Airship

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"Airship" is the generic term for the flying vessels of Elanthia. They are predominantly Elven, but other races are known to construct them, most notably the gnomes.

List of Airships

History

Veniom was first discovered by The Rooted Earth society of House Illistim, a group of mages who specialized in the study of elemental earth magic. Impure veniom ore has weight lightening properties, and early levitation effects were exploited with purified forms of the metal, such as the capelet of "The Child Argent" Lahrair Illistim. It was not until the Loremaster Alerreth Nellereune Illistim invented a process for highly refining the metal that it was possible to suspend vast loads of cargo with veniom plating. In subsequent centuries, these "airships" became the dominant mode of heavy cargo transport, being far more cost effective or safer than teleportation and gate magics.

Alerreth highly purified the veniom ore, "combining the lighter-than-air metal with charged energies" to make it suitable for airship construction, according to Museum Alerreth in Ta'Illistim. There were "particular magics" involved in transforming the "lighter-than-air" property into sufficient buoyancy for large vessels. Early Illistim airships resembled traditional sea vessels, with captain's wheels, sails, and figureheads, such as one of Caladsal Illistim who was Argent Mirror when House Ashrim was destroyed. Though common by now, it is a relatively new technology, by Elven standards.

Caladsal was a descendant of Alerreth, and a patron of the airship industry. He was not only the inventor of veniom enrichment, but also the fundamentals of airship technology itself. "The Silver Feather" was commissioned by him as the first multi-passenger airship, which he piloted within feet of the domes of Ta'Illistim Keep to demonstrate its precision. The old airship depot was later renovated and converted into the museum named after him.

Alerreth invented the first steerage globe, which is used to harness the powers of veniom to control navigation. While direction could be influenced by sails and wind, for example, it would still be necessary to control levitation and navigate in three dimensions. Steerage globes use sealed alchemical gasses, which transmit energy through crystal shards. Modern steerage involves binding with the captain, piloted largely by thought alone, without the need of overt magic. However, these techniques are guarded secrets of the Artificers, the branch of the Illistim state charged with regulating and operating the airship fleet. They will only train pilots for exorbitant fees or a long period of contractual service.

There are airships in the service of other Elven city-states, notably Houses Loenthra and Nalfein, which were traditionally sea ports with a powerful merchant class. Merchant ships were known to cross the DragonSpine to western Elanith prior to the formal opening of trade relations with the Elven Nations. There were also airships used in the Second Nalfein-Turamzzyrian War, when the "Leaf On the Wind" was wrecked, revealing Irinara Illistim's secret aid of Nalfein refugees and soldier transport. Another Nalfein airship was used by exiles in 5114 Modern Era under the command of Nysina, in league with Elithain Cross, to assassinate Earl Berniah Kestrel of Chastonia whose younger brother was the Royal Magister. The plans for constructing Elven airships were used, and replicated, so that the forces under Althedeus were able to construct their own fleet from hidden bases in the mountains. They were used to drop urnon golems, and were shot down with pylons.

Private airships are not uncommon, at least for those wealthy enough to afford them. They can only be operated by a trained pilot, and the Elves regulate who is allowed to fly in their airspace. However, there is no such thing as a purely "privately" owned airship, at least for House Illistim. These ships may be "examined" at any time by the Argent Mirror, and so all of them must carry a removable throne. The Nalfein may well regard the assassin airship as stolen property.

Museum Alerreth

Museum Alerreth was originally built as a depot to bring airship travel within the city of Ta'Illistim itself. It was the first construction project of Argent Mirror Caladsal Illistim, a descendant of Alerreth Nellereune, who was a patron of the nascent industry in general. She wished to improve sky access to the average Illistim, essentially a mode of public transport. Unfortunately, the Sea Elf War wrecked the original intent, making it a security threat. The infrastructure of the airship industry moved out of the city, and never returned, even after the threat of war settled down. Though some reports say the depot was commissioned in -1,562 Modern Era (47,545 Illistim), this date is wrong, off by almost exactly two thousand years.

The depot was re-purposed several times through its history. It was once a music hall, an indoor market place, and even a hospital for wounded soldiers under the policies of Irinara. It was most recently a secondary storage facility for the Library Aies, but was closed for several hundred years and fell into disrepair. The Illistim abhor an eyesore, whatever their historical conceits. Concerns of "structurally unsound" were raised, which led in turn to a demolition order.

The Trustees of the Library Aies attempted to save the building as a work of historical preservation. The Argent Mirror Myasara was eventually convinced by their arguments, and so ordered a major renovation project in 5,110 Modern Era (54,217 Illistim), in conjunction with opening Ta'Illistim Green as a public space between major city landmarks. Part of this arrangement was severing the site from the auspices of Library Aies, making Museum Alerreth its own entity, with its own council of overseers on behalf of the state. The Overseers of the Museum Alerreth hold the museum in trust for the citizens of Ta'Illistim. Caylio Javilerre was particularly notable in these respects.

While the museum has a permanent collection of artifacts which were donated by various prominent families of the royal court, there are also temporary exhibits on the top floor which come on loan from other institutions. The Hanesyddol Museum of Ta'Loenthra was most recently exhibited a showcase entitled: "Glyptics, Seals and Intaglios: Selections from the Hanesyddol Museum of Ta'Loenthra." It contains a wide range of symbolic artifacts, ranging from ancient Vylem relics of Eorgina worship, to a signet ring of the Faendryl Patriarch Unsenis Ignaas that was made prior to the Battle of Maelshyve. The museum covers Elven history in general, not only Illistim or airship history.

