Yùzhào Vehicle in Totania | World Anvil
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Yùzhào was the first Hot Airship to be built, and has since been the flagship of Vreslo advertising campaigns.  


Built by Schmeelon Cunkuck and his partner Wileon Nimblemane in 500, Yùzhào was a passion project. It began with Schmeelon dreaming of soaring the skies, rather than traveling in wagons or on horseback. He asked Wileon if he thought it was possible to fly from one mountain to another, and Wileon said the only way to find out was to test it.
Schmeelon Cunkuck by andreaspsillos4
  For days, they slaved away to build it with their own knowledge of magic and machinery. The first test was a pure hot air balloon with fire magic, borrowing a Dwarven friend who could use fire magic.   This ship, dubbed "The Sun" crashed in the valley between the mountains and the Dwarven pilot perished in the crash. However, this only fueled Schmeelon's imagination and ambition.  


Schmeelon realized that in this important leap forward, there was only one person he could trust: Himself. So Schmeelon tweaked the design of the balloon to accommodate lightning rather than fire.    As Schmeelon powered it with his own lightning, Wileon kept the Yùzhào from falling with his wind magic. Somehow, despite the turbulent flight, the two men (though Schmeelon took most of the credit) truly achieved flight.   As they flew from Landheim to the adjacent mountain, Schmeelon gave the ship its name:
"With this ship, we've attained the power of a God. So let us name it as such... this shall be the Yùzhào. With it, let us make every other form of transportation obsolete!"
— Schmeelon Cunkuck

Name Roots

Yùzhào originates from the name of the weapon of choice for the God . It is a spear used to channel lightning. In the tongue it comes from, that of the Jihdi Humans from the East, it means "Omen."   This has various meanings. According to myth, Kord originally named it that because of his nonviolent nature. As the God of Battle, he tried to avoid violence as much as possible. However, if he ever stepped on a field against another God, a battle was over. This was heralded when people would see his spear Yùzhào raised above the army, calling down a lightning strike to charge it. This gesture was seen as the greatest omen on a battlefield.

Hot Airship

A Hot Airship was a form of transportation created by Schmeelon Cunkuck. It was the first flying form of mass transportation in Totania, though it prioritizes luxury travel over carrying capacity.  

The Passenger Section

Hot Airships consist of a boat-like structure on the bottom, where the passengers and crew stay. The passengers are given four areas to choose from: a lounge, a bathroom, a dining hall, and a hallway that branches into bedrooms for tired passengers or couples. At the center of the ship is a raised platform where the crew shoots lightning up into the balloon to power the ship.

The crew normally consists of at least two lightning mages to power the ship, as well as a healing mage to act as an onboard nurse and a wind mage to control any turbulent winds that the ship may come across. Other additions included chefs and janitors, though these were not always present, or in other cases some roles were combined.  

The Balloon

At the top of a Hot Airship is a balloon which holds the airship up. The balloon has three holes, one at the bottom where the lightning is shot into and two at the back. The ones at the back are used to expel the lightning shot into the balloon.

Once the lightning is expelled from the balloon, it shoots out behind the ship. In doing so, it gives an extra push to the Hot Airship, helping it go at incredible speeds with little more than magic.
Many Jihdi warriors forged their own spears to mimic this, and it became a custom for Generals to do so and raise the spear when they entered a battle.
Leigong wielding Yùzhào by Jarhed
  Schmeelon played off of this concept, saying that the arrival of his ship, the Yùzhào, would be an omen to other vehicle manufacturers that the end of their business was near. Not to mention... it was a cool lightning weapon with a cool name, so that played into the reason for the name as well.

Famous Voyage

What truly made the Yùzhào stand out, though, was its famous voyage. In 518, the second year Magic College student Schmeelon Cunkuck offered to take his class in the Yùzhào on a trip around the world.   Some of them declined, like Wileon Nimblemane, saying it was too risky to travel that far in a Hot Airship, especially the original. Others simply ignored his offer.   In the end, Schmeelon took only some members of his class. The future Draconian Village Chief Ikkul Ravofarn, Kicad Bavul, Tarthekar Padorim, and Otikul Nurdesh joined the voyage with Schmeelon and three Human classmates: Olifla Darelor, Jehlur Daka, and the future Court Wizard Timar Forestarm. Schmeelon believed eight was plenty for the trip.     This did not prove true, as the journey was far more dangerous than they expected. Even with so many people who would eventually go on to become major world figures, the ship was attacked constantly by pirates, criminals, and actual militaries.   While the students on board were capable of dealing with the problems themselves, Schmeelon insisted they fight back as little as possible. The trip itself was stressful enough, he wanted nothing to do with any legal trouble from interfering with foreign militaries. The World Court already kept trying to get into contact with him, he didn't want to be on their radar as a war criminal.  

Fantastic Craftsmanship

So the students stayed on the ship for most of the ride. They did end up interfering in a fight between some Orc clans, as well as some other minor skirmishes, but for the most part they stayed onboard.   The ship was only knocked out of the air twice in the entire year-long voyage, to which it was promptly repaired by Schmeelon both times. This was seen as a great show of durability for the ship which many had worried would fall if they got on it. For this, Vreslo's name became rather well known for making strong vehicles.
Hot Airship by Yumedatchi
  Schmeelon however took a different lesson from this. The trip had been incredibly stressful for his classmates, and a lot of tension had sprung out among them on not having a place for them to really relax other than in their cabins. So Schmeelon repurposed the entire deck of the ship, changing cabins into smaller, but more comfortable, bedrooms. He outfitted the bathrooms with the latest technology from the Halflings, added a lounge with comfortable seating and a fireplace, and even added a cafeteria.   Mostly, Schmeelon just wanted to change the purpose of the ship. It was no longer just a transport vessel, the name had already been put out as exemplary in that field. If he could make it a luxury transport, it would appeal to higher bidders and be something he would also want to ride when he could. So the Yùzhào became the first luxury transportation in Totania, and was the blueprint for all future Hot Airships.   This idea to focus on profits rather than people was further suggested by Schmeelon's investor, a Devil named Ambition, responsible for the Pencil-Pushing Pups  


The rooms of the Yuzhao, and in turn most Hot Airships, consists of a few main rooms. The main room is the lounge, a room of velvet floors and comfortable seating consisting of couches and loveseats.   Next to the lounge is the cafeteria, where staff prepare food for the passengers and, when allowed, themselves. They are not often allowed food.  
Hot Airship Balloon by Yumedatchi
The bathrooms of the Yuzhao are not very special, the main draw to them is the janitors assigned to each one to keep them constantly clean. The janitors are not allowed to leave the bathrooms for the entirety of the trip so that they may clean at all times.   Finally, for passengers, there is a hallway at the front end of the ship. This hallway has, on either side, many suites for passengers to sleep in if they so desire to.  

The Working Parts

Then, there come the places that keep the ship running. Chief among them is the Power Room, a deck at the center of the ship where the mages that power the ship sit. It is not a very glamorous room, mostly consisting of uncomfortable chairs that conduct more electricity (so that more lightning is produced to power the ship. A funnel sits at the top of this room, where lightning is shot through.   Then, the lightning gets into the balloon. To prevent it from hitting into the sides of the balloon, the funnel is shaped in a way to keep it going on the path it is intended to go. However, as the lightning is quite hot, it heats the air inside of the balloon, expanding it and allowing the balloon to float.   After the lightning enters the balloon and expands the air, it goes out its designated path. Two small holes at the back of the balloon which expel the lightning and, in doing so, propel the ship forward with the force of the lightning.   The front of the ship also happens to have lightning rods, with one at the front and three at the back. A metal liner extends from the front to the back, and the intention is for lightning to strike the front and go to the back, where it is then expelled by the back rods to once again propel the ship.   All of this lightning power keeps the ship moving at a rather quick speed, again making it much faster than other forms of transportation.

Cover image: by https://pixabay.com/users/blende12-201217/


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Sep 28, 2021 20:11

wait, the staff aren't often allowed food.... coming from a navy background, the only people engineering made sure were happy were the cooks. everyone wants a happy cook. I demand they let the cooks eat. :)   Great well thought out article. good job overall.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Oct 2, 2021 19:11 by Jared

Human (or I guess in this case Dwarven) rights groups are definitely always on Schmeelon trying to get him to change his policies, but it's a bit difficult to make any legislation on the matter since this is the only airship company really. Thanks a lot for the comment!

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