|Established||16 Lunar 234 LE|
In the cloud scrapped ridges of Balforn, rose a clan of Giff that made a living building bridges and cutting roads through a land cut with canyons and towering spires. Getting from hold to hold was an arduous task, up and down highlands and across gaping chasms. This giff clan, the Snoutwind, were paid to better transport between settlements. They also battled the natives of Balforn, frost giants, ice trolls, orcs, wyverns, and the occasional dragon. They were also the first Giff to fly on the backs of wyverns and dragons. A century later, this had become a business, the Balforn Sky Academy, or simply the BSA, training steeds and their riders.
In 921, a giff engineer named Towerfoot wrote a book on mundane weapons and drawings of great skyships; the latter still just theory. The BSA, along with many others, had the means of lifting such things aloft, like the Spire Citadels with their Jurungen or by way of Earth Motes . What they lacked was giving them movement and mobility beyond crude sails or expensive magic. Beginning as one manual, Towerfoot's writings expanded into a collection, one continued by others, becoming collectively known to outsiders as the Giff Treatise. In the lands of the Giff League, when printed in the Giff language, these tomes are called Warsteps.
In 1176, the BSA got a lucky break when Svirlido traders came to their world. They had with them a number of ship engines, the kind that get ships in the air or into the Void. Ideas of going into the Void was still sometime away. They lacked Void Essences for this type of voyage. The traders had none for sale, and if they did have them, the Giff League lacked the gold to outfit a ship with them; at the time Void Essences were still extremely rare and hard to come by, selling for millions of gold for just one. Two centuries later, the cost of void essences were more reasonable. In 1244, thanks in large part to the work of the BSA, the Giff League made contact with Ivory Asylum on the faraway world of Bal-Kriav.