Aiel clan chiefs have authority over several septs of their clan. Unlike nobles of the Westlands, any Aiel may speak with the clan chief and while there are some formalities, they are not afforded the same sort of servile adulation as "wetlander kings."
They are chosen from among the clan's male members by the Wise Ones, who must agree to allow the candidate to travel to Rhuidean. There he learns the true history of the Aiel through the memories of his ancestors. If he returns marked by a single dragon tattoo on his forearm, he becomes the new clan chief. Only one in three men survive this trip to Rhuidean.