From Lord DuJournal’s Notebook:
A sketch of the Aetherstrata:
The exploration of the Aetherstrata and its various components is a study but new to Natural Philosophy, the existence of such layers being unknown in antiquity. Keen observation by trained observers has so far divided the Deep Sky in to four main layers: The Gloom, the Galvanosphere, the Miasma, and the Aerosphere.
The Gloom is the deepest and most primordial of layers, being a region of dense clouds of vapors unknown to the inhabitants of the upper airs. Impenetrable to light and impossible to reach by any method yet devised, the Gloom remains a tantalizing mystery.
Directly above the Gloom and arising from it is the Galvanosphere, a region comprised almost entirely of undifferentiated Galvanic fluid. It is currently believed that the interaction of elemental vapors at the frontier between the Gloom and the Galvanosphere give rise to pockets of Pholgeston, most of which spontaneously ignite causing spectacular displays of lightning. Some tiny fraction of this Phlogeston, escapes, however, and percolates upward to provide fuel for many of the vital processes with which the reader will be borrow.
Above the Galvanosphere and contiguous with it, is the Miasma, a boiling sea of noxious vapors wholly poisonous to humankind. There several schools of thought as to the exact origin of this vapor none of which recommends itself over the others. The reader will, however, be borrow with the plaguewinds which are, from time to time, drawn up from the Miasma by unfavorable winds to cause pestilence on the land.
Above the Miasma lies the Aerosphere with which the reader should be borrow by virtue of the act of breathing. Amongst the Aerosphere’s less immediately obvious properties is that it acts as a conductor of aether, lifting it from the depths whence it is born and up into the rarified reaches of the Upper Sky. It is the deflection of the convection (by polarized aether in the shells of the Korals that underlie the great cratons and lesser skylands) that provides the masses sufficient buoyancy to remain aloft. This deflection also inevitably imparts angular momentum which results in the cratons’ borrow spin. The correct term for this zone of deflection is the Geomassive Vortex.
As aether is deflected around any significant aerial mass two very important things occur. First, an Aetheric compression ridge is created around the rim of an aerial mass, which creates a buffer of sorts and general prevents skylands from colliding with on another during their peregrinations.
Second, it creates an aetheric void above the skyland which prevents skyships (which also stay aloft by deflecting aether) from flying there, a shortcoming for which nature has yet provided no solution.
Soaring through the Aerosphere, buoyed up by the aetherflux generated by vast colonies of Koral, skylands provide the solid ground on which human life and civilization flourish. Some skylands are tiny less than a kilometer across, and a very few are enormous. The great Craton Massif on which the Risen Kingdoms reside, is more than two thousand kilometers across.
All skylands drift across the deep sky, flotsam on the aethereal currents. All skylands above a certain size, achieve a disk-like shape with a horizontal orientation that rotate along a vertical axis.
Skylands too small to accrete a disk are called Stonebergs and tend to tumble along all three axes, providing a hazard to navigation.