Loremaster's Archive: An Interview with Haskill is part of the Loremaster's Archive series written by Lawrence Schick, the Loremaster of The Elder Scrolls Online. This entry was published on 06/12/15.
Open some old wine, bring out the cheese and have a seat! Are those butterflies we just saw? Chamberlain Haskill is here to share some of his intimate knowledge about the Mad God. Will this knowledge come with a price? You never know, but who might care if everyone is as happy as stripped bunnies in a field of daffodils?
If we are able to recover, the next Loremaster's Archive will try to contact the Drake of Blades, a shadowy resistance fighter in the Imperial City, to learn more about the life under the Daedric occupation. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may obtain an answer!
CHEESES OF TAMRIELEdit
By Master Chef Gilbard Larocque
If you are like me, the very word "cheese" stirs you. Maybe you recall meals shared with family and friends, favorite dishes in the cold of winter, or a simple snack in the shade of a tree while traveling. I am here to tell you how much more there is to cheese than you ever realized. Join me on a journey across Tamriel and discover a breadth of culinary experience you've never imagined!
Let's start simple. Eidar cheese, popular in Skyrim, is eaten by the Nords alongside hearty spit-roasted meats. They do not share the refined approach to cuisine that we Bretons take, but I have discovered that Eidar's rich, earthy flavor and creamy texture are quite conducive to sauces. Try it with poultry dishes or paired with a young Collequiva!
For a more exotic taste from Skyrim, you must seek out cheese made from the milk of mammoths. Only the truly brave can obtain it from the giants who craft it (Yes, giants! Who did you think could milk a mammoth?), but its restorative potential and robust flavor make it well-worth a bit of risk. I've heard it called an acquired taste, but you'll be amazed at how it completes a hearty stew.
As a student of Breton culinary tradition, I cannot rightly count it among true cheeses, but Scuttle bears mention for the adventurous. This delicious treat is crafted from—don't balk!—the flesh of beetles native to Morrowind. Do not let its composition or greasy texture turn you away, for its peppery, complex richness is loved by the Dark Elves for good reason.
For an energizing snack, you must try Elsweyr Fondue. There are countless variants of this dish, but the basics are always the same: a good cheese, strong stock, and, of course, Moon Sugar. Keep your pot on a low flame and be careful not to overdo the ale. The best part is experimenting to find your favorite combination of ingredients and dipping foods. My advice: try adding a different herb every time!
On the subject of melting, the Redguards craft a cheese with an unusual quirk. They keep the secrets of its culturing process close to heart, but love to surprise foreign guests by serving it. It is known as Shrieking Cheese. When it is melted to a certain point, it actually lets loose a jarring scream! In a common dish, small blocks of the cheese are added atop spicy meat as it cooks in an open pot. When it shrieks, it's ready!
Another rare treat, should you ever be fortunate enough to find it, is the legendarily aromatic Olroy cheese. To give you just the slightest idea of how wonderful this cheese is: I do not exaggerate when I say a scent of it alone was worth the many false leads and months of traipsing across southern Cyrodiil in search of it.
Look at all these cheeses, in wheels, wedges, and slices! So many, and it's only the beginning; there are even more cheeses out there just waiting for you. Even if you can't make long journeys in search of these delicious creations, I hope that reading about them encourages you to try as many cheeses as you can find.
CHAMBERLAIN HASKILL ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS:Edit
I have found myself wondering if there is some reason the Mad God is so fond of cheese. Is there a significant reason for this? I mean no disrespect, of course, but I find the taste of cheese to be, well, disgusting. Does the Mad God just like the taste of cheese, or is it something deeper? I apologize if I offend you by saying this, but one must truly be mad to love the foulness of... cheese. I am merely a curious Nord with far too much time on her hands, but I am hoping you will have the extra time to answer my brief - and hopefully not insulting - question.
Sincerely, Aniki Frostward of Windhelm “
Chamberlain Haskill says, “I am not, myself, fond of cheese, and cannot explain the Master's predilection for it. Unless he does it just to be irritating. Sometimes he does things just to be irritating."
“Hi! I think I'm not mad, but may you read the following like I am so.
How is it possible to a Daedra Lord, an et'Ada spirit of chaos, to be the Prince of Order like is Jyggalag, the antagonist of Sheogorath?
