The Black Branch Knights were once a predominantly male order intent on killing all necromancers and undead in Balthazor. The men and the trappings of the order were one of the first things to vanish in the Belladonna Sodality's campaign to remove all necromancers from Balthazor.
The Order did not, however, die. During the purging done by the Sodality, the Black Branch fared poorly. Those that survived fled. Along the northern range of the Sturrbith Mountains they fell into the protection of an old and quite happily forgotten matriarchal society called the Sisterhood of the Labyrinth.
The old family lines were broken, and the Black Branch were almost wiped from memory. What came away from the Sturrbith foothills was an entirely new Order wearing the sigil of an ebony skull over a carved labyrinth and calling themselves the Black Branch. Gone was the Patriarchal society, which was replaced with a new Matriarchal one, and the Sisterhood laid claim to the old Southern Baronies and set up their centuries-old ways there.
Rank within the Black Branch Knights is limited exclusively to females and is earned through trials of deeply ritualistic combat reflecting the beliefs of the Sisterhood of the Labyrinth, which the Black Branch now supports. It is rumored that the Black Branch have the ability to resist necromantic spells. This is not immunity to the energies of the magic, but a result of pointed training for those with the gift of Necromancy within the Order. There are also rumors of men choosing some extreme vow of celibacy, though how extreme is conjecture.
The Baronies of Southern Balthazor, though controlled by women, should not be underestimated. Many assume the group is weak and they generally find themselves regretting that fatal judgment. Among the Baronies men are not allowed to bear arms, and those who dwell there must adhere to the code of the society or leave.
One of the odder quirks of the group is the belief that children, especially daughters, born as albinos are blessed. These women, rarest of the rare, are seen as a blessing of the Great Mother.