Though road and sea transport are still vitally important in the world of Kelbonnar, transporting people and goods through the air has become increasingly popular thanks to the invention of the Firewing. Firewings are aircraft, whose flight is made possible through the use of Elemental Cores to power them and they have been used widely by the Empire of Turelion in both military and civilian capacities. The military use of the first Firewings during the conquests of Machestaro I provided Turelion with one of their edges against their adversaries, allowing them to drop troops in areas quickly, whilst avoiding natural or constructed obstacles. Firewings do, however have their drawbacks. Their reliance on Elemental Core technology means that all craft have limited range before they must land to allow their cores to recharge, or have access to a base where they can swap out expended cores. This means that Firewing routes have numerous ports along their length, so that all classes of craft can land without having to push to their maximum range. All Firewings, as well as the cores that power them are expensive to buy, build and maintain, which restricts who has access to them quite dramatically. Whilst military use is funded by the Emperor regardless of the cost, civilian craft tend to only be owned or used by the wealthiest citizens, whereas merchant class craft will tend to focus on shipping high value cargo, whose cost will outweigh the expense of the journey and still turn a hefty profit.
Fire Wing ClassesThere are four standard types of Firewing that are used and produced in Kelbonnar, all of which have different models within their class bracket: Civilian Class Firewings- Are predominantly small, lightly armoured but highly comfortable craft designed for the transportation of private passengers. They are owned and operated either by individuals (at great personal expense) or by companies which provide a passenger service for a hefty price. The smallest available model is a one seater Swift, designed as a pleasure craft, whilst the largest is the large, slow, but sumptuously fitted Peacock model, which is either used as a passenger transport, or as the Firewing equivalent of a yacht. The Emperor maintains a custom Peacock Model Firewing as a pleasure craft. Merchant Class Firewings- Range in size from small craft meant to transport a small cargo of high value goods or post, to flying hulks used to ferry far larger quantities of cargo. The smallest model of Merchant Class Firewing is the Stork, a one person craft that is generally used to deliver high value messages and post, with the largest being the Roc class, which is a bulk freighter. Military Class Firewings- Like Merchant Class Firewings, military class craft range in size from the single seater Hawk, which is designed for scouting missions, to the Wyverns, heavily armed and armoured craft that are the equivalent of Man’O’War class ships in the Imperial and Provincial navies. Explorer Class Firewings- There is only one model of Explorer Class Firewings, the Albatross. It was designed to fly for far longer than any other model of Firewing and has been adapted with folding wings to allow deployment from ships, and even other Firewings, and has enhanced environmental survival systems to enable its crew to better bear out harsh conditions. Albatrosses are a vital form of transport between the Imperial Colonies on the Continent of Zastral.
All Firewings are powered through a combination of Elemental Cores, predominantly fire and air elemental cores. The size and model of the Firewing will determine how many cores it needs to get airborne, as well as stay in their air, but all Firewings have at least one fire core to give them thrust and one air core to give them lift.
Firewings are propelled primarily through the use of Fire Elemental Cores. They are used to provide directional thrust and all Firewings have a minimum of one fire core mounted on their tails, with larger craft having additional cores mounted on their wings. Air cores are also an integrated part of a Firewing’s propulsion mechanisms, they are used to provide lift beneath the wings and small air cores are often fitted all around larger craft, where they are used to provide balance.
Weapons & Armament
Civilian class Firewings are never fitted with armaments as standard, and in general the only weapons that are present on a military grade Firewing are the ones that their crew or passengers may bring aboard. Both Merchant and Explorer class Firewings will tend to have some limited armaments as standard. The most common weapons that are constructed as part of the fabric of these craft are small, swivelling ballista’s (the cheapest and most easily maintained option) and small Blackpowder Weapons such as swivel guns. Generally crew members on these craft will have some training in the use of either bows, crossbows or Blackpowder Weapons, and will be equipped accordingly. Military class fire wings are naturally the most heavily armed of all of the Firewing classes and are frequently armed with full size ballistae, carronades and cannons. Their compliments of crews will generally be trained (aside from their basic training) in specific tactics and combat scenarios relevant to fighting from the skies and Firewing to Firewing combat.
Armor and defense
The types of armour and defences that Firewings are equipped with very much depends on what model of craft is being discussed: Merchant class Firewings, such as Stork, Pelican and Roc class ships tend to be lightly armoured as they are geared to carrying cargo and any armour or hull reinforcement beyond the necessary to enable safe flight would eat into the weight limit for their cargo. Merchant class Firewings tend to have very limited protection against environmental dangers, principally cold and rain, other than what will keep their cargo safe and dry for exactly the same reason. This makes them incredibly uncomfortable to crew as only the cockpit will tend to be fitted to protect the crew from the elements. Military class Firewings, such as Hawk, Eagle and Wyvern class ships are by far the most heavily armoured, though the level of armour will depend on the role that a craft has been designed for. Hawks, as scouting craft tend to have the lightest armour, whilst Wyvern as the largest military class of Firewing are heavily armoured, though this does make them slow. Military class ships tend to be environmentally protected throughout their whole structure, so that their crews and any troops being transported within do not suffer in the cold and wet, which might affect their ability to fight or otherwise enact their duty. Civilian class Firewings, such as Swifts, Swallows and Peacock class vessels tend to have little or no armour, but have very high quality environmental protection so that their passengers are as comfortable as possible. The single model of Expedition Class Firewing, the Albatross is lightly armoured and has adequate enough environmental protection to keep their crew comfortable, whilst minimising any potential weight of the craft, thereby increasing potential flying time to the maximum.