Lore:West Gash

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West Gash
Type Region
Continent Tamriel
Province Morrowind
Appears in Morrowind, ESO
A typical view of the West Gash region
Map of the West Gash

The West Gash is one of Vvardenfell's largest contiguous areas, stretching from the city of Balmora and the Odai River, to the northwest coastline around historically Redoran-owned settlements (i.e., Gnisis, Ald Velothi and Khuul) The region is mostly rocky shrubland throughout the interior, marked by natural rocky bridges and arches, as well as the sparse highland along the north coast.[1] The land between the Salothran Ancestral Tomb to the north, to Caldera and later Balmora to the south is a long stretch of land that separates the Bitter Coast from the Ashlands like a gash in the earth.[2]


Early History & Tribunal Myth[edit]

Vivec and the Ruddy Man

According to Tribunal Temple mythology, the West Gash was the result of an epic battle between the Warrior-Poet, Vivec and the Ruddy Man, the fifth monster that escaped the warrior's spear, Muatra.[3] As the story dictates, a Velothi boy from Gnisis found the monster's carapace and became possessed by it. Vivec found the boy near his home village and their resulting duel created an upheaval of the land that created the West Gash. Pilgrims that travel down the land site will hear sounds from the battle.[4] The temple built the Shrine of Valor where the battle took place, in the old sea cave, Koal Cave. Pilgrims are advised to bring dreugh's wax to the shrine as a token to Vivec's victory.[5] In another story in Vivec's sermons, the Warrior-Poet had to fight the Flute-and-Pipe Ogres of the West Gash, another of the many factions stirred up by the Dwemer while they prepared for the War of the First Council.[6]

Both the Chimer and Dwemer had lived in the region since antiquity, long before the Tribunal Temple was ever established. In the late Merethic Era, High Velothi Culture had come to a rapid decline and the Chimer decided to settle next to the abandoned Velothi towers throughout the region. The Chimer that would later create Gnisis settled south of the old tower, Arvs-Drelen, next to the River Samsi's estuary. The Chimer that settled in these settlements would become the House Dunmer while those that cling to their nomadic roots became the Ashlanders.[7] The Urshilaku Tribe have lived in the northern West Gash for years.[8] The earliest examples of Dwemer colonies also date here[7] but unlike the southeast, the Dwemer left barely a footnote in the West Gash, however, there are a couple of examples. The ruins of Arkngthunch-Sturdumz sits on the northwest point of the island, next to the Inner Sea's western entrance. Its name translates to the "Graveyard of the Ghost Invaders" in Dwemeris.[9] Other than that, the only other Dwemer ruin in the region is Bethamez, located deep in the Gnisis Kwama Mine. It was discovered in the late Third Era.[10]

The West Gash has a wide variety of ancient Velothi landmarks such as ancestral tombs, and Daedric shrines. Since at least King Wulfharth's reign over Skyrim in the early First Era, the temples, Ashalmawia and Maelkashishi were active settlements. Ambassadors from these temples traveled to the compound, Assurnabitashpi for the wake of Mordrin Hanin. Many of the guests were killed during the ninth day of mourning in Hanin's attempt to bring them with him to the afterlife.[11] The ancestral tombs in the West Gash are noteworthy for their status and ancient history. Seven of the thirty revered families of Vvardenfell (Ginith, Rethandus, Salothran, Seran, Telvayn, Tharys, and Uveran) are located throughout the region.[12] The Salothan family was a warrior clan that fought in an important and monumental battle but barely left a footnote in history.[13] The Elves of House Hleran are an ancient family that traces their origin to the Ashlander folk-hero, Dranoth Hleran, who slew the Emperor Crab, Skar and united the four major tribes.[14] The Veloth Clan have a long and prominent history with Vvardenfell and also claim to descend from the prophet, Veloth the Pilgrim.[15]

The West Gash in the Second Era[edit]

The Kudanat Ebony Mine

Vvardenfell by the Second Era is lightly populated, except for the four ashlander tribes. The northwest portion of the island was taken over by House Redoran at the behest of the Great House Dunmer in Blacklight. They were sent there to exploit the land of its resource[16] but eventually by 2E 582, House Redoran had expanded their control of Vvardenfell from the Gnisis region, all the way south toward Balmora and Suran.[17]

Begrudgingly, however, the Redoran were forced to employ their rivals House Hlaalu to build these settlements and even trade. So even though their power extended to roughly half of the island, Balmora and Suran are noticeably built in the Hlaalu style than the Redoran shell design, and the Hlaalu now had a larger foothold than previously in Seyda Neen.[17] In that time also, the Circle of Champions built a camp near the West Gash's wayshrine to the ruins, Ularra, where they engaged in arena combat.[18]

