Asrai are delicate water sprites who live in the pure waters of wild places. They are known as sjora in Ysgard, and are sometimes called water spirites in other lands. There are frequent legens of asrai in other hidden waterways, though these are difficult to confirm, given the creature's elusiveness and general hostility toward others.
Asrai are mischevous and mistrustful of larger creatures, rarely speaking except to insult them. They delight in using their hypnosis to cause chaos amongst big folk, luring sailors into the drink, distracting guards at their posts, and even guiding ships into shipwrecks with their hypnotic movements.
Legends say that asrai once served as guides throughout the waters of the world, but if they ever served this purpose, they've become irresponsible these days (perhaps due to their fragility).
Asrai are no more than four feet high, with long gold hair, and skin of cool, deep blue. They wear no clothing typically: the better to be adroid and agile swimmers.
Asrai are capable of banding together to create a hypnotic dance that can render many people shambling husks.
Asrai fade away when exposed to sunlight, and often seek refuge in shadowy places during the day. Some asrai ae especialy fragile, and cannot endure capture, or exposure to air, dying and fading away quickly when subjected to these experiences.
Asrai use arrows strung with fish guts that inflict a painful disease upon injuring an enemy, a way to ensure that after an enemy leaves, they don't come back for some time.
Asrai have a mystical pact by which they are protected from predators in the water: they eat no meat, and no meat-eater attacks them. This compels even creatures under magical influence to ignore the asrai.
Asrai are followed by creatures that feed on creatures the asrai have hypnotized. Sharks, giant pike, and other predatory fish may follow after them in pursuit of this prey, though the asrai aren't formally aligned with the creatures.
Asrai who live in the ocean domesticate dire flying fish for use as mounts.
Asrai ma ally with other nature spirits, such as oreads and dryads, to coordinate punishments accross many environments. In their aquatic homes, they ally with nixies, selkies, and sea elves, being close with the Seelie Court.
The asrai who dwell in the cosmic River Oceanus are close to the balaena, whose songs they understand.
Asrai travel in schools like fish, for mutual protection, and to be able to employ their hypnosis. Asrai leaders are called "Pilots," and they guide the school to areas rich with algae for them to feed on.
The Asrai Queen is said to dwell in a bottomless well, or a pure, everflowing spring, though there is much doubgt as to whether or not she actually exists -- the only stories of her come from the notoriously untrustworthy asrai themselves.
Asrai are preyed upon by hydroloths, slaadi, and marrenoloths. Less-than-ethical fisherfolk will sometimes lure asrai to the surface and then capture them. If they are clever and protect the asrai in darkness, they can be kept alive, and, in this state, they are very valuable to dealers in evil and sin.
- Dragon Magazine #191 (March 1993)
- Planes of Chaos (1994)