Drowtales: Moonless Age Author(s) Yan Gagné Website www.drowtales.com Current status / schedule Monday to Saturday Launch date 2001-04-13 Index Page Genre(s) Drama, Fantasy
Drowtales is a site that hosts numerous webcomics, most of which take place in the Drowtales universe; a world based on Yan "Kern" Gagné's interpretation of Drow elves—including history, cultures, world, and evolution of subspecies. The "main" featured comic is called Moonless Age written and drawn by the site's webmaster Kern and revolves (mostly) around Ariel Val'Sarghress, her upbringing and later quest to find a friend who has been banished. A number of different spin-off comics are included on the site, featuring stories taking place in the same universe while focusing on different aspects or giving details on the backstory of events that happened before Ariel's time. In addition, the site hosts several different and unrelated elf/furry based comics, independent of the Drowtales universe.
Most of the stories are fantasy drama, though within the Daydream section there is more mature comedy as well as adult comics. The entire world is oriented towards an older audience, and should not be mistaken for the daily-comic, and is declared to be outside the stories' canon continuity. Specifically, that Daydream is the fantasy of one of the characters, nicknamed "Blueberry."
The drawn art tends to have a distinct anime style to it, however, since there are multiple artists, there is some variation.
- 1 Comics set in the Drowtales universe
- 2 Cast
- 3 World setting
- 4 External links
- 5 References
Comics set in the Drowtales universe
Besides Moonless Age, the site has a number of "supporting" comics that share the same world and features some of the same characters as the Moonless Age comic. Most of these are fairly short and are usually intended to give background information on characters or clans, or expand on the world setting.
- Moonless Age: The feature comic of the site that is pencilled and written by Kern, with assistance from the artists of Drowtales Studio. The beginning of chapter two was colored by three different artists in an attempt to produce a rewrite of the earlier (and discarded) chapters. This is the story of Ariel Val'Sarghress.
- World Setting: A series created to help explain the details of the Drowtales universe.
- The Longest Wait: A completed comic written by Sanjay and drawn by Blackmyst. The entire comic is seen from the perspective of Diva'ratrika the Ill'haress of the Val'Sharen (later known as Vel'Sharen), the imperial clan. The comic takes place some 15 years before Moonless Age and gives some insight into the events surrounding the rise of the tainted as a power to be reckoned with in drow society.
- Spiderborn: A fairly short (22 strips) comic drawn in black and white by the artist Hevia. It gives some insight in the relationship between Mel'Arnach and Quain'tana and details the events surrounding Ariel's birth and subsequent "adoption".
- Demon Painter: An eleven page comic that tells the story of a painter and the wrath of a Vel'Sharen noble. This comic also has a small animation created for it as well.
- Breach of Faith: An ongoing comic by Tranquil, Kern and Sanjay Sarkar featuring Syphile. It gives some insight into the abuse she suffers at the hands of her "sisters" Sil'lice and Mel'arnach and her reasons for hating Ariel. The main plot in the comic revolves around the relationship between Syphile and Awasthi Durral'Lamis (a young male commoner). It has not been updated since October of '05.
- Rebirth: Set before Moonless Age, Rebirth is the story of Chirinide Kyorl'solenurn, a zealot Drowussu Warden. In Moonless Age, it is hinted she is different from the other Drowussu, or gray drow, that populate the underground. In Rebirth her mysterious origin is revealed and depicts why she feels so out of place. It was drawn by many artists over the 50+ pages its two chapters hold, Daymon being the one who drew part of the first chapter and all of the second chapter, finishing the story.
- Soul Fusion: A short (6 pages) unfinished comic (no updates since 2003) drawn by Akiman. It gives some insight into the dimension of the demons and the origins of the demoness Discordia.
- High Treason: A different universe comic, complete.
- Chibi-Tales: Short gag comics included in the Moonless Age comic. The characters are presented in the "super-deformed" style but are dubbed as a "species" called chibi(s). There is at least one Chibi-Tales at the end of each chapter of Moonless Age.
Moonless Age comic
The first comic, Moonless Age, originally took place as a fancomic within the Dungeons & Dragons world, and was a drawn version of a played RPG. Since then the author, Kern, has re-edited the story to stand as an original work of fantasy on its own, utilizing its own origins and rules for the races within. To do so he tossed out the first three chapters, and will be re-writing others in order to get rid of all D&D based elements. For some time Kern had been re-writing the first 3 chapters while simultaneously progressing the current story, however these attempts had been plagued by flighty artists and computer problems. The original, D&D based chapters are still available in a special archive.
All remakes are finished, and chapter 13 started October 20, 2008.
The series has continued onward, reaching chapter 30 in April, 2011.
- Ariel Val'Sarghress
- The protagonist of the Moonless Age comic, and the youngest heir of Quain'tana, leader of the clan Val'Sarghress. She is very young at the start of the series where we learn about her rather unhappy childhood. Her true parents are Mel'arnach, a daughter of Quain'tana, and Zhor, a dark elf turned spider. However, Ariel was forcefully adopted by Quain'tana, and raised to believe that Mel'arnach was her sister. In drow fashion, her upbringing was entrusted to an older sister, Syphile. Syphile blamed the baby Ariel for her own removal from school to raise the child, and took out her frustration on Ariel. The young Ariel was often beaten and mistreated by her hateful foster mother.
Later in life, she was deemed a failure by Quain'tana, the blame for which was placed solely on Syphile. Her older brother Kel'noz took her to the Orthorbbae Towers, to be educated. This left her stigmatized further, as Orthorbbae Towers are meant to be for male students only.
- Quain'tana Val'Sarghress
Founder and Ill'haress (ruler) of the Val’Sarghress clan, and former mercenary hero. She is a second-generation drow, which means her mother was one of the original dark elves who migrated to the underworld a millennium ago. She is seen as a hero by the common people, because she was a mercenary who organized her troops to form a clan, and ascended from commoner to a powerful ruler. She has been described as short-tempered, direct, blunt and impolite. She has ambitions of overthrowing the ruling Vel'Sharen clan and become the dominant power in Chel'el'sussoloth, the underground city most the story is set in, and beyond.
- Kel'noz Val'Sarghress
One of Ariel's "brothers", he is a mage and one of the few people who showed Ariel any kindness as she was growing up. Brother by birth to Mel'arnach, he is really Ariel's uncle. A master of one of the school Orthorbbae's towers, he has a reputation of being a good teacher, and is popular with both lords and ladies. He has great skill in high art, yet seems to have little ambition. He is a talented diplomat.
- Syphile Val'Sarghress
One of Quain'tana's younger daughters. She was given the task of raising Ariel as a chance to be considered an adult, but with time, Syphile came to resent Ariel because she was taken out of priestess training in order to raise Ariel thus being left victim to her "sisters" Sil'lice and Mel'arnach. Mel'arnach beats Syphile regularly due to her ill-treatment of Ariel. Syphile is not Quain'tana's daughter by birth, but was adopted into the Val'Sarghress clan. Much of her reputation comes from the fact that she is 'tainted'. She merged with a demon, to grant her power and dark sorcery. The Sarghress clan does not support this, and neither does Sil'lice, who has bad experience with tainted drow. Syphile was cast out of the Val'Sarghress clan after she was humiliated for one final time by Mel'arnach. In retaliation, Syphile helped Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen escape the Val'Sarghress fortress in exchange for help in becoming a Vel'Sharen noble. Syphile was assigned a mission to prove her worth to the Vel'Sharen clan - to kill Quain'tana. This attempt ended in the death of Syphile in Chapter 18.