House Redoran acquired complete control of the West Gash, from Balmora to the coast. On the road north of the city, they built a large compound, and slowly but surely, they expanded their territory north into the environs of the West Gash. At some point in the mid-Second Era, House Redoran took control of the land north of the Caldera Crater[19] and opened with great fanfare, the Kudanat Mine for its promising ebony veins. It later became evident that the ore in Kudanat was shallow and the mine's hype was soon played out.[20] House Redoran was forced to leave the area when an ash storm blew over and in their absence, the Zainab Tribe took it over.[19] Not long after, the Redoran nobleman, Ulran Releth sought refuge with them after he was exiled by his house in Balmora.[21]

The Redoran Garrison
Khartag Point

By orders of Ulran's father, Councilor Eris Releth ordered his captain, Brivan Malrom to displace the Ashlanders around Kudanat Mine,[22] unaware that his son was hiding there. Captain Brivan led his mercenaries, Ferhara's Warclaws to the mine and blindly slaughtered them.[22] Ulran tried to talk them out of it but he was killed amid the chaos.[23] All the while, his sister, Veya Releth went missing, trying to find her brother. She eventually found her body and memory stone in the hollow Kudanat Mine and set forth her plans for revenge against the captain and her father.[24]

As the Redoran Council assembled at the Redoran Garrison north of Balmora, Veya attacked the garrison and slaughtered her way to the meeting. In her wake, she killed her father and the captain until she was put down by her mentor, Naryu Virian and her associate. Because she killed without a writ, the Morag Tong would put Veya to death but with the help of the Redoran High Councilor, the whole situation was swept under the rug and Veya escaped to the Summerset Isles.[25]

By the mid-Second Era, a group of Orcish abolitionists called the Ropefish started making the rounds across the entire island while they set their base on a sea cave in the West Gash. They would liberate slaves from places such as the Sadrith Mora region and put them on a boat to the mainland. Eventually, they caught the attention of the Camonna Tong syndicate and a meeting was arranged with the Ropefish leader, Khartag. That meeting went awry and the Camonna Tong, led by Avrusa Duleri attacked the cave. Despite the resistance, the Ropefish were unable to withstand the assault and Khartag was at his wit's ends. An adventurer traveled through the battlefield and rescued anyone they came across. Ultimately, they defeated the Camonna Tong commander but were unable to save Khartag's life. Defeated, but undeterred, the Ropefish continued their operations[26] while Khartag became a local hero to the Orcish people. The cave and rocky promontory that he called home were now called Khartag Point and became a famous pilgrimage spot for Orcs.[27]

Vvardenfell's Expansion and the Caldera Land Grab[edit]

The Raw Ebony deposits of Caldera

Tiber Septim's invasion over Morrowind was interrupted when the Armistice solidified the province's integration into the Third Empire. One of the treaty's terms was to mark Vvardenfell as a temple preserve protected by Imperial authority. It was previously undeveloped and unpopulated, except for the ashlander tribes and Great House settlements sanctioned by the Temple. However, several years later in 3E 414, King Athyn Llethan revoked the Temple's ban, causing a vast flood of Imperial colonists and House Dunmer to come and expand on the territory.[28]

The land grab for the West Gash between the Hlaalu and Redoran ended with both parties acquiring familiar territory. House Hlaalu managed to take over Balmora, as well as Vvardenfell's southern tier (i.e., Seyda Neen and Suran),[29] while House Redoran regained most of the West Gash from Gnisis to the coast, and even more with Ald'ruhn and Maar Gan in the Ashlands.[30] The Redoran Council had split the West Gash politically three-ways,[31] from the West Gash around Gnisis, which was ruled by Councilor Hlaren Ramoran.[32] The North Gash, which was governed by Councilor Miner Arobar and the South Gash, which was governed by Councilor Athyn Sarethi.[31]

Despite the spread of their newfound territory, the Great Houses squabbled for more land, especially land that intersected between them. The biggest example of this was the land grab for Caldera and the crater in the mountains. In 3E 427, the land was acquired by the Caldera Mining Company, a company chartered by the Empire that was granted a monopoly to extract the raw ebony while working with House Hlaalu.[33] House Redoran believed that Caldera sat in territory that was rightfully theirs and because the company was hired by the Empire, they could not start a House War for it. Meanwhile, they were suspicious that the Hlaalu Governor, Odral Helvi, who oversaw the town was corrupted.[34] Odral Helvi was extracting ebony that was not reported to the Empire for his project called the Ashlands Management Fund.[35] It is unknown if he was caught, but House Redoran sent one of their agents to find evidence of their corruption.[36]

