Appearance

Primordiax - Dryad FemaleIn the world of Primordiax, dryads stand out from all the other races due to the fact that only females of their species exist. Never has there been a true male dryad on record. All dryads are small, standing between 4.8 to 6 rands. Their coloring varies as much as the trees in the forest do. Their skin tone ranges from nearly white, much like a birch, to a nutty brown like the everwood pines. Their hair and eye colors span the spectrum of nature's flora, and their movements emulate graceful plants swaying in a warm, spring breeze. Dryads who spend most of their time indoors or away from sunlight often turn sickly pale and listless, much like a wilting plant.

Dryads have no traditional tattoos or piercings, so a wide variety of artistic bodily expression can be found on dryads. Still, most dryadic jewelry or body art tends to follow themes found in nature, so flowers, animalistic prints, and exotic fauna exist as common themes for dryadic tattoos. For jewelry, piercings often take the form of flowers or seashells while bangles and necklaces mimic vines, snakes, or weather representations. Dryads suffer from such a lack of roots that they do not have a traditional form of dress. Luckily, most dryads possess a flair for color and coordination.

Unlike other humanoids, dryads have no male counterparts, and no infant dryad has ever been seen. They possess no navels, only a simple dimple where other species once had an umbilical cord which attached them to their mothers' wombs. Over the centuries, scholars and historians have tried repeatedly to discover the "birth" rituals of dryads, but so far, no one has succeeded, including other dryads. Dryads have no memories of giving birth or how they came to be. Theories exist that dryads spawn from trees as toddlers, but no one has ever seen this occur.

Society

Dryads have no true culture of their own since they do not tend to congregate as a race. The largest known groups of dryads exists in Askagard and Troj. Interestingly enough, the dryadic group of Askagard resemble each other greatly, sporting rich, nutty brown tones, forest green highlights, and brilliant blue hues. The dryads of Troj possess vibrant coloring, echoing the pigments found in the tropical jungles that surround the city. No one is quite sure why there are few to no dryads found in Chemer, but the ones who do live there take on hues of desert plants.

During the growing and harvesting seasons, some dryads still gather for the Rites of Creation, which differs from area to area. The rites, however, have several common themes, suggesting that all dryads once took part in this ceremony. All the rites involve decorating themselves with ribbon or jewelry depicting the four elements of Creation. Song and dance serve as integral parts of the ceremonies as well, but the variations across the world are innumerable. Some of the rites are solemn affairs while others are joyous festive ones. In some of the darkest, most remote regions of the world, rumors exist of dryads who worship and pay tribute to a mysterious fifth element. These dryads have skin that is ebony black with sprinkles of white, like stars twinkling in the night sky. Most historians write those accounts off as pure myth and conjecture.

Sadly, many dryads die as toddlers in the forest, and those that manage to survive do so without a family. Some, though, manage to find good homes whether it be by luck, fate, or design. Childless couples will often wander through various forests, hoping to find a lost dryad child to adopt. Slave traders will go as far as to set traps for these children, but very rarely will they catch an actual dryad. More often than not, the slavers tend to catch unwanted children who have been abandoned in the woods. Due to the number of myths that surround dryadic children, several families who have unwanted children abandon them in forests in hopes that others may want them. Most of these children die within a few weeks of being left, but some do manage to survive. Not all of these lost children are female, and thus, tales of male dryads abound.

Almost all dryads declare an affiliation, either publically or privately, to a plant of some sort. Most pick a flower of some sort and interweave that theme into their lives. Some take flower names while other simply decorate everything they own with variations of the plant. This behavior seems to be a compulsion for almost all dryads. Perhaps it is the only link to what they once were.

History

Rumor has it that dryads were once nature spirits associated with trees, forests, and even water plants. They nurtured and guarded the forests from those who would destroy or disrespect it. Then, when an ancient nature god disappeared, dryads became trapped in their humanoid form and permanently separated from their trees. Quite possibly, some dryads were forever trapped within their trees and unable to manifest into humanoid form, but no one has any means to support that theory.

During the Sundering, dryads completely lost their ability to commune with the forests that were once their home. Some clung to their old ways and remained in the forest, eking what they could out of their surroundings. Many others gravitated towards the cities and towns for protection and survival. The dryads became a race that had lost all of its roots, and so their culture was diluted by the mainstream. Rumors abound, however, of a group of dryads that still retain many of the lost abilities. They are known simply as the Nemian Colony, but no one living in cities can admit to having actually met this group of dryads. Those who seek the Colony rarely return.

Throughout the period after the Sundering, many dryads have played prominent roles in shaping the world as it is today. The famous Cactus Gardens of Chemer was established by a dryad married to an old Chemerite warlord who ruled the city briefly over a thousand years ago. King Rand supposedly had a healer in his service who was a dryad. Many claim that she was also his lover and that she saved his life more than once. As a final act of love, she reportedly drained a virulent poison from King Rand and took it into her own body, sacrificing herself so that he could live. Her name has never been written in the annals of history, but King Rand often visited a grave under an old willow tree. He always brought an armful of lilies to the site. His coat of arms sports two lilies clasped in the claws of a griffin.