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Drow (Famous and Not)
By Sean K Reynolds and Brom
The twelve dark elf novels written by R.A. Salvatore and Elaine Cunningham have introduced dozens of drow characters. Like their strange and evil cities, these characters are tied to each other by bonds of family, location, faith, and vengeance in a convoluted tangled web. Sometimes it's hard for a reader to keep them all straight, with their alien-sounding names and extensive histories. Here's a rundown of the important (and not so important) named drow characters in these novels.
Alton DeVir: Alton was a wizard of house DeVir. Alton was almost ready to graduate from Sorcere (Menzoberranzan's wizard academy) when he was attacked by Gelroos Hun'Ett on the night his house was destroyed by house Do'Urden. With Gelroos dead at the hands of Masoj Hun'Ett, he scarred his face with acid and assumed Gelroos' identity to enact his revenge against house Do'Urden. He was killed by an exploding wand during his attack on Drizzt and Guenhwyvar.
Auro'pol Dyrr: Auro'pol was a matron mother of house Agrach Dyrr, which is one of the five highest houses of Menzoberranzan. She was killed by a demon during the siege of Mithral Hall under orders from Matron Baenre for personal reasons, which was the start of the fall of Matron Baenre in the eyes of the other matron mothers.
Berg'inyon: Berg'inyon is the youngest son of Matron Baenre. He led the lizard riders of his house. Easily recognizable by his short, neatly-cropped hair, he carries a death lance (a long lance crafted with powerful death magic). He was a classmate of Drizzt at Melee Magthere, the Menzoberranzan martial academy. His fate is unknown, although he may have joined Jarlaxle's mercenaries after the siege at Mithral Hall.
Bladen'Kerst Baenre: Bladen'Kerst was the third child of Matron Baenre, behind Triel and Gromph. She was incredibly sadistic, and even her mother found it hard to control her. She carried a five-headed snake whip, and she was slain by Gandalug Battlehammer at the end of the drow invasion of Mithral Hall.
Briza Do'Urden: Briza was Drizzt's oldest half-sister and daughter of Malice. A powerful priestess of Lolth, she was angry and brutal, and she always punished infractions quickly. Briza was big by drow standards, with rounded shoulders and hips, and she carried a whip with six snake heads. She killed her mother when Malice failed Lolth, but she had little time to savor her power, for house Do'Urden was attacked immediately after by house Baenre. She was killed in the attack.
Bythnara Shobalar: Bythnara was the daughter of a minor house known for its tendency to produce female wizards. Childhood rival, friend, and foster sister of Liriel, she was killed by Liriel after attempting to murder her friend.
Dantrag: Dantrag was weapon master of house Baenre. Tall and handsome with amber eyes, he carried two swords, one of which (Khazid'hea or "Cutter") was made in the surface world and had an evil intelligence of its own. Always under the shadow of Drizzt's father, he was happy to challenge Drizzt to a duel, and he died despite the quickening power of his magic bracers. Cattie-Brie, Drizzt's ally, claimed his sword.
Dargathan: An older student at Melee-Magthere and member of house Srune'lett, Dargathan was Liriel's sword-trainer at Arach-Tinilith (the cleric academy in Menzoberranzan). Stocky and unattractive, he is a competent teacher, if not a brilliant fighter.
Dinin Do'Urden: Dinin was Drizzt's older half-brother and former master of Melee Magthere. Despite his skills, he respected and feared Drizzt's superior fighting ability. After the fall of house Do'Urden, he joined Jarlaxle's mercenary company. Because of his lack of faith in his half-sister Vierna and her renewed fervor for the spider goddess Lolth, she turned him into a drider, and he was later slain by Drizzt.
