The continent of Aryvandir, with it's extremes of terrain, appears to rarely be touched by civilization. You can travel for years without seeing another living being, assuming the unseen denizens deem you harmless and yet not worth revealing themselves to you. It is, in fact, the seat of what is perhaps the oldest council-based nation in all of Crux. Deep in it's primeval forests dwells a people that were separated from their otherworldly family early in the creation wars. The elves were once fey that dwelt within the Primal of Nature, but since have made Crux their home. The long-lived creatures remember the ancestors that have given their spirit to the lands they inhabit, and honor it accordingly. In turn, as they affected Aryvandir, so has Crux affected them, changing them from the fey they descended from to the elves they are today.
Early after the Creation Wars they lost four of their tribes, and another followed during the Progenitor Wars. The first four adapted differently to the fires of Creation that reforged Crux, they became brutal and bloodthirsty, dark and savage. These became the Orcs. They left the homeland of Aryvandir and sought their own beginning in the Great Steppes, but not before ravaging their brethren, causing a long-seated grudge between the two races.
The other lost clan, the proud Horse nation, served as advance shock troops in the combined push against Progenitor, it's war machines, and the humans that deified and directed it. They fought long and hard behind enemy lines, and played crucial roles in the defeat of Progenitor. They fought nearly onto extinction, in fact. By the end of the war they had lost so many in the battlefield of the Great Steppes, as well as what would become Cynosure, that they could not return home. Their ancestral spirit lay wasted on the Steppes, and so the Horse nation stayed to honor them.
The twelve surviving clans became more than the war parties they began as. The Noctae, Owl, had a head start in civilization. At the time, they had not felt the Progenitor War involved them, they had only used their magics to support the other Elven peoples. Yet they did it all from home. They had developed culture and law early, and hesitantly shared it with their brethren. The Noctae established the Council that still runs to this day, through the centuries while most races fought petty wars and spread throughout Crux.
As a whole the Council functions well, most of the major disagreements have long been settled. The operation of the unified nation runs well enough, and most of the composite nations have traditional roles in the upkeep of the whole. Their trade is well established with the people of the Free Trade Nations, the Savage Lands, and the dwarves of Crucible. Cynosure only infrequently mobilizes an effort to conquer their lands due the the efficiency of the Elven defense, and when it does it's usually based on the oversight and hubris of one of the Cynan war cardinals.
The Nations and Their Lands
Arachnae - Spider - A highly structured and polite social web much too vain to show the corrupt tactics and ruthless measures these exotic and beautiful elves employ to keep their status.
Arinae - Swan - Elegant winged elves that come from their lofty aerial nests. They wear their naivete and innocent outlook as a jewel for all to see, but it takes a stony heart to truly take advantage of it.
Corvae - Raven - If their jobs are stealthy mercenaries, then off the clock they are gregarious trouble-makers. Their gloomy outlook on life allows the swings of melancholy and boisterous mirth that defines them.
Danae - Hawk - The bulk and the glue of the elf nations. Outgoing and sensible
Gaurae - Bison - dude bros
Lythae - Wolf - very role based. Alpha, Beta, Omega.
Murinae - Rat - Short, shy elves that live among ghosts.
Noctae - Owl - Owl:Elf ; Elf:everyone else
Sirinae - Dolphin - raiders/sirens that simply demand tribute for travel over their domain, the sea.
Torae - Tiger - introverted society of badass warrior monks
Ursae - Bear - berserker, proud savage type
The Lost Clans
Kirinae - Horse - stuck on Great Steppes