From The Orthorbbae Library
Origins of the Drow
A new race was born from the tribes of dark and light that took refuge in the underworld. Their bewildered and frightened parents named their strange children 'drow', for the ashen color their skin and hair had taken. Their eyes, still as bright as their parents, could see better in the dark. The newly born race was different and overall, more adapted to their parents' new underworld environment.
At first, elves did not take to their new progeny well. Those that were not killed at birth grew, and prejudice was high. With time however, it began to dawn upon them that no new elves were being born in the underworld. Acceptance took time and soon became fact, and with no new elven children the race of elves were slowly fading away with every death. The drow were quick to fill any gap their parents leave behind, and their increasing appearance in society became the norm.
The drow were at first split into two sub-races: the drowolath, named for their darker skin; and the drowussu, named for their lighter skin. Of the two, the drowolath children of dark elves were the greater majority. The drowussu minority, like their light elven parents, favored places of light.
Even in their success, the drow, like their elven parents, began to face similar challenges from their own changed kin.
Like the elves birthed the drow, the drow eventually begun to birth the xuile'solen. In the far reaches of the underworld where the lights of society had failed and life was difficult and cruel, this new race came to be. The xuile'solen are, at first glance, drow born without eyes. They thrive in a world devoid of sight, relying upon their other honed senses. Also unlike the drow, their auras are small and their teeth and jaw are more suited for bestial predators, allowing them to open their mouths to an unnatural degree to swallow some smaller prey whole. -- Most societies cast out babies born as xuile'solen, if not kill them outright. Those that are lucky to survive are often taken up by wandering tribes of their own kind.
The newest of the races are the red-eyed Ver'drowendar. The Ver'drowendar are unlike the other races, in that they were not born the way they are. They were drow or elves whose aura was changed, seeded with a netherworld parasite. The effect of the seeding permanently turns the host's eyes a shade of solid red, giving them the nickname 'tainted'. The reasons for being tainted are varied and not always on purpose -- some undergo the seeding for personal gain, while others are 'infected' due to encounters with nether creatures. The nether parasite feeds upon and grows within the host's aura, yet its presence also immunizes the host's aura from being seeded by other parasites.
The drowolath are one of the subraces that developed from the dark elves who fled from the surface at the end of the Moons Age war.
- Average Height - Females: 2.25m / 7'4, Males: 2.08m / 6'10
- Drowolath skin is dark chocolate brown, but depending on the region can come in Mimian coal black, Tei'kaliath pale brown, or Nuqrah'sharian light brown.
- Drowolath eyes can be shades of brown, dark grey, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta and violet.
- Drowolath hair is usually white; in earlier generations, some coloring inherited from dark elf ancestry remains.
- Drowolath ears are long and pointed.
The drowolath are one of several genetic descendants from the dark elves of the surface, having evolved since their exodus from the surface. While features vary, they almost always tend towards fine-boned structures. The further removed a drowolath is from their dark elf ancestor, the more 'drow'-like they become; a second or third generation drowolath might still retain the dark hair color with only some white, while a tenth generation might be lucky enough to have a slight coloring left. Because there is little variation in hair color and body shapes, many drow dye their hair, paint their faces, get tattoos or adorn their bodies with precious gems to set them apart from others.The females are the dominant gender, being larger and stronger then their male counterparts, and this has dictated their entire cultural code.
- Drowolath possess auras, and are able to use Mana Arts.
- Drowolath eyes are able to see into the extended spectrum, able to see well in the dark and view heat sources.
- Drowolath age at a ratio of 2:1 (2 years to every 1 human equivalent year; i.e., they age at half speed.) Mental aging is only two years behind the human equivalent. (ie. a 10 year old drowolath is the mental equivalent of an 8 year old human.)
- Drowolath stop aging at age approximately age sixty.
The drowolath body is highly adapted to survive in its subterranean environment. With excellent darkvision, the drow are a hearty race whose aura provides them a distinct advantage in living in the often times dangerous habitat they have settled in. For the most part, drow aging is linked to their proximity to areas of accrued mana, which has proven to provide longevity to the race; a drowolath that lives in a large population of other aura-bearing beings is, for all intents and purposes, immune to the effects of aging.
