Thursday, July 10, 2014

On a Sail and a Prayer (Part Two)

As I pointed out earlier, there are many more skyship designs than the six presented in the previous article. Today I’d like to focus on a Calidaran concept—at least its “alpha” version.  A “beta” will be needed eventually, and you’ll discover why in a moment.  This skyship is not intended to appear in the upcoming book release.

Calidar Bruce Heard Skyship

I present you the Spirit of Osriel. It is the result of an association between a human trader of Lorical and a dwarven engineer who’d emigrated to the merchant republic a few decades ago. Her Grace Felìcita Calitani, a prominent figure at the capital city, sought a vessel relying on winds as its main propulsion, but with a secondary device ensuring safe travel during adverse conditions.  Thus was born the Spirit of Osriel, a steam-powered paddle wheel boat fitted with masts and an enchanted hull to make it airworthy.  Its design flaws soon came to light, the first being the amount of space the dwarven-built engines required, along with their blackstone stores and water tanks.  Freight capacity was therefore reduced accordingly.  Regular supplies of blackstone proved expensive and unpredictable.  With few sails, it couldn’t go as fast as dedicated sailing skyships.  Yet the idea remained attractive.  None of Felìcita’s competitors owned such a vessel, and the ability to reach a destination slowly but safely despite the Great Caldera’s fitful weather became an advantage to her and clients wishing to hire the vessel.  Sails luffing amid the clouds, masts creaking and groaning, funnels spouting sooty billows, and engines thumping faithfully below deck, the Spirit of Osriel specialized in carrying passengers as well as small but precious cargo.