Andrew Cullen
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Andrew Cullen is a religious scholar, a spiritual adviser, a wanderer of dreams and a cynical optimist. The man collects and trades in knowledge – largely in the form of books and teaching - as well as cultural items of a forgotten time period. Although his faith may be viewed as a forgone relic, he more often teaches the many valuable lessons of the Bible, instead of preaching about its protagonists’ divine exploits. Furthermore, communities he's visited were quick to discover that his predisposition forms a favourable relationship with his magical talent to dream-walk, seeing as the man provides the occasional forecast of future events, offers guidance and counsel, helps extract information from uncooperative criminals and offers the chance to meet death in tranquillity and happiness.


Info

Full Name: Andrew John Cullen
Age: 39
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Blue-hazel

Status: Alive
Occupation: Spiritual adviser
Origin: Glasgow
Allegiance: Currently undecided

First Seen: None yet
Last Seen: None

Description: Andrew Cullen is a man of a surprisingly sturdy stature, despite proclaiming himself as a man of the cloth. Standing at the height of six feet and one inch, he shows signs of being a part of a rather large crowd of people who have seen the ugly side of survival – starting with his musculature and ending with mild scarring that he usually hides beneath clothing. That said, the man is no mountain of brawn – you can see him indulging in arm wrestling or withstanding a hefty punch, but he doesn’t look much like a fighter.

His face and his demeanour are largely responsible for dispelling that would-be identity of a fighter. Blue-hazel eyes glimmer with benevolence and well intentions, the notion made clearer with a smile, a grin or even a lopsided smirk. The occasions when Andrew isn’t smiling are vastly outnumbered by occasions when he is. At the very least, you will see a corner of his lips showing a subtle hint of a smile. On the other hand, those eyes can darken along with his features should he be angered or in thought. In general, his face is square-shaped and sports mostly rectangular features.

The man is often seen wearing unassuming clothing, rather than priestly attire. One recurring theme is the presence of a thick woolen jacket, or a woolen trench coat, especially if it’s windy. A button-up shirt, a T-shirt and a pair of jeans is something you can see him wear often, as well.

Family:

  • Sean O'Neill - father, current location unknown.
  • Emily Cullen - mother, deceased.

Portrayed by: John Barrowman


History

The story of the man known as Andrew Cullen starts in a small community not too far from Glasgow, the city where Cullen’s roots lie. His mother, Emily Cullen, the last surviving legacy of a lineage of religious scholars who fought to preserve both religion and historical knowledge, died of complications following birth. His father – Sean O’Neill – was a conman who cared little for his mother and concerned himself far more with the valuable books and other cultural items the Cullen family hoarded and traded from one generation to the next. Taking as much as he could without raising too much attention, Sean fled shortly afterwards.

The newborn boy was adopted and raised during his childhood years by the nurse that was his mother’s friend, and who was there when the boy was born. Although Rebecca McNeil was not a religious person, some of Emily’s teachings have definitely rubbed off her and helped through some of her life’s difficult trials. She decided to return the favour and raise the child as his mother would – teaching him the way of the Christian God. Unfortunately, the fortuitous benevolence of this individual did not last a terribly long time – she died of pneumonia shortly after the kid entered adolescence. But she has already sowed the seeds of his upbringing. For the next few years, the kid led a surprisingly independent life. Since no one could afford to look after him, he opted to accept any odd job available to him, helping out others within the community with just about any task he could handle, ranging from farmhand duties to being a shopkeeper’s occasional assistant. He fed himself by earning favours through accomplishing these tasks, and slept in places he was allowed to. Sometimes, he’d sleep in a stable, and at other times on potato sacks. Wandering merchants fascinated him the most, filling his head with ambitions of travel. Whereas others saw dangers in the no longer tame lands, Andrew naively saw a great big world full of opportunities.

