The Elder Scrolls

The Tail of J’Skarr (pt 3)

J’Skarr woke wishing to bring his Ra’Sha food, however a horrible sight met this one's eyes. In the center of the pit, where only the night before had been urns of food and water were now broken pottery, dirty food and no water.

In the midst of this horror was the Suthay-rhat that J’Skarr has spoken of, the skooma cat. This skooma tooth was searching through the dirtied saltrice and muddy pit water babbling to himself in this way.

“There must some here. This one can smell it, yes yes he can.”

As this mad cat searched he had cut himself on the shards of the broken urns, blood covered the saltrice and caked his fur yet the thirst had numbed him to all but his lust for skooma.

This one watched with wide eyes and open mouth as the addict crawled about like a beast, licking his paws, searching for his precious drink that was not there. J’Skarr does not know the mind of the skooma cat, no sane Khajiit can, they are the thralls of the crook-tailed cat, but this one was certain that there was skooma somewhere in this pit in Tear.

J’Skarr says these things so that those who hear his tale know to not drink the brew of Sheggorath, for even the sugar toothed Khajiit can find themselves between his paws.

The eyes of the Suthay-raht met J’Skarr’s, and he looked at J’Skarr the way one who has caught a thief might.

“Where has it hidden it? Where is it? Thief! Thief!” Screamed the addled cat and he lunged at J’Skarr on all fours like a wild beast.

J’Skarr does not know what would have happened then, beyond that he would not be here telling you these things. That is if it were not for Ra’Sha.

J’Skarr must apologize, for he has not told these ones what Ra’Sha was like in body, for you see to J’Skarr this would be like describing the sun on the shores of the sea, or the smell of springtime, one must experience it for oneself to truly appreciate it. Ra’Sha was a Pahmar, of grey and white coat and eyes the color of the sea, and like all of his breed Ra’Sha is strong of build.

Now knowing this you will understand J’Skarr when he says that with the speed only a Khajiit possesses, Ra’Sha rose and threw aside the mad cat with ease. The squeal it gave was pitiable but J’Skarr cannot lie and say that at that time he felt more pity than he did fear, he was indeed very frightened.

All this noise soon woke other Khajiit and they saw what the Suthay-raht had done. Some wailed and wept, others shouted and hissed in rage. Another Suthay-raht ran forward and stood over the skooma cat, screeching.

“Brother, what have you done?! What have you done you selfish bastard?!”

So taken by Sheggorath was this cat that even looking at his kin still all he thought of was his thirst.

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“Brother! Surely he has some skooma for this one? Yes brother is so clever and smart, surely he has secreted some away for his poor little brother? Mother said Do’zhid must look after this one, please, please, please!”

This only enraged the other, who began to beat the cat who called him brother.

“All this is your fault! Do’zhid is in chains because of you! Your stinking skooma! His fine silks gone! His home gone! Where is Do’zhuds mate?! Where is she?! In chains because of you, you greedy skooma toothed fetcher! Curse mother for bringing you into this world! I will kill you, you stinking wretch!”

Soon the Suthay-raht was surrounded by many other angry Khajiit, who all began to kick and beat him. All the while the other cursed the one being kicked and scratched. It was a scene of mad rage.

Ra’Sha, for his heart is pure, tried to take them off of the skooma cat, but every time he would pull a Khajiit away they would return with greater fury to attack the cat who had destroyed their food and water.

J’Skarr watched all these things, and so too did the Dark Elves looking down in the pit, for they found all this most amusing, and their laughter echoed loudly in the cell, and even louder in J’Skarr’s skull. Again J’Skarr was overcome with horror, that this was a nightmare to which he saw no end. He put his hand over his ears and squeezed his eyes shut, but nothing would stop the noise.

Suddenly from above, the gate lifted and Dark Elves on their bug mounts swarmed into the pit, whips cracking, voices shouting. Soon all Khajiit scattered to the walls to escape the lash, all save one.

On the floor, bleeding, was the Suthay-raht, still breathing. We other ones were hurried to a corner with more cracking of whips and shouting. Here we were kept under the points of spears while one of the Dark Elves looked the bleeding Khajiit over.

Even beaten and bloody that ones mind was still on but one thing.

“Please,” J’Skarr heard him say “Master, please skooma, this one will be very good, do what Master likes. Just a taste of skooma. Please.”

The Dark Elf shoved the cat to the ground and spat. He shouted to the others in his hideous tongue as he mounted his great insect. With a jab of his spear the beast snatched up the skooma cat by the leg, and the poor cat howled, for the jaws of the wasp had cut straight to the bone. With another word the Dark Elves flew out of the pit, with the skooma cat. The gate slammed shut once more.

