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Despite the overwhelming firepower of the airfleets, all Admirals know that to secure territory, infantry is needed. When it comes to feet on the ground, the Arkanaut Companies form the Kharadron Overlords’ main fighting forces. Descending swiftly via a Frigate’s grav-ladders or suspension ropes, an Arkanaut Company can deploy rapidly into the fray. Most are armed with pistols and stout cutting blades, allowing them to pepper the enemy with shots before engaging them at close quarters. A few of the Arkanauts carry heavier weaponry – a skypike adds to a company’s close-combat prowess, an aethermatic volley gun lays down a blisteringly high rate of fire, while the portable version of the ship-mounted skyhook is effective at bringing down large targets.[1a]

Overview

The Arkanaut Companies are a hardened lot, toughened not only by battle but also the daily challenge of aeronautical life. They spend whole wind cycles at a time aboard their craft, crammed into tight quarters. What seemed like easy sailing can become a treacherous journey with little warning, whether due to sudden and severe climatic change or attacks from airborne raiders and monsters. Simply standing watch at high altitude is an ordeal, for even within Arkanaut armour a duardin becomes wind-bitten, their skin hardened by the strange metallic airs that drift far above the clouds of Chamon. Special rebreathers built into their helms and masks filter toxic vapours as the Arkanauts work long shifts scanning the horizon for foes, searching for the telltale shimmer of aether-gold veins, or watching out for the oncoming specks that all too quickly can resolve into roaring packs of manticores. Every black cloud that passes might harbour a harkraken, and enemy fleets – from those of rogue sky-ports to airborne grots – can attack from any angle.[1a]

Despite the many dangers of life on the sky-ways, there are always more duardin who wish to become Arkanauts, eager for their chance to earn great wealth. In the days of the Sky Exodus, the growing airfleets were crewed by clans. When the Code was established, however, meritocracy supplanted the old ways, and so recruiting practices changed. Those sought to serve in the Arkanaut Companies were not simply able bodies connected by blood, but the boldest of their kind.[1a]

At the day of Brynruf – when the sun shines gold over Chamon – the different Arkanaut Academies of every sky-port hold a six-day competition. Only the highest achievers are allowed into the Arkanaut Academies, the training facilities where airfleet veterans conduct military drills and teach aeronautical skills. On Musterpress days, Captains arrive to observe the drills, and they may choose to recruit new crew members by purchasing contracts, often to fill the places that have become available through death or injury. Those selected join the Arkanaut Companies will endure any number of rites and rituals sacred to their new fleet, ship or both. Those passed over after three Musterpresses must instead settle for lesser positions, often on mining or fishing vessels, or as dockworkers.[1a]

Sources

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