Interview with Jobasha (2005)

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This interview was conducted by Sinder Velvin in 2005. Jobasha was played by Douglas Goodall AKA Affa Mu. Goodall had been a designer on Morrowind, but had resigned prior to this interview.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Good evening, desertwalker. Forgive me for coming here at such a late hour, but I really wanted to get to meet you before I left Vvardenfell and returned to Cyrodiil. I’ve heard that you are a very knowledgeable person, so can I please ask you some questions about a few things that I find to be rather puzzling?

  • Jobasha:
  • As you see, Jobasha is very busy. Many chests to pack, many books to sell, many plans to make. Jobasha is very loyal to the new King, as are all Khajiit. But Jobasha thinks this shop is old and sales are poor, so Jobasha is moving soon. Ask your questions, but know that Jobasha may speak too fast.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Actually, first of all I’d like to give you this letter. It’s from Adanorcil, a good friend of mine who has recently started researching Ta’Agra. He asked me to deliver it to you if I came to Vivec City. Both I and him would be grateful if you could please tell us if his assumptions are correct.

Greetings, Jobasha,

It is an honor for me to write you this letter. Please thank Sinder in my name when he delivers this letter at your door. I am currently lodged in Sadrith Mora, but the next time I pass through Vivec I will certainly pay a visit to your shop.

So much for the formalities. I recently gathered those few scraps of Ta’Agra I could find in the various libraries of Vvardenfell. Since I am an eager scholar of Tamrielic tongues, I tried to find a structure, a grammar or at least a relation between them. The following is a list of words in Ta’Agra of which some have a known translation. By using these few – what I assume are – root words and infinitives, along with some common sense and “language feeling”, I tried to decipher some of the remaining words. When no apparent relations with other words were visible, I just took a wild guess, based on little more the sound of the word.

I am certain that you are very busy in your bookstore, but if you could spare five minutes to take a look at this list and if possible, tell me whether my assumptions are correct or not, it would make me a very happy Elf. So, without further ado:

– Iit:

“to walk”, used in Khajiit (Desert Walker)

I have seen this word being used in a few other words apart from “Khajiit”. Am I right in assuming that “-iit” can take the meaning of “someone with the qualities of” or “someone who does something a lot”?

– ja-Kha’jay

According to the Pocket Guide, this is the Ta’Agra word for the Lunar Lattice, the Moonstrings: the joint phases of the moons which produce the different forms of Khajiit.

It struck me as interesting how both the forms “Kha”, a common sight in Ta’Agra, and “ja-” appear in this word. See “ja’khajiit”

– ja’khajiit

From the “Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi”, I learned that this is a name for Mehrunes Dagon: “Kitten”, for what is more destructive than a young cat? Since I have also learned that the prefix “ja-” denotes a youngster or a bachelor in Khajiiti names, I came to the conclusion that “young Khajiit” is the literal translation for “ja’khajiit”. The question then rose what it was doing in ja-Khajay”. My theory is that it is related to the young Khajiit since the Moonstrings will determine what sub-species (my apologies for this strange term but I did not know the common Khajiiti word) will become at birth.

– jekosiit

As far as I know, this is supposed to be some kind of insult. If my theory about the -iit part is right, I believe it could mean “someone that frequents some kind of profane place”. I have no idea of the exact translation of this word and perhaps it is better to keep it that way.

– qa’khajakh

Although there is virtually nothing to base these ideas upon, this word sounds to me like an other insult, a kind of “nonsense word” or some form of teasing, along the lines of “you silly man”.

– rabi

No idea, but this might be a noun ending in -i, such as “budi”, the traditional shirt.

– rabiba

Perhaps a plural or diminutive form of “rabi”.

– vaba

I believe this to be the infinitive of “to be”. See below.

– vabazeri

This apparently is “to be” in first person singular future tense: “I will be”. In a lot of languages, the future tense is formed with the root of the verb, an ending making clear whether it concerns first, second and third person and a few letters in between. I believe that “ze” is the part that denotes the future tense, with “ri” being the first person singular ending.

– “Var Var Var”

This expression which can be translated into common Cyrodiilic as “What will be will be.” or “It is just so.” was of particular interest to me, since it is apparently made up out of yet another conjugated form of “to be”, as it’s translation suggests. I have no clue whatsoever about what form this might be though.

