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A Pamphlet on Ashlanders


To the honorable Grand Council of Vvardenfell District and Duke Vedam Dren of Ebonheart,

Enclosed in this package is the pamphlet on the Ashlander peoples which I was employed to put together at your request. I believe it should serve well your purpose of learning the seemingly barbaric ways of these peoples and make your negotiations with them run much smoother. I trust that your replying messenger will deliver the payment you promised in return for this favor.

Ashlanders: Anachronism of Morrowind


The past months and years I have dwelled with the groups of the nomadic Dunmer known as Ashlanders, learning their ways, their customs, their beliefs and their views. Though hesitant at first, they soon welcomed me into their yurts (the tent-like dwellings used by them) and allowed me to learn from them. Hopefully what has been learned will be of benifit to those others outside their tribes that wish to learn more or interact with them.


As is commonly known to all Dunmer, during the First Age of Tamriel, the Prophet Veloth led the group of Altmer from the Summerset Isles who would become the Chimer under the guidance of the Daedra Lords Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala. This group settled in the land which we now know as Morrowind. Over time, the group became divided and scattered and the high culture of the Velothi vanished, resulting in the formation of various tribes. In these early divided times, the tribes came to be under the harassment of the Nordic people, to cope with this issue, many of the divided tribes consolidated.

With this consolidation these new tribes where able to drive back the Nordic invaders. Eventually, these consolidated tribes gave up on their nomadic ways as well as their tradition of ancestor worship. These tribes began settling down in cities and creating more defined territories as well as taking up the worship of the Tribunal. These tribes over time evolved into the theocratic Great House culture which we see dominating Morrowind today.

But not all the tribes had consolidated and settled down, many tribes refused to give up their nomadic ways and their traditions of ancestor worship. These tribes would come to be known as the Ashlanders, an anachronistic survival of the ancestor-worshipping tribal culture.

Section 1, Ashlander Culture and Customs:

The Ashlander’s culture is one that is heavily influenced by is tribal nature. The Ashlanders prefer the impoverished physical culture and continually existing economy of the Ashland nomadic herder-hunter. They make their living through the herding of guar and shalk and the hunting of wild guar and other natural wildlife. They find pleasure in simpler things, and accept that they will not become rich by the standards of the Great Houses. Almost all of their belongings are derived from the environment. Their weapons, armors, and even clothes are all organic and of simple design. A pure pleasure is found in hunting, in taking thier time, sneaking up on their prey and surprising it with a swift, silent arrow. This reflects much on what is taught to them by the daedra which they follow (as they view the daedra as their ancestors) with Boethiah teaching them to be quiet and patient and cunning. Though they are able to find all they desire in hunting and herding, the Ashlanders will often involve themselves in trading with travellers and the Great Houses, usually in simple items such as guar hides and shalk resins but sometimes times even trading such things as ebony.

In their relations with other tribes, by tradition Ashlanders claim the right to raid other Ashlander tribes, and non-Ashlander settlements, for booty and slaves. This raiding is generally done to prove strength, as well as to gain goods and respect. Even though they claim this right, the Ashlanders will not usually attack such folk as traveling traders, caravans and goods shipments unless they feel that the persons involved had wronged them in some way. When feuds between tribes arise, they may be settled by the champions of the tribes, however wars sometimes do occur. They have strong militaristic and authoritarian traditions founded in their ancestor worship and when war erupts almost all members of the tribe, not just the champions and warriors, participate in the fighting. Usual weapons for Ashlanders are made of chitin, these being basic bows, spears, swords, daggers and the like. The Ashlanders are also excellent fighters while in their own territory, even outmatching the Empires legions. Wars are typically avoided for the most part, mainly due to the fact that the Ashlanders are very few and the lives of their people are too dear to waste, however they are extremely brave once in battle. This notion is fortified by the second stanze of one of the Ashlander verses entitled "The Five Far Stars": "Yet never shall you have your rule over me./Never shall I tremble or flinch from your power./Never shall I yield my home and hearth./And from my tears shall spring forth/The flowers of grassland springs."

Among clan and kin, Ashlander courtesy is very proper and polite, though they quite easily take offense from outsiders. Outsiders are expected to be courteous, and leave if requested, though travellers are often welcomed so long as they share news of the outside world to pay for the tribes hospitality. If offended, the Ashlanders may attack. As a sign of courtesy, outsiders may provide gifts to the Ashlanders, sometimes the Ashlanders will even do outsiders the favor of naming a gift that they would desire. Among Ashlanders, a gift is a token of courtesy among strangers, and affection among friends. When strangers first enter the camp, a thoughtful gift is a sign that you are cautious, considerate, and aware of the other's wants and needs. Such is particularly useful for traders and travelers. Among friends, gifts are a private thing, presented subtly with great risks, for the gift is judged in how well it is tailored to the receiver. They are not offended by gifts of money and take them as tokens of deference and respect. Apart from the subtle gifts which are given within Ashlander cultures, some tribes also have traditions of passing on heirlooms, usually passed on by Askhans and Gulakhans. Such tokens are marks of power and distinction.

