"Those Zaibach guys are serious about destroying Gaea. I'm going to try and stop them, but I'll do it my way."
He is the eldest son of the Fassa family, one of the oldest and richest merchant families of Asturia. His father, Meiden, is a trusted advisor of King Grava Aston, and Dryden is betrothed to his youngest daughter, Millerna Aston.
Dryden has dark brown hair and green eyes. He wears glasses and has a rather bohemian appearance. His hair is long, wavy and unkempt, tied at the top of his head with a band.
He wears a long brown coat over a white shirt and a second black hakama (usually worn over a kimono) tied at the waist with a pink and black striped sash, and also a long blue scarf wrapped loosely around his neck. He wears brown boots.
For his wedding to Millerna, he dons a more elaborate ensemble, consisting of formal blue Asturian lord Caeli-like robes with white turn-up cuffs and lapels, worn over a white shirt and a lighter layered, blue and gold brocade waistcoat and blue bloomer pants. He also wears black opera slippers with white socks, and a high-crowned blue hat with an enclosing brim that slants to one side which is decorated with a red feather.
Dryden is an intelligent, curious, outgoing, free spirit. He is very selfless and generous, using his fortune to help save Van's life, and risking his own head for Millerna's sake when Zaibach attacks Palas on their wedding day. He enjoys having individual freedom to travel and do what he wants, admiring Leon Schezar for his interest in exploring the world. Dryden hates war, gets frustrated with politics, and is a pacifist at heart. At times, Dryden can be blunt, and he might say things that could be taken as rude, even if he believes he's speaking the truth.
In the anime
"They would have attacked even if we had followed your prediction and called off the wedding. Anyway, I don't believe in fortune-telling."
Dryden is first mentioned by Eries when she tells Allen about Millerna's betrothal to him. Millerna has not seen Dryden since she was younger, and is concerned about the arrangement, to which she has not consented.
Following Van's heavy injuries in battle due to his bond with Escaflowne, the Crusade encounters Dryden's merchant convoy. Aboard his ship, Dryden is seen with the mermaid Sylphy. He bought her just so she could go free, foreshadowing his later act of charity to save Van's life. His adviser, the Rat Man, scolds him for throwing his money away to save the mermaid, but Dryden defends his decision.
He meets his betrothed, Millerna, for the first time. Dryden tells her that she's grown into a beautiful woman, and plays up his assets to try and get her interested in him, telling her that he's rich, smart, and handsome. She is overwhelmed, and he recognizes it's not yet the time and place for him to try to impress her, since he has to attend to Van's injuries.
Based on his knowledge of Guymelefs, Dryden explains that the only way to fix this problem would be to fix Escaflowne itself, so he calls the Ispano to repair it. When they demand a repair cost of fifty million, Dryden offers his merchant convoy as payment. Despite the reluctance of the Rat Man and the rest of the group, he has no qualms about such a selfless act.
Due to his interest in the Mystic Valley and the Atlanteans and his belief that Atlantis lies at the heart of the mystery, Dryden has Millerna ask Allen to borrow the diary of Allen's father, Leon Schezar. Dryden figures out that it is written in the language of the Mystic Moon, and he reads entries from the diary to the group. Allen is irritated that his father left his home and family just to "find some woman," but Dryden admires Leon's adventurous spirit. Allen reaches a breaking point and has to leave the room, and they have a brief confrontation in which Allen says he doesn't think they'll be friends, and Dryden says he's glad to hear that.
The group arrives in Atlantis, where Dryden discovers more about the Atlanteans through Hitomi's reading of the monument. They return to Palas, and Dryden and Millerna decide to go through with their wedding. However, their wedding day is ruined when Zaibach attacks. Structures begin to fall apart, and Dryden injures himself protecting Millerna. She tends to his wounds by ripping the sleeves off of her dress. Hitomi explains what went wrong, but Dryden says he doesn't believe it would have gone differently if she wouldn't have switched the fortunes; Zaibach was going to attack regardless. He recovers from his wounds, and helps in the rebuilding efforts in the Asturian countryside.
Before the final battle, Dryden has a conversation with Millerna in which he expresses frustration with war and politics. He gives Millerna his wedding ring and tells her that he's not worthy of her yet, and plans to go away and travel. Millerna says she isn't sure if she'll be waiting, and Dryden tells her he'll make her fall for him, because he loves her.
In the final scene, Dryden is seen aboard his ship with the Rat Man, watching Hitomi return to Earth.
In the movie
Dryden plays a minor role as a financial backer of the Abaharaki. When Hitomi and Van return to Torushina, they, along with the rest of the Abaharaki, meet with Dryden, who explains to Hitomi that there are two possible outcomes of her being the Wing Goddess: she could destroy or save the world.
Dryden shares his musical theme, "Perfect World," with Leon Schezar.
An instrumental version of "Perfect World" plays in both the first and last scene in which Dryden appears, first with Sylphy and in his final scene with Millerna.
- Dryden first appeared in Episode 14, but was talked about in Episode 7.
- According to the Escaflowne Compendium, Dryden has been traveling abroad for five years before he meets Millerna and the others. The Rat Man hints at this when Dryden gives his convoy to pay for Escaflowne's repair: "But young master! It's taken five years to accumulate that!"
- Eries calls Dryden Meiden's "eldest son," but there is no other mention of any siblings.