- Mel'arnach Val'Sarghress
- Mel'arnach is the first daughter to Quain'tana Val'Sarghress and the mother of Ariel Val'Sarghress. Mel'arnach is living as a hermit within her own clan mostly due to Quain'tana forcing Mel'arnach into that life style for several reasons. It has been made fairly clear that Mel has a strong preference for other women. Mel'arnach did become pregnant and gave birth to Ariel. Quain'tana took Ariel from Mel right after birth to be raised by Syphile Val'Sarghress. Mel was not allowed to know where Ariel was within the Sarghress fortress and tormented Ariel's caretaker, Syphile Val'Sarghress, regularly. Mel has had some contact with Ariel after Ariel was put in school, but has not yet told Ariel that she is her mother. Mel'arnach escaped from the Val'Sarghress fortress after an attack by Vel'Sharen forces.
- Sil'lice Val'Sharen
- Sil'lice was originally a member of the Vel'Sharen clan. She is the third daughter of Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen. Sil'lice's separation from the Sharen clan came after the Nidraa'chal war after three of her sisters betrayed Diva'ratrika. Sil'lice fled, with the surviving members of her bloodline and followers, to the Sarghress clan where Quain'tana provided a refuge for the Sharen exiles. Sil'lice now serves as the Sarghress clan torturer and has a particular loathing of Tainted due to her experience with war and her sisters. Sil'lice has a preference for ice magic and is one of the few untainted summoners left. Sil'lice's location has been discovered by Zala'ess' daughter Chrystel Vel'Sharen when she was captured by the Sarghress and then subsequently tortured by Sil'lice. Chrystel notified her mother of Sil'lice's location when she escaped back to her own clan.
- Nei'kalsa Val'Sarghress
- Nei'kalsa Val'Sarghress is the daughter of Rosof Tions Sarghress. She is the member of the Sarghress Tions sub-family. There's currently not a lot of information on Nei'kalsa except that she is skilled in many different areas of magic and an excellent child raiser. She is currently raising Sar'nel.
- Sar'nel Val'Sarghress
- Sar'nel Val'Sarghress is the grandson of Rosof Tions and another member of the Tions sub-family of the Sharghress clan. There is not a lot of current information on Sar'nel. He is the same year as Ariel at Orthorbbae but studies in another tower, the Danava. He is seen during the melee at the end of the fourth year, where he helps Ariel and tells her "The clan comes first, everything else is secondary."
- Laele'aell Val'Sarghress
- Laele'aell Val'Sarghress is Quain'tana's third child and sister to Mel'arnach and Kel'noz. Laele'aell serves as a clan assassin, she really has no personality left and is little more than a puppet for the clan now due to an accident that seemed to have completely removed any ability for her to think and act on her own. There is some speculation among the readers that Laele'aell was tainted and in an attempt to untaint her, her entire soul, or some piece of, was lost. But there is no clear reason as to how or why Laele'aell is the way she is.
- Koil'dorath Val'Sarghress
- Koil'dorath Val'Sarghress is the oldest heir of the Sarghress clan and not of any direct blood relation to Quain'tana. And like most Sarghress, she has no noble lineage. She is the commander of the Sarghress army though. She is not particularly fond of magic and prefers to use physical weapons. She is often seen in her armor and is a very aggressive and strong person.
- Quill'yate Yurunhiir
- Quill'yate Yurunhiir is the commander and leader of the Sarghress over world exploration army. She's very rarely at the fortress, spending all her time out on missions. She is the one that brings back all the wealth and riches that maintains the clan's financial status. She has no blood relation to Quain'tana but they are practically sisters due to the time and experiences the two have spent together. Quill'yate's last name is possibly Yurunhiir, as stated by another character, but it has not been officially stated by Kern whether or not that is her last name or if she adopted the Val'Sarghress name.
- Snadyha'runes Vel'Sharen
- Snadyha'runes Vel'Sharen is the oldest of the Sharen daughters and the first child of Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen. But Snadyha is the mastermind behind the betrayal of Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen, her mother. Her and her sisters usurped their mother to take over the Sharen clan and rule the city supposedly as their mother's eyes, ears and hands. Snadyha is the most skilled summoner in Chel'el'sussoloth and one of the most prominent tainted drow in the city. She is pretty much the ruler of Othorbbae and is currently the favored sister to take the Sharen council seat. Snadyha once had a friendship with Mel'arnach Val'Sarghress even though the Vel'Sharen and Val'Sarghress clans are hostile towards each other, in the later chapters it is shown that they share a romantic relationship. Snadyha'rune has a daughter whom she claims is also daughter to Mel'arnach, despite both being female.
- Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen
- Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen is the second oldest daughter to Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen. She acts as the fist and sword of the Sharen clan, leading the Sharen armies. She is skilled in many areas of magic and summoning. Like her older sister, she is tainted and assisted Snadyha'runes in the attempted assassination of their mother. It was also her that rendered Quain'tana Val'Sarghress barren within a battle. She is the mother to Nihi'liir and has no other known children.
- Zala'ess Vel'Sharen
- Zala'ess Vel'Sharen is the youngest of the Sharen sisters, the fifth one born to Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen. She assisted her sisters, Sarv'swati and Snadyha'runes in the usurping of their mother's power. And like them, she is tainted. She serves as the diplomat and ambassador for the Sharen clan now and could be considered the face of the clan. Zala'ess is the mother of Chrystel and Shinae and has a very strong pride in her lineage. Zala'ess seems to have more children that are unnamed and unmentioned, and it seems most of them, if not all, are female. She keeps Sabrror as her body guard.
- Sabrror Vel'Sharen
- Sabrror Vel'Sharen serves a body guard to Zala'ess as well as a warlord. He, like almost all Sharen males, is tainted heavily. He is the father of several of Zala'ess' children.
- Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen
- Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen is the daughter of Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen. Not to much about this character is known. Her right arm up until her elbow is replaced with a mechanical gauntlet when she lost her arm during a battle with Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune and Faen was being hunted for being branded a heretic. It appears the Nihi'liir and Chrystel do not get along and Nihi'liir has open disdain for Chrystel.
- Chrystel Vel'Sharen
- Chrystel Vel'Sharen is one of Zala'ess' many heirs, quite possibly the youngest one. That is unconfirmed. She was a roommate to Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune within Othorbbae up until Faen was branded a heretic. Chrystel was captured by the Sarghress after Ariel Val'Sarghress lured Chrystel into a trap by appearing as Faen. Chrystel was defeated, using the last of her energy to heal herself. Within the Sarghress fortress, Chrystel was imprison and tortured by Sil'lice Val'Sharen. Quain'tana claimed that Chrystel had joined the Sarghress clan and betrayed a Sharen spy to Zala'ess. But with the assistance of Syhpile Val'Sarghress, Chrystel was able to escape the Sarghress fortress and return to her clan where she revealed the location of Sil'lice to her mother and pleaded a case to Zala'ess to allow Syphile to taken in as protector twin. As it stands now, Chrystel seems to be questioning almost everything she's believed growing up and intends to search for her grandmother, Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen.
- Shinae is the protector twin to Chrystel Vel'Sharen. She was taken from a Sharen sub-family to be raised from a very young age as sister to Chrystel. Shinae is meant to act as a royal servant to Chrystel, dedicating her life and assistance to Chrystel. Shinae though is hot headed and foul mouthed. After Chrystel's capture by the Sarghress, Shinae returned to the Sharen in hopes they would adopt her and allow her to take Chrystel's place. That was not accepted though and Shinae was lightly tortured until Chrystel's return. It is not known currently if Shinae has a separate last name or if she bears the Vel'Sharen name or even is she has one at all.