In that same year, the Redoran noble, Arethan Mandas went crazy when his daughter was kidnapped by the Telvanni lord, Divayth Fyr. Amid this crisis, Mandas fled to the cave, Milk and proclaimed himself, the "Lord of West Gash". He managed to gain a following of brigands and demanded tribute from travelers on the road toward Maar Gan. Lord Athyn Sarethi sent a lawman of House Redoran to deal with the Mad Lord of Milk. Arethan's reign was put to an end, but it is unknown if he was cured of his madness or if he was killed in action.[37]

The West Gash in the Fourth Era[edit]

When Red Mountain erupted in 4E 5, the entire island of Vvardenfell was destroyed by the waves of lava coming from the fire cone. The West Gash was obliterated in the wake of the destruction. The town, Gnisis was plowed over by the lava and its people were burned alive, even unaware of what was happening. One of the only things left from the town was the resident, Neria Relethyl, who passed out on the Samsi's riverbed and managed to avoid the fire. She recovered two days after in the Temple of Azura in Blacklight and essentially found Gnisis had been wiped off the face of Tamriel.[38] The widespread destruction was reported all over the province and many mourned the loss of loved ones in cities such as Balmora. Balmora was barely recognizable but a relief effort led by House Redoran from Mournhold was sent to repair the city and other settlements hit the hardest. It took roughly two months or so for the town to recover.[39]

Notable Locales[edit]

West Gash's wayshrine
The second largest city on Vvardenfell and the seat of power for the Great House Hlaalu in the district.
A medium-sized town owned by the Great House Redoran and occupied by the Velothi, Ashlanders that settled to life as a House Dunmer.
An Imperial charter town that was founded in the late Third Era by the Caldera Mining Company. It is built in the Western Imperial style and is comprised of colonials.
Caldera Crater
A large crater in the mountains of southwest Vvardenfell. It has a large vein of raw ebony that is prized by the Great Houses.
Khartag Point
A rock formation that is famous to the local Orcs. It was named after an Orcish champion and it later became the site of a statue dedicated to Boethiah.
Koal Cave
A holy site to the Tribunal Temple, where Vivec fought the Ruddy Man and confiscated his carapace.
Veloth Ancestral Tomb
The tomb of an ancient family with prominent ties to the province's history.



  • The Mossy Netch is a greenish-type of Netch that lives in the West Gash. Compared to other types of Netch, they are timid and docile, and will sometimes follow people that smell like their favorite fungi.[40]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Guide to Vvardenfell
  2. ^ West Gash location in Morrowind
  3. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 18Vivec
  4. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 28Vivec
  5. ^ The Pilgrim's PathTribunal Temple
  6. ^ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 31Vivec
  7. ^ a b Before the Ages of ManAicantar of Shimerene
  8. ^ Ashlander Tribes and CustomsUlran Releth of House Redoran
  9. ^ Arkngthunch-Sturdumz loading screen text in ESO: Morrowind
  10. ^ Bethamez faction quest in Morrowind
  11. ^ Hanin's Wake
  12. ^ Ancestral Tombs of the Thirty Revered FamiliesLibrarian Bradyn
  13. ^ Ivulen Andromo's dialogue in ESO: Morrowind
  14. ^ Dranoth Hleran's dialogue in ESO: Morrowind
  15. ^ Veloth Ancestral Tomb loading screen text in ESO: Morrowind
  16. ^ ESO Live Episode 15: Lore-time with Lawrence Schick — The Imperial Library
  17. ^ a b Hlaalu Construction SyndicManaran Renim, First Clerk of House Affairs, Vvardenfell
  18. ^ Ularra location in ESO: Morrowind
  19. ^ a b Councilor Eris' dialogue in ESO: Morrowind
  20. ^ Kudanat Mine loading screen text in ESO: Morrowind
  21. ^ Wise Woman Khamishi's dialogue in ESO: Morrowind
  22. ^ a b House Redoran OrdersCaptain Brivan
  23. ^ Ulran Releth's dialogue in ESO: Morrowind
  24. ^ Of Faith and Family quest in ESO: Morrowind
  25. ^ Family Reunion quest in ESO: Morrowind
  26. ^ A Smuggler's Last Stand quest in ESO: Morrowind
  27. ^ Khartag Point location in Morrowind
  28. ^ A Short History of MorrowindJeanette Sitte
  29. ^ House Hlaalu faction in Morrowind
  30. ^ House Redoran faction in Morrowind
  31. ^ a b Red Book of 3E 426
  32. ^ Hetman Abelmawia generic description in Morrowind
  33. ^ Caldera generic description in Morrowind
  34. ^ Caldera latest rumors in Morrowind
  35. ^ Secret Caldera Ledger
  36. ^ Evidence of Corruption faction quest in Morrowind
  37. ^ The Mad Lord of Milk faction quest in Morrowind
  38. ^ The Red Year, Vol. IMelis Ravel
  39. ^ The Red Year, Vol. IIMelis Ravel
  40. ^ Mossy Netch Calf pet description in ESO