Typically, death is the end for someone. But sometimes a person is stubborn enough that they come back to fulfill their goals, or simply because their pissed off. Such as the case with Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken.
"I have walked the realms of the dead. I have seen the infinite dark. Nothing you say. Or do. Could possibly frighten me." Sylvanas to Garrosh, shortly after the Cataclysm.
Sylvanas was the third child of the Windrunner family. Her mother was Ranger General of Quel'thalas, basically the kingdoms highest ranking military leader. When her older sister Alleria declined to inherit the rank, Sylvanas was next in line. When the Horde began the second war, Sylvanas protected the kingdom from the orcs, as well as their new allies, the trolls of the Amani empire. With the aid of the Alliance army and the kingdoms magical defenses, Sylvanas was able to push the Horde back, though at a heavy cost to her people. After the war, the humans made an ultimately futile effort to improve relations with the isolationist high elves. Part of this effort was sending several humans to train under the elves rangers. Sylvanas ended up training at least one of them, a man named Nathanos, though some rumors claim their relationship was more then professional.
"They are arrows in the quiver. They must be spent if we are to win this." Sylvanas during the second war.
Some twenty of so years later, Sylvanas was still the Ranger General when the Undead Scourge invaded. The Death Knight Arthas had invaded to use the Sunwell, a magical place of power, to revive the necromancer Kel'tuzad as a lich. Sylvanas personally led her rangers to keep the Scourge at bay. The effort was doomed from the start since a high ranking mage named Dar'Khan had already defected to the Scourge and warned Arthas about the magical defenses, and because she was trying to fight a literal zombie apocalypse. Sylvanas made Arthas fight tooth and nail for every inch of ground, but is steadily pushed back. Eventually Sylvanas realizes there's a traitor and sends runners to the capital city of Silvermoon while she and her remaining rangers set up a defensive position in her families home of Windrunner Spire. Sylvanas would be personally killed by Arthas in single combat. Arthas, wanting to punish her for causing him so much trouble, raises her and her fellow rangers as banshees. Sylvanas would be forced to participate in the destruction of Silvermoon and the mage city of Dalaran. In addition, as an insult, Arthas gave her command of most of the banshees that were created in Quel'thalas, she was powerless to move or even speak if Arthas didn't will it, and her corpse was magically preserved and placed in a coffin that was always kept a short distance from Sylvanas, because Arthas is spiteful like that.
"Finish it! I deserve...a clean death."
"After all you've put me through, woman, the thing I'll give you is the peace of death." Sylvanas and Arthas, shortly before her death and resurrection.
Sylvanas would remain part of the Scourge for the next 6 to 8 months, until the Demon Hunter Illidan Stormrage attempted to destroy the Lich King. While he failed, he did damage the frozen throne, which diminished his power and drained the power from his minions like Arthas. Arthas eventually lost control of most of the Scourge, including Sylvanas. Sylvanas made an alliance with three Dreadlords that wanted to retake control of the Scourge. But before she did that, she retook her body using her possession ability. Sylvanas' ambush failed, but the Scourge's control of Lordaeron was broken. With Arthas out of the way for the moment, the Dreadlords offered Sylvanas a place among their servants. Not wanting to give up her new found freedom, Sylvanas flatly refused and began preparing for the attack she knew would come. She also found the now undead population of Lordaeron, who had also regained their free will and were without any will to go on. Sylvanas rallied them together and gave them something to focus their energies on, the death of Arthas and destruction of the Scourge. Using her new followers, she defeated the dreadlord Varimathras and forced him to serve her. Taking the offensive, Sylvanas not only defeated the other two dreadlords, she also wiped out the remaining human forces in Lordaeron. With most of the kingdom now under her control, she declared the birth of a new nation under her command.
"We are the Forsaken. We will slaughter anyone who stands in our way." Sylvanas after claiming the capital of Lordaeron.
Knowing that the Alliance would likely attempt to retake the kingdom, Sylvanas joined her former enemies the Horde with the aid of the tauren, specifically the Grimtotem tribe. Sylvanas' sole goal was the destruction of the Scourge and had her followers begin creating the Forsaken Blight, a plague that would not only wipe out the Scourge, but also could be used against the living if necessary. In spite of her emotionless persona, Sylvanas still maintained some sense of loyalty to her homeland, sending Forsaken forces to help the people of Quel'thalas, now calling themselves blood elves, to retake the southern half of the kingdom from the Scourge and working to convince the Horde to allow them entry. But that didn't stop her from blackmailing them into sending troops to Northrend later.
"I haven't lost any love for my homeland or it's people, as you know. I've fought tooth and nail for Silvermoon to be allowed a place besides Undercity and Orgrimmar at the negotiating table." Sylvanas to Blood Elf adventurers shortly before the reopening of the Dark Portal.
