From Tar Valon Library
Gai'shain, meaning “pledged to peace in battle,” according to the Old Tongue is a part of ji'e'toh. It is an Aiel term that refers to those taken alive in battle, though those merely touched can demand to be taken gai'shan to reduce their loss of honour. It is also possible to be taken gai'shain without either party touching a weapon, for example, mentioning a man's father in law, or a woman's mother in law unless they have done so first is considered a hostile act, and if you do so and are then touched, it is viewed the same as if you had a weapon (LoC, Ch. 17). It is not known how or when the practice started, but it is likely to have been influenced by the Da'shain Aiel following the Way of the Leaf in the Age of Legends. Wise Ones, blacksmiths, children under the age of fifteen, mothers who have children under the age of ten and pregnant women are exempt from being made gai’shain (TSR, Ch. 23), but any other Aiel, even if they are not a warrior can be taken, or can demand that they are taken, even if they had merely been pushed out of the way of an attack while holding a knife (TSR, Ch. 23). Although gai'shain is an Aiel concept, the Shaido began to take Wetlanders as gai'shain when they crossed the Spine of the World (TFoH, Ch. 20), though it was not clear that these would have been allowed to put off the white after their year (This passage needs a reference). They were abandoned when the Shaido chose to return to the Waste after Perrin and the Seanchan crushed them at Malden and took most of the Wise Ones who could channel as gai'shain (KoD, Ch. 30).
Gai’shain have toh towards their captors, and must serve them for one year and one day. If their captors are killed, or taken themselves, their service is transfered to the person who killed them (This passage needs a reference) and they will even serve those who aren't Aiel, such as Seanchan, who have come to believe that they make excellent da'covale (KoD, Ch. 4). Gai’shain must complete any task given to them humbly and obediently, without complaint. They must also refrain from any violence, and touch no weapons. They wear white robes, so that they are clearly discernible to those around them. Since being meek is not an Aiel trait, and the idea of serving others is laughed at, having to perform both is the acceptable way for an Aiel to regain his or her honour (TSR, Ch. 23; TFoH, Ch. 46). Gai'shain wear only white and when taken, will go naked until white clothes are found for them (ACoS, Ch. 1).
Gai’shain normally do not run away, as this increases the amount of ji lost, and their time as gai’shain must begin anew. It has been said that if this occurs, first-siblings have also been known to offer themselves as gai’shain, to try to restore the amount of ji lost by the sept, sometimes more than one, if the loss of ji is felt great enough.
- Main article: Gai'shain Character List