Cullen I’m well. How are you?
Well, to be honest, I have a little bit of a headache.
Cullen Oh? Have you drunk an appropriate amount of water today?
Well, no, actually. It’s hard to remember to on the weekend.
Cullen I see. Did you get adequate rest last night?
OK, no. Once again… the weekend.
Cullen When was the last time you ate?
Now you mention it, it’s getting close to dinner time.
Cullen ***whacks interviewer in the head***
Hey!!! That hurt! What’d you do that for?
Cullen Because you deserve to have a headache.
Your kind of mean.
Cullen That’s my job.
Cullen Well, it’s not my job to be your friend. You don’t take care of yourself, why should I bother?
Okay, we’re getting way off track here.
Cullen Don’t blame me. It’s your interview.
Fine! Tell me about yourself.
Cullen Such as?
How did you become a healer?
Cullen I was born to it. I’m a High Healer – a magicker whose specific skill is healing. High Healer’s are required to follow the craft.
What if they don’t want to?
Cullen They find no one cares what they want, and they are pressed into it anyway.
Surely no one can make you become a healer if you don’t want to.
Cullen Healer Guilds have their own laws; laws that are harsher and more demanding than the laws of the realm. There have been families who supported their High Healer children in not becoming healers. The guild first harasses them, then runs them out of town.
And this is tolerated?
Cullen I just told you that. Why are you asking me to reiterate it?
Have you eaten recently?
Cullen No, why?
Because you’re cranky! Maybe you should eat something before we continue.
Cullen Let me do my job, and you stick to yours.
So, you wanted to become a healer?
Cullen Hell no! I hated healing! But I was born to a family of healers – the usual kind, not magickers – and they gave me no choice. I was very rebellious, but in the end it was no use.
So why are you still a healer, then?
Cullen The Circle allows me to do whatever I want to do. I found new ways to make it work for me, to try new things. Cristov encouraged me to found a guild at the Keep. I used the opportunity to reform Guild practices. There is no one in my guild that doesn’t want to be there. Healers that don’t want to heal don’t make the best healers. I want only the best and most enthusiastic.
That’s great that you could turn that around to work for you.
Cullen Like there’s anything in my life that I would have any other way.
Well, you do strike me as that type. You rubbed off on Arinda quite a lot, too, huh?
Cullen Arinda holds her own. She’s a good girl. A trifle stubborn, but I think that could be said of the best of us.
I understand that you are married. Tell me about your wife.
Cullen ***impatient sigh*** Gwenn and I hate each other. With passion. We do not get along, despite any effort on my part, so I really prefer to forget that she exists unless I’m forced to.
I thought the laws of the Circle prohibit that – ignoring your wife, I mean.
Cullen That is true, but I’m one of the few exceptions. The laws require us to make every effort to make a life with our wives, support them, help them find a life within the Circle. But Gwenn – she doesn’t want to fit. She doesn’t want me, she doesn’t want this life, she’s happier if we ignore each other. So after a century or two of watching me bang my head against the wall with her, and trying to keep her from gouging my eyes out, Cristov said enough was enough. Leave her alone if that’s what she wanted.
How sad for both of you.
Cullen Hmph! Not really. I prefer my work, anyway, and it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of it.
You also act as the Royal High Healer for the House of Rowan, correct?
Cullen Yes. Although, to be honest, it’s become more of a family than a job. The royal family are good people, and since Arinda came, Nathan’s settled down a lot. He can be pretty prickly when he decides to be.
What? …Well, how did he do that? …I swear to Fiaryn! Didn’t anyone bother tell him not to put his fingers up there? Oh for pity’s sake!
I have to be going. Duty calls.
Thanks for talking with us, Cullen.
Cullen Go eat something! And get a drink of water. And get some sleep, for crying out loud! Willow bark tea if it’s still bothering you tomorrow. And if you don’t do any of the above, don’t come crying to me.
Cullen Not kidding. I’ll slug you in the head at curfew if I have to.