[The following are Huleeya's notes for Caius Cosades.]
In First Era barbaric Dunmer culture, settled Dunmer clans (the Great Houses) and nomadic Dunmer tribes (like the Ashlanders) were roughly equal in numbers and wealth. Under the civilized peace of the Grand Council, and with the strong central authority of the Temple, the economic and military power of the settled Dunmer quickly outstripped that of the nomadic Dunmer. The nomadic Dunmer were marginalized into the poorest, most hostile land, in particular, into the Vvardenfell wastes. For the Ashlanders, the return of a reincarnated Nerevar represents a longed for and largely romanticized Golden Age of Nerevar's Peace, when the nomadic tribes enjoyed equality with the settled Dunmer, and before the Dunmer people had for the most part abandoned traditional ancestor worship for the autocratic theocracy of the Tribunal Temple.
This is the story of Nerevar as an Ashlander might tell it.
In ancient days, the Deep Elves and a great host of outlanders from the West came to steal the land of the Dunmer. In that time, Nerevar was the great khan and warleader of the House People, but he honored the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and became as one of us. So, when Nerevar pledged upon his great Ring of the Ancestors, One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, to honor the ways of the Spirits and rights of the Land, all the Tribes joined the House People to fight a great battle at Red Mountain. Though many Dunmer, Tribesman and Houseman, died at Red Mountain, the Dwemer were defeated and their evil magicks destroyed, and the outlanders driven from the land. But after this great victory, the power-hungry khans of the Great Houses slew Nerevar in secret, and, setting themselves up as gods, neglected Nerevar's promises to the Tribes. But it is said that Nerevar will come again with his ring, and cast down the false gods, and by the power of his ring will make good his promises to the Tribes, to honor the Spirits and drive the outsiders from the land.
The Tribunal Temple regards the mysticism and prophecy of the Nerevarine cult as primitive superstition. The Ashlander Ancestor cults and the Nerevarines in particular have always decried the worship of living Dunmer as abominations, suspecting the unnatural lifetimes of the Tribunal to be signs of profane sorcery or necromancy. Though the authoritarian and intolerant Temple priesthood has always been inclined to tolerate Ashlander ancestor cult practices, they have always threatened Nerevarine claimants with death or imprisonment. And while generally tolerant of various cult worships, the Imperial Commission of the Occupation outlaws cults hostile to the Emperor and the Empire, and threatens members of such cults with imprisonment or death. The Ordinators are allowed a free hand when dealing with outlawed cults like the Nerevarines.
In the past, others have claimed to be the reincarnated Nerevar of prophecy. The most recent is known as Peakstar, a mysterious figure who has reportedly appeared and disappeared among the Wastes tribes over the last 30 years. The Temple notes that these False Incarnates discredit the Nerevarine prophecies. Singularly, and illogically, the Ashlanders acknowledge a history of false claimants, calling them "Failed Incarnates," but they regard them as proof of the validity of the prophecies, rather than contradiction. Among the Nerevarines there is a fable of a Cavern of the Incarnates, where the spirits of the Failed Incarnates dwell. The Nerevarine cult is a mystical cult, and it glorifies, rather than shrinks from, contradictions.