- Vy'Chriel Vel'Sharen
- Vy'Chriel Vel'Sharen is one of Zala'ess' many daughters. There's no detail on how old she was. But she was hot headed and rebellious, refusing to become tainted like the rest of the clan, but her mother still loved her. Her protector twin was Yaeminira. But eventually, the two fought and Yaeminira came out the victor. Vy'Chriel died at Yaeminira's hand and was made into an undead Golem by Yaeminira, but the real Vy'Chriel is dead. Vy'Chriel's name and rank was taken by Yaeminira.
- Yaeminira was the protector twin to Zala'ess' daughter Vy'Chriel Vel'Sharen. Unlike the sister she was supposed to protect, Yaeminira followed the clan's will and became tainted. Yaeminira initiated a fight with Vy'Chriel and won. She turned Vy'Chriel into a Golem and adopted Vy'Chriel's named and rank. She now seeks to make Zala'ess forget about the real daughter and accept her as Vy'Chriel. Zala'ess has currently given her the mission to go with Syphile to the Sarghress fortress and kill Sil'lice. She was killed by Si'lice while trying to infiltrate Sarghress grounds. Zala'ess knew Yaeminira would die attempting this. She wanted revenge for Vy'Chriel's death.
- Nau'Kheol Vel'Sharen
- Nau'Kheol Vel'Sharen is one of Ariel Val'Sarghress' classmates in school. There's not a whole lot of information on the little Sharen boy except that he does not seem to have a particular alignment to any element when they were tested in school.
- Ash'waren Val'Sullisin'rune
- Ash'waren Val'Sullisin'rune is the Ill'haress of the Val'Sullisin'rune Clan. She is most famous for her mismatched eyes and that fame has spread across the underworld. She is the strongest known Drow empath in Chel'el'sussoloth, no other has been found to match her skill. Many believe her to be mad due to the way she speaks and acts but in reality this is a front and she's very cunning and intelligent. Many rumors surround this Ill'haress, some of them being that she is a first generation or next in line for Val'Sharen throne. It also seems there might be something between Ash'waren and Quain'tana.
- Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune
- Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune is a daughter to Ash'waren. She was enrolled in the Othorbbae and a roommate to Chrystel Vel'Sharen. Faen found Ariel in Othorbbae after an accident and nursed Ariel back to health and the two girls became friends. Faen though was empathic like Ash'waren and was having nightmares that prevented her from sleeping. Faen became reliant on Ariel's rare visits after Ariel was able to go back to the towers to keep her going. Eventually, Faen refused tainting and ran away after a "fit" that left their teacher a vegetable and caused Nihi'liir to lose her arm. She managed to escape to the surface world where her location is currently unknown. Ariel found her on the surface, but Faen seems to have lost herself. The only emotion she ever shows is when Blueberry makes her laugh.
- Yafein Val'Sullisin'rune
- Yafein Val'Sullisin'rune is from a sub-family of the Val'Sullisin'rune. He was taken into the main family and raised as a brother to Faen. Yafein is small in stature and not very strong. He was protected in the fortress by Faen and then in school by Ariel. Yafein, in later chapters obtains a light elf slave named Maya. Later on, it appears that Maya convinced Yafein to stand up against Ariel. It is currently not know of where or how Yafein is after he stood against Ariel and she killed Maya.
- Salan'dara Val'Sullisin'rune
- Salan'dara Val'Sullisin'rune serves as Ash'waren's personal attendant and is the oldest heir to the Val'Sullisin'rune clan. She loves simplicity and also serves as ambassador for her clan.
- Kharla'ggen Vel'Vloz'ress
- Kharla'ggen Vel'Vloz'ress was originally introduced to the clan before it was officially a clan. It was still a group of people run by Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress' birth mother, Ven'nedia. Kharla was brought in by Sene'kha because the Vloz'ress group under Ven'nedia's leadership took in the mentally insane, and Kharla'ggen, even at a young age, was clearly insane. She was extremely heavily tainted when she arrived in the clan. She bit and chewed on her fingers and had hysterical fits in front of mirrors, and to keep her from doing this, Van'nedia put a steel mask over Kharla's face, only to be removed when eating. Kharla seemed to have a penchant for plushies and was provided with several with her time with Van'nedia. A theory by Kiel is that her mother kept Kharla to see how such a young girl could survive with such a heavy tainting. It was after Snadyha'runes made a visit and requested information which Ven'nedia refused to give that a Sharen force attacked the group and were subsequently killed by Kharla'ggen. It was shortly thereafter that Kharla'ggen killed Ven'nedia, turning her into stone. Her body was reanimated into a Golem and hung on a door in the Vel'Vloz'ress forwtress. From there, the group made a deal with the Sharen, providing them with info in exchange for clan status. Kharla'ggen then became the youngest Ill'haress in the history of Chel'el'sussoloth. She essentially serves as a figurehead for Sene'kha and the Vloz'ress clan. Kharla'ggen also has a liking for turning anyone who catches her interest into living dolls. She dresses them up and decorates a hallway that leads to her room with them.
- Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress
- Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress is the daughter of Ven'nedia. She is arguably the story's deuteragonist, as she tries to fix matters within her clan after Ariel has left. Her mother was killed by Kharla'ggen. It is not known exactly why Kiel chooses to stay with the clan. Kiel, like the rest of the Vloz'ress clan is tainted. She does not seem to know summoning and it is stated that she prefers to use physical weapons rather than magic. Kiel seems to be cocky and rather carefree with a love of gossip, rumors, and insults. She is very loyal to her friends though and went on a mission to supposedly rescue Kyo'nne Val'Illhar'dro from Ariel Val'Sarghress. It turns out that Kyo'nne did not need rescuing and they found out that Chrystel Vel'Sharen had escaped as well. Kiel'ndia traveled with Ariel and the Sarghress caravan with Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen. She has an 'imaginary friend' who is in fact the reader/audience of the comic. She refused to help Sene'kha escape from her cell, and watched Sene'kha get decaptitated. She went back home and is now gaining control over the Vel'Vloz'ress clan.
- Sene'kha Vel'Vloz'ress
- Sene'kha Vel'Vloz'ress is essentially the true leader of the Vloz'ress clan. Much of her past history is unknown, but it seems she was with the Vloz'ress a very long time and was trusted by Ven'nedia. She was the one that originally introduced Kharla'ggen. As of now, she is the real power behind Kharla'ggen, the Vloz'ress Ill'haress. Kiel suspects that Sene'kha may have manipulated Kharla'ggen into killing Ven'nedia, thus paving the way for her own bid for power. In current events, Sene'kha led the search for Discordia with a Vloz'ress expedition that was attacked by the Val'Kyorl'Solenurn on Val'Sarghress territory. She was captured by the Sarghress and traded to the Kyorl'Solenurn Order of the Twin Eyes, who executed her and sealed her seed. With Sene'kha gone the stability of the Vloz'ress is now uncertain.
- Umpus Vel'Vloz'ress
- Umpus Vel'Vloz'ress is the personal attendant of Sene'kha. Not much information is known about him. Currently, Umpus has taken command of the hunt for Discordia in Sene'kha's absence.
