History of the Aiel

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After the Breaking the Aiel wandered the lands until they found the desert beyond the mountain range called the Spine of the World. There they settled and divided into Clans, each clan growing into the size of other nations. The Aiel believe that they were exiled into these harsh lands because of a crime they once committed. A crime they refer to as 'failing the Aes Sedai'. It is commonly said among the Aiel that if they ever failed the Aes Sedai again that would be the end of the entire Aiel Nation. What they failed in or how that failing came to pass, only the Wise Ones and Clan Chiefs know and they're not telling, even to the other Aiel.

Over the course of thousands of years, the Aiel have claimed the desert lands as their own. Called the 'Aiel Waste' by wetlanders (those that live to the west of the Spine of the World), the Aiel refer to their homelands as the Tree Fold Land. In this land, the different clans (twelve in total) continue to hone their legendary fighting skills by defending their holds and raiding other holds. Death to an Aiel is nothing to fear, for every Aiel knows that everyone must wake from the dream someday.

Being a warrior race, the Aiel suffer no trespassing on their land and will attack anyone wandering the Tree Fold Land uninvited. The only ones that are allowed passage are merchants and the Tuatha'an, the Tinkers. In the beginning of their lives in the Tree Fold Land, the Aiel would also grant passage to the people from the country now known as Cairhien. For it is known among the Aiel, that only they offered them aid during their long trek in search of a new home. When all other nations would turn them away, even to the point of attacking them, the ancestors of the Cairhienen allowed the travelling Aiel to dig wells on their ground and take as much water as they needed. This Gift of Water forged a bound between the Cairhienen people and the Aiel which generations later led to the Aiel offering the Cairhienen nation Avendoraldera, a sapling of the only surviving chora tree, or Tree of Life. Years later, the King of Cairhien would order Avendoraldera to be cut down and a throne made of it for his use. This foolish action of a prideful and selfish man enraged the Aiel, who ceased all their mutual hostility and united into a massive force of lethal individuals the likes of which the wetlanders have rarely seen. They pored from the Spine of the World and made straight towards Cairhien, annihilating everything and everyone that stood in their way. The Kin, coward that he was, fled his country and the Aiel followed him. This event is known as the Aiel War, though to the Aiel it was not a war, but a retribution. They were oath bound to capture the man that killed the young of the chora tree and punish him for his crime. Despite all the nations of the wetlanders joining together, the Aiel caught up with the King and executed him. For the Aiel, that was the end of their quest and to the surprise of all wetlanders, who were expecting to have to fight to the last man, they simply turned and marched back to the Tree Fold Land. Leaving a devastated and broken stream of nations in their wake. The Treekiller was dead, honor was served. From that moment on all Cairhienen people were labelled as Tree Killers and the killing of any one of them is considered no more than the victim deserves. No matter how innocent they may be. To the Aiel, all Cairhienen are guilty by association. A shame to their honor that lasts for generations.

During the Aiel history in the Tree Fold Land, some outsiders, Wetlanders, dared to travel the Waste despite the threat. Drawn by the silks and ivory that lay beyond its border in the far off lands of Shara, these brave (or rather 'foolish') ones set out to claim their portion of the riches. Those few who survived the attempt brought back stories of vicious fair-haired warriors with veiled faces who sprang from the very ground to kill trespassers with merciless ease. Even Arthur Hawking was unable to conquer the proud people of the Waste; their ferocity and unorthodox fighting style were more than a match for even his skilled army. Tempered by the unforgiving hardships of their land, the Aiel deserve much of their fearsome reputation. They still veil their faces before they kill and are equally deadly with weapons or bare hands. Echoes of their ancestor's love of music and dance can now be heard only as their pipes play the waiting clans into battle.

To the Aiel, battle has become the 'dance of the spears'.

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