Once the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner was murdered by the death knight Arthas and brought back as a creature of undeath. After regaining her free will she rebelled against the Lich King and the Scourge and became the founder of the Forsaken faction of undead, who are currently allied with the Horde. She has styled herself the Dark Lady, Queen of the Forsaken, an expansion of her original title, the Banshee Queen.
As leader of the Forsaken and the Horde on the Eastern Kingdoms, Sylvanas is a military genius. The middle sister of Alleria and Vereesa Windrunner, she was Ranger General of the high elf kingdom of Quel'Thalas. She fought valiantly against Arthas when he invaded Quel'thalas, but during the fall of Silvermoon, Arthas raised her as an undead minion as a form of petty revenge. When the Lich King's hold on his minions weakened, Sylvanas, among other undead, regained her free will, and she led her forces against the dreadlords who had taken hold over Lordaeron, ultimately affirming her sovereignty by killing off two of the nathrazim and bending the third, Varimathras, to her will. She renamed her force of self-aware undead the Forsaken and declared herself their queen.
Under her leadership the Forsaken have managed to not only fend off the Scourge, but also the Scarlet Crusade. She has a certain mastery of leadership, military strategy, and the bow. She is also adept at demon magic — having the ability to drain life, create skeletons, and use mind control. Sylvanas is the best archer on Azeroth — she claimed she could hit a flying bird in the eye. She wields Sunstrider's Longbow — once owned by Dath'Remar Sunstrider, it was passed on to Sylvanas when she became Ranger-General. ( )
Ranger-General of Silvermoon
Sylvanas was a member of the prominent Windrunner family of the high elves. Her siblings were Alleria, Vereesa, and at least two other brothers. Her family lived at Windrunner Spire in the tranquil forests of Quel'thalas. Sylvanas joined the rangers and eventually became their leader, rising to the rank of Ranger-General of Silvermoon, military leader of all high elven forces.
The Second War
During the Second War the high elves initially sent only token support to the Alliance, though Sylvanas' older sister Alleria took her squad of rangers as well. Soon after the forests of Quel'thalas mysteriously began to burn. Sylvanas and her rangers set out to discover the cause when she came across both her sisters being chased by a band of forest trolls, whom they dispatched quickly. Alleria alerted Sylvanas of the coming orcish Horde, and that it was they who were burning Quel'thalas with dragon fire. Sylvanas and her rangers moved quickly to meet the Horde and trap them between themselves and the Alliance forces under the command of the paladin Turalyon. The battle took many turns but ultimately the Horde abandoned Quel'thalas. Sylvanas stayed behind to hunt down any remaining orcs. Shortly after, the Horde was defeated, the Dark Portal destroyed, and the Second War was over.
Invasion of the Undead Scourge
After the high elves defected from the Alliance, Sylvanas and her Rangers were the primary guard against any would-be attackers on Silvermoon. Despite the odd forest troll, murloc, or gnoll every now and then, Sylvanas saw little action, and a peaceful tranquillity had descended upon the forests. She remained, however, ever vigilant, knowing that this peace — however refreshing — was tenuous at best.
Her fears were soon realized when Arthas, the betrayer of Lordaeron, arrived unexpectedly on the doorstep of Quel'Thalas with a horde of undead at his back. He began to attack outlying villages and immediately, Sylvanas and her Ranger Corps moved against him. His superior numbers and tireless warriors always kept her in a state of retreat.
Arthas continued relentlessly towards the Elfgate, killing every elf who got in his way. Finally, despite Sylvanas' best efforts, he breached the Outer Elfgate. Sylvanas ordered the corps to immediately fall back to the Inner Gate, which was only passable with the use of the Key of the Three Moons, assembled from the Mooncrystals hidden within the forest. Sylvanas destroyed the bridge leading to the Inner Gate to stay his advances. Despite her valiant efforts, Arthas managed to recover the Key of the Three Moons and destroyed the Inner Elfgate. Nothing stood in his way to Silvermoon.
Sylvanas gathered her forces and went to warn Silvermoon, but Arthas blocked her passage at every turn, and murdered every runner she tried to get through. Sylvanas continued the resistance, but eventually, she was targeted directly. The two battled each other, and Sylvanas was struck a mortal blow. Lor'themar Theron assumed temporary leadership after her death.
