Not much is known about Zwena’s origins. Though she is Bajan through and through, her family and ancestry have always been a mystery to those who have come across her. Some say she hails from a small town west of Salmond, near North Point. Others say she was made from clay and bark, deep in the heart of the Barbados wilderness. Plus, nobody knows exactly how old she really is. Regardless of where Zwena is from, or how old she is, two things are known: she is magickal, and she is not to be trifled with.
Zwena has mastered the magickal powers of Obeah, which is a West African religion very similar to voodoo. She enhances her powers through the use of talismans and magickal trinkets.
Soon after she settled in a remote area outside of Bridgetown, she used her spells to enchant a group of male workers who were passing by on a closed road. Once under her command, she made them build her a small house to live in. The men chopped down trees and built the home, along with all the furniture inside. After they were done many months later, she instructed them to go into Bridgetown and each find one seamstress a piece, and send them to her, along with all their cloths and materials, under the promise of high wages to be paid for their work. She gave the men a gold coin each to hand the ladies for enticement. The men did so, and a short time after the seamstresses arrived. Zwena immediately enchanted the women, and forced them to fashion curtains, rugs, ceremonial attire, regular clothes, blankets, sheets, pillows, and mattress covers for her. When they were done, the women returned to Bridgetown. Then, just as it was with the men she enchanted, the women lost all recollection of what happened the second they stepped foot in their homes.
Zwena would manipulate and control many others over the course of her life as an Obeah priestess. She would cast a spell over men, and make them her love slaves when she so desired. She would curse any woman she believed to have slighted her. Children who ventured too close to her home or bothered her were made to believe they were dogs for a short periods of time. Livestock was killed by dark spells, as a way to force settlers away from her land. Consequently, all avoided Zwena and the area surrounding her domicile. As the legend grew, travelers were warned to journey through the area with extreme caution, going many miles out of their way, so as to respect Zwena’s self-imposed property boundaries. Everyone feared her, and for good reason. Everyone, except one unwitting 18 year-old girl, who stumbled upon Zwena’s door one evening.
Emerald Boyce had fled her controlling and abusive boyfriend, and had been disowned by her parents. While traveling to a nearby town, she became lost, disoriented and desperate. She had no food, very little water, and was physically exhausted after walking for more than two days. The fact she walked into Zwena’s territory and approached her house didn’t even dawn on her. In her mind it looked like help; refuge; salvation, even. She stumbled toward the porch, and upon seeing Zwena standing in the doorway she immediately began pleading for assistance. Zwena’s first reaction was to cast a spell on this person who was trespassing on her property and disturbing her peace. However, she sensed something unique about their spirit, and curiously opened the door.
As she began questioning Emerald, Zwena received flashes of their future together, and knew the young woman was to be her protégé. Thus, she revealed her Obeah powers to the wayward exile, and the two ultimately became master and apprentice.
Before long, Zwena had taught Emerald a great deal of magick, and the two of them became an extremely powerful force. Together they ruled the land around them, reigning terror on whomever they chose. When local holy men tried to confront or ambush them, the two priestesses would retaliate by driving them insane, and filling their heads with horrific visions. After the first group of holy men returned to town demented, a second group attempted to take them down. But they were sent running, after the two Obeah practitioners conjured spirits, and bound them to the holy men to inflict immense spiritual attacks. All was beneath Emerald and Zwena, it seemed, until disease came for the elder priestess.
Zwena had aged to somewhere north of 100 years, though she looked nary a day over 45. Her illness had spread rapidly, and the combined magick of the two was no match for the grip death had on her. In desperation, Emerald prayed to the evil spirits of Hell for supreme power to overcome death. As a result, the Demon King of the East, Oriens, answered. He promised to save Zwena, if Emerald became his servant and did his bidding. She complied. Thus, Oriens erased the illness in Zwena’s body, and revived her health. However, as she came to, she was not able to speak, only hear and see. Oriens told Emerald she must leave Barbados and travel to the USA immediately. Emerald gathered her things, kissed her mentor on her forehead, and left. Zwena could do nothing but watch her protégé walk out the door.
