The results from the last match of this bracket are in: Anub'Arak (Azjol-Nerub) has clearly given Loken (Halls of Lightning) a solid pounding, 55% to 40%. While some readers seemed puzzled by this week's pairing (kozom: "bug + zapper = ???"), Sunsinger wove a lengthy tale of Anub'Arak's emergence as the victor:
Yes, he knew this presence. He felt it only few times before, but beings of metal and lightning did not forget things easily. After all, his body was a masterpiece, one that probably surpassed all of the Titans' creations left on Azeroth in terms of fine craftsmanship. Not only had he known the appearance of his guest the moment the latter stepped into the Halls, he also was easily reading his intentions. Even if not for his mind sensors, it wasn't hard to tell that the Spider King came here to kill him. For a being of such ambition, the Lich King was even late to try and eliminate his most immediate rival, the Old God, because both of them were not the type of beings that liked to share power, and the Prime Designate knew that he stood somewhere between them and that sooner or later he would have to face the forces of the Scourge. And he would defeat them.
The mere thought that imperfect beings of flash, moreover, stripped of whatever little order remained in them in life and raised as malformed, wicked beings, would challenge him, the Titan perfection incarnate, was ludicrous enough to make the giant smile.
He rose from his throne just as the former Nerubian monarch emerged from the ground before him in all of his savage grace.
- It's been some time, traitor, - growled the King with an anticipating smile.
- Yes, it has, traitor, - answered the Prime Designate.
- I believe you have declined the offer of my Master...
- Loyalties of beings like myself are not altered easily, Nerubian.
Anub'Arak let out a short condescending laughter.
- I'm sure, your former Lords would find your statement preposterous, - he said.
- And you, a foul twisted being of decaying flesh, would question my logic? The Pantheon had sealed its faith the moment they went wrong enough to let the strongest of them go against them. But you know that very well, don't you? After all, your own Master too has been created by the power of the Supreme Titan, the future Lord of the universe ...
- And yet another traitorous dog, like you. If your Sargeras and his petty Legion would not appear to be insignificant, the Lich King would not seize to serve them.
- Oh, but there are others he can start to serve, there are others. Those, that can see into you, those that have control over your mind, that can touch your fears and bend your wills. Those that can call you, and you would not refuse ...
Loken paused for a moment, as if waiting for something to happen; however, as seconds passed, his sensors failed to register the usual fear and sense of loneliness and despair that grew strong within beings being seduced by his Lord.
- What? - questioned the King, - your witless God should have started talking to me by now? Where is your perfect Titan-crafted logic to tell you that I would not have been foolish enough to come here without proper warding from his machinations? Oh, you didn't think we possessed such technology? - Anub'Arak now switched to an outright mocking tone, - Want me to feed you some input data, little misguided mechanoid?
Loken smiled once again.
- Your attempts to infuriate me are as futile as your petty struggle against forces you cannot even comprehend, - he answered with the calmest possible voice, - In the end you all shall be serving one Great Master or another, and tiny rebels like the Lich King will be inevitably crushed and swept away by beings of higher accord and higher existential status.
The rippling sound of hundreds of small legs finally materialized into a sea of the King's faithful minions, that emerged behind him and flown around, encasing him and taking battle positions between him and their iron rival.
- Alas, you won't last long enough to see, - said the King, - but I would gladly bet that you're wrong. In the end all free beings will serve no masters, but the ones they wish to follow, or they will choose a calm and cold embrace of death. Either way, the servitude of feeble-minded fools is the best thing your so-called Masters can dream of, because they are not true leaders, but a pathetic bunch of voracious parasites that just happened to be born larger and older than everyone else...
- You fool! - uttered Loken, discharging his primary capacitors into a bolt of arced lightning that immediately turned several of the King's minions into ash and jumped on to hit Anub'Arak himself.
Read the rest of Sunsinger's lengthy account at the end of the second page of comments on the battle, and be sure to come back this afternoon to vote to bring back your favorites to round out our next bracket.