The ancient elvish kingdom of Tailimisiä, the eldest of the Wind Elf civilizations descended from the original kingdom of Ylvasmetsa, is ruled by a handful of powerful noble houses. As in other Wind Elf kingdoms, these houses were created by the elevation of their founders to the rank of nobility by the ruler—in this case the Gwyderion, High Priest of the Daystar—for some great service rendered to elvish civilization; that is, the development of some fine artwork, spellcraft, or service on the field. These houses are inevitably short-lived, dying out after a few generations thanks to the legendary infertility of elvish lines.
The great houses of today (late X.511) can be divided into two general camps: the War Party, and the Gwyderion's Party. Tensions between Caelatulia Elimya and the rest of the elves have been at an all-time high throughout the spring and summer of 511, having finally come to a head. One of the most contentious issues is that many elves have been swayed to the belief that the ruler of Tailimisya should be an elected king as it was in the days after the death of King Feanwe. The discussion over a return to elective kingship has stirred beneath the surface of the kingdom's political life for two generations.
It should be remembered that the ilmai (the free elves) form the bulk of all citizen-levies in the Greatwood. Unlike the mannish kingdoms, ilmai are not drafted as peasants, but rather are the citizen-army of the Greatwood. To that end, they may or may not be absolutely loyal to their own lords.
The War Party
Heraldry: A pair of crossed staves above a sphere of glass on a blue field
One of the eldest surviving elvish houses in the kingdom, the Sovaraels are in their final decline. The Sovaraels have holdings in and around the ancient elvish capital. Their chief holding, of course, is Sovaraila, the great town-sized courtyard-manor which the house has been expanding since their original elevation. There are a number of well-decorated members of the house, knights of high stature, placed in powerful positions in elvish society. The Lord-Captain of the Southern March is none other than Brenauren Sovarael, Lady Toveri's grandson.
The House of Sovarael also has one of the most well-trained (though smallest) armies in the kingdom. They maintain a handful of swordsmasters and grandmasters of various weapons in their employ to serve as high guards and generals.
Important Members of House Sovarael
Tywynne Toveri -- The 478-year-old matriarch of House Sovarael. She spent her early life as a scribe in the grand city of Aita Valmindene. Lady Toveri never expected to become the Tywynne of her house, as in those days she was a junior member of a cadet branch. However, after the death of her uncle and brothers at the Battle of Sorrow's Pass, she was catapulted into power as a young elf.
She is a pale flaxen-haired elf who dresses in horrifically expensive garments dripping with gemstones. There is an undercurrent of fear that courses through the Sovarael family as Toveri approaches the age of elvish senility; there are wary watches placed on her for signs that she is beginning to lose touch with the world-as-it-is and beginning to be lost in the world-as-it-was.
Tywyn Brenauren -- The most important member of the family after its inestimable matriarch is Lord Brenauren, the Tyratalit Etelia (Lord-Captain of the South), is one of several powerful positions granted to elvish captains by the Gwydereon of Tailimisia. It grants the Sovaraels absolute control over the southern border of Tailimisia. Brenauren is the grandson of the Lady Toveri, and has won many battles against the ogres of the Gelethmiras hills east of the Silverlode Mountains (which the elves call the Idabrimara).
Tyra Raitiroyen -- A young knight, Raitiroyen is betrothed to the Tywyn of House Alaimya, Lord Covestia. While she cares very little for her husband-to-be and generally flaunts (in the elvish style) her dalliances with other elves in Aita Valmindene, the alliance is an important one for the war party.
Drysorahisse -- Drysorahisse is a smith who lives in the courtyard-manor of the Sovaraels. She is the granddaughter of Lady Toveri, and is generally considered to be the inheritor of the Sovarael line.
Heraldry: A spinning wheel surmounting a hammer and tongs, flanked by spears, on a green field
The Alaimya are a family of artisans and craftsfolk who dwell primarily in the far south of the Greatwood, in the region known as Valtimya. They are firmly in the war camp, having supported the Sovaraels since the young Lady Toveri was elevated to the position of Tywynne. They are one of the most minor great houses to have access to the Gwyderion's court.