After the campaign in Outland and the failed Legion invasion, Sylvanas attempted to convince Thrall, the Horde's Warchief, to invade Northrend. While Thrall didn't wish to rush to war, the Lich King forced his hand by invading the Horde's capital. While she didn't actively participate in the majority of the fighting in Northrend, she didn't send the Forsaken's full military force, including the recently completed Forsaken Blight. The war went, as well as you'd expect a war against an army that can raise the dead to fight for them. Eventually the combined Alliance and Horde forces pushed their way right to the Wrath Gate, the only land entrance to Icecrown Glacier, the de facto capital of the Scourge. But then things go badly for Sylvanas, and everyone else for that matter. See, Varimathras was never loyal to Sylvanas and had been working to gain control of the Forsaken. Launching a coup and sending his followers to wipe out the combined, Sylvanas escaped back to Orgrimmar, though she was nearly killed. Sylvanas aided Thrall in retaking her city and personally killed dozens of demons during the battle. With the traitors dealt with and the final push into Icecrown beginning, Sylvanas personally led a Horde strike force into the depths of Icecrown Citadel in hopes of finding a weakness of the Lich King. The effort failed and she was nearly killed by Arthas, again. When Arthas was finally killed, the wielder of a magical weapon called Shadowmourne discovered that Arthas still possessed a vial of Sylvanas' blood and returned it to her as proof of his death.
"Finally, he has been made to pay for the atrocities he imposed upon my people." Sylvanas after the death of Arthas.
At some point after the return of Deathwing, Sylvanas traveled to Icecrown to both confirm that Arthas was dead and use the Saronite, the metallic blood of an old god, to destroy the magic that kept her soul bound to the world, or in other words she wanted to die. She did just that, and then discovered that hell, or something like it, was waiting for her. While she initially accepted this, she is approached by a group of nine Val'kyr, a type of undead with the ability to raise the dead and channel the holy light naturally. These Val'kyr were bound to the new Lich King that intended to keep the still massive Scourge from rampaging across Azeroth, and they weren't happy about this. The Valy'kyr offered to release Sylvanas in exchange for her making a pact with them. The exact details aren't given, but they basically keep her alive and work for her in exchange for freedom. Sylvanas initially refused, but she was then shown visions of Garrosh Hellscream, now Warchief of the Horde, using her people as cannon fodder until they were so diminished that the Alliance was able to conquer them with no effort. Both outraged by this future, and realizing that hell would be, let's say unpleasant, Sylvanas agrees and set's to work using the Val'kyr's powers to create new Forsaken, an important ability since they couldn't procreate naturally due to being, you know, dead. This came at a very good time for her, since the new Warchief ordered her to conquer the human kingdom of Gilneas. Sylvanas, knowing that any semblance of trust she'd earned with the Horde died at the Wrath Gate, did as she was ordered, but secretly continued to act as she'd always done. Against the orders of Garrosh, Sylvanas unleashed the Forsaken Blight on the enemy nation. While the campaign was a draw out series of pyric victories, Sylvanas eventually managed to claim a major victory over the newly arrived Alliance forces by raising the noble Lord Godfrey, who then shot her in the back of the head, killing her. Fortunately for Sylvanas, her Val'kyr were on hand to restore her to life, though at the cost of theirs. With the fighting in the west going no where, Sylvanas turned her attention on the Western Plaguelands, and as an undercover agent eventually managed to drive the Alliance out of most of the region. Other then sending bounty hunters after Godfrey, she was mostly inactive after that, but sent her agents to raise more new Forsaken during the period of war that followed the Cataclysm.
"Have you given any thought to what this means Sylvanas? What difference is there between you and the Lich King now?"
"Isn't it obvious, Warchief? I serve the Horde" Sylvanas and Garrosh during the Silverpine campaign.
Sylvanas as asked to participate in the destruction of Theramore, but sent one of her generals in her place. After that and the discovery of Pandaria, she kept her head down and avoided drawing to much attention from the increasingly tyrannical and insane Garrosh. This allowed her to have a degree of freedom to move when Vol'jin launched a rebellion, killing the garrison that had been stationed in her capital since the Wrath Gate. They were supposedly loyal to Garrosh and their commanding officer was left alive. While Sylvanas was displeased to have a troll as her new Warchief, and the idea that Garrosh was going to stand trial and possibly even be pardoned upset her even more. So she and her sister Vereesa decided to try to have Garrosh assassinated. During this time Sylvanas found that contact with her sister was having an effect on her emotional state, driving her to offer to share leadership of the Forsaken with her. But this emotional imbalance caused her to go into a berserk rage for a short time when Vereesa backed out of the plan. About two years later, Sylvanas personally took part in the battle for the Broken Shore. Fighting alongside king Varian Wrynn and Vol'jin, Sylvanas took personal command of the Horde forces. And when Vol'jin was critically wounded, she was ordered to call a retreat, which caused the death of Varian. Much to everyone's surprise, and I mean literally everyone, the dying Warchief named her his successor.
"I never trusted you. Nor would I have ever imagined...in our darkest hour...dat you...would be da one to save us" Vol'jin on his deathbed, shortly before naming Sylvanas the new Warchief.
