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The trods hum with life.

Overview

The trods are magically enchanted paths that weave and wind their way across the majority of the Empire. They have special significance to the Navarr, but they are also invaluable to Imperial travelers, merchants, and soldiers. People who use trods - some of which see more travel than the Imperial roads - feel refreshed each morning as if they had spend a night in the finest beds. They are able to walk for many miles without becoming tired, allowing them to cover great distances.

Trods rarely form in straight lines - they meander across the landscape in complex patterns. Travelers who use the trods to speed their movement often do so only sporadically as part of a more direct journey.

The trods also nurture the land through which they pass - plants of all kinds grow more freely near trods, and prove to be more hardy.

Trods and the Navarr

As a striding migrates along the trods the unconstrained Spring Magic which is the heart of the vallorn is slowly leached away. The longer the trod and the larger the striding the greater the effect. However, this magic is not just bled into the ether but is returned to the land and in some small way the people that travel the trod.

A trod starts and ends at a Vallorn. As a vallorn grows more powerful as the Navarr advance closer to its heart, successive generations have needed to travel further to weaken it sufficiently before any attack is attempted. The most potent users of the trods are those who begin their journey within an area claimed by the vallorn, and then travel as far away as possible using the trods. Only the Navarr do this on anything approaching a regular basis.

Stridings routinely move from trod to trod, to ensure as much of the vallorn's life-force is depleted before they attempt the dangerous journey back towards the vallorn. At the fall of Terunael the unstoppable advance of the orc foe made this task virtually impossible. The founding of the Empire was the beginning of a sea-change in the Navarr ability to fight the vallorn.

In addition the land near a trod is often noticeably fertile and the crops on land through which a trod passes seems much less prone to disease.

New trods can be created; however, it takes a great ritual and no new trods have been pioneered since 282 YE. With the recovery in 378YE of The Dance of Navarr and Thorn - a powerful ritual from pre-Imperial times - the Navarr once again have access to the potent tool necessary to create trods. The ritual text also laid out several of the theories behind the trods, how they worked and their ultimate effect. The Imperial Conclave agreed to place the ritual into Imperial lore, ensuring that it would not be lost as long as the Empire lasted.

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Every trod starts and ends with a vallorn.

Benefits of the Trods

The trods provide a boon to transportation and travel within the Empire.

In addition, everyone moving along the trods helps contribute to their magical effect, but the Navarr stridings are the most significant, moving long distances in large numbers along the trods from season to season. Traders and other travelers do make use of the trods, but in smaller numbers and their movements are focused on their destination. The trods are circuitous so traders moving between cities of the League (for example) will use a trod only as long as it takes them in the direction they wish to travel.

As a trod sees more traffic its effectiveness at drawing off the power of the vallorn increases - but only the Navarr make the effort to spread their movements out over many trods, rather than take the shortest route to their destination.

Current Trods

  • The territories of Hercynia, Karov, Miaren, Therunin, and Volodmartz all have damaged trods
  • All other Imperial controlled territories contain a working trod network
  • The old trod network in Feroz is still working
  • There is a trod network in the Thule territory of Sküld
  • There are no trod networks in any other territories

At present every Imperial controlled territory has a trod network. In addition to these territories, the trods of Feroz and Sküld remain active at this time. While it is possible for the Empire to create a trod network outside the Empire's boundaries, the Empire would need access to a suitable ritual site in the territory to perform the ritual, or they would need to persuade whichever power controlled the territory to perform the ritual for them.

Damaged Trods

As of the start of Winter 378YE, the trods in Reikos were seriously damaged by the actions of Druj magicians. Swift action by the Navarr allowed them to use a regio associated with the Sign of Tamar to repair the trods during a battle there. The trods in Segura and Holberg also suffered damage under barbarian orc occupation, but were recently repaired by the combined efforts of the Navarr nation.

The trods in the Mournwold had suffered extensively due to neglect; during the Winter Solstice 381YE Navarr magicians rewove and repaired the damage. Also during the Winter of 381YE, a courageous band of Navarr accompanied by Freeborn allies made a dangerous sortie into the woods of Liathaven, and performed the Dance of Navarr and Thorn, repairing the tattered trods surrounding the vallorn there. Unfortunately, this repair was comparatively short lived. The Liathaven trods were again sundered in the run up to the Autumn Equinox 382YE, torn apart by unknown means. During the Winter Solstice 384YE, a major conjunction of the Sentinel Gate allowed the Navarr to make use of Broker's Wynd - a potent Spring regio in the now Jotun-controlled territory. In addition to unleashing the Thunderous Tread of the Trees, they were able to restore the trods and reconnect Liathaven to the network - at least for now.

The trods in Spiral had severely deteriorated due to long-term barbarian dominance of that territory, and were in need of repair. During the Spring Equinox 382YE, following the conquest of the territory by the Imperial armies, the Navarr were able to completely restore the Spiral trods - albeit in new places most likely due to certain subtle shifts in the terrain (such as the destruction of certain forests, and perhaps the awakening of the Black Plateau). The trods suffered no deterioration under the Grendel occupation, probably due to the fact they were walked and maintained during the détente attendant on the dominion of Salt Lord Kaliact.

Before the Autumn Equinox 385YE the scions of Cold Sun inflicted significant damage to the trods of Therunin. During the summit an attempt to stop a force of heralds from doing the same to the trods in Hercynia failed.

New Trods

In the past few years, the Navarr have been working to actively expand the trod network. In Summer 382YE, in a rare example of cooperation with the orcs of Otkodov, the Navarr came together with a Thule warlock-general to channel the power of the Dance of Navarr and Thorn into distant Sküld. For the first time ever, the vallorn surrounding the ancient Terunael city of Emrys was made part of the network. The Navarr have had limited access to the territory to actually walk those trods - the Thule do not encourage visitors - but it is still a major success for the nation.

In Autumn 382YE, the Voice of the Quiet Forest were able to expand the network to cover the newly conquered territory of Ossium - once part of the Mallum but now part of Varushka. The trod network now covers a greater area than ever before; a situation that may go some way to explaining both the recent rise of the Heirs of Terunael and the opportunities to free Westwood in Liathaven and Dark Ranging in Brocéliande.

In Summer 385YE, the Verdant Glade coven of Dawn expanded the network to the newly Imperial territory of the Barrens.

Other Territories

The magical researchers at the Towers of Maykop in Axos are believed to have a copy of the Dance of Navarr and Thorn given to them by the Conclave at the behest of Navarr vates. They could use this ritual to create a trod network of their own around the massive vallorn that lies at the heart of their nation, but so far they have shown no inclination to do so.

Further Reading