- "I hear their mocking whispers. Where trees are nurtured and loved, I am not. The Asur turned from me. Well, now I turn from them! I will sing when they come, but this time I will sing a different song..."
- —Lorili, Naiad of the Reik[1a]
- "I am not jealous. But if you choose her over me, I will take your children. Come, come, surely you can see it is a poor match! She is so... fat! And you... well, you are mine!"
- —Nihus, Naiad of the Blut
Naiads are beautiful and elusive nature spirits that inhabit some rivers of the Old World. Like Dryads, they are natural shapeshifters, and can assume a terrible war-form. They usually appear as slender elfin women with pale, blue-tinged flesh. They have white or blue hair and eyes, and they always seem to be wet. Naiads prefer seclusion, and ferociously defend their territory from perceived threats. They are inscrutable creatures, with deep passions that are quick to rise without warning.[1b]
The existence of Naiads is a matter of great debate. What cannot be contested is that many folk-tales are filled with various versions of pretty maidens in the water that lure men to their death. Some of these tales are more famous than others, but none more so than that of the Lorlay.[1a]
- "I see the maiden sitting
Atop jagg’d mount, so fair.
Her white eyes are a-glist’ning,
As she combs her golden hair.
With gentle hands a-preening,
She sings songs as old as time.
They’re powerful, appealing,
And so full of wondrous rhyme.
Hark, there, a boatman staring,
Enraptured by echoed ache,
Ignores cliffs without caring
That barge will share his fate.
The Reik too soon devours
Both boat and man this day,
Now we witness the power
Of my high-voic’ed Lorlay."
- —Franz-Heinrich Holzer
What makes this piece unique is that the Lorlay is an actual place. A large igneous rock formation, the Lorlay stands in the flow of the Reik, some 40 miles downstream of Grissenwald. It splits the great river in two, and the flow on either side is very fast indeed. Although it would be possible to bridge here, one has never been built. The travel inn close by makes considerable business from the romantic legend of Lorlay, and has become a popular spot for affluent Altdolfers to spend their last nights before marriage.[1a]
- "Securing reliable texts concerning Naiads is extremely difficult, but not impossible. For example, the Diaries of Inthelion has a possible reference: ‘My heart was lanced through when I received the order, for it meant we were to be parted. My beautiful wife cannot leave her flowing home. Unlike Orialthanus, I cannot disobey. I will return, but will never know joy again.’ For a more explicit, and vitriolic, description, Dwimmulsson’s Personal Book of Grudges: May They All Be Boiled In Oil provides us with: ‘Bloody Elves get their fingers into everything! Had to abandon the ships yesterday as they stopped floating. Bloody river spirits!’ So, it does seem likely something like Naiads did, if not do, exist. Perhaps they are related to the more commonly seen Dryads of Bretonnia?"
- —Sigo Bentele, Magister of the Light Order
[1a] The clarity of such extracts is rare and in direct contrast to the current attitudes of the scholars of the Elves and Dwarfs, all of whom seem reluctant to openly discuss the matter. This alone suggests that there is something to be investigated.[1a]