za3k > aldenmarsh > lore > church branches
The high sept is the largest Church of Baneth, in the middle of Canyonport. All the head offices of the Church are located there, and a large portion of the Scriptoria. In addition, it's a big church, with a number of shrines to famous servants of Baneth and services every day of the week. People say "The High Sept" did this or that, meaning the Church or the Church higher-ups.
Each branch of the Church is headed by a high priest. There are eight high priests. One the Lord High Priest, the head of the entire Church. Four of the high priests (including the Lord High Priest) are on the Council of Aldenmarsh.
Branch are presented from largest (most people in the branch) to smallest.
The Church de-facto controls the bureaucracy of Canyonport and Aldenmarsh. The scriptoria is its largest department, controlling almost every aspect of day-to-day government control. The Scriptoria employs many many clerks, but most of them are not actually priests of the Church, only the high offices.
The high priest of the Scriptoria (Blind Mason) is a Council member.
Individual churches and preaching clerics make up the majority of the Church itself. This is what most people think of when they think of the Church of Baneth. Many clerics of Baneth do not actively preach, or hold smaller ceremonies with only friends or family. However, most people go to large church gatherings, so this is not something everyone is aware of. So far, the Church has not sent missions abroad.
The Church proper has three high priests.
Although often seen as a branch of the Church, the Gardeners are actually an independent organization.
They do actually do most of the actual literal gardening in Canyonport.
However, gardeners are mostly known because they teach (mandatory) public school to all Aldenmarsh children, so every citizen grew up knowing them. Schooling includes learning to read, write, learn correct moral lessions, and perhaps do sums. The popular view of the Gardeners is that they can do no wrong, and to be a Gardener is the height of moral achievement. However, most Gardeners are quite poor, living on charity, so it's not a very popular profession for those with alternatives (something like how monks would be viewed--it's an honorable last resort).
To become a Gardener requires taking a written and oral examination, which tests moral character and knowledge. Those scoring well enough qualify for special positions like being a judge.
The Head Gardener (Lura Darkness-of-moss) is not a high priest. They attend, but do not vote, in Council meetings.
The Steel Eye is the military of the Church. They are best known for acting as police in Canyonport and some other large cities. Their primary duty, however, is to defend the Church itself from attack.
The high priest of the Steel Eye (Lance Twospell) is on the Council. His predecessor, Johann Humanson, was assassinated.
The scholars of the church are an institute of higher learning. They study, write, and copy books. The majority of what they study is the Holy Book of Baneth, and comparative religion, but they are widely-spread over most topics. Other popular topics are the nature of the world, history, and natural science.
The high priest of the scholars is Xao Hallowless. She was born a foreigner and is often held up as an example or used in arguments to make a point.
Council taxes and church tithes are collected by the Church once a year. This is the most-hated branch of the Church, but also the most profitable.
The high priest (Henry Copyist) of the taxmen is on the Council.
The Still are the mystics of the Church. They perform inner rituals of the Church--ones not for services. What exactly they are in charge of, if anything, is not well-known to non-priests. Most high-level clerics are in the Still, or are Still-trained. If you need a miracle, you go to the Still.
The high priest of the Still is Viscount Christopher Rossi.