The Da'shain Aiel
The "Way of the Leaf" means: People should live their lives with the leaves as an example. "For the leaf lives its appointed time, and does not struggle against the wind that carries it away. The leaf does no harm, and finally falls to nourish new leaves." No man should harm another for any reason whatsoever!
After the Breaking the Aes Sedai could no longer protect the Da'shain. The Aes Sedai gave the Da'shain a great task to take them out of the cities. Solinda Sedai had her Da'shain servant, Jonai, gather his people together. Their task was to take sa'angreal, angreal, and ter'angreal and hide them from male channelers who had lost their sanity. Jonai also had each wagon carrying cuttings of chora trees. It was once said that "a city without choras would seem bleak as wilderness" (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 26).
Jonai set out with his wife, Alnora, his sons, Willim, Adan, Esole, and tens of thousands of people and their wagons. Traveling through the chaos of the Breaking bestowed many hardships upon the Da'shain. After years of wearisome travel, Jonai lost his wife Alnora, then his daughter Esole, and he had to send his eldest, Willim, away when he had started to channel. One day, Adan came across some Ogier. Adan took his father to talk to them. While learning of the hardships of north from the Ogier, Jonai suffered a heart attack. His dying words to Adan were, "Take the people South. Take the Aiel to safety. Keep the Covenant. Guard what the Aes Sedai gave us until they come for it. The Way of the Leaf." (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 26)
Adan also suffered great losses. His son Elwin died of hunger at age ten, Sorelle at twenty from fever her dreams told was coming, and Jaren who threw himself off a cliff when he found he could channel. The morning of another raid, his last son, Marind died, and his last daughter Rhea was taken away. His son's children, Maigran and Lewin, and their mother, Saralin, was all the family he had now.
Adan and one of the men in his group Sulwin got into an argument about how to proceed. Adan argued for continuing their mission to take the objects of the One Power to safety. Sulwin wanted to keep the Way of the Leaf, take their group to a safer place, and work on trying to rediscover Singing (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 26).
The remaining Aiel continued on. Losing more and more of their people to the raids. One night, a group of young men tracked a group of these raiders. Lewin, Luca, Gearan, Charlin, and Alijha wanted to get back Lewin's sister, Maigran, and Charlin's sister, Colline. They came upon the men's camp when they were sleeping in hopes of whisking away their sisters without being noticed. Unfortunately, when Lewin got to where his sister was, she was in shock, and just stared at him, unable to move or run away to safety.
Lewin fought with the raiders, and while trying to defend himself, grabbed a spear and killed one of them. Charlin was killed during the fight. While gathering up things from the camp to take back, Lewin decided that a spear would be an acceptable weapon, because it can also be used for hunting, while a sword is unacceptable, because it's only purpose is to kill people (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 25).
When they returned and explained what had happened, Saralin, Lewin and Maigran's mother exclaimed, "Who are you that addresses me so? Hide your face from me stranger. I had a son, once, with a face like that. I do not wish to see it on a killer." This was the beginning of the tradition of the Aiel veiling before they kill (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 25).
This was the second and last division of the Da'shain Aiel. The young men refused to believe that wanting to protect their family would erase their heritage as Aiel, so they still called themselves that. The people with the wagons were from then on known as the Jenn Aiel, or the "True Aiel". The term Da'shain became lost over time.
The Jenn Aiel
The young men found themselves, following in the wake of the wagons, always protecting their people, even if their people denied their existence. The Aiel became tough and skilled fighters, living off the land in small tents.
Much later, Jeordam was approached by five Jenn Aiel. A woman named Morin explained that the Jenn had traded with a village, then at night the villagers came and took the traded goods back along with, first-sisters, a sister-mother, and a daughter (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 25).
Lewin offered them a place amongst his group, as long as they took spears. Morin became the first Maiden of the Spear. She was bitter about her husband for caring more about the chora trees than his daughter being taken. As she raised her spear, she stated, "This is my husband now." This is how it came to be that the present day Maidens do not marry, or fight while carrying a child. Any child born to a Maiden is given to a family to raise (The Shadow Rising: Chapter 25).
The Maiden oath is: "You may belong to no man, nor any man belong to you, nor any child. The spear is your lover, your child, your life."
The Aiel finally reunited with the Aes Sedai. East, across the Dragonwall (the Aiel's own secret name was People of the Dragon) the Aiel settled in the Aiel Waste, a vast and rugged desert. The Jenn started to build a city, with help from Aes Sedai, the Aiel went and made their own villages in the mountains.
The Jenn started dying, even with the Aes Sedai help, and the Aes Sedai soon began to realize that the Aiel who were going to flourish would be warriors. By this time, the Aiel that had made their homes in the desert knew nothing of their heritage.
The Aes Sedai put forth a proclamation that any who wished to lead a clan, must pass through the glass columns. Passing through these ter'angreal would reveal the true history of the Aiel to the chiefs. All fighting was prohibited in sight of Chaendaer, the mountain slope before Rhuidean.