The Imiriaran Cycle
The Church is theoretically a monolithic structure looking after the good of all mankind. More practically, there’s one church for every nation, ruled by the local Lord High Clerist, who is typically the firstborn son of the King. The local church branches work directly for the government.
The Church is broken into several orders:
The Orders of Light
This order is dedicated to the gathering of knowledge. Their spells and abilities are mostly of divination nature, at least in theory, though this has degenerated into an experiment in misdirection. They are often drifters and travelers, and they loosely organize their Order at best. Only those that have taken their full vows for the order (not the horde of foot soldiers in the Sword, for instance).
This order is dedicated to nature and all its guises. They are as a whole a peaceful and often solitary order, often taught through apprenticeship.
This order is dedicated to the more spectacular uses of power. Fireballs and lightning bolts are common effects to see from a member of this order. They are highly organized, but most members are basically autonomous, pursuing their own research at will.
This is a monastic order. They are dedicated to an austere and simple lifestyle. They are a militant order, and tend to specialize in unarmed combat. Their spells are of a more mystical nature.
This order tends to be the one most apt to spiritual teaching and guidance. They are structured much in the way of the classical clergy. They tend to administer to the spiritual needs of the people more than any other order. They rule the church. They also include, the “Left” Hand of God, a secret sub-order that carries out the dirty business of the Church.
This organization creates things. They are loosely ordered at best, and tend to only group for the purposes of sharing ideas. They tend to be eccentric to the extreme, and have little regard for safety in their experiments.
This order is militaristically organized. They have a rigid hierarchy and strict discipline. They take a high chivalric attitude toward life and tend to be very honor-driven. They often prefer hand to hand fighting over magic.
Sacrifice and compassion are the hallmarks of a member of the Tears of God. They are patient and giving and tend to place the needs of others far above their own needs. They are the most respected of orders, and tend to be organized in an informal hierarchy based on wisdom and seniority. This is the most respected of all orders.
This order tends to concentrate on what is within. They are minimally organized and tend to strive more toward person achievement than accomplishments as an order. The members are strict individualists.