And another question for you: Have you ever considered that all of us, et'Ada and mortals, are nothing but characters of a game being played by unknown entities from outside the Aurbis? Maybe then that Sheogorath is the amused voice of the game creators.
And another more question for you: Is the cheese a corpse of milk? - Shanke-Naar Righthorn"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “Oh, yes. Very funny. In my position I get a lot of this sort of thing, as you might expect. You might even wonder if I'm tired of it yet. I'd wager that, if you thought hard, you could come up with the answer. Maybe.
“Nonetheless, the Master has given me the task of answering these questions, so I shall duly answer them. In my experience, Daedric Princes are much like cheese: some of them are hard, some of them are soft, and some of them have blue veins running through their substance. Thus: Jyggalag.
“And if we are nothing but characters in an elaborate game played by unknown entities, well, why aren't I having any fun?"
“Dear Haskill (or otherwise servant of Sheggorath, yes?),
I was wondering. In my people's Pantheon - the Khajiit Pantheon, yes, it seems my people believe in Sheogorath, or, well, Sheggorath as we call him as a Mad God, understandably. Do my people even worship Sheggorath? Or is he just labelled as a bad omen, and, why is his name put in unison for the drug addiction that comes with Skooma and Moon Sugar, eh? I do not understand - but this is probably because I am not a very cultured Khajiit. Cultured in my own terms, that is. I am cultured in, like. Stabbing Daedra.
I hope you fade into the Dark Behind the World, Vadanni"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “Ah, the cats. I have never liked cats personally, but the Mad God enjoys their company, I suppose because they're inexplicable and unpredictable. I am told that the Khajiit revere both the Aedra and the Daedra, worshiping whichever Divine seems most applicable to whatever they're praying for or swearing by. But then, to a cat, immediate personal convenience is everything. In fact, you're not even paying attention anymore, are you?"
“Are the mortal inhabitants of the Shivering Isles subject to the effects of Time? Those who have departed Tamriel under Lord Sheogorath's wing seem to live for centuries in between Greymarches if the ravings of madmen are to be believed. Knowledge of their fate might help assuage the grief of certain members of the Mages Guild who have had recent dealings with the Madgod.
– Legoless, Doyen of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “Oh, of course, 'Doyen,' because assuaging the grief of mortals is so important to me. Let me be clear: inhabitants of the Shivering Isles are affected by Time, but we are not subject to it. We are subjects of Lord Sheogorath, who subjects us to whatever subjects he is in the mood to subjudicate. Because Time is subjective."
“Ah, the transmission worked. Lots of interference in the transliminal barriers today. Haskill, is it? I'm led to believe you're the Chamberlain to Lord Sheogorath himself. I imagine this is an administrative office that handles a wide array of interesting duties. I'm not sure if the following inquiry is within your area of expertise, but I've been curious about some of the inhabitants of Sheogorath's realm for some time. I acquired a tome a while back. (Well, "acquired" is a rather mundane way of describing a book popping out of thin air from a tiny portal and landing on my head hard enough to knock me out for the better part of an hour, but there are a lot of unusual things happening during this Planemeld.)
Getting back to the point, I found the subject matter fascinating. This tome seems to have originated in the realm you administrate for your Lord, and concerns some of the native flora and fauna. Several species were named which are quite alien to my home sphere of Nirn, such as Elytra and Grummites. Interestingly enough, despite inhabiting a Daedric realm, these creatures are said to lay eggs and reproduce in much the same way mortal animals of Mundus do. I found this quite strange, as I've always been taught that only Daedra live in Oblivion realms, and that Daedra do not reproduce as we do. Was my research misleading, or are these creatures not Daedra at all? If not, where do they originate and why do they live within your Lord's sphere?
- Legate Cyclenophus of the Bretonic Imperial Restoration Society"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “You don't know very much about Oblivion realms, 'Legate,' if you don't know that they reflect, and are indeed physical manifestations of, the Princes who rule over them. My master is the Prince of Madness, yet for some reason you expect his realm to follow the same rules that regulate your own bland little world. Do you wonder why I have no interest in visiting Tamriel? It's an act of mad charity that Lord Sheogorath pays it any attention at all.
“What is a Legate, anyway? Is it like a Doyen? I hope not."
“Scribed verbatim by Svarnor Far-Traveled, on request of his brother Svalti of the same clan. Svarnor apologizes for his brother's condition and hopes this letter will not influence his application into the service of Arkay.