Due to the pervasive nature of his magical abilities and the role of familiars in mages’ lives, Andrew discovered his arcane talent unsurprisingly early on in his life. The boy always had a vivid imagination and lucid dreams, and always spared more affection towards his cat than just about anyone he has ever met, more so after his stepmother died. The pet – who Andrew had claimed introduced itself as Midnight – always followed the boy around at some distance. It had protected him from minor threats as he was growing up, keeping his dreams relatively safe. It’s not until his teenage years that stronger creatures that preyed upon sleeping victims found the boy, resulting in restless sleep, some terrifyingly surreal lucid dreams and the trigger for the development of his abilities. Needless to say, this pressured the boy enough for him to actively seek help. Except the community did not have any dream walkers to help the poor young man.

That is when Andrew started having dreams in a dream scape unlike he had ever seen before. A superficially foreboding yet strangely soothing figure appeared and introduced itself as Midnight. Needless to say, the exchange was initially awkward, but Andrew soon realised that this is the best teacher he could ask for. Yet Midnight refused to feed infinite knowledge to the mage, instead guiding him in the right direction and testing him when appropriate. That is how Andrew Cullen took to the books. He purchased from wandering merchants that passed by the community, rare as they were. They are the ones who sparked the boy’s interest in the big world out there, marred by magic, yet lit by a dawn of a new day. That is how the boy caught the spark to travel and see the lands. Where people saw ruin and destruction in the big cities, he saw the opportunity to unearth lost knowledge and see into lives led over a hundred years ago. Despite a rocky start, life was going well during his teenage years.

Andrew did not become aware of his lineage until years later, closer to his nineteenth birthday. One day, a wandering merchant arrived to the small community, carrying a wagon of books. Among them he found a diary belonging to one Emily Cullen. Peppered with religious gibberish and pretentious ranting about an arbitrary tradition continued, the trader did not want much for the book. To Andrew, however, it meant the world. Within the book, he discovered that his lineage can be traced all the way before The End, all the way back to the archbishop of Glasgow. The boy’s family managed to survive the Second Dark Ages, although it has taken its toll on their numbers. Despite their great efforts to live and pass on the legacy, Andrew discovered he is the last remaining Cullen. Of all factors that could have been the cause of this, it was the rising doubt in faith that syphoned the strength of the Cullen bloodline.

Yet his fiery youthful spirit was distracted by the final few entries. It seems Emily Cullen was aware Sean O’Neill was a conman, and decided to put Fate to the test – if she managed to convince him to leave his swindling ways, settle with her and live a normal life, she would uphold her belief. But on the off chance he’d abandon her and flee with her valuables, she would forget about him, the valuables he’d take off, and the faith she had sworn to uphold. Andrew was furious. He remembered the name, and foolishly took it upon himself to find the conman and exact vengeance for playing with his mother’s emotions. He even blamed him for his mother’s death, if only to justify his wrath and in turn his departure. Despite everyone being against his choice, he had no parents to forbid him from leaving. And he shot two birds with one stone – he was to travel, and he was to pursue what he perceived as a just goal.

The years that followed spiraled down into a self-destructive quest with no real end. The young adult had arbitrarily twisted the words of the Bible to suit his fury. Perhaps the only productive thing that came out of this vengeance-filled time period was that he was dead set on refilling the collection the rogue had stolen from his mother, so at least he was on the way to becoming a criminal with some measure of class. Having abandoned decent work, he instead opted for more visceral and physically demanding activities, from leisurely fights for money to muscle for hire. In the end, the man was fighting more for his own pride than the pride of his family name. It’s unsurprising, then, that he was no closer to the man named Sean O’Neill than when he just started this fool’s errand. All that he got in the process were scars from his opponents in the ring, or outside it, even.

