There were accusations and even proven incidents of Templars stepping over the boundary between guarding and abusing. The Order was no different than any other group: bad apples found their way into it. What was deemed a healthy fear of mages had been ingrained in each of them and some chose to prove their dedication by dominating their charges instead of monitoring them.
The long quiet that Cullen found in the Ferelden Circle tower fostered a sense of protection rather than oppression. It led to boredom more than violence but that lack of excitement posed its own dangers. Whispers circulated and he heard stories of beatings or more-subtle punishments for infractions real, imagined, or even invented for entertainment.
Half of those whispers in Cullen’s first days at Kinloch Hold concerned a young man brought to the tower by force at the unusually advanced age of twelve. From the very beginning the boy had tried to escape the Circle’s confines. He had taken advantage of the beach excursions novice mages had once enjoyed to swim away one afternoon.