A nymph is any member of a large class of female nature entities, either bound to a particular location or landform or joining the retinue of a god or goddess, particularly Artemis , goddess of the hunt. Nymphs were the frequent target of lusty satyrs.
"The idea that rivers are gods and springs divine nymphs," Walter Burkert remarks (Burkert III.3.3) "is deeply rooted not only in poetry but in belief and ritual; the worship of these deities is limited only by the fact that they are inseparably identified with a specific locality." Nymphs are personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature, most often identified with the life-giving outflow of springs. The Greek word νύμφη has "bride" and "veiled" among its meanings: hence, a marriagable young woman. Other readers refer the word (and also Latin nubere and German Knospe) to a root expressing the idea of "swelling" (according to Hesychius, one of the meanings of νύμφη is "rose-bud"). The home of the nymphs is on mountains and in groves, by springs and rivers, in valleys and cool grottoes. They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the huntress Artemis; the prophetic Apollo ; the reveller and god of wine, Dionysus ; and with rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes (as the god of shepherds).
The symbolic marriage with a nymph of a patriarchal leader, often the eponym of a people, is repeated endlessly in Greek origin myths; clearly such a union lent authority to the archaic king and to his line.
Nymphs take the appearance of young, beautiful, gentle girls. They are not immortal, though they are very long-lived, and their lives end with the death of a particular natural object, such as a tree, to which they are attached. Often wrshipped in grottoes and natural shrines, Nymphs personify the fertile and creative powers of nature, such as the life-giving flow of fresh-water springs.
Various aspects of nature have their own particular kind if Nymph:
Water Nymphs, called Nereids, are similar to Mermaids. The 3,000 Oceanids, the Nymphs of the oceans, are the daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.
Land Nymphs are linked to particular geographic locations. Oreids, who inhabit mountains and ravines, often accompany Artemis on hunting expeditions. Alseids protect glens and groves, while Auloniads are found in pastures and mountain valleys, often in the retinue of Pan.
Wood Nymphs are identified with particular species of trees. Often their bodies become part of the trees they inhabit. Dryads are associated with oak trees, Hamadryads with nut, elm and fig trees, and Meliae with ash trees. Ovid tells the story of Daphne, the Nymph who becomes a laurel tree. The god of love Eros wounds Apollo the god of the Sun, with an arrow, causing him to fall in love with Daphne, daughter of the river god Peneus. A follower of Artemis and vowed to chastity, Daphne runs away from her pursuer. Just as Apollo is about to catch her, Daphne cries out to her father for help. The moment the cry leaves her lips, her skin turns to bark, her hair to leaves, her arms to branches and her feet to roots. Embracing the lovely laurel tree, Apollo declares it sacred and winds a laurel wreath around his brow.
The Nymphs are essentially physical incarnations of the forces of nature such as water or wind. They are a mysterious race, believed to have been created to preserve what is called "The Great Balance" As a result, they are spirits of neither good nor evil and will aid the side that is necessary to preserve or realign the afore mentioned balance.
Nymph legend says that they were created by an entity believed to be the source of all things natural to which they refer to as Shialakzoran, which literally means “Nymph mother” in ancient Esirian. This may also refer to Aurosozahnah, High Goddess of Nature from the ancient days prior to the Mianorite invasion. Shialakzoran, though highly revered, has never been worshiped by the nymphs. It is due to the nature of their relationship resembling more of a bond between a mother and her children as opposed to a goddess and her followers. As such, nymphs consider themselves all part of one big family. They refer to each other as cousin, if speaking to a nymph of another element, but will refer to nymphs of the same elemental alignment as sister.
All nymphs are female, however due to their longevity it is not necessary that they procreate. Which prevents their population from growing out of control or dwindling. Nymphs can born from nature itself, one day appearing from a minor gust of wind or newly budded tree in spring. They may also be born through mating with other sufficient races (depending on the race, mortal or immortal). Depending on the nymph, in the case of a female offspring, it will be born a nymph. This method of nymph creation is usually very rare, due to their nature of separating themselves from mortal society.
Nymphs exist in an unusual state of limbo between life and death. In a general sense nymphs are immortal, however some nymphs can be killed or made mortal through rare circumstances, secrets that nymphs guard dearly.
