They claim to be the direct descendants of the Aldmeri peoples who followed the prophet Veloth into the lands now called Morrowind. They live in camps of small, mobile huts, herding guar, and hunting wildlife for meat and hides. By tradition, the Ashlanders claim the right to raid other settlements and other tribes for plunder and slaves. The Ashlanders worship their ancestors and are led by their Ashkhan, or warchiefs, and are counseled by the arcane wisdom and prophecies of their wise women.
The Velothi are people of Ashlander stock who have abandoned nomadic life and settled among the native Dunmer. The Velothi are despised by their Ashlander cousins as being weak and soft, while the Dunmer look down upon the Velothi as an insignificant underclass.
The Ashlander culture is an anachronistic survival of the ancestor worshipping tribal culture that evolved into the theocratic Great House culture of the native Dunmer. They see the worship of living Dunmer, the practice of Morrowind's main religious organization, the Tribunal Temple, as an abomination. The Nerevarine Cult can be seen as such an ancestor cult.
The Ashlanders prefer the lifestyle of the Ashlander nomadic herder or hunter, and their ancestor worship is shamanistic and primitive by Dunmer and Imperial standards.
Ashlander nomadic camps have portable huts of hides stretched on chitin frames. These huts can be quickly dismantled and packed atop a guar when moving to new grazing and hunting grounds. The khan's hut is simply a larger, more elaborate version of a family hut.
Most Ashlanders wish all foreigners and their false gods could be driven from Morrowind. At the very least, Ashlanders wish that the foreign devils would leave them in peace. Ashlanders think it shameful to attack unarmed persons but will kill without hesitation an armed person who offends them or their clan laws. No Ashlander is foolish enough to make war against the Empire; however, if such a war might be won, many Ashlanders would no doubt cheerfully give their lives to do it.
Among clan and kin, Ashlander courtesy is very proper and polite, but to strangers, they are mean and hateful. Ashlander challenges are very solemn and serious things. Ashlanders are not offended by gifts of money and take them as tokens of deference and respect.
Ashlanders may challenge a stranger who enters a yurt without invitation. Customs differ with different tribes. For example, leave when requested and you may be forgiven. When challenged for sport, it is acceptable to decline; however, when challenged for honor, it is shameful to decline. A challenge for one's honor is mostly the result of offensive actions or acts of speech. It is also worth noting that these challenges of honor may also represent customary formal challenges of status or ritual.
The Erabenimsun tribe lives in the region of Molag Mar and are considered to love themselves and their weapons above everything else. Their Ashkhan, Ulath-Pal, is cruel and ambitious. In contrast, their Wise Woman, Manirai, is more cautious and reasonable.
The Urshilaku tribe live in the northern Ashlands and West Gash. Their Ashkhan is Sul-Matuul and their Wise Woman is Nibani Maesa. They are the tribe most closely connected to the Nerevarine Cult, as a matter of fact, their Ashkhan is the warrior-protector of the cult, and their Wise Woman is its seer.
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The Mabrigash are witch-warriors who live on the fringes of Ashlander society. Former wise-women who have defied the patriarchal rules of behavior that govern their culture, practicing forbidden Ghost Snake magic, and are thus outcasts.[source?]
- The rankings "Gulakhan" and "Ashkhan" are also similar to the title "Khan" in Central Asian culture.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- The Elder Scrolls Legends: Houses of Morrowind