Ashlanders may challenge a stranger who enters a yurt without invitation, however forgiveness may be granted if the stranger leaves when asked. It is particularly inconsiderate to enter the yurt of an Ashkhan or Wise Woman without permission and it is seen as inconsiderate to enter a yurt unclean. Ashlander challenges are very solemn and serious things and not made lightly, however, challenges are sometimes made for sport. In this case it is acceptable to decline though 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.

If the outsider shows the proper courtesy and gains the trust of the tribe, it may be possible for them to be adopted into the tribe as a Clanfriend. To be adopted into the tribe, the outsider must undergo a harrowing. In a harrowing, the outsider is judged by the spirits and ancestors of the Ashlanders to see if they are worthy, if they pass the test, then they are accepted into the tribe. Once accepted as a Clanfriend of an Ashlander tribe, the accepted member may rest in any bed of that tribe. This position may be lost however if the accepted member harms or steals from another tribe member.

Ashlanders which are born into the tribe may also be cast out or choose to leave the tribe. Ashlanders which willingly leave the tribe are known by the House Dunmer as the Velothi. They are those of Ashlander stock who have abandoned nomadic life and settled among the native Dunmer. The Velothi are despised by their Ashlander cousins as weak and soft, while the House Dunmer look down upon the Velothi as an insignificant underclass. This use of the term 'Velothi' however should not be confused with the Ashlanders usage which refers to all Dunmer as the Velothi. Those that are cast out may form their own rogue camp, or sometimes become mabrigash, renegade witch-warrior women who practice dark magics. The mabrigash steal the vital essence of men in order to give themselves power and live in all women camps, save for the few men who are unlucky enough to be captured by them.   

Section 2, Ashlander Society:

The Ashlander society is comprised of nomadic camps which have portable huts of hides stretched on chitin frames which can be quickly dismantled and packed atop a guar when moving to new hunting grounds and grazing grounds for their guar and shalk. The ashkhan of the tribe has a much larger yurt, though the khan's hut is simply a larger, more elaborate version of a family hut. Some particular qualities exclusive to these Ashlander camps include reed windchimes, seemingly organic lanterns of varoius colors as well as decorative bug bowls.

Leaders in Ashlander society are known as ‘khans’, the chief khan being the Ashkhan. The Ashkhan is the greatest champion of the Ashlanders and serves as the chief and war leader of the tribe, as well as being the Warrior-Protector of the tribe's Ancestor cult. The position of Ashkhan is disignated by a primitive crown designed out of organic substance such as what appears to be chitin, dyed feathers and the like. It is also fairly common for higher ranking members such as khans to wear enchanted clothing or armor or use enchanted weapons, however it is quite uncommon for non-khans to use enchantments. Some Ashkhans choose to have adivsors apart from their Gulakhans and Wise Women such as wizards, though this seldom occurs in recent times.

Below the Ashkhan of the tribe is the Farseer. The Farseer is the wise woman or shaman of the tribe who gives counsel to the Ashkhan through arcane wisdom and prophecy; the wise woman or shaman is also known as the Oracle-Seer of the tribe’s Ancestor cult. During times when there is no Ashkhan and no Gulakhan there to become Ashkhan, a strong Farseer may take the position of Ashkhan for themself and take on the leadership of the tribe. They also serve as the memory of the tribe, most notably on such subjects as stories and prophecy, and serve to pass on the tribes legacies to its successors. Some wise woman have been known to have witch-warriors in their service.

Below the Farseers in Ashlander society are the Gulakhans. The Gulakhans serve as the chief warriors and champions of the tribe, protecting the honor of the tribe in peace and war. Apart from this they also give counsel to the Ashkhan in tribal affairs, and represent the tribe to guests and intruders. During troubling times when there is no Ashkhan and no Gulakhan to rise to the rank, lower members of the tribe such as Brothers, Initiates, etc may rise to the rank of Gulakhan while the Wise Woman leads the tribe. Below the Gulakhan is the Champion of the tribe, who has much of the same role as the Gulakhan. The ranks after the Champion follow as Guide, Clanholder, Initiate, Brother, Hearthfriend, and Clanfriend. Sometimes outlanders can be adopted into the tribe as a Clanfriend, but the trust of the tribe must first be won.

