Akadia is the home of the Skyships, and the place where they were reborn. There, the House of Skye controls them, and strives to be as controlling as their competition on the ground. Going only from City to City where there is a Gantry – a tall, stone and wood building typically five stories high containing a lift, stairs, and limited amenities – the various Skyships that fly out from Akadia are a universe to themselves. The Skyships vary in size from small private craft, typically owned by the wealthy and nobility, to the vast monstrosities that are reportedly able to fend off the Dragons themselves, the size of what we would call football fields.
Skyships were used to devastating effect a thousand years ago, it has taken many centuries to recover the secrets that allowed them to return to the skies. Because that history is still well known, Skyships are not always trusted, and looked on with suspicion by most folks. It is rumored that there are pirates, but no one would confess to such, and the Gantries are well controlled, so even if there were, where would they dock?
They provide trade between Aztlan, Sibola, Durango, Lyonese, Qivira, and Dorado, but do not travel to Antilia.
Wizard candidates often share a common experience of having ridden in one of them. Sadly, they also often share the experience of those who failed the tests while traveling exiting them while in transit. The Wizards of Wyrlde are often not the folks people think of them, and while the Training is not particularly abusive, the being discovered and brought there can be and is often traumatic.
Skyships are often made of wood, particularly bamboo and light woods, creating a pair of hulls that are typically oval in shape, with smaller ones being about the size of a horse’s back, and larger ones scaling up from there. The two hulls tend to be wide at the front, and slightly canted to meet closer towards the back. From above, the whole thing tends to have a semi-triangular shape and is described when seeing them pass below like watching a giant manta ray pass through the sky. Very large Skyships will have a third hull, broader, also adding the capability of firing weapons through ports on the side, but especially in front, where an opening resembling a mouth can be found.
To either side of the hulls stretch the large, pointed wings, often fabric and wood, reinforced, almost gossamer in the right light. Each side has a single wing, and between the struts that support it is the strange material that gives the Skyships their ability to fly. Trailing off the wings, following the shape is additional light and thin fabric, like a lace trim, as the courtly women will giggle. Often the wings will have small, rectangular sails mounted at an angle off the edge to capture the wind. Take out a wing and you limit the skyship.
Long folding struts support a set of ski like braces on either side should the skyship have to land, although most skyships for passengers tend to prefer the Gantries, so that they do not release the magical material that allows them to fly, so landing is strictly an emergency measure. These struts are tucked up under the wings, to the side of the hulls.
Between the Hulls stretches the Deck. The deck is usually wrapped below, to give a smooth shape, in canvas and fabric, providing crew space and compartments between the hulls. The aft contains a large rudder, made of a sail itself, and beneath are two large propellers driven by the wind through complex workings.
In the center of the Deck there is a tall mast, v shaped, between which are hung sails that stretch both between and out from the v shaped mast. Smaller versions of the skyships will have a mast that is sometimes no taller than two people, and personal ones will have no mast at all. Fore and aft of the Mast of large Merchanters are the cargo spaces for the containers, as well as spaces beneath each hull.
Skyships generally travel at about 45 miles per hour. They are not fast, even though some have gotten up to as much as 90 miles per hour for short bursts, but they do not face the same dangers and risks for the most part that Sea and Land travel has following it.
Skyships come in five sizes:
The small and light creations used frequently by Arch Wizards and the wealthiest of nobility are Skyships that can seat a few, never more than five. Most are very personalized.
Cruisers are the purely passenger-based ones, that never carry more than a dozen passengers and perhaps a single Container. They often have armed guards who ride upon the deck whilst the passengers ride within the well-appointed cabins.
Merchanters are the workhorses, hauling freight and goods around at a speed that is competitive with the Train, albeit at a higher cost. Used most often for luxury goods. A general limit of about four Containers.
Akadia is sworn to always come to the defense of Sibola, though they do not necessarily respond to the defense of the Empire. War Skyships are bristling with not only terrifying weapons, but also entire contingents of Battlemages.