Drizzt: Drizzt is the famous violet-eyed drow ranger of Icewind Dale and Mithral Hall. Son of Malice, he was raised in Menzoberranzan and taught swordplay by his father Zaknafein. He rejected the cruel teachings of Lolth and the wicked drow of his home city and made his way to the surface world through the Underdark, befriending many along the way. His favored weapon is the scimitar, and he wields two magic blades at once in combat: Twinkle, a scimitar at home in starlight, and Icingdeath, a magically cold blade named for a white dragon he and his friend Wulfgar slew. His closest companion is Guenhwyvar, an extradimensional black panther he can summon to his side with a magic onyx figurine. Drizzt worships Mielikki, the goddess of forests and rangers; this is a faith he discovered with the help of his late friend Montolio, a human ranger.
Elkantar: Elkantar is consort to Qilué Veladorn. He is the commander of the Protectors of the Song (the temple guard at the Promenade, Eilistraee's temple beneath Waterdeep). Born in an evil drow city, he was sold as a slave for being too rebellious. He eventually became free and turned to worship Eilistraee. He is devoted to Qilué and would die to protect her if he had to.
Gelroos: Gelroos was master wizard of house Hun'Ett. He was known as the Faceless One because of his terribly scarred visage, which was the result of an exploding magical experiment. He was paid to kill Alton DeVir on the night of house Do'Urden's attack on house DeVir, but found himself slain by his resentful younger brother Masoj.
Ghenni'tiroth Tlabbar: Ghenni-tiroth was a matron mother of house Faen Tlabbar, fourth house of Menzoberranzan. Extremely devout and fanatical, she was killed by matron K'yorl Odran during the Time of Troubles when house Odran attacked her house.
Ghilanna Tlabbar: Ghilanna is the younger matron of house Faen Tlabbar. She took the position after her mother's death, although she had to fight viciously with her seven sisters to achieve supremacy. Tall, slender, and vain, she is very wanton.
Ginafae DeVir: Ginafae was a matron mother of house DeVir. After falling out of favor in the eyes of the Spider Queen because of a foolish mistake in the method of eliminating a drow she wanted killed, she herself was killed by Zaknafein in the attack on her house by house Do'Urden.
Gorlist: Gorlist was a drow commoner warrior. He was tall, with short hair and a dragon tattoo on the cheek, and he was particularly proud of his unscarred body, which was a sign that an enemy had never struck him. He worked as a mercenary for his father Nisstyre and, like his father, was a worshiper of Vhaeraun, the male drow god of the surface world. He was given a magic ear-cuff that allowed him to regenerate from any lethal wound, although he was not pleased with its inability to smooth the scars from such wounds. He was finally killed permanently by Liriel and the Rashemen berserker Fyodor.
Gromph: Gromph is the elderboy (eldest male child) of Matron Baenre. His appearance is unremarkable except for his amber-colored eyes. An accomplished wizard and the archmage of Menzoberranzan, he chafed under the rule of the drow priestesses and, in particular, cares little for his sister Triel but has to respect her role and power. He carries several powerful magic items, including a brooch that keeps him eternally young and several wands. He is the father of Liriel and his first teacher in the arcane arts.
Hatch'Net: Hatch'Net is a drow instructor at Melee Magthere. Called the Master of Lore, his job is to teach the history of the drow to the students and instill within them the rage and hate for all races that live on the surface world, particularly other races of elves. A charismatic drow male, he is an excellent speaker and has much prestige within the city.
Henge: Henge is a priest of Vhaeraun. He was a follower of Nisstyre before that man's death. He used to live in Ched Nasad (a rival drow city to Menzoberranzan), but he escaped with help from Nisstyre in exchange for a magical oath of loyalty. This oath caused terrible wounds and pain to Henge whenever he disobeyed Nisstyre's will.
Hesken-P'aj Symryvvin: Hesken-P'aj is matron of house Symryvvin, eighteenth house of Menzoberranzan. Small and wizened, she is the most powerful priestess of Lolth in the city and greatly respected for her power despite her low rank. At a great meeting of all the noble houses after the disastrous attack on Mithral Hall, she spoke the message from Lolth that the houses were to stop warring and no priestesses were to be killed until the city had regained its strength.
Iljrene: Iljrene is a priestess of Eilistraee at the Promenade. A tiny woman, she has a voice like that of a little girl, but she commands attention when she speaks. She is the battlemaster for the Promenade's defenders, although she reports to Elkantar.
