|The Grey Tower
|Earth/Spirit, Fire, Air/Water
Phineas is a big, muscled man – the direct result of his apprenticeship under Kemryn Forbes, a blacksmith. He stands at about an average height. He is blonde with blue eyes like the rest of his family. His eyes sit below a prominent brow, split down the middle by a strong, sharp nose. His strongest feature is his chin, which gives him a chiseled look. Coupled with his musculature, he has the appearance of being sculpted from stone. Most of Phineas’s clothing is tan and brown, singed with long work in the forges. His shoes are worn from travel. Phineas keeps his hair short so that it spikes up naturally. When meeting new people, he can be somewhat shy, not liking attention. However, the friends that Phineas has had have said he was a good listener, showing empathy when necessary. All in all, he's not one to strike up a conversation with a stranger, but he's not rude either. If someone asks him a question or starts conversing with him, he's not going to ignore them, either. If he lets someone in, they'd see that he's not the man of stone that his body might suggest. In fact, he's more of a soft, cuddly teddy bear with those he holds dear. There's a lot of love buried deep inside of him, and he's only waiting for the right person to pull it out of him. Layers of hurt, neglect, and pain are what keep that love from seeing the light of day which needs some serious coaxing before truly being uncovered.
Phineas was born to Torman Rubinia, the thatcher of a small village northwest of Caemlyn in the rural countryside of Andor. Torman and his wife Marlaine lived in a small one-story house with their family. Before Phineas, Marlaine gave birth to Marian, Phineas’s sister. Marian was about the age of three when Phineas was born and didn’t take too kindly to his stealing her attention. Therefore, the two siblings didn’t get along very well for the first couple of years of Phineas’s life. Torman and Marlaine did their best to mitigate the tension between their two children, but there really wasn’t much that they could do. It wasn’t until Phineas reached the age of five, making Marian almost eight, when the two began really to appreciate each other.
This change of their dynamic resulted from Phineas’s lack of ability to defend himself. He had been in the village square playing with a small wooden ball that his parents had given him for his fifth birthday. It was nothing special to look at, but for Phineas, it was the first gift that he could actually remember. As he played in the square, some of the older boys – apprentices to a local blacksmith – decided that they wanted Phineas’s ball for their own enjoyment. When he refused to give it to them, the apprentices decided to take the ball by force and give Phineas a solid beating to teach him a lesson. Marian walked into the square just as Phineas was being dragged off into an alley. The boys began to beat Phineas, and Marian arrived at the entryway of the alley after Phineas had suffered from several strong punches. For some reason, Marian felt enraged because of these boys’ treatment of her younger brother. No one bothered him but her, and screaming like a banshee, she rushed the boys, knocking them to the floor. Her scream attracted some more of the villagers, and the whole situation ended with the two siblings being closer – Marian joyfully taking the role as protector – and the apprentices bent over for their anvils, doing chores until their muscles ached.
Years passed and at the age of eight, Phineas and the boys in his village were rounded up to be sorted for apprenticeship. Different workers from the surrounding villages who needed a new apprentice could come and find a lad that they felt would do well in their trade. As Phineas grew, he had always had a stocky set. He had been slightly heavier than the average boy his age, but as he slowly reached puberty, his body fat percentage began to wane and his muscles grew in their wake. He was still pudgy, but Phineas showed promise of becoming a strong man, tall and powerful – even if he didn’t have the attitude to go with it. A blacksmith from a town about a day’s walk away from Phineas’s hometown came to the town in search of a new apprentice. He had no idea about Phineas’s demeanor or nature, so when he saw the stock of his build, immediately he decided he would take the boy as his apprentice. Torman agreed to allow Phineas to apprentice with the blacksmith because he knew his son was not meant to be a thatcher. And so, at the age of eight, Phineas left his family and the few friends that he did have to become the apprentice of a blacksmith.
