Sub-Factions in the
perpetually crusading feudal dictatorshiphappy shiny land without any problems of Soleh!
1. Church Lady's Crew.
*The hunters of heretics who use demonic magic, who have the rights of judge, jury and executioner. They tend to have a good 15% success rate. That is, about 15 out of a hundred people burned at the stake by them are actually heretics. The rest may have pissed someone off, or simply been and old lady who happens to like cats.
*The Dawnbringers. A select group of the most elite and devoted bishops who undergo painfully disfiguring rituals, including burning of the skin in patterns using sunlight refracted through giant lenses, to enhance their connection to Tuhan Sun-Father. This allows them to see into the hearts of men, and bend them to their will. They are used to test the loyalty of the priests of the border areas, where being a priest means you give a speech once a week and collect the taxes, and not much else. There are only rarely more than a dozen of these guys around at once, and they are some of the most powerful casters Soleh has.
*The Council of Hadivaikas. (Archbishops) This is the group of religious/political leaders who, at the death of one of their number, select a replacement. They have nothing in the way of checks or balances, though the Zuel-Karalius (King-Pope-Thing) wields the right to make decisions unfettered by the will of the others. They work similar to a presidential cabinet and a Congress in a room of twenty elderly men.
*The Zuel-Karalius. The absolute leader of Soleh. He is considered to be the living puppet of Tuhan Sun-Father. He is generally the oldest living member of the Council of Hadivaikas, but the strength he wields is not one of a young strong sword-arm. His name is always ritually obliterated from public record, as he is no longer a man but a living god. Anyone caught spreading his given name is buried alive, as being given to Tuhan Sun-Father is too good a fate for them.
*Slave Traders. Gnome slaves are expensive in Soleh, but valued as miners, street-sweepers, and other menial laborers. They tend to die quickly, within about five years, so those who sell them have a constantly renewed market to sell to.
*Guild Leaders. The Forgemaster's, Leatherworker's, Glassblower's, Bookbinder's, Cartographer's, Potter's and Weaver's Guild and various other merchant organizations band together to resist the demands made by the church for a larger percentage of their purchases, low-cost bulk commissions (5,000 winter blankets, suits of chainmail, arrowheads, and swords for the army, books and bottle of medicine for the Westerners, etc.) that eat into the guild's profits.
*Land Barons. Some laymen have acquired large tracts of land and begun renting it out to commoners, despite their lack of the required church title. Imagine the controversy.
*Commoners. The everyday laborers, skilled or unskilled, in Soleh. They're treated better than they are in Sunshan, but still have little in the way of sociopolitical rights. Church attendance is mandatory.
*Thieving Crews. Some bands of commoners in large cities have taken to stealing from the church. Whether it's breaking into churches and stealing from the vaults there or raiding the grain caravans bringing taxes to the urban centers, stealing from the church is rather lucrative. Some have touched upon powers that the church would consider demonic to aid them, powers of shadow and the mists.
*Cults. Despite legislation and death threats to the contrary, not every commoner is a devoted churchgoer. Many attend for posterity, but then return to worship any of an extensive variety of fringe beliefs, among them the animistic spirituality of the Vallheim, the teachings of the Good God in the Dotze Affariata, the ancestral beliefs of Sunshan, or the Affariata's Old Gods. There are other, more minor faiths, but these are generally very locally contained and have little to no organization on anything but the village level.
*The Piloti. Native horsemen of the western plains, they patrol the borders, north, south and west, for Vallheimers, Goliath raiders and escaping Sunshani Torei. In return, the church builds schools, hospitals and roads across the west.
*The Nomads. Many westerners live a life very different from the more sedentary easterners, in that they follow their herds of cattle, sheep and other livestock across the plains. The westerners try to build schools and hospitals, but each party of Nomads, from whom the Piloti are drawn, only crosses paths with a single school or hospital perhaps once a year. As such, the schools and hospitals serve more as learning centers where a healer or teacher can train for a couple years before returning to their caravan to practice their arts. The older generation sometimes fails to see the value of this.
There we go, factions of Soleh.