THE DUKE'S DESCENT
June 11, 1931
"Lofty" Aires, Duke of Airesborne, Killed In "Attack" Balloon Crash
Lofton "Lofty" Aires, twelfth Duke of Airesborne, and his son, Lord Lightern Aires, were killed yesterday while testing the duke's prototype "attack" balloon. Observers report that the balloon plummeted out of a cloudy sky into thick woods close to Airesborne Castle, killing both the duke and his son. The duke's brother, Drafton, succeeds to the title. "Drafty," as he is popularly known, is in poor health and remains secluded at Airesborne Castle.
Lofton received much attention several months ago when he presented a proposal to Parliament to defend the coast of England with an army of armored balloons, "constantly aloft, constantly alert, and threatening death to all intruders." Though the proposal was easily defeated, Lofton persisted in the study and development of the balloons, which he stated are "critical to the well-being and security of our nation."
It was one such balloon that the duke and his son were testing on the morning of the crash. A spokesman for the Aires family declared, "The duke had developed an advanced version of his armored balloon and was in the process of testing it when the accident occurred. Whether the crash was caused by a malfunction in the balloon or its weapons systems is not presently known."
Observers of matters concerning the nobility point out that it is not clear who will be Drafton's heir, since he has no children. In cases where the duke has no natural heir, he may nominate his heir from his immediate family, according to the Royal Grant of Privilege, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth when she created the Duchy of Airesborne in 1597. It is understood that the new duke has already made plans for a family council to invoke this privilege.
Spendwell P. Roppwash, Melissa C. Loudbanks, Lance Sallot, Damselyne D. Istresse, Rogan S. Coudrell, Gwendolyn O. Veere, Lonsford Glost Aires, Evonne B.N.Aires