sounds less like Krem is making a jest and more like he's speaking from experience. He's not sure he should though. There's still a few days of negotiations to go through after all, and Cullen knows he'll need something to look forward to after the frustration of that gets to be too much for him.

He sits back instead and relaxes in the tavern besides Krem as Chargers and dwarves begin to pass out one by one. Krem a warm weigh against his side, and the soft scent of the flowers filling his nose. He still doesn't know what the day is called, but that doesn't matter as much anymore. It's served it's purpose for him.

"By the way," Krem mutters as Grim crumbles face first into the table, "you're going to be wearing those flowers later for me. Them and nothing else."

And perhaps there might be something more useful about it too.