- Kess'sen Vel'Vloz'ress
- Kess'sen Vel'Vloz'ress is one of Sene'kha's supporters and the leader of the Vloz'ress army. Not much is known about him other than the fact that he has a fascination with death and blood. At what period he joined the Vloz'ress is unknown as well. At the current time Kess'sen's status after the battle with the Kyorl'Solenurn is unknown.
- Kar'liir Vel'Vloz'ress
- Kar'liir Vel'Vloz'ress is the architect of the Vloz'ress. He designed the current fortress and is a perfect example of the insanity the Vel'Vloz'ress are known for. He is also a golem maker, but his creations often seem to be useless but of excellent quality. He's been with the Vloz'ress before they were officially a clan but not much is known about his past history. He recently agreed to help Kiel gain power over the clan.
- Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress
- Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress is a classmate to Ariel Val'Sarghress. He was the one that originally discovered that Ariel was a girl during battle training. He has a very clear dislike for girls and is rather loud and insulting. He fought Ariel twice and lost the second time around in which he was enslaved by the Sarghress. Then, by orders of her mother, Ariel brutally beat him to death as proof of her bloodline. The only one who remembers him is Kiel.
- Shimi'lande Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- Shimi'lande Val'Kyorl'Solenurn is the Ill'haress of the Val'Kyorl'Solenurn. Shimi'lande is not the greatest warrior or sorceress and isn't remarkably strong or tall. She is a very spiritual leader though with a lot of charisma, patience and wisdom. As an Ill'haress and a member of the council, she is more renowned for the knowledge she seems to have of each clan in the city and their doings. Currently, she's orchestrating attacks against the Vloz'ress for the turning of one of the Val'Kyorl'Solenurn Wardens into a doll by Kharla'ggen.
- Chirinide Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- She is Shimi'lande's daughter, and a warden in training. The protagonists first meet her in the gladiatorial arena, and then once again after Ariel defeats and captures Chrystel. She reveals that she's been having visions of her for some time, and has been secretly following her to ensure her safety. When Ariel decides to travel to the overworld, Chirinide insists on accompanying her, much the girl's chagrin. She frequently refers to Ariel as the "daughter of the holy eye", though what the title entails is never clarified. In the canonical side story "Rebirth", it is revealed that though Chirinide has traits of a drowussu, she is actually half light elf and half drowolath, having a mix of her parent's skin and her father's blond hair. Her real name was Mrid'dharini, but she assumed the name of Chirinide at the insistence Shimi. Chirinide killed the original owner of the name for retribution after the older had murdered her parents. She had been Shimi's daughter, but the Ill'haress took in the orphaned girl in place of her after learning of the Mrid's remarkable abilities.
- Shan'naal Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- He is known as the "Blade of Chirinide". His primary weapon is a bow, and he is particularly skilled in its use. Though he is in servitude to Chirinide, he often teases her for her mistakes and is lax around her. Though he's not one to show it, he cares deeply for her. When Kyo'nne puts her to sleep with one of her songs in order to pacify her, Shan reacts in anger, and warns that he would kill anyone who dares insult her again. Ironically, Kyo has a particularly strong attachment to Shan, and was very affectionate to him prior to the incident. Afterwards, she loudly declares that she'll make herself useful and get into his good graces again, much to his embarrassment. He is currently accompanying Ariel in her journey to the overworld, alongside Chirinide.
- Valla'drielle Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- Valla'drielle Val'Kyorl'Solenurn is the sister to Shimi'lande Val'Kyorl'Solenurn. She is the headmistress of the Drowussu school as well as a teacher and a Kyorl'Solenurn Judicator. She could quite easily lead the Val'Kyorl'Solenurn Clan but chooses instead to let her sister lead. Valla'drielle was born blind though but has a third eye upon her forehead that seems magical in nature. There's no explanation as to how or why exactly she has the third eye. Said eye has been hinted to be able to see through physical objects like flesh and stone as well as intangible things like the soul.
- Ky'ovaerde Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- Ky'ovaerde Val'Kyorl'Solenurn is a Warden for her clan. She hunts heretics and tainted and could be described as a fanatical zealot for her cause and religion. She is completely unforgiving in her beliefs and methods in which she hunts down those she believes to be impure. Many believe she is simply psychotic. She was called on by Shimi'lande to lead a raid against a Vloz'ress group and kill Sene'kha. It was revealed during the fight with Sene'kha that Ky'ovaerde is skilled in nether summoning herself.
- Tir'ade Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- Tir'ade Val'Kyorl'Solenurn was a Templar of his clan. He assisted Chirinide in the closing of a demon gate within the Chel'el'sussoth city. During the fight with those that had been possessed by demons around the gate, Tir'ade was tainted. Due to the laws of the Kyorl'Solenurn, Tir'ade would have been put to death if he had not run. He spent some time the Nidraa'chal War ruins hiding from his own clan. He was being visited by Ant'ayla Val'Sarghress and given food and drink. He found her corpse after she was killed by Vy'Chriel Vel'Sharen later on. He returnned the corpse to the Sarghress fortress.
- Waes'soloth Val'Beldrobbaen
- Waes'soloth Val'Beldrobbaen is the Ill'haress of the Val'Beldrobbaen. She is feared sorceress, called "living shadow" because of her light manipulation magic (WorldSetting of Chapter 9). Many suspect she is only one keeping clans Val status.
- Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen
- Daughter of Waes'soloth. She is a sole survivor of incident which wiped entire generation of Beldrobbaen girls, but she was heavily tained by it. She doesn't feel pain (Chapter 11 page 42), have hard time sleeping and claims to not feel anything, but that seem to not be true. She is close friend of Kiel'ndia and helps her in her quests, often acting as peacekeeper (Chapter 12 page 80, Chapter 26 page 15). In basement of Orthorbbae she is mortally wounded in battle with teacher summon (Chapter 27 page 34). She releases her seed (page 36) changing into demon and consuming the summon, therefore giving her friends chance to escape. Yet in the chapter epilogue page it is hinted she may not be completely consumed.
- Storywise, she was used to show two important things: the danger of taining and how the (heavily) tained feels (she herself compare it to being deadChapter 11 page 39)) and that in the world of Drowtales noone is safe - even one of main character can die.
- Nin'diil Val'Beldrobbaen
- Khal'harror Val'Beldrobbaen
- Luth'el Val'Beldrobbaen
- Nega'fanea Val'Ilhar'dro
- Kyo'nne Val'Ilhar'dro
- Jhal'na Val'Ilhar'dro
- Sandaur Recherrai
- Sorane'Sanill Val'Ilhar'dro
- Vel'Akar Discordia
- A winged demon, whose host was once killed by Rikshakar on the arena, she was brought back, apparently as a more powerful creature. Her only interest is hunting down and fighting strong prey, her current target is Rikshakar. The Vloz'Ress believe her to be a Soul shard of the Great Nether Dragon, a supposed Demon God. Although there are no known True Gods who require worshippers in the Drowtales universe, there are several beings who possess God-like power. The most notable creature would be Sharess, who ended the Demon Wars by transforming into a demon and devouring the other demons who were conducting the invasion.
