Dark-Elves (Drothë)
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The Dark-Elves of Corwyn are also commonly known as Drow, Drotharum, or Drûlka. These evil elves are extremely rare on the surface and are usually killed on sight by surface humans, dwarves and especially other elves. These elves have silver, gray, or white hair, black, gold, or red eyes, and jet black skin. Most Dark-Elves reside in the vast underground realm of Drotharë, but can be found throughout the Underdark. These elves are physically very similar to surface elves in build and facial expression, but their skin coloring and their evil ways easily set them apart from other elvish races.

CULTURE


Dark-Elves are, on the whole, sadistic, treacherous, and destructive. They view themselves as the rightful heirs to Corwyn, and still remember the great surface empire in the East they controlled many millennia ago. Dark-Elves still feel the the sting they perceive as the injustice of being driven from their home and under the ground. They hate other races, especially the other sub-races of elves. Most wish to make war upon other elves and destroy them, and view all other races with contempt who and tolerate them only as necessary for trade or temporary military allies.

Even among their own kind, Dark-Elves are cruel and suspicious. There is little room for love and friendship in their society. They may value alliances with other family members or acquaintances, but none really trusts each other. Dark-Elves only forge alliances when they know they are more powerful than their 'ally,' and usually possess blackmail worthy knowledge or share a common enemy that overrides their mutual hatred. Even then, the Dark-Elves keep their eyes open for the slightest hint of treachery. The motto of the Drothë may as well be "Do onto others before they can do onto you."

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SOCIETY


The single, most important aspect of Drow society is the Matriarchy. Dark-elven dogma has long mandated recognizing female drow as more valuable than males. In fact, to most drow females, males were considered almost worthless, socially. This structure gave female drow practically unlimited power in the theocratic drow society. Males who hoped to find any place of power in society often resorted to ends as treacherous as the females that ruled drow society; hoping to perhaps win a coveted place as the mate of a powerful matron mother. Arcane magic and the Drow Military were the only routes for power for male drow, though senior ranks were allowed only to a few select males. While they were still socially inferior to every female drow, male military officers and battle-mages weren’t in real danger of being killed by a priestess, while even accomplished male military commanders could still be executed even for perceived insults to any ranking female drow priestess.

It would be easy to imagine that drow females, by comparison, had it much easier, but this was an illusion, and their prestigious position within society came at a high cost. In fact, the teachings of Lolth and the drive to gain more power over others made competition between female drow, particularly those who belonged to powerful houses, violently competitive in a way that males did not have to cope with. Matters were even worse for those who sought power through venues outside of Lolth's church, where the females had to compete not only with one another but with resentful and oppressed males.

The vast majority of Drow live in huge underground city-states, ruled by an aristocracy within a theocratic, matriarchal and militaristic society. Most Drow city-states had trade relationships with neighboring civilizations, but were usually at war with one another. While called “city-states“, drow didn’t form states. These cities were badly organized, in fact they weren’t cities but more clusters of drow, with the most powerful family groups taking the best lands and resources for themselves, who then formed the “city’s“ nobility. These cities were ruled by the most powerful of the families (or Noble Houses) and although the power of the many families changed often, the top few usually remained stable. Desperation, oppression and poverty, were the general rule in such a city. The standard drow city paralyzed its own growth through infighting. These noble Houses were in close physical vicinity to each other within these families’, more precisely the within the strongest territory was usually a public temple to Lolth. Drow cities tended to provide a chaotic and messy sight because they didn’t care to have a uniform architecture style. Still, their architecture was considered something to marvel at and more wealthy holdings got faerie fire decoration. These cities had farm land, where slaves worked to get meat and crops. As a rule of thumb, half to two-third of a given drow settlement’s population consisted of slaves or non-drow without rights.

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RELIGION


Most Dark-Elves worship the Spider-Queen, the deity of their religion. The Spider is their holiest symbol. The Dark-elf society is matriarchal and most high-ranking females are priests of the Spider-Queen. Religion was of utmost importance ot the Dark-Elves, in that their culture has evolved into a Theocracy. Drow cities were normally ruled by the high priestesses. Drow priestesses saw their meaning of life in pleasing a goddess. They hoped to gain the favor of their goddess and enforced others into compliance with their goddess' dogma through violence. This tradition has resulted in a society where "might makes right" is the only "law". The priestesses of Drow city-states also fulfilled the function of judges and other judicial functions. This may sound bizarre or even idiotic given the aforementioned lawless state of drow society. In practice, something that was called "laws" did exist in drow society. Priestesses saw it as their right to arrest and punish people in ways she made up on the spot for some offense, when they got caught.

Despite the overwhelming Matriarchal nature of Drow society, Male clerics did exist. However, in most drow cities, they were the targets of their female fellows and Lolth barred them from strong divine powers. They served in low-ranking positions under lethal risks. While they could even become divine champions or divine disciples, becoming this, made it acceptable for priestesses to kill them. Other drow religions, Eilistraee, Ghaunadaur, and Vhaeraun didn't have a gender barrier.

HISTORY


The history of the Dark-Elves stretches back thousands of years to the First Age on Corwyn. In the First Age, the ancient elder-Elves sailed across the Wyn Myr from the Unknown Lands, and landed upon the Continent of Corwyn. Eventually they established an enormous Elven realm called Ectharë; which stretched across the continent from the Wyn Myr to the Vhan Myr. For much of the First and Second Ages, Ectharë was ruled by the House of Alessarë, a noble and just line of rulers.

It came to pass that King Starion Alessarë sat upon the Eternal Throne. One of his senior court advisors was a beautiful Elven priestess named Lorynäe Anarivon. Many Elven sages believe Lorynäe was Starion's mistress and greatly desired to be his wife, but Starion spurned her. Other scholars theorize she only wanted the Eternal Throne for herself, and may have been influenced by dark spirits, or even demonic forces. In any event, Starion was betrayed by Lorynäe and her followers in the year 537/2. In an elaborate plot, she murdered Starion and attempted to usurp the Eternal Throne.

What followed was complete chaos, with elves slaying each other in masse in the streets of Elutheria; the elven capitol city. The loyalist faction of Elves was led Starion's son; Ismelian Alessarë. Ismelian was a fierce warrior who swore revenge upon Lorynae and all her followers. Despite Ismelian's leadership, the rebellion was largely successful in the early years; for the rebels had long planned their attacks from the eastern elvish city of Saravôsh.