Each ideal - notably Good, Evil, Chaos and Nature - tends to be represented by a city (Shallam, Mhaldor, Ashtan and Eleusis respectively). However, cities often tend to be more wide-reaching, and somewhat more secular. So, the ideals are generally also given foundation in more religious style sects. For example, Shallam and Good had the Church (now replaced by the Citadel), Mhaldor and Evil have the Cathedral, Ashtan and Chaos have the Cult of Babel, and Eleusis and Nature have Oakstone.
Silas was a member of the Church for a long time, and through the Church I found a lot of things that really helped me to found and build him as a character. The history of the Church in Achaea was incredibly rich, filled with crusades and witch-burning (Occultist burning, in fact), and really allowed a new depth to the roleplay element of the game.
In Shallam, the atmosphere was much more relaxed, much more focused on rules and laws, much more secular. In itself, this isn't a bad thing; but I'm the type of player who likes to get a bit crazy with how far my character will go. To me, it's a bit boring to play a model of real-life in a game like Achaea: it doesn't feel like you're using the game to its true potential if you rein yourself in all the time.
The Church allowed that more zealous play style. In the Church, again, my character eventually rose through the ranks, eventually being entrusted by the Prelacy (the Church leadership) to serve as the Archprelate. Again, I took this opportunity and ran with it, re-evaluating and redefining the Church's position on a number of issues throughout the gameworld.
Under Silas, the Church took stronger stances against Chaos, Darkness and Evil, and I followed my preferred play style to change the Church's stance to be much more black & white on these issues, leading to wholesale branding of entire Orders as enemies of the Church for their Patron's associations with Chaos. Entire networks of shrines to various Divinities aligned against the Church were targetted for destruction.
Some people will doubtless have disagreed with my actions, but the beauty of it all is that as much as my character might have changed in the world around him, his position was not and was never unassailable. Games like Achaea allow for hugely complex and involved rivalries as well as alliances, and in the end this did of course prove to be the downfall of my character.
However, it's this allowance for players to make huge, sweeping changes to the world we all play in that keep me coming back to Achaea, and to Iron Realms. It's refreshing to have such an effect on the games you play, and to see and remember the changes that you instituted still in effect even today.