Air nymphs refer to nymphs that are attuned to the air element. They spend most of their time in the skies, and may affect the weather through their manipulation of air currents. They are widely known for their beautiful singing voices, which rival mermaids and sirens. Air nymphs are probably the most populous nymph and can be found almost anywhere, from the smallest of breezes brushing through the leaves, to the fiercest of storms raging above. Despite their population they are one of the most elusive and most refuse to interact with humans and other mortal races. It is said that an air nymph never stays in one place for too long, and do not usually make emotional attachments. Contrary to popular belief, air nymphs cannot be captured in jars, enchanted or not, however they can be trapped in containers made of celesite.
Most air nymphs are born from the first breath a mortal baby breathes. They are truly immortal, however they can succumb to sickness if the air becomes polluted. This can lead to strange weather occurrences, or stagnant air. Air nymphs can be further divided into two different classes, the most common being the wind nymphs, the least common being the storm nymphs. Despite being “sisters” they are fairly different from one another.
Wind Nymphs are most recognized for their long white flowing hair, which waves in the wind as they dance and fly. Those who have been graced with a wind nymph's presence will recall how they never remain in a tangible state. Their long hair covers their breasts and from the waist down they are nothing but shifting winds. They are translucent, being able to partially see through them, and their eyes are shades of gray.
Wind nymphs are the most passive as well as the most common of all nymphs. They strictly refrain from contact with mortals, especially humans, and stick to their roles as observers or guardians. They are kind and compassionate beings, known for being very understanding, to those who gain their audience. They are also known for their beautiful singing voices, and their dancing capability. There have been cases where a wind nymph appeared before someone gifted with a beautiful singing voice, singing along with the person. They are free spirited and will literally go wherever the wind blows them, riding on the currents of air.
Wind nymphs have control over any sort of wind, some even having the ability to control gale winds. They may conjure a gentle breeze to rock a baby in a cradle to sleep, or dance along sails of ships sending them into endless circles. It is said that the wind nymphs know all that occurs in the world presently.
Storm Nymphs are quite contrasting from their wind nymph sisters. Their hair is curly however it is still long and has a general flow to it. In most cases their hair is dark grey or even black signifying their seniority. Their skin complexion is gray, a noticeable difference to the wind nymph's pale skin. They stay intangible like their wind nymph sisters; however it is of great offence to walk through a storm nymph. While tangible they have bronze shoulder pads with jagged spikes, indicating lighting. Their hair also covers their chest but they are also wearing dark material over their chests behind the hair. They wear a purple translucent skirt that shimmer yellow depending on the angle of the light.
Storm nymphs are not quite as passive as their wind nymph sisters however; they similarly do not enter into conflicts not concerning themselves. They primarily travel with storm clouds, and may even conjure up storm clouds on their own. It is very easy to offend a storm nymph, if one happens to pass through a storm nymph, be prepared to dodge lightning. They may also be offended if they overhear one speaking poorly about nymphs in general or if they simply don’t like said person. Storm nymphs usually live over the ocean where storm clouds usually form, spinning from one cloud to the next.
Storm nymphs have the power to conjure up storm clouds, or change normal clouds into storm clouds. They can turn a clear blue sky into a dark one filled with the rumbling of thunder. They are also capable of creating sandstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, which is why most people tend not to like storm nymphs. Storm nymphs are also capable of calling forth lightning, especially unusual coloured bolts of lighting, such as green or purple.
Earth nymphs are nymphs attuned to the earth and all things within, ie minerals, and gems. They are immediately recognized by their brown skin, and they have the darkest skin tone of all of the nymphs, which is quite unusual since they live underground. Their hair is usually black or brown, depending on the nymph she may keep it long or short not wanting it to get in the way. Their eyes are vivid, blues, reds, greens, and yellows. Earth nymphs wear a variety of clothing. The traditional earth nymph wears armour made from diamond, sapphire or other strong metals and gems. Earth nymphs who have chosen to live in society wear clothing of fabric as the other people do in the chosen society.