Museum Artifacts

The museum entrance is dominated by a giant verdigris medallion hanging over the promenade, which houses an enormous horologe within the lozenge. It hangs against the enormous glass wall of the building, which gives a wide view of the city Ta'Illistim. While the ceiling would have originally been open for airship purposes, this has been replaced with glass panels, which are small and rectangular to give the sky a mosaic quality of being built from compositional elements.

Airship Models

The Ilyan Cloud

>look at model (veniom-gilded airship model)
The exterior of the model ship is gilded with paper-thin sheets of veniom, illustrating the plating found on the real vessel's hull. Her masts are straight and her sails unfurled and permanently filled with wind. Next to the ship is a small plaque.

>read model
In the Common language, it reads:
The Ilyan Cloud, an airship of Loenthran origin, owes many of its design elements to earlier airships of Illistim design. The large masts, multi-part sails and wide decks are still common on Loenthran airships, though those elements fell out of favor with modern Illistimi shipwrights, who prefer a more streamlined vessel.

The Foehn's Promise

>look miniature (brass-trimmed airship miniature)
The model ship is shown in cutaway, exposing her many interior rooms and chambers. Each is rendered in tiny detail, down to miniature signs and wares. Next to the ship is a small plaque.

>read miniature
In the Common language, it reads:
The Foehn's Promise, though elven in origin, bears many stylistic debts to the airships of the Turamzyrrian Empire. The use of dark woods and brass, as well as the channeled system of interior chambers, is human in derivation.

The Coruscated Pearl

>look replica (pearlescent airship replica)
The small vessel is shaped like a teardrop. Her wide gallery, at stern, is glassed with iridescent panes and her hull entirely clad in white veniom. The figurehead at her prow is a shield bearing the peacock and scroll of House Illistim, rendered entirely in pearl and ivory. Next to the ship is a small plaque.

>read replica
In the Common language, it reads:
The Coruscated Pearl is a personal-class vessel, commissioned by Argent Mirror Myasara. Designed to house the Argent and a small coterie of court members and advisors, the Pearl can serve as both a quiet refuge and a mobile version of the Argentate, if necessary.

Miscere'Golab Heroes Tribute

>look sculpture (miniature airship sculpture)
Its hull clad in scales of pale blue veniom, a tiny airship of carved grey marble perches upon roiling black clouds of carved jet. Numerous people, of many races, fill the ship's deck, led by a silver-haired elven man clad in white-edged grey robes. Each person holds a weapon and the defiant expression on each face hints of a violent encounter in the future. Next to the sculpture is a small plaque.

>read sculpture
In the Elven language, it reads:

In Memory of the Heroism of Those Who Defeated the Miscere'Golab
5103

Airship Equipment

Compass of the Leaf On the Wind

>look compass (oversized compass)
The compass is plated in silver. It stands atop three stubby feet, with a clear glass dome placed over the top of its carved face. The cardinal directions are marked out with elongated crystal points, one of which is blackened, burnt and cracked. Next to the device is a small plaque.

>read compass
In the Common language, it reads:
This compass was recovered from the wreckage of the Leaf On the Wind, a large passenger-class airship lost during the Second Nalfein-Turamzzyrian War. The ship was brought down by Turamzzyrian forces who suspected it of transporting enemy troops. The captain of the Leaf offered Turamzzyrian soldiers entry to search the ship, but failed to disclose all of his cargo, which included several compartments of refugees. The refugees were discovered, the crew was executed and the captain taken prisoner.

Steerage Globe

>look globe (glass steerage globe)
The glass bubble has a clear exterior shell, through which is visible its roiling interior of bluish gas. Small protrusions of crystal pierce the sphere, forming a random pattern. Next to the object is a small plaque.

>read globe
In the Common language, it reads:
Early steerage globes, originally designed by Alerreth Nellereune and his workshop, were beautiful devices, but limited. This example, from a later period, is a refinement of Alerreth's concepts. The globe is filled with a mixture of alchemical gasses and sealed. The crystalline shards that pierce the sphere transmit energy between the interior gasses and the hand of the pilot, allowing for navigation. Modern steerage globes take the process a step further, bonding a sphere to a primary user.

Behind the Scenes

The concept of veniom skyships dates back to the early I.C.E. Age, where "xenium" was bluish-silver alloy that nullified the force of gravity irrespective of mechanical load. It was supposedly a mixture of titanium, arinyark ("ahnver"), and "other, more dangerous materials." However, veniom is not an alloy, but a purified metal. In the Shadow World setting it was primarily used for the undersides of airships, with the exception of Eidolon, which was a whole city in Emer that levitated above the ground. (What became the Ilyan Cloud was originally intended to be a skyship that would fly to Eidolon.) They were by far the fastest mode of transport, other than teleportation or portals, able to fly in excess of 80 miles per hour. However, there was also the dragon skyship of Melgorehn, which was mechanical.

In the older concept of skyships, there were inherent risks, which are no longer mentioned. The "flows of essence" used to be more prominently related to weather effects, most notably in the form of Flow storms, but also for interacting with the jet stream, magnetosphere, and forming impenetrable "essence barriers" similar to the ones in the Voln monastery. Stronger essence flows supposedly played havoc with the anti-gravity properties of xenium, which could lead to severe turbulence, or even a complete levitation failure. It was imperative that skyship navigators avoid these flows, rendering some lands virtually inaccessible by this method. The Navigators were their chief rivals, or overpriced consultants. Teras Isle was discovered by hot air balloon, which was originally supposed to be an airship crash.

See Also