How Phinneus Took to the Sky

a story
2013-01-21 12:35:40,
2019-05-02 19:11:38
show more info

     On the fourth day of Skia in the year 1857, Phinneus Caractacus Cromwell was born to parents William and Catherine a butcher and a seamstress on the poor side of the Saks district of the marketplace in northern Gearford not far outside the walls of the Nobles quarter. He was the eldest of three children. The first years of his life were rather uneventful and passed in a similar fashion to any other, except that his family noticed a knack for solving problems which they encouraged greatly.

     At the age of ten, Phinneus was helping his father around the shop when a tax collector barged in and confronted William about back taxes owed. As William searched for enough money to pay, the tax collector came upon several mechanical devices and a number of books on the sciences and mathematics. The tax collector asked William “Those machines and books in back, whose are they?”. “The books are my son’s and he built those machines but I don’t know what they do.” The tax collector looked sternly at the boy and said “Very well.” And then he left without another word.

     Three days later a man in very nice clothing entered the shop. “Hello, my name is Stephen Thwaite. I am assistant to the Chairman of Sciences at the Royal Academy. It has been brought to our attention that your son, Phinneus, has demonstrated skill in subject matter of great interest to the Crown. I am here to bring him to the Academy for testing. If he passes, then he will be formally admitted.” Phinneus was admitted with an exceptionally high aptitude.

     The first week at the Academy was miserable for Phinneus. He was sad because he was not allowed to see his parents. Well, he was allowed to but they were not permitted to enter the walls of the Nobles Quarter because they were too poor. In addition, Phinneus was not making friends. It was difficult to because he came from such a different background. The other boys had grown up with servants and maids, and getting anything that the wanted. None of them knew what it was like to wash dishes, or sweep floors, or to even clean their rooms. Many of them had their own rooms that were the size of his father’s shop. They did not have to even share their room with more than one or two others. This made things difficult at first, and Phinneus was picked on by the other boys.

     Their was one boy that did not make fun of Phinneus and, in fact, one day helped him out of being bullied. His name was Nathaniel Rothman and he was the son of Captain Richard Rothman, a very well respected captain in the Royal Navy. Nathaniel felt bad because his family was of the lowest class to be permitted inside the walls and his father had to call in many favors to get him into the Academy. His father had raised him with the knowledge that everything that the family had was got through hard work. His father had been born in the docks district of Argenstrath to a fisherman and worked his way up to where he is now. Phinneus and Nathaniel became close friends and were virtually inseparable until Nathaniel left at 17 to join the Royal Naval Academy, but it proved to be a mutually beneficial friendship as Phinneus was in need of a friend to help defend himself early on and later Nathaniel needed a lot of help with his studies. Nathaniel was always a bit jealous of Phinneus for his intelligence but never told him.

     During his time at the Academy, Phinneus studied many subjects. Among them, he was most proficient in engineering, physics, chemisty, and applied mathematics and published several papers in each field. He also studied strategy and combat from Nothgard, a rather large Yeti who was the first to serve in the Antiford Royal Military and the only to achieve the rank of General. He was a truly intimidating individual. Under his training, Phinneus became proficient in Angerstrod, an ancient Yeti martial art.

     At 19, Phinneus left the Academy as being  “one of the brightest individual to pass through its gates.” He was appointed a position as an engineer for the public transport system and quickly rose to head his own projects. A little over a year later, he was invited to a banquet held by the lead engineer of the public transport system. There he was introduced to the wealthy merchant, Hamish Weller, and his daughter, Elizabeth. Phinneus was like a young schoolboy again, stumbling over his words and fidgeting. She was quite fond of him as well and they spent most of the evening deep in discussion, she was interested in what he did and had some idea of what he was talking about. Much to her father’s disapproval, she had read many books on a variety of subjects, most having to do with biology.

     Shortly after, Mr. Weller approached Phinneus offering for him to formally court Elizabeth. Needless to say, he was extremely happy and excited by this offer. He had been trying, for several weeks, to write a letter to Mr. Weller asking for permission to court his daughter and thus far was unable to. Apparently she was thinking the same thing and convinced her father. After a year and a half long courtship, the two married and moved into a nice house just inside the walled section of the city.