Jarlaxle: Jarlaxle is the enigmatic and charismatic leader of Bregan D'Aerthe, which is the most famous mercenary group in Menzoberranzan. Easily recognized by his shaven head and unusual clothes, he carries several magic daggers that return to him after being thrown, an eyepatch that blocks mental intrusions, many rings, hard boots that can be made loud or quiet at will, a shimmering cape of many colors, a mirror than can be used to scry people, and a whistle that can detect magic and banish summoned creatures. He also has contacts on the surface world and is involved in organized crime in Calimshan through his business partner, Artemis Entreri.
Jerlys H'Kar: Jerlys was a matron mother of house H'Kar, twelfth house of Menzoberranzan. Artemis Entreri killed her in a chance encounter when he was a prisoner of Bregan D'Aerthe.
K'yorl Odran: K'yorl was matron of house Oblodra, third house of Menzoberranzan. Scrawny and very short, she had psionic powers, as did a significant number of drow in her house. She was hated by Matron Baenre and was sent to the Abyss after the Time of Troubles to be tortured eternally for blaspheming Lolth. Fiends attacked her entire house, structure, and inhabitants and swept all of it into the Abyss as part of this punishment.
Kelnozz: Kelnozz is a commoner in service to house Kenafin. A student at Melee Magthere, he "befriended" Drizzt early on but betrayed him in a grand melee to secure a higher rank for himself.
Ker Horlbar: Ker Horlbar is one of two matron mothers that rule house Horlbar. Her family is wealthy because of their agriculture holdings, and those same holdings make them rivals with house Hunszrin.
Khareese H'Kar: Khareese is a female drow slaver who worked on the Isle of Rothé in Menzoberranzan. She and her minions looked after the rothé owned by the city. She discovered Drizzt outside the city, assumed he was the only survivor of a drow patrol, and let Drizzt back into Menzoberranzan, not realizing his identity. She found Drizzt quite attractive, but she was killed by Bregan D'Aerthe to keep Drizzt's return secret before she could act on those desires.
Kharza-kzad: Kharza-kzad was a master wizard of Sorcere. A male noble of house Xorlarrin, he was a tutor of Liriel. He was known among his peers for crafting powerful battle wands. He was an ally of Nisstyre, but he found himself forced to battle Nisstyre because of political and personal conflicts over Liriel. After plunging into a volcano he emerged as a lich, which is a powerful, undead spellcaster.
Kimmuriel Oblodora: Psionic male of the destroyed house Oblodora of Menzoberranzan, Kimmuriel has the ability to teleport, read minds, and create a barrier that absorbs physical attacks. He serves Jarlaxle in Bregan D'Aerthe and is an ally of Rai'gy Bondalek.
Kintuere Hunszrin: Matron mother of house Hunszrin, Kintuere's house controls much of the agriculture and rothé (a kind of Underdark cattle) herds that feed Menzoberranzan. She is the mother of Shakti, and it is likely that Shakti will inherit the house when Kintuere dies (whether that is soon or not for many decades).
Kyrnill Kenafin: Matron mother of house Kenafin, tenth house of Menzoberranzan, Kyrnill is cruel and tyrannical. In her house, priestesses rule absolutely supreme -- even for a Lolth-controlled society -- and they subjugate and terrorize all house males.
Liriel Vandree (Baenre): Liriel is the daughter of Gromph and a minor female noble of house Vandree. After her father discovered her talent for arcane magic, he had her mother murdered and adopted her. She studied wizardry under him as well others such as Kharza-kzad Xorlarrin. Triel Baenre forced her to enter Arach-Tinilith despite her and Gromph's protest. She left the Underdark to explore the world and bears a magic amulet of the Rus that can sustain location-based magic when away from that location. She has amber eyes like her father and is a friend of Fyodor, a Rashemen berserker.
