One for the Road Tradition / Ritual in Kohtalo | World Anvil

One for the Road

Better safe than sorry, two more and I'll close out, one for me and one for the road.
— Jasper Cameron, Leader of the Bronze Ravens
  "Why do you keep doing that? It's just a silly old superstition" The dragonborn Thurgoth shook his head at his friend's peculiarity. In some places it was a mug of ale, others a glass of wine or whiskey, regardless of the drink it seemed a damn shame to just pour it out like that.   The worst part was, his halfling friend didn't even make an offering to anyone in particular. It was always just "One for the road." Probably why the tradition had died off in most parts a century or more ago. What kind of prayer was just cast into the void? And what god would bother answering?  
  It is likely One for the Road started, as some things are known to, as a misunderstanding of a local colloquialism. It is a traditional dwarven custom to offer a departing trader "one for the road" a token that they can drink to remind themselves of home, or in the case of a foreign trader, thanks for business and hope of return. Of course, when a gullible human is told that dwarves mean everything literally and then gets a mug of mead "for the road" you can see how things could get confusing.   The legend goes the human trader poured the mug out on the road before setting out from the dwarf city. His next journey was both the easiest and most profitable of his career. So of course he did it again, and again, and again. Whenever this nameless trader was asked about his success he cited that as long as he kept taking care of the road, the road would take care of him. Others witnessed his odd "tradition" and decided to copy it, and they also saw success. And so the legend grew. For thousands of years the tradition continued.   Recently there has been a fall-off in the tradition, likely because many trade routes now have roving patrols and established waypoints. It fell off even more after the Twilight Trade was established.


Author's Notes

One for the road and away we go
Pour it on the ground to the frozen snow
One for the road and away we go
We're singing as we rove and venture
— The Rumjacks - chorus from "One for the Road
  The inspiration for this tradition was from the above song. It was fun to take it and give it a place in my world because sometimes it is a bit harder to reference the music that inspires us.

Please Login in order to comment!
Sage TinkerTech
Rachel Bentz
20 Aug, 2023 13:38

This is such an amazing tradition! It's one that, in modern times when traders do not have to fear as much for their safety and their goods when traveling, invokes a nostalgia for more free-roaming times when one had to fend for themselves. "I take care of the Road, and the Road takes care of me." It's such a lovely bit of folklore tied to tradition, even if it no longer holds as much sway as it once did.

May the Creator ever guide your Footsteps