The Old Forest is currently divided into the territories of three tribes that owe fealty only to themselves, though they will ally with each other, the Sea Elves and neighboring Dwarvenholds in the face of outside danger. Two of the tribes, the Nathireun and Valios are currently in an open state of war.
The current chief of the Bavall tribe is Nilar, he is the youngest of the three Chieftains and unwed. He has two sisters, both of whom have children, but has not yet chosen his heir. The Bavall totem is the unicorn, and their arrows have white fletching. They are the most tolerant of outsiders, hosting a trade fair for several weeks in late summer/early fall. The territory of the Bavall tribe has long been considered neutral ground by the other two tribes and the Bavall war-band enforces this neutrality.
The Valios totem is the wolf, their arrow fletching gray. The current Chieftain is Cadem, he is the oldest of the three Chieftains and married to Iall. He has two sons and a daughter. His eldest son Caned has been named his heir. The Valios occasionally will allow a merchant caravan into their territory under guard, though the current state of war with the Nathireun limits this practice to the winter months.
The fireglider or biccle is the Nathireun totem, their arrows green-fletched. Hdean is the current Chieftain and is married to Cyran nic Valios, they have three sons, the youngest of whom is the leader of the schism group. Hdean's only blood-heir was his niece Aristam, if she is dead the Nathireun elders will be forced to select a new Chieftain after Hdean's death. Officially the Nathireun do not tolerate outsiders in their lands at all. In reality they don't bother the occasional group of Dwarven traders that will wander through on their way to the Coast, and at times will seek them out.
Each tribe is headed by a Chieftain. The title and position are hereditary pending the approval of tribal elders. If an Elven Chieftain has more than one potential heir he or she may choose his or her successor pending approval. Inheritance in the Bavall and Nathireun tribes is matrilineal, in the Valios tribe the male line inherits.
Each tribe supports a band of warriors, both male and female, whose duties include both hunting and warfare. It is also not infrequent that warriors will have at least novice familiarity with some other crafts, learned during the winter when warfare in forbidden. The war-band is also frequently a source of income for the tribe, warriors working as mercenaries often send gold home.
Though the Elves barter with the Dwarves and trade both goods and gold to other outsiders, within the bounds of the home village such things are not of concern. Each elf follows his or her craft and is assured that when they need something it is available. Many a grumbling merchant has said the only use the Forest Elves have for gold is gaming and they aren't far off.
Forest Elves learn their crafts in a loose apprenticeship and it is generally expected that young Elves will follow in their parents steps, though every now and again one will show great talent for something else. Generally parents who are either warriors or bards take it especially hard if their children choose another path.
Most Forest Elves spend the summer ranging over their tribe's territory if their crafts require gathering of plants or pelts, or if they just feel so inclined. Most Valios and Nathireun avoid their tribes' shared border, with the exception of the warbands. It is also during the summer the the Bavall hold their annual trade fair.
The winter months are generally spent by all Elves in the confines of their tribes' permanent village, the location of which is never shared with outsiders, even other Elves.
The Bavall and Valios encourage their young people, especially magic users, to travel outside the Forest for a time, though in the past dozen years Valios warriors and healers have not been leaving home.
The Forest Elves maintain no burial grounds, after three days if the Fates have not interceded the bodies of the dead are burned and their ashes returned to the Forest...