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Drow Sailor by Imperator-Zor Drow Sailor by Imperator-Zor
With a maritime tradition which goes back seven millennia, common magical aptitude and the ability to acquire centuries of experience, the Dark Elvish states have produced many of the world's best mariners. To many the most well known application of said abilities are as pirates, raiders, military sailors and marines which can butcher shipping and reap settlements, though they are also often used in comercial activities ranging from the Slave Trade to more normal commerce either in or without the Dark Elvish sphere to (In more recent years) maintaining a link between the Homelands and their Colonies on the Northwestern Continent. Though slaves are often employed to help fill out crews, every Drow vessel larger than a rowboat will inevitably have at least a single Dark Elf acting as it's Skipper.

The manning of ships is a job perused by Drow from all strata of their society. Discarded Drow with nothing in their name but the clothes on their backs will often find employ among merchant crews for meagre wages and rations in hopes of learning skills escaping the streets. Those that prove themselves are often taken on as wards by established houses who encourage their children to do the same as they gradually earn enough to establish themselves and found Minor Houses of their own. Said Minor Houses have parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins which help groom their children for life at sea (including teaching them specialized trades such as naval carpentry and similar) and are seen as a premium source of sailors by their patrons. All the while they scrimp and save to buy ships of their own, often in part at first but with full ownership as an eventual goal. As their wealth grows and their ventures become more successful they gradually move into the territory of intermediate houses with investments in numerous ships and one or three ships of their own. Even the Great Houses of the Drow will often send their children out to serve at sea, though generally this is a way of grooming them for command. For all of this most sailors tend to come from houses on the Merchant side, with Warrior Houses being far less likely to raise their children to be sailors and generally do so mainly to man their warships and to make sure that their State's Navy is not totally controlled by the Merchant Houses. Many Sailors elect for naval service rather than conscription into ground forces. Drow sailors do not wear uniforms, though those in service to the military generally wear the Colors of their State (in the case of this sailor it's the Dark Green and Black of Valnothron).

Drow Sailors rely more on mundane skills such as conventional carpentry, tying knots and similar so than their high elvish counterparts but less than than human or dwarvish crews. Wind Mages are the most common form of maritime magic users in a Drow Fleet, but hardly the only one. One task common in Drow maritime operations is as Slave Driver, keeping the chattel that do much of the work on-board in line. Drow Sailors are also quite capable fighters in their own right, having respectable training in arms and access to weapons that are usually of a higher quality than that of most sailors. Part of this has to do with the Drow Policy of training every Dark Elf in basic combat, part of it has to do with the fact that most civilian sailors spend time in the Navy, the Drow's large-scale use of cheap slave labor in arms manufacturing, that a fair number (if not as many in previous centuries) of Drow civilian ships moonlight in piracy or are pressed into service as troop ships and partly because there is the omnipresent risk of attack by High Elves.

Over the course of the Escort War there have been some changes, the most notable of which pertains to the introduction of Steam Engines which by extension requires engineers to operate and maintain them. The skills for which are totally removed from those of traditional Drow sailors. Attempts to meet the needs of a quickly growing fleet have included drafting engineers from industrial projects, assigning them apprentices to be given crash courses in the subject and setting up steam engines on land for training purposes. While many captains acknowledge the value of said new machines most of them resent the sudden insertion of outsiders into their sphere of influence in positions of prominence and the disruptions it has caused. Especially since they know that further shake ups are inevitable.
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March 12
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