- Val'Sharess Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen
- One of the original dark elves from the overworld, Diva'ratrika served as the figurehead of the religion of Sharess and ruler of Chel'el'sussoloth for nearly a millennia until approximately 16 years before the start of the story. As detailed in The Longest Wait, the Val'Sharess largely kept to herself, and blamed herself for failing to act against the Nidraa'chal threat until the coup d'état, during which the extent of the involvement of the Val'Sharess' own daughters became apparent. She was heavily opposed to tainting and was distressed when three of her daughters voluntarily underwent it, but she found herself unable to kill them. Once they revealed their involvement during the attack on the palace she barricaded herself inside of her own throne room, where she expected to die fighting, but her daughters instead sealed the entrance to leave her to die as she had lived: alone. However, the Val'Sharess survived for the better part of a year thanks to a surviving slave girl named Ragini, who brought her food as well as spellbooks to try to deactivate the seals on the throne room, to no avail. Eventually Diva'ratrika resorted to a spell that seemingly ended her life and has somehow transported part of her soul or consciousness to Ragini, who, as the end of the chapter shows us, became the person known as Liriel.
- A slave of unknown race, though she has the eyes of a drow. She joined Ariel when her master was killed by Faen's wolf. Despite technically being Ariel's slave, she can do nothing but drink beer and get into all kinds of mischief. She's nicknamed "Blueberry", and her daydreams are the subject of the similarly named side comic. She is a hybrid being consisting of Diva'ratrika's aura partially possessing the palace slave Ragini's body, (see above). Liriel's alcoholism is apparently a result of her attempts to stop the "headaches" that result from Diva'ratrika influencing her actions. She follows Ariel to the surface and after an extended time without alcohol, is fully possessed by Diva'ratrika in a castle that was formerly Diva'ratrika's home. She has regained all of Diva'ratrika's memories, and now appears to be a dark elf with a similar appearance to Diva'ratrika as a child.
- A light elf slave, bought by Yafein. She encourages him to stand up to Ariel, which causes them to fight. She was originally sacrificed to Sharess by Ariel as a means to discover the whereabouts of Faen. The remade version has her killing Maya when she attempts to stop Ariel and Yafein from fighting.
- Nishi'kanta Val'Sharen
- a half-dragon gladiator and the son of lady Irena, the owner of the Black Dragon Tavern. In the original series, his name was Riklaunym and he was the lover of Ariel. This fact was removed from the manga and he became merely obsessed with Ariel, wanting her to transform into the older, half-dragon she appeared to him while he was a gladiator. When Ariel asks him for help, he refuses to listen to her because she is a drow. To try to rectify this, Ariel transforms herself to appear like a half-dragon. He agrees to help her if she gives him a kiss, but ends up wanting more. He almost succeeds in raping her, but he is stopped by Vaelia. He later kicks Ariel down a pit so that she can truly prove she's a half dragon. Nonetheless, he does help her eventually, and in gratitude, Ariel ends up saving him from his captors later. He joins Ariel's party in search for Faen, where he still frequently makes advances towards her. Given the chance he kidnapped Ariel and tried to make her live with him in a cave, but she fought back and left him wounded. Shortly Vel'Akar found Rikshakar and killed him.
- Tralyn the Clanless
- Ariel's history teacher at Orthorbbae school. He appears to be very old and is a close friend to Kel'noz Val'Sarghress. He helps Faen escape to a town on the border of the western Wasteland and later tells Ariel how to find her.
- Vaelia is a member of a human race named the Emberi and a rare female warrior. She first appeared as a gladiator in the Black Dragon Tavern. The Black Dragon's arena announcer claimed that she was a princess from the overworld, though Liriel insisted that such stories are fabricated, so it puts the announcer's claim into question. After winning a fight that caused her grave personal injuries, she was sold cheaply to Ariel Val'Sarghress, who at the time was seeking some assistance in capturing a rival classmate. She rescued Ariel from Rikshakar's lust through verbal means. During the operation to capture Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress, Vaelia played the role of Ariel's coach. Through her efforts, Ariel's confidence in herself grew and she managed to defeat Mir'kiin. Vaelia then rescued Ariel from Jer'kol's assassination attempt and was badly wounded. Ariel responded by granting her freedom and gave her hair extensions so she would not be mistaken as a slave again.
In spite of finally being free from all servitude, Vaelia still acted as Ariel's personal bodyguard. In the wake of Faen's exile, it was Vaelia who remained at the heir's side and tried to help her. Despite her broken grasp of the Drow language, she discovered what was troubling Ariel and suggested a solution: a quest to find and recover Faen.
During the journey to the surface, Vaelia made it clear to Rikshakar that she had her eyes on him and he was not to pursue any of the young ladies. She explains that she continues to protect the girl to correct the mistakes she had made in her youth, which gives her what she calls "bad karma". In Wa'kon Cavern, Jer'kol once again appeared for a second attempt at assassinating Ariel and started by immediately knocking out Vaelia with a severe blow to the head. Ariel and her friends managed to defeat Jer'kol and an attack by Kiel'ndia and Naal'suul and stop the fight so Ariel can get Vaelia back to camp and heal her head wound.
Upon making camp after reaching the surface, Vaelia tried to put her past into words for Ariel to explain the "bad karma" she wishes to balance out. She aspired to be a warrior in her hometown; however, females in martial pursuits were viewed as unacceptable by the Emberi. She was ridiculed and refused by the men of her village. Motivated by revenge, she led slavers to her hidden village. She realized her error too late and was enslaved as well. This was how she ended up as a gladiator in the pit of the Black Dragon Tavern. Her goals in protecting Ariel are part admiration of the young lady and part atonement for the bad karma of her past. Now she is a warrior and is traveling on the surface. She saved a fae and it helps Vaelia in her journey.
The Drowtales universe is not to be confused with the Dungeons & Dragons universe where drow are generally evil and cruel. There are several similarities though. Drow society in the comic is, for example, ruled by powerful matriarchs and the drow live underground. Some early works referred to the Underdark, but these have since been re-made, both to improve the quality of the artwork, and to remove all references to D&D specific sites.
Races in the Drowtales universe
This section details the various intelligent races in the Drowtales universe. The word race is used quite liberally here. Both completely different species (for example faeries and orcs), as well as groups that are biologically identical, but have a radically different way of life or value system (like duergars and gnomes) are considered different races within this context. Think of it as a "catch all" term to describe distinctive groups, rather than a biological term.
- Fae races
- These races are practically immortal and all have the ability to manipulate mana and use magic to some extent.
- Little is known about them. Most mortals will never see a faery in their lifetime.
- Light elves
- Light-skinned elves living on the surface world.
- Dark elves
- Dark elves have a darker, more tanned skin tone than the light elves (hence the name), and colorful hair, ranging from cyan to green to blue or purple, and eye colors to match. They used to live on the surface world. After the War of the Moons, a massive magical war that decimated most of the surface, they migrated underground. However, their children, having been born underground, away from the light, all had black or gray skin and usually silvery-white hair and purple eyes. This new "race" became known as the drow. Because no new dark elves were born after the migration underground, their numbers have dwindled over the ages, and at the present time they are all but extinct. The few that remain are generally ancient and powerful though.
- A collective term for the descendants of the dark elves that moved underground; several sub-races exist.
- Also known as Black drow. They are the most numerous of the Drow races and the most archetypical. They have dark brown skin, silvery-white hair and commonly purple eyes, although blue and green are also possible.
- Also known as Gray drow. They have gray skin, fair-colored hair, commonly golden-blonde, and pale-colored eyes, commonly blue or golden. They tend to stick together and rarely involve themselves in the chaotic politics of the drowolath clans. They are Vanir, Light Elves who inhabited the underworld.
- Most commonly referred to simply as tainted. They are predominantly drowolath that have become tainted by demonic energy. Some clans deliberately taint their young because they consider a slight taint to work as a kind of vaccination that prevents a full-blown demonic possession. Other clans consider tainted to be evil, or at least a bad idea, since it tends to make Drow more aggressive, vicious, and generally not nice. After becoming tainted, the eyes of a drow take on a blood red color, making them easy to identify. Their aura also changes, so covering their eyes will not disguise their true nature.