As time went by, Andrew started losing faith even in the twisted shade of the belief he had once been following. Actions lost meaning. By the age of twenty six, he was at a complete loss. It is this state of confusion, however, that brought about the event that ultimately helped him find his way again. On a particularly anger-ridden even, he had beaten his opponent to near death in the ring. Later that night, it was discovered the ‘near’ part of that diagnosis no longer applied. Needless to say, the epiphany came only after he was chased out of that particular community. Entirely guilt-ridden, Andrew would likely have gone no further in his life if not for his faithful companion. Earlier, attempts to persuade the foolish man from his stupid endeavor proved too difficult. After murdering another, however, Andrew listened to what Midnight had to say. The easiest thread to hold onto, of course, was a simple yet vital rule the Catholic dogma bestowed upon the man: “Thou shalt not kill”. From there on, the idea snowballed into full-blown Catholic faith. Almost every life occurrence of his had place within the Bible.

By the time he was 31, Andrew Cullen managed to restore some of his reputation, a task made easier by the fact that he was both stupid and vain enough to use a nickname and an excessive amount of war make-up during his fights. By his thirtieth milestone, he had abandoned his thirst for revenge and restored his faith. His belief, however, was not strictly orthodox Christianity, something he was and still is willing to admit. After all, there was no authority to adhere to, or so many would eagerly point out. But Andrew Cullen insists that The End suggested that there is no authority for priests but God himself. Arbitrary hierarchies are an anachronistic relic, he claims, whereas priesthood and the word of God are not. Much like humanity as a whole, religion was given a new chance. And it was up to him – and perhaps a select few other priests that existed elsewhere – to at least teach the ethics and morality religion teaches. And, if he’s exceptionally successful, restore Catholicism in one shape or another.

Being a scholar and a teacher landed him in the most favourable position to have a shot at either. Rarely asking nothing more than the bare necessities, Andrew continued his ceaseless travels from one community to the next, teaching children (and, if necessary, adults) and trying to spread the Catholic dogma where appropriate or allowed. His magical abilities came into play not long after his decision to become a nomadic priest, as well. From interrogating silent prisoners to building happy endings for those on the death bed, Andrew finally had found a place in the world for his abilities. The spiritual connotation of his magic helped him somewhat with his proclamation of priesthood. Still, he never quite stayed in one spot for too long, leaving each time for a different reason, be it a disapproving crowd or not enough willing or able to learn. And so he finally set his gaze on Dornie. Due to the village’s prominence, size and rivaling clans, he had his doubts, but decided to try his luck there either way. Besides a teacher’s and spiritual adviser’s duties, he is also hoping to set up a book shop that would double as a small museum. After all these years, he’s gathered quite the sizeable collection of cultural items, from books to vinyl records.


Personality

Andrew Cullen is best described as a cynical optimist. It’s difficult to maintain an unwavering positive outlook when you’re living in a post-apocalyptic environment. The worst times may be over, but humanity still has quite a high hurdle to jump over, a feat he often may joke is beyond the current mindset of humankind. In truth, he believes in perseverance and second chances. On the other hand, he only has one other cheek to turn, so one should take heed not to wrong the would-be priest one too many times. He may not resort to violence unless he absolutely must, but his grudge often manifests in potentially more harmful ways, such as denial of his services.

The man is outgoing, approachable and usually easy to communicate with. Since communication is a vital part of any of his three duties – trading, teaching or spiritual advising – he will even suppress one or several of his traits to get along with the individual in question, except he may make the fact known, especially if future encounters with that person are likely. If a person he dislikes or even loathes is in need of help, it is likely Andrew will provide aid either way. The priest generally dislikes the overly competitive, pessimists, megalomaniacs, narrow-minded people and criminals. The last group is like fine wine – the older and the greater their transgressions, the more Andrew will dislike them.

Whether he exists in truth or in his mind, God plays a large part in Andrew Cullen’s life. And yet it would take quite the imagination to perceive him as overzealous. Despite his stubborn continuation of the Catholic belief, his down to earth adherence and presentation of it is what perhaps draws those less sceptical of his faith, and causes some of the more doubtful to at least consider his validity a second time. It helps that the priest does not seek to insert God’s will into every single occurrence. As greatly grateful he is of his magic talent, he also acknowledges and applauds science and the scientific method. In fact, he enjoys a scientific discussion as much as a theological or philosophical one, even if his knowledge on the former subject is understandably limited.

