Verin Mathwin is an Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. She is originally from Far Madding (TPoD, Prologue). She once had a Warder named Balinor, but ten years after his death she bonded her current Warder, Tomas. She spent five years as a novice and six as an Accepted (LoC, Ch. 43). Verin’s intentions and goals are never made clear throughout the series, yet it is certain that she has chosen to center herself on Rand, Mat, and Perrin (three ta'veren).
Verin has often been described to resemble a plump bird or a “sparrow.” She is apparently very old (even for an Aes Sedai) because it has been noted that she has gray streaks in her brown hair (TDR, Ch. 11). Verin, like most Browns, always appears to be lost in thought and relatively unaware of the world beyond her studies. However, it has been noted repeatedly that Verin can lose her ambiguity in an instant and show a startling amount of alertness (TGH, Ch. 7; Ch. 12; TSR, Ch. 31), which leads one to believe that her pensiveness may only be an act, possibly to throw others off. Moiraine Sedai told Rand in a letter not to trust Verin (TFoH, Ch. 53), and the aforementioned may very well be why.
- Verin is described, including some of her lessons and comments (NS, Ch. 3, Ch. 5, Ch. 6, Ch. 8, Ch. 10, and Ch. 11).
- "Verin, a stout Brown who was even shorter than Moiraine," (NS, Ch. 3).
- During Moiraine's and Siuan's practice for the Test For the Shawl, "only Verin's vile-tasting concoction let them sleep..." (NS, Ch. 8).
- After Moiraine successfully tests for Aes Sedai, Verin Sedai has possession of her clothes, including Moiraine's book in which Moiraine recorded information on the bounty and the hoped-for Dragon Reborn (NS, Ch. 10).
- Verin deduces that Rand, Mat, and Perrin are ta'veren and that Rand is the Dragon Reborn while she is in Lord Agelmar’s palace in Shienar (TGH, Ch. 7), and then chooses to stay close to at least one of the three men at all times.
- She travels with Mat and Perrin while they were with Ingtar’s army as the group attempts to hunt down Padan Fain, who escaped from Lord Agelmar’s dungeon with the Horn of Valere and the Shadar Logoth dagger that is needed to save Mat’s life (TGH).
- Verin is present when Mat Cauthon is Healed of the damage caused by carrying the Shadar Logoth dagger (TDR, Ch. 17).
- From Tar Valon where she delivers the Horn of Valere, Verin and Alanna Mosvani travel to the Two Rivers under the pretense that they are searching for old folk tales, but admit to Perrin that the two are actually there to look for potential novices (TSR, Ch. 30).
- While in Emond's Field, Verin and Alanna help the village defend itself against several Myrddraal-driven Trolloc attacks by way of using catapults and Power-exploding boulders, and by other methods such as fireballs. Verin also Heals many of the villagers after the battles (TSR, Ch. 56).
- From there, Verin and Alanna travel to Caemlyn en route to the White Tower with a hoard of girls from the Two Rivers (LoC, Ch. 10). En route they heard rumors in Whitebridge that the Tower is broken, but receive confirmation from Rand.
- They proceed to join with an embassy from Salidar headed by Merana Sedai. However, in short time it is Verin who is controlling the delegation instead of Merana until the arrival of Bera Sedai and Kiruna Sedai (LoC, Ch. 46).
- Verin, along with eight others from the said delegation, join with Perrin to rescue Rand at Dumai's Wells (LoC, Ch. 54). She also takes part in the fighting at Dumai’s Wells (ACoS, Ch. 1).
- She and the group she is with return to Cairhien with the Aes Sedai who captured Rand and who have now been made prisoners. She and her group have all been forced to swear oaths of fealty to Rand. Verin spends a good deal of time in the Aiel camps questioning the prisoners to determine what their intentions with Rand were to be once they reached Tar Valon (ACoS, Ch. 34). She also uses a form of Compulsion on them (TPoD, Prologue).
- Verin is present when Rand uses the Choedan Kal, and plays a part by forming a circle with Shalon and Kumira. She also faces one of the Forsaken, Graendal, while she is there (WH, Ch. 35).
- Verin travels to Tear with Rand and stays with him and others, including Cadsuane, in Lord Algarin’s manor. While there she “delivers” the Sea Folk to Tear (CoT, Ch. 23).
- She remains with Rand in Lord Algarin’s manor (KoD, Ch. 18), until she suddenly leaves with Tomas, leaving behind only a note to Rand urging him to “be wary” (KoD, Ch. 20). She intends to go to Tar Valon (TGS, Ch. 36).
