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The Nerevarine Cult
This Ashlander religious cult follows prophecies of a Nerevar reborn to honor ancient promises to the tribes, to reestablish the traditions of the Prophet Veloth, to cast down the false gods of the Tribunal Temple, and to drive all outlanders from Morrowind. Both Temple and Empire outlaw the cult, but it persists among the Ashlanders, despite Imperial and Temple repression. Because it is persecuted, it remains a secret cult, and it is hard to judge how widespread it is among the Ashlanders, or whether it has any following outside the Ashlander tribes.
The Ashlanders firmly believe that Nerevar will return to restore the glories of ancient Resdayn. [Morrowind was called 'Resdayn' before the Imperial Occupation.] The Ashlanders say the Great Houses and the Temple have abandoned the pure teachings of the Prophet Veloth, forsaking ancestor worship for the false gods of the Tribunal, and embracing the comforts of civilization that corrupted the High Elves. The Temple, on the other hand, venerates Saint Nerevar, but rejects the disgusting notion that the False Incarnate will walk the earth like a ghoul.
The Temple honors Saint Nerevar as the greatest Dunmer general, First Councilor, and companion of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, who united the Dunmer Houses to destroy the evil Dwemer, the treacherous House Dagoth, and their Western allies at Red Mountain. But the Ashlanders say Nerevar promised to honor the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and that he will come again to honor that promise. To the Ashlanders, this means destroying the false Temple and driving the Imperial invaders from the land.
Dream visions and prophecies are a respected tradition in Ashlander culture. Their wise women and shamans take careful note of dreams and visions, and pass on the tribe's legacies of vision and prophecy to their successors. By contrast, the Temple and the Western faiths are suspicious of mysticism, and they regard interpretation of dreams and visions as primitive superstition.
The most common version of the Nerevarine Prophecy is THE STRANGER. The verses are obscure, as are most prophecies. But two observations are in order.
First, many less-well-informed scholars assume that the phrase "journeyed far 'neath moon and star" is just a cliche to suggest a very long journey, but the Nerevar of legend was known to possess a magical ring named "One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star," upon which Nerevar is supposed to have sworn his promise to honor ancient Ashlander traditions and land rights.
Second, the reference to "seven curses" must certainly refer to the lost prophetic verses known to the Ashlanders as the SEVEN CURSES.
When earth is sundered, and skies choked black,
And sleepers serve the seven curses,
To the hearth there comes a stranger,
Journeyed far 'neath moon and star.
Though stark-born to sire uncertain
His aspect marks his certain fate.
Wicked stalk him, righteous curse him.
Prophets speak, but all deny.
Many trials make manifest
The stranger's fate, the curses' bane.
Many touchstones try the stranger
Many fall, but one remains.
Ashlander elders complain of prophecies which have been lost to tribal memory due to the carelessness or ineptitude of earlier generations of wise women and ashkhans. Suspicious scholars wonder whether these prophecies might have been deliberately forgotten or suppressed. Three Nerevarine prophecies in particular are said to have been lost: 1. The Lost Prophecies; 2. The Seven Curses; and 3. Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate. Perhaps these lost prophecies will someday be found, either in forgotten accounts written by literate travelers, or in the memories of isolated Ashlanders, or in the secret traditions of the wise women and shamans.