The road was going on and on. Beyond to reach some other place. I saw a tree that looked at me, And yet it did not have a face. Elizabeth Madox Roberts, "Strange Tree"
Like a web of highways, trods once connected freeholds together and served as links to Arcadia and other points within the Dreaming. These magical paths, though far fewer in number than of old, still provide Kithain with a means of travel from one holding to another. For 600 years after the Shattering, few trods functioned. When Banality slammed the portals to Arcadia shut, most paths into the Dreaming sealed shut along with them. Those that remained open were often difficult to find, nearly impossible to open without the proper rituals and timing, and exceedingly dangerous to use. Nor did any of them lead to Arcadia anymore. Those seeking that wondrous land often found themselves trapped somewhere within the Deep Dreaming instead.
Roads of the Dreaming, trods (at least those within the Near Dreaming) allow changelings to travel from place to place and use their Arts freely without fear of Banality. Even when traveling from one freehold to another, changelings leave the real world when they first step onto a trod. The path leads through the Near Dreaming and emerges back into the real world at another freehold. Some trods suddenly end at particular locations within the Dreaming. Such locations may hold grave dangers for changelings unused to traveling the Dreaming after being cut off from it for 600 years.
Rarely does a trod lead directly from one place to another, and travelers do not appear instantaneously at their intended destination. Instead, those who use trods must undertake an actual journey, one which usually involves some sort of adventure. The Dreaming is made up of stories, after all. The journey may be quick and easy, with the changeling arriving almost immediately, or it may be arduous, challenging and quite lengthy. Most travels via trod seem to take the same amount of time it would take to travel to the destination in the real world, though cantrips and other magical means can be used far more easily within the Dreaming to speed along travel. Also, particularly brave (or desperate) changelings can journey into the Far Dreaming to seek out shortcuts. Occasionally Kithain find that what seemed like a journey of several days or weeks took only moments in the real world. Such is the nature of time in the Dreaming. Some trods are not always accessible. Many open only upon the utterance of a mystical phrase; others only allow entry during certain seasons or times of day. Some require some sort of sacrifice or a riddle to be answered before allowing themselves to be used.
Whatever the conditions are that must be met before the trod can be traversed, there will usually be more riddles, puzzles or distractions along the trod itself. When the sidhe returned upon the Resurgence, they moved to take over the trods that had blown open in response to the influx of Glamour that had allowed them to leave Arcadia. Quick to realize their potential, the sidhe secured trods to their newly reopened and reclaimed freeholds, assuring themselves of secret paths on which they could move troops, send secret messages, conduct trade and explore the Dreaming. Some sidhe lords have encouraged certain of their subjects to set up homesteads within the Dreaming at points where trods terminate. These serve as homes, workshops where Glamour is more available and more easily used for Grafting, markets for fae goods, secret rendezvous points and playlands where a Banality ridden changeling may go to replenish her Glamour.
Other homesteads have sprung up as well, peopled by changelings who have no ties to the nobles at all. Many of these commoners took up residence in the Dreaming in response to the return of the sidhe. Still other changelings have been in the Dreaming all alongand many of them resent the intrusion of this new wave of Kithain. Trods come in all shapes and sizes. They may parallel roadways in the real world or ignore terrain entirely, drifting out over the sea or up into the sky. Some twist through mountain caverns or lead down to the bottoms of still, crystalline lakes. Once on a trod, changelings are hidden from the real world and do not interact with it. They have entered the realm of the Dreaming, and are now subject to its peculiarities. Each trod has a different feel to it. This may be something as tangible as a sense of great coldness and a wintry aspect, or as nebulous as an almost-inaudible tune that hangs in the air. Trods often (but not always) reflect facets of those things or people who can be found along their length or at the end. Thus a trod that leads to a motley of pooka may have aspects that resemble colossal jokes and pranks, such as chimerical pies in the face for failing to answer riddles, or questions required for passage that only allow those who lie to go forward.