Important Members of House Alaimya
Tywyn Covestia -- the patriarch of the house, betrothed to Tyr Raitiroyen, Covestia is two hundred and fifty years old. He succeeded to the lordship of the house when his father, Tywyn Aristoroyen, went into the West. He is an extremely changeable elf, prone even more than other elves to bouts of great fury and great sorrow. To this end, Covestia is sometimes called "the Storm."
Heraldry: A willow wand flanked by three glass beakers on a blue field
The House of Tornadallion was created only two hundred years ago, when the young Tywynne Isimilia was elevated to the status of nobility in honor of her spellcraft, which she used to shape glass into strange and beautiful forms. As a new house, it has been granted rolls of honors and commands an extremely large citizen-army. The Tornadallions were in sharp ascendence at court until their alliance with the war party placed them at odds with the Gwyderion.
The house is deeply invested in the Temple of Anunia, and the North Wind (one of the four divine offices of the Temple of the Winds) is a Tornadallion scion. Many of the temples of Anunia in the Greatwood are allied with this house. It was none other than the Lady Isimilia and her house who encouraged the war party to submit an ultimatum to the Gwyderion and demand he step down.
Important Members of House Tornadallion
Tywynne Isimilia -- a sorceress of no little skill, Ismilia raised her family to greatness and intends to keep it there. Though she has no designs on the throne of the Greatwood, she also believes she has a moral obligation to return the elves to the rule of elective kingship.
Oronunepalarien -- The North Wind, high priest in the Greatwood. Oronunepalarian (also known as simply "Palarian," "he who listens"), is a virulently anti-Elimia elf who has taken every opportunity to enhance the power of the war party.
The Gwyderion's Party
Heraldry: A blazing sunburst over crossed scimitars flanked by three stars
The House of Elimya was created long ago, but has seen a resurgence of life with the election of its scion, Caelatulia, to the position of Hierophant of the Noronite faith. The Elimia dominate the Council of Lights, and Elimia loyalists from a handful of lesser houses occupy the most important positions in the realm.
The Elimia command the largest army in the kingdom through their network of temporal and religious clients. The Eldamyrin (the House of Fire), Clecaran (the House of Swords), and the Lumicarainen (the House of the Weasal) are all minor houses with strong ties to the Elimia. They also have the legendary skyknights at their beck and call, who are sworn to protect the throne of Valmmindene.
Important Members of House Elimia
Gwyderion Caelatulia -- The Hierophant of the Temple of the Daystar, Caelatulia Elimia is a no-nonsense elf with an administrators understanding of centralization and power. He commands the Council of Lights with something approaching an iron fist, and whenever demonstrations occur in Valmindene, particularly those involving servants of the Great Houses that want him removed, he deploys retinues of gold-clad knights from his household.
Tyr Simiralainen -- Simiralainen is the head of Caelatulia's household guard, and is a grandmaster swordsman. He is a quiet, scowling, creature with dark hair who snarls regularly at everyone who passes by. Like the rest of the household guard of house Elimia, he wears gold gilt armor.
Heraldry: Five hills, each topped with a tower
The House of Cavamirastiran is one anchored in the sorcerous traditions of the elves. Each of the descendants of Cavamireon the Enchanter are trained in the sorcerous arts in addition to the paidea. This means that even the most ill-trained and irresolute of the Cavamirastiran are minor magicians.
Important Members of House Cavamirastiran
Tywyn Safarielanyrn -- The powerful sorcerer Safariel is one of the pillars of the Gwyderion's command over the Greatwood; it is well known that he is a master of High Sorcery and has delved into the mysteries of Elder Magics. It is even whispered through the Greatwood that he knows the arcane languages of the Wyrms and the Giants.
Heraldry: A weeping elf's head with long flowing hair
The Murhestinai are a house of poets and warriors. They are also known as the Weeping Elves, and there are many of their number who are dedicated sworddancers. The Murhestinai command a vast swathe of land in the center of the Greatwood and their powerful liege-levy makes up the bulk of the Greatwood's army. Indeed, it was the Murhestinai that protected the Daleadau for so many years, and fought along the fringes of Sylvasil for generations.
Important Members of House Cavamirastiran
Tywyn Leofrysin -- A grandmaster of the glaive and the sword, Leofrysin has never been defeated in single combat. He is a grave, tall, dark-haired elf with the temperament of a lyric poet.
Heraldry: A harbor teeming with ships and surmounted by a mountain
Heraldry: Three dancing elves beneath a crescent moon