Asrai Royalty, Nobility, and Titles

The elves of Athel Loren are directly ruled over by Ariel and Orion the incarnations of their two prime deities Isha and Kurnous respectively and are have ranks equivalent to Queen and King respectively. As they are deity incarnate, they produce no natural offspring so there is no royal family and thus the traditional rank of Prince has taken a new meaning unlike their human counterparts. While the Wood Elves typically do not use the title Prince among themselves, they may use it in racially mixed company to denote great wealth or the size of their lands or as a reminder to their hosts/guests of their greater wealth/lands/prestige (or just as an expression of pride).

The aethyric peculiarities of Athel Loren make dividing up the forest into different regions easy. Ariel and Kurnous name a clan to be the wardens of a given region and may rescind that title if the clan demonstrates particularly bad judgement or displeases them badly enough, they might then gift the stewardship of those regions to a different clan (usually another clan living in that region). A council of elders of all the clans who reside in that area is convened who select several candidates who are presented to the gifting liege who then picks an individual to recieve the Wardenship of that region. When a previous Lord cannot fulfill their duties or a fiefdom is taken away, a new lord is chosen in the same way as above. Occasionally, a Treesinger, Dryad, or other representative of Athel Loren itself will show up unannounced to weigh in on the discussion and their words are always given great weight. Sometimes a candidate will be given a task to complete before they may assume the title. In human terms, they would be equivalent to Noble Lords.

These individuals, who carry the title of Lord/Lady, have duties including caring for their region, taking care of the wild fauna, supplying small patrols (with food or elves) on the outer borders of Athel Loren, and raising and sending troops when the Asrai march to war. The lords of Athel Loren have the freedom to appoint officials to their court as they see fit and also to delegate parcels of their domains to other, lesser clans whose leaders are chosen in the same way.

Being conferred a noble title gives the lord a certain amount of deference from the non-noble population (the nobility is seen as a measure of fitness of your symbiotic relationship all wood elves have with the forest), you may take a first share of the harvest excess after everyone has been fed, and a measure of control over non-forest resources in their area. Though all Nobles are expected to lead their troops on patrols or to battle, some designate Warleaders who are better suited to that task.

Finally, sometimes Athel Loren will reach out to an individual with a vision which represents a special calling that the forest has for that individual. The chosen elf may request a hearing at the next council of elders to hear his vision, and if they agree that the elf is called by the forest, the elf is given a special tattoo marking them as set apart for the forest. Such individuals are highly honored, but they are cut off from their families (the tattoo marks them as kinless) until or unless they present themselves to the elders again when their vision is complete. At that point, the tattoo is completed (which carries with it a greater honor) and they are allowed to rejoin their clan. These elves are given almost any aid they require because they are working in the direct service of the forest. These 'unfettered ones' carry a non-hereditary rank of nobility, equivalent to the Imperial rank of Baronet, but would be unable to ascend to higher nobility unless chosen to be in some other role. While marked in such a way, they lose any rank they may currently possess and may not be called to serve in any other official capacity; their duty to Athel Loren supersedes everything else.