The Orders are the oldest and most powerful armed forces in the Hundred Kingdoms, created following the collapse of the only Legion that survived the Fall of the Old Dominion. The battles and sacrifices, that the Legion undertook to shield humanity from the nightmares of the Fall, took too heavy a toll on its surviving members and fragmented the Legion. The Orders today are direct descendants of the original diaspora, each Order seeking to do its best in protecting humanity from what it sees as the greatest threat.
Sometimes, this is through direct action, following in the more martial traditions of the Order of the Sword or the Order of the Crimson Tower. More often than not, it is through the tremendous influence the Order of the Sealed Temple and its vast wealth, backed by the subtle threat of military reprisal. They were the force behind the establishment of the Militia Act that severely curbed the power of the nobility, as well as the main reason the church has not been able to convince the Imperial Conclave to rescind the laws limiting their armed forces to bodyguard details. Looking further back, one can see their support in the very foundation of the Tellian Empire, the spread of the Deist Creed and establishment of the Guild system. Whether it is with an iron gauntlet or a velvet glove, the Orders’ hand can be seen shaping the history of the Hundred Kingdoms at every turn.
Many argue this paternalistic attitude has caused more harm than good. They point at the destructive chaos of the Red Years, sparked by their premature attempts at unifying the Hundred Kingdoms, or the bloody riots that followed the summary execution of the beloved Arch-Bishop Nicholas during his Regency. Despite this, the Orders have long maintained a good relation with the common people of the Hundred Kingdoms who praise them as heroes and benefactors: the monumental sacrifice of the Order of the Sword in the Nord invasion, the selfless heroism of the Order of the Shield’s Knights Errant and the tireless public works of the Brothers Mendicant of the Order of the Sealed Temple have long since swayed the hearts and minds of the common folk.
With the collapse of the Empire, the Orders lost much of their influence, as they were heavily invested in the office of the Emperor, at the expense of both the nobility and the Church. When these two pillars aligned against them, there was little the Orders could do without resorting to war. Learning from their past mistakes, the Orders took a long view and withdrew. Though their influence might be a fraction of what it once was, their military might has not dimmed in the least, echoing the prowess of the legendary Legion that birthed them.