A little over a century ago, the Blackwood name belonged solely to a noble house within the Old Empire, specifically north-east of Perseus, located in what is known as the Blackwood Forest. Though not true to its name, the Blackwood forest is simply a moniker in relation to the noble house that once ruled the territory and is also owed to the bark of a special tree.
The bark itself of said tree has the appearance of one that has been burned with fire, its exact origins are unknown but it is speculated that through the exposure of the Myst itself, the trees affected garnished enhanced properties. Blackwood bark is typically tough as iron or steel, depending on how much time has gone into its refinement.
The longer the application of 'aging' the wood and bark that is taken, the more durability that is given. The processing of aging takes generally a year per inch of wood but with Blackwood, the process only takes 3 months instead.
Thus production of said materials are expedited simply because of its innate magical properties. This was their claim to both power and fame. The Blackwood family was the only group with access to what is known as "The Grove" where they harvest the wood themselves and was a well-kept family secret.
In terms of their ruling, the Blackwood family was known to be fiercely loyal to the crown for some time. Though how they lorded over their own populace is another matter entirely. Known to be unforgiving, the law within the Blackwood lands was kept with extreme prejudice against any and all who dared to break their laws. They maintained an iron grip against any forms of insurrection and their punishments were harsh, choosing to hang those who broke their laws for even the smallest of grievances.
Eventually there came a time when their loyalties to the crown was called into question, as their posturing seemed to indicate they were preparing for war against their neighboring lands. With this suspicion it could only mean that in due time they hoped to turn against the crown and seize power for themselves.
In what is now known to the rest of the Empire as "The Burning", the Blackwood lands were attacked by the crown's forces, burning away the surrounding forests and attacking the castle in which the Blackwood family resided. None were spared on the night of The Burning and the remaining citizens were absorbed into neighboring lands.
However, in truth, the Blackwood family did survive. A handful of survivors escaped that night and fled into lands unknown. Eventually Robert Blackwood was born and is now considered the sole heir to the Blackwood name.
Seeing as it has been over a century since the Blackwoods were put to death for their treachery, Robert's rise in influence and power has been largely overlooked as he started what was initially a rag-tag group of mercenaries. These mercenaries are now comprised of some of the most vile criminals and violent warriors who generally seek only to be paid handsomely for their services.
They are incredibly wary of outsiders and will refuse membership until they have proven themselves as being just as depraved as they are. Often the Blackwoods are called upon to act as mercenaries, bodyguards or even enforcers for those who are willing to pay their weight in gold. Though if one is to hire the Blackwood Company it is generally considered that whatever they are hiring them for can't be good news for those on the opposing end.
If one seeks to be recruited into the Blackwood Company, they are often sent in the direction of major cities where they tend to make their rounds, setting up shop briefly to see if anyone truly has the stones and the stomach to work with their kind. Though their official base of operations can be found North-West in the mountainous range of Arimus. They do not accept outside visitors and will turn away any would be prospects at their gates, sometimes with violence if needed.