Unless stated otherwise, all information herein is taken from The World of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time", Chapter 20.
The Aiel Waste is the almost-waterless stretch of land between the Spine of the World in the west and the Cliffs of Dawn and Great Rift in the east. It has been inhabited by the Aiel, since the same period of time in which the Aes Sedai built Tar Valon (TSR, Ch. 34). To the north are the Mountains of Dhoom and to the south the Termool desert. As such, there are few ways into or out of the Waste; it is very well isolated. The Aiel themselves refer to it as the Three Fold Land - a shaping stone to make them; a testing ground to prove their worth; and a punishment for their sin. They allow few to enter the Waste. Gleemen and peddlers are welcome, as long as they have a guide, while Tuatha'an are ignored. Until the Aiel War, Cairhienin were also allowed passage, but this changed when Laman cut down Avendoraldera. As what seems to be the remains of a port is located high in the Jangai Pass (TFoH, Ch. 20), it seems likely that much of the Waste was underwater before the Breaking.
There are no towns and cities, other than Rhuidean in the three fold land. The equivalent for such a concept for the Aiel is a hold. Holds are usually natural landforms that have been built upon to accommodate Aiel septs.
Aiel are known for their traveling and they seek their rest in so called stands. Stands are much smaller than holds, and are usually built near a source of water. They generally consist of few buildings and are often used for grazing purposes.
- Bent Valley Hold (TSR, Ch. 23)
- Cold Rocks Hold
Cold Rocks Hold is the home of Rhuarc, Amys and Lian, who is roofmistress there. It is a natural canyon, well camouflaged and highly defensible, with houses climbing the walls and enough houses to make a fair sized town (TSR, Ch. 49). This is the only hold described in the books and named for the rocks at the far end that are never touched by the sun.
- Colrada Hold (LoC, Ch. 15)
Characters from Colrada:
- Comarda Hold
Characters from Comarda
- Hot Springs Hold (TDR, Ch. 28)
Characters from Hot Springs Hold
- Mainde Cut Hold (TSR, Ch. 23)
Characters from Mainde Cut:
- Red Springs Hold (ACoS, Ch. 18)
Charcters from Red Springs
- Shende Hold
Characters from Shende Hold (LoC, Ch. 5)
Characters from Smoke Springs
- Sulara Hold (TFoH, Ch. 32)
Characters from Sulara
Places in the Waste
Alcair Dal, the Golden Bowl, is a meeting place in the Waste, a few days from Rhuidean, where something similar to the peace of Rhuidean holds (TSR, Ch. 34). It is almost perfectly round, its gray wall sloped all the way around except at the far end, where it curls inward like a breaking wave TSR, Ch. 57). Rand announced he was the Car'a'carn at Alcair Dal.
Chaendaer (pronounced CHAY-ehn-DARE) is a mountain right next to Rhuidean, where Wise Ones and Clan chiefs wait when a person goes to Rhuidean. It has a Portal Stone, suggesting it may not have been underwater in the Age of Legends (TSR, Ch. 21).
Imre Stand is a place in the Waste known as a source of water - a pool approximately two paces across, arising from a small spring - and as somewhere for herdsmen to rest. It has several buildings that blend into the background, with arrow slits for defense. It had been attacked by Trollocs before Rand reached it (TSR, Ch. 37).
- Main article: Rhuidean
Rhuidean is a city built around 100-200AB. though it was never inhabited or completed.
Animals & Plants
Not many animals live in the Aiel Waste, but the ones that do are usually as treacherous as the land itself. The Waste has a number of animals not found elsewhere, many of them poisonous or venomous, though the Aiel typically know how to safely eat them. The Aiel Waste has almost no vegetation and what little exists is small and virtually useless. The only known Chora tree, Avendesora, also known as the Tree of Life, resides in Rhuidean's central square.
A plant, likely cotton
A nest making animal with a penchant for the dramatic (AMoL, Prologue)
A poisonous brown and yellow lizard that can bite through a boot but is too slow to be truly dangerous (TSR, Ch. 48)
A bird that acts tough but is cowardly. The term is also used for people (AMoL, Ch. 14)
An animal known for its stupidity
- Scarlet Puffer
A non venomous snake
A rank tasting rat that not even cats will eat (TFoH, Ch. 5)
A small brown highly venomous snake, named for the speed with which it kills (TSR, Ch. 48)
A food, likely maize
Where the hard ground was not cracked clay, yellow or brown or something between, it was stony and stark, and everywhere split by dry gulleys and hollows. The scattered vegetation was sparse and low thorny bushes and leafless things with spines; the few blossoms, white or red or, yellow, were startling in their isolation. Occasionally stretches of tough grass covered the ground, and rarely, there was a stunted tree also likely to have thorns or spines (The Shadow Rising, Chapter 36).