Nymphs[N 1] are humanoid races guarding and taking care of natural environments. Due to mutagenous substantions such as the Water of Brokilon they are exclusively female and may sometimes kidnap girls of different races to prolong the survivability of their own.
Most of the described nymphs are slender and rather of small build, but do not diverge from average short human or elf. Their skin may be mistaken to this of humans, but often shows tints of the environment they live in, for example dryads' one might be a bit greenish or chestnut while nereids' slightly bluish. All nymphs are physically fit and perfectly adjusted to their environment. They are considered to be attractive by many humans, some of whom may try to mate with them or to kidnap and keep them in zoos and aquaria as eye-catching attractions.
As they can be only female, nymphs use males of other humanoid races to procreate. Their strategies and approaches vary; rusalkas are known to seduce young men for one-time meetings spent on mutual pleasure, while dryads mate with visiting elves or kidnapped humans without forming any emotional bond.
Many types of nymphs are known to kidnap girls of other races and raise them as their own. According to folk tales, rusalkas may kidnap an unattended child and replace it with an ugly replacement on the Saovine's eve. In truth however, humans themselves may leave an unwanted, ill child near nymphs' habitat in hope of spreading disease; such children are however healed and, if possible, brainwashed and transformed into nymphs using mutagens such as the Water of Brokilon.
While certain obscure legends state that nymphs were created by elves to fight humans, most of the sources agree that they appeared in the world much earlier than either Nordlings or Aen Seidhe, amongst the first living creatures to colonize the Continent. When dwarves arrived, brutal conflicts ensued over the cultural differences; the dwarves perceived nymphs as savage barbarians, while the nymphs felt hatred towards an industrial race polluting the natural environment. The arrival of Aen Seidhe caused much less trouble and certain types of nymphs even started to admire elven desire for beauty.
The most shocking impact on the nymphs was caused by the First Landing and subsequent Nordling colonization of the Continent. Humans perceived nymphs as monsters, demons who had to be either expelled or destroyed in order to obtain new lands. Leimoniads and oreads faced near extinction, the number of hamadryads were decreasing with each cut tree. Only after time the two species learned how to coexist.
The best known nymph culture is ancient dryad realm of Brokilon. Formed primarily by dryads and hamadryads, it hosts also a number of naiads. Nereids in turn form an underwater society together with merpeople in the Great Sea.
- Nymphs are creatures of ancient Greek mythology, minor divinities associated with nature, frequently 'targeted' by Satyrs. They have various associations with the great deities of the pantheon, such as Poseidon, Artemis, Apollo and Demeter.
- In The Witcher, Geralt meets several nymphs: the dryad Morenn, a nayad at the Lakeside, and the Lady of the Lake.
- ↑ In the novels it seems that "nymph" is rather a synonym used by common folk for certain types mentioned above rather than a term denoting a category. People can say "nymph" while thinking about rusalka, nereid or eerie wife, but the actual "scientific" name of this category is unknown.