In The Wheel of Time
, a group of people living in Aiel Waste
. They have mostly kept to themselves, resulting in clearly distinct look from other men. Their isolation has lasted for about some thousand years, and it began when they needed a place to hide a bunch of angreal
Aiel, although considered barbarians by the rest of the world, have very strict set of rules of honor, called ji'e'toh, and complicated system for relationships between people. Their society allows poligamy within certain restrictions.
Some people say they are related to Fremen.
See also Da'shain Aiel, Tuatha'an.
In The Wheel of Time
, the people called Aiel
live in place called Aiel Waste
. But how did they get there?
During the Breaking of the World, Aes Sedai gave their trusted servants Da'shain Aiel a job of preserving a bunch of ter'angreal, angreal and sa'angreal. They did this because they wanted to protect those items from hands of mad saidin-wielders and to give future generations something nice to toy with.
So they went on wandering, and once things calmed down a bit (it wasn't very safe to be Aes Sedai, or with one in those times), some AS teamed up with some of them. They went on wandering, looking for a safe place to stay with all those 'angreal. During this quest, however, some people thought they had better things to do than drag stuff with them, so they gave up and went instead looking for the Song, which in truth just means they are hoping for Good Old Times when they singed in the meadows and fetched things for AS to come back. They kept The Covenant, although it was called The Way of the Leaf later on. They are called Tuatha'an nowadays.
The remaining Aiel couldn't stay together, either. With all their children getting killed and stuff stolen, some figured they'd rather hit back, and semi-accidentally killed someone. Since Covenant specifically forbids killing under any circumstances, they had lost it. Those who didn't leave the Covenant were called Jenn Aiel (True Dedicated in Old Tongue).
Somehow they wandered into huge, unpleasant desert and decided to stay there, wanding in nomad-style life, eating poisonous lizards and killing lions for sport. This wasn't very comfortable life for Jenn Aiel, or AS who stayed with them, so one day they founded a city called Rhuidean. They started building it but never finished it, as the not-so-pleasant Waste was killing Jenn Aiel quite effectively off. The AS who stayed, realized Jenn had no chance, but since in Prophecies of the Dragon (which is always right, as we all know) it is said that The Dragon will be born of Da'shain Aiel and lead them to war or something like that, they realized it had to be warrior Aiel it talked about. So, they shielded the semi-finished Rhuidean and added some triggers there, that fed the true history of Aiel into people who passed, and somehow managed to create a custom of all clan chiefs having to pass there. This way, they knew where they came from.
Now, it is obvious that Aiel have pretty much forsake Covenant by now, being known as fierce killers. They do have some twisted remnants of that, though: no Aiel is allowed to wield a sword. Why? Because sword can only be used to kill people; their typical weapon of choice, spear, is useful also in killing animals and eating them. They also hide their faces with black veil, when killing. Why? Because, when the first Aiel broke the Covenant, his mother said "Who are you to call me Mother? I had a son who looked like that once. I do not wish to see his face on the stranger.".
Adopted from my own memory, books and wotmania.com to refresh my memory.