Malice Do'Urden: Matron mother of house Do'Urden, Malice was an old but still vital drow. She was slender and deceptively small, and she had a reputation for taking any man in her house that she wanted to pleasure her, even commoners. Drizzt was her last child and was born on the night of her house's attack on house DeVir. She was killed by her daughter Briza at the Spider Queen's behest after failing to kill her errant son Drizzt with the zin-carla of Zaknafein.
Masoj: A drow fighter of house Hun'Ett, Masoj was the last drow that Drizzt killed before leaving Menzoberranzan, and he is also the reason Drizzt made his oath to never again take the life of a drow. (This is an oath he later broke, but he realized the folly of making such an oath in the first place.) Masoj was Guenhwyvar's previous owner, and he loved taunting the noble cat by forcing her to commit cruel deeds, such as hunting down survivors of a raid on a party of svirfneblins.
Matron Baenre: Matron mother of house Baenre, Matron Baenre was so old and spent so long in that position that none remember her personal name. Very old and withered for an elf, she was allied with a mind flayer, who she used to extract information from reticent subjects. She wore a spider-shaped gold ring with a black sapphire, which is said to contain a magically preserved lethal spider. She was killed by Bruenor Battlehammer at the end of the invasion of Mithral Hall.
Maya Do'Urden: Drizzt's half-sister, Maya is a Lolth priestess. She was killed in the attack on house Do'Urden by house Baenre.
Merith: Merith is a commoner's daughter adopted into house Baenre because of her priestly talent. She is sadistic, not subtle in any way, and has no sense of intrigue or protocol.
Mez'Bazzis Armgo: Mez'Bazzis is matron mother of house Barrison Del'Armgo, second house of Menzoberranzan.
Miz'ri Mizzrym: Matron of house Mizzrym, Miz'ri's house is known for its trade contacts and its willingness to deal with nondrow, including surface-dwellers.
Mod'Vensis Tlabbar: Priestess and instructor at Arach-Tinilith, Mod'Vensis reputedly has a wanton lust for young attractive drow males.
Nalfein: Elderboy of house Do'Urden and son of Malice, Nalfein was killed by his brother Dinin during the house's attack on house DeVir, which elevated Dinin from secondboy to elderboy and also allowed the just-born Drizzt to live.
Nisstyre the Fox: Drow merchant with contacts on the surface world, Nisstyre had unusual coppery-red hair. Formerly of Ched Nasad, he left there seeking greater opportunities. A worshiper of Vhaeraun, he also was skilled as a wizard. Liriel killed him in a magical battle.
Qilué Veladorn: Oilué is a priestess of Eilistraee. In addition to her powers as a priestess, she is Chosen (empowered with direct power from a deity) of both Eilistraee and Mystra. Qilué is mother of Ysolde and high priestess of the Promenade.
Quenthel Baenre: Quenthel was another daughter of the matron of house Baenre. A drow priestess who rose through the ranks quickly with Lolth's favor, she was hated by Triel and Gromph for her ambition, but slain by Drizzt during the end of the drow invasion of Mithral Hall.
Rai'gy Bondalek: Rai'gy is a former high priest of Lolth from the city of Ched Nasad. A member of a more moderate sect of the Spider Queen that allows male clerics, he was ousted in a coup instigated by Jarlaxle, and he later joined Bregan D'Aerthe. Rai'gy has studied wizardry and knows how to craft magic items, including duplicating existing items.
Rizzen: Rizzen was Malice Do'Urden's consort for most of Drizzt's young life. Father of Dinin, he was killed by the zin-carla of Zaknafein when Malice grew tired of him.
Shakti Hunszrin: Shakti, a priestess of Lolth, is being courted by Vhaeraun. She is a rival and foe of Liriel, who she trained with at Arach-Tinilith. Nearsighted for most of her life, she was recently cured by unholy power of the two deities she serves. She carries a magic trident and a whip with five snake heads. Liriel's power banished her to the Abyss, but Shakti is likely to return soon.
