Dark elves, were elves, known as Ssri-tel-quessir in the elven tongue, and were frequently confused with drow. It didn't help that the two terms were often times used interchangeably, even by elves (Tel-quessir) themselves.
Roughly, twenty-seven millennia before the raising of the Standing Stone, the Fey creator race opened gates to the Feywild in an effort to undermine the ruling dragon empires. Through these portals, the first elves immigrated to Toril. These primitive green elves worship the Faerie gods (not the Seldarine, which were unknown at this time). Although most green elves were content to remain in small scattered tribes, one group known as the Ilythiiri, negotiated a truce with dragonkind and began carving out a small kingdom in the south. The great Ilythiir capital at Atorrnash would remain a shining beacon of elf culture for millennia.
Wendonai was a balor lord who, in -11500 DR was tasked by Lolth to seduce the Sethomiir clan, rulers of the Ilythiiri into her worship and grant them evil magics. He succeeded and was probably the greatest (but by no means the only) influence on the fall of the dark elves.
In -10,500 DR, during the Crown Wars, the High Mages of Aryvandaar cast a fell high magic ritual that completely destroyed the dark elven nation of Miyeritar in an event called the Dark Disaster, changing that realm into a large swampy expanse known as the High Moor.
During the Crown Wars, the Ilythiiri made several unsuccessful attempts to conquer Faerûn (although they conquered Southern Faerûn up to Shantel Othreier), and at the time of the Fourth Crown War, they turned to Lloth and the other outcast Seldarine in the Demonweb Pits who gave them powerful magic and fiendish allies as a reward for allegiance. After many malicious acts and abuses of elven magic, Corellon Larethian banished the "Dhaerow" (traitors) whom Lolth used to be responsible for (and most of whom still secretly worshiped her) to the Underdark. It was at this time that all dark elves were physically transformed into drow, their skin becoming much darker.
In 1374 DR, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun brought together many powerful mages in order to restore the denizens of the lost city of Miyeritaar's High Mages and cleanse part of the High Moor. In order to make the magic permanent, he and the Grand Mage Ualair the Silent sacrificed their lives to restore Rhymanthiin, the Hidden City of Hope.
Later, Eilistraee managed (through her death) to redeem those drow that were not tainted with Wendonai's blood (the Miyeritari). Those who were tainted with Wendonai's blood (the Ilythiir) but took up Elistraee's dance were redeemed and reverted back to their ancestral physiology. They physically reverted to their brown-skinned dark elf form, and their fate was from that point on their own to make. Drizzt was not among those "redeemed dark elves," and his skin is still ebony and runs with the taint of Wendonai's blood because he didn't receive the miracle that Elistraee bestowed to her followers before her death, the miracle that removed Wendonai's taint from her faithful. This was the telling sign that dark elves are not "the good drow," rather they were whichever good drow happened to follow Eilistraee.
- ↑ Brian R. James (2009-02-19). The one and only "Ask the Realms authors/developers thread". Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved on 2012-10-06.
- ↑ Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn, p. 27. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms, p. 8. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms, p. 10. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves, p. 29. TSR, Inc. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn, p. 52. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, p. 43. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms, p. 15. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves, p. 31. TSR, Inc. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. TSR, Inc. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff (Mass Market Paperback). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0786940165.
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