Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dryads

While working to convert the Campaign World book over to the d6 system, I thought I'd make some adjustments to the traditional creatures that I left alone in the original. Here's my attempt at a dryad.


Resting beneath the giant oak, I lean back, enjoying the respite from the summer sun. Placing my hands behind my head and reclining against the trunk, slowly I drift off to sleep… I wake in darkness, coughing and sputtering wet earth, gasping for air only to let in more dirt. Choking, head throbbing, I again slip from consciousness, catching glimpses of what appears to be a face nose to nose with me.
Dryads live in the deepest, furthest groves. They live under the roots of great gnarled trees and reach up through the woody earth like hands stretching through prison bars. They’re said to seize resting travelers, drawing them below and leaving them in the dirt to suffocate and fertilize their homes.
Born in a womb of hard earth and dense roots, dryads are strange creatures of wood and shadow. When a dryad leaves her home tree, its roots and trunk part. Under its eaves and the shade of the forest, the dryad is nearly imperceptible, like a dark blotch it can dart across the forest floor unseen.
A dryad only becomes visible in sunlight. Otherwise, it moves like the shadows of swaying tree branches. The only indications of its presence are snaking movements in the shadows where patches of sunlight pierce the canopy of the forest.
Dryads rarely leave the safety of their tree burrow but if ever one leaves and crosses into the sunlight, it becomes wholly visible, appearing like an abstract painting, hard to make out details and brushed with dark hues. Their skin is damp and knotted. If it again slips into the shade, its body melds into the shadows and becomes invisible again.


Edmund Dulac