Balloonists Of Rabuta

So little is known of the curious folk referred to as "Balloonists" that it is tempting to declare them mythical. Nonetheless, what few things are known of them are described so ubiquitously, consistently, and in such reliable accounts that we are forced to consider them an authentic people of the previous Age, albeit one shrouded in mystery.

What has been corroborated is thus -

  • They referred to their homeland as "Rabuta", but categorically refused to discuss it in any detail, alternately citing ancient custom and "the dangers of knowledge" (quoted from one of the few detailed descriptions of conversation with the balloonists, from the memoirs of Exoth the Mad, who traded extensively with them in order to gain devices and parts for his famed tower.)
  • They travelled to Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria, and possibly other countries of the previous Age, always for trade, although they were as likely to trade for information as for goods.
  • Their own trade offerings (they never offered information in return, only goods) were always small and useful machines, usually brass, invariably containing extremely complex arrays of gears and cogs that baffled even Atlantis' finest engineers when analyzed.
  • Their clothing was typically drab shades of black, grey, or brown, adorned with many buttons, buckles and clasps and covering nearly everything below the neck. Scarves and goggles were common.
  • They travelled in groups, in large ships that were held aloft by giant inflatable cylinders. From these ships many individuals would descend, each hanging (or possibly perched upon, accounts differ) a small individual balloon.
  • The individual balloons were extremely varied in color and shape, seeming to serve as the sole ornamentation in their otherwise drab and uniform-like personal garb. Colors were usually bright and shapes often mimicked various ocean-dwelling animals, but balloons shaped as birds, mythical or semi-mythical creatures, and abstract shapes were also described.

The term "balloonists" which we know them by today appears to have been coined by Aegea of Atlantis, who found their inflatable craft to be surprisingly resistant to arrows during their first encounter (one suspects, from the brevity and superficiality of the section of her memoirs dealing with this encounter, it did not go well for the Atlantean.) They were known to have traded with Mu and Lemuria before their encounter with the archeress, but the accounts thereof do not record a consistent name for this curious people.

It was originally theorized that the Balloonists' craft is what originally gave rise to accounts of Cloud Squid, but accounts of the attacks of these tentacled creatures by more reputable sources eventually caused this to be discarded.

Many rumors of the times seem to have involved them hailing from a floating island of some sort, but the likelihood of any humans, no matter how advanced, overcoming the well-known malevolence of the mineral world in order to cause rock and earth to float through the air is vanishingly small. It is possible that Rabuta is an island as yet undiscovered, or even that it is simply their word for their groupings of people, and they live nowhere other than their inflatable craft. As noted, the Balloonists steadfastly refused to discuss their origin with any outsiders, and if ever a Balloonist defied this custom, the record of it has yet to be found.

Edited by Nekta the Hoary, Caretaker of the Frozen Forests of Ank.

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