Lacertus, my Argonian mage, has been known as many things: Dovahkiin, master assassin, arch-mage, and even lizard wizard, which is more of a personal anthem that I sing to myself while toasting hapless bandits. The point is, my quest to save the world of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has left me with a pretty sizable list of accomplishments, but my latest title came as a surprise. I’ve become the leader and, thus far, sole member of the Mammoth Liberation Front.
I’m not quite what you would call an animal rights activist. Bacon is just too delicious. But I am in favor of humane animal treatment, and the giants inhabiting Skyrim just don’t seem to treat their livestock very well. Mammoths are apparently harvested for milk to make cheese, but I’ve checked and not found any mammoth nipples--that alone has disturbing enough implications. Each giant owns one or two lonely mammoths, leaving the poor creatures unable to form rich mammoth social bonds. And I presume (by the mammoth skulls laying around) that once they’ve outlived their usefulness for mystery milk, they’re killed for their delicious and plentiful mammoth meat.
Clearly something had to be done. As a full-fledged Dragonborn who has literally saved the world, I can generally take down a giant if I really want to. It’s a long and tedious process, usually with no small amount of running away and healing. I can burn the brute endlessly, and sometimes even survive a single blow from his mighty club. A companion makes good bait and sometimes I’ll summon a Flame Antronach to distract him. Even with all that help, it will take several minutes.
When I did fell one of the owners, the mammoths seemed unimpressed. They would usually fight me too, no doubt upon threat of beatings if they failed to protect their cruel master. But I would take care not to hurt them and then leave them be, only occasionally singeing them in the cross-fire. Instead of relishing their newfound freedom, though, they would often stay firmly in place. Clearly, stockholm syndrome had taken hold.
Besides, something about simply assassinating the giants seemed inherently wrong. This wasn’t my fight. The mammoth problem couldn’t be permanently solved by stepping in and imposing my own strict rule; I’d be no better than the giants themselves. No, I needed to find some way to inspire the beasts to rise up against their oppressors.
These thoughts occupied the back of my mind when I found a small cove near Helgen. Making my way through it granted me a Shout to sway animals to my side for a short time, making them fight to protect me.
Oh yes. This would work.
I returned to a former giant encampment that I had passed by earlier. I carefully lined up my Shout to hit both of his stock at once, and brought them under my sway. They each stayed passive, until I attacked the giant with a fire spell. It barely scratched him, but he began to charge toward me for an attack. He didn’t even make it two steps before he was being viciously gored by two sets of razor-sharp tusks. What would take me minutes, they did in seconds. The giant fell.
"Yes! Rise up, my mammoth brothers! Smite the evil-doers!" I cried.
Yes, technically, what I did could be considered brainwashing. But the mammoths are liberating themselves, kind of, and doing it in record time to boot. This is by far the easiest way to take down giants. I’m liberating the mammoths one by one, and taking only a small cut of the giants’ belongings as payment. I’m sure the mammoths would want me to have it, as soon as they recover from being under a magical spell that forces them to do my will.
Watch out, giants. The mammoths are revolting.
Game Stories is a new, ongoing feature where editors from Shacknews regale you with their adventures from the latest video game worlds. Skyrim Stories will continue, but anecdotes from other games are planned as well.