”...’And of course, I’m only an uneducated Westerner.’ I said. ‘But it seems to me that… outside of Red Mountain itself, the most hostile environment in Morrowind is the ashy area around Molag Mar.’
All my Elven companions immediately started shaking their heads. The two Telvanni insulted me under their breath.
’Barring the fire mountain itself, sera.’ The Indoril said. ‘The most hostile, toxic, and in general uninhabitable part of Morrowind is the Deshaan Plains.’
’Indeed.’ His companion said. ‘Toxic environment, toxic mer. Mounds of useless poisonous salt, soil so stained with chlorine or other acids that normal plants refuse to grow, wind storms that blow that salt into your eyes, nose, and skin, acid rain, wild skyrenders, noxious fumes, and worst of all, the Dres, who are possibly even more heathen than the sorcerors here.’
‘It’s so poisonous, I read a poem written by some Dres once, describing the landscape, and I felt ill just thinking about it.’ The Telvanni woman said. ‘That, and the poem was just that bad.’
‘Yes, Dres are not good poets.’ My guide said.
’They are not really good anything.’ The Telvanni woman said. ‘They’re mad. You’d have to be mad to live in the Deshaan. Which is just as well, because I think if you aren’t mad, you probably can’t survive there either.’
-- A Dunce in Morrowind v2, by Frolja Silver-Blood
”...Sometimes, some of the exotic salts from underground get swept up onto the surface – usually through some sort of water irrigation problem, then tossed about through the wind until it winds up in some puddle of acid and colours it with all sorts of strange patterns. Waters and acids seem to encourage the salt to clump together and form crystals – but being that they emerge from or near acid and acidic fumes, they seem to crumble very quickly and drop in heaps again.
Salt terraces with pools of chlorine provide some of the few elevations on the plains – most are shallow enough that anyone well prepared won’t be too bothered by stepping in them, but some of them are deceptively deep. In these areas with high chlorine, you seem to get some sort of mold, or moss, that seems to thrive off the salt and float on the chlorine. Indeed, it seems the Deshaan hosts many unique molds, probably all as poisonous as each other. Lucky for everyone who lives there, these molds don’t seem to be found on the underground water.”
-- East Empire Company: Deshaan Report, by Artorius Marandae.
”...When dealing with Salt Beetles, use a longer knife. First remove the tail over a bucket, so you don’t spill the venom all over your shoes. Then, stick the knife under the head carapace, and separate all the connections with the thorax around the body. Start shaving off the head carapace until you can whittle it down to the trunk and throat, the most valuable part of the beetle. Don’t worry about the eye mesh – it might help protect the beetle’s eyes, but it’s worhtless to a mer.
These beetles have a natural water filter in their trunk – they can drink the most toxic water on the plains and none of the poison will get to them. Don’t sever the connection from the trunk to the stomach – you can remove it carefully, and clean it either for yourself, to sell.”
-- Hunting as a Profession, by Sarys Dres
”...’What’s that you got there?’ I asked him.
He looked at me as though I’d urinated on his mother. ‘That, outlander, is a beetle water pack.’
’Salt Beetles. We remove the trunk, throat and stomach intact, and we use it to collect water ready filtered. You can wack out most of the poison from the trunk and then it’s ready to drink.’
’Why would you want to drink out of a bug’s stomach?’
’The alternative is dying of thirst.’ He said. ‘Any more stupid questions?’
I paused. ‘What’s with all them belts?’
’Because, outlander, if you’re caught in a salt storm, the last thing you want is getting poisoned salt all over your skin and inside your clothes. You have to keep the Zoarskin buckled tight to keep the salt from getting underneath.’ He said. ‘Can we stop talking now?’
’Well hang on a sec. You’re wearing some sort of high platform boots so that you can keep most of it out of the chlorine, right?’
’Why’s your guar barefoot?’
’Guar don’t wear shoes outlander.’
’Horses wear shoes.’
’I don’t know what a Horse is, but only an outlander would be foolish enough to make shoes for animals.’”
-- A Dunce in Morrowind, v4, by Frolja Silver-Blood
“...Salt lamps are believed to have soothing effects by the Dres – not because of any magical properties, but just because they look nice, which is as sophisticated as their sense of aesthetics really gets. A dres home will have mostly stone furniture. Nobody buys furniture made out of salt brick, because you can’t guarantee if someone just sold you something made with those poisonous salt pyramids you see so much of here, and if you knock over a candle or something, you could suffocate on those noxious fumes that the Deshaan is so famous for.
Rather than shelves, poorer Dres find it cheaper to have satchels stringed together on leather and hooked onto the wall. Shelves, for some reason, are much more expensive here than elsewhere in Morrowind.”
-- East Empire Company: Deshaan Report, by Artorious Marandae.
”...The only guideline for where the slaves were supposed to dump the salt was ‘Anywhere, as long as it’s not near anything important.’ Apparently, the beast pens aren’t considered ‘Anything important’, or perhaps the local guar and skux don’t mind the salt – the translucent shadesails that they stuff together to protect the beast pens certainly wouldn’t be of much use in keeping salt of that magnitude out. I asked the Plantation steward about this policy.
’Slaves aren’t predisposed to order and following rules.’ She said. ‘If you told an Argonian where to toss the salt back while they’re toiling with the saltrakes and saltshovels, they’d probably miss, or get salt all over the crops or other slaves instead of where you actually wanted it to go. It’s hard enough to get them to throw it into the piles. Besides, we make sure they shovel it away at the end of each week anyway, otherwise our crops would be ruined in the next wind storm.’
I replied, ‘Sera, I have my own plantation back in Orethan with a number of Argonian slaves, and I find that they’re more than capable of understanding ‘Place waste here, in these barrels’, or, ‘ Look before you toss dirt to make sure you don’t hit anyone.’
’Yes, I’m sure.’ She said. ‘But your Argonians are not inhaling and swallowing the salt everyday, or going deaf from skyrenders buzzing right by their ears, or having standing in wells of poison everyday, for years. I think it damages their brains, really.’
’If the environment is so hazardous to your slaves,’ I asked, ‘then why are you so careless with them?’
She shrugged. ‘It’s not like we’re short on them or anything.’
-- Proper Slave Management, by Indoril Arys.