After a break of several months, Sapphire returns to Azeroth. A triumphant adventure in to the heroic version of the Halls of Lightning shows that I haven't lost my tanking skills, but thrill is sadly ephemeral as Sapphire is kidnapped the next day. A week-long investigation is carried out, happily ending with Sapphire being brought back to Dalaran. All my items are thankfully returned, albeit through the postal service. Needing to select my tanking and soloing gear, and leave any crafting and other items of value in the bank, leads to a minor clearing of inventory. Taking a fresh look at the world and my position naturally leads to considering my future.
Despite considering a dual-talent build for Sapphire almost six months ago, I don't get around to it. Being able to rely on death knight Gnomesblight for DPS duties and PvP, I am happy to keep Sapphire as a pure tank. But heading in to Halls of Lightning with another warrior from the guild and realising that I still don't know how to do anything but tank as a warrior makes me think about expanding my options again. Maybe I can call on the right character for the task, but learning more about being a warrior also holds its appeal. I pay a visit to the warrior trainer, pony up the 1,000 gold, and gain access to a second talent build.
As I am aiming to be a DPS warrior with my second build, having the protection tree thoroughly covered, I look to the fury tree. Although I understand that the arms talent tree can produce some good DPS builds, my desire is to be as removed from protection as possible. A little research helps with choosing most of my talents, as I don't need a particularly refined build, only one to get me started. I get some required abilities, heading down to the bottom of the fury tree to end with titan's grip, allowing me to wield a pair of two-handed weapons, and complete the build with a few arms talents to help with two-handed weapon damage. I have no idea how effective the build will be, or how different combat will work, but this is intended to be a learning experience. Now I need some weapons.
The auction house has no two-handed weapons that are either cheap or at an appropriate level. I ask Gnomesblight to craft a couple of weapons, being a blacksmith, but despite being able to make a decent weapon out of saronite it binds when acquired, making it useless to anyone but the smith. Gnomesblight can otherwise only make a relatively weak weapon from cobalt, or the expensive titansteel mace. The lack of any average, readily available weapons is bizarre, but luckily I have an alternative.
Before my break, I participate in the Argent Tournament extensively. I quickly get the hang of jousting, enjoying the daily quests to become champion of each of the home factions. In doing so, I earn plenty of champion's marks. At the time, I don't find the items for sale from the quartermasters to be particularly worth spending dozens of marks on, but now the two-handed sword looks attractive. With my options being to use underpowered weapons, enter dungeons as a tank to try to get two-handed weapons drops from bosses, or buy superior weapons straight from a quartermaster, I am glad I enjoyed jousting for long enough to afford two excellent swords.
I still can't defend the silly weapon skill mechanic, but at least the time spent getting my two-handed sword skill up from nothing is mitigated by wielding two swords at once, doubling the number of swings and skill increases, and by needing to become familiar with my new fury warrior abilities. Relying on bloodthirst and whirlwind for my primary attacks, amongst the automatic weapon swings, gives some big weapon damage, and seems to be the basis of combat for me. Being DPS looks to be rather simpler than tanking, and relies on more passive abilities. Once my weapon skill is improved, even 80th level mobs fall to my twin two-handed swords within a few seconds.
I return to the Argent Tournament to recover some of my spent marks and to get involved in a pastime I enjoyed previously. I may have become exalted champion of the Alliance, made much simpler to achieve by already being an ambassador of the Alliance, but the title of 'crusader' eluded me. I didn't realise I also needed to be exalted with the Argent Crusade for the achievement and had not worked on that reputation whilst questing in Northrend. I refocussed me efforts to increase my reputation with the Argent Crusade before my break, but got bored before reaching the goal. Now that I am back, the jousting and quests seem a little fresher, and I start helping the Crusade once more.
Within only a few days of jousting, along with the run through the Halls of Lightning whilst wearing my Argent Crusade tabard, I realise my goal of months ago. I finally have done enough to become exalted with the faction, earning me the title of 'Crusader'. Although it is several months later than I would have liked, and the title is probably a little passé these days, I am proud at last to be Crusader Sapphire.