This page is dedicated to documenting the people of Elsweyr, from the more generic "khajiit people" to specific current figures.
The khajiit are regarded by Imperials as a strange race of beastmen. They are all feline in aspect, some more than others. According to Imperial propagandists, “the catmen of Elsweyr are a bestial lot, victims of their own preternatural anatomies. They are quick to anger, unpredictable, and dangerous, though singly no match for an Imperial legionnaire.” Their human-like features are actually more Elven in appearance, giving Imperials even more reason to look down upon the Elves.
There are multiple theories about the origins of the khajiit. Some believe that the Khajiit are simply descendants of the original Aldmer settlers in Tamriel, who evolved, like the Altmer, Bosmer, Dunmer, and Orsimer, because of circumstance, into the cat-like race that walks the dunes of Elsweyr. The more commonly held belief, however, is that they were not foreign intelligent creatures who became cats to survive the hostile, arid land of Elsweyr, but they were indigenous cats whose knack for change allowed them to survive while other native creatures declined and disappeared.
In the Merethic Era, Topal the Pilot found khajiit not in Elsweyr, but far up the Niben River, near the Imperial City. There are also records from the Merethic Bosmer that certain parts of Valenwood were to be avoided for fear of the great jungle cat men. It is surmised that the Khajiit, though most at home in the deserts, reigned as the dominant culture across southern Tamriel in ancient days.
Some appear like upright jaguars, others are beautiful and could pass as Elves if it were not for their tails, and others are quadrupedal. A khajiit’s physical appearance and breed depends on the phases/alignment of the moons upon his or her birth. The khajiit call this magical and semi-divine phenomenon that determines their breed the ja-Kha’jay (the "Moonstrings," or "Lunar Lattice"), which derives from the influence of Masser and Secunda. Over 20 forms have been documented, and none are deemed better than another in khajiit society (with the exception of the Mane). This phenomenon is not contagious or temporal like lycanthropy (which has often been compared to this). The moons on a khajiit’s birth determine the form they will take for the rest of their lives, yet the moons do not affect a khajiit’s form anytime after birth. There are no known shapeshifting khajiit.
- Cathay-raht: A khajiit born when Masser is full and Secunda a thin crescent. These resemble upright jaguars.
- Alfiq: A khajiit born when Masser is a thin crescent and Secunda full. These resemble intelligent house-cats.
- Senche-tiger: A breed of khajiit that is known as the “largest great cat in existence.” They often serve as steeds for their more humanoid cousins.
- Ohmes: a breed of khajiit who resemble men and elves. They are the most commonly seen outside Elsweyr, since many adventurers and diplomats are Ohmes. They often wear facial tattoos to distinguish themselves from Elves such as Bosmer.
The Mane is the normally nonpartisan spiritual leader of the khajiit. Since the establishment of the rotational power base set up by Rid-T’har-ri’Datta, the Mane has historically been responsible for overseeing and maintaining this system.
The Mane is essentially just another breed of khajiit. Khajiit tradition holds that only one Mane can be alive at any one time; they believe that there is only one Mane, who is simply reborn in different bodies. There is no known instance of multiple Manes competing for power--whether that verifies the khajiit beliefs or not is another question. A Mane can be born only under a rare alignment of Masser and Secunda when, according to legend, a third moon appears in the sky. In olden times, the khajiit would shave off their own manes in deference to the Mane, braiding them into locks that he would incorporate into his own, gigantic mane. Over time, as the population of the region grew, this ritual became impractical. Now, while all khajiit still remove their manes, they do so largely as a symbolic sacrifice. The current Mane still wears the hair-locks and braids of his own tribe as well as those of his Warrior Guard, which encompasses hundreds of khajiit. He is so weighted down by the hair of his kinsmen that he cannot move without aid, and often travels about the countryside by means of a palanquin.
- The Current Mane: Negotiated an agreement with the Count of Leyawiin about Elsweyr’s eastern border that ended in the Imperials’ favor.
- Ya’Tirrje: Nicknamed the “Gold Cat”, Ya’Tirrje is a very wealthy and powerful khajiit, rumored to even have a luxurious villa in Senchal, and helps pay for the abundant security that keeps the city safe and crime-free, all the while continuing his drug-smuggling business in Torval, Corinthe, and Rimmen.
- Keirgo of Anequina: The leader of Anequina in 2E 309 who united with Eshita of Pelletine to create the Elsweyr Confederacy. Petitioned the Empire for help during the class war sparked by Elsweyr’s union, to no avail.
- Eshita of Pelletine: The leader of Pelletine in 2E 309 who united with Keirgo of Anequina to create the Elsweyr Confederacy.
- Rid-T’har-ri’Datta: The Mane of Elsweyr during the crisis following the formation of the Elsweyr Confederacy. He “bestowed to the classes equality under the bi-lunar shadow, dividing their power in accordance with two-moons-dance of the ja-K'hanay.”
- Nhad-hatta: The Mane of Elsweyr during 2E 864.
- Topal the Pilot: He was an Aldmer explorer and poet who discovered the Niben River and charted Tamriel's sea lanes in the Merethic Era. He was no khajiit, but he was the one of the first men or mer to have encountered khajiit, finding them not in Elsweyr, but far up the Niben River, close to the Imperial City, where they preyed on other native creatures, and caused his crew much distress as they stalked the river banks.