- Also known as the sightless. They are drow who have no skill whatsoever in magic. Unlike the goblin or dwarven races who simply have no mana at all, the Xuile'Solen seem to instead have a negative mana aura of some sort. As a result they are not only unable to use magic, but "pure", mana based magic does not affect them at all. For example, a mana arrow would not harm them and a mana shield would not block them. This immunity does not extend to their equipment however, so a Xuile'Solen would have to strip naked to completely pass though a mana barrier, and a mana based attack spell could still knock them off their feet if it impacted their armor or clothing. They are also not immune to whatever physical effects might be mixed into a spell, so fire spells will burn them, ice spell freeze them and so on. The Xuile'Solen are outcasts and have learned to survive on their own in the harsh, pitch black, underworld. As a result, their physiology is quite different from most drow. They have no eyes, and instead "see" with their long tongue by "tasting" the air, much like a snake. Their teeth are sharp and jagged, and their fingers and toes pretty much just claws. Their numbers are small, and they are rarely seen in drow cities, except as mercenaries.
- In the Drowtales universe dragons are counted among the fae races, and like the other fae they possess a mana aura and the ability to perform magic. The most common kind of dragon seen in the Underworld are just giant dumb beasts though, usually used as mounts or war beasts by the most powerful clans. There are hints though that a civilization of intelligent, humanoid, dragons exist on the surface, or more specifically on Skyworld, the magical islands that float high above the surface of the planet. Half-dragons also exist like the Moonless Age character Riklaunym (Ariel's bodyguard (and part time lover), and former gladiator slave).
- Goblin races
- Considered by most Drow to be lesser races, they have short lifespans, reproduce like vermin and are generally violent and destructive.
- Humans in the Drowtales universe are pretty much the same as humans in the real world, except that we see them from the perspective of the practically immortal Drow race. They are considered violent and destructive, but still the smartest of the Goblin races, preferring to settle in one location and build cities and empires. It is also noted that the intelligence of the humans tend to be proportionally lower depending on the size of the group they operate in.
- Orcs on the surface generally operate in nomadic tribes. Generally less intelligent and physically stronger than humans, they are considered little more than dogs on two legs, but the Drow value the loyalty they show to their masters, and often use them as guards and cannon fodder in their armies.
- Driders are drow-spider hybrids, originally created through magical means. Several sub-types exist. Mostly all driders are female, and are very skilled with magic. Driders also have fangs and have a very deadly poisonous bite that can kill or stun a prey. Most driders feed on the blood of other creatures or other drider to stay alive. If a drider gives birth, it will lay up to 2000 eggs in a thick layer of webbing. The eggs will hatch about 3 days from when they were laid.after their birth, driders scatter out in search of nurishment. Most driders will drink the blood of any creature that fall victim to them. Some grow up sane and live peacefully in forest regions. Most grow up insane and develop a hatred for all things.
- A newly created drider. During the Dark elf migration into the underworld driders were the result of mortally wounded soldiers being merged with spiders, both to keep them alive and to create a fierce warrior race. Originally they commanded much respect, but as the Drow's hold on the underworld solidified they became shunned by Drow society at large, and became known as the cursed. Few of them survive, and 99% of them eventually go mad.
- They are wild driders, Waeliniders who have gone mad. They are little more than rabid monsters, and have a special hatred for the Drow who created and cast them out. They are considered to be some of the most dangerous monsters in the underworld.
- These are "natural" driders, the offspring of two sane Waeliniders (or on rare occasions the offspring of a drow and an intelligent giant spider or a drider). Unlike the Waelinider they are typically mentally stable and civilized. They have formed a community known as the Hive.
- Dwarven races
- At the time of the dark elven migration into the underworld the duergars were the most common intelligent race to inhabit the underworld. Their skin and hair color is similar to that of the drow, although black hair is also common in addition to white. Strong but non-aggressive by nature, they soon became hunted as slaves. Resistance was brutally crushed. Only a few free duergar nations still exist, and they generally live as nomads to avoid slave traders. They have little love for the drow empire and will often use guerilla tactics to fight drow interests whenever they can, usually preying on travellers and caravans.
- Also known as yingil among the drow. Gnomes are duergars who have been assimilated into drow society, originally as slaves, though many are now free. They have adopted drow customs and fashion, and dress in drow clothes. Male yingil are also almost always clean shaven in contrast to "wild" duergars who favour long beards.
- Naga are not very well known within the setting of Drowtales. Within this world setting the Naga slither upright, with a fully human torso and a very long tail to support them and move.
- Ferals are humanoid felines, or "cat people". They mature much slower than most of the other races, but with time they can be trained to speak and perform simple tasks. Not much more has been revealed about them. In chapter 11 Ariel bought a young Feral pet/slave whom she named Melodia.
- Awares are giant sapient spiders. The big vertical eye in the center of their head is the symbol of the Val'Kyorl'solenurn clan, and they are an integral part of their religion. The Awares (or Holy ones as the Val'Kyorl'solenurn call them) they believe to be emissaries of Sharess, and they serve as spiritual advisors to the Val'Kyorl'solenurn. They are rumored to have originally been dark elves who have been transformed. Zhor, Ariel's real father, is such a creature.
- Chibis are a "species" included in the gag comics and various submitted fan comics. They are very hyper, playful, mischievous, and otherwise comical in nature (two of the gag comics explain their nature and how to keep them as pets). They are not a part of the "main" comic and only exist as comic relief.
The stories of Drowtales are mostly located underground, where the Drow have taken up residence after great wars that ravaged the surface. However, there are events taking place on the surface, with cities and other locations coming into focus.
The main location of the World setting, this is where the Dark Elves retreated from the surface after the Great War.
Chel'el'sussoloth- The main Drow establishment of the Underworld, Chel'el'sussoloth is a bustling metropolis and a major center of trade. This city is most commonly home to drow characters of any subrace, although Xuile'Solen are very uncommon. Non-Drow races (humans, orcs, elves, gnomes, dwarves) may also live within the city, but they are invariably slaves to a drow master.
Chel'el'Sussoloth cavern- The Cavern in which Chel'el'sussoloth was founded has a ceiling made of a solid crystalline stone. It is Reflective, so it mirrors the lights of the city, giving it the impression of a night sky. The crystalline structure also prevents people from using earth sorcery to modify it. There is also at least one major stalagmite within the cavern that stretches from ground to ceiling. This stalagmite is covered in bioluminescent moss and is the source for most of the light in the main cavern.
The Clan Fortresses- Within the city, the Fortresses of the individual clans are considered major sights. There are no special names given to the fortresses other than the Clan name.
- Vel'Sharen Fortress- The fortress of the ruling clan Vel'Sharen stretches from the ground to the ceiling of Chel'el'Sussoloth cavern. It is built at the outskirts of the city, against the cavern walls. Powerful beasts and outer-world beings protect it from outside attacks, and is the oldest fortress in the city.
- Val'Sarghress Fortress- This fortress was built by the Mercenaries of the Clan Val'Sarghress out of the ruins of a Dwarven Bastion that was destroyed by the Drow in the past. Built far outside of the protections of Chel'el'sussoloth, Val'Sarghess Fortress is the closest to an independent city-state.
Val'Raveran- A major trading outpost between the Underworld and the surface, Val'Raveran is a prosperous city of about ten thousand people of all races and beliefs. In stark contrast to Chel'el'sussoloth, most inhabitants of this city are free people, no matter their race.
