“Mages are evil… the sign of the Maker’s hatred… .you cannot treat them as people, or you risk the lives of innocents… ” That’s what I was always told for the longest time now. Countless people in the Order have drilled those thoughts into my skull to the point that they became my own, unable to ask why, unable to say anything else for fear of being kicked out of the Order. I had never thought of thinking otherwise… at least, until I met her.
It was my first day at the Circle of Magi. I was at my post in the library, nervous and jumpy to be around so many mages at one time so suddenly. I did my best not to let my unease show as I watched the small crowd of people ranging from children no older than six to elder enchanters going on about their day… but I could sense their unease around me. Suddenly, a group of five children-all no older than ten years old-came running into the library. The sudden sound of their raised voices and laughter made me jump, my eyes darting over in their direction as they ran towards a young woman sitting at a table, intently reading a book, at the far end of the room. The young woman looked to be no older than 19 with (h/l), (h/t) hair that was a radiant color of (h/c), with (s/c) skin that radiated a healthy glow, and (e/c) eyes that seemed to sparkle with joy as they darted over the page of her book. The children tugged at the fabric of her robe’s sleeve, trying to gain her attention. The girl seemed surprised when she first tore her eyes away from the pages of her book, but a bright smile quickly returned as she greeted the children. The children seemed to quiet down now that they have found who they were looking for, but I couldn’t help but wonder what they wanted with the girl. Eventually, the children started to tug insistently at skirt of her (f/c) robe, begging her for who knows what. I strained to hear from so far away but I still couldn’t hear anything. It wasn’t long before the girl smiled and nodded at the children, causing them to let out a yelp of joy, only to have the girl promptly shush them. I watched as she stood up, briefly stopping to return her book to a high shelf with magic, then allowed the children to pull her away, leading her out of the library. It was needless to say that it was enough to pique my interest. So I followed the group out, trying my best to be as cautious as I could in such a clunky piece of armor that the Order had the templars wear. However, this precaution caused me to be too slow and it was only a matter of time before I lost sight of them. I started looking all over for them, any sign of where they could’ve gone, but to no luck. Just as I was about to give up and report back to my post, I caught a glimpse of the (h’c) haired girl from earlier duck into a nearby room out of the corner of my eye. I thanked the Maker for my good fortune as I quickly turned heel and followed her into the room, luckily being quick enough to see the door of a wardrobe in a secluded corner close with a nearly inaudible creek. I drew my sword and slowly crept closer and closer to the closet with each hesitant step forward, expecting the worst that could happen. I placed my hand on the handle of the wardrobe’s door, closed my eyes, taking in a deep, calming breath, then threw open the flimsy wooden door with enough force to nearly send it flying off it’s hinges. There was a shriek from the girl as she pressed her back against the wooden backboard of the wardrobe, her eyes wide with fright for just a second before narrowing into a glare as she pressed a hand against her chest, over her heart.
“Andraste’s flaming ass, man! You nearly gave me a heart attack!” she cried, irritation coloring the words that she spat at me before letting her head fall back to rest against the backboard, breathing heavily as her eyes drifted close. I found myself frozen to the spot, completely unsure what to do in a situation like this. I let my mouth flop open and close a number of times, but no words managed to make it past my lips other than a few um’s and ah’s, probably making me seem like a bigger fool than I was already making of myself. The situation was… not, what I expected, to put it mildly. I was expecting to find her practicing blood magic in private or to make a deal with a demon but… this kind of situation was no where near the realm of the panicked speculations I had thought up. There was a few moments of silence where I just watched the girl with a gaping mouth as she caught her breath. When she finally did manage to find her second wind, the daggered glare returned to me.
“Well? Aren’t you going to apologize for scaring me?” She asked as she placed her hands on her hips, her irritation becoming more and more emanate. I opened my mouth to say something, though I had no idea what even to say, but the sound of distant voices echoing through the halls gave me reason to pause and turn, trying to see who was coming this way. However, before I could see anything, let alone anyone, a hand grabbed ahold of my arm, pulling me back with enough force to make me stumble backwards into the wardrobe, where another hand pulled the door closed behind me, leaving me and my female assailant alone in the dark. I opened my mouth to shout something at the mage girl but she covered my mouth with her hand before I could get the chance to say anything without it being stifled under her palm.
