The Empire of Toutus had similarities to Medieval Europe, including a well-developed form of Feudalism, a penchant for grand castles and a powerful lawful church that supported the nobility and Emperor. Orders of Knights, noble warriors who fought in heavy armour on horseback, were renowned across the Empire of Toutus and feared and respected by the soldiers of other nations. These orders of knights were often outside the conventional army structure, and their loyalty was quite specific and narrow - to the Emperor of Toutus, or to a specific deity, or to a powerful patron noble. Occasionally they swore loyalty to an ideal they all wished to uphold.
During the wars between the Empires a lot of knights were killed in battle, and a few orders were destroyed as enemies from other empires beseiged and destroyed their castle headquarters. Despite these losses, the orders acquitted themselves well. But in the Summoning, the knights often found themselves fighting against supernatural creatures that they could not kill, or that had special powers that the knights had no effective defence against. Further losses ensued.
These days, fifty years after the summoning, the original knights who fought against the armies of Telthus, Bellenos and Bursia have all died or become so old they can no longer lift their greatswords. Nonetheless, those that survived have recruited newer knights, and the orders that have survived are more adaptable, both to the newer political situation and also to the variety of dangerous, monstrous (and occasionally human) foes they face.
The Knight-Protectors of Toutus
This order is scattered across the remains of the Toutus Empire. In its heyday about a hundred years ago the order could count on about 1200 full knights and another 3500-4000 men-at-arms. Their role was (as their name suggests) to fight the enemies of the Toutus Empire. Since the collapse of the Toutus Empire those that survived have gone two separate ways - some have declared the order a failure and have abandoned it in shame. Others have admitted defeat on one level but seek to rebuild the Empire of Toutus. They seek to reclaim the ruined capital, Jaroketh and establish a new Imperial lineage. They also seek coordination and consent from the former provinces and duchies of the Empire. There is a small cell of 5 knights in Thaldion (the capital of Teiglin) but the King of Teiglin is not impressed with the knights' plan.
The Knight-Protectors are known to be snobbish and elitist - no demihumans, and only human fighters of at least 5th level and of noble birth (no peasants alllowed!). Although technically women are allowed, there is enough chauvinism in the male members that women feel distinctly uncomfortable. These prejudices have not helped them in rallying support for their cause.
The Shining Blades
The Shining Blades are a relatively new order affiliated with the Church of Adonor - they have made it their sacred duty to hunt down and kill as many creatures of chaos and mortal followers of Chaos as possible. They recognise that cold steel may not always be effective against their foes, so they will often bring along clerics of Adonor and occasionally an elven spellsword or human magic-user. There is a contingent of 15 knights and 25 men-at-arms in the town of Bauglir, and they will often foray out into the borderlands (particularly Castellan Keep and its surrounds) to seek out chaotic foes. There are also another 40 knights around Ironmarket and the surrounding forts and villages, with their headquarters in Adonor Fort.
The Shining Blades consists mainly of human fighters but also includes dwarven warriors, human and dwarven clerics, and halfling defenders. Magic-users and elven spellswords are not considered actual members, but allies and friends of the order. All members and allies, regardless of class, are required to be lawful in alignment and at least 3rd level. The Shining Blades all wear white surcoats or tabards with crimson swords crossed with crimson hammers (the hammer being the symbol of Adonor).
The Order of the Battleaxe
This order is based around the Confederacy of the Ten Peaks. It is a dwarven order of knights, and its loyalty is to the Confederacy as a whole, promising not to take sides with any one particular clan. The order does its best to avoid getting dragged into the politics between the clans, but it is not easy to stay above the bickering. Although clan chiefs prefer to keep their troops under their own direct control, they have been known to send squads or companies to temporarily serve under the Order of the Battleaxe as gestures of goodwill or if the Order is fighting some cause that is in the clan chief's interests.
The Order has 100 dwarf warriors and 10 dwarven clerics, all at or above 3rd level, none of them chaotic. The order has its own fort, just on the edge of the Weatherwatcher Stronghold. In battle the dwarf knights prefer to use battleaxes, but have also adopted from humans the tactics of charging with a lance into a fight first, if the terrain allows it. The emblem is a silver or white battleaxe on a black background, which they have on their tabards, shields and flags.