The drowolath fae bodies tend to be lean, as they do not constantly accumulate fat for the hard times; instead, the body efficiently leeches the nutrients out of whatever food they eat over the course of a couple days. Drow, in general, do not eat a great deal, and the foods they do eat are generally not rich.
Further, mana plays a major role in the sustainment of the drow body; along with stopping the aging process, it also makes the drow need for food and sleep less pronounced as it takes over some of the physical maintenance those things provide. Nothing will affect a drowolath's condition quite as drastically as mana deprivation.
Drowolath birth rates are not outstanding, although whether this is linked to their mana dependancy, or their environmental and economic situation is unclear. The drowolath breed slower than the humans, but faster then their drowussu cousins, and also have a higher mortality rate - though this last point is mostly cultural.
Drowolath, in general, are well-adapted to their habitat and are generally very resiliant yet retain a very strong independancy streak. While this does not mean they are incapable of living in large groups - quite the opposite - what it does mean is that interpersonal bonds and material attachments are a more fluid concept to them then other races. It is no small thing for a drowolath to favor different things in a matter of days. Additionally, being such a long-lived species, as a drowolath ages they often grow less and less concerned with short-lived issues and do not get so caught up in trifling, daily matters. The weight of time can often lead to a great many mental conditions as a result of insufficiently coping with the march of years.
Ultimately, there is no guaranteed mental pattern for the drowolath, as diversity and breadth of thought is one of this race's major traits.
Drowolath culture is an incredibly varied thing, yet at the same time can be tracked into varied patterns. The most obvious social facet is the Clan system, where the nine Great Clans each have their own traditions, perceptions, prejudices, and atmosphere. For the Val'Illhar'dro, everything is a celebration of creation, and the ability to make beautiful things is highly respected, whereas in the Val'Sarghress, how one looks or what one can make are perhaps less important than how powerful or cunning one is. To further complicate matters are the numbers Minor Clans, Houses, and common populations which develop social stigmas and trends sometimes independant of the Great Clans. In short, drowolath culture is fluid, constantly evolving, and as strikingly fascinating as it is, at times, dangerous.
The drowussu are one of the subraces that developed from Light Elves who fled from the surface at the end of the Moons Age war. The rude term for drowussu is "drowhiir".
- Average Height - Females: 2m / 6'7, Males: 2.13m / 7'
- Drowussu skin is gray, with minor variations on the tone. Nuqrah'shareh Drowussu appear even lighter than other regions.
- Drowussu eyes can be shades of brown, yellow, gray, green, blue and violet.
- Drowussu hair retains its color longer through generations, but it is almost always pale if any coloring exists.
The drowussu are descendants of the Vanir that fled the surface to the underworld with the Dokkalfar at the end of the Moons Age. The reasons behind their deviation in, among other things, skin coloring, is unknown. Although fine featured, like the drowolath, drowussu hair manages to retain its color longer throughout the generations, and so coloring is more possible than the dark-skinned cousins. Shades of turquoise, brown, and yellow are not unheard of, although almost always pale. The use of dyes is still prevalent, as some may darken their natural shade or pattern their hair for style or in accordance with religious doctrine. All Kyorl'solenurn drowussu have a forehead marking that denotes their status and duties in Chelian drowussu society.
While still dominant, drowussu females are physically smaller than the males.
- Drowussu possess auras, and are able to use Mana Arts.
- Drowussu eyes are able to see into the extended spectrum, able to see in the dark and heat sources, but not as well as drowolath
- Drowussu age at a ratio of 2:1 (2 years to every 1 human equivalent year; i.e., they age at half speed.) Mental aging is only two years behind the human equivalent. (ie. a 10 year old drowussu is the mental equivalent of an 8 year old human.)
- Drowussu stop aging at age approximately age sixty.
For the most part, the drowussu body works like the drowolath body; very little differences there. Although their eyesight is not quite as well suited to the Underworld, they still have the same mana dependancy and physiology with only minor differences, at best. While most of the principles for drowolath still apply to the drowussu, there are some major differences that can't be ignored. Aside from the cosmetic and male/female differences, the drowussu also have a much slower birth rate then their drowolath cousins. Even though they also have a lower mortality rate because of their walled communities and well-trained protectors, this birth rate issue keeps them in the minority.
