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Dark Riders of Deadwind Pass

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The Dark Riders of Deadwind Pass,[1] also called the Black Riders[2] are a mysterious group of dark riders who are apparently a major cause of the corruption of Duskwood.

What little is known of the mysterious Dark Riders of Deadwind Pass comes from Sven Yorgen and Jitters' Journal. The Riders first appear at the Yorgen Farmstead, apparently drawn by the time/space warping caused by the Scythe of Elune which Jitters had previously unearthed and lost again inside Roland's Doom. They murdered Sven's wife and family after determining that they do not know where the Scythe was located. Jitters remained hidden while witnessing these events, and later recorded them.

The Dark Riders are mentioned as being allies of the necromancer Morbent Fel[3], though no details are given as to the nature of this alliance.

No physical description is provided, but the Riders are described as speaking in a shrieking voice "both harsh and shrill". At one point, one used a small gem to communicate with someone referred to as the Lord from whom the Riders took directions.

Some rumors say that the dark riders may have originated from, or at one time taken up residence in, Raven Hill as well. Dark riders are huge beings that suddenly appear with hellhounds at their feet to run down frantic travelers. Some nights they skirt the perimeter of Darkshire, howling loudly.[4]

Death knight speculation

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This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

It is speculated by some that the Dark Riders are a group of the death knights created by Gul'dan. In particular, the use of a gem described in Jitters' journal seems to echo the jeweled truncheons carried by the death knights. According to Brann Bronzebeard in the Horde Player's Guide, there are rumors that Teron Gorefiend may be in charge of these black riders from the tower of Karazhan, or that the tower may be under command of someone or something even more sinister.

In World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, it is revealed that Teron Gorefiend is imprisoned in Shadowmoon Valley in Outland with the spirits of several other Death Knights, which would seemingly imply that any remaining Death Knights held a similar fate. This only increases the mystery surrounding the Black Riders of Deadwind Pass.

Attumen the Huntsman has the same looks as Death Knight spirits in Shadowmoon Valley, implying that he is one and perhaps even the leader of Black Riders.

A recent theory suggests that the Black Riders actually serve Malchezaar, the Eredar prince who resides atop Karazhan. Drawn to the energies of the world and artifacts ripe for the taking, Malchezaar successfully opened a dimensional gateway using a focal point with enough magical energy to sustain it. With the ability to summon beings from other worlds using the gateway, it is possible that he took command of the remaining Black Riders, such as Attumen the Huntsman, using them to retrieve powerful artifacts for him, such as Gorehowl, the axe of Grom Hellscream, or the Scythe of Elune.

Inspiration

They seem to be almost identical to the Nazgûl from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy of books. Both are dark minions referred to as "Black Riders" or "Dark Riders", speak harshly and shrilly, have the power to communicate with an immaterial being designated "the Lord" (the Warcraft Black Riders' usage of a "bauble" to communicate with their master is also likely a reference to the Palantír stones used in Lord of the Rings), and seek a specific ancient cursed "tool" of great power (Scythe of Elune and One Ring respectively) with which they have an intristic bond and had been previously discovered in a cave by a supposedly insignificant male character who knew nothing of the artifact's true properties (Jitters, Bilbo Baggins).

References

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