- "“You know, killing the people in charge until someone willing to listen gets promoted,” she said. “The Tenets of Night are all about stabbing to get on top, you’d blend right in.”"
- ―Archer of Woe
The Drow are an Evil race that resided in the Everdark before the dwarves took over. Now they are building a city on the surface. It is currently called Duskwood (Serolen in Crepuscular), but that may change.
Drow are nocturnal, being awake only in the afternoon and night. At dawn, all Drow become greatly exhausted, falling asleep very quickly. Mighty are capable of withstanding the tiredness somewhat, but Dzulu need to drink herbal concoctions in order to remain awake. Repeatedly keeping Drow awake through dawn has a negative impact on their health: Dzulu become ill and extremely sensitive to light, while even Mighty found their powers weakened even after nightfall. This is due to dawn being the death of night, causing Sve Noc's power to ebb the lowest. It was mentioned that being deep underground, far from the reach of sunlight, prevented this effect.
Drow without Night (see below) only live for exactly sixty years, which they call the Three Faces. The first face is their childhood and adolescent years, ending at age twenty. The second face lasts from twenty to forty, their adulthood, before the third face is reached and old age sets in before death claims them.
Drow cities have historically been located underground, far away from sunlight. This allows Drow to use their Night to the fullest extent, as Night cannot be used under sunlight, barring few exceptions. The Empire Ever Dark once was a major underground power, winning two out of six wars against the Kingdom Under before fracturing.
Due to the geographical location of the Everdark, being stuck at one of the northernmost corners of Calernia, bordering only the Chain of Hunger, the Kingdom of the Dead and the Golden Bloom, they have become rather obscure. Some modern histories do not even mention them and some considered them to be just stories. Much of the information about them was long outdated or inaccurate on the surface. That is not to say that they have no presence on the surface, as occasionally Drow warbands were able to discover Dwarven tunnels and reach northern Procer or, more rarely, northern Callow. Akua Sahelian managed to hire a company of Drow exiles, who were working as mercenaries based in Mercantis.
Drow are androgynous humanoids with grey skin and white hair. Their eyes are described to have oval pupils and sclera that are larger than a human's. Green and brown eyes have been observed among them. Their skin is mentioned to crease in ways no human can mimic. Their blood is red. Catherine thinks that they are more unsettling to look at than fae, as they look more human than the fae.
When imbibing Night, physical changes occur to the Drow. Firstly, their irises gain strands of silver, eventually turning fully silver when enough Night has been imbibed. If even more Night is taken in, their pupils will turn a darker shade of silver. Their blood also turns from red to grey, and then to black, as more Night is taken in. Their lifespan is lengthened, with even Dzulu becoming capable of living for a century and it being near unheard of for even lesser Mighty to die of old age. The most extreme examples are Mighty Rumena and Jindrich, who have been alive for at least three thousand years, both of whom are extremely powerful Mighty and Sigil-Holders.
When Night devoured Winter, further changes occured to the Drow. Their eyes became a mix of silver and blue, while all Drow became ageless, becoming immortal unless killed. Catherine suspects that when Winter fully settles within the Night, Drow will begin growing Fae-like traits.
Drow are able to acquire knowledge and power by killing other drow and harvesting it from them in the form of Night. The drow can grow the total amount of Night by killing and draining non-drow (including, it seems, undead although this is not actually done, perhaps because it would give The Dead King a degree of influence over the Night). However, this is seldom done since only the most desperate are willing to leave the protection of the Gloom; thus, for the most part they fight each other over it in a zero-sum game. Beside specific elements of knowledge – such as languages, crafts or fighting tricks – the Night allows the drow some general abilities such as emerging in and out from shadow. It is later revealed that the Night is in fact miracles of the Gods Below, purer than even devils. Like how every priest in the House of Light served the Gods Above and could wield their miracles of Light, Drow in the Faith of Night wielded Night in much the same way.
Drow society is stratified according to the amount of Night wielded. Individuals with no or almost no Night are not even considered drow, but are called "cattle" – a term which is also used for non-drow. The general term for the upper-level strata is "Mighty", with several subdivisions: lowest is ispe. A rylleh is one who knows twelve Secrets and has slain another rylleh.
In order of descending amount of Night, we have:
Sigil-holder, or Mighty
The strongest of a given Sigil, and who the Sigil is named after. (Note that 'Mighty' can also be used interchangably to refer to anybody who has partaken in a non-negligible amount of Night -- i.e. rylleh and ipse can collectively be called Mighty -- which might add to some confusion.)
The second-strongest of the Mighty and of any given Sigil. They are directly under the Sigil-holder on the totem pole. According to Ivah, to become a Rylleh one must "know twelve secrets and slay another rylleh." The hard hitters of the sigil, and most likely contenders to run their leader through and claim it for themselves.
Mid level Mighty
An Ipse that has begun to show promise.
The lowest of the Mighty. Fighters with a handful of tricks and not much else, though noted by Catherine to be the equivalent of Fae infantry without the wings which means they still hit pretty damn hard.
'Person,' more or less, in Crepuscular. Drow who have just enough Night to not be considered gutter trash, but not enough to be called Mighty.
'Meat,' in Crepuscular. Drow who have nothing worth taking and mean even less in the eyes of a Mighty. To be harvested by the dozens, and you'll rarely get anything interesting out of it.
Little is known about the original Empire Ever Dark. It was ruled by the Twilight Sages, who, according to the Bard, believed that "death is the only sin". They had a large military but also put a lot of stock into scholarship. Catherine noted that the surviving architecture and engineering seemed to have been quite impressive before the decline.
Since the fall of the Twilight Sages, drow society is based on the Tenets of Night, religious precepts set up by Sve Noc which formalize the rule of the strong. The complete extent of the Tenets is not known, but they are easily summarized: The worthy take, the worthy rise. This refers to the taking and wielding of Night.
In Drow society only the mighty are considered citizens; all others are relegated to the staus of cattle. A drow's worth is only based on how many "secrets" they possess. These secrets are coveted by each distinct Drow clan. Secrets range from warfare tactics, to smithing, as well as sorcery.
Drow society is formed around sigils, tribes lead by individual Mighty. These work together in alliances, cabals, around specific goals, such as protecting valuable resources or ensuring another sigil doesn't grow too strong, but are otherwise independent and generally in a state of more or less active warfare with each other.The only form of central government is the Priestesses of Night, Sve Noc, known individually as Andronike and Komena. They are the only ones with enough influence to lead the Drow into war, however they are also at the epicenter of why the Drow fell to such a degree. This suggests they have no other rules and is somewhat borne out as they're one of the few people on Calernia who still practice slavery. Akua remarks that they find it difficult to take orders from a man, implying a matriarchal bent. However, given their genderless nature, this is likely a misunderstanding; they may well have found it equally difficult to take orders from a woman without Night or, at least, a Name.
- Ranger once tried to hunt the Priestess of Night. Notably, she wasn't successful.
- Cordelia Hasenbach considers drow the true enemies of Good, along with the Kingdom of the Dead and the Chain of Hunger.
- Drow hold "duels of singing" in which the winner is decided by popular acclaim (the audience votes by dropping trinkets at the feet of the contestant they think they should win). These "duels" largely consist of insulting the opponent and extolling themselves in poetic song. The winner of a series of nine consecutive such duels (against different opponents) is considered immortal and unable to be killed by any voter for nine nights afterwards.