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Ashlands Hymns

Author: 
Anonymous

[This is a volume of folk verses collected from Ashlanders. 'Wondrous Love' is from the Urshilaku Ashlanders of the northern Ashlands.]

What a wondrous love it is
To bind two souls in faith,
Chained completely together
With never a false word,
Weal and woe, wish and real,
Woven each together
From first kiss to last breath,
First and last whispered in love.

Zainsubani's Notes

Author: 
Hassour Zainsubani

[The following are notes on the Ashlanders and the Nerevarine cult prepared for you by Hassour Zainsubani]

The Ashlanders are the direct descendants of the Aldmeri peoples who followed the Prophet Veloth into the lands we now call Morrowind. The Ashlanders retain the modest nomadic life and simple ancestor worship of their forebears, and despise the soft lives and decadent worships of the settled Great House Dunmer cultures. The Wastes are harsh and unforgiving, and we are a hard people. But there is a beauty and honor in our simple lives, and the snobs of the Temple and Great Houses are fools to dismiss us as crude savages.

Ashlanders and foreigners
Most Ashlanders wish all foreigners and their false gods could be driven from Morrowind. At very least, Ashlanders wish the foreign devils would leave them in peace. Ashlanders think it shameful to attack unarmed persons, but they will kill without hesitation an armed person who offends them or their clan laws. No Ashlander is fool enough to make war against the Empire. However, if such a war might be won, many Ashlanders might cheerfully give their lives to win such a war.

Ashlander courtesy
Ashlanders may challenge a stranger who enters a yurt without invitation. Customs differ with different tribes, but leave when requested, and you may be forgiven. Be particularly careful about ashkhans -- tribal chiefs -- and wise women -- tribal seers and counselors. Some are welcoming, some are hostile. Be courteous, and leave if requested. If offended, they may attack.

Ashlander challenges
When challenged for sport, it is acceptable to decline. When challenged for honor, it is shameful to decline. Honor challenges come from offense given in speech or action, or may represent customary formal challenges of status or ritual.

Ashlander worship
All Ashlanders in a tribe, young and small, are born into the Ancestor cult of their clan. The Nerevarine cult is different, though; it is a very small cult, with only a few wise women with the gift of prophecy, and a few holy warrior-heroes who guard and protect the seers. Sul-Matuul, Ashkhan of the Urshilaku, is the Warrior-Protector of the cult, and Nibani Maesa, also of the Urshilaku, is the Oracle-Seer of the cult.

Nerevarine cult
They worship the Great Ashkhan and Hortator, Nerevar Moon-and-Star, who in ages past destroyed the evil, godless dwarves and banished the treacherous Dagoth Ur and his foul hosts beneath Red Mountain. The cult is of small consequence in Ashlander worship, and only among the Urshilaku do its followers have any influence. Others Ashlanders tribes share the sentiments of the cult, but regard the Nerevarine prophecies with suspicion and skepticism.

Nerevarine prophecies
It is said that prophecies foretell the return of a reincarnated Nerevar, who shall drive the foreigners from the Ashlands and who shall cast down the false gods of the Temple, and restore the true worships of the Ancestors. It is a dream that would appeal to every Ashlander, but many Ashlanders think it is a silly ancient legend, and little more.

The Urshilaku Ashlanders
The Urshilaku are the Ashlanders of the northern Ashlands and the West Gash, in the northwest of Vvardenfell. Ashkhan Sul-Matuul is their chief, a brave and respected war leader, and Warrior-Protector of the Nerevarine cult. Nibani Maesa is their wise woman, a deep and shrewd counselor, and seer of the Nerevarine cult. The Urshilaku camp moves with the herds, but usually lies close to the Sea of Ghosts, north of the village of Maar Gan, on the northern coast of the northern Ashlands.

Notes from Huleeya

Author: 
Huleeya

[The following are Huleeya's notes for Caius Cosades.]

The History of the Ashlanders and the Nerevarine Cult

In First Era barbaric Dunmer culture, settled Dunmer clans (the Great Houses) and nomadic Dunmer tribes (like the Ashlanders) were roughly equal in numbers and wealth. Under the civilized peace of the Grand Council, and with the strong central authority of the Temple, the economic and military power of the settled Dunmer quickly outstripped that of the nomadic Dunmer. The nomadic Dunmer were marginalized into the poorest, most hostile land, in particular, into the Vvardenfell wastes. For the Ashlanders, the return of a reincarnated Nerevar represents a longed for and largely romanticized Golden Age of Nerevar's Peace, when the nomadic tribes enjoyed equality with the settled Dunmer, and before the Dunmer people had for the most part abandoned traditional ancestor worship for the autocratic theocracy of the Tribunal Temple.

 

The Nerevar of the Ashlanders

This is the story of Nerevar as an Ashlander might tell it.

 

In ancient days, the Deep Elves and a great host of outlanders from the West came to steal the land of the Dunmer. In that time, Nerevar was the great khan and warleader of the House People, but he honored the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and became as one of us. So, when Nerevar pledged upon his great Ring of the Ancestors, One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, to honor the ways of the Spirits and rights of the Land, all the Tribes joined the House People to fight a great battle at Red Mountain. Though many Dunmer, Tribesman and Houseman, died at Red Mountain, the Dwemer were defeated and their evil magicks destroyed, and the outlanders driven from the land. But after this great victory, the power-hungry khans of the Great Houses slew Nerevar in secret, and, setting themselves up as gods, neglected Nerevar's promises to the Tribes. But it is said that Nerevar will come again with his ring, and cast down the false gods, and by the power of his ring will make good his promises to the Tribes, to honor the Spirits and drive the outsiders from the land.

 

Persecution of the Nerevarine Cult

The Tribunal Temple regards the mysticism and prophecy of the Nerevarine cult as primitive superstition. The Ashlander Ancestor cults and the Nerevarines in particular have always decried the worship of living Dunmer as abominations, suspecting the unnatural lifetimes of the Tribunal to be signs of profane sorcery or necromancy. Though the authoritarian and intolerant Temple priesthood has always been inclined to tolerate Ashlander ancestor cult practices, they have always threatened Nerevarine claimants with death or imprisonment. And while generally tolerant of various cult worships, the Imperial Commission of the Occupation outlaws cults hostile to the Emperor and the Empire, and threatens members of such cults with imprisonment or death. The Ordinators are allowed a free hand when dealing with outlawed cults like the Nerevarines.

 

Peakstar and other Incarnates in the Past

In the past, others have claimed to be the reincarnated Nerevar of prophecy. The most recent is known as Peakstar, a mysterious figure who has reportedly appeared and disappeared among the Wastes tribes over the last 30 years. The Temple notes that these False Incarnates discredit the Nerevarine prophecies. Singularly, and illogically, the Ashlanders acknowledge a history of false claimants, calling them "Failed Incarnates," but they regard them as proof of the validity of the prophecies, rather than contradiction. Among the Nerevarines there is a fable of a Cavern of the Incarnates, where the spirits of the Failed Incarnates dwell. The Nerevarine cult is a mystical cult, and it glorifies, rather than shrinks from, contradictions.