| Article of the Month|
This page has been claimed as an Article of the Month.
|Current Residence||Lower City, Shattrath|
- "She's just a shy girl with a really big hammer."
- —Sheirar Zogstra
Anastasia Zogstra or "Zog" to most people is a Knight of the Silver Hand with a history of unusual service.
Zogstra is tall and broad-shouldered, with a powerful, muscular build. She is toned and tanned from long hours of hard and honest work. Her imposing build is offset by her kind face and easy, open smile. Her otherwise long coppery hair is tied into a tight, seemingly indestructible bun - regardless of battle, wheather, terrain or the like, it seems never to shift. She speaks with a thick Stormwind accent, and occaisionally comments on it that she's 'just a city gal.'
She is usually seen in heavy plate armour of solid and practical construction. Unlike many other such equipment, hers lacks ornamental flourishes. Her armour is always well cared-for and maintained, although she often bears smudges of coal dust, grease, or other marks of her profession. When not in armour, she can be seen in simple, common attire, although almost always wearing pants rather than a dress.
Zogstra is usually called by her surname, and is known more often simply by the nickname of 'Zog.'
Zogstra is honest, loyal and above all else, hard-working. She values honesty and decency in others and all her dealings. She is devoted to her work as an armoursmith, her duties to the alliance, and her alleigance to the Order. This dedication is often percieved as shyness; and while she somewhat less than sociable at times, it is more from demands on her time than her own desires. She has a strong sense of justice, and will go out of her way to help the common folk of Azeroth, regardless of how minor their needs may be.
Zogstra sees herself as a soldier first, an armoursmith second, and a Paladin as a distant third. She would rather fight head-to-head than worry about religious doctrines and such, and finds her gruelling work over forge and anvil to be serene and relaxing. She has an almost casual approach to her duties and devotions as a Paladin of the Holy Light; while she does not deny or shirk them, she finds the day-to-day matters of the world to be more practical and important concerns than philisophical matters.
While proud of her work and a follower of recent developments in smithing, she is wary of more 'modern' technology and those who use and develop it. To her, the many 'advances' of both Goblins and Gnomes are impractical, tempermental and downright dangerous. She prefers a slower pace to progress and more practical developments such as Dwarvern firearms and the like. At times she feels the world is progressing too fast around her, and she simply cannot keep up with it.
She is equally wary of arcane magic and its practitioners, particularly warlocks and their demonic powers. While she will freely admit the many benefits granted by arcane magic, especially on the battlefield, she feels it is dangerous to put such power in the hands of people who are (to her mind) all too frequently young and irresponsible. The fact that many Gnomes are both practicioners of arcane magic and adherents of high technology makes her nervous. The sight of a pigtailed Gnome in robes and goggles has made her baulk more than once.
Although she is usually content to leave a wary peace between herself and passing Horde members, she holds a particular hatred for Blood Knights. She finds their behaviour completely contrary to the doctrines of the Holy Light, yet cannot deny that their training and abilities mirror her own. However, she holds suspicions that despite the similarities their powers come not from her beliefs and philosophies but from some other fel source. As yet she cannot find any evidence to support this.
Zogstra was born in the aftermath of the first war, and grew up in an ever-changing world. Her parents, both priests of the Holy Light, provided the best education they could for both her and her younger sister Sheirar. She grew up with the tenents of the Holy Light and the rebuilding of Stormwind, and knew from a young age that she would one day fight for her homeland. Her parents encouraged their daughter in this regard, and soon guided her to the Knights of Stormwind.
Zogstra flourished with the Knights, rapidly growing into a powerfully built young woman. She trained extensively with all manner of weapons and armour. It was there that she developed her love for the honest art of the blacksmith, and apprenticed herself to a blacksmith of the Knights as part of her grueling physical training. She took well to their philisophical training, though she always saw it as a secondary concern.
The Third War arrived before her training was complete. Though many of her superiors headed north to Lordaeron and soon west to Kalimdor, she remained in Stormwind. Her only exposure to the war was in the form of waves of refugees that made their way to the city. She threw herself into the care and healing of these poor folk, often working to exhaustion to tend to their needs. Her superiors in the order recognised her dedication, and by the time the war had passed, she was officially a Paladin.
As a semblance of peace settled over the world, Zogstra grew restless. She knew there was more to be done than defending Stormwind, and with the blessing of her parents and the Knights of Stormwind, she set out on the life of an adventurer. She quickly saw first-hand the work of the plague of undeath, and steeled herself against both the Scourge and the Forsaken. To her, there was little distinction between the two.
Her growing attitude eventually drew the attention of the Scarlet Crusade. Recruiters within Stormwind approached her and decided to test her dedication. She learned more about the organisation as she began peripheral work for them, fighting pockets of undead across the world. She soon believed that their goals matched hers, and was more than ready to join.
However, a chance encounter with a former Crusader sent her plans awry. He revealed to her the true nature of the Scarlet Crusade, describing their fanatical zeal and indiscriminate slaughter. Zogstra knew that she could have no part in such an organisation, yet still felt eager to fight the Scourge. She soon found her way to a member of the Argent Dawn, who had an intriguing proposition to her.
For the next few months, Zogstra served within the Scarlet Crusade - but as an agent for the Argent Dawn. She was 'recruited' into the Crusade to observe their inner working and report - only when safe - back to the Argent Dawn. She laid low in monastery, avoiding detection and discovering much about their personnel and methods.