The Mindless Banshee
The official story given by the high elves of Silvermoon had the Ranger-General having perished valiantly in battle against the undead Scourge in the defense of Quel'thalas, and her body being burned to ashes in the fire that had devastated half the capital. ( )
The true story was quite different. Sylvanas was not killed, but rather captured. Barely clinging to life, Sylvanas Windrunner was brought before Arthas in his dark temple. She protested, saying she deserved a clean death, but Arthas, having had to fight her every step of the way, responded by telling her after what she had put him through the last thing he would give her was the peace of death. She was tortured, mutilated, and finally killed for Arthas' pleasure. He desecrated her spirit, corrupting her body and soul, and brought her back as a whirlwind of torment and hatred. Thus Sylvanas Windrunner became the first of the high elven banshees. Sylvanas, now an undead banshee, was a complete and total slave of the Lich King. In her undeath, she aided Arthas in his assault against her own beloved Silvermoon in order to secure the legendary Sunwell for the Scourge. ( )
The Dark Ranger
By the time Arthas had turned most of northern Lordaeron into the Plaguelands, Sylvanas had returned to her body as a corporeal undead creature. ( When Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, regained her physical body, she realized that the natural world would never respond to her wishes again. Angered by this development, she turned to the arts that were becoming more and more natural to her: necromancy. She then altered her elven ranger teachings into a new form. Thus the )dark rangers were born. ( )
Sylvanas became one of Arthas' primary generals, and she remained behind in Lordaeron with Kel'Thuzad under the watchful eye of the dreadlords, whom had been left stationed in Lordaeron to protect it in the name of the Legion. When Archimonde was defeated at the Battle of Mount Hyjal, Sylvanas would quickly learn of this news from Kel'Thuzad. As the months passed, the dreadlords were still ignorant of their masters' defeat.
Varimathras, Detheroc and Balnazzar, the three prime dreadlords overseeing Lordaeron, were convening under Sylvanas' undead, watchful eyes when Arthas stormed into the stronghold, fresh from his journey to Northrend. He informed them of the Legion's failure and his intentions to take control of the Scourge. The dreadlords fled, outraged but unwilling to risk their lives by battling Arthas' army.
Arthas approached his servants, and ordered that Lordaeron be purged of all life as a tribute to Ner'zhul. Kel'Thuzad, however, informed him that human refugees had begun to flee from the outer villages, and that, should they escape into the mountain passes, they would be impossible to track. Arthas stationed himself and his two generals on the three possible escape routes and they each led detachments of undead troops against the fleeing humans while taking great pains to ensure that few, if any, made it past their blockade to safety.
Despite the efforts of the paladin Dagren the Orcslayer and his companions, Sylvanas led her banshees into battle against the human refugees, aided in the destruction of all the remaining villages in her area, and slaughtered any human trying to escape. Finally, Sylvanas, Arthas, and Kel'Thuzad arrived at the central headquarters of the paladins and killed them all in a vicious battle, annihilating the last of the civilian presence in Lordaeron.
Queen of the Forsaken
Around this point, a weakened Ner'zhul began to lose control of the minds of Sylvanas and a number of banshees. She kept this discovery from Arthas and Kel'Thuzad while continuing to serve. The dreadlords contacted Sylvanas and explained that they knew the cause, and arranged a secret meeting with her. They told her that Ner'zhul's—and by extension Arthas'—powers were beginning to diminish. The nathrezim intended to use this opportunity to seize control of Lordaeron. Sylvanas tentatively agreed to assist, but under the condition that her aid would be provided on her own terms.
The dreadlords planned on killing Arthas within the capital, but Sylvanas created a contingency plan in the case of Arthas' escape. She arranged for her banshees to feign allegiance and escort him to a place in the woods where she would be waiting for him. After Arthas survived the dreadlords' ambush and escaped the capital, Sylvanas' loyal sisters saw him to the arranged place, and then killed his bodyguards.
Sylvanas, hiding in the shadows, struck him with an arrow she had crafted — a venomous sting that would paralyse him. Arthas was furious at her betrayal, and demanded that she finish him. But Sylvanas refused to show him the mercy of a quick death and intended to make him suffer — as he had made her suffer in undeath. She was about to begin her grisly work when Kel'Thuzad arrived and intervened, killing her banshees and chasing her off.
Arthas left for Northrend, having been summoned by the Lich King, and Kel'Thuzad went into hiding. Sylvanas and her sisters were freed, but Sylvanas was still troubled. Though free from Ner'zhul, she and the other free-willed loyalists remained monstrous abominations in appearance.
Her thoughts were interrupted as Varimathras arrived on the scene. The dreadlord invited the banshee to join him and his brothers in their new order. But Sylvanas was not so quick to relinquish what freedom she had just gained. She told him that her assistance was enough, and demanded to be left alone. Varimathras ominously warned that those who were not part of this new land would be cast aside, and that she had best not vex the new rulers of the Plaguelands. Sylvanas was adamant. As Varimathras departed, Sylvanas knew that an attack was imminent. But with only her banshees and some lesser undead to serve for her, Sylvanas was certain that she would soon fall. She needed to acquire an army.