Ever since the birth of the first kingdoms of Elenlond, earth nymphs have served not only as protectors of the balance, but protectors of ancient treasures as well. They have the ability to become stone, giving them the appearance of statues that may stay dormant for eons until awakened by an intruder. These guardians are referred to as Statuettes. However one must gain the favour of an earth nymph in order to obtain one. They are fiercely loyal, and will fight viciously for all they love. They marry into dwarven or gnomish families quite often, and live with their husbands, raising their children together as a family. Female offspring of dwarf/gnome and earth nymphs are always earth nymphs. Earth nymphs get along with dwarves quite well, they say the greatest weapons were drawn from the earth by an earth nymph and forged by a dwarf. In very rare cases, earth nymphs will marry a human. This is highly unlikely however, because earth nymphs prefer to live under the ground.
Earth nymphs have control over earth, rocks and minerals. They may shape it into any form they desire, as well as move it in a sort of limited telekinesis. They can shift the earth, causing it to tremor slightly, or quake violently. They can “slip” in, out and around stone as if it were water. Earth nymphs may also turn their bodies into an almost impenetrable stone. While in that state they are at their most vulnerable. An earth nymph is usually immortal however it is said that a sewing needle made from a mixture of gold and meteorite fragments punctured into their skin will make them completely mortal.
Mountain nymphs are essentially the same as earth nymphs except they live solely on mountains. These nymphs however prefer to live in isolation instead of infusing themselves into society. These nymphs are noticeably taller than all their nymph cousins and they do not wear regular clothing as integrated earth nymphs do. Mountain nymphs though living in seclusion will help travellers who have gotten lost or need aid. However they produce a nymph mist similar to wood nymphs that cause the traveller to merely think that it was all a dream.
Water nymphs are attuned to water in its various forms though ice nymphs are restricted to water in its solid. While ocean and river nymphs are restricted to water in its liquid and gaseous form. Water nymphs spend most of the time within the water and are known for their rivalry with mermaids. Most nymphs dislike their watery sisters because of their flirtatious behaviour and their habit of seducing males who happen to cross their path. They can easily be found lying on the banks of rivers or on rocky outcrops in the sea enjoying the sun or simply combing their hair. They are notorious peepers and if one happens to hear giggling while bathing in a river waterfall or beach, in most cases it’s a water nymph. Water nymphs are said to be the most beautiful of all nymphs and are excellent seers. Many water and ice nymphs can see the future from pools of water.
Ocean and River Nymphs (The common water nymph)
They are generally the same; however one always lives in the ocean and one in the river. An ocean nymph for reasons unexplained are not capable of entering rivers and will simply stand on it as if it were solid ground which is vice versa for river nymphs. Their skin is slightly blue though they may lose this colour if they spend long periods of time out of water, making them appear almost human. Their hair comes in a variety of blues and usually has some sort of sea plant in it. Their clothing is comprised of seaweed and shells in most cases and they have the habit of wearing sunken treasure or coral as jewellery. Their eyes are almost enchanting causing those who gaze into them to be attracted to them, and are usually blue-green.
There have been many cases where a water nymph and a male (in most cases a fisherman or sailor) will fall in love. Though water nymphs are quite fickle in relationships there have been cases where they become betrothed to whom they will love for the rest of their lives. Water nymphs are passionate lovers and it is possible for a water nymph to literally die of a broken heart. Water nymphs that die become sea foam and exist simply as water. They may be born as the female child of a water nymph and another immortal or from women who die by or in the water.
Similar to their cousins they too may turn into an elemental variation of themselves though only in a liquid state. Unlike air nymphs however, they may be trapped in bottles or jars. They also have the capability to purify water to make it adequate for life as well as drinking. The purest springs are almost always tended to by a water nymph. The rivalry between water nymphs and mermaids is actually quite fierce and has erupted into battles in times past. In many cases the seas far from land are the most dangerous as that is where they are most likely to do battle.
they are water nymphs who were created far north. They are quite different from their warmer sisters. They live usually in wastelands of ice or in frozen pools of water. They too are also very beautiful though they use it more in a manner to punish mortals. Their skin is a much paler blue and their hair is dark blue usually sprinkled with snow. Their eyes are a piercingly bright ice blue. Ice nymphs wear dresses of blue with fur and trims though they may also wear jagged armour of ice which won’t melt even in direct heat of the sun. They use their beauty to lure shallow men into their territory in which they freeze them to death as punishment. Unlike their sisters they are not as flirtatious and are unsurprisingly cold to others. They are rather isolated from their cousins and keep themselves separate from mortals and most other creatures. They control ice similarly to how earth nymphs control earth, and they may also “slip” through ice in a similar manner.