The majority of Ashlanders serve the tribe as scouts, herders or hunters, with each tribe also having a healer. As the Ashlanders are nomadic, the herds must be looked after and food must be hunted, but the herders and hunters are also charged with guarding the treasures of the land that nourish the Ashlanders and make them strong. The herders are responsible watching over the tribe's herds of guar and shalk as well as butchering them for their meat to feed the tribe. The herders will also tan the guar hides, render the shalk resins, and season the shalk shells. The craftsmen of the tribe will take these things and make the things the tribe needs as well as what they will sell to traders and other tribes; they will use the shalk resin to bind their chitin into weapons and armor.The herders and hunters will also serve as warriors beside the Ashkhans and Champions when war arises between tribes.

Section 3, Ashlander Religion:

The Ashlander people have no set religion, but rather practice shamanistic and primitive ancestor worship. This ancestor worship not only reveres forefathers, but the daedra as well, primarily Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala. In this ancestor worship there are various Ancestor cults, each Ashlander being born into the Ancestor cult of their clan. These cults are fairly simplistic in structure. The cults are led by their ashkhan war chiefs and are guided by an Oracle-Seer, a wise woman with the gift of prophecy who is protected by a group of holy warrior-heroes, the chief being the Warrior-Protector of the cult (generally synonymous with the Ashkhan of the tribe). The wise women are seen as the guardians of secret knowledge, spirit guides and seers into the world unseen who act as counselors to the tribe and its leaders. The dream visions and prophecies of the wise women are a respected tradition in Ashlander culture, the wise women and shamans take careful note of dreams and visions, passing on the tribe's legacies of vision and prophecy to their successors.

In their ancestor worship, the Ashlanders honor their dead. Extensive burial caverns are constructed by the Ashlanders in which to place the dead. These burial caverns are then guarded and looked over by the ancestor spirits of the Ashlanders. The Ashlanders claim that because of the dead they use to guard their caverns that they have been accused of necromancy, though they deny this on the grounds that it is their ancestors guarding their caverns and that there is a sacred honor in the ancestors faithfully protecting their living kin. As the Ashlanders worship their ancestors, they believe that there is no greater evil than necromancy, which they view as profaning the bones or spirits of their fathers.

The Ashlanders do not dwell on things which they have lost, but rather look foward with hope on what the future will bring from these losses. This idea is made apparent in the last line of the Ashlander verse "Words of the Wind" which state "I will not pray for that which I've lost/When my heart springs forth/From your soil, like a seed,/And blossoms anew beneath tomorrow's sun."

Also of note in Ashlander worship is the Nerevarine Cult. This is/was a rather small cult with only a few wise women with the gift of prophecy and a few holy warrior-heroes who guarded and protected the seers, however due to the motives of this particular cult it has been outlawed by both the Temple and the Empire. These laws and persecution of the cult are one of the reasons for the clandestine nature of the cult, a nature which makes it difficult to tell just how widespread the cult actually is. Even with these laws the cult persists among Ashlanders. This cult believes that the ancient Dunmer hero Nerevar will come once again and unite the Dunmer, restoring Morrowind to the Dunmer and the former greatness of the Velothi people along with the pure traditional life and faith of the nomads. Of reference to this are the monographs "Nerevar Moon-and-Star" (as well as various other documents which I have sent along as well). Only the future will tell if the Nerevarine will hold true to this prophecy of the Ashlanders.

Of further interesting note concerning Nerevar, the Wise Women tell tales of one Alandro Sul, a shield-companion of Nerevar. Apparently this Alandro Sul came to live with the Ashlanders after the death of Nerevar, eventually coming to leave behind a set of Wraithmail. This artifact has apparently been lost, but it is said that whoever wears the Wriathmail, or perhaps even uses just one Ringlet, will be endowed with the spirit of Alandro Sul and thus be possessed by him.

Section 4, Non-Ashlander Relations:


Ashlanders tend to dislike all foreigners as well as their fellow Dunmer which have given up the Ashlander ways. The Ashlanders wish for the foreigners to leave Morrowind, or at the very least to leave them in peace. Even though they harbor a harsh dislike for the Empire, no Ashlander is fool enough to make war against them, though if such a war might be won, many Ashlanders would most likely cheerfully give their lives to the cause.