Over the years that followed, Zwena continued to remain isolated in her home, and inflict curses on anyone she saw fit. Though her lifestyle remained comfortable, she felt incredibly lonely. Emerald had become a big part of Zwena’s life, and without her, there was a huge void. And it was amidst the lowest point of this loneliness that a mysterious transformation began occurring.
One night, out of nowhere, Zwena’s home grew very hot. She began sweating profusely, as the scent of sulfur filled her nostrils and lungs. Her entire life-force began draining from her body. She felt the disease that once almost claimed her life return, and ravage her insides. Then in that instant, she died! And when she did, her soul met Oriens’s followers in Hell. This all transpired because at that exact moment, Emerald had fled the demon king’s side in fear, after an encounter with the supreme spiritual warrior Seraph Solomon, in which he destroyed her abilities, and crippled her body with his holy powers.
Oriens’s punishment for Emerald’s transgression against him was to undo the salvation he had afforded Zwena. Additionally, he damned her soul to eternal limbo in the natural world as an undead creature, destined to never speak or think for herself, but to only crave flesh and blood. The once great and feared Obeah priestess was now Zwena the Cursed!
When Emerald returned to Zwena’s home, she found her mentor cursed, and blood-thirsty. Within moments, the elder priestess attacked. Reactively, Emerald cast a spell of binding on Zwena, and immediately jumped out of the house. She had bound her mentor to the home, trapping her inside permanently. Emerald breathed a sigh of relief, but was devastated at the sight of her loved one being cursed as the undead. She immediately recognized the work being that of Oriens’s, and felt enraged over their now-broken agreement. Furthermore, Emerald had no idea how to reverse the curse, being that her own magick was not powerful enough to do so. Emerald desperately sought a way to increase her power, but knew of nothing that could do so.
The only power Emerald had ever seen greater than that of Obeah or Oriens’s was the power wielded by Seraph Solomon. He made her feel miniscule, and incredibly weak. She hypothesized that if one man’s holy power could do that to her, and defeat a demon king, perhaps even a fraction of that could release Zwena from her undead curse. So, Emerald did something she had not done in decades: she turned to God, and prayed desperately for him to intercede. She begged for forgiveness, and promised to only use Obeah for doing good. Her petition went on for over 72 consecutive hours. No answer or help was given from God, though. She eventually broke down, and flew into a rage of despair. She screamed at the sky that she never would get Zwena back, and she hated herself for not having the power to do so. However, amidst her episode, as she cried genuine tears of sorrow stemming from the love she had for Zwena, an apparition of Solomon appeared.
The seraph spoke to her, stating it was not until she stripped herself of pride and gave up all hope in the dark powers that she allowed herself to experience a true moment of pure love. It was then God called to Solomon, and instructed him to astral-project himself to Emerald, and grant her the power to save Zwena. This would convert her Obeah abilities to that of a holy nature, making her a mortal enemy of Zwena, once she was cured. Emerald agreed regardless of the price, so Solomon transferred holy energy from his ring through his apparition into Emerald. She was filled with the Light of God, and in turn was able to channel that into Zwena. Oriens’s curse was eradicated instantly, and as Zwena returned to normal, Solomon disappeared.
Emerald stood before Zwena as her mentor gathered herself. A white aura pulsated around the newly converted priestess, causing her elder to stare with confusion. When it dawned on Zwena that Emerald had given herself to God, and they were now mortal enemies, Zwena stepped forward slowly, with a look of betrayal on her face. Emerald recognized her pain, but told her if she had to make the choice again, she would not change a thing. Then Zwena realized something: Emerald had sacrificed her life twice to save her mentor. The elder priestess became filled with gratitude and love, and at that moment she extended her hand to Emerald to unite together. The holy white aura engulfed them both, and Zwena shed all her hate, and opened her soul and spirit to God, allowing herself to be converted to the side of holiness. Finally, the two were back together again, and ready for their next adventure.