Unlike their more chaotic, flexible, dynamic and adaptable cousins, the drowussu as a whole are far more orderly and structured. Comfortable in organized groups, and very familiar to teamwork, the drowussu tend to be very community-oriented. In general, the drowussu form lasting bonds and attachments to individuals, items or places where those same bonds are malleable to the drowolath. While they are less open to change because of this, there is still a resilience to their mindset as they turn to each other for strength to deal with issues. Combined with the religious indoctrination that all drowussu receive at a young age, and most of the entire race is extremely loyal to the group.
Another common occurrence with this group mentality is that those who do not conform to the accepted norm are either reconditioned or punished, and there is a very clear line between 'insider' and 'outsider' to the drowussu mind.
Drowussu culture purposefully segregates itself from drowolath populations as both a protective measure and an indoctrination one, and their entire race in Chel'el'Sussoloth falls under the Val'Kyorl'solenurn banner (In Nuqrah'shareh, all drowussu are slaves save for the few that may remain in the Dusk clan). If a drowussu does not belong to this clan, then they are shunned and reviled, and treated hostilely if they are come across outside the fortress borders. Though this might seem harsh, it is in part this mentality that has allowed them to survive amongst the much larger drowolath population without being destroyed.
The drowussu establish lasting bonds of family and friendship, strengthening the sense of community with every member striving towards the greater good of the Clan and kind.
Whereas the drowolath culture mates freely, the drowussu are more conservative, and actually marry in extended partnerships. While death dissolves these bonds, it is not unheard of for a couple to part ways; sometimes life carries two on separate paths for a time, and when a partnership has reached a completion, both may choose to move on.
All drowussu attend their isolated school for religious indoctrination, where they are taught the 'truths' about life in the Underworld while being conditioned to be hardworking and loyal members of the community. There, they learn their roles and learn to take them seriously, all in the interests of slowly increasing the Kyorl'solenurn clan's strength.
Rarities, these troubled individuals walk the line between the two diametrically opposed psychologies of the drowolath and the drowussu, part of both but not quite fitting in well with either. Oftentimes indecisive and unmotivated, it is a struggle for these half-breeds to find their place in drow society. While such an event as acceptance and happiness is possible, it is even more difficult to achieve. Physically, they are a hybrid of the two races, blending features and traits which depends entirely on their inherited genes. There are no averages for the half-breeds, no common traits; each one is a unique blend of their parents, and it is never guaranteed which traits will manifest more strongly than others.
Aside from the many mixblood members of the destroyed Val'Dutan'vir clan, half-breeds are extremely rare. It is culturally unacceptable for interracial cultures to exist and produce children.
The proper word for the 'tainted', this is a term that refers to all of the drow subraces (including Xuile'solen) which have been seeded by a demonic entity. They are virtually identical, physically, to their original race, though their iris turns red (and occasionally gains a faint glow to it, depending on the strength of the seed). Additionally, the ver'drowendar aura can be detected as a tainted aura by anyone using manasight, and many of the Clans frown on those that have been seeded by a demon, remembering old predjudices about tainted wretches or seeing the tainted as a threat to all life. Ver'drowendar therefore face restricted opportunities, especially when it comes to clan membership.
A ver'drowendar that is lucky enough to fuse with their nether seed becomes one with the demon. The change goes almost unnoticed, save for a white swirl completely replacing the irises. It is suggested that a personality change comes with this merging, stemming from coming to terms with one's demon parasite.
Because of their taint, the ver'drowendar are immune to the effects of ethereal demons and cannot be seeded a second time, nor can they be possessed by any demon other than their seed.
The Sightless are the eyeless, malformed cousins of the drow that were unlucky enough to be ill adapted to the biological changes brought on by the mists. It is also reported that among the later generations, xuile'solen are being born, and although causes are unknown it is suggested that the mists have devastating effects on drow the longer they stay in the Underworld. Most xuile'solen are slavering wild fae but a few retain intelligence--some are even trained to be servants and slaves for the drowolath population. However, in the distant northern city of Char the harbors a tribe of Xuile'solen that are able to completely destroy traditionally summoned creatures despite having no means to manipulate mana on their own.
Height Chart Comparison
Revised heights for various races (note that some height numbers on this wiki page are approximate based on this chart):
This article reflects events up to chapter 46.