Meet the Character(s): Za’ji and Caska

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Originally published 09/24/2019. Original article can be found here.

Countless scoundrels and outlaws call Southern Elsweyr home, but two of the most colorful are the rogues of the Perfect Pounce—Za'ji and Caska. Learn about these charismatic Khajiiti ne'er-do-wells from the upcoming Dragonhold DLC in our latest Meet the Character!

From the Journal of Aeliah Renmus

Dear Journal,

I met the most interesting pair of Khajiit today. On the docks. Yes, yes, I know. My father forbade me from going anywhere near that part of the city, but what the General doesn’t know won’t hurt me, right?

Anyway, Za’ji and Caska. They’re pirates! I think. Maybe smugglers? Something not quite legal in any event, I’m pretty sure about that. Za’ji claimed to be a captain and said he had the finest vessel to ever sail the Topal Sea. He called his ship the Perfect Pounce. Isn’t that a glorious name? I hope he’ll let me sail with them some day! I could be a great pirate, provided my father the General ever lets me out of his sight. Za’ji is one of the smaller Khajiit, of the Dagi-raht furstock, from what I’ve learned since my father and his legion took up their post here in Senchal. Za’ji was outgoing, energetic, and rather boastful, but not in an annoying way. I found his claims to be more funny than arrogant. And I’m pretty sure he was a little drunk. I have seen my father’s soldiers guzzle down wine when they were off duty, so I know what I’m talking about.

Caska, on the other hand, is a Senche-raht. One of those big battle cats. She carried herself like she didn’t have a care in the world, but she also radiated confidence and power. I’m certain she ends more fights just by rising to her full height and staring down the crowd, but she also looked like she wasn’t above mixing it up if she had to. In contrast to her captain, her voice was deep and smooth. It made me feel comfortable and safe, but I could see how it could also be used to scare a banekin out of a flower basket, if you take my meaning. She explained in a relatively sparse number of words that she was the Pounce’s first mate. And then matter of factly added, “And I keep Za’ji from doing anything that would get us all killed.” She seemed rather proud about that.

* * *

Dear Journal,

The locals have taken to calling my father’s legion “the Shields of Senchal” now. I guess that means they’ve finally accepted us as part of the community. And I’ve learned how to lose the soldiers the General has assigned to keep an eye on me—at least when I really need to. Like today. I gave the soldiers the slip and snuck aboard the Perfect Pounce for my first real outing since my father packed us up and moved us down here. Captain Za’ji was his usual charismatic self, welcoming me aboard with a bow and a flourish. He really is a charmer! And he’s extremely proud of his ship. The Pounce is a fine vessel, and I admit I fell in love with it as soon as its sails filled and we roared away from the shore. He might be eccentric and a little outlandish, but Za’ji’s captaining skills were evident from the start of our cruise. He orchestrated the actions of his crew the way my father commands his legion, and all those rough and tumble pirates worked together to keep the Pounce on a straight and even keel. It was an impressive display and I hope to sail alongside Za’ji and his crew again. It was exhilarating!

As the Pounce’s bow cut through the waves, Caska was never far from her captain’s side. The big Khajiit didn’t use a lot of words, but then again, she didn’t have to. When Za’ji issued a command, Caska would reinforce it with a subtle nod or a stern look. In the rare instance when Za’ji gave an order that Caska didn’t agree with, she didn’t argue or complain. She simply shook her head and roared a correction. For example, at one point Za’ji grabbed a line and pulled himself up to gaze over the side and ordered, “Hard to port!” Caska shook her head and stated, “Starboard.” Za’ji, without missing a beat and without a hint of anger at being corrected said, “Right. Za’ji’s other port.”

When the ship sailed back into Senchal’s bay and approached the docks, I was sitting with Caska, enjoying her quiet presence. It really felt, well, peaceful, just sitting there next to the big Khajiit. That’s when she surprised me with a question. “What tree do you want to climb, little one,” she asked. Not knowing what she meant, as there wasn’t a single tree in the bay or even near the Senchal docks, I sort of just fumbled for an answer. She put me out of my misery by rephrasing for my non-Khajiit perspective. “What do you plan to do with your life, Aeliah?” I wasn’t sure how to respond. No one had ever asked me that before. Then, without warning, an answer popped into my head. “I want to help people,” I said. “Maybe as a soldier, like my father. Or maybe as a pirate, like you and Za’ji. Something. I want to help and I want to have adventures. It probably sounds silly to you, but that’s what I want to do.” Caska nodded and said, “Sounds reasonable.” Then she put down her head, closed her eyes, and went to sleep.

It was a perfect day!

* * *

Dear Journal,

My father, the General, has decided to make use of me. While I can tell he still doesn’t approve, he asked me to use my connections with Khajiit such as Za’ji and Caska to act as a sort of intermediary between them and the Shields of Senchal. Like an ambassador. He probably asked so he could keep better tabs on my comings and goings, but I kind of felt honored. And by now, Za’ji and Caska have become my very best friends. Oh, they argue all the time, but they’re also loyal to each other. Za’ji respects his crew, cares for their well-being, and keeps his eyes open for the very best adventures. He gets so excited that everyone around him gets excited, too. For all Za’ji’s cunning and good cheer, it’s Caska that keeps the Pounce afloat. She makes sure the ship remains in good repair, orders provisions, and pays the crew. And she keeps them all safe. No one can beat Caska in a fair fight. I’m not sure they could beat her in an unfair one, for that matter. And between the two of them, the Pounce couldn’t be in better hands.

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