Scouting the outer wilderness, Sylvanas found a plethora of creatures who would serve her well, and with her banshees at her disposal, they would have little choice in the matter. She sent out her banshees to possess Mug'thol the leader of the local ogres, the Bandit Lord Blackthorn, the gnoll ruler Snarlmane, and the Murloc Puddle Lord. Those she did not possess were killed. With so many new allies, Varimathras was quick to fall before her. But after she defeated him, Varimathras begged for his life, saying that he could serve her well. He knew his brothers' tactics, and where their bases were located. Sylvanas knew trusting such an insidious creature was a risk, but felt that she could control him enough for her purposes. With Varimathras' assistance, they moved against Detheroc's forces.
Detheroc had acquired a human puppet, Garithos, and his men, and was using them to protect himself. Sylvanas had his scouts possessed, and then infiltrated his base while their guard was down. As they slept, Sylvanas swept through the twin bases and slaughtered any before her. Though they eventually awoke and raised the alarm, it was too late. Sylvanas disabled the humans and ravaged Detheroc's forces, eventually coming to the dreadlord himself, and killing him swiftly. With the dreadlord dead, Garithos was freed from his mental control. Sylvanas saw him as arrogant and foolish, but felt that she could use him. She lied and promised to relinquish control of the Capital to him if he helped her kill Balnazzar.
Garithos attacked from the rear entrance to the city as Sylvanas and Varimathras came from the front. As they moved into the city, Sylvanas found caches of items left by the Lordaeron royals, and used them to further the assault. Despite the dreadlord's demonic allies, his forces were destroyed, and, as a final test of loyalty, Sylvanas demanded that Varimathras kill Balnazzar. Varimathras froze, saying that it was forbidden for one Nathrezim to kill another. But she required Varimathras to prove his loyalty to her. Varimathras obeyed, and struck down Balnazzar. However, whether by accident or design, Balnazzar survived, later re-emerging as a leader of the Scarlet Crusade. Varimathras was not so reluctant when Sylvanas ordered him to do the same to Garithos.
With all their enemies dead, Sylvanas made a proclamation to Varimathras. They would rule the Plaguelands as the Forsaken, and would stake out their own destiny, where none would get in their way.
Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen, and leader of the Forsaken traveled to Quel'thalas for her own reasons, but soon encountered the traitor Dar'Khan, confronting him in the ruins of Silvermoon. She aided Kalecgos in attempting to stop the traitor from claiming the Sunwell's energies; though she was initially unsuccessful, she distracted Dar'Khan long enough for Anveena to regain her power and vaporize him. Sylvanas agreed to keep Anveena's identity a secret in the interests of preventing Arthas from gaining the Sunwell's power.
World of Warcraft
Now, she rules over the Forsaken from Undercity. Her goal is to one day take vengeance upon Arthas, and find lasting freedom for her cursed people. She sends promising warriors to train under her champion, Nathanos Blightcaller.
In World of Warcraft Lady Sylvanas Windrunner is a level ?? faction leader located in the Royal Quarter in Undercity. She is also the only racial leader who is not (Technically) the same race as most of her people (she being a high elf in life, and most Forsaken being known to be undead Humans).
She starts the following quests:
And finishes the following quests:
The Burning Crusade
In death, Sylvanas still considers herself one of the foremost protectors of Quel'Thalas, and repeatedly offered assistance in the form of supplies and troops to the blood elves. This may be due in some part to the fact that the Dark Lady still grieves over her failure to protect Quel'thalas from the Scourge invasion during the Third War, when she fell in battle. Though the blood elves initially declined most of Sylvanas' offers, fearing a trick, the beleaguered elves eventually allowed Sylvanas to station Forsaken soldiers in their lands, most prominently in the village of Tranquillien. Sylvanas played a large part in convincing Thrall to accept the blood elves into the Horde.
Interestingly, reports say Sylvanas moves to and from Northrend; it’s unknown if she is scouting for a possible attack on the Lich King, or if she has darker plans. There are rumors that Lady Sylvanas Windrunner is setting up a Forsaken city up there somewhere. In any case, she remains an enigmatic figure — her motivations unknown even to her most trusted advisers. ( )
Wrath of the Lich King
One of the new Forsaken camps in Northrend will be New Agamand. It is here that the plague the Royal Apothecary Society has been developing to combat the Scourge will be tested, as indicated from this section of the Howling Fjord background on the official site:
On the eastern shore, the Forsaken have arrived, carrying a plague of their own to unleash upon the Lich King. Queen Sylvanas has been methodically and patiently overseeing the formulation of this contagion for several years, and the time has come at last to test its effectiveness against the Scourge.
