Within the tournament administration pavilion, Vanessa delicately turned the pages of the ponderous Tome of Champions, which sat upon a stone pedestal engraved with the righteous fist of the Silver Hand. It was the record book of all who have won and lost in sanctioned gladiatorial battle in Azerothian history, though Vanessa did not know the difference between sanctioned and unsanctioned or who even sanctioned it to begin with.
After many patient moments, she reached the record of the most recent gladiatorial season. The brackets were an unholy mess, largely thanks to her interference, with countless matchups hastily crossed out and refilled with her name or that of those in her employ in place of the original combatants. A glorious, sneaky campaign to be sure, but it wasn't enough: Ozruk's name had gone into the records as the winner of the season despite her efforts. She sneered and turned the page again.
A pleased gasp escaped Vanessa's lips. The brackets for the next season were blank! Not a single person had registered yet! She quickly slipped a fountain pen from her tunic and set it to paper.
She only managed to get down a single name before Tirion Fordring stormed up behind her. "Vanessa! What do you think you're doing, girl!? Get away from that! I will not let you continue to make a mockery of this tournament!"
Vanessa feigned innocence. There was no need for smoke and mirrors or charismatic posturing between the two of them. Nobody was watching, and Tirion himself was an old man with a soft heart. Playing the role of a child would win him to her side again, surely. "I paid the registration fee. What's wrong? I don't understand."
"The way you're taking this tournament," Tirion jabbed a finger at her accusingly, "we may as well have a legion of greasy men in their underwear hitting each other with tables, ladders and chairs all day long."
"That," the rogue considered, "actually sounds quite entertaining."
"... It does, doesn't it?" Tirion stroked his beard, slipping into thought. He started again in a fit, "No! No. Absolutely not. We're doing things differently this season because of you. No signups, no registration. The audience will decide who makes it into the next tournament."
Tirion held a small, leatherbound booklet marked Dungeon Journal in the air. "We've sent one of these combatant catalogs to every single home on Azeroth. Everybody who wishes can vote for the participation of one combatant of their choosing listed in the first half of this catalog. Except for Ozruk. I crossed him out. We don't have the gold to keep repairing the arena floor every time he does battle."
"You're making a terrible mistake," Vanessa pleaded sweetly. "I just finished registering the Warchief of the Horde for next season! Think how angry he'll be if you throw him out now. And the audience! Think of them!"
Tirion looked skeptical. "You convinced Garrosh Hellscream to enter the tournament, with you as his manager? He's never taken the games seriously before."
"Well, not Garrosh, no." Vanessa rubbed her toe in the oversized tent's hard-packed dirt floor.
"Thrall, then? That's even more impressive." Tirion lowered his gravelly voice to a whisper. "I heard he weeps and says he's sorry every time he swings the Doomhammer."
"No, not Thrall. A man named Abesik Kampfire." The assassin appeared sincere, but Tirion knew it was meaningless from a master of deception. "He's from the Log'fire Clan. Popular vote made him Warchief last year."
"Yes, Lord Fordring?"
Tirion reached past the rogue and tore the page from the tome. "Get out."
Ozruk was our first combatant in this season of Two Bosses Enter, paired up against Asaad in a battle of earth versus wind. From the very first moment Ozruk stepped into the ring, readers began to speculate that he would make a clean sweep of the tournament. He most certainly did do that. Asaad was crushed in round 1, Lord Godfrey was battered in round 2, and Eregos was grounded in the semifinals. Ozruk was unstoppable.
Vanessa VanCleef, unsure of her ability to survive a drawn-out tournament on her own, illegally entered the Cardboard Assassin, an inanimate combatant, into the tournament. She feigned defeat at its hands and plotted to return to the tournament in a later round -- which she did, against Sally Mograine and Renault Mograine. Fighting alongside the Cardboard Assassin, Vanessa knocked the Crusaders out of the tournament, but not before stealing Sally's chapeau.
After the battle, Vanessa conspired against the corrugated nightmare, eliminating him from the tournament as well as taking his position in the finals as her own. Unfortunately, no amount of plotting could put her over the top against Ozruk. With 43% of the popular vote, Vanessa fared quite a bit better than all of Ozruk's other opponents, but it still wasn't enough.
|Vanessa VanCleef||1631 (42.6%)|
Ozruk, now donning Whitemane's hat, will sit out of Cataclysm season 2 of Two Bosses Enter, leaving room for another champion to step up.
Enough fluff -- what the heck is going on?
You're picking which of the Cataclysm 5-man dungeon bosses get into the next season of Two Bosses Enter. Hit the comments below and post which boss you would like to see in the tournament. Ozruk is taking a traditional bye in season 2, so we can mix things up a bit. I will take the most popular choices, mix them together, and build a random bracket for the next season. If everybody ends up picking the same handful of bosses and we don't have enough to fill the brackets, I will turn to the WoW Insider staff to fill the other slots.
See you next week, when the action begins anew!
Set aside the world order -- let the WoW Insider Ring determine who's the champion! Your votes determine the outcome in WoW Insider's series of fantasy deathmatches, Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves.