The Skies of Velaris
Skystone is a precious ore found in all of the Floating Isles. Renowned for its semi-magical properties, Skystone is able to float when it occurs in sufficient volumes. It is seams of Skystone running through the Floating Isles that causes them to hover over the Great Sea. Each island floats at an altitude proportional to the amount of Skystone composing its landmass. Thus, islands with the greatest concentration of Skystone tend to float higher than the others, and it is these islands which are commonly selected for Skystone mining operations. If an island is over-mined, however, it can begin to sink, as in the famous case of Kryx. To prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future, mining guilds have instituted stricter surveying and reporting protocols. These protocols are mostly symbolic, however, as the proportion of Skystone necessary to keep a given landmass aloft, as well as many of the ore’s other properties, are still poorly understood.
Skystone is the primary component in the Skystone drives used to keep airships aloft. Artificers refine and enrich quantities of raw ore to enhance their natural floating properties, allowing relatively small quantities of Skystone to power large airships. Skystone must form a circuit in order to function, so typical Skystone drives arrange the ore in a circular frame which spans the width of the ship in a central location in order to best distribute its lift potential. Alternative drive configurations have been attempted, but most are unreliable and prone to spontaneous malfunctions. Theories on the cause of this phenomenon vary, and no one has been able to explain it satisfactorily.
Various cultures have coined their own names for Skystone, a fact which can become quite confusing to travelers. Some of the more widespread nicknames are:
While Skystone is most often used in solid form, less stable forms are possible.
- Floatoleum: A toxic translucent, yellow-tinted liquid mixture, derived from skystone.
- Floatogen: A highly flammable gas that will burn in air at a very wide range of concentrations.