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Leadership Information

King: Zakhar Pelarwen
Heirs: Tavlon Pelarwen and Byron Pelarwen
Symbols: golden sun rising on blue field
Capital: Cairhein
Other Cities: None listed
Villages: Eianrod, Janghai Pass, Jurene, Maerone, Morelle, Taien, Tremonsien, Selean

General Overview

The Spine of the World mountain range forms Cairhien's eastern border, and the nation is equidistant between the northern and southern portions of the continent. The mountains of Kinslayer's Dagger border Cairhien to the north.

Much of the country is hilly land, and the Cairhienin terrace those hills for building and farming purposes. Many noble houses support vineyards on their terraced estates. The village Tremonsien grows barley and oats.

Cairhien's culture is sharply divided along class lines. Every aspect of life for the nobility, from dress to interior design, is rigidly controlled. The ordered city planning of Cairhien city proper is an attempt to dominate the chaos of nature with straight lines and sharp angles. Within its walls the Noble Houses vie amongst each other for power, and the country's ruler is the head of the most powerful House, whether male or female.

The upper classes care little about the lower. Members of the lower classes are much more relaxed with one another. The Foregate, a sprawling shanty town that surrounds Cairhien proper, underlines the contrast between classes. Many inhabitants are refugees from the Aiel War. The government tries to distract them from thoughts of rebellion by supplying grain purchased from Andor and Tear and funding parades and lavish entertainments like fireworks.

Daes Dae'mar, the Game of Houses, is a national obsession. The nobility jockey constantly for power and position, using commoners as pawns or assassins. The commoners seek any information that might be sold to the nobility. While the Game of Houses is played among the nobility of almost all southern nations, it is taken to extremes in Cairhien.

The Cairhienin are a very short people, with pale skin that contrasts with their dark hair and eyes. The upper classes wear dark clothing marked with horizontal colored stripes on the chest to denote rank - the more stripes, the higher the rank of the wearer. Noblemen wear coats and trousers, and flat or bell-shaped velvet caps over their shoulder-length hair. Noblewomen wear their hair piled high into elaborate coiffures and dresses with wide skirts supported by hoops. Noblewomen often wear a piece of jewellery called a kesiera in their hair, a delicate chain that dangles a small gem in the middle of their foreheads. Both sexes wear dark ivory lace at their cuffs and necks.

Cairhien was once the only nation esteemed by the Aiel, who gave the Cairhienin the right to travel through the Aiel Waste to trade with the Sharans in 556 NE. The Aiel also gave them Avendoraldera, a sapling of the Tree of Life. King Laman chopped it down to build a throne, precipitating the Aiel War that lasted from 976 to 978 NE. The Aiel ravaged Cairhien, burning all of the capital except for its fine libraries, and destroying many farms and towns. Because of that, the country can no longer produce enough food to support the refugees that still crowd the rebuilt capital, and must import grain from Tear and Andor. Interruption in these imports would likely result in riots.

Ogier are often hired to do masonry work in the capital. Though few Ogier like working for the Cairhienin because of their demanding and non-artistic natures, the Cairhienin accept the Ogier, and they are sought-after guests among the nobility. Visiting Aes Sedai are also desired guests for the Nobles, though the majority of Cairhienin view them and their use of the One Power with some trepidation.

The introductory text used for this webpage was written and copyrighted © by Rhonda Peters. It is used with permission on Cuendillar MUSH.

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