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Illythiri; Drow aka dark elf lore wip.
Topic Started: Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:21 pm (55 Views)
Ryldas Rylinar
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They call themselves Illythiri (singular Illythir) in their own language. Most surface-dwellers refer to them as “dark elves”. But to the surface elves and the underground races, they are simply called “drow” - a word often spat in disgust rather than being uttered in reverence. Ebony-skinned, with hair as white as snow, they otherwise bear a striking resemblance in stature, physique, and the growth of their ears to their lighter-skinned “cousins”. Perhaps their most striking feature is the blood-red hue of their eyes, a trait that fades to become much lighter with prolonged exposure to the sun. They dwell in the lightless lands under the belief that they were banished there after being conquered and driven underground thousands of years ago by the surface elves; whether this is true or not, they have become a society of slavers and tyrants to match the darkness of their vast and complex underground home in metaphor.

Drow society is matriarchal and the caste system is three-fold. First and foremost are the religious icons of the Illythiri. Chief among these are the Matron Mothers, who form the eight “legs” of the ruling council of drow society. Each of these Matron Mothers is a Matron, equivalent to a queen, of her familial house. Houses are known by their surnames, which are the surnames of their Matrons. The ruling council is the highest authority in drow society, with the individual Matrons representing their houses and those sitting on the council representing the most powerful ones. In addition to governing drow society, however, they also govern religious tenets; ceremonies; celebrations; and the like. In order to come to a decision, the council must have a majority vote; unanimity is extremely rare among the council members.

Each Matron has at least one High Priestess in her house to govern the Priestesses, each of whom is responsible for maintaining discipline and faith among the lower castes. The word ala is used to refer to the High Priestesses, although the word itself simply means “priestess”; minala, or “lesser priestess”, is used to refer to the Priestesses. The ruling and religious class are considered one, as they are said to speak directly for the goddesses that the Illythiri worship.

The class directly below them consists of the miniara, or “lesser ladies” of drow society. Although this is not an insult, speaking of it in polite conversation is extremely rude. The miniara are essentially Illythiri commoners, but every miniara has a purpose that furthers the ambitions of her house. In this way, the drow are extremely efficient. Each miniara is tested rigorously throughout her academia, which is adjusted accordingly as it becomes clearer where her talents lie; these talents lead her into her role in drow society.

Finally, there are the ryldii (singular ryld), meaning “branded” or “slaves”. These definitions are synonymous because Illythiri men are both. The matron of each house is required to bless each male child born into her house if it is to be kept; if she refuses that blessing, then the child must be disposed of. Usually, this means that the child becomes a sacrifice to whichever goddess is worshipped by either the mother (if allowed) or the house; this, of course, is also at the Matron’s discretion. In rare instances, such as if a child is born deformed or blind, a child may simply be tossed out to die in the wilderness. Sacrificing a deformed child is a grave insult to the goddesses. If a male child is blessed by the Matron, however, it is branded upon the left shoulder with the insignia of his house. His role is then determined by the Matron regardless of whatever future skills he may or may not possess, usually determined by whatever is lacking or needed most in the house at the time of the child’s birth. Maternal feelings of affection are socially acceptable toward one’s children only if they are female; any private affection toward male children is considered disgusting and embarrassing.

The lightless lands in which the Illythiri dwell do not consist entirely of stone, water, and fire despite this being a common misconception among outsiders. In fact, many places deep underground have expansive and complex ecosystems much like those upon the surface world. While snow and ice are not seen in most places, nor are deserts, jungles and forests often coexist with plains in the deep underground caverns. Rain is common in forests and jungles because water collects in the higher boughs and in the rocky passages above and falls to the ground below, where it is recycled through the ecosystem just as it would be on the surface world. Rain from rocky passages is rare upon the plains, although some places rain constantly due to their location and the formation of the surrounding rock. Many fruits and vegetables unique to these underground ecosystems grow wild and are cultivated domestically, and those charged with protecting the underground ecosystems are called vierynda (“dark rangers”).

Despite the unique ecosystems of these underground caverns, many of the flora and fauna of the shadow plane also find their way into them; for that reason, Balefirens often consider the underground forests similar to the Gloomwood, although this is a dangerous misconception. Despite similarities in flora and fauna, with some being indistinguishable between Gloomwood variants and those of the underground forests, only perhaps ten percent of the underground forests are not completely unique. Moreover, the older and less populated cavern forests and jungles have even more dangerous plants and animals that are extinct everywhere (or almost everywhere) else in Chaon. Flora and fauna considered “prehistoric”, such as tyrannosaur and brachiosaur variants well-adapted to the lightless ecosystems, are common in some of the oldest cavern jungles.
Edited by Ryldas Rylinar, Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:22 pm.
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