As the combined Horde and Alliance forces begin their assault upon Angrathar the Wrath Gate, an uprising breaks out in the Undercity. Varimathras and hordes of his demonic brethren overrun the city, slaying all those who will not submit to their dark rule. Sylvanas herself will nearly be killed in the coup, but manage to escape with a number of loyalists and flees to Orgrimmar. Determined not to allow the Dreadlords a foothold in Horde territory, Thrall and Sylvanas plans an immediate counter-attack. In the midst of their planning, Jaina Proudmoore arrives with terrible news: in the wake of Bolvar Fordragon's death, Varian Wrynn orders an assault on the Undercity—not to remove the Dreadlords, but as the first strike in a new war against the Horde.
Sylvanas returns to the Undercity at the head of a Horde army, determined to retake her city. Along with Thrall and Vol'jin, she leads the assault into Undercity itself, a cry for her people upon her lips. In the Throne Room, Sylvanas fights and finally slay Varimathras, retaking her Throne at a cost not yet foreseen.
The Frozen Throne
Balnazzar: The lich, Kel'Thuzad, is far too loyal to betray his master. But you, on the other hand...
Sylvanas: Hate him. I have my own reasons for seeking vengeance. Arthas murdered my people and turned me into this...monstrosity.
You walked right into this one, Arthas. It's time to even the scales.
Arthas: Finish me, then.
Sylvanas: A quick death...like the one you gave me? No. You're going to suffer as I did. Thanks to my arrow, you can't even run. Give my regards to hell, you son of a bitch.
(After promising to let the human forces reclaim their land in exchange for joining her against Balnazzar)
Varimathras: Come now, you have no intention of giving them their lands back.
Sylvanas: Of course not. The humans are simply a means to an end.
Varimathras: You sound more like one of us with every passing day, my lady.
Sylvanas: Watch it, dreadlord.
(After conquering the capital city and the killing of Balnazzar and Garithos, Sylvanas says to Varimathras)
We will find our own path in this world, dreadlord, and slaughter anyone who stands in our way!
World of Warcraft
Aggro: Let none survive!
Aggro: May my aim be true.
Greeting: We are the Forsaken. We will slaughter anyone who stands in our way.
Greeting: What are we if not slaves to this torment?
Greeting: What joy is there in this curse?
Greeting: I have no time for games.
- An epic ring, , drops from Kael'thas Sunstrider in the Eye of Tempest Keep. The description of the ring clearly states that it was formerly worn by Sylvanas.
- Sylvanas is voiced by Piera Coppola.
- Silva (or silua; it is pronounced 'sil-wa') is the Latin word for forest, and Silvanus (or Siluanus; 'sil-wa-nus') is a god of uncultivated land in Roman mythology. Both the word and the name are often invoked in regards to elves and elven characters.
- Sylvanas' mount appears to be a Red Skeletal Warhorse, as seen in the Battle for the Undercity.
- Though in life Sylvanas was a high elf, her model in the World of Warcraft was that of a tall female night elf before patch 3.0.2. In the last patch, Sylvanas has an undead high elf/blood elf model with different hair, armor and bow, more reminiscent of how she appeared in Frozen Throne. Interestingly, the outfit she wears in The Sunwell Trilogy is more similar to those of Sentinel archers than high elf rangers in the same book.
- Though Arthas turned her into an incorporeal banshee when he killed her, Sylvanas was later able to regain her original (albeit dead) body. ( ) ( )Ghostlands and the Manual of Monsters both depict her in her original body, with the abilities of both a dark ranger and a banshee.
- In Warcraft III, Arthas defeats Sylvanas in the Eversong Woods and turns her into a banshee on the spot. Both Ghostlands and the Lament of the Highborne video depict Arthas placing Sylvanas' body on an altar, and performing a ritual that pulls her spirit from her body.
Lament of the Highborne
- Main article: Lament of the Highborne
Sylvanas, like all capital city leaders, has a 2-hour respawn timer after being killed by an Alliance raid.
- One of the randomly generated Blood Mage names in The Frozen Throne is Sylvos Windrunner. This could imply that the Windrunner family — already parted between the Forsaken, the Alliance, and some unknown fate in Outland — could have member in the blood elf community. This blood mage could also have pushed for the entrance of Silvermoon and the blood elves into the Horde. The similarity of the names implies that Sylvos and Sylvanas are closely related, perhaps twins — a rare occurrence among high elves, ( however this is unlikely the case as neither Vereesa or Alleria have made meantion of him when referring to their sibling, Alleria has only recently made mention of )Lirath (Beyond the Dark Portal). Whatever the case, it is stated that besides her two famous sisters she also has or had other family members — a grandfather (alive), an uncle (dead), three brothers (dead), her parents (presumed dead), and various other relatives. ( )
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Ranger-General of Silvermoon
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Ruler of Lordaeron
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