From Tar Valon Library
The Aiel are a people who inhabit the land to the east of the Spine of the World, known as the Aiel Waste. In three thousand years since they entered it during the Breaking of the World, other than visiting stedding in the Dragonwall and raids on the eastern regions of Shienar and the countries that held the land before, they only came out in large numbers once until Rand al'Thor was proclaimed Car'a'carn and led them out of the Waste. They are unwelcoming to visitors, and little is known of them, much of what is believed being wrong (This passage needs a reference)
- Main article: Aiel History
The Da'shain Aiel
During the Age of Legends, Da'shain Aiel lived by the Covenant, the "Way of the Leaf", and served the Aes Sedai, for which they were well respected until the War of the Shadow. After the Breaking the Aes Sedai could no longer protect the Da'shain. The Aes Sedai gave the Da'shain a great task to take them out of the cities. Solinda Sedai had her Da'shain servant, Jonai, gather his people together. Their task was to take sa'angreal, angreal, and ter'angreal and hide them from male channelers who had lost their sanity. Over time, the Aiel found it impossible to keep to their task. The first group split off to eventually become the Tua'athon when they lost faith in the Aes Sedai. The second split occured when one of the Aiel killed a man defending himself and was rejected by his family. Rather than abandoning them, he followed, to offer whatever protection he could and in time was joined by others.
The Jenn Aiel
The young men found themselves, following in the wake of the wagons, always protecting their people, even if their people denied their existence. The Aiel became tough and skilled fighters, living off the land in small tents. The Aiel finally reunited with the Aes Sedai. East, across the Dragonwall (the Aiel's own secret name was People of the Dragon) the Aiel settled in the Aiel Waste, a vast and rugged desert. The Jenn started to build a city, with help from Aes Sedai, the Aiel went and made their own villages in the mountains. The Jenn started dying, even with the Aes Sedai help, and the Aes Sedai soon began to realize that the Aiel who were going to flourish would be warriors. By this time, the Aiel that had made their homes in the desert knew nothing of their heritage.
The Aiel are normally very tall, and fair haired with light color eyes. The Aiel warrior dress in the cadin'sor, "working clothes" in the Old Tongue, where the coat and breeches are brown and gray to fade into rock, sand, and shadow. They wear a soft, laced knee-high boot for their shoes. They also wear a shoufa, a scarf-like garment the color of sand or rock. It is worn wrapped around the neck and the Aiel use it to veil themselves when they are ready to kill. Aiel men who are not warriors also dress in the cadin'sor, they just carry a smaller knife. The Wise Ones wear long skirts, blouses, and shawls, all of light color, and only they and Roofmistresses wear jewelry.
- Main article: Ji'e'toh
Honour and obligation, the code by which all Aiel live. Many of the regulations of ji'e'toh, such as the refusal to touch a sword, or veiling the face before killing, derive from the time the Aiel gave up the Way of the Leaf to become warriors. The origin of others, such as the special place in Aiel society of Blacksmiths, who will not wield a weapon and cannot be taken gai'shain is unknown (TSR, Ch. 23).
- Main article: Gai'shain
Occasionally, when a person feels they have lost too much ji, they may demand to be taken gai'shain to restore it. A gai'shain is not allowed to wear any clothing a warrior would wear, and must serve for a year, doing no violence. It is considered one of the worst crimes of Aiel society to kill a gai'shain. Some may not be taken gai'shain for example 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.
- Main article: Wise Ones
Among the Aiel, some women are chosen, or choose to learn to be Wise Ones and so to have influence over clan and Sept chiefs. A Wise One can go into any Aiel hold regardless of clan, as not even blood feud touches a Wise One. Wise Ones may not be taken as gai’shain (TSR, Ch. 23). The Wise Ones find all young women who can channel and train them. All female Aiel channelers are Wise Ones, but not all Wise Ones can channel (TSR, Ch. 23).
A Talent a few Wise Ones do possess, one thought lost to the White Tower, is Dreaming. This allows the Wise Ones to communicate with others through their dreams (TSR, Ch. 34) and to gain a limited and often metaphorical view of the future (TSR, Ch. 23). Dreamers also have free access to Tel'aran'rhiod, the World of Dreams.
