Updated Fri, Sep 30, 2011 by Saia
Is this what the Banshee Queen will become?
Poor Sylvanas is one of those truly tragic heroines of the Warcraft universe, born a high elf and Ranger General of Silvermoon she was tortured and murdered by Arthas Menethil then resurrected as a banshee. Now monarch of the Forsaken, her path through undeath is taking an even darker turn. During Wrath, she was full of vengeance, leading Horde players through the five-man ICC dungeons on a quest to destroy The Lich King. You can’t blame her, after all he was the one who tortured, murdered and then resurrected her.
Yet, even after she got her body back, Sylvanas did all she could. She welcomed the fallen into her kingdom, and regardless of race the Forsaken were all equal in their undeath (even if they all appear to be human in-game).
But there was no conclusion, no chance for the Banshee Queen to strike the killing blow. Retribution was not to be hers and during the worgen and forsaken starter quests in Cataclysm, Sylvanas factors into the storyline heavily by craving the lands of Gilneas. By this point, she had the ethereal Val’kyr in her service and, upon seeing them resurrect newly fallen corpses as Forsaken, Garrosh pronounced her no better than the Lich King. What was never answered was why she had allied with them in the first place.
Sylvanas is now tied to the Val'kyr
This is where Dave Kosak’s new short story comes in. It follows Sylvanas as she goes in search of Arthas’ deathplace, high atop Icecrown Citadel, only to find his successor encased in ice on the Frozen Throne. The Banshee Queen obviously didn’t realize what was meant when Uther told her “There must always be a Lich King” and she’s none to happy about Bolvar sitting as Jailor of the Damned.
That said, though, in a way, there are similarities between Maiev Shadowsong, Illidan’s jailer, and the Banshee Queen. Both were so consumed by vengeance that when the object of their hatred finally died, they were left bereft. Where Maiev channeled her hatred into rebuilding the Wardens, Sylvanas is channeling hers into taking Gilneas - albeit at Garrosh’s command - and - against it - increasing the Forsaken’s ranks. But where do the Val’kyr come into this and why does Agatha sacrifice herself with her two sisters to return the Dark Lady to “life” after Lord Godfrey assassinates her?
A shadow at the end of time.
This is revealed in Kosak’s story and the picture it paints is of an empty Sylvanas. Her task done she ascends to Icecrown Citadel and commits suicide, desiring to return to the peaceful void she experience before Arthas raised her. Of course things don’t quite go that way and instead the Dark Lady finds herself in a terrible void, the place where Arthas is himself condemned but the Val’kyr Annahylde the Caller offers to restore her to life if she will take them into her service instead of leaving them bound to the silent Jailer of the Damned. Sylvanas does so and so her life becomes dependent on the fallen warrior maidens. If they die, so does she.
But this act leaves Sylvanas with a new purpose and a way to ensure her people will flourish. Yet her character in Gilneas seems much darker than before, teetering on the brink, as she attempts to take back lands she believes are the Forsaken’s by right. Who knows where this will take her?
We do get a glimpse actually. In patch 4.3, one of the encounters as part of the futuristic End Time dungeon involves fighting the pale, twisted shadow of the Banshee Queen, the Echo of Sylvanas. Blizzard describes her as “Spawned from shattered timeways and cloistered within the Ruby Dragonshrine, a maddened fragment of the Forsaken's leader, Sylvanas Windrunner, waits restlessly. Having lost everything and unable to find peace, this tormented echo aches for a chance to unleash her dark fury at anything still living within these barren, time-twisted wastes.”
Is this the fate which awaits the Banshee Queen or will she ever find the peace she seeks? Only time will tell.