- Verin and Tomas, through a series of mishaps and misdirection, and due to Mat's ta'veren nature, end up in Trustair, in northern Murandy (TGS, Ch. 36).
- Verin meets with Mat outside of Trustair and makes a deal with him. She gives him a sealed, folded paper with the instructions to open the letter ten days after she deposits him and the Band, etc. in Caemlyn, and to follow the enclosed instructions at that time; or, Mat has the option of waiting fifty days, which they bargain to thirty days, and burning the letter instead of opening it (TGS, Ch. 36).
- Verin Travels with Mat and his crew to Caemlyn (TGS, Ch. 47). One sees this more in retrospect through Rand's POV.
- One can assume that Verin left Caemlyn and went to Tar Valon, since that was her original destination. It is, however, possible that she and Tomas stopped elsewhere before Tar Valon.
- Egwene al'Vere finds Verin Sedai sitting on her bed in the Novice Quarters; Verin Sedai reveals her involvement in the Black Ajah, while sipping tea which she has poisoned herself (TGS, Ch. 38, Ch. 39).
- Verin Sedai dies (TGS, Ch. 39).
- Egwene has Meidani Sedai open a gateway and transport the cup of poisoned tea and Verin Sedai's body out of Egwene's room. This is the last that is seen of Verin Sedai (TGS, Ch. 39).
- Verin's daring and heroic act and the list of names of the Black Ajah are mentioned several times throughout the rest of the book (TGS, Ch. 39, Ch. 43, Ch. 45, Ch. 46, and TGS, Epilogue).
- Olver opens the letter she gave Mat, to find it warns of a huge Shadowspawn army traveling through the Ways to attack Caemlyn (ToM, Epilogue).
Verin is one of the few Aes Sedai that Cadsuane Melaidhrin seems to get along with, perhaps because they are both particularly old, or perhaps because they are both from Far Madding: “[Cadsuane] drew Verin a little distance away, and the pair of them put their heads together.” (WH, Ch. 23). Verin thinks of poisoning Cadsuane at one point, but only to protect Rand (WH, Ch. 25).
Along with several other after the fighting at Dumai’s Wells, Verin swore fealty to Rand (LoC, Ch. 55).
Verin and Anaiya escort Moiraine upstairs after she passes the test for Aes Sedai (NS, Ch. 10).
Though the extent was previously not known, Verin has a very special relationship with Egwene. It is, however, rather one-sided until the end when so much is revealed (TGS, Ch. 39).
Strengths and Talents
Like all of the Brown Ajah, Verin’s strengths lie in study and research. Though it is not specifically known what her area of expertise is, it is known that she is knowledgeable on subjects such as the Pattern (including Portal Stones), Tel'aran'rhiod (TDR, Ch. 21), and the Dragon Reborn.
She also has a decent ability with Healing, yet Alanna is stronger than her (TSR, Ch. 43).
Verin also has used a weave that is very similar to the Tower-forbidden Compulsion, yet she claims it is “not truly Compulsion as ancient texts described it” (TPoD, Prologue). She learned the weave by questioning wilders who had developed a form of it before reaching the White Tower. Verin has apparently used this weave before, but for a fact it is known that she used it to give instructions to the Aes Sedai prisoners who captured Rand. These instructions, however, are never detailed, but there are some theories as to what they are. Another useful aspect of the weave is that it serves “to loosen the tongue and open the mind as well as any herb ever could” (TPoD, Prologue) which Verin uses to gain information that would otherwise be hidden from her. The weave is unusual in that the recipient needs to be trusting of Verin, and sufficiently shaken and therefore vulnerable to suggestions. Also, it seems to work best after the recipient is Healed. Verin believes that if the Tower found out that she used this weave, she could very well be stilled (TPoD, Prologue). When Shaidar Haran rescues Semirhage, Elza appears shortly after, telling Semirhage there is Compulsion in her mind that the Forsaken is to remove TGS, Ch. 22).
Verin Sedai proves her courage and sacrifice in that she poisons her own tea, not in order to escape retribution, but to ensure that she can work around her Oaths to the Dark Lord and reveal what is needed to Egwene (TGS, Ch. 39).
- Verin can read Trolloc script (TGH, Ch. 5).
- She used to have the cook of the White Tower leave sweets out for Moiraine Sedai and Siuan Sedai when the latter two were novices together (TGH, Ch. 7).
- She knows how to use Portal Stones. “‘The Brown Ajah knows many things,' Verin said dryly, 'and I know how the Stones may be used.’” (TGH, Ch. 36).
