Ashlanders, or Velothi, are mostly nomadic tribes of Dunmer, found in the most inhospitable lands in Morrowind, generally the wastes of Vvardenfell. Their way of life is very different from that of the House Dunmer, having changed little from the time of the prophet Veloth in the Merethic Era.
The Ashlanders claim descent from the original followers of Veloth, who left the Summerset Isles to settle Vvardenfell in the Merethic Era, and, in time gave birth to the Great House culture. There a belief that the Ashlanders built stone settlements and then abandoned them at a later juncture, but the truth of this is unclear.
The invasion of the Nords in the First Era drove the Ashlanders to consolidate from many tribes into a few more powerful entities, which became the precursors to the Great Houses of Morrowind. Following the formation of the Great Houses, the Dunmer population began to settle, and the numbers of nomadic Ashlanders declined. Those that remained were pushed into the poorest lands on and around Vvardenfell. Nonetheless, relations between the two peoples remained cordial thanks to the work of Indoril Nerevar, who united the Great Houses and Ashlander tribes to drive the Nords from Resdayn.
After the Battle of Red Mountain, the newly-formed Tribunal Temple, which deified the mortal Tribunal of Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil, estranged the Ashlanders further, who grew to hate the new religion, which persecuted them. The Ashlanders came to harbor a belief, associated with Alandro Sul, that the Tribunal attained their powers not through godly effort but profane sorcery, and that Nerevar had been murdered but would return as prophesied by Azura.
During the Interregnum, the Ashkhan Chodala, who had fought the Akaviri, siphoned off some of Vivec's power into a staff, aiming to use its power to become the prophecied Nerevarine and unite the Ashlanders. However, the Vestige revealed that, through his lack of faith in good counsel, Chodala was not the Nerevarine.
Ashlanders are arranged into tribes, which are primarily nomadic but some of which have semi-permanent settlements in the regions across Vvardenfell, in addition to some possibly permanent settlements on mainland Morrowind. These include:
- The Ahemmusa Camp in Azura's Coast
- The Erabenimsun Camp in Molag Amur
- The Urshilaku Camp in West Gash
- The Zainab Camp in the Grazelands
- The Mabrigash of Deshaan
- The Kagesh of Stonefalls
- The Ulath of Stonefalls
Ashlanders primarily graze herds of livestock, as well as hunting, fishing and foraging where they can. Some tribes trade with the Great House Dunmer, primarily materials which their animals produce for things that they cannot make from their herds.
Each tribe is led by an Ashkhan, who is typically the tribe's strongest warrior. The Ashkhan will have either one or several gulakhans functioning as deputies and dealing with outsiders on behalf of the Ashkhan. The position of gulakhan can be hereditary, and in the event of the death of an Ashkhan his successor is typically chosen from among the gulakhans.
The spiritual wellbeing of each tribe is looked after by the Wise Woman, who provides healing and counsel to the tribe. They are also the historians of the tribes, retaining each tribe's oral tradition and passing it down through the generations. Generally, when a Wise Woman dies without passing on their history, that tribe's knowledge is lost. They also retain a good deal of the tribes' oral traditions, with much Ashlander poetry coming from them or collected by them.
Ashlanders have very strict customs relating to how foreigners, people and things are to be handled. The giving of gifts between both friends and strangers out of respect is common, although giving the wrong gift can be risky, even among friends.
Outsiders are typically not welcome in Ashlander's yurts, although most Ashlanders consider killing an unarmed stranger shameful, and most will let them leave with only a reprimand. Hospitality is formally granted by a member of the tribe, and is then something that cannot be violated without bringing shame to the tribe.  True friendship with the Ashlanders, however, is marked by the declaration of being "Clanfriend." A Clanfriend is made only after a ritual known as the harrowing, whereby the outsider is judged by the ancestors of the tribe.
In contrast to the Dunmer of the Great Houses, Ashlanders continued to worship the Daedra Azura, Mephala and Boethiah and their ancestors after the apotheosis of the Tribunal. In addition to the worship of the Daedra, each tribe has its own cult which venerates its own ancestors. These cults have a negative view of the Tribunal, who they view as false gods who killed Nerevar. Their religion emphasizes mysticism and personal revelation, and the tribes and Wise Women hold much stock in dreams and visions, another point of difference from the Temple.
The Nerevarine CultEdit
Following the death of Nerevar and the apotheosis of the Tribunal, many Ashlanders believed that he would return and drive outlanders from Morrowind, as prophesied by Azura. The Tribunal Temple has always threatened any believers in the Nerevarine Cult with death or imprisonment, even if the Ashlanders' continued veneration of the Daedra was tolerated. Due to their stated goal to drive all outlanders from Morrowind, however, the Empire considered them hostile, and did not stop the Ordinators' violent suppression of the cult. As a result, the Nerevarine Cult was forced underground even among Ashlanders, and its true size was difficult to gauge. By 3E 427, the persecution had been reduced to a small following, which only held influence among the Urshilaku tribe.
Following the events surrounding the emergence of the Nerevarine, the Ashlanders were considered by the Temple hierarchy, particularly the Dissident Priests, as "guardians of the true way." In the New Temple, Wise Women are commonly sought out by pilgrims for their guidance in the faith.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Notes from Huleeya
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Zainsubani's Notes
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Before the Ages of Man - Aicantar of Shimerene
- ↑ The Fall of Trinimac - The Faithless One
- ↑ Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part III - Marobar Sul
- ↑ A Short History of Morrowind - Jeanette Sitte
- ↑ War of the First Council
- ↑ Nerevar at Red Mountain - Tribunal Temple
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Conoon Chodala
- ↑ Chodala's Writings - Chodala
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Guide to Vvardenfell
- ↑ Legend of the Ghost Snake - Bonorion the Wanderer
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Ashlander Tribes and Customs - Ulran Releth
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Ashlander Wise Women - Jiuba Rothalen
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Sul-Matuul
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Han-Ammu
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Manirai
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Nibani Maesa
- ↑ The Five Far Stars
- ↑ Words of the Wind
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Savants
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Kaushad
- ↑ Progress of Truth
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 26.2 Nerevarine Cult Notes - Sharn gra-Muzgob
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - dialogue with Hassour Zainsubani
- ↑ The Reclamations - Thara of Rihad