The Ties that Bind
The Elven Heritage System
The Elves are neither a patriarchal nor a matriarchal society. They hold wisdom and experience as most valuable, above all else.
Typically, the eldest member of the legitimate family is given charge. This implies that the Lord or Lady of the house is simply the oldest member of the family at all times. Though this, sometimes, causes internal feuds, Elves feel this practice is best for their households.
On the rare occasion that a younger member of the family has displayed an extreme amount of valour, wisdom, or capability, the eldest member of the family may choose to surrender his/her position. It is somewhat expected that this surrender will take place, but it is not always the case.
Lord Ishild is married to Lady Ishild. Lady Ishild is older than Lord Ishild. The Lady is in charge of the household. When Lady Ishild passes, Lord Ishild gains power if he is a) still alive; b) the eldest member of the family. If, instead, Lady Ishild has a sibling who is older than the current Lord Ishild, then the sibling gains power over the family. Further, if the Lord Ishild has proven himself worthy of the position, then the sibling can surrender her claim to Lord Ishild. On Lord Ishild’s passing, the sibling once again has claim to the head if she is the eldest surviving member of the legitimate family.
When a child of a certain house marries the child of another house, the two families decide which child is marrying into which family. This is because the institution of marriage officially inducts a person into a family. This implies that, should the outsider be the eldest member of the family, he gains control of the family. Political marriages are rampant among the Elves because of this very reason.