- She keeps a pet owl in her room in the White Tower to keep out mice (TDR, Ch. 21).
- While Morgase was training in the Tower, Verin told her that “there was hardly any need for the Tower to hold her until she learned to handle her tiny ability safely” (LoC, Prologue).
- Verin keeps a notebook in which she writes everything she finds important, yet it is all in her own code. “‘I have the habit of noting down what I see.’ One day she would have to write out the cipher she used in her notebooks — a lifetime’s worth of them filled cupboards and chests in her rooms above the White Tower library — one day, but she hoped not soon.” (TPoD, Prologue).
- She keeps a small angreal in her pouch: “a small brooch, a translucent stone carved into what appeared to be a lily with too many petals. She never wore it, but it had not been out of her reach in nearly fifty years.” (TPoD, Prologue).
- She also goes by the alias Eadwina (WH, Ch. 24).
- It is not known why, but she was also exiled from Far Madding, her home city. It is known, however, that she “fell afoul of the law” (WH, Ch. 25).
- Before the release of Towers of Midnight it was been proposed that Verin may secretly be Black Ajah, partly because of her use of a weave so similar to Compulsion, and partly because she almost poisons Cadsuane, but decides not to: “Hastily filling a second cup, Verin slipped the small vial back into her pouch unopened. It was good to be sure of Cadsuane at last” (WH, Ch. 25) is among other subtle hints. Before the release of Towers of Midnight, the idea was generally dismissed.
- Verin knows the scoop on Laras (TGS, Ch. 39), and Laras was a cook twenty years earlier when Moiraine and Siuan were Accepted and beginning their search for the newborn Dragon Reborn (NS, Ch. 6).
- Verin's notebook contains all the Black Ajah information she has gathered for decades. Another, thinner blue book has the cipher in it. Verin gave Egwene al'Vere both of these books and a special binding strap, that when fastened, makes the books and strap invisible. The strap is from the Age of Legends (TGS, Ch. 39).
- It is now confirmed that Verin is Black Ajah---yet, she is not exactly Black Ajah, at least regarding her intent (TGS, Ch. 39).
Verin's Two Rivers Girls
After noticing several strong channnelers coming from the remote Two Rivers region, Verin goes on an unprecedented mission to recruit them and bring them to the Tower.
The complete list is given in LoC, chapters 10 & 11.
List by order of appearance:
Maybe there are others, but they are not listed.
“If Verin paid little heed to her clothes, though, her dark eyes were sharp enough. They latched on to Rand as tightly as mussels on a rock.” (Lord of Chaos, Chapter 10)
“Well, Verin thought dryly, I have broken a few customs in my time.” (Verin considering Alanna bonding Rand; Lord of Chaos, Chapter 11)
“Verin merely sipped her tea and watched; Verin’s eyes could be most disconcerting.” (Merana about Verin; Lord of Chaos, Chapter 53)
“Verin already had reasons for the path she followed, and purpose.” (The Path of Daggers, Prologue)
“Seventy-one years had passed since she had last made a serious mistake.” (The Path of Daggers, Prologue)
"Verin put on a warm smile. A fellow had once told her that her smile made him think of his dear mother. She hoped he had not been lying about that, at least. He had tried to slide a dagger between her ribs a little later, and her smile had been the last thing he ever saw." (The Path of Daggers, Prologue)
"Verin was not nearly so vague as she pretended. Some Browns really were capable of tripping over their own feet from not noticing them, but Verin was one of those who wore an assumed cloak of unworldliness." (Cadsuane about Verin; Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 23)
"This time, studying her, her mannerisms seemed too exaggerated to him. As if she were leaning on the preconceptions about the Browns, using them. Fooling people, like a street performer taking in country boys with a clever game of three-card shuffle. She eyed him. That smile on the corner of her lips? That was the smile of a jackleg who didn't care that you were on to her con. Now that you understood, you could both enjoy the game, and perhaps together you could dupe someone else." (Mat thinks about Verin; The Gathering Storm, Chapter 36)
"Verin smiled faintly, ...'But I've always had a feeling about you...You will be Amyrlin. I'm confident of it. And an Amyrlin should be well armed with knowledge. That, among all things, is the most sacred duty of the Brown--to arm the world with knowledge. I'm still one of them. Please see that they know, although the word Black may brand my name forever, my soul is Brown. Tell them....'" (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 39).
"'I will, Verin,' Egwene promised. 'But your soul is not Brown. I can see it...Your soul is of a pure white, Verin,' Egwene said softly. 'Like the Light itself.'" (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 39).