Know Your Lore: High Inquisitor Sally Whitemane
Sally Whitemane has been many things. She’s been a child growing up with other children of the Knights of the Silver Hand such as Renault Mograine, whose fathers went on to found the Scarlet Crusade in an attempt to take back their homes from the Scourge. Thanks to the influence of the demonic Balnazzar, the Crusade would mutate into a force of oppression and Whitemane would, in time, become its High Inquisitor. While all other leaders of the Crusade perished one by one — Brigitte Abendis, Saidan Dathrohan (again, since he’d already been killed and replaced by Balnazzar), and even her lifelong friend Renault Mograine — Sally persevered, her innate facility with the Light returning her from the brink of death repeatedly.
But in time even she knew death. And that would have been the end of her story, if not for the coming of the Burning Legion and the desperation of the Death Knights of Acherus to use any means to stop it.
The Scarlet Crusade
After a childhood of playing with friends in places like Southshore, Sally Whitemane’s innocence ended with the coming of the Third War and the outbreak of the Plague of Undeath while traveling through Lordaeron. She was horrified to see her parents and siblings transformed by the cursed infection into mindless horrors, and forced to destroy them to preserve her own life. The shock and horror of this moment, as one would expect, affected her deeply for the rest of her life and beyond it. She never forgot that it was ultimately the Burning Legion that was responsible for the Scourge. A hatred began to fester in her heart that she would never truly escape.
Sally and her friend James Vishas entered the Crusade, likely due to their long friendship with Renault Mograine, and progressed through the ranks. She spent the Third War battling to preserve Humanity in some form in the former Lordaeron. And as the Scourge grew ever more powerful, she steadily grew more fanatical. Events like the return of Arthas, his destruction of his father and unleashing of the full might of the undead under the Lich King’s command only hardened her resolve and deepened her fanatic desire to purge the undead. Even after Arthas’ flight to Northrend and Sylvanas Windrunner’s ascension, the Crusade saw little difference between the Forsaken who had reclaimed their free will and the Scourge they’d been fighting for survival for months.
Whitemane led Scarlet Crusade forces to the defense of the town of Hearthglen against a new Scourge offensive during this time. In so doing, she helped secure Taelon Fordring as a new member of the Scarlet Crusade. For a time the Crusade seemed to be growing in strength, claiming bastions from the Monastery to Hearthglen to the Scarlet Bastion within Stratholme. The Scarlet Enclave and Tyr’s Hand in the eastern Plaguelands — all were under Crusade control. But cracks were beginning to show.
Rise of the Crusade
In time, the Crusade simply drew too many enemies on itself, which was perhaps Balnazzar’s plan all along. Inhabiting the form of Saidan Dathrohan, he could subtly poison the minds of the other Crusaders. Sally, whose heart burned with hatred and anger over the fate of her family, was an all too willing disciple of his teachings of paranoia and rage. Alongside her old friend Renault Mograine she turned the Monastery into a torture pit. Her old friend James Vishas was entrusted with interrogating anyone the Crusade deemed a threat.
Before long, the Crusade deemed almost anyone a threat. Gone were the days when a Crusade leader could willingly ignore the Forsaken to attack the Scourge. Not only were all undead the same to them, even non-undead who attempted to escape the Scourge or simply to try and talk with the Crusade ended up in the racks in the Monastery.
Whatever else she became, Whitemane was still prodigiously talented with the Holy Light. She could mend wounds and even return life to the deceased. Her facility with this gift served her well as the Crusade’s many enemies began carving it up piece by piece. Both the Alliance and the Horde moved against the Monastery several times, as well as the Bastion and Tyr’s Hand.
The Crusade crumbles
Renault Mograine died at his own father’s spectral hands when his brother Darion brought the Ashbringer to the Monastery. Shortly thereafter, the Death Knights of Acherus destroyed the Scarlet Enclave, forcing High General Abbendis to flee to Northrend — taking many of the Crusade’s best and brightest with her. The Crusaders of Tyr’s Hand and the Scarlet Bastion would be raised as undead called the Risen. They were a new threat wearing the colors of the Crusade and serving Balnazzar directly.
Through all of this, Whitemane endured, and the Monastery stood. Constant attacks by the Horde and Alliance attempted to dislodge her, but despite Renault’s death she persevered. Ironically, it was a former Crusader now raised from the dead who ultimately ended Whitemane’s life. Lillian Voss, daughter of High Priest Voss, was trained from birth to be an assassin for the Crusade.
But upon her death and resurrection as a Forsaken she was harshly rejected by her abusive father. She later sought vengeance on him, and the Crusade entire. This led her to seek out the Blades of the Anointed, weapons that were specially made to strike down someone who could use the Light to raise themselves from the dead. Using these blades, Voss and a pack of sellswords stormed the Monastery’s last pocket of resistance and struck Whitemane down. This time, they were sure, she would not return.
A cursed rebirth
And she wouldn’t have, if not for the Burning Legion.
In an irony that only a Death Knight could truly appreciate, the coming of the third invasion of the Burning Legion meant that the defenders of Azeroth were truly desperate. So desperate that they stormed the tottering Scarlet Monastery, found the remains of Sally Whitemane, and used the necromantic power of the Lich King to raise her from death as a Death Knight.
Her paranoia and obsession had been wiped away by death, replaced by her old, old hatred — a hatred for the Burning Legion for all it had done to her. The Legion created the Scourge, the Legion sent Balnazzar to destroy her order. If she thought overmuch about the fact that she now served the Lich King, it was trivial compared to the chance to wage unholy war against the demons that had destroyed her entire life. Her former fanaticism replaced by cold fury, Whitemane rode forth as one of the Four Horsemen. She took part in the raid on Light’s Hope Chapel intending to steal the body of Tirion Fordring to use as their leader. But in the end, it was her old friend Renault’s younger brother — Darion — who became the leader of that group.
Whitemane fought against the Legion throughout the Broken Isles, including the Broken Shore during the campaign to close the portal in the Tomb of Sargeras. Following the defeat of the Burning Legion, she and the other Horsemen presumably serve the Lich King in whatever he has planned next.
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