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Welcome to Galeblazers

The days are getting shorter.
And the gales are getting colder.

In the distance, a void-black cyclone tears at the clouds of the southern horizon. Tormunthrask rages endlessly above the rime-encrusted crater of the Abyss. You aren't close enough to feel its acrid fury yet, thank the Witnesses. But neither have you ever relished the sunrise untainted by the tempest's ashen tinge. And every day it seems to loom just a little bit larger.   Here beneath your feet, the land hums and rumbles along, drifting atop a sea of clouds stretching out beyond your sight. You have heard of continents far below, but only in the history books. There now are only leagues and leagues of frothing ocean, raked here and there by the tectonic scars of a sundered planet.   You've heard stories that in eons past the Scream tore Gahla apart. The Galesingers say the gods died long ago, and only the Witnesses remain to whisper of their former glory. The world drowned in a great flood, and fell silent for centuries under a blanket of ash. The stragglers took refuge on sea vessels and fought over precious rare footholds on the tallest peaks of the crater pocked continent Thambria. No other lands remained, at least on this side of the Veil. That was until the Heartwood trees took flight, and brought ayrlands with them above the Cloudsea. Basking in the sacred radience of a merciful sun, nourished by rejuvenating sprays of lumenous clouds, life flourished once again.   But the storm above the Abyss never stopped turning. Tormunthrask's hungering vengeful call - an inexorable current of ash-black wind - draws the ayrlands a few hundred miles closer to the maelstrom every year. Flying lower and lower, they swirl around the meridians like the hands of a clock, each at their own inscrutable pace. Then, at the end of their lifespans, the ayrles, and everything on them, finally sink into the void. That's if they don't freeze first, and crash down into the sea to become food for the Leviathans. Every year, ayrlands are lost to weather, to collisions, to plague or war or rampant extraction. Most take their secrets with them. Yet every year new ones arise from the northern mists.

by August Albrecht Schenck (PD)


The Privilege of Permanence

Ayrlands are born in the mists to the north. Drunkenly they float, up and out of the colossal swampy jungle that encircles the planet just below the shimmering Kalyptian rings. Trembling and precarious at first, these rugged heaps of earth are kept aloft by a brittle under-crust of steamy skycoral reefs. Their scalding, hissing, huffing vents exhale the spent life force of the myriad ecosystems above, and propel them up beyond the clouds. Each ayrland depends on its sapient Heartwood trees to orchestrate the marvelous symphony of bio-alchemical processes that keep it level and steady on course. In turn, the ecosystems that develop on the ayrles keep the Heartwood tree protected and nourished. Any fool or villain who threatens the Heartwood trees will soon find an ayrland's inhabitants turned against them. Not that it stops folk from trying. The Brillesap is just too valuable not to.  

  Most Gahls live nomadic lives, desperately hopping from one small ayrland to the next. The wealthy and their attendants make their homes in the Chainlands, where ayrles get 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 relentless assault of the elements for long.   Gahla is dying, and so is humanity. The archvultures circling above know it. So do the Skywolves - that cartel of unscrupulous corsayrs who prey on the desperate Pilgrims of the Northward March. Monarchs and ministers all speak of grand plans, but all fall short of meeting the severity of the crisis. Tormunthrask seems to be getting stronger. These days, most ayrlands don't last half a century before their tightening orbits finally bring them into the storm where all things end.

Tenebral Ayrland.png

by Dino Romero

  The Prospero Consortium and the trade houses of the Guildersligue predicted that more homes would materialize from the northern mists. But as ecologists eventually discovered, new ayrlands take centuries to form and the size of the harvest varies every cycle. So they flew daring pioneers out to the edges of the Karthinian wilds to tame and chart the virgin ayrlands, and to tow them out from the giant mangrove swamps, up into the clearsky. These extraction expeditions ignited the anger of the ancient Kalyptian dragons, and soon all-out war raged across the skies of the Old World. So much blood was spilled, and so much demonic alchemy brought to bear in the conflict that the Leviathans of the Deepsea grew into colossal mutated beasts. The victory over the dragons was costly, but worse, it was nearly fruitless. In the end, the ayrlands that were pulled from the mists would eventually prove to be too small and too weak to hold up all the trappings and burdens of the world's nations. Rulers and citizens turned upon each other as they jockeyed for dominion over the new territories. The industrialists got to most of them first, of course, and soon the new ayrles began to sag under the weight of silver and iron.   In the Chainlands, the Federation's ministers and assessors swore the tethers would hold for a few more years. The repairs were delayed, again and again, for a hundred reasons. The noble crownlords of Thambria 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. Those that did make it onto a northbound ship would be slaughtered or enslaved by the honorsworn wyvern riders of the Karathi Drakkengard. Speaking and fighting on behalf of the Dragons of Kalyptia, the Gard refused to let outsiders enter the sacred jungles. These southerners already had dragon's blood on their hands, and now they dared to venture north and settle in the domain of the living gods? The prospect was simply intolerable.   As things got bleaker, folk wrote prayers, and sent them floating upwards on candle-lanterns to the Sayr'Rahan scrivener-monks. The highfolk did eventually break from their trances, and descend from the Loftwinds to bring supplies and salvation. But even when the fearless Whitewing Sentinels finally arrived, there just weren't enough. Not enough food. Not enough birds or balloons or baskets. And never, never enough time. Choices had to be made. Families were separated. People got left behind. Most lie drowned at the bottom of the sea, or deep beneath the ice of Fryggidios, where the Deepshards echo with the howls of tortured hungry ghosts - the Chorus of Tormunthrask.

by Harry Clarke (PD)


Still, there is always hope.

Even at the rim of the Abyss, people laugh 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 and glider aces 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. Under their command, 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 pilgirms begin to ask questions.

"Why were we the ones left behind?"
"Whence comes the Abyss?"
"What lies beyond that misty Veil?"

by Caspar David Friedrich (PD)


A ship is arriving soon...

...and so is another Furia. The Abyss thrums with energy, and it will soon let out another ear-shattering scream, and the tempest shall howl and gyre in respnse, devouring the sky itself. And those caught in the way of the ghostly winds will be marked with the scars of the Wickening Curse.   You have to leave. Fortunately, there’s room aboard for a few more brave travelers, but the trip back to the Clearsky won't be easy. Neither will out 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 the select few who are able and willing to work at their pleasure. And as far as the law-abiding citizens of the Chainlands are concerned, why should they have to make room? After all, everyone knows that once you've been corrupted by the necrotic influence of Tormunthrask, it's only a matter of time before your demons are unleashed.


by Leon Benett (PD)

Maybe there's a good reason you were left adrift. Maybe you're already marked. Can you even prove you're who you say you are? 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 discover the truth behind Gahla's ruthless architecture? After all, with everyone trapped between a hole and a wall, how could it not be a prison, right?
Freedom surely awaits, somewhere beyond the horizon. You know it in your heart. Beyond the blockade, and beyond chains that hold the Federation together there is an open sky waiting to be explored, and a frontier to be defied. 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.

And most importantly, you'll need allies.
Friends that you can trust to catch you when you fall.


On the Storm

by Ivan Aivazovsky (PD)


Explore The World of Gahla

Gahla - Horizons and Spheres

Cover image: by Frederic Edwin Church (PD)


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