- Main article: Aiel Clans and Septs.
Unless stated otherwise, all information herein is taken from The World of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time", Chapter 20.
The Aiel are divided into large groups, known as clans. Similar to the clans that make up Scottish society, each clan is a closely-knit group of people, bound by ties of blood, marriage and friendship. The origin of the clans is not known, but may be linked to the first time the Aiel entered Rhuidean, at which time Mandein entered, though he was just a Sept chief and he thought only in terms of the other Septs, not clans (TSR, Ch. 25). In the Aiel world, there are twelve of these clans.
And the thirteenth, extinct clan, the Jenn Aiel.
Each clan is led by a chief, who has been to Rhuidean, witnessed the history of the Aiel, and come out marked on one arm with a dragon. Most men do not survive this, the revelation being more than they can take.
Aiel Warrior Societies
- Main article: Aiel Warrior Societies
In addition, the warriors are divided into twelve separate societies, which are as follows:
- Seia Doon = Black Eyes
- Far Aldazar Din = Brothers of the Eagle
- Rahien Sorei = Dawn Runners
- Sovin Nai = Knife Hands
- Far Dareis Mai = Maidens of the Spear
- Hama N'dore = Mountain Dancers
- Cor Darei = Night Spears
- Aethan Dor = Red Shields
- Shae'en M'taal = Stone Dogs
- Sha'mad Conde = Thunder Walkers
- Tain Shari = True Bloods
- Duadhe Mahdi'in = Water Seekers
Each has its own customs, and sometimes it has specific duties. For example, Red Shields act as a police, Stone Dogs are used as rear guards, and Maidens are usually scouts.
People in general are considered closer to their mother's family than their father's ([[ref}}). There are also rules about talking about family,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).
- First-brothers and first-sisters are sister and brother that have the same mother, but not necessarily the same father.
- Second-brothers and second-sisters are cousins, children of mother's first-brother or first-sister.
- Sister-mother and sister-father are aunts and uncles (Mother's first-brother and first-sister).
- Greatmother and greatfather are grandparents (mother's mother and father).
- Near-brother and near-sister are best friends who are as close as first-sisters and brothers; near-sisters may end up formally adopting each other as first-sisters.
- Near-sisters or first-sisters who marry the same man and are called sister-wives.
Among the Aiel, anyone can declare a feud with anyone else, apart from a Wise One or a Blacksmith (LoC, Ch. 27). Other feuds include water-feud (ACoS, Ch. 13) and blood-feud, for example the Shaarad and Goshien had held blood feud for four-hundred years until the ta'veren influence of Rand al'Thor brought about its end (TFoH, Ch. 30). The Tardaad and Nakei had held Blood Feud for two hundred years until Janduin mended it. (TSR, Ch. 34)
"Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the last day."
To an Aiel, a water-oath is the strongest oath they have TFoH, Ch. 30)
The Aiel Waste
- Main article: Aiel Waste.
The Aiel refer to their home as the Three Fold Land for the following reasons:
- Shaping stone to make them
- Testing ground to prove their worth
- Punishment for their sin
- Main article: Car'a'carn
The Car'a'carn, chief of chiefs in the Old Tongue is the man prophesied to unite the Aiel and lead them out of the Waste (TGH, Ch. 28; TSR, Ch. 34). Prophecy stated that he would come out of Rhuidean at dawn, marked by Dragons on both arms (TSR, Ch. 34) and that he would be Aiel by blood, but not raised by Aiel (TSR, Ch. 34). In reality, things were not so simple. Asmodean was able to use Couladin's ambition and mark him in the same way, allowing Couladin to also claim to be the Car'a'carn. He however, had not been to Rhuidean and lacked the insight Rand had gained from the glass columns there. Rand proved to the Aiel who he was by telling them of their history (TSR, Ch. 57). Many, could not accept this, and fled, some, to the Shaido, where they were called the Mera'din (ACoS, Ch. 40; KoD, Ch. 5), others to the Tuatha'an (TFoH, Ch. 5) and others still to Far Madding (WH, Ch. 22).
- Main article: Aiel (Future)
- Main article: Aiel Character List
"May you always find water and shade." A traditional blessing and farewell saying to a friend.
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake." The Aiel's view on mortality.