Long ago, and nobody except certain dwarven clans would be able to pinpoint exactly when, the deep mining dwarves encountered a curious phenomena. One of the side effects to specific ore refining techniques is a highly flammable substance that is a terrific lifting gas. Early on the first dwarven scholars to analyze the substance gave it the name “Phlogiston” and despite this already being a thing in wildspace there is just no reasoning with a determined dwarf that has already labelled something. When a handful of intrepid dwarves decided to move up out of the mountains and try their hand at flying machines it was phlogiston that gave their wings flight. Using large bags stitched together from a variety of fabrics or hides and pumped full of phlogiston these short, stocky aeronauts set out to find new mountains to burrow under.
The Romillians were the first in Partum to design and operate large flying machines and for centuries they were alone in the clouds. They developed ways to defend against specific flying creatures such as red dragons (whose breath weapon would destroy a Romillian air cruiser in one well-placed blast) and having no other serious competition the Romillians had a field day soaring across southeastern Partum with hardly anyone to resist or compete with them.
That all changed when the Romillians thought they might be able to use their air cruisers to try and invade their staunchly militant neighbor, Slothjemia. The air cruisers proved their worth in the initial attack. However the rest of the invasion was a brilliant disaster of nearly Biblical proportions. Not only were the Romillians unable to hold their newly acquired territory, but they were beaten back and forced to surrender a significant portion of their own territory to appease the vengeful Slothjemians. The grand takeaway though was that Romillia was no longer alone in the air.
In the course of securing their new lands Slothjemia discovered the construction plans for Romillia’s air cruisers. There was also the crew that flew their ship into Slothjemia and turned it over to the authorities. Slothjemia already knew how to take down the air cruisers in combat (having learned a tough lesson following the sneak attack) and now it set about to build their own. The problem arose immediately though that Slothjemia didn’t have access to our the ability to manufacture the dwarven phlogiston. But what they did have was the research done by the infamous archmage Selkirk Deathtree over a hundred years ago when he had set out to make a more perfect poison vapor. The reasons why this insanely evil dark elven wizard wanted to improve on a means to wipe out large number of living creatures is best left unexplored, but one of his failures had some potential. Among his experiments was a new gas that he called Zorckorian Cyanide. Known among sages as ZkC, this gas is tremendously bouyant in lifting items into the sky. Despite being incredibly, almost ridiculously toxic, ZkC is now being processed in carefully hidden and well-defended facilities tucked all over Slothjemia in order to make it possible to build and maintain a massive fleet of flying vessels.
The first step is a desire to fly. The second is to find a way to do it. The third, and this is important, is to find a way back down. The fourth is to do these things on your own terms in the face of opposition. Master these four things and you’ll be out and about in no time.