THE LEGEND OF THE GHOST OF DEADWIND PASS
Zara Steiner Blackburn is a reclusive Warlock who lives in self-exile in the area of Deadwind Pass and Karazhan. She earned the title, "The Ghost of Deadwind Pass" due to her habit of appearing suddenly to travellers of the pass, often scaring the daylights out of them. Rumors that she often appears in true ghostly form can not be confirmed, but are reported by many.
Legend has it that she killed herself after her husband committed suicide, although no one knows for sure if she is dead or alive.
Zara Steiner appears as a young woman, about 25 years old. She is truly beautiful, with an olive complexion and black hair thanks to her Tanari heritage. She has violet-colored eyes framed by long black eyelashes, and often wears a deep plum lipstick, her only added cosmetic. She wears ornate robes of burgundy, plum and gold, with a pandaren-fashioned staff to match. Her beauty is marred by one thing: the smile is long gone from her young face, replaced by a hardened expression wrought by years of rejection and loneliness.Those who run into her in the Karazhan area, say she looks sad, and she never speaks. During any reported encounter, Zara simply remains still and silent, gazing at the intruder in a manner often described as "pitiful." She then soundlessly moves away, disappearing into the shadows, or as some report, melting into the shadows as if she was part of them.
Zara Steiner Blackburn was born in Tanaris to Mardias and Traven Steiner, nomads and cultists who never stayed in one place for very long. When Zara was 5 years old, her family, along with several of their tribe, left Tanaris and relocated to the Blasted Lands to join a cultist commune. Zara could never understand why they left one hot, barren and dry land just to settle in another that was nearly indentical in every way, except that the climate and conditions in the Blasted Lands seemed even worse: It was infested with all manner of beasts and the ugliest humanoids she had ever seen. However, it was a Cultist's haven, with many altars and temples set up by the Burning Legion for them to ply their dark arts.
Zara quickly adapted, as young children generally do, and spent her days playing with other children of the commune, while their parents left them to their own devices, far too busy serving the cult to be proper parents.
Zara was 19 years old when she received the devastating news that her mother had died suddenly during a ritual at one of the altars. No one would give her the details, and to this day Zara does not know exactly how her mother died, only that her father became angry and detatched afterward, and Zara was all but forgotten by him. A year later, Traven Steiner left the commune and set out on his own, reportedly wandering the kingdom of Stormwind, doing odd jobs for area farmers, even remarrying at one point to a widow in Westfall (see Feleina Naylor). Zara was left behind at the commune, which suited her just fine, at least there she had friends and her boyfriend, a dark young warlock who had caught Zara's eye and affections.
Devon Blackburn was a powerful young warlock, who was as devoted to the cult as he was attached to Zara. After Zara's father left, Devon proposed to her and she readily accepted, since she longed for emotional attachment that she had lacked most of her life. They married and left the Blasted Lands, settling in the Plaguelands where Devon could conduct his research in relative peace. Zara never really knew what her husband was up to, but realized he was becoming more and more powerful, and more unpredictable. In spite of their deep love for one another, Devon was suddenly plagued by mood swings and would disappear for days on end.
Finally Devon admitted to Zara that he had been dabbling with Fel powers far beyond his scope of control, and he had been entered numerous times by beings that tormented his thoughts and controlled his actions. By the time he told Zara of this, he was a mere shell of himself, being almost completely ruled by the voices, and forced to do unspeakable crimes. Thus Zara became a young widow after only two short years of marriage, when Devon, driven mad by the voices, hung himself after a killing spree on a Redridge farm. Zara was summoned by officials to identify Devon's body, and as she reached out to touch him one last time, the entities that had filled him, leapt into her.
Possessed, Zara could do nothing but wander the roads of Duskwood and the Deadwind pass, killing anything that came across her path. She eventually found her way to Stormwind city, where a chance encounter with the Fel Lord Matiff Durthan, who at that time was seeking assistance from the Clergy of the Holy Light for his own problems, led her to be exorcised by Father Thomas Hohenheim.
REJECTION and EXILEEditOnce Zara was purged of the entities and came to her senses, the reality of her husband's death hit her and she immediately entered the throes of deep grief. Feeling empty and remorseful for the killings she had committed while she was possessed, she sought out the troubled older Warlock, hoping he would help her, but he was in fact battling his own demons and pulled away from her. Zara then sought redemption by entering the order of the Clergy of the Holy Light. However, she was to remain on the fringes of forgiveness and true inclusion, since the fact that she was a warlock prevented her from being accepted and embraced.
Feeling empty and disillusioned, Zara finally left the Clergy and joined the Argent Bulwark, hoping a more militaristic secular order would accept her, at least for her casting prowess. Alas, she was quickly rejected by the membership there, and within a single day found herself no longer affiliated.
Years of neglect from her parents, the devastation of her husband's death, and feeling outcast from most of society led the young woman to feel her only solace would be self-exile. She reasoned it would be far easier to hide herself away from people, rather than to come seeking love, redemption and acceptance, just to be rejected and outcast again.And so Zara Steiner Blackburn disappeared from society. She is only ever seen around Karazhan and Deadwind pass, although any who come looking for her never seem to find her, or any sign that she actually lives there. Her true status is unknown, and many believe she took her own life and exists only as a ghost, or a figment of overactive imaginations when fleeting glimpses of her are seen wandering the barren roads or the rickety castle.