Maidens of the Spear
The Maidens of the Spear, Far Dareis Mai, are one of the Aiel Warrior Societies, composed of only women and the only society that women join (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 20). They often function as scouts (This passage needs a reference).
Leadership among the Maidens is complex and little is known of it. On the way to Dumai's Wells, both Sulin and Nandera put themselves forward to speak for the Maidens eventually coming to blows over it in a fight that Sulin wins. After this however, it is Nandera who takes charge, with Sulin no longer putting herself forward (LoC, Ch. 54)
They originated during the Breaking, when Morin, a member of the Jenn Aiel, took up the Spear to rescue her daughter (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 20, TSR, Ch. 26), swearing that the spear was now her husband. Interestingly, though she joined to rescue her child, no Maiden today may keep a child if they fall pregnant and are required to either give the babe away or give up being a Maiden (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 20). As a result of that, the Maidens attach themselves to Rand, as the first son of a Maiden to come back to them (TFoH, Ch. 19), some treating him as a brother, others as a son (TFoH, Ch. 4).
They have their own sign language, known as Maiden Handtalk, that can be used to express complicated thoughts
The Maidens are mentioned in several prophecies
- The Karatheon cycle
On the slopes of Dragonmount shall he be born, born of a maiden wedded to no man.
- The Prophecy of the Car'a'carn
The Stone that never falls will fall to announce his coming. We will know him when we see him, for he will be marked. He will come from the west, beyond the Spine of the World, but be of our blood. He will go to Rhuidean, and lead us out of the Three-fold Land. Under this sign (the ancient Aes Sedai symbol) he will conquer. He will be born of Far Dareis Mai. Blood of our blood mixed with the old blood, raised by an ancient blood not ours. Of the blood, but not raised by the blood, he will come from Rhuidean at dawn, and tie you together with bonds you cannot break. He will take you back, and he will destroy you. He shall spill out the blood of those who calls themselves Aiel as water on sand, and he shall break them as dried twigs, yet the remnant of a remnant he shall save, and they shall live.
- Main article: Maidens of the Spear Character List
What you say comes near truth, yet misses it completely. When we wed the spear, we pledge to be bound to no man or child. Some do give up the spear, for a man or a child but once given up, the spear cannot be taken back.” (Bain, To Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve, The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 38).
Whatever the Car'a'carn wanted, nothing must happen to the only son of a Maiden ever to come back to them (The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 19)
I am the spear. When a lover came between me and the spear, I chose the spear. Some chose the other way. Some decide they have run with the spears long enough, that they want a husband, a child. I have never wanted anything else. No chief would hesitate to send me wherever the dance is hottest. If I died there, my first-sisters would mourn me, but not a fingernail more than when our first-brother fell. A treekiller who stabbed me to the heart in my sleep would do me more honor than you do. Do you understand now?” (Sulin to Rand, The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 35)
Do you know why Maidens use handtalk? because even when they are not talking, they cannot stop talking." (Lord of Chaos, Chapter 4)