Not much has been written about the surface. There is evidence of raids on the surface, as well as known trade with cities on the surface. Drow will occasionally flee to the surface if they have made too many or powerful enemies among their own kind. Ariel's aunt, Quill'yate Yurunhiir, has visited the surface several times, and tells so in a short part of the early area of the comic, but not much else.
Skyworld is made up of several islands floating high above the clouds. Very little is known about these mystical islands. In the recently remade chapter one, they are shown, and it is said that the planet contains 3 worlds (surface and underworld being the two other) , they are however not referred to directly. Various earlier pieces of art also hint that the islands might be the home to a civilization of humanoid dragons . As of May 2005 no further information has been revealed about these mysterious islands.
The main culture featured within the Drowtales Universe is the Drow Culture. Drow are a race of fiercely individual beings that hold together in communities. This internal conflict forms the impetus for most Drow culture, which is very Clannish. As Drow women tend to be larger, stronger, and more aggressive, the Drow are a matriarchal society.
The Val' and Vel' prefixes used in clan names mean holy and demonic respectively. Val' is the traditionally used prefix. Vel' is a fairly recent addition, used by clans who worship demons as their patron deity . The prefixes are similar to honorifics in that they are not part of the clan name itself. In everyday informal conversations it is common to use only the clan name (Sarghress, Vloz'ress and so on) without the Val/Vel prefix attached.
- Notable for being a fairly young clan, only a few centuries old. It was founded by a group of legendary mercenaries under the command of Quain'tana, who now rules as the clan's Ill'haress. The lack of noble ancestry caused many of the other clans to look down on the Val'Sarghress, but their power can not be denied. The clan's main army is commanded by Koil'dorath, who is also first heir of the clan. Due to the Val'Sargrhess clan's mercenary background, the clan's army is highly disciplined and both well trained and equipped. A special branch of the army called the Overworld Exploration Army, commanded by Quil'yate Yurunhiir (she is referred to as Quain'tana's sister, but they are not blood relatives, just sisters-in-arms from their mercenary days ), is responsible for raids upon the surface. The loot and slaves that are sent back ensure the clan's financial health. The main character of the Moonless Age comic, Ariel, is a member of this clan.
- The Vel'Sharen clan is the oldest clan in the Underground, and possibly the most powerful. The prefix of the Sharen clan has changed, due to the fact that Diva'ratrika no longer has control over the clan, but her daughters do, who are Snadyha'runes, Sarv'swati, and Zala'ess. The clan prefix was changed when the daughters became tainted to gain power and ultimately defied Diva'ratrika and took control of the clan by force. The Sharen are a particularly powerful clan, but a highly disliked clan as well.
- The only major Drowussu Clan, the Kyorl'solenurn are a Clan obsessed with purity, believing Demons are filthy creatures and that any Drow tainted by a Demon must be destroyed. They believe themselves to be the 'order amidst the chaos', and they think it their duty to keep their dark cousins pure - even though the Drowolath hate them for it - and follow this belief with a zealous will. This Clan is known to contain noble Wardens such as Chirinide, who fight alongside a male, named their 'blade'; Shan'naal is Chirinide's blade, for example. However, their obsession with purity can even affect those within their circle, such as Tir'ade, who, after being "tainted" by a demon and refusing execution, escaped as an outcast who would be killed by any Drowussu on sight. They do perform important works, such as protecting other drow from tainted, and also killing any demons that try to attack Drow.
- This Clan was once a very small group that provided sanctuary to those that would otherwise be killed or abandoned by the rest of Drow society. As such, they were largely people from the slightly eccentric to the downright insane. Their religion was one that centered around Demons, they gave them life in their world in exchange for knowledge or skills unknown to them. For this, they were despised by many other Clans. The Vloz'ress were led by a kind and caring female, Ven'nedia, the mother of Kiel'ndia, until a young girl known as Kharla'ggen was brought to the group - half-starved, heavily Tainted and insane - by Sene'kha. Ven'nedia took care of the girl, but soon ended up at the wrong end of Kharla'ggen's extraordinary abilities, leaving the girl to take over the group and force its way up the hierarchy until they sat as a major Clan, with Kharla'ggen as its Ill'haress, though Kharla'ggen is considered a figurehead due to her complete insanity.
- Once a powerful Clan, the Beldrobbaen have always been very selective when it comes to nobility, preferring pure nobles rather than giving commoners titles like many other Clans. As a result of this fixation, they've steadily dwindled in number over the years. However, this minor problem became a very real and very major one during an 'accident' at Orthorbbae. During a tainting ceremony, to vaccinate them against Demons, something happened within the chambers that left many young Beldrobbaen nobles dead or so badly tainted they died, or worse, soon after. Now, only Naal'suul, the daughter of their Ill'haress Waes'soloth, has survived, though she knows that she is destined to be overcome by the demon within her. The Beldrobbaen Clan is one of the few Clans left that has a strong belief in Sharess and believes spiders are holy creatures. They are also the only Clan that respects Driders, and they commonly give them sanctuary within their fortress. The clan also seems to tolerate necromancy, as one of the young nobles of the clan offers to animate his sister should she succumb to her taint. The same boy demonstrated ability to animate skeletons before beginning his studies at Orthorbbae.
Spirituality in the Drowtales Universe is polytheistic, in the sense that there is no central God, or Creator Being. There are gods in the sense that the people of various races will worship either made up deities, demons, or legendary heroes.
- Souls - There are no eternal spirits, only the mana, or life force, of the Drow. This force is what is commonly referred to as the soul. Humans and the other goblinoid races have no mana, and therefore, in the Drow eyes, no soul.
- Gods and Goddesses - At the time this article was written, only the Drow deity Sharess has been described. There have been hints of others to be explored, however Sharess is the deity important to the story. There is also the worship of Demons by the Vel'Vloz'ress clan.
- Sharess - Sharess is not a deity in the traditional sense, but a Dark Elf who transcended the mortal/physical plane to "counter-possess" in the demonic realm, saving the Drow from destruction. What actually happened to her is unknown. It is important not confuse her with the Sharess of the Forgotten Realms setting.
- Spider Demon - Kharla'ggen is known to be the servant of a spider demon. This is possibly one of the demons that Sene'kkha worships.
- Demons - Demons in Drowtales are predatory beings of energy that feed on mana. They originate from different planes of being. In order to manifest physically in the drow world, they have to possess the body of a creature of fae or draconic descent (a creature with mana). Demons can only enter the world through gates created by a drow summoner. Demons come in many varieties, the most common being simple mindless beasts that attack on sight, others being sapient beings of high intelligence. Demons are not necessarily evil (though some are), most are simply mindless animals following their instincts, much like a hungry wolf released among a flock of sheep.
- Possession - When a Demon completely consumes a Drow's mana, it can then replace the mana of the Drow with itself, thus inducing possession. Once possessed, the Drow personality is lost, and replaced by the demon. The demon now has accessed energy which it will use to transform the physical body, either intentionally or unintentionally depending on the intelligence. Demons are capable of manipulating mana into physical energy, which allows them to transform their victim into a form closer to the demon's. The most dangerous thing a demon can do, is to 'taint' an unwilling drow. If the drow does not have special training, it will quickly be transformed into another demon. This new demon can taint more drow, until there are no drow left.
- Tainting - Tainting is a recent Phenomenon among the drow society, which began by modifying the art of summoning. If a demon does not completely consume the drow's mana it will not possess the drow but leave a "seed"- a poison left behind after feeding. This seed can be compared to the offspring of the demon. Like shown in Soul Fusion, this kind of demon is born from the shard of another demon. The tainted have a shard within them, so weak that their own personality, their mind, overpowers it.
Tainting isn't all without benefits, though it has both positive and negative side effects: positive, the drow who has been "seeded" is immune to possession from a demon, since they are pretty much already possessed; negative, if left unchecked the "seed" may grow within the drow and become a new demon killing the host in the process. The process of tainting is often compared to a vaccination, though there are hints within the story of darker effects.
What the name Tainted refers to is that the aura and the eyes of the Ver'Drowendar get a red taint due to the demon seed. In addition, the physical senses are dulled. They also become more vicious and aggressive. These effects can range from light to heavy, depending on the strength of the seed left behind. Heavy tainting can have some random effects on the person, other than the lack of feelings and the red eyes. The body can also change, and their habits and personality can shift. There are examples of Ver’Drowendar who have been devoured to the core by a strong seed within them. They are on the border of losing against the seed, unable to keep it at bay. One day they could wake up an empty shell, and a new demon would be born in full control of the body, the soul of the person completely lost.
Examples of the two ends of the spectrum are Naal'Suul and Syphile.
The ritual to taint someone is usually done via a relationship with a demon under controlled conditions, and it is now a prerequisite at the school for learning summoning. Nearly all summoners are tainted, since it both increases their power and protects them from accidents.
In the Drowtales universe all fae races (of which the drow are a part) generate an aura of energy called mana. This energy aura can be manipulated and can perform magic. Most drow have an affinity for a particular "element" (like fire) and are especially skilled in its use, though there are however no inherent limitations to how many magical disciplines a person can master through training and hard work . Some rare abilities however like empathy magic or visions of the future do however seem to be exclusively for people born with the "gift" of those abilities.
More on mana
The drow consider their mana auras to be the manifestation of their souls. Therefore races that do not have a mana aura are considered soulless. These soulless races (humans, orcs, dwarves and ferals) are also unable to perform magic. Creatures without mana are also safe from demons, that is that they can not be possessed. Naturally, they can still be killed by a demon who has possessed a physical body.
Mana is also the source of the fae "immortality". Some mana always "bleeds off", and when many fae live in close proximity the excess mana mixes together and saturates the area with "background mana". This effect is used to power lights throughout the city, but it also affects the fae themselves. As long as a fae lives in an area rich on background mana they will not age beyond adulthood. However, if they live as hermits or outcasts away from the mana saturated areas they will wither and die of old age after mere centuries .
When someone performs magic they drain mana from their aura, when the aura is low on "power" they will feel physically drained and weak. If the aura is completely drained they may even die from exhaustion. To counter this people who rely heavily on magic often have special crystals integrated into their armor and clothing. These crystals are capable of storing mana, and the magic user can tap into these crystals like "batteries" when performing magic in order to preserve their own aura, or cast more powerful spells. Such crystals can also be used to "power" golems and other magical devices that continuously "burn" mana to function (minor magical constructs like street lights don't require crystals because they get what little mana they need from the background mana that saturates drow settlements).
Types of magic
All fae have limited ability to use magic, however without extensive training they are usually limited to creating a weak light source and other such very basic spells. Most drow don't rely extensively on magic, as magical training is reserved for the rich and powerful who can afford to attend a school of magic or hire masters to train them. A few people though, even among the commoners, are born with special magical abilities that they can use almost instinctively. These in-born abilities are usually highly specialised though, and not as versatile as the magic that is learned the hard way.
There are several "types" of magic in the drow realm :
- Basic energy
- Any fae can use basic energy magic (also known as "raw magic" ) without much training. It simply involves turning their energy into some usable form, for example a source of light or a shield. There is not much finesse involved and the power of the spells are pretty much directly proportional to the amount of mana that is put into them. A highly skilled magic user can usually channel a lot more energy (or make better use of it) than an untrained user can though.
- Sorcery is an inborn ability to manipulate certain elements (for example heat and fire). This ability is second nature and requires no special training to use. Sorcery abilities usually follow bloodlines, but the exact nature if the abilities seem mostly random, the children of a fire sorceress might very well turn out to have the ability to manipulate water or wind rather than fire. People skilled in high art can achieve the same results, but it requires considerably more training.
- High sorcery
- High sorcery is extremely rare. It can either mean that a person has multiple sorcery skills (natural ability to manipulate multiple elements), or some natural ability to manipulate complex objects other than the base elements. For example Ariel's natural ability to shape change is a high sorcery skill (shape changing is not unique, but her natural affinity for it is).
- Empathy magic is purely inborn, no amount of training can make an empath out of a "ungifted" person. It usually follows the same bloodline. An empath basically feel the emotions and dreams of others. For an unskilled empath it is mostly a curse, and the never ending flow of emotions and visions drive them mad and suicidal. With proper training the ability can be controlled however and a strong empath can even learn to read the minds of others or even control their thoughts! They also make skilled animal handlers and healers.
- Spell song
- A very rare skill, almost no one outside the Illhar'Dro clan have access to it. It is not transmitted by bloodline so anyone can learn it in theory, however the clan guard its secrets well. By mixing complex songs and chants with their mana the Illhar'Dro songstreses can achieve a number of effects. Most of which affects a person's aura directly (although it can also be used to tear down a wall, but other kinds of magic is more suited for that task). Because the magic is transmitted by sound it is almost impossible to block or dispel (the sound waves interact directly with the aura so even a deaf person is affected). It is mostly used for support to increase the strength and morale of allies or weaken enemies, but can also be used directly to stun or daze an opponent temporarily.
- High art
- The most common type of magic, as it is available to all (who can afford the training). It involves mixing of elements with mana to create various effects. Both mages (Faern) and priestesses (Yathrines) use some form of high art. Faerns tend to focus on the concrete elements (fire, ice, earth, water, wind etc.) while the Yathrines tend to focus on "abstract" elements (light, shadow, blood etc.)
- Golem making
- Golem making is highly complex and often involves centuries of trial and error to master, and it is as much engineering as it is magic. In order to be able to move, the golem need working joints in every limb and, by far, the most complex part is creating the "control centre", which is usually made up of complex magical patterns worked into the structure. Once complete the golem is animated and "programmed" with a set of spells and powered by one or more crystals filled with mana. A far easier type of golem to make are "flesh golems", a corpse makes an excellent golem (assuming it is not too damaged) as one does not have to spend ages building the body and control centre. All that is needed is some spells to animate the corpse and the crystals to power it (and presumably some kind of "preservation spell" to prevent the golem from going stale). Golems are usually used as guardians or as menial labour in hazardous environments.
- An ancient art which originally involved summoning creatures to the aid of the summoner. Though over time it has been "corrupted" as summoners have sought out new ways to increase their power and is today used almost exclusively to summon demons or raw energy from the outer planes. Summoning is used to open a rift to the demonic plane and "pull out" a demon who the summoner then tries to control for her purpose. There is a high risk of getting tainted or possessed if something goes wrong. For this reason a prerequisite for learning summoning today is a controlled "low level" deliberate tainting for the would be summoner. This weak taint work as a vaccine for demonic possession because only one demon can possess the same person and the summoner is already "taken" by a very weak shard of a demon. Summoning can also be used to make direct attacks at a person's aura; which makes it a lot harder to defend against compared to "normal" spells that do physical damage.
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