Of course, Phineas wasn’t the only apprentice the blacksmith Kemryn Forbes employed at that time. Forbes had two other apprentices, an eighteen-year-old named Ossian and a nine-year-old named Cymon. Cymon and Phineas became really close friends during the years they spent together in Forbes’s forges, especially since they were so close in age. Work in the forge treated Phineas well and as he reached a mature age, his body became that of a seasoned worker – muscled with the constant use of a blacksmith’s hammer. Also, as Phineas grew more mature, he began to realize something about himself. He found himself glimpsing hungrily at Cymon while he changed clothes in the room they shared above the forge. Those images played in Phineas’s head as he laid in bed at night. It wasn’t like a normal admiration of the physique that Cymon too had developed during his time at the forge. Phineas fantasized about his friend; he felt that he needed to be close to Cymon – intimate with him. But he didn’t think he could share that desire with him, wondering if Cymon would feel the same way. The two had spent several nights talking about the various young women in the village, and Phineas admitted that he did have his fair share of dreams about them. Still, Cymon was always at the forefront of his mind.
When the time had come for Cymon and Phineas to be released from their apprenticeship and sent to find work as journeymen, Phineas finally worked up the courage to talk to Cymon about the feelings he had been harboring for so long. Phineas worked hard to make sure the moment was right for his revelation. The night before their departure, Phineas pulled Cymon aside one night and took him up to their room. It was mostly packed, with a few items still out for use in the morning. Phineas did his best to look Cymon in the eye while sharing the truth with him, but he didn’t have the strength to do it. Where he could swing a blacksmith’s hammer all day long with both of his arms, Phineas didn’t have the emotional strength to hold himself together as he confessed to Cymon everything. He confessed his feelings for Cymon, the way he had thought about him at night, the dreams he had had of them together, and when he finished, Phineas looked up for his friend’s response, seeing tears forming in the eyes of his brother – his friend. Without a word, Cymon moved to Phineas side, hugging him, and planting a kiss on his cheek.
“I’ve always thought this was the case,” Cymon replied with a smile.
“I wanted to tell you for so long. I just didn’t know how,” Phineas replied, tears forming in his own eyes as well.
“Now, now,” Cymon said, wiping a tear from Phineas’s eyes, “there’s no need to cry. I love you, too, Phin. I have known so since that time when you came back from a night out with the mayor’s daughter. I was so jealous of her, wanted to fill her place, and that was when I knew.” Phineas smiled at his friend’s eyes looked into his, their lips finding each other’s. That night was the best Phineas had ever spent because he spent it in the arms of his lover. However, Phineas and Cymon’s love was not meant to last.
In the morning, it was Kemryn that found them together in the same bed. His indignation at the actions they had committed under his roof showed no bounds. Phineas and Cymon were forced to run for their lives, running from the town and leaving everything behind. Somehow, Phineas and Cymon were separated as they ran. The two friends never found each other again, a fact that haunted Phineas every night. He missed Cymon, missed the happiness they could have had together. Looking for Cymon had proved unfruitful, but that was all Phineas could occupy his mind with. It was in his search for Cymon that Phineas encountered the Asha’man. Rumors of the Dragon Reborn had found their way to Phineas’s village during his apprenticeship, but most people had discounted them as rumors. After all, so many false dragons had risen up in the past years, and the witches of Tar Valon took care of those situations. Still, the Asha’man intrigued Phineas, and he knew that it would intrigue Cymon, as well.
And so Phineas stood for the test, seeking the flame and void in response to the small flame that was suspended in midair before him. He could feel something inside him, feeling a power outside of his own, but it was only for a brief second. Even so, that was enough, since Phineas was taken to the Black Tower to be trained. After a few weeks at the Black Tower, Phineas heard of the Grey Tower. The stories of men and women working together drew him like a lodestone—awakening dreams in him of the Age of Legends and the great craftsmen of that time. And so, he left the Black in search of the Grey, hoping beyond hope that he might find a way to weave his craftsmanship and saidin together.
- Soldier (19 February 2016)
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