That concludes my small list of my own assumptions. I would not be surprised if any of this – or simply everything – were wrong, but among us, Altmer, there is a little aphorism saying “Fortune favours the bold”.

Yours sincerely,

  • Jobasha:
  • Jobasha does not have the time to answer this letter in full.

    “Iit” is more like what men and mer call a job. Khaj is desert or sand, yes, and Khajiit is, as men would say, “one who sands” or “one who deserts.” But men do not know what one does in a desert: walk. So we Khajiit say it means “desert walker.” A budi is a kind of shirt often worn by Ohmes, so a budiit is a kind of tailor. “Iit” also shows where one lives. “Senchal’iitay” means “Jobasha lived in Senchal.” So Khajiit also means one who lives in the desert.

    “Va” is to be, yes. Var is used in several ways, but Jobasha does not know the right words. It has the scent of the inevitable.

    “Rabi” shows ownership. As you see, Jobasha writes with a yellow quill, made from a cheaply dyed cliff racer plume. Telling this, Jobasha could say “zwinthodurrarr rabi,” which means “Jobasha has a yellow writing stick.”

    Khajiit say “vabazeri” to show one thing changing into another thing. We use it to say how you would say “becoming,” though this is not quite true.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Would you mind telling me a bit about yourself? How and why did you come to Vvardenfell?

  • Jobasha:
  • Jobasha wanted to travel and sell books. More Jobasha cannot say.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Could you please tell me a bit about the Battle at Red Mountain that took place during the War of the First Council? What do you think happened during it? Who do you think killed Nerevar?

  • Jobasha:
  • Jobasha thinks very highly of the Tribunal. Jobasha is no heretic, just a humble bookseller.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Everyone knows that the Dwemer disappeared during the Battle at Red Mountain, but nobody knows exactly what happened to them. What is your opinion?

  • Jobasha:
  • Jobasha hears many tales from those who explore the Dwemer ruins. From these tales Jobasha believes their bodies became ash. Some say the Dwemer souls escaped the Mundus, but there are ghosts of Dwemer… But perhaps the ghosts died before. Jobasha does not know.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • With the help of a friend, I’ve managed to obtain two Dwemer books: Divine Metaphysics and the Egg of Time. However, strangely enough, lines from one book appear in the other one as well. For example, the first line in Divine Metaphysics is the twenty-first in Egg of Time and the second line in Divine Metaphysics is the eleventh in Egg of Time. What do you think about this? Did the Dwemer authors feel like quoting each other… All the time? Or is this plagiarism?

  • Jobasha:
  • Jobasha has seen many Dwemer books, but Jobasha cannot read them. Perhaps the words are the same, or perhaps they mean different things in each book. Jobasha has heard many scholars claim to have translated Dwemer writings, but Jobasha believes none of them.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Do you, by any chance, know why there are several great heroes whose deeds are very well-known, yet whose names are not? For example, very few people know the name of the so-called Eternal Champion, the one who defeated the impostor Jagar Tharn.

  • Jobasha:
  • The Eternal Champion has too many names. Was it Grachta the Redguard Knight? Dunastyr the Breton Sorcerer? Shathra, the Khajiti Assassin? Tyronicus, the Cyrodilic Battlemage? Jobasha does not know. It seems that every year, the hero earns a dozen names. Jobasha does not believe any of these names, though Jobasha once saw a tapestry of Shathra… It is a shame that Shathra is only legend, for the artist made her quite beautiful for an Ohmes.

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Do you believe that one day slavery in Morrowind will end?

  • Jobasha:
  • Jobasha… No, Jobasha says the armistice is the law, and Jobasha is a loyal citizen of the Empire. Jobasha loves the Emperor, the new King, and the Tribunal very much. And now Jobasha must hurry and finish packing.

    But before you go, Jobasha must ask… Do you know anyone who needs a potted plant?

  • Sinder Velvin:
  • Well, I have a High Elf friend in the Imperial City who would certainly love it… Strange how so many of my friends are High Elves. Or maybe one of my Imperial friends would like it more… 

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