Welcome to Galeblazers
The days are getting shorter and the gales are getting colder.
A pillar of void-black stormclouds darkens the southern horizon, looming above the rime-encrusted crater of the Abyss. Beneath your feet, the land rumbles shakily atop a sea of clouds. If ever there were continents on Gahla's surface, you've never seen them. Only miles and miles of frothing seas, and the smoking scars of a shattered planet. Long ago, the Scream tore Gahla asunder, and ever since then, the hungering call of the abyss has drawn the ayrlands southwards. There at the farthest pole, a bottomless pit spins an eternal storm whose gales are felt throughout the skies. Now, up here, an inexorable current of ash-tainted wind pulls the ayrland a few degrees closer to the maelstrom every year. In a few decades, it will complete its final cycle. Then it, and everything on it, will finally sink into the black. That's if the ayrland doesn't freeze first, and come crashing into the sea to make fodder for Leviathans. The archvultures circling above know it. So do the Skywolves - that cartel of unscrupulous corsayrs who prey on the desperate pilgrims of the never-ending Northward March.
The Privilege of Permanence
Most Gahls live nomadic lives, desperately hopping from one small ayrland to the next. These rugged heaps of earth are kept aloft by a brittle under-crust of steamy coral reefs. Their scalding, hissing, huffing vents exhale the spent life force of the myriad ecosystems above, and propel them up above the clouds. Ayrlands are born in the mists to the north. Precariously they float, up and out of the colossal swampy jungle that encircles the planet below the Kalyptian Discs. Each ayrland depends on its Heartwood trees to organically engineer the marvelous alchemy that keeps it level and steady. In turn, the ecosystems that develop on the ayrles keep the Heartwood tree protected and nourished. The wealthy (and their attendants) make their homes in the Chainlands, where ayrles are tethered to an anchorspire. These are rare and coveted pillars of rock that stand tall and proud above the Saltsea. A massive meteorite-forged chain holds the ayrles fast against the pull of Gahla's ceaseless winds. But all things wither and erode in time, and not even the lushest ayrland, nor the strongest spire, can resist the force of the waves and winds forever. Most ayrlands don't last half a century before their tightening orbits finally bring them into the storm where all things end. Eventually, everything falls: the castles and the orphanages, the ports and the walls, the churches and the theaters, the prisons and the schools, the factories and the farms. It all goes drifting into to that icy chasm.
The Veilward March is eternal, for the Abyss swallows everything.
Even a gahl's memories.
The Prospero Consortium and the trade houses of the Guildersligue said more homes would materialize from that shimmering wall of mist to the north. They flew daring pioneers out to the edges of the Kalyptian jungle to tame and chart the virgin ayrlands. But when new lands emerged from the Veil, they were too small, and too weak to hold up all the trappings and burdens of an ever-growing nation. Nations and citizens turned upon each other as they jockeyed for dominion over the new territories. The industrialists got to most of them first, and soon they too began to sag under the weight. In the Chainlands, the Federation's ministers and assessors swore the tethers would hold for a few more years, and the repairs were delayed. The noble spirelords promised relief vessels would come and airlift the citizens to a new home, but passage came at far too high a cost for far too many. Even those that made it onto a northbound ship would be met with a bloody reception by the honorsworn soldiers of the Karathi Drakkengard. Speaking and fighting on behalf of the Dragons of the mists, the Drakkengard refused to let outsiders wander too far north, so as not to desecrate the lands of their reptilian masters. As things got bleaker, the folk prayed that the Sayr'Rahan scrivener-monks would descend from the the Loftwinds to bring mercy and salvation, but when the White Wings finally arrived, there just weren't enough. Not enough food. Not enough ships. And never enough time.
They said there would be a plan...
Choices had to be made.
Still, there is always hope.
Even at the rim of the Abyss, people sing and dance, and build, and plan. The Widow's Guild cares for the orphans of Gahla's fallen nations as children play hide-and-seek in the graves of civilizations. The Veteran's Union keeps people fed and drives back the ghasts that rise up from the deepshards, while the dauntless Mor'Rahan kiterayders patrol the coast on the lookout for deepsea leviathans. The Bannerless King plots revenge against the Federation, while the Crooked Queen oversees the salvage yards in the outlaw city of Brokenbow, where the Roseblade Syndicate lashes together skyrafts from the passing debris. And among the driftwood and the dregs, new heroes rise from the ashes.
Wild-eyed ayronauts and skyfarers begin to ask questions.
"Why were we the ones left behind?"
"Whence comes the Abyss?"
"What lies beyond that misty Veil?"
A ship is leaving soon...
There’s room aboard for a few more brave travelers, if you aren’t afraid of a little danger. But the trip back to the Clearsky won't be easy. Neither will running the Federation's blockade, or finding a place to call home after you do. The spirelords manage their duchies with meticulous rigor, and take only those who are willing to work at their pleasure. And as far as the law-abiding citizens of the Clear are concerned, why should they have to make room?
Maybe there's a good reason you were left adrift.
Can you even prove you're who you say you are? Where is your Mintmark? Why do you arrive in a clean city, clad in dirty rags, stinking of ash, begging for a handout, not knowing the customs? Aren't you just another deadweight? Another sinker? Another lazy mouth to feed?
Will you let fear and prejudice dictate your fate? Or will you blaze your own trail, and find a better way to survive on this broken world? Freedom awaits, somewhere beyond the horizon. Beyond the chains that hold the Federation together there’s an open sky waiting to be tamed. If you want to make it out, you'll have to be clever, bold, and relentless. You'll need to be ready to get knocked down, quick to get back up, and quicker to strike back.