A Trod is a path or highway of the Dreaming.
Before the Shattering, trods connected freeholds together and to Arcadia and other points in the Dreaming like a giant web. Though they are fewer in number now, these magical ways still connect the Fae and provide a means of travel from one place to another. Few leading into the Dreaming functioned well during the Interregnum as most were shut by Banality as surely as the road to Arcadia and the few left were hard to find, almost impossible to open without the right rituals and timing, and extremely dangerous to use. And of course none of them led to Arcadia anymore. Anyone seeking that place ended up lost in the Deep Dreaming instead. Some Trods abruptly end in the Dreaming, holding great dangers for those who haven't traveled it for 600 years.
Travel & Adventure EditTrods may lead to a number of places. Most follow a path leading from one earthly location, through the Near Dreaming, to another earthly destination. Other trods end at specific locations within the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a place of constantly shifting time and location. After over 600 years of being severed from the Dreaming, most commoners are not adept at traveling through it. Few changelings live directly in the Dreaming, due to its hostility and restless nature. The risks of chimerical threats and the dangers of Bedlam cannot be overlooked. Those who leave the safety of the trod's Silver Path risk becoming lost forever in a constantly shifting wilderness, with only monstrous chimera for companionship.
Trods rarely lead directly to the place intended and never instantaneously. Travelers will end up having an adventure. The Dreaming is made up of stories, after all. The journey may be quick and easy but more likely it will be long, arduous, and challenging. The journey usually takes the same amount of time as real world travel at least, though magical means may shorten it. While on a Trod, a Changeling can practice their Arts freely and without fear of Banality as they travel entirely in the Near Dreaming. Brave or foolish fae may travel into the Far Dreaming to seek shortcuts. And sometimes the journey of what seems to take forever in the Dreaming takes only a few moments of real time.
Some trods aren't accessible all of the time. Some only open when a certain magical phrase is uttered, others only at certain times and seasons. Still others require a sacrifice of some kind or a riddle to be answered before allowing themselves to be used. Whatever conditions must be honored to open the trod, chances are more such puzzles and riddles will be required along the way as well. Distractions will pop up as well.
If Glamour is the life's blood of the fae, then trods are the arteries through which it flows. Trods are the fae's nearest connection to the Dreaming and Arcadia beyond. They are also power. The sidhe realized this fact, during the Resurgence and acted quickly to claim the lion's share of the recently reopened trods, Those who control the trods wield great control over fae society. Troops and secret missives may be moved quickly and secretly through them in times of war, while they are ideal trade routes and vital connections to the Dreaming in times of peace. The sidhe know more about trods than any other changeling kith. (There are some nonfae who know more than the sidhe).
Some Sidhe lords and ladies have encouraged their subjects to create homesteads in the Dreaming along the Trods or where they end. These homes, markets, and workshops serve as places of Glamour, rendezvous points, and play lands. Other homesteads have sprung up with no relation to the nobility; the commoners who live there seeking to avoid the returned sidhe, or there were always fae there who don't take kindly to the newcomers. The Dream-Craft cantrip Homestead is vital for those who wish to set up shop in the Dreaming.
A trod can come in many different forms. While many may parallel roads in the mundane world, others can ignore terrain all together; heading through the sky or floating over the sea. Some move through mountain mines or the deeps of crystal lakes. Wherever they go, once on them, the changeling is hidden from the mundane world and may not interact with it, being now totally in the Dreaming and subject to its rules and peculiarities.
Each trod also has a different feel. It can be something as tangible as chill in the air and winter all around or as untouchable as a song that hangs in the air. Trods can also manifest aspects of those who live along them or at the end of the trail. A trod that leads to a circus of pooka may have landmarks that look like jokes or toys or may answers wrong guesses to riddles with pies in the face or maybe only lies can answer the questions. A path leading to a troll fortress may require feats of strength and bravery and one that leads to a corby of redcaps may require the worst possible eating contests.
- Land: Land trods may be anything from a wide superhighway to a narrow path along a precipice. They may pass through idyllic faerie towns, by literally burning deserts, or through forests of mists and moaning trees. A changeling may walk, ride, or drive along these trods; mode of travel is limited only by terrain.
- Water: These trods may be as small as a mountain stream or as vast as a thousand oceans. Due to the lack of recognizable landmarks, travelers on this type of trod must rely on charts and other navigational treasures to travel these watery paths safely.
- Sun: Sun trods are sky trods that are open only during the day. Only those changelings who can fly (even in a balloon) may travel these ethereal highways. Sun trods may appear as shafts of focused sunlight or as paths along sunlit clouds. A changeling traveling a sun trod must find a moon trod to continue their journey after dark,
- Moon: Moon trods are sky trods that are open only at night. Only those changelings who can fly may travel these lunar phantom trails. Moon trods may appear as dust motes dancing in shafts of pale moonlight or as paths along night-sky clouds.
- Cursed: Cursed trods have been corrupted by some means. Perhaps a powerful chimera, changeling brigand, or a wicked monarch has taken up residence beside it and kills all who travel it. Banality may block or sever some trods, trapping travelers win gray pitfalls where their Arts are of little use. These areas of the Dreaming are often home to feral chimera and other monstrosities. Any type of trod may become cursed.
- Chimerical: Chimerical trods are far too ethereal for material creatures such as the fae to travel, but chimera have little trouble using these Glamour-rich roads. Some arcane Arts may allow changelings entry to these alien trods. Such paths are extraordinarily dangerous, even to the most potent Kithain. The Silver Path does not extend into these trods.
- Nightmare: The Nightmare Realms fester in the Deep Dreaming like an insatiable cancer. Dark and twisted trods spiral from them, touching almost every other part of the Dreaming. Malignant chimera and even darker creatures travel these fearsome roads. Some Unseelie changelings use these trods on secret errands, but these paths are dangerous even to them. The Silver Path exists along some of these trods. Most believe the Tuatha de Danaan built the path there during their wars with the Fomorians. In recent decades, these trods have disgorged increasing numbers of malign chimera into the Near Dreaming and the mundane world.
The Silver Path Edit
The Silver Path is the only reliable way to travel a trod. It is a guide and one is safe who remains on the path. One who leaves it is unlikely to reach their destination alive.