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Daerid Ondin is a high-ranking member of the Band of the Red Hand.
He has a scarred face and a nose that has been broken more than once.
He has been a soldier all his life. As a commoner he has risen to his position solely on merit - infantry is the one arm generally neglected by the nobility of the Westlands who generally prefer the dash and pageantry of armored cavalry.
Due to his social rank, he would have normally been condemned to remain a relatively minor military commander who merely carries out the orders passed down from his superiors.
He helps fight the Aiel that try to assassinate Mat.
He later rises to command the infantry forces of the Band of the Red Hand.
He later gains the rank of Lieutenant-General, third in line to command after Mat Cauthon and Talmanes Delovinde - this rank, in effect, gives him the social rank of a noble, both in the Band and in the eyes of those that deal with the Band. While other nobles may not respect him as their social equal, still considering him a commoner, they are generally shrewd enough to respect the power he represents - power backed up by cold steel.
In addition, his high rank in the Band is quite likely to be a motivator to the mass of commoners that make up the Band, for his rank makes it clear that ability is rewarded in the Band, regardless of a man's origins.