Her infiltration came to a crashing halt when the Scourge set on the move, attacking cities across the world as well as the monastery itself. While fighting in the plaguelands, Zogstra was separated from the other Crusaders. She had all but lost hope before she was rescued by an expedition from Chillwind Camp. From there, she quickly reached her contact within the Argent Dawn, and returned to Stormwind to fight the Scourge.
For the next few weeks she moved between Stormwind and the Plaguelands, staging from Light's Hope Chapel. It was during the thickest fighting in the plaguelands that she found a place of uncommon calm - a small, solitary house occupied only by an elderly man and horse. Despite the urgency of the situation around her, she found herself drawn to his apparent wisdom, and found herself working extensively for him. After proving her worth to him, he revealed his identity and purpose; that of Tirion Fording, former Knight of the Silver Hand, and aiming to redeem his son Talean from the grips of the Scarlet Crusade.
Zogstra eagerly took up the chance to strike back at the Crusade, joining attacks on their holdings in Stratholme and Hearthglen to further Fording's quest. She eventually reached Talean, and escaped Hearthglen with him, only to be stopped by the Crusade's highest inquisitor. Although Talean was slain in the ensuing battle, Zogstra herself was saved by Tirion's intervention. She helped console the man in his loss, and joined him as he made his way to Light's Hope with a new ambition: The ressurection of the Order of the Silver Hand.
Zogstra eagerly joined Tirion's burgeoning movement, if only in name. She continued fighting in the Plaguelands, now under the order's banner, cleaning up on the ground as other bold adventureres invaded the dread citadel Naxxramas and sent it retreating back to Northrend. As the situation calmed down, Tirion began his work in earnest to rebuild the Order. Zogstra returned to Stormwind, confessing her failings in organisation and diplomacy, but swearing to return to Fording when she was needed.
By the time the Scourge Invasion had been beaten back, Zogstra was at a loss for what to do. Her friends had moved on, Stormwind was full of new faces, and even her kid sister was grown up and adventuring on her own. Zogstra continued her adventuring, but seemingly without purpose. However, her former Argent Dawn contact had a new idea for her.
Impressed by her dedication to battling the world's many evils, he directed her to a priestess known to the Argent Dawn. She spoke with Zogstra at length about the many evils that still threatened the face of Azeroth, from the ancient horrors of Silithus to the occult rumblings of Stranglethorn Vale. She described a secretive organisation dedicated to fighting such foes. Zogstra quickly joined her group, known simply as The Order. Her first duty was to recruit for them, using her contacts amongst Azeroth's adventurers and mercenaries to bring people such as Aishen Thornewood and FJ into the group.
Zogstra joined the order in many attacks on extraordinary foes, such as the insectile Silithid and the elemental lords beneath Blackrock Mountain. As they fought together, Zogstra became fast friends with many of the Order's members. In particular, the childish Warlock Verien took a liking to Zogstra, and began to look on her as a surrogate elder sister. Despite her hatred for Warlocks and the demons they traffick with, Zogstra found she could not dislike the younger adventurer. Instead, she took Verien under her wing, determined to act as the younger woman's moral guide.
Zogstra found her life changing once more when the Alliance was contacted by the Draenei refugees. Upon hearing of their devotion to the Holy Light, Zogstra sought out their initial ambassadors to Stormwind, anticipating a common connection to them. However, she was perturbed by their stories of the Naaru; beings that "embodied" the Light seemed completely alien to her admittedly limited knowledge of the philosophy. As the new alliance strenghtened, she found herself pondering her role as a Paladin further and further, trying to understand how it could be that what she thought of as a set of guiding principles was somehow a "higher" being.
Before she could even approach such questions, the Dark Portal abruptly reopened, reconnecting Azeroth and Draenor. Zogstra was amongst the first adventurers to travel to Nethergarde Keep, and from there fight the seemingly endless hordes of demons that poured out of the Portal. Then, once the tide had been stemmed, she quickly followed the initial expeditionary forces into a world beyond her imagining.
She threw herself into the battle against the Fel Horde with a simple, guilty delight. In many ways, she felt as if she was still fighting the war that had begun before her birth, the one that had reshaped her home world. As she travelled further into Outland, she once again realised that the threats to the world were beyond what she had initially seen. She instead turned her attention and service to the Aldor of Shattrath City, and the Naaru they served.
Operating out of Shattrath gave Zogstra the chance to ponder her newfound philisophical rumblings. Time and again she felt dwarfed by the almost incomprehensible creatures, unable to measure up to their abilities or righteousness. But it was a new member of the Order, a Draenei Shaman named Smirenka that gave her the perspective she needed. A seemingly unrelated task in the bizzarre land of Netherstorm lead to an unexpected alliance between the Sha'tar and the otherworldly Consortium, one that Zogstra's actions had inspired. While she initially suspected the Naaru of using her for their ends, Smirenka told her otherwise. She explained to Zogstra that the Naaru had allowed her dedication and righteousness to serves as the inspiration, and that the Naaru depended on adventurers like her even more than Zogstra had come to depend on them. She showed her that the Naaru, much like she and Zogstra, were simple servants of the Holy Light - although Zogstra admitted they were on a much grander scale.
After such an encounter, Zogstra found a new interest in the philosophical aspects of the Holy Light. She returned to Azeroth and sought an audience with the Prophet Velen. Despite his many duties, the prophet found time to speak briefly with her on her questions, and answered them in his typicaly inscrutable fashion. Pondering on his revelations, on the interconnectedness of all life and the nature of destiny, she returned to Shattrath. Instead of taking up her warhammer and fighting, she instead took to the Lower City, devoting her time to helping the many refugees there.