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The Paths of Balor are a type of pathway of the Dreaming.

Overview

There are other roads in the Dreaming beside the Trods. Pre-dating even the Silver Path and most often used by the Denizens, these strange pathways often lead nowhere, though a good number actually can lead to the Umbrae. The Kithain call these roads the Paths of Balor, for each leads into a different sort of darkness. Most importantly, each is a one-way path. Once a changeling passes between the Dreaming and the Umbrae, the pathway disappears. All who travel these courses must wander until they can find another path that leads them back to the Dreaming, instead of to another Umbra. Like the trods, the Paths of Balor shift and change with the geography of the Dreaming.

House Balor knows the entrances and exits to many of these paths though, contrary to their assertions, they do not rule over them. They do often control the ends of these trods in the Near Dreaming (most frequently the Green Paths), and have set up patrols nearby. Any Denizen who comes through these guarded trods must negotiate with House Balor if they wish to pass. There are three known types of these Paths.

The Black Paths of Balor

Low Umbra 01.png

The Black Paths of Balor lead only to and from the Underworld. They are feared by all but the most foolhardy and, perhaps, the sluagh. The roads between the Shadowlands and the Dreaming are scarce, and most originate in the Far Dreaming. However, there are still changelings who manage to follow the trails leading from the Dreaming to the Low Umbra and fail to find their way back until it is too late. For some, death is the sole price, but for the truly unfortunate, change is the fate that awaits. The Bean Sidhe, for example, met a fate worse than mere death. Theirs is an agony that is surely a hundred times worse than the touch of cold iron. Locked between life and death, they suffer for what promises to be an eternity, and they often take others down with them. The enigmatic keremet use them to ferry human souls exchanged for the sidhe when the later take human bodies. Black Paths wind throughout the entirety of the Dreaming and boast outlets in the Autumn Realms.

The Green Paths of Balor

The paths to the Middle Umbra, much like the roads to the Low, are rare. They are most commonly found in the Deep Dreaming, though a few others exist as well, traveling to the Near and Far Dreaming. These served as the fomorians' puppy roads during the Tessarakonta. On these dark-emerald trods, changelings can find secrets never meant for them and truths that can later change their lives forever. Some believe, and rightly so, that these roads most often lead to the havens of the fomorians. Among the sidhe, a growing faction believes that some of the fomorians escaped fae wrath by running from the Dreaming into the Middle Umbra, where they now dwell in the hellish domain of the creature called the Wyrm. These beings, much like chimera, supposedly take over willing victims and become creatures the Garou simply call fomori.

There are alleged wonders and treasures for the finding, if one merely walks the Emerald Trods. Each Kithain must decide whether the risks are worth the rewards. If the fomorians truly do wait on the other side, it's a good thing that few are foolish enough to travel the Green Paths of Balor. Almost all Denizens are familiar with the Green Paths that surround their home realms. Of all the changelings, redcaps, eshu, and House Balor sidhe are the most frequent users.

The Golden Paths of Balor

The rarest of the three, the Golden Paths of Balor usually only start in the Deep Dreaming and are supposed to lead to the High Umbra, where gods and mortal mages roam at will, and nothing is as it should be. Some claim the Tuatha de Danaan have moved beyond the Dreaming and taken up residence in the High Umbra to wait for the time when Winter's shadow has left the mortal world. The banal mages of the Technocracy have homes in the High Umbra as well, and they have powers as great as the most powerful Kithain sorcerers'. None who fear for their lives take these paths. Only the young and the foolish, often one and the same, are bold enough to enter the High Umbra. Most who return from it have been driven mad by what they encountered. Few Denizens or changelings of any sort use these trods, though there are a select few which the moirae use to reach the Oneiric Kingdom of Dán.

References

  1. CTD. Dreams and Nightmares, pp. 16-17.
  2. CTD. Denizens of the Dreaming, pp. 26-27.
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