To the South is the main section of trade called the Silk Road which can also refer to this northern branch. Some have called this path the Golden Way because of all the gold to be made both in trade and banditry.
The road is a series of paths, tracks and guideposts. It leaves out of Shou Lung and rather than heading South to Khazari the Spice Road turns to the North. It crosses the Quoya Desert, the Merket Depression and across the Horse Plains going through the Chang-liu-shui Oasis and then stopping at the []Ni-Ko Osis]]. Skirting around the northern end of the Kora Shan the path winds down to Almorel on the banks of the Lake of Mists. Passing the west end of the lake and into Northern Keltoi the Spice Road crosses the Great Mountains.
Cutting across the northern steppe, sometimes straight as an arrow, other times twisting and turning, the Spice Road carries trade from Chao Yang to distant Almorel. There it links to the Golden Way, although some would have it that the meeting actually occurs at the Ni-Ko Oasis. The way is long and dangerous. However, it is the only route between northern Terraguard and the Oriental Lands. For those who wish to avoid the unending taxes of Semphar and Hallstatt the Spice Road is a better route.
The greatest danger along the way are the savage beasts that stalk their prey along the route. Many animals, and monsters of low intelligence, have been drawn to the road by the dead horses, mules, and occasionally people that are left behind. This has led them to also prey upon travelers who aren’t yet dead. Nomads are the second-greatest risk, although their blood-thirst is overstated. Canny merchants learn to bargain first and fight later. Even the most hard-bitten raider finds bargaining better than fighting. Still, in the hundreds of miles that the road stretches, there is at least one warrior rash enough to reach for his sword without thinking.
Because of these dangers, caravans on the Spice Road tend to hire twice the number of guards, compared to their counterparts traveling the Silk Road. To pay the guards, the caravans must either charge higher prices for their goods or carry more precious items that take little space but bring high profits. Unfortunately, these cargoes act as an added lure to bandits, thus creating a vicious circle.
Merchants on the Spice Road tend to welcome passengers and nonpaying travelers more than those on the Silk Road. More able bodies generally means better protection. The merchants also welcome the companionship, since the journey is long and slow.