     Through Hamish Weller, as well as his own accomplishments, Phinneus was introduced to Claudius Grossman, the Minister of Scientific Research and Development. Phinneus’ expertise and reputation had caught his eye, and he offered Phinneus a position as a Lead Engineer of Public Works, a significant promotion. Phinneus accepted without hesitation, but declined the tremendous increase in pay in exchange for his parents and siblings to visit him in his home. The only times he had been allowed to see his family was his wedding. Now he was allowed to see them whenever he, or they, wished.

     The two years that followed were two of the happiest that he could remember. Then, one day, Elizabeth returned from the physician with the news that she was pregnant. They literally jumped for joy. A few weeks after, when the news had settled and he was able to focus on his research again, Phinneus was working in his basement laboratory on a new method for mining and clearing roads. He had developed an explosive called Trinitrotoluene. He had underestimated the power of it and an accident caused a massive explosion that collapsed the house. Phinneus survived the explosion, but was in the hospital for nearly two months. Elizabeth did not survive. She was on the second floor of the house when it collapsed. A year later, Phinneus was physically fully recovered, but it would be many more before he would be able to move on with his life.

     The Royal government confronted him while he was still in recovery. They, in particular the Ministry of War, wanted the explosive to aid in the rising tensions with the Prush Confederacy. Phinneus refused to aid in more innocent deaths. They went so far as to threaten him with the death of the rest of his family. Distraught, he continued to refuse. After he fully recovered, the Ministry arrested Phinneus and sent him to a penal colony in the desert. This prison had no walls and no guards, just seventy-five miles of desert in all directions. The only way in or out was on a small train that sat four prisoners and four guards.

     At this colony, Phinneus spent the next year. One night, the ground began to shake. All of the prisoners stood outside of their tents. Then, from over a dune, came a horde of rampaging Goblins. Their screams filled the night air and the prisoners started to panic. Within an hour, the colony was decimated. Phinneus managed to survive by hiding in the well. The screams haunted his dreams for many years. He stayed in the well for 3 days.

     On the third day, he heard someone approaching the well. Phinneus looked up to see a pale face staring down at him. He was helped out of the well, the sunlight blinded him. He looked around, only dried blood was seen on the ground, no bodies. The man who helped him was not human. He was tall and pale, with silver white hair. He introduced himself as Boric. He was a half-Vibranni and half-Yeti.

     Boric convinced Phinneus to leave the destroyed village, it did not take much, and join him. The two of them gathered as many supplies as they could find, and followed the tracks back to Astam Village. On the journey, they began to become friends. From Astam, they moved onto the poor section of Gearford. There they struggled to find a place to sleep and had even more difficulty finding work. The two decided to split up and hope for more luck on their own.

     One day, Phinneus found himself in a game of cards, already out of money and betting his freedom. His life was bet against a ship that was down at the docks. In a stroke of luck, Phinneus won. He went to collect his winnings and found that there was indeed a ship of fairly decent size. The only problem was that half of the hull was missing, there were no sails and the masts were broken. The ship was going to take substantial funds to repair, not to mention help. But Phinneus had a plan.

     To raise money, Phinneus used his knowledge to build water condensers and used what little he had won to begin building them. He also spent a lot of effort to avoid the police, as the condensers were now illegal. This caused him to become rather wealthy, and he sent word to Boric inviting him to lend a hand. Boric was only too happy to lend help his friend out. As he was raised Yeti, he was taught how to sail ships.

     Phinneus and Boric spent the next two years years working on the ship. It was, however, no ordinary ship. It could sail on the water, but it could also sail over it, through the air. This was kept a great secret. The ship could harness the power of storms and lightning and lift off of the water. During the following year, Phinneus and Boric gathered a crew of demons and outcasts to begin sailing the air and causing problems for the government.

That’s how Phinneus raised a ship to the sky, beginning a life aloft that would put his as de facto king of the sky.