Dryr (short for "Dryzyr") are fascinating magical phenomenons to behold in the vicinity of the southern Void at the continent of Aeruillin. They appear in the regions of the Nytheranian Dunes, the Desert of Light, the Sea of Hylmagor, sometimes even up until the Plain of the Forsaken in the southwestern part of the desert continent and are also referred to as "Dryzyr" or "Seeker" by some. "Dryzyr" by the way probably means something along the line of "Many-Mouths" in an old Aeruillin tongue. While some claim the Dryr are actually floating entities having the appearance of wobbly translucent eyes, others see in it a kind of wicked magical storm bearing consciousness sent out by the Void to destroy or punish people for whatever reason. There's also a theory that claims that the characteristic storm "eyes" are actually maws of an even larger unseen magical creature. And even others interpret the Dryrs as a vehicle to communicate with the Gods and perhaps to fulfill their dreams... Whatever the truth, caution is advisable when encountering a Dryr!
Image description. An artist depicting an expedition from the mages of Aencherynth to the south of Aeruillin trying to understand the Dryr Void phenomenon. Picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Image drawn by Quellion.
Describing a Dryr
is not an easy task. Coming too close might end one's life, or the person can be
swallowed by the phenomenon and whatever fate awaits after this has happened
nobody knows. What seems sure is that Dryr suddenly emerge out of nothingness,
first appearing as nothing more than a small glittering orb or a star floating
seemingly at random in the air. Such
apparitions by the way only happen very close to the ground, they never can be
observed further up
in the sky. At this point it is still safe to get out of the "entity's" way and
search for cover. As within moments the phenomenon will start to whirl, creating
some sort of eye in mid-air, comparable to
an eye of a storm, but there is more than
wind involved in this kind of turbulence. The
Dryr seems to
be mainly magically generated, some say
"motivated", as around the eye the created wind
will feature the weirdest colours, ranging from
sou'cald blue to the very
common korweyn gold, and
sparks and glittering stripes can be seen in the maelstrom. Some
observers claim that the colours generated by the Dryr seem to be directly related to the time of the
day, being drawn from the Void's
appearance at that time.
Having reached a diameter of up to 5 or 10 peds the Dryr seems fully developed. It will continue twirling and moving around close to the ground, very slow usually and in a fashion that appears as if the entity is searching for something. Some people claim that the phenomenon is searching for magical food to feast upon... A Dryr however will never hit a rock, a tree, a beast or a person by itself, only if someone gets deliberately in its way or tries to escape - then the Dryr will react vehemently (see Habitat/Behaviour). If you stay put it is said, an encounter with this phenomenon won't be dangerous at all. After a while of sweeping - usually after several minutes, sometimes even after a few blinks - the Dryr will disappear into nothingness again as if it never ever existed. - It should be added here that Dryr rarely show up alone. Various simultaneous sightings of Dryr within a certain region seem to confirm the thesis that they are all connected in a way.
As has already been mentioned
Dryr can appear
and disappear seemingly at will. A certain intelligence seems to be at work
here, as it is highly unlikely that a "magical
storm", which some call it, appears and disappears again for no apparent cause
in the middle of nowhere.
Other "abilities" are mere guesses, though they make common tales in Hjorian lore. For example that they represent passageways to unknown places inside the Void or that the fae gods speak through the Dryr to worshippers, but that only those of true belief can hear or see them. However, proof there is none.
Territory. Dryr have been spotted in the regions of the Nytheranian Dunes, the Desert of Light, the Sea of Hylmagor, sometimes even up until the Plain of the Forsaken in the southwestern part of the desert continent of Aeruillin. They seem to only appear in deserts and hot climates far away from settlements, but in general it is supposed that the influence of the Void is mainly responsible for the Dryr's existence. Therefore it cannot be said for sure whether climatical conditions or a certain type of landscape play a major role why Dryr appear.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Dryr's purpose, its habitat, mode of living, specifications on its life cycle and details about its death - all these things are practically unknown and heavily speculated upon. All that can be said about the Dryr is what one is able to observe when encountering this being - if it is a being at all, that is. Perhaps what can be seen on this plane of existence however is only a small part of the Dryr's actual existence, which might in fact emanate from the Void or another plane.
