“In which Leona helps some orcs  by failing to help some orcs and barely avoids freezing in the wastelands near Windhelm.”

Leona stands inside a small barrow near the sabercat's canyon.
Staying warm in the frozen North.

I spoke with the old hunter again. I was right, the first set of spirit animals are to weed out the lazy. He gave me the next blessing and quests. Saber cat, Mammoth, and Bear. Animals much more worthy of hunting. I headed back to Riften since the Saber cat was north of Windhelm and I could easily take a carriage from there. But on the way I saw an Orc stronghold fighting off a giant. Two were already dead and the third badly wounded. I knew my help would not be appreciated being that Orcs are quite proud, but I couldn’t help it. As expected, they weren’t really pleased that they’d needed aid.

However Atub saw my help as a sign. She’s a bit more open to assistance, or desperate. Their chieftain, Yamarz is under a curse which causes the giants to attack. As they are forbidden to leave the stronghold, she can’t gather the ingredients she needs to petition Malacath to lift the curse. Troll fat and a Daedra heart. I already had a Daedra heart…don’t ask, and I promised I get some Troll fat as there would be plenty of Trolls were I was heading.

A troll lies in the snow.
Dead, fall down.

I was right. The saber cat also proved to be more challenging than the previous quests, but more in it’s location. That far North is bitterly cold and my leather armor does little to stop the wind. (But I’ve seen how I look in Fur armor, no thank you!). Before long, I was heading back down to the stronghold troll fat in tow. Yamarz did not want my involvement any more than he wanted Atub to petition Malacath, but he grudgingly agreed it was their only chance to lift the curse.

Following the Orc to the shrine, I've been paid to keep him safe.
Following Yamarz to the shrine, I’ve been paid to keep him safe.

I am not surprised that Yamarz didn’t want Malacath’s attention, their god is quite annoyed with him as he let giants overrun their shrine to him. Malacath demanded Yamarz to kill the giant. Yamarz then surprised me by asking for my help. Not in defeating the giant, he said, but in clearing the way to the shrine. Not very Orc-like behavior. I didn’t refuse and together we traveled north of Riften to the cave that lead to the shrine.

It was invested with bears, but we made our way swiftly inside and to the shrine itself where the giants had made their home. Yamarz then asked me to help him kill the giant, promised he’d pay me. But I refused. Malacath had specifically told him to kill the giant and I was certain he’d know the truth. It was in front of his shrine after all.

Statue of a warrior orc with a sword, framed by snow-covered pine trees.
Malacath’s Shrine. Not a happy god.

Perhaps I should have helped. For although he rushed foward as an orc should, he fell quickly under the giant’s foot. I felled the giant a moment later, and rushed to his aid, but it was too late. Yamarz was dead. I dreaded what Malacath would say. But he was as pleased with me as he was displeased with Yamarz. As he said “The giants dealt with Yamarz and you dealt with the giants.” Both things had annoyed him, but he was going to give the stronghold a second change to prove themselves. I wish them the best of luck.

With the saber cat defeated (and the Orcs saved despite my actions), I turned my attention to the Mammoth near Whiterun. But the Throat of the world was mocking me and I knew I had to return to the Graybeards to talk to them about Alduin’s return and the learn the shout that defeated him in the past.

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