SiNafay Hun'Ett: Matron mother of house Hun'Ett and mother of Gelroos and Masoj, SiNafay is very tiny even for a drow. She weighed barely fifty pounds but was quite powerful. Her house was destroyed after it attacked house Do'Urden, but she was placed in that house as Shi'Nayne Do'Urden, a new "daughter" of Malice.
Sos'Umptu Baenre: Sos'Umptu is a drow priestess and keeper of the Baenre house chapel. Content with watching over her precious chapter, she is the least ambitious drow Matron Baenre had ever known.
Syzwick: Handsome commoner male and lover of Bythnara, Syzwick is the son of a perfume merchant.
Triel Baenre: Matron mother of house Baenre and head of Arach-Tinilith, Triel is the eldest daughter of Matron Baenre. She is short and bad-tempered but patient and calculating. She disliked her mother's schemes, knowing that if her mother died she would inherit much trouble, and when her mother did die, she went to work to control some of the chaos she inherited.
Uthegental: Uthegental was the huge and strong weapon master of house Del'Armgo. He wore drow plate mail, used a magic trident and net, and was easily recognized by his spiky hair, great size, and multiple facial piercings. He was not very bright but capable of flying into a terrible rage. A gange of battleragers and a mage in werewolf form killed Uthegental during the drow attack on Mithral Hall.
Vartha Do'Urden: Mother of Malice, Vartha was the previous matron mother to house Do'Urden. She died unexpectedly nearly about 400 years ago, which allowed Malice to take control of the house.
Vendes Baenre: Vendes was one of Matron Baenre's daughters. Called the "unholy executioner," she was the master torturer of house Baenre. She used physical instruments as well as exotic poisons to affect her charges, and sometimes the poor victims were turned to stone afterward and put on display to show her skill. She carried a wand of viscid globs and was killed by Drizzt after he escaped her torture.
Vierna Do'Urden: Vierna was Drizzt's only full-blooded sibling. Also a daughter of Zaknafein and Matron Malice Do'Urden, Vierna was the one drow (other than his father) for whom Drizzt felt a spark of kinship and a deeper sense that she was not completely evil, for she too seemed to inherit Zaknafein's more moderate nature. A cleric of Lolth, she lost her faith when her house was destroyed for a time but regained it (as well as a tinge of madness) when Lolth chose her to bring Drizzt back to Menzoberranzan to be sacrificed. That scheme turned sour, and she was slain in a battle with Drizzt, a fate which she did not entirely regret. She carried a snake-headed whip.
Ysolde Veladorn: Priestess of Eilistraee, Ysolde is the daughter of Qilué Veladorn and is the first nonevil drow that Liriel ever met. She greeted Liriel on the surface world and welcomed her into their dance of worship to the Dark Maiden.
Zaknafein: Weapon master of house Do'Urden, Zaknafein was a sometime consort of Malice and the father of Drizzt and Vierna Do'Urden. He kept his inner, nonevil self secret from those around him, and he is responsible for Drizzt's training and temperament. When Drizzt's actions brought disfavor on the house, he agreed to be sacrificed to Lolth instead of Drizzt in the hope that his son might escape the dread life in Menzoberranzan. He was later animated from the dead as a zin-carla, or "spirit-wraith," a form of undead where the spirit is forced back into the body and dominated by the will of a Lolth priestess. Zaknafein was forced to fight his son by Malice's mental commands, but Drizzt awakened his father's mind while they battled, and Zaknafein threw himself into a pool of acid in a moment of clarity, ending Malice's control permanently.
Zeerith Q'Xorlarrin: Matron mother of house Q'Xorlarrin, fifth house of Menzoberranzan, Zeerith is known for her skills at diplomacy and is often called to mediate disputes between houses. She was the closest friend (in drow terms) of matron mother Ghenni'tiroth Tlabbar, and she was pleased when K'yorl Odran (her friend's slayer) was slain as punishment.
Zeld Mizzrym: A priestess of Lolth, Zeld is an instructor at Arach-Tinilith and in charge of first-year students. She was the first person on the faculty to take note of the rivalry between Liriel and Shakti.
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