Traditionally, the military thoughts of Arangoth have tended toward land and sea based elements. In recent years, however, exposure to flying threats and external forces such as the Swift Talon or various airships have instilled within the minds of tacticians in Drache the need to defend against opponents from the very sky. To this end, a handful of nobles and military scholars have worked to establish an aerial defense corps. While influenced by the grand airships, the organized and highly trained specialists of the elves, and even the various dragon riders that have visited Drache in the past, proponents of the Aerial Corps had to balance effectiveness with the resources they had on hand. This has shaped the Aerial Corps into something unique to the city. Initially intended to cover Drache, it is expected that, if this experiment is successful, it may spread to other holds throughout Transdariania and beyond.
The Drache Aerial Defense Corps is based out of the city of Drache. They occupy the Eyrie, once the base for the Elvendeepish Swift Talon, but also have a garrison in the newly built Fort Lucian just to the east of Drache. Some of the towers on the city walls house the ground defense portion of the Aerial Corps. The Aerial Corps is composed of three segments: Ground Defense, Sky Scouts, and the Sky Cavaliers.
Ground Defense consists of batteries of light artillery in the form of enchanted ballistae. These, as well as the three man teams required to man them, are deployed upon the watch towers of the city, as well as near important structures. The number and nature of these emplacements was somewhat sparse as of the time of their initial deployment, but undoubtedly grew as budget allowed. The purpose of the Ground Defense is to provide point defense to hinder or stop creatures or forces that enter the city proper.
There are three sorts of enchanted ballista available, and all three rely on enchanted bolts, although they usually are stocked with sufficient ammunition to keep firing for some time. These bolts consist of a bolt that detonates into a fireball on impact or when it reaches the apex of its flight, a bolt that is electrified and discharges arcs of lightning in similar circumstances, and a bolt that explodes into a sticky webbing meant to bind its target and anything near it.
Also called Interceptors, the sky scouts are made of volunteers who can fly, either through their own physical means, through some supernatural ability, or via some long lasting magic item. Although the means by which recruits may fly are varied, they are strictly screened for flight speed, flight agility, and flight endurance, as well as for standard military physical requirements.
Effectively air borne light infantry and skirmishers, they are lightly armed and usually lightly armored, rarely possessing more than a mail shirt and shield. Sky Scouts are usually armed with spears and bows, although some choose to possess other side arms. The purpose of a Sky Scout is quick response and evaluation, or to harass a known attacker.
The heavy cavalry of the Aerial Corps, the Sky Cavaliers are heavily armed and armored mounted units. Usually on drakes, small dragons, wyverns, or creatures such as pegasi or hippogryphs when available. Like the Sky Scouts, the mounts are evaluated for flight speed and flight endurance, but also for ferocity or general endurance. A Sky Cavalier is expected to be heavily armored, as is their mount, usually with mail or even plate, and armed with lances, crossbows or bows, and an appropriate melee sidearm.
As the Sky Cavaliers are expected to provide much of their own equipment, as well as their own mounts (although lodging, support, and other upkeep is provided by the order), many end up being gleaned from the ranks of adventurers, knights, or nobility. The Sky Cavaliers indeed are a close bunch, and many consider the Sky Cavaliers its own knightly order unto itself, although this has as yet not been officially granted.
The purpose of the Sky Cavaliers is that of mobile shock and pursuit. They not only provide a heavy hammer against flying creatures and other threats, but may be called upon by other military forces in Drache to provide support against ground based targets.
The Blue Robes
Not an official segment of the Aerial Corps, the Blue Robes are a group of tacticians, mages, and engineers in the employ of the Aerial Corps. It is believed they work to provide the enchanted bolts for the Ground Defense, as well as other magical support to assist with the operations of the main Aerial Corps. There are also rumors they are studying the air ships of other lands with an eye to developing something for the Aerial Corps.