Descenders were individuals who attempted to descend below the Edge cliff to find out what lay beneath. Only one known descent has been documented.
Origins of Descending
The Cliff Quarries
- Main article: Cliff Quarries
The rudimentary techniques of descending were developed early in the First Age of Flight. While no actual scientific interest was pursued on the cliff itself by the sky scholars and the cliff was believed to be haunted by demons, cliff-marble had high economic value. A high demand from the First Scholars of Sanctaphrax led to the establishment of the so-called Cliff Quarries where cliff-marble was produced, but they were abandoned after the glister incident at the Academy of Wind.
- Main article: Wilderness Lair
- Main article: Clash of the Sky Galleons
Wind Jackal believed to find Turbot Smeal hiding at the abandoned cliff quarries and together with Quint, decided to take vengeance on him. The sky ship, the Galerider, had to hover over the cliff for a short time, stabilized by the stone pilot and careful steering by the captain. The ship could easily be blown away into Open Sky or fall into the void below because of the unpredictable wind turbulences. A crew member, in this case the harponeer Steg Jambles, lowered himself to the ciff. A metal spike was driven deep into the rock at which a tolley rope was secured. The descenders were secured by harness straps around waist and legs. Squarely planting their legs against the rock, the descenders made their way down the rock as long as the rope let them. When the descenders wanted to get up again, they signalled the waiting ship and were winched up again.
Descending in the Third Age of Flight
Descending was considered heresy by the waifs of Riverrise. To waifs, the descenders who lowered themselves into the "pristine" and silent darkness of the abyss contaminated it with their impudent thoughts. It is unknown exactly how many waifs share this belief or if all of them do. Golderayce One-Eye was a staunch believer in this, a belief that spread to his associate Quove Lentis, the High Professor of Flight, whom he was providing Riverrise water to. This belief spread to other academics, partly because of Lentis's influence and partly because of the extreme danger and uncertain reward involved with descending. Nevertheless, the descenders built themselves a home in Old Undertown and continued their explorations.
Ifflix Hentadile and the Archemax expedition were the first ones to try to climb down the Edge cliff. But because Quove Lentis and the academics of the School of Flight felt threatened by these discoveries they stopped financial support. After the defeat of the Gloamglozers in The Immortals, Ambris Hentadile and Nate Quarter continued the quest of the deceased Ifflix. Old Undertown became the centre of descending efforts and a refuge for all academics threatened by the High Professor of Flight.
Equipment and Techniques
- Nate Quarter had a spy glass that was later given to his nephew, Cade Quarter.