In Elsweyr, we do not believe so simply in these things called 'lies.' Despite what other khajiit so long from home have told you - and this one cannot know what those tales said, so let us hope it is not so bad - lies are merely stories that haven't happened yet.
Stories, my young friend, are quite important. You do not believe me? Think of your dreams. Now think of your life without them. In each dance of the Twin Moons above your closed eyes, worlds are born and then die with the coming of dawn. Without dreams, we cannot have prophecy - both failed and fulfilled. Without dreams, our world would die. We would sleep, fitfully, without rest or the wakening pleasure of the sun-stretched belly. As those bright places in our minds fall, they would leave behind failing memory. Reality without that veiled shade would shatter, leaving the sands of What Was to filter into the nothing.
My young friend, there is nothing more I fear than Nothing. To keep that at bay I would tell every story in the world and then a few more to Alkosh and slow time itself. Sweet Mara, let it never be so. Hand me that little bottle. Yes. Of course it's not skooma, who tells you these horrible things about us? Mweh!
Thank you. Now then. Let me tell you this story.
It is, as the southern men mark it, a wee bit over two hundred years since the fall of the last great Septim Emperor. Yes, that could make it this very year, you're quite smart. Hush.
This one walks the roads of Skyrim. They are well kept, there are many interesting things to see, and there are very few of those interesting golden elves where I go. I like that. We see enough of them at home, yes?
I do not bother with the towns much, nor the cities. My brothers and sisters can keep them, and they will trade their goods with me as we pass. I pay in rumors, and they pay in food and we pass. All this has nothing to do with these dreadful accusations of theft, of course. Truly, if these nords would simply honor a good carpenter instead of their hundreds of blacksmiths now and again, they wouldn't lose so many things out of the backs of their cabinets and come to blame us! Such a shame. There's no love for a good artisan anymore. The future is shoddy, quick workmanship. I see all the tools of the craft fade in that future. You can't even find a caliper now!
Soon it will all be simple bolts and one good for all and best for nothing tool.
But I digress. To return, by using such a tangent: I sell rumors, young friend. Things I hear, things I see. In my little jokes of the past, sometimes I might even tell the future. And in this time that I am telling you about, there are such rumors to be told!
On the day I speak of, I am minding my own business as I ever do, and I am on a finely cobbled road. Small gifts of nords that once were, and my soft feet thank them for it. Though I doubt they'd let me into their fabled hall to tell them in person. A shame. Khajiit hears legends of such food.
As I mind my business, a small village falls behind me. It is called Rorikstead, and I smell a story there, young one, but they have their own night eyes and I do not stay close to read it. They do well, this little place. Their flowers smell sweet and strong. It is a good smell, and a good place, though they would not thank me to have it said. I have passed a guard and told him a story about poor, lost Helgen and he, for my troubles, called me a liar.
We have discussed what I feel about that word when it is not understood. Khajiit will not belabor the point. So we left our differences there and I moved along.
He was of the type, my little one. The blinded sightful. We might have collected one such grand thing as I told him of - yes, of course it was a dragon at Helgen, didn't I mention that? - and let him see it within a safe, fire-proofed cage. And even then, that one would stalk away and say "I don't believe it." Young one, never forget to see what's beyond there to be seen. There are miracles in those places.
And a miracle - a dark and terrifying one - came to khajiit that very day as I walked my business down that road! For the ground shook, and the skies were torn apart by a Word, yes, no little speech but the Sound-That-Sunders. And there was fire and the smell of those sweet flowers were given sulfur instead and this one beheld what rumor had warned him of.
Young one, they are huge. Let that be a truth between us. 'Tween their teeth I might see a giant snap, but in that moment instead I only saw the fire.
It did not have eyes for me. Instead and beyond it, I saw a small figure. I could not make its shape at first, but that sound tore the skies again and I knew. The gifts of Khenarthi blew strong through the winds of that one's soul. I'd heard of that one, too.
That one, the great beast held eyes for. And claws. And teeth. And Sound. And as I watched, that one, the Dovahkiin as the whispers said, fell to their knees.
I did not know then, but there is a redoubt close to the little town - well, khajiit knew that part. What I did not know was that there were bandits, and now, once and for all, there once were bandits. The dragon born had shattered the place. No small feat to do in a day. Thus, it was the same day. Thus, for blessed dragonborn, not such a good day, yes?
Khajiit is sympathetic to such things. Sometimes, a moment's good breath is all one needs to regain a situation. Sometimes, a few good breaths. In either, khajiit is quick. Khajiit has tricks. Khajiit… got noticed by skyborn horror a few seconds earlier than he had intended. Eh. The little jokes of life.
So this one shot a bit of fire up the great dragon's nose. A small trick. I learned it in a parlor once. From a girl. She was a very interesting girl. And did I mention that I am very quick? I did? Thank you, young one. You're very kind to help.
Dragonborn took their breaths. And then a few more. Khajiit is less than pleased with this, for I am not so well fed as to be a good meal for the dragon and I would hate to be disappointing. This goes on. It is not so exciting. I run and I sag and I toss a little fire and perhaps I think a few less than kind things about the exhausted Dovahkiin as I do these. This is a poor thing for me to do. I have made my reparations since.
I am about to become disappointing when the dragon itself decided to be disappointed with life and move on. The Dovahkiin, as my back and a large stone grow into friendship, has found their wind within once more. I am grateful for this, of course.
The Dovahkiin says little to me; the exhaustion upon that blooded, distant face plain enough. Dovahkiin does not have to. They are alone. I am sympathetic. I tell them this. I say that I have heard it is quite dangerous to be your friend.
They laugh, and I with them. We are both weary; I with that faint moment of trembling adventure, and they with such destiny as would bow a mountain. The twin moons have risen above us, young one, as we laugh, and it was in that moment that I knew that cold north, so unlike our home, would one day be safe.
Oh. Oh, I see how it is. You do not believe M'aiq. You do not believe that khajiit was in the right place and the right time to save the very dragonborn themselves so that they may save all of us. Sniff. Very well, young one. But today we are here and tomorrow we will be there and M'aiq will have other stories to tell.
But before you go, let me pass another truth between us, young one.
Of course that was a bottle of skooma. Silly child. You can't believe everything you hear.