The Ashlanders, also called the Velothi after the prophet Veloth, are Dunmeri nomads that traditionally hail from Morrowind's wilderness. In the Merethic Era, Ashlanders and Dunmer were very much alike and on equal footing, but since the days of the First Council and rise of the Great Houses, they have steadily been forced into the poorest and most hostile lands. They travel along with their herds, camping wherever is suitable. Additional resources gained by hunting the local wildlife are used to manufacture huts, armors, clothing and general household items. Ashlander culture is the remains of the ancestor-worshipping tribal culture which the "civilized" Dunmer left behind.
Unlike the settled Dunmer of the Great Houses, they did not acknowledge the power of the Tribunal; rather, they believed the Tribunal betrayed Lord Nerevar at the Battle of Red Mountain, and that they were kept alive by magical means not unlike necromancy. The Tribunal's disappearance and the disastrous Red Year of 4E 5 eventually led other Dunmer to abandon widespread Tribunal worship and to appreciate the Ashlanders for preserving their heritage.
According to late Third Era accounts, before their vindication in the eyes of the civilized Dunmer, the Ashlanders were very xenophobic, shunning all outlanders, and were known to be aggressive towards foreigners in their lands. However, if an outlander performs a good deed for an Ashlander clan, he may be named Clanfriend, and thus be adopted into the tribe.
The Ashlanders of Vvardenfell are divided into four clans: the Ahemmusa tribe of the Azura's Coast region, the Erabenimsun tribe of the Molag Amur region, the Urshilaku tribe of the Ashlands and West Gash regions (strong believers in the Nerevarine Cult), and the Zainab tribe of the Grazelands region. They are often at odds with each other. There are also tribes living on the mainland, such as the Kagesh and Ulath of Stonefalls, the Vereansu of Deshaan, and the Mabrigash of the Vale of the Ghost Snake. Each clan is traditionally led by an Ashkhan, whereas the spiritual leadership lies with the Wise Woman. The secrets of the Wise Women are passed from one generation onto the other. Several prophecies, in the form of verses such as the Stranger, have survived throughout the years. Many others are believed to have been distorted or lost, but, as rumor will have it, the Dissident Priests may have recorded them and thus preserved them for posterity. The Wise Women of the Ashlander clans interpret dreams as prophecies, another major difference with the Tribunal Temple. All Ashlanders in a tribe, young and small, are born into the Ancestor cult of their clan; the Nerevarine Cult is a different, small cult with the Ashlander tradition.
If an Ashlander commits a crime against another member of a clan, he will be cast out of the clan. These outcasts have small camps in isolated areas; they often either become laborers in the mines or resort to banditry. Ashlanders in general are very proud, and they do not like to admit to things that shame them, especially the men; it is suspected that these tendencies may have contributed to their reputation amongst other Dunmer for being untrustworthy liars. Their internal culture is very polite, but they hate foreigners and have been known to be aggressive towards them (even though one of their own forgotten prophecies claimed the Nerevarine would be a foreigner).
Ashlanders think it shameful to attack unarmed persons, but they will kill without hesitation an armed person who offends them or their clan laws. Those who do not know their customs risk offending them just by speaking. Challenges for sport can be declined without shame, but not challenges for honor. Honor challenges come from perceived offenses or arise from customary formal challenges of status or ritual. Ashlanders may challenge a stranger who enters a yurt without invitation; customs differ with different tribes, but polite visitors who leave when requested may be forgiven. Gift-giving is particularly important in their culture. Among Ashlanders, a gift is a token of courtesy among strangers, and affection among friends. A thoughtful gift signals the giver is cautious, considerate, and aware of the receiver's wants and needs.
Following the disastrous Red Year, widespread worship of the Tribunal ended. In its place the former Dissident Priests took full control of the Temple and sought to reinstate worship of the "Anticipations" (Azura, Mephala, and Boethiah) as the "New Temple". Fittingly, the daedra were dubbed the "Reclamations", as if they were reclaiming their status from the Tribunal. The rise of this New Temple almost completely vindicated the previously persecuted Ashlanders, who had persevered in worshipping in the three daedra for millennia. Amongst the Dunmer, the Ashlanders are lauded for having the "true vision" to keep true to the old ways. It is now quite common for many Dunmer to make the arduous pilgrimages into the ash wastes to seek the counsel of the Wise Women, who have done much to dispel Tribunal worship. They directly connect the eruption of the Red Mountain and the Argonian invasion to the anger of the three daedra.
- For game specific information, see the Morrowind article.
- The Anticipations by Anonymous — Overview of the members of and the relationship between the Tribunal and the Daedra
- Ashland Hymns — This is a volume of folk verses collected from Ashlanders. "Wondrous Love" is from the Urshilaku Ashlanders of the northern Ashlands
- The Battle of Red Mountain by Vivec — The story of the Battle of Red Mountain and the Nerevarine Prophecies from Vivec's perspective
- Before the Ages of Man by Aicantar of Shimerene — Chronicles the major events of the Dawn and Merethic Eras
- The Changed Ones — Story of how Boethiah refuted Trinimac
- Damyn Andrano, Innkeep by Damyn Andrano — Advice on dealing with Ashlanders
- The Five Far Stars by Zershishi Mus-Manul — Ashlander poetry
- The Importance of Where by Marobar Sul — Book 3 of an incomplete series of fictional stories about the Dwemer
- The Lost Prophecy by Gilvas Barelo — One of the Nerevarine Prophecies
- Nerevar at Red Mountain by the Tribunal Temple — A scholarly description of the events surrounding the Battle at Red Mountain and its aftermath
- Nerevar Moon-and-Star — An Imperial scholarly work on the legend of Indoril Nerevar
- Progress of Truth by the Dissident Priests — A book questioning the doctrine of the Tribunal and even its godhood
- The Reclamations by Thara of Rihad — An account of changes in the Dunmer religion following the end of the Tribunal
- Words of the Wind — A volume of verse collected from Ashlander wise women
- Legend of the Ghost Snake by Bonorion the Wanderer — Observations on the Mabrigash tribe
- Guide to Vvardenfell
- Notes from Huleeya — Huleeya
- Events of Morrowind.
- Note from the Archcanon
- The Reclamations: The Fall of the Tribunal and the Rise of the New Temple — Thara of Rihad
- The History of Raven Rock, Volume I — Lyrin Telleno
- A Short History of Morrowind — Jeanette Sitte
- Nerevarine cult notes — Sharn gra-Muzgob
- Zainsubani's Notes — Hassour Zainsubani
- Events of ESO.
- The Five Far Stars — Zershishi Mus-Manul
- The Lost Prophecy — Gilvas Barelo
- Mehra Milo's dialogue in Morrowind.
- Elder Othreloth's dialogue in Dragonborn.