In their dislike for foreigners, Ashlanders harbor particular biases against certain races. They believe the Altmer soft and foolish, having abandoned their ancestors and put their faith in buildings and sorcery. They view the Argonians as useless and the Khajiit as ignorant, superstitious and untrustworthy, both races being ones that their ancestors kept as slaves. The Ashlanders most dislike is reserved for the Nords and the Imperials, the Nords for stealing the lands of the Ashlanders in times past and the Imperials for forcing the Ashlanders to be their subjects. The Ashlanders do little in retaliation against the Imperials, deciding follow the ways taught to them by Boethiah, to be quiet, patient and cunning.

Of course the Ashlanders also dislike their fellow settled Dunmer as well as any Ashlander that gives up their ways to settle down. The Ashlanders believe themselves to be the only ones that have remained true to the sacred rites and customs of their forefathers. The House Dunmer have presumably become soft and abandoned traditional ancestor worship and the pure teachings of Veloth for the 'false' gods of the Tribunal as well as embraced the comforts of civilization that corrupted their High Elven ancestors; Ashlanders which have settled are also viewed in this way. The Ashlanders accuse almost all Dunmer Great Houses of stealing their lands and scorn the Great House Dunmer for giving into the Empire. They also withhold personal biases against them as well. They view the Telvanni as being ruled by old, evil wizards who are Daedra worshippers and necromancers. They view House Hlaalu as a pack of lying thieves. They say that Hlaalu sends their traders to try to trick them out of their treasure, and if the Hlaalu cannot trick them, that they send soldiers to drive them away from their lands. They have less resentment for the Redoran, as they believe some Redoran to be honorable, though they also believe some of the less honorable wish to steal their lands.

Section 5, Ashlander Tribes:

There are seemingly four major tribes of the Ashlanders, though there may very well be many smaller tribes scattered throughout the lands. These four tribes are the Ahemmusa, Erabenimsun, Urshilaku, and the Zainab.

The Ahemmusa tribe of Ashlanders resides in the Northern Grazelands region of Vvardenfell. In times past, the Ahemmusa had greater lands, but during the times of the blight much of this land was taken from them. The blight killed many of their herds and their game, leaving them with very little. The Ahemmusa are quite weak in arms and are a mild and peace loving people, taking shelter in the daedric ruin of Ald Daedroth when needed. Also as of recently they are without a proper Ashkhan, and rather their wise woman, Sinnammu Mirpal, is performing those duties.

The Erabenimsun tribe of Ashlanders resides in the Molag Mar region of Vvardenfell. In contrast to the Ahemmusa, the Erabenimsun are quite war-loving. They are seen as greedy and cruel by their fellow Ashlanders and are believed to not have respect for many Ashlander customs. Their wise woman is known as Manirai and their Ashkhan Han-Ammu.

The Urshilaku tribe of Ashlanders reside in the Ashlands and the West Gash regions of Vvardenfell, in what other tribes would view as good land. The chief of the Urshilaku is considered one of the braver and more respected war leaders among the Ashlanders, and is also the Warrior-Protector of the Nerevarine cult. The Urshilaku camp moves with their herds, but usually lies close to the Sea of Ghosts. Their wise woman is known as Nibani Maesa and their Ashkhan Sul-Matuul.

The Zainab tribe of Ashlanders reside in the lower Grazelands region of Vvardenfell, also in what other tribes would view as good land. By other Ashlanders they are viewed as proud, arrogant, and greedy as well as being likable rogues, strong and self-assured. Recently they have began trading ebony with the Great House Hlaalu. Their wise woman is known as Sonummu Zabamat and their Ashkhan Kaushad.


The Ashlanders are a people which believe themselves to be preserving the ancient Dunmer traditions of Ancestor worship and the nomadic lifestyle of their forefathers. They are quite disdainful of outsiders, though their trust can be won, even to the point of acceptance into their tribes. They are an easily offended group that will challenge if threatened or offended and are also very exeptional warriors expecially while on their own ground. It is advised that gifts are presented when visiting as a stranger and that the proper order of conduct is followed when speaking with the tribesmen, speaking first with the Gulakhans or Champion in order to recieve permission to speak with the Ashkhan or Wise Woman.

I hope that you find this to your satisfaction and that your future dealings may run smoothly. I have taken the liberty of sending along also a few related documents that you may find useful.

Signed and sealed,
Luagar Anulam, Herald of the Triune Way

Attatched Documents:
--The Five Far Stars
--Words of the Wind
--Nerevar Moon-and-Star
--The Real Nerevar
--Saint Nerevar
--Notes from Huleeya
--Nerevarine Cult Notes
--A Short History of Morrowind
--Vivec and Mephala
--Before the Ages of Man
--Ashlands Hymns