Unlike many of the other nymphs, there are queen ice nymphs who are recognized for their power or wisdom. Queens usually assemble groups of ice nymphs together for their entourage. Ice nymphs are not as populous as other nymphs and may be born through the rare union of a man and an ice nymph though it is more common that one will just happen to find an ice nymph born and on her own, especially after a blizzard. A fiery salamander’s saliva is capable of making an ice nymph mortal, and therefore vulnerable.
Wood nymphs are attuned to all plant life. They are seen as the most spiritual of the nymphs. Wood nymphs are almost always in all forests and in some reside in castle gardens. They are fairly common however they too are also elusive though they perhaps interact with humans and elves the most. They are widely known for their celebrations as well as their blessings of plant productivity. They are great tricksters of the forest and are fierce protectors of it as well willing to sacrifice themselves in order to protect it.
Wood nymphs usually have a slight green skin tone though are predominantly fairly tanned. Their hair is either a rich brown or a shade of green, or in some cases a mix of both. Their eyes have the enchanting ability to withhold the attention of whom she desires and come in a variety of colours usually relating to the tree that one is born from or their mother. They wear clothing fashioned from plant leaves, petals, bark and other related materials. They are said to be almost as beautiful as their water nymph cousins. They are a regal people and hold dearly onto tradition, celebrating the changes in the seasons or simply a harvest moon. They are a very cheerful people.
Plant life is very dear to them and though they are capable of manipulating it they are always wary not to use it simply as a tool. They are valiant protectors of the Great Balance and many of them become warriors in order to observe the matters within the world. Some nymphs complete a ceremony known simply as the bonding, in which a nymph bonds her very existence to a tree or in rare cases a plant. This grants the nymph immense power capable of moving entire forests or causing a plain of grass to grow unimaginably high. The risk that comes with it however is that if the tree is killed the nymph bonded to the tree will die as well.
Nymphs may be reborn by burying their body underneath the seed of a tree and in a few years a young nymph will step out of a young tree, completely unaware of her past. A nymph may also be born through the mating of a nymph and some type of forest spirit which guarantees that the female daughter is a full blooded nymph. In rare cases though not quite uncommon a nymph and a mortal, usually an elf or a human, will elope or mate which doesn’t always guarantee that the daughter born will be a nymph but the half child will have some nymph abilities. Nymph blood will forever flow through the daughters of the family and in some cases a descendant of a nymph will be born a full-blooded wood nymph.
Similar to ice nymphs, powerful wood nymphs will lay claim to an entire forest and become the queen of the entire wood or forest. The queen is usually bonded to a tree deep within the forest and it is her duty to protect everything and everyone within the forest. Wood nymphs are usually well acquainted to humans because of they often appear out of the blue to help people who have become lost in the forest. They are connected very closely to both people as well as spirits and are viewed as the true in between.
These nymphs are the second rarest nymph and it is almost impossible for one to catch even a glimpse of one. As their name states they are nymphs that control fire and are capable of producing their own. They are very elusive and can perhaps count on their fingers the amount of times they have interacted with the human race. Their skin comes in tones of slight red or orange to a vivid yellow. Their hair is usually a fiery orange or brownish red and their eyes range from red to yellow. It’s not very concise whether the clothing they wear is simply fire or something else that gives the appearance of fire.
Not much is known about them except that they are born from a natural bolt of lightning that strikes something and catches fire and that they come in time of need.
The light nymphs are the most elusive and rare nymphs of the entire nymph race. They do not necessarily control light but may manipulate the light that is there. Their hair is a very bright yellow that could almost be called white. Their eye colours are the various colours found within the rainbow. Their skin is a pale yellow and they wear golden dresses of light. They have never spoken to anyone outside of the nymph race though they have been slightly glimpsed while in a ray of sunlight. No one really knows how they are born or how they die, though it is wide knowledge that light nymphs love to dance. They are said to be the greatest dancers, and can be sometimes glimpsed while twirling in the first rays of sunlight or in the aura of the moon’s light at night. Legend has it that they are polite, though nothing much is known about them.