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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Red-Veiled Aiel


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The 'new' red-veiled Aiel that were featured in one of the last chapters of ToM are of particular interest to me. We all have our own speculation on the subject, ranging from the exotic and off-screen Sharrans or Madmen to the slightly more mundane explanation of Aiel channelers in the Blight. Given the apparently limited number of solid theories presented on the subject, I'm going to weight in with my $0.02 by giving more substance to my own views. I'm firmly in the camp of "Aiel Channelers" and since the field is has so few candidates to explain the red-veiled men, I'll start off with some comments on why I prefer focusing on the Aiel.

 

Why not the Sharrans or the Madmen, then? The problem lies in their geographical locations.

 

"He tried not to look at the black spots on the plants. The Blight, he'd entered the Blight. But what else was he to do? The Trollocs rampaged to the south; the towers had all fallen. Kandor itself had fallen." pov Barriga

 

This places the incident at the Blight, probably just north of the Plain of Lances or its vicinity. This puts both Shara and the Isle on the opposite side of the continent. While both are possible fuel for a mass-Gate style invasion, or even by ship, it seems highly improbable to send an army of their people across the entire continent, and even less likely to send them through the deadly environs of the Blight. We're talking a lethal environment populated by deadly creatures and a completely inhospitable landscape.

 

The Aiel, it is.

 

The first possibility that occurred to me and that I actively pursued before being reminded of the Aiel channelers was that at least a few of the Aiel septs diverted through Sammael's fool boxes might have been diverted into the Blight and 13x13'ed. A reminder popped up that 13x13 only works on channelers. Oops, toasty theory.

 

This narrows the field down even further: Aiel history is very clear on how male Aiel male channelers (AMC) are dealt with... they aren't. AMCs consider it a matter of honor and part of their oath to end their lives with a foray into the Blight to run into the shadow, teeth bared, to spit in the Sightblinder's eye with their last breath. Imagine what a treat it might be to the Sightblinder to deny them everything: their spite, their honor, their last breath.

 

A question is immediately raised - why would this red-veiled "Aiel" use a knife rather than the power?

 

It is likely that every one of these Aiel are neophytes, completely unskilled in the power, and if their nature is as corrupted as it seems to be, they probably can't even manage to muster the barest minimums. These Aiel aren't fodder for the Dreadlords, but they can be as easily corrupted and they are fighters without peer.

 

Comment: On closer inspection, they don't look much like Aiel, and even Barriga thinks that they aren't, that they're something terrible.

 

These red-veiled men -are- something terrible, and every facet of their appearance seems to scream a parody of the Aiel people, a last insult from the Shadow.

"...into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath..." ~ Aiel Oath

Parody: "The man's teeth had been filed to points. His smile broadened..."

 

The Aiel lower their veils when fighting and killing, a long-standing custom. Black conceals, red draws attention.

Parody: "The Aiel man undid his veil... Barriga stuttered, looking at that horrific maw and the glee in this man's eyes as he reached in for the kill."

Of course, this still leaves the matter of the uncharacteristically dark and glassy eyes (not a natural feature to Aiel), but...

"It's not really Mezar," Norley said. "Oh, it has Mezar's face right enough. But it's not him. I can see it in his eyes. Trouble is, whatever the thing is, it has Mezar's memories. Talks right like him. But the smile is wrong. All wrong." p818 pov Androl

"The woman looked up, and Pevara froze. There was something different in Tarna's eyes, something cold. She'd always been a distant one, but this was worse. Tarna smiled, a grimace that looked completely unnatural on her face, like the smile on the lips of a corpse..." p774 pov Pevara

 

... eyes like these (and note the repeated mention of freakish smiles that could be cast as predatory) are characteristic of characters widely believed to be the result of 13x13 sessions performed by Taim's people at the Black Tower.

 

So, there you have it - my theory on why the red-veiled men coming out of the Blight are the AMCs thought lost over time to the Blight.

 

Thoughts?

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A thread on "red-vieled Aiel" originated just after the book came out last year. Even your 2 cents were discussed there.

 

Alas. I didn't expect it to be a completely new set of ideas, as I'd seen threads in which elements of the theory had been discussed already (setting up the questions), but I didn't realize it had been discussed so thoroughly. Thanks for the links.

 

Ah well, at least I still have my Aiel Traitor theory.

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