Dear Haskill, Chamberlain of He Who Is Seen In Storms, bringer of many fears and destroyer of pleasure, may his name be worshipped above all else,
I find of late a new and all-encompassing fear has encompassed me. This fear is the terror that perhaps my ears only imagine and the Mad God speaks to me not. After pondering this new and beautiful nightmare for thirty-three days, I must ask of you, please answer to me this- with all the thousands of fools in the world, believing themselves insane when they have merely said the wool and offered up words and cabbages whilst eating soul gems, how can one truly be sure they listen to the whispers echoing from the Madhouse? The neighbors whisper to, almost as often as they listen, and the walls are thin.
What, I ask you, Haskill, Secretary of He Who Laughs in Terror, is the method with which I can attain most perfect worry? How can I master and grow in my recognition of the things which are dangerous, and the people whom I must Not Trust? Of all the thousand worships of the Bearded Man, the Mad Star, which is the trustworthy one? There are fools in the world who would think to behave in such ways as would make even the most yellow seem purpled and I will not be one of them. I have searched the libraries, but one cannot trust what is written in books- books even can be traps for the mind even as the nightmares can release them into perfect awareness.
Please, Haskill, Doorman of the Shivering Isles, please answer me. I have searched for so long to become perfect in what others call madness and fully aware of the perils which surround me. I must know- I must must must know if I have been praying and listening and seeing a farce. What of the Khajiit who live beyond the walls? Their Skooma Cat provides for them, and they see him sometimes too. Must I warn them, or watch them? Depart with them, or dispose of them? I know you, Haskill, are not perfect in your awareness. Only He is, but I beg to know things to know things to know things to know things YES THAT IS FOUR, BROTHER DO NOT INTERRUPT back to the letter oh Haskill please inform me of the answers to which I need to know the questions to listen to the dreams more closely while waking and to enter to the entrance without missing and being trapped by the deceivers they are here deceiving me always I hear their whispers in the darkness when the torches burn and in the light when they are silenced.
Sign it Svalti Far-Traveled NO DO NOT SAY YOU WROTE IT BROTHER WHAT ARE YOU WRITING NOW-
At this point, my brother collapsed into a furious fit and began to tear at the walls. I am writing this now, several hours later. I hope that it would be healing for my brother to receive a response from one who he evidently holds so close to his heart and, in addition, if this is (as I suspect) a hoax and a scam and this will go no further than some shack outside Bruma, I wish you to know that if my brother does not receive a response, we will personally hunt down those responsible for the lies and punish them severely in honor of the Lord of the Never There, king of the True-Seers and Laughing-Terrors and the Two-Faced Men. I hope that my application to study the service of Arkay is not influenced by this
Svarnor Far-Traveled, with assistance from Svalti of the same name."
Chamberlain Haskill says, “Here, Svarnor, this never fails. Tell your brother, 'Svalti, you must eat the eggplant. You know which one I mean. You can trust me, because I'm your friend. Not like the Others.'"
“Greetings Haskill, Chamberlain to the Mad God.
Rumors and stories abound regarding the deeds of your master, but there are some hidden things I would dare to inquire about.
Firstly, I have heard whispers of a Daedric Prince of Order, long since lost. As this being must be considered the embodiment of all things abhorred by your lord, I wonder if you have any knowledge of this “Jyggalag"? Has Sheogorath banished him? Or is he perhaps merely uninterested with the disorder that makes Tamriel?
Secondly, I must ask about your own nature. In a realm defined by madness of all sorts, you seem to be a most sane being. Indeed, your nature seems rather opposite to that of your lord. Who and what are you? I have heard some say that you are in fact an aspect of the Mad God, as Barbas is to Clavicus Vile. Personally, I think it more likely that you are simply (if that word applies to anything related to Sheogorath) the steward of the Shivering Isles. Still, the rumor is interesting.
Sincerely as is possible when discussing the Mad God, Takrios the Indomitable"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “I have had similar questions about my 'nature' from Alessandra, Legoless, and an Unnamed One, so I suppose I must address the matter. I am a Vestige, all that remains of a mortal from your world who 'mantled' Sheogorath during an event in a previous time. As a fragment, my memory of the event is … fragmentary. I am hazy on the entire concept of 'mantling,' but it had something to do with Lord Sheogorath, myself, and this Jyggalag of whom you speak. I have asked the Mad God to explain it to me, but he just laughs and says maybe he'll tell me about it 'next year,' whatever that means.
