The Crowned Powers
When the Namitha Ardrua finally stood victorious over the remains of the Orodravian, only three remained: Syatela Goldenhair, Giancar Greenhand, and Utata Eboniron. It was these three who planted the dozen staffs of the Ardrua to give birth to the High Wall and it was these three who gathered up the dozen circlets worn by themselves and their sisters.
When one speaks of a "crowned power," it is these tiaras that they refer to, for originally they were given to a dozen nations that the surviving Ardrua believed would be pivotal in the future of Faengleis. As time and fortune have had their way with the artifacts, the term has since come to mean any nation of one of the Shining Races that is powerful enough to be considered a force in international matters.
The Empire actually has three of the crowns taken from smaller nations during its formation, while the Ascendancy and Fyrall both still possess the crowns present at their found. By contrast, while Xain still possesses the crown of Xaina Brightarrow, the break-away provinces of Western Xain, Amantara, Ofir, and Seliune are considered powerful enough to be crowned powers without them.
Of the twelve crowns, the location of only nine of them are known: 3 in the Empire, the Ascendancy, Fyrall, Xain, the Confederacy, Malivorm, and Yrdgould. There is a rumor that Whisthaven may possess one and others that Empress Sendeyvrian may soon gift one to Queen Eldesta.