Elven society revolves around the Theirits, groups of biological families that answers to an elder from amongst them. The elder deals with all internal matters of the Theirit. His children deal with any outsiders. When the elder dies, they are honored first, then the Theirit comes together to decide on the new Elder, someone who has children and preferably no living parents. One may join a Theirit, but only by marriage. Doing so usually means removing yourself from any other Theirit, though there are more than a few examples of mega-Theirits in Elven history. A Theirit is made up of around 50 individuals.
The Theirit concept has shaped Elven government in the making of the Ishanes and Rialis. An Ishane acts as the elder to a region, and each Riali acts as an ambassador/champion to him (as the elder’s children deal with all outsiders). The Elven Council of Seven is essentially a corruption of their early council of elders. When magic came into play ( The Return of Magic), its presence within the Theirit was almost instant, and eventually it became common in cities to have a wizard who was elder. This led to the belief by the “city folk” that magic equals power, hence the Council of Seven.
Elders are considered equals by position, but their status as viewed by others largely depends on where said others are from. In urban elven society, a Theirit that has a larger number of wizards in it is seen as more powerful than those with fewer wizards. In rural society, a Theirit comprised of a greater number of individuals is seen as more powerful than one with fewer.