The only thing one can determine in order to speak from a Dryr as a "being" is its searching movement before it disappears again and the fact that several Dryr often appear within several strals at the same time. This has led some researchers and especially storytellers looking for spectacular stuff to interesting conclusions - the most prominent of these being the suggestion based on an old Hjorian tale that the Dryr are only part of another unseen magical creature, the so-called Xrychroen ("Hidden-Living"). Some believe that through the maws of the Dryr (therefore the name "Many-Maws") this creature seeks magical nourishment or tries to feel one's way somehow through the world - at least as far as it can reach as it seems to be connected directly to the Void. Some even say that the notorious Xrychroen entity is nothing more than a toddler trying to understand what is around its own existence, perhaps not even being aware of its own dangerousness to other entities.
Recently there have also been more systematic attempts to study the Void. For that purpose mages from all over Aeruillin have conducted, and in some cases are still conducting, experiments near the Void in order to generate or study various Void phenomenons. We'd like to quote one of our contacts, who has delivered some inside information in this respect to the Compendium, which also describes how the seemingly randomly appearing Dryr can be "conjured":
"As you are undoubtedly aware, it is a common belief that when one imagines
things whilst in proximity to the Void, those things can be brought into
fruition. What you might not be aware of, is that there have been several
embarkations, as of late, from a group associated with the Library in Hjoreh
with just such a goal in mind. I will explain more about this in due time. Each
group which has set out upon one of these 'creative' missions has had with them
a magician of substantial skill. While some success has been realized, the
failures are what might pertain to this 'phenomenon' of yours
and which the locals call 'Dryr' or 'Dryzyr'.
interesting observation Grevarius reports here, though it is not entirely clear,
what precisely makes the
Dryr appear - supposedly it is the magical
energy which couldn't be focused properly on the Void
and the Dryr now tries to absorb. Rumour has it that the experiments
unfortunately led to the death of some ambitious mages, who attempted to cast
spells on such a phenomenon. They then got drained of their own energies by the
unknown force or have been sucked up, never to be seen again. So far we haven't
gotten any official confirmation on any of those incidents though.
Diet. Due to the fact that it is unexplainable what a Dryr actually is, it is also dubious what it feasts on - and whether it feasts at all. However, horrible stories are often told of wanderers, who have been sucked into the maelstrom, swallowed forever. Many people of the region, and also even Ximaxian mages from Santharia, believe that the Dryr require people's auras and thus their - often unused - magical energies to persist, but why they don't attack travellers who stay absolutely calm when they meet these phenomenons nobody can say.
Mating. Dryr don't mate, at least not in any form we know and we could describe. Considering a Dryr is a being living somehow on magical energies it is likely that more energy can produce a stronger entity, or two of its kind. Taking away the magical energies from a Dryr would probably kill the entity, alas, so far no mage has managed to stand up to such a being a survive the direct confrontation.
Myth/Lore. Lore among the Hjorians dealing with the Dryr is diverse, ladden with fantastical elements and thus contradictory, speculative and often simply purely invented. The Hjorians are known by other Aeruillin tribes as excentric, some say "crazed", as believers in strange beings like faeries and pixies, and this seems to reflect as well in their tales they create about the Dryr. This makes it particularly difficult to separate truth from fiction.
One such story about the Dryr tells a tale where a man has lost wife, child and fortune in his life and decides to put an end to it. He goes out into the desert to die there, spending his time with prayers to the fae, still hoping for a last sign of his gods to help him find a new life with a meaning. At the third day in the middle of the night a Dryr appears in front of him and the man, already weak and half dead, enters it. The story continues with the man being found near another settlement, where his wounds are tended by the inhabitants. The man doesn't remember anything anymore where he had come from, but starts a new life in this settlement, eventually weds a woman and fathers a child. Only after dozens of years an elder of his former hometown recognizes the man. Was the Dryr a sign of the fae, a blessing?
Another, more gruesome tale speaks of a young mage who wanted to attempt to use the Dryr in order to recharge a magical artifact. Fate however decided that he should end up "recharging" the Dryr itself.
A bunch of stories also try to shed light on the Xrychroen, the magical and unseen Void creature that uses the Dryr as mouths to feast or get to know the world. It is strange how different these stories are - some of them bear a message of morality within them, others are used to keep people from getting near the Void, the sacred place, which is not meant for humans. - As you can see the Dryr's meaning is as ambivalent as its existence fleeting, and we probably will never know its true purpose.