Confessions of a Skooma Eater
“Sheggorath, you are the Skooma Cat, for what is crazier than a cat on skooma?”
-Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi
Khazura will now tell you about the moon sugar and its more potent derivative, skooma. For skooma is why Khazura ended up here, a convict in Morrowind. Khazura does not know why skooma is illegal in most of the empire, but perhaps trading it was a bad idea, and trading it to a guard was a worse one.
Khazura was but a mere kitten when she first sampled that delicious sugar. Back in Elsweyr, Khazura’s mother made sweetmeats and a fondue out of cheese and ale and moon sugar. Needless to say, Khazura quickly developed a sweet tooth.
Moon sugar is sacred to Khajiit, a gift from the gods. It is crystallized moonlight, carried by the twin tides of the Topal Sea to the sugarcane growing in the Tenmar Forest. When Khajiit eat this sugar, they eat the souls of the moon gods, Jode and Jone, whom you call by the names Masser and Secunda. This is why sugar helps Khajiit to read the ja-Kha’jay, or “the Lunar Lattice” in your tongue.
Khazura has heard that Khajiit have an in-born tolerance to moon sugar, but she does not know if this is true. Khazura has seen many of her people shivering in the streets of Elsweyr from skooma withdrawal. Either way, sugar is vital to the culture of Khajiit. It is the Clan Mothers who supervise the harvesting of the moon sugar: as a result, they often have more power than the Mane himself. Elsweyr’s primary export, you see, is sugar.
Moon sugar makes you faster, and elicits feelings of ecstasy, but skooma doubly so. Sugar, when refined, can be crystalline, and smoked in a pipe, or liquid, and imbibed like a potion: this we call skooma. It is the purest, most euphoric high Khazura has ever experienced. It makes you very, very fast, and incredibly strong; it matters little that you have become less intelligent and less agile. It is both a potent narcotic and stimulant.
This is not really Khazura, but it is basically how skooma feels.
Best of all, Khazura has found that unlike eating moon sugar, the more skooma you eat, the more you feel its effects. When you eat sugar, eating more sugar will not make you any faster or more intoxicated. But not skooma! As you eat more skooma, your strength and speed continue to increase.
One time, Khazura ate many, many bottles of skooma, just to see what would happen. Khazura thinks she took around 50 bottle of skooma, but she lost count and cannot remember. It was incredible! All around Khazura was a red haze, punctuated by shimmering orange and blue stars. Khazura felt like her brain was exploding in a million tiny supernovas.
For a brief instant, Khazura attained CHIM. In a sudden moment of clarity, Khazura saw that the world around her does not truly exist. She and everything else in Tamriel are but fragments of the Godhead, figments of someone else’s imagination. Khazura both exists and does not exist. Does Khazura contradict herself? Fine, “q’zi no vano thzina ualizz,” or, “When I contradict myself, I am telling the truth.”
For that moment, Khazura was able to hold the conflicting assertions—Khazura exists, Khazura does not exist—simultaneously. On skooma, Khazura added one to negative-one and came up with a sum other than zero. It is the highest that Khazura’s ever been.
And the fastest: Khazura ran so fast she was almost airborne. In minutes, Khazura ran from Balmora to Ald’ruhn and back again, a journey that often requires multiple trips on a silt-strider. Khazura could leap over the tallest buildings with ease; she jumped so high, in fact, that it hurt Khazura when she landed, albeit on two feet. When the skooma wore off, it seemed to Khazura that the entire world was moving in slow motion. Having eaten her entire stash, Khazura’s first thought was how to get more skooma.
Skooma is the reason Khazura is on this wretched island in the first place. In Morrowind, they still use Khazura’s people and the Argonian lizard-men as slaves. They say it is their “ancient right.” Khazura has tried to free as many slaves as possible, but that is a tale for another day.
The first time Khazura smoked skooma in Morrowind was in Balmora. One day north of the city, while meditating on what Khazura had learned, she found the corpse of a Dunmer named Ernil Omoron underneath a stone arch. Since he was already dead, Khazura saw no harm in searching his body for gold or perhaps a bit of sugar, but all he had on him was a skooma pipe and a note. It read: “Tsiya—Here’s your stuff. Sorry I couldn’t stay and chat with you, but it’s not always a good idea for me to hang around, you know?” signed, “Ernil.” But who was this “Tsiya?”
Immediately, Khazura recognized the name as Khajiit and realized that the pipe must belong to her. Perhaps this Khajiit, who happened to be a fellow skooma-eater, could be a good friend to Khazura! Or, at any rate, a way for Khazura to get some sugar while in Morrowind. So Khazura made her way back to Balmora to return the pipe to Tsiya.
After fiddling with the lock for some time, Khazura entered Tsiya’s home, and found her upstairs. “What can Tsiya do for you?” she asked, making no note of the fact that Khazura broke into her house.
Tsiya, Khazura’s new BFF.
“Khazura has something for you,” Khazura replied, handing her the note.
“You’ve got a note from Ernil for Tsiya? That’s odd…Tsiya was expecting him here any day now.”
“He won’t be coming anytime soon. Khazura found this on his corpse.”
“He’s dead? Oh, no, Ernil was a good man, and always dealt fairly. Tsiya doesn’t suppose you found anything he might have been delivering to Tsiya did you?”
“Yes, Khazura found Tsiya’s skooma pipe, and wanted to return it”
Tsiya was glad to have her pipe back, although she was still rather upset about the death of her friend. As a reward, Tsiya gave Khazura a bit of gold and some moon sugar. They spent the rest of the evening getting to know one another over glasses of greef, the comberry brandy native to Vvardenfell, and a deeply packed pipe full of skooma.
Khazura does not know how long she will stay in Morrowind, or why this Caius Cosades wants to meet with her. What Khazura does know is that, in this foreign land, it is good to have friends, especially those you can share the sugar with. There is no moral to Khazura’s tale, other than perhaps a very old Khajiit saying: “Fusozay var var”—“Enjoy life.”