Slowly, the chained Khajiit returned to spots along the wall, searching for places safe from the hot sun. Ra’Sha returned to J’Skarr,

“Is J’Skarr alright? Is he hurt?” Ra’Sha asked with great concern. J’Skarr was not hurt, thanks to the swiftness of Ra’Sha, but Ra’Sha was bleeding slightly from the arm where an angry Khajiit had scratched him. J’Skarr did what he could to comfort this small wound while Ra’Sha spoke softly, almost to himself.

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“We are not beasts,” said Ra’Sha, “We must not become animals.”

————-

No more food or water was given to the Khajiit in the pit, and for two days we languished in thirst and hunger. Ra’Sha and J’Skarr spoke softly to each other of Elsweyr.

J’Skarr learned of Ra’Sha’s life on the sea, catching fish with his sire, of how Ra’Sha’s mother would fry these in milk and butter so they would melt in one's mouth. How she would sprinkle sugar on to sweet breads and cakes.

J’Skarr told Ra’Sha of the things he had found and borrowed in Dune. These tales would make Ra’Sha laugh and call J’Skarr a sneaky cat, so J’Skarr felt he must explain between borrowing and thieving, and how J’Skarr was no thief. Ra’Sha would only chuckle and insist J’Skarr is a sneaky cat.

On the last day in the pit, Khajiit were woken early and rudely early before the hot sun of Tear had risen. Dark Elves again swarmed into the pit and began to separate Khajiit into groups, using whips and spear butts. In the commotion and confusion, a fear J’Skarr did not know he had came to pass. Ra’Sha was taken one way, and J’Skarr another.

J’Skarr was given no time to call out to see Ra’Sha one last time, for he was linked with other Khajiit and hurried up the ladder out of the pit. But just because he did not cry out, do not think J’Skarr was not distressed, indeed this one was panicked and feared what would come of himself and to Ra’Sha.

Khajiit were taken to a long building with room after room. In each room a new humiliation and torment awaited J’Skarr as he and his brother Khajiit were prepared to be sold. First, the Dark Elves doused us with the burning potion again, ignoring the howls of pain it brought. Ice cold water was poured on us then, but this did nothing to ease the burning.

Our whiskers were cut, painfully short and we were roughly groomed, our teeth were cleaned and some Khajiit had rotten teeth yanked out of their howling heads, J’Skarr was glad that he did not lose any teeth.

J’Skarr can only assume all this was done to make us more appealing to those who would spend coin for us.

These Dark Elves combed oil in to J’Skarr’s fur to make it shine, then put a sign around his neck, on it were strange Dark Elf signs, that J’Skarr could not read.

After all this J’Skarr was raced through the city of Tear, chained with the others in his line. The inside of Tear is a horrifying thing to see. Everywhere slaves, slaves pulling carts, slaves building, slaves carrying their masters on litters and carts, fanning and feeding those who claimed ownership of their lives. J’Skarr saw what he believed to be his future and would have vomited were his stomach not empty.

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We were led to the Great Auction Plaza in the center of Tear. Here there are dozens of blocks, hundreds of pens, and thousands of slaves. Around this place are slaves being punished, some in stocks about their head and arms or the ankles, even both. Others are hanged from their wrists, often with bloody backs. J’Skarr will speak no more for all the cruelty of the Dark Elves was displayed here, and they made clear they could make use of even dead slaves, as warning to others.

J’Skarr was forced into a pen stuffed with other young Khajiit males. In others he could see Argonians, and in another Khajiit females. In hanging cages were the small Alfiq, while in great steel pens, muzzled and bound were the great Senche and Senche-rhat. In one pen there were even men and mer of all kinds, even tear stained Dark Elf females, such is the cruelty of their people.

But of the buyers, all were Dark Elves, milling around, unaware and uncaring of the evil that surrounded them. All were attended by one or two slaves, who were treated as if they were not even there, unless their masters struck them for some small offense.

But, as desperately as J’Skarr looked he could not see Ra’Sha amid the mass of bodies that surrounded him. But in his searching J’Skarr did see something that he still sees in his nightmares.

For as J’Skarr looked and shouted Ra’Sha’s name he saw the Dark Elf lord who had claimed this one and Ra’Sha and others as his property. The hated Venure Relarys, attended by two Khajiit maids he had dressed as whores. But it was not these poor ones that horrified J’Skarr.

Again, as he had when J’Skarr first saw him, Relarys wore the fur of Khajiit, but J’Skarr looked and saw that he recognized this pelt. Over his shoulders Relarys wore the pelt of the skooma cat.

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