Dryads are tree nymphs that preside over the groves and forests. They are female spirits that are born with a certain tree that they watch. The lives of the dryads are connected with the trees, so if the tree perishes then the dryad dies with it. Dryad females are not stunningly beautiful, but they are very pretty. Their clothing is usually the color green and other forest colors. Their apparel changes with the different seasons as they try to camouflage themselves. Dryads are very friendly and never try to hurt anyone. They are rarely seen unless taken by surprise, or unless they wish to be spotted.
How the dryads came into existence is quite simple. At their birth trees sprung up from the earth, and they were closely tied to the trees. While the trees lived, so did the nymphs. When the tree dies, the Dryad dies alongside the tree as well. As these nymphs lived on there soon were several classes of Dryads, each associated with a particular type of tree.
A Dryad family is usually a mother and children. Men are not usually seen in the family picture because of many different reasons. A Dryad will choose her own mate, and if she chooses to marry it will be for love. However, because there are so few male dryads, the marriages usually occur between different species. This is rare because the Dryads are known to never leave their colonies. Many men take advantage of the Dryad's trustful nature and leave the scene as soon as the first child is born, which is also why a man isn't usually involved in the family.Dryads love children, and in fact many times they will find themselves happier with the child and no husband. The bond between mother and child is incredibly strong.Each being has it's own tree which it shares an extended understanding with. Families share a tree, until the child is old enough to choose one of her own.
Over a millennium ago, before the reign of the Storm Lords, armies of Dryads conquered much of the land of Erna. They had always existed in Erna and elsewhere, far beyond the bounds of Erna in the distant Southeast. The Dryads, specifically the Dryads of Erna and surrounding regions, only became aggressive when they were united under a common ruler. This ruler was a human, named Dainar. He discovered a way to bind new Dryads to his will, so that when a person died, that person not only gained a desire to protect trees, but to obey him as a ruler. However, Dainar’s rule was ended early, as fellow druids killed him. His fellow druids killed him shortly after Dainar raised an army of Dryads from townsfolk and then murdered them. Still, throughout time and the dilution of Dainar's power, many thousands of new Dryads rose from humans killed by Dainar's original army. These Dryads were still obedient to Dainar's original goals (conquest of humanity) if not Dainar himself. After the Old Storm Lords defeated the Dryads, Dainar's curse was already partly faded. Their remainder soon apologized for the destruction they had wrought, and most promised never to interfere with human affairs again, as long as their trees were not threatened.
Just after Dainar's initial slaughter, the newborn, vengeful Dryads formed a band of warriors who snuck into a nearby town and annihilated the people that lived there. Many of the massacred townsfolk became Dryads themselves, and joined with their attackers. A grove of great trees quickly grew up where the town once was. This was a pattern that continued for many years, until (perhaps due to the slight fading of Dainar's curse) the Dryads made peace with some of the humans, and offered not to kill them. They said as long as they can keep watch over them, while ruling with a fear of massacre, they can make the compromise. "If your armies march against us, we release the Dryad watchmen we have placed in your city, and your women and children will not only perish, but march against you!” the Dryads said.
Without technology and magic, the people of Erna could not defeat the Dryads, although a few decisive battles were won, and a number of Dryad groves were destroyed. The humans called upon the Storm Lords, who ripped many Dryad trees out of the ground with terrible winds. However, the Storm Lords used the excuse to become rulers of the people they had aided.
The curse of Dainar then was absolutely faded and the Dryads never became aggressive again. Their numbers were greatly reduced and they can now only protect a small percentage of the Erna's forests. Still, their watch places are to be feared. A Dryad's tree is essentially invincible. Thus, many have remained within cities long after their overall defeat. Luckily, the Storm Lords laid improvements kept the vengeful Dryads under control.
Dryads have the ability to throw a powerful charm spell if they ever feel threatened. A Dryad always uses this spell if there is a serious situation, attempting to gain control of any attackers.
Dryads can also use their powers to charm men as well. They try to lure in men to win them over. Even though these men will probably eventually leave them in the end, dryads still have the power to charm them.
Dryads also have the ability to speak with plants. This enables the dryad to gather information about people traveling near her tree, and even to use vegetation to hinder potential attackers.
There are also special powerful Dryads who can remain alive after their trees are cut. This was likely accomplished through powerful magic that keep their wood alive.
If a Dryad travels 360 feet away from her tree, she automatically becomes weak and if she does not return, she eventually passes away.
Most Dryads are very shy, and are terribly nervous of straying too far from the safety of their tree. But when Artemis comes along, they abandon all fears and join her hunting expeditions.
As dryads age, their physical appearance does not. At the human age of 20, their physical appearance-aging stops, and they remain looking that age for the rest of their existence.
A dryad's complexion and hair color changes with the seasons, presenting it with natural camouflage. During the fall, a dryad's hair turns golden or red, and her skin darkens from its usual light tan to match her hair color. This enables her to blend with the falling leaves of autumn. In winter, both the dryad's hair and skin are white, like the snows that cover the oak groves. During the spring and summer, a dryad's skin is lightly tanned and her hair is green like the oak leaves around her.
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