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 Aiel Warrior Societies

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PostSubject: Aiel Warrior Societies   Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:53 pm

Aiel Warrior Societies

All Aiel warriors are part of one of twelve warrior societies, (thirteen if you include the Mera'din, fourteen if you add in the Siswai'aman) each with certain customs and sometimes specific duties. Aiel clans frequently raid and battle one another, but members of the same society never battle each other even if their clans have blood feud. Thus there are always open lines of contact between the clans, even during open warfare.


The societies are (with Old Tongue in italics)

  1. Black Eyes (Seia Doon)
  2. Brothers of the Eagle (Far Aldazar Din)
  3. Dawn Runners (Rahien Sorei)
  4. Knife Hands (Sovin Nai)
  5. Maidens of the Spear (Far Dareis Mai)
  6. Mountain Dancers (Hama N'dore)
  7. Night Spears (Cor Darei)
  8. Red Shields (Aethan Dor) - Red Shields act as police
  9. Stone Dogs (Shae'en M'taal) - Stone Dogs are often used as rearguards during retreats.
  10. Thunder Walkers (Sha'mad Conde)
  11. True Bloods (Tain Shari)
  12. Water Seekers (Duadhe Mahdi'in)
  13. The Brotherless (Mera'din)
  14. Spears of the Dragon (Siswai'aman) - Officially they do not exist. When asked about them (including themselves) the Aiel act as if they do not know what your talking about.

Aiel clans frequently raid and battle one another, but members of the same society never battle each other even if their clans have blood feud. Thus there are always open lines of contact between the clans, even during open warfare.



Maidens of the Spear

In the Old Tongue, they are called Far Dareis Mai (pronounced FAHR DAH-rize MY). The first Maiden of the Spear, named Morin, is seen through the eyes of Rand's ancestor, Jeordam, inside Rhuidean. Maidens are the only society that harbors female warriors, they are frequently used as scouts. Maidens are not allowed to marry while still carrying the spear (active as a warrior), and any baby reared by a Maiden is given to the Wise Ones and then given to another woman (not a Maiden) to raise in such a way that no one knows who's child it really is, not even the mother

Aside from the distinction of being a warrior society that only accepts women, Far Dareis Mai have become significant to Rand al'Thor (the story's main character). Rand's mother, Shaiel, was a Maiden of the Spear; Maidens traditionally must either forfeit their children or their spears, but Shaiel (by dying in childbirth) was able to sidestep that decision, and Rand is the first child the Maidens have been able to reclaim. Every Maiden considers him a member of the family, though particular role (son, older brother, younger brother) varies from woman to woman.

They also consider his safety their personal concern, and Maidens attend him as bodyguards at all times; on the few occasions Rand has managed to give them the slip, they have expressed extreme displeasure (by way of a beating). They are a source of conflict for Rand; they refuse to abandon him, but people near him have a tendency to die, and it pains him to see women killed. Of all his duties as Car'a'carn and Dragon Reborn, he loathes this one the most.

The Maidens also have formed their own language of sorts that involves using hands and fingers. One could go as far as saying it is an early form of sign language.

Some well known Maidens are Sulin, Bain, Chiad and Enaila.


Brotherless

Some of the Aiel affected by the bleakness eventually joined the Shaido. Because of this, the Shaido gained many spears, but these runaways, having abandoned their clan and sept, were scorned by the Shaido, and their warrior societies did not accept them. This resulted in the unofficial creation of a thirteenth warrior society, peculiar to the Shaido: the Mera'din, the Brotherless, those who have lost everything (no Maidens of the Spear have been known to succumb to the bleakness as yet, possibly due to their loyalty to al'Thor).

As of the latest novel, the heads of the other eleven clans remain loyal to al'Thor. But battle and the bleakness take their tolls, and the number of loyal Aiel diminishes daily.


The bleakness

At Alcair Dal, Rand also revealed the secret he learned in the Rhuidean test, the secret that drove two out of three Aiel to insanity: that the Aiel had once been the Da'shain Aiel, and served the Aes Sedai, and followed the Way of the Leaf. To a culture that lives and dies by its oaths and fighting prowess, the news that they were all descendants of pacifist oathbreakers was devastating, and many Aiel have since succumbed to the resulting "bleakness." Some take on permanent gai'shain white, in the hope of paying off a debt that can never be repaid. More forsake spear and cadin'sor and attempt to live the Way of the Leaf in the wetlander cities—or among the Tinkers—as their ancestors would have. Others simply disappear while some of them run to join the Shaido, in denial of the truth, hoping for a return to an earlier, simpler time.
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