Dryads, also known as eerie wives by humans and Aen Woedbeanna in Elder Speech, are the female inhabitants and guardians of the Brokilon forest. They are sometimes also referred to as nymphs. Born through sexual contacts with other races or transformed by Water of Brokilon they are exclusively female and their descendants remain so for many generations even without drinking the Water. Transformed dryads are referred to as naturalised dryads, while the subrace of dryads who have the deepest connection with the forest and are symbiotic with given tree are called hamadryads.
Dryads tend to have a slender and small build. It is generally impossible to distinguish a naturally born dryad from the transformed one; only older girls who became dryads after 10 or up can be recognized due to lack of distinct dryad sweat which smells like willow's leaves.
It's never actually stated what color their skin is. In some versions, it's believed their skin tones are the same as humans, though can take on forest-like tints of olive, chestnut, red or green. In some cases they've been depicted with entirely green skin instead. The only certain thing is that dryads and hamadryads can be mistaken with humans at certain occasions, and the other way around.
The hair is typically, similarly to skin, chestnut, green or red and is often dreadlocked. Born dryads rarely have blond hair or blue eyes, but these can be inherited from human or elven fathers.
Scouts and sentinels wear clothes patched up out of their natural surroundings, like leaves and twigs, making them blend in with the forest. However their queen, Eithné, has been show to wear fanciful dresses.
They are known for their amazing archery skills and can easily kill a human from the distance of 200 feet without the person ever knowing they were there. They use this ability extensively to mark their border: if an arrow lands at one's feet or in a nearby tree, that's as far as the intruder is allowed to travel alive as the next shot, should they not heed the warning, will kill them. To prevent the decay of bodies from filling the air, the dryads tend to mark their border by the rivers so the bodies can be washed away with the current.
Dryads are also proficient in treating wounds. When Geralt was wounded in a fight with Vilgefortz, he had cracked ribs, a broken leg, and a concussion but, upon arriving in Brokilon, he was treated with expert care and was well enough to move when the bard Dandelion came to see him. They also did a similar feat with Freixenet, who was nearly dead from their attacks but, after being found by Geralt, the dryads patched him up to the point he was able to sit up and talk for a bit when the witcher rejoined him several days later.
Being dryads, they have a love for the trees, forest, and music and have learned to master abilities to shape trees to their will while not harming the tree itself. As fire is also forbidden in the forest, they instead create makeshift glowsticks by stimulating certain fungi and crafting a wreath out of the plant to make a light source.
Dryads are exclusively female and use males of other races only for mating purposes, taking strong ones to pass their traits onto their children. While some, like Freixenet, viewed this as a pleasant enough punishment, Geralt had to explain dryads take mating very seriously: if touched without permission, they'd kill the man, and not to try and smile, woo them, or treat it as any kind of pleasurable encounter, as they're simply using the male to father a child. As such, when Geralt, a witcher, is encountered by the dryads, a number of them grumble about it as, being sterile, he's no good to them.
However, having sex isn't the only way dryads are made. If any young girls should wander into their forest, whether it be a peasant's child or even a princess, they give them what's known as the Water of Brokilon to drink, which erases all their previous memories and contains mutagens so they can then be raised as dryads. However, these girls never gain all the skills that real dryads have.
Notable dryads Edit
For the full list of every dryads, see :Category:Dryads.
Season of the Dryad lore entries Edit
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- Scroll 1: It is common knowledge that among dryads – known also as eerie wives – you will find only women. They require human men for reproduction, which begs the question... What are they really? What is their origin?
- Scroll 2: Many scholars contend that dryads do not comprise a unique race, like gnomes or vrans, but humans fundamentally altered by magic. If true, dryads would be considered cursed beings, not unlike werewolves...
- Scroll 3: Indeed, one legend tells that the first dryads were ordinary human women, enchanted by elves to support the Aen Seide in battle. Rather than fulfill their intended purpose, however, they took to the forest and have remained there ever since.
- Scroll 4: And what of the eerie wives themselves? Have they knowledge of their origin? One ambitious student from Oxenfurt ventured to Brokilon to find out. Unsurprisingly, he was never heard from again... Yet a dozen-odd years later, scholars from his department spotted several young dryads who bore a striking resemblance to their lost colleague...
- Chest 1: The number of dryads known by name can be counted on a single hand. One such dryad was Braenn, made famous by the ballads of Master Dandelion. Unlike most dryads, however, neither her eyes nor her skin were green – evidence she was once an ordinary human child, forever changed by the Waters of Brokilon. Under their influence, she forgot her past, even her true name. Despite her human past, she guarded borders of Brokilon with a ruthlessness equal to that of her dryad sisters.
- Chest 2: Contrary to common belief, dryads on rare occasion would permit humans into their forest. Among that privileged minority was Milva Barring, well-known human archer and guide. She was often contracted by enemies of Brokilon – unaware of her allegiances – to lead expeditions against the dryads... Every time leading her patrons into an ambush...
- Chest 3: Dryads can survive even the gravest of wounds. Their ability to heal via magic is unrivaled. In fact, it was they who saved Geralt of Rivia following his brush with death against Vilgefortz. His bones crushed, it seemed the witcher might never walk again. But under Eithné's care, the White Wolf recovered and soon returned to the Path.
- According to the novels the only distinction between born and transformed dryads is the sweat. However, in Gwent: The Witcher Card Game Braenn is depicted unlike the other dryads in the game franchise, being the only one with pale skin instead of green.
- In The Witcher, Geralt meets one dryad in the game, Morenn, who's in the Druids' grove in the swamp and has an opportunity to have sex with her if one explains that sex is still beneficial to her in other ways.
- In the uncensored (non-North American) versions of The Witcher, they do not cover the dryads' breasts with their hair, nor is there a loincloth. The models appear completely nude. The same model is also used for the naiad.
- They do not eat dinner, as Dandelion learns from Geralt upon his first night in Brokilon. Why this is though, is not known.