The Drow are technically Elves, though they have been completely corrupted by dark magi entirely through its use over countless cycles. The dark magi has corrupted them down to their very souls, making them the total opposite of their Elvish brethren.
The Drow are tall and slender, similar to their Elvish brethren, and also feature pointed ears and white hair (though on occasion there are Drow with black hair.) They also have extensive lifespans like the Elves, some living several cycles. There isn't much else that they share in common beyond that.
Their skin ranges from black to grey to dark blue to deep purple, a far cry from the fair skin of the Elves. They also bear striking reddish-orange eyes, burning intensely and brightly even in the darkest of shadows and nights. Some say the corruption to their bodies and souls gave their eyes the ability to generate their own light, allowing them to see even total darkness.
Another product of the dark magi corruption is that their blood has been miscolored. Instead of the deep red like that of most races in Anvaris, their blood has turned jet black. It also bears a distinct, sickening smell in large quantities. Just a whiff of the stench could bring about intense nausea and possible vomiting.
Their strength rivals that of Men, as their bodies (though slender) are a bit more muscular than that of Elves. They retain their endurance from when they were Elves, allowing them to travel often without mounts.
The Ameliorated Edit
During and shortly after the Lightwar, there were Drow that were captured in large numbers but not imprisoned or executed. These Drow became test subjects for a process that would attempt to revert them back to their former Elvish selves. Several years passed, and most of these captured Drow were partially cured of their corruption. Partially meaning only their souls and minds were. Their bodies remained changed. Except for the eyes, which now burned an intense green instead of the common reddish-orange of the regular Drow. These Ameliorated, as they were named, decided to try and live out their lives peacefully as they scattered around the continent. For the most part, anyway.
Drow reproduce just like any other race, and the traits and corrupted appearance pass onto the descendants. This is also the case for Half-Drow, byproducts of a Drow forcing themselves upon a member of a different race. The pointed ears, and red eyes all pass onto the children regardless of the partner's race. Half-Drow have darkened skin as well, but it appears as a rather dark tan instead of the typical black/grey/deep blue/deep purple skin of the Drow. Half-Drow are typically looked down upon due to being a product born of a vile act.
The early history for the Drow is exactly the same as the Elves. Up till shortly after the five major houses united and formed the Council of Seers. As the Elven Realm grew and the Elves explored magi, a cluster of minor Elven houses began to show an increasing interest in dark magi. Practicing in secret, they grew more and more proficient in it. As well as more addicted. Eventually, after several cycles of use, they began to show signs of corruption due to extensive dark magi use.
Soon, the other Elvish houses would discover of their use of dark magi and the horrible effects it was having on them. These houses were banished, ousted to the farthest northern reaches of the Elven Realm. Expelled forcefully from their homes, they decided to completely reject Elvish ideals and took on the name Drow. They continued their use of dark magi, further corrupting themselves well past the point of no return. They became openly hostile to their former brethren, as well as most other outsiders.
Eventually, down the line in the 24th cycle, a mysterious wizard named Kodan the Dark arrived in Drow territory from the north. After spreading the word of Ixuz and meeting with the leaders of each of the banished houses of the Drow, he managed to convince them to join his cause in the following Lightwar. The Drow supported Kodan's troops with masterful use of powerful dark magi abilities and spells.
When Kodan and his armies fell, most of the remaining Drow (that hadn't been captured) retreated back to the safety of the northern Elven Realm. There were some that chose to flee to other parts of the continent, where they currently reside as bandits, murderers, thieves, and the like.