The Court once held the hearts of all elven peoples, and elven nations would adhere to its edicts, culture and fashions. However a series of cultural oversights and political blunders on the part of various monarchs has reduced the influence of the Court almost exclusively to Blood Wood. There are ‘Unprotected’ individuals outside of the Wood who retain sympathies to the Court, and they are often employed as intermediaries or spies.
Realms not in Barsaive that were at one time beholden the Court are Shosara to the north and Sereatha to the north west of Blood Wood. Since the end of the Scourge, Shosara has been subtly agitating to relocate the Court to within its borders. Sereatha has voiced its support for such a move. Although there is still contact between those nations and the Court, relations are strained. The current Shosaran ambassador, Jorealla, seems to have a history with the Queen. The two women are at odds personally and politically.
Centuries ago during the reign of Queen Dallia the power of the Elven Court was at its zenith. The Queen was beloved by her people and the Court’s splendour and influence were never greater. Such things cannot last, and according to legend the Queen was slain by a dragon - known since as Elfbane - while she was in transit to Shosara.
A new matriarch was appointed to the Rose Throne, one Failla of Sereatha. In one of her first acts as monarch, the Queen declared the realm of Shosara Seperated from the Court over a point of contention known only to the elves. This caused an uproar within the court prompting further banishments, of which Elianar Messias is the most notable. To ease tensions the Queen established a council of consortis to represent the ranelles, or houses, and act as her advisors.
Internal strife over land grants to special interest groups within the Court sparked a revolt. Factions within the Court agitated against Failla forcing her to abdicate. She disappeared and in her place upon the Rose Throne sat a new Queen, Liara. The reign of the new Queen began again with banishments, further eroding the Court‘s dominion. Those that had agitated against Failla were exiled and an entire ranelle was dissolved. Liara’s rule was absolute. After discovering Theran involvement in a number of attacks upon the Wood during the Orichalcum Wars, Liara forbade contact with the Empire upon pain of banishment.
Queen Liara’s passing and Alachia’s ascension is shrouded in mystery. In contrast to Liara, Alachia seemed a benevolent monarch. Though she appeared to rule with a silk glove, the iron fist was just beneath. With the Scourge approaching Alachia spurned the Theran rites of Protection and Passage. Liara’s dictate regarding involvement with Thera remained in effect. However, it did not stop many from seeking Theran aid, diminishing dominion of the Court.
The Scourge finally reduced the power of the Court to its current extent. Upon emerging from the kaers, the corruption wrought by the Ritual of Thorns finally destroyed any vestige of influence the Court might have had on elves outside Blood Wood.
Queen Alachia is at the Apex of the Elven Court. The Court represents her powerbase, and without it she would be much diminished. She uses the customs of the Court to play individual interests and those of the ranelles off against each another to maintain the status quo.
Next are the consortis. Numbers within the consortis fluctuate at the whim of the Queen, and favour quickly won is just as easily lost. There are currently eight consortis. Many within the great houses covet a position as consortis; acting in an advisory and ministerial capacity, they are more easily able to advance personal agendas and the goals of their ranelle.
The Blood Warders wield a great deal of power within the court. They have the confidence of the Queen, although historically have rarely abused the power this grants. Of late some individuals have been using their status to pursue personal aims.
The Exolashers are the Queen's personal guard. They are an elite military unit comprised of skilled martial adepts. Though they are not often involved in Court politics, their presence at the palace and relationship to the Queen make them a factor.
Within the bounds of the palace are a number of courtiers and administrative staff. Though they do not wield much influence, it is still considered an honour to serve so closely to the Queen. It also means they are visible should they strike the Queens favour. This is the case for the current consortis of the Talshara ranelle, Ilsa Willowby. The scribe to a prospective consortis candidate, she found herself appointed when her master disgraced himself at a royal dinner.
The ranelles all have representatives near the palace and among the consortis. The major ranelles are the Daevenar, Carithasca, Escalanas, Jae'Helastri and Talshara. Of the major ranelles, the Jae'Helastri are the most politically savy and base their operations in close proximity to possible. A number of minor ranelles are associated with the more influential houses.