Dryads are immortal forest beings shrouded in mystery. They are a race of aloof, magical, female creatures that can shapeshift from a tree to an elven form at will. Some tales say they can simply slip inside of a tree using magic. Some myths claim that dryads are a primordial race of elves that were created even before the ljosalfar. For this reason and due to their appearance, Achaeans often use the names 'elf,' 'dryad,' and 'nymph' interchangeably for elves and dryads alike.
Dryads vary widely in appearance based on their particular tree. However, in general, they can transform between tree and elf forms at will. Their humanoid forms are very elven in appearance, with pointed ears and strikingly beautiful features. Their hair colors may range anywhere from green to white to a more ordinary color, depending on their race. Their eyes are always greenish, though shades vary wildly. All dryads are female.
By and large, dryad culture is unknown, if it even exists at all as a "culture," per se. Most dryads lead mostly solitary lives among the oldest trees, though a few may form small communities, but they never construct any form of buildings. Living like plants, it is said they do not actively seek to harm any living creature, neither flora nor fauna.
They excel in music in particular, and their singing voices can captivate those who hear them, particularly if one sees their beauty. They most often flee and hide in their tree form if seen by another civilized race, such as men, dwarves, and - sometimes - even elves, as their culture leaves little room to trust most other intelligent races. They are especially suspicious of humans, who destroy forests in order to expand their civilizations.
The society dryads interact with most often, if any, are elves. Some dryads even live among or near certain races of Alfar, usually light elves or wood elves. Adventurous dryads are relatively rare, as they generally do not care to stray far from their forest homes, but - like all races - some dryads have a wanderlust. Most of the time, this stems from wanting to see other forests in different parts of the world to connect with more nature spirits.
Dryads can speak to all the spirits of nature, including animals. They can transform into trees to varying degrees, able to grow bark-like skin and long, branch-like fingers, or simply turn completely into a tree. Other stories claim they can also transform into animals, but there seems to be no basis for these tales. They are born proficient in some spiritual magic, though what exactly they can do with their magic remains largely unknown.
For a list of dryad races, see Category:Dryads.