An Aldwin, sometimes spelled Aldwyn, was the informal leader of a Nelwyn village. The lesser Aldwins of all the villages in Nelwyn Valley were led by a High Aldwin. The honorable office of Aldwin dated back to the most ancient days of the Nelwyn civilization. While the Nelwyn villagers elected their councilmen (who, in turn, appointed the Prefect), each Aldwin appointed his or her own successor, an apprentice chosen among the so-called hopefuls. A trainee Aldwin, sometimes referred to as "Low" or "Lesser" Aldwin, kept his or her given, name. However, on succeeding to the high office, that apprentice would surrender his or her proper name to be addressed only as "Aldwin." Upon death, an Aldwin would retrieve his or her birth name, so he or she could be properly registered in the Nelwyn archives. Aldwins could be either male or female, and some said that women usually achieved greater mastery of magic.