“Sometimes the Master irritates even me. I can't remember why I put up with it, actually."
“Most esteemed Haskill,
It is an honour to speak to one who knows the Mad God so intimately. Although I would have preferred an audience with the enigmatic Sheogorath himself, I suppose your deep knowledge of him would suffice. I have heard from many a people how much your Lord delights in the noble taste of cheese, although I have also heard he enjoys flaying his guests first and sipping their blood at later. Chilling. But let us focus on the cheese! What kind of mortal cheese, if any, does your lord enjoy? We Bretons are famous for our cheeses, and I would be most interested to learn if your Master has tasted the delicacies of High Rock. Do tell him of our wonderful La Chèvre Loren and the Langre du Ollere - they are best relished with a cup of blackberry wine! But enough of my ramblings! Please, relay my question to your Lord. If you would like a sample of our cheeses, I would be delighted to send you a batch when I return to my mansion in Gavaudon, provided there is a way to do so. Yours excitedly, Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte, of the Wayrest Mages Guild"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “Your application for a position in the Shivering Isles has been accepted, and you will start on Morndas as High Fromage Sommelier to Lord Sheogorath. Bring your own grapefruit spoon, and don't wear too much cologne—he hates that."
“I pen this letter with little patience or love for yourself or the Daedric Prince that you serve, corner of the House of Troubles and purveyor of chaos that he is.
However, I must confess, despite my loyalty to the Three and my boundless disdain for your domain, I do have one question burning in the back of my mind.
Many years ago, in my younger years, I had the gross misfortune of finding myself within the Shivering Isles after a Fredas night involving a shrine of Sheogorath, a copy of the Lusty Argonian Maid and more sujamma than I'd care to admit. Upon awaking back on Tamriel (how or why I was transported away from this dread realm I cannot say), I began studying the various texts and writings that discuss Sheogorath's most foul domain.
While doing so, I discovered that the Shivering Isles are also variously referred to as the Madhouse and the Asylums. I then came to wonder - is the Shivering Isles the name for Sheogorath's entire plane, or could it stretch even farther? Are the Shivering Isles perhaps a mere region, a single territory, of a larger Madhouse, a greater collection of Asylums? And how great a length, exactly, does the bewildering realm of Sheogorath truly span?
I thank you in advice for any reply as I excuse myself to atone for this sinful correspondence by saying my devotions to the Three,
- Neldam Indrano"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “My best advice to you, friend Neldam, is to go on wondering about this, devoting ever more effort to it until it dominates your every waking moment, and everything you do is overshadowed by your need to find the answer. Go do that.
“Because then, one day, you will be in a position to find out for yourself."
“I am but a humble servant of the lady of light and life, blessed Meridia. I ask this of the servant of the madgod: The number of princes is not static, Meridia proves that by her existence as a fallen star child, is the number 16 arbitrary? Are there Daedric princes in Oblivion that are unknown to us mere mortals? Princes who have never felt the need to interact with Mundus? - Lami Wind-Speaker, Priestess of Meridia"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “The best answer to this question is another: How many, Lami Wind-Speaker, are the Accords of Madness?"
“To Haskill, Sheogorath's Chamberlain,
In relation with the repatriation of Eyevea, I have heard recently Sheogorath bargained the ancient Abecean island in a confrontation with the Arch-Mage Shalidor. I have always wondered how could Eyevea disappear...
So, I ask you: is Sheogorath interested in expanding the Shivering Isles with new acquisitions after the loss of Eyevea? I fear my people in Herne or in the rest of the Abecean Archipelago could be in danger as many freemen and most nobles have left our home to fight in Cyrodiil for the Daggerfall Covenant. And I have to know if I have to reinforce Herne's defenses.
Regards, Baron Yashu al-Aydin of Herne"
Chamberlain Haskill says, “My dear Baron, I have relayed your real estate proposal to Lord Sheogorath, and he is considering the terms under which he would agree to acquire your island of … what was the name? Herne? However, he would like to know your island's shape, as the Master likes his islands to fit into a nice paisley pattern. He doesn't like shapes that are too regular, and has a particular abhorrence for the rhombus. Herne isn't a rhombus, is it?"