The last important note is that Andrew is against using his magical capabilities for morally unsound or frivolous goals. Justifiable ends through questionable means have always existed, and he may be caught using his abilities for a morally grey cause, but it’s extremely unlikely he would invade another’s dreams to simply poke around their consciousness for curiosity’s sake. If he senses a person is hiding something from him that might endanger him or others, he might enter their dreams. He might also mess with a friend’s dreams if he knows they will not be affected by it greatly and will understand the joke, but he is yet to find a friend close enough to do that to.


Magic

Dream travel and manipulation are Andrew Cullen’s magical talents, one that begets numerous benefits. All of them stem from a navigation of dreamscapes, however, and some of them require initial preparation. Without any manner of preparation or intent, Andrew enters his personal dreamscape whenever he sleeps. For many people, it’s usually a mish mash of images subdued by the subconscious. For Andrew, it’s vivid, lucid, mostly coherent and perfectly traversable. From time to time, creatures both benevolent and malign invade his dreamscape. The benevolent kind provides good rest, good company and sometimes even knowledge of the future. The malign critters carry great danger, however, and may present risk of insomnia, lethargy or even comatose sleep.

His magical abilities gain complexity when they involve other people. Generally, there are three ways to enter another’s dreamscape. The most difficult way is to feature prominently in their lives, be it an empathic connection or daily encounters; out of character, this would translate to the other players deciding when it comes to that point, hopefully when they are comfortable with it. Alternatively, Andrew can enter another person’s dreamscape if they sleep within close proximity of him or if they accepted a small trinket from him and did not thoughtlessly toss it aside. It must be a memorable item, like a scratched wooden die or a bent paperclip, as opposed to a pencil or a pebble. It's worth noting that Andrew cannot invade a dream through sheer force of will alone.

He can, however, battle and win against another's will once he's inside the dream, should the subject disapprove of Andrew's presence and prove unwilling. But it may be that the dream-walker will not even need the dreamer to know he's there - while they have an ordinary dream, Andrew Cullen can traverse their mindscape in search of relevant information. The caveat is that the mindscape of an adult individual is colossal, so unless he knows the precise path to the information he seeks, he will need to find it, usually via interaction with the dreamer, either inside or outside the dream. Should they be reluctant or uncooperative, that's where Andrew's dream manipulation abilities come into play. He can produce blissful utopias or unforgettable nightmares.

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Andrew's second shadow - his familiar.

The mage also has a familiar, predictably. It is a black cat called Midnight. It is a curious yet lazy critter: it often has occasional bursts of energy but otherwise lounges somewhere near its mage friend. On that note, the cat is seen almost wherever Andrew is. Even if it’s not immediately seen, one can count on it being nearby somewhere. The cat is also known for showing aggression if anyone approaches Andrew while sleeping. Even if Midnight possesses no exceptional combative abilities, those cat claws can leave a handful of wounds and scars. Midnight can also manifest within Andrew’s dreamscape, but he cannot enter another’s dream. Within the dream, the cat manifests as a dark figure. Just when you know what he looks like, your sight shows him as a shadowy figure of indiscernible description. He is often responsible for keeping Andrew’s dreams safe, allowing the mage to sleep and rest.

Of important note is the anatomy of a dreamscape. Time passes slower in dreams, simply enough. Navigation is a bit trickier, though. They are divided into ‘points’, which can either be a single thought or a memory of variable size. Andrew – or a sleeper accompanying him – can walk around within the point by foot, exploring it at their leisure. Travelling from point to point is possible, and if Andrew is aware of the connections leading from point ‘Camille’s birthday’ to ‘Camille’s hatred for Richard’, he can leap all the way to the latter from the former, saving time. Otherwise, he has to travel point-by-point. Also, even though time still passes, it is not immediately observable – for the memory to progress, Andrew (or the sleeper that is with him) has to ‘walk’ along it, therefore he can ‘rewind’ it by walking back, or speeding it along by running forward. Needless to say, many sleepers are quite confused by this.


For hooks, relationships and such, go here.

More to come soon.