There is also the Spice Road that is different northern trading route. Finally there is the Underdark source of silk and finery that reaches the surface in a handful of areas. Trading goods that arrive in Terraguard from all three sources are often all lumped into the same category of coming from the silk road.
The traditional Silk Road starts in many places in Shou Lung and gathers in the neighboring country of Khazari and the city of Alashan. From here there are two ways to go around the Teyla Shan as they are called in Khazari or Godswatch Mountains as they are referred to in Semphar.
The northern branch of the silk road follows along the southern edge of the Horse Plains and stops at the Nanhu Oasis before reaching the Fergana Pass. The settlement of Iris Well Spring marks the turning point in the road to head South again over the Teyla Shan. Once through the mountains the road meanders through the Shalhoond Forest. This path is longer and can be dangerous, yet has no tolls and because it is less traveled fewer bandits. Once through this area the path reaches Duirtanal in Semphar and from there becomes well guarded roadway that travels to Hallstatt and then over the Great Mountains.
Winding its way from Yenching, through the high pass of Repo La, past Alashan, through the Howling Gap, and finally ending in Dhaztanar, the Silk Road is the major east-west trade route across the Endless Waste. Because it is shorter and there are more settlements along its length, the Silk Road is far preferred over the more desolate northern Spice Road.
The southern branch of the Silk Road leaves Alashan and turns to go south of Teyla Shan through the Howling Gap. This is a broad area between Teyla Shan to the north and Raurin Alta to the southwest and the haunted city of Kushk to the southeast. This is the main path of the Silk Road because of the steady open flat lands to cross. This also makes it a key choking point for bandits and impromptu toll collectors.
Eventually after making it through this gauntlet the road arrives in Iliphanar in Semphar and through there into Hallstatt.
In general, travel along the Silk Road is safe, though not particularly comfortable. In Shou Lung, Khazari, and Semphar, there are tiny villages and hostels along the route, each one day’s journey from the next. In these lands, the threat of bandits is low. The route is well-patrolled and banditry is severely punished. No ruler wants to scare the caravan trade away.
The two most dangerous parts of the journey are between Semphar and Khazari, and near the Howling Gap. Bandits and raiding nomads lurk in the first region; horrific monsters sometimes descend on parties in the Howling Gap. It is customary for caravans to hire extra guards in Alashan or Semphar only for the purpose of crossing this area. Once safer lands are reached, the guards are frequently dismissed.