In the Age of Legends, the ancestors of the Aiel were known as the Da'shain Aiel. They were servants of Aes Sedai
, and exceedingly peaceful, following a strict code of nonviolence referred to as the Way of the Leaf. After the Breaking of the World, the Aiel were sent by a member of the Aes Sedai to protect many angreal, sa'angreal and ter'angreal from the destruction of the world. As they travelled one faction of the Aiel became dissatisfied with their task. They split from the main Aiel group and remained in the Westlands, becoming known as the Tuatha'an, Tinkers, or Travelling People. They maintain the practice of the Way of the Leaf. The group commonly referred to as Aiel split ideologically from the now extinct Jenn Aiel soon after, when four members of the Aiel abandoned the Way of the Leaf and took up weapons in self-defence. This brought about a division between the Aiel and the Jenn, though they continued to travel together, with the Aiel protecting the Jenn. They travelled over the Spine of the World and arrived in the desolate desert region they call the Three-Fold Land, and which is referred to by all others as the Aiel Waste. In the Waste the Jenn dwindled and eventually died out, while the Aiel developed a highly ritualised, honour-bound society in which every man and woman, save a few, are expected to be willing and able to pick up the spear. Very little is known about the Aiel in the Westlands, which breeds a great deal of fear on the western side of the Spine of the World.
The Aiel were created by Robert Jordan
for his book series The Wheel of Time
, making their first appearance in the third book in the series, The Dragon Reborn
. They are based on an amalgamation of cultures, notably Celts, Native Americans, feudal Japanese, and the Impi. The Jenn are based on the Jain culture. The made their first comic appearance in Wheel of Time: New Spring
#1, written by Jordan and Chuck Dixon
and illustrated by Mike Miller
Major Story Arcs
When the king
of Cairhien cuts down a sacred tree that had been a gift from the Aiel, the Aiel travel across the Spine of the World in what becomes known in the Westlands as the Aiel War. They fight all the way to the slopes of Dragonmount outside of the city of Tar Valon
in order to kill the king. They then retreat to the Waste, having accomplished what they set out to do.
Powers and Abilities
The Aiel are expert fighters; almost every member of the society is very skilled with a variety of weapons. Aiel have extreme endurance, and many are capable of outrunning horses, and of running for extremely long periods of time. They are also capable of taking care of themselves in the extremely bleak conditions of the Waste from a young age.
LiteratureThe Wheel of Time
The Aiel were originally created for the Wheel of Time
series of books. They have thus far appeared in ten books in the series.