“Shhhhh!!” She hissed at me in a harsh whisper, I could even start to feel the burn of her eyes glaring at me. “Do you want me to be found?” I was starting to get fed up with all these antics this girl was putting me through. I shot a glare at her in the dark and tore her hand off my face.
“I had already found you!” I retorted, though my words were spat out in a whisper no louder than the girls. I mentally slapped myself for unconsciously doing as she asked.
“Yes, but it doesn’t matter if you found me or not, you’re not playing the game.”
“Yeah. ‘Game’. Some kids asked me if I’d play hide-and-seek with them That’s kind of why I’m in a closet… what did you think I was doing in here?” I froze again. All of this was just bringing me more and more embarrassment. I felt like a fool. It was only my first day here and I’ve already messed up something that seemed so simple up to this degree. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted as I felt something pulling my arm around. “Um….do you mind letting go of me now?” I heard the girl ask somewhat hesitantly. I could feel my face flare up at the realization that I was still holding onto the girl’s wrist, that she was now trying to wriggle out of my grip. I snatched my hand away from her as if she burned me, though it might as well be the other way around. My whole body temperature seemed to be rising as the reality of the situation came crashing down on top of me. I was alone, in a tiny wardrobe that just barely allowed enough space so that two people could be in there without having to press up against each other, with a mage girl that I literally just met! The blush that had successfully overtaken my cheeks now spread to my ears and down my neck as I tried to back away from the girl as much as I could in such a small space, silently thanking my lucky stars that it was too dark for her to see my blush.
“Hey….you ok? You went all quiet all of sudden.” The girl stated, but I could hear the light concern that dusted her words. However, that seemed to only make me that more nervous.
“I-I…well, um…ah, you see, ah…” I started rambling off nonsense that didn’t even last that long before I’d trail off and babble mindlessly like an idiot some more. It seemed to be the only thing I could do in a situation like this. Still, it seemed to fairly amuse the mage girl as I could hear quiet giggles coming from her.
“You’re new, aren’t you?” She asked rather bluntly, still giggling slightly.
“A-ah…y-yes.” I managed to choke out, making the girl chuckle even more.
“Thought so. Only the new guys get all nervous and jump around us mages.” she said in a somewhat teasing way, giving me a gentle jab in the side. “I’m (y/n) Amell by the way.”
“Cullen.” I somehow was able to say my own name without stumbling over it.
“Well, Cullen, it was very nice to have met you in this closet.” the girl… (y/n)... said with another chuckle, and this time, I found myself smiling too… just as the door to the wardrobe opened.
“(y/n)! We found y-” The chorus of children’s joyous voices was cut off the moment their eyes landed, their excited, victorious, happy expressions turned to ones of fear and caution… I can’t say that I blame them though. However, that all changed the moment (y/n) spoke up.
“Hey, come on guys. Don’t look so scared. Cullen here is a good little templar.” She assured them, bringing her hand up to pet my head, threading her fingers through the curls of my hair, as if I was her beloved pet. “See? He’s nice.” The children glanced at each other briefly before they finally seemed to relax a bit. Seeing this, (y/n) let her hand fall back down to her side and stepping out of the wardrobe to rejoin the children who were becoming anxious to leave. But, before she left, (y/n) spun around and waved at me.
“See you, Cullen! Thank you for playing us! Maybe we can talk later, you know, out of any furniture perhaps.” She suggested with a smile that practically stretched from ear to ear before leaving the room with the group of children following her close behind, some even grabbing at her robe again to make sure she didn’t leave them… leaving me alone, still standing in the closet, with only my thoughts to keep me company staring after them as they left.
“...(y/n)...” I whispered to myself, feeling my cheeks heat up ever so slightly and a smile tug at the corners of my lips at the mention of the strange mage girl. “Oh dear Maker… this won’t end well. But...she's not that bad of person...for a mage."
"You like her~! You like her~! You like her~!"
"Shut up. I do not!"
"Then what was with that blush, my dear Cullen?"
"...Damn it, woman! Leave me be!!"
"HAHAHAHAHA!!! I WIN!!! So I shall say again; YOU LIKE HER~~!!" <3
"Ugh......kill me now......."
"What's going on in here?"
"Finally, I'm alone..."
"YOU LIKE HER~!!!!"
"DAMN IT!! LEAVE ME ALONE WOMAN!!!"