History of the organization
Founded during the early 1100s of the Fourth Age, the Witchwood Order's original membership consisted of a group of warrior-priests and former Varrockian soldiers that fought during the Misthalin-Morytania war and became especially trained in combatting dark creatures. Eager to destroy anything in their path, they founded a small Order that still exists today, though their numbers have greatly diminished over the centuries, their cause and hatred of unholy creatures has persisted, survived by a few that wish to take up the mantle and suffer through the years of rigorous training required to bear their insignia.
Existing purely for revenge, the Order was founded with many principles of intolerance, preaching hate and righteous rage.
Later generations of the Order are said to have lent assistance to those humans caught in Morytania. Many of the later members relocated to Port Phasmatys during the late 1700s, only to find themselves trapped. Those members that managed to escape the city before Necrovarus shut it away from the world and trapped those inside studied the barriers and later applied the knowledge they gathered into wards to be used on safe-houses across Morytania, barring its effects for locking people inside. Several others have been found across the world, largely concentrated in 'monster heavy' areas such as the desert, Lumbridge, Taverley and Edgeville, though others have been found. All safehouses notably bear the same symbol.
While the Order has taken in members under the adage "fight evil with evil", their membership is largely restricted to humans, with only a few notable exceptions. In present day, their ranks consist mostly of Godless or Saradominist Slayers. They can easily be identified, as they all wear their Witchwood Icons wound about their left wrists to differentiate them in the eyes of those that would be able to recognize them.
At its pinnacle, the Order had two-hundred members and were based in a monastery located in Misthalin that has since fallen.
Upon induction into the order, it is customary for initiates to travel to the graves of the Priestly Warriors and humbly request courage and the strength to combat their enemy. Current members still perform pilgrimage to their graves if they happen to be located in Morytania or are about to depart on an assignment that may very well be their last.
While the Order's alignment is arguably Saradominist, they notably worship the Priestly Warriors; Ivandis Seergaze, Iriandul Caistlyn, Sarl Dunegun, Derygull Templeton, Erysail the Pious, Friar Twiblick, and Essiandar Gar. While not holy in their own right, they are regarded as the absolute pinnacle of dedication and many members in the past have gone so far as to be wary but loving of the Salve.
Located across Gielinor, usually in deserted areas far out of public view such as the Feldip Hills or between cities are a small number of safe-houses destined for use by members of the Order. Entry access requires one of the enchanted Witchwood Icons they bear, usually one passed down by whoever they mentored under.
Those passing through the areas where the safe-houses are located often report a haunted feeling, as the houses are invisible but give off a shimmer of magic and try to repel those not bearing the tokens of the Order. Those that persist trying to search for the exact location of the house are usually dissuaded by the growing influence of the minor mind-control or slam into an invisible dome barrier around the safe-house.
Members of the Order that have lost their Witchwood Icons are not able to access them and must acquire new means of entry by tracking down one of the Order's members and asking them to retrieve a new one from inside one of the safe-houses.
Magi seeking entry would simply need to dispel the protection barriers around the safe-houses as the defenses are designed against unholy creatures and monsters as opposed to people (beyond trying to simply keep them away) and do not bear offensive enchanements. While they are not consecrated ground, they are holy places of prayer, quiet contemplation and meditation.
They are used primarily for weapon and equipment storage that passing members of the Order might need on their travels. They are all routinely re-equipped with silvithril equipment, blessed arrows, holy water, medical supplies and non-perishable food.