Sylvanas was given a trial by fire, as Demon Hunters belonging to the Illidari revealed demons posing as soldiers in Orgrimmar. After nearly being assassinated at Vol'jin's funeral, Sylvanas took it upon herself to launch an incursion into the Broken Islands region of Stormheim, hoping to capture Eyir, a powerful Val'kyr with the ability to create more. This effort was undercut every step of the way by Genn Greymane, the king of Gilneas, who understandably had a few grudges to settle with her. Sylvanas somehow ended up in Helheim, the realm of Helya, the first Val'kyr. The two made some kind of deal, and while the details aren't known yet, Sylvanas ended up with a lantern that allowed her to bend Eyir to her will. While attempting to use said lantern, Genn showed up and destroyed it after a brief battle. Sylvanas returned to Undercity, but intended to continue chasing her target.
"Treacherous banshee! You know not what you are meddling with!"
"Submit. The Val'kyr...are mine." Sylvanas and Eyir, during her attempts to control the Val'kyr.
-Held the Horde forces at bay until reinforcements arrived during the second war.
-Was able to stale the Scourge forces for an extended period of time.
-Defeated several armies many times larger then hers during the attempt to take Lordaeron.
-Played a major part in defending Orgrimmar from the Scourge and retaking Undercity from the Legion.
-Eventually managed to drive the Alliance out of Silverpine and nearly conquered Gilneas twice.
-Helped capture Bladefist Bay during the Darkspear Rebellion.
-Alongside Varian, managed to take down an Abyssal, basically a more powerful version of an Infernal.
-Personally led the Horde forces during the battle for the Broken Shore, helping drive all the way to the Tomb of Sargeras.
-Survived an assassination attempt shortly after becoming Warchief.
"Let's see. I've made one of your brothers my servant, and tore the other to bloody shreds. I wonder what your fate holds, Balnazzar." Said to the Dreadlord Balnazzar during the siege of Lordaeron's former capital.
Abilities, Skills, and Equipment
-Carries a bow composite bow called Sunstrider's Longbow, which can turn any arrow it fires into a flaming arrow that can damage incorporeal spirits.
-Also owns the bow Deathwhisper, which can imbue arrows it fires with dark energy that slowly drains the life from it's victims.
-Wears light leather armor overlaid with some metal, allowing for maximum mobility in battle.
-Can grant both herself and her allies a strength boost by singing the song Lament of the Highborn, somehow.
-Widely regarded as one of the greatest archers on Azeroth.
-Often coats her arrows in a diluted form of Forsaken Blight.
-Carries a pair of swords, but prefers her bow.
-Her elven senses haven't diminished in her undead state.
-Her undead form is far more durable then it was in life, and most of her organs are basically only for show now.
-Doesn't have a heartbeat and doesn't breath.
-Highly trained in stealth, can even disappear from sight while engaged in melee combat.
-Her screams can weaken enemies and silence spell casters.
-Has some skill in necromancy and demon magic, allowing her to drain life from her enemies and raise skeletons.
-Can turn incorporeal at will.
-Can fire up to 10 arrows simultaneously and hit with all of them, even when targeting fast moving targets.
-Can summon other banshees that can assist her in combat, as well as being able to teleport to their positions.
"I can hit a bird in the eye, flying" Sylvanas boosting about her archery skills.
-Is specifically vulnerable to holy and light magic, including any form of magic that targets undead.
-Can be killed by destroying her brain like most traditional undead.
-Sometimes can't control her emotions, something a cunning enemy can figure out how to exploit.
-Doesn't wear heavy armor.
-Prefers attacking at range using stealth.
-Her Forsaken Blight can be turned against her.
-Her pride can be a detriment to her at times.
-While an experienced general and ranger, her record is spotty.
"Make for the Sunwell Plateau. Tell them what we have seen here. Tell them to be prepared. Tell them...we have been betrayed." Sylvanas during the siege of Quel'thalas.
Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill)
When I first was thinking of possible opponents for Sylvanas, I though of the main from Kill Bill and kind of laughed. Then I looked it up and realized it wouldn't be as ridiculously one-sided as I initially thought. Both their stories are heavily based on vengeance. Not much I know, but that's basically the main focus of Sylvanas' story after all. And other battles have had one common theme, so why not?
Sarah Kerrigan (StarCraft)
Will this fight be pretty heavily slanted in Kerrigan's favor, probably. But it's to perfect to not do. Both of them fought against an enemy the their people had very little experience fighting and so underestimated, both were betrayed, both were eventually transformed into the very thing they fought, both eventually regained their freewill and betrayed the people they would've once considered allies, and both became the leaders of the largest surviving factions of their former enemies. Plus the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken vs the Queen of Blades sounds really cool.
"I am Sylvanas Windrunner, queen of the Forsaken. If you will not serve me in life, then you will do so in death" Sylvanas introduction during Heroes of the Storm.