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 fears of strength and bravery and one that leads to a corby of redcaps may require the worst possible eating contests.
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.