Cadsuane Melaidhrin is an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah and the order's oldest living sister. She was one of Rand al'Thor's main advisors in the months before the Last Battle, and has since then been raised to the Amyrlin Seat. Her status among her fellow Aes Sedai is almost legendary; in fact, until recently, most believed her to be dead.
Strength in the One Power
Cadsuane is undoubtedly among the strongest Aes Sedai living in the third era, and prior to the beginning of the series, hers is the highest strength level of any Aes Sedai for many hundreds of years.
This heavily implies that Elayne is stronger in the One Power than Cadsuane. This is corroborated in The Wheel of Time Companion, where Nicola Treehill's entry identifies her strength level as 9(+4), and it is stated that Nicola's potential strength is on par with Cadsuane; one can deduce from the entry that Cadsuane should also be at 9(+4). Instead, Cadsuane's own entry in the book gives her a different strength level: 5(+8), which would place Cadsuane well above not only Nicola, but Elayne and Egwene as well, both of whom are rated at 8(+5).
Cadsuane is described in "The Wheel of Time Companion" as a sister with many Talents, skills and abilities. She is not bad in the use of the Healing weaves and she has the Talent to read residues. Despite seeming rigid and not malleable in reality Cadsuane can be very adaptable depending on situations. She is very constant pursuing her objectives and rarely she misses a goal.
One of her great abilities is to notice even the lesser things that others missed, gaining great advantage from that. For instance, she understood that the argument between Perrin and Rand was a fake and so the "exile" of Perrin in the south was a way for Rand to conceal the true mission of his friend. Again she was aware of Rand sending others on errands but she was not always able to find out for what purpose; finally, only she noted after the Last Battle how Rand exchanged his body with Moridin, not saying a thing to anyone.
Cadsuane has very dark eyes and has gray hair which is always done up in a bun on the top of her head. She has many hair ornaments attached to her hair which are actually angreal and ter'angreal that make up a Paralis-net. She is described as being handsome, and she refers to herself as being "more stout than slim". She was, in her youth, five feet and five inches tall.
Robert Jordan described Cadsuane's dress as follows: (paraphrased) Her garments are silk, cut simply, mostly with high necklines. If she were to wear lace, it's just a touch, perhaps at the neck and cuffs, but she more likely doesn't have any lace at all. She's a woman who does a lot of traveling, and she wants clothes that are easy to care for and can be tended by a poorly trained maid at some country inn. She makes no efforts to appear in the highest or latest fashion, nor does she try to impress other women with her clothes or jewelry, or to attract men; she's too busy for such foolishness.
Cadsuane was born in 705 NE, in the city-state of Far Madding, where the out-and-out matriarchy, patronizing view of men, and no-nonsense world view shaped her in her early years. She cannot abide lying, bad manners, fools, and being delicate. At age fifteen, she went to the White Tower. There she spent six years as a Novice and five years as an Accepted.
Years ago, fairly soon after she had just attained the shawl she suffered a humiliating lesson from a toothless wilder named Norla, who lived in the Black Hills. Norla's tutelage helped shape Cadsuane's composure and skills beyond Tower training, and from her Cadsuane received the precious and powerful hair ornament set of ter'angreal and angreal.
Cadsuane, who had become a legend among sisters, was offered to become a Sitter the first time in 846 NE. She refused, and later, when offered again, she refused for a second time, even though one refusal was unheard of. She refused to become the head of the Green Ajah in 862 NE, again unheard of. She disappeared for ten years (roughly 890 NE to 900 NE) when she learned the Hall of the Tower intended to raise her to Amyrlin after the passing of Sereille Bagand.
Cadsuane professedly retired from involvement in world events -- twice. The first time was around 950 NE when she withdrew to grow roses in north Ghealdan. Twenty-five years later she returned shortly on the world stage for the Aiel War with her two surviving Warders. She then retired again. She was growing roses when Logain Ablar appeared. His appearance drew her out of retirement, but she was not interested in escorting Logain to Tar Valon. She aided in his capture, but then wandered a bit. Eventually, she heard news of Mazrim Taim and she quickly rode to Saldaea.
She was the strongest Aes Sedai in the One Power in a thousand years before the appearance of Egwene al'Vere, Nynaeve al'Meara, and Elayne Trakand. Although of the Green Ajah, over the years she has confronted and captured more men who could channel than any other living sister, including those of the Red Ajah, probably due to the eight-pointed star ter'angreal that vibrates in the proximity of a male with channeling ability. A little known oddity is that the men she brought to the White Tower tended to live much longer after being gentled than those brought by other sisters. She had a hand in capturing Logain Ablar, Mazrim Taim and Emarin Pendaloan.
There is a rumor that Cadsuane assaulted an Amyrlin. Since the rumor is vague, and it is almost impossible to believe that anyone could do so without punishment, even her, most believe it to be false. It is not. When Myriam Copan, the Amyrlin at that time was thought to have gone on a solitary self-imposed retreat, she was actually kidnapped by Cadsuane. This was 758 NE, a time when the White Tower's Amyrlin was considered weak and Cadsuane was only fifty-three. Cadsuane's goal in capturing her was to turn her into a strong Amyrlin, which she did. Her methods to do so involved turning Myriam upside down at least once. Cadsuane evaded punishment because Myriam made a statement that implied that Cadsuane did not assault her.
Cadsuane kidnapped a Tarabon king who could channel and brought him to the White Tower while being pursued by the king's army who did not believe that he could channel. She also kidnapped the King of Arad Doman and Queen of Saldaea. After she released them, the incoming war that seemed inevitable seemed to fade away. She actually spanked three reigning kings and four reigning queens.
She also stopped a coup within the White Tower. She and Sereille Bagand could not stand each other. Each was a person that held an air of control and confidence. Despite this dislike, she uncovered a plot to overthrow Sereille and stopped it. She took the conspirators, who believed they would be able to enlist the help of Cadsuane, directly to the Amyrlin's office herself. The Amyrlin was not particularly pleased to have the plot discovered by someone that she detested so.
Back from the "dead"
Cadsuane Melaidhrin shows up in Canluum where she tells Larelle Tarsi and Merean Redhill to look after Moiraine Damodred until she has bonded a Warder. Moiraine, at the time, was in Kandor searching for the Dragon Reborn. The two sisters are shocked to see her as they assumed she was dead by now.
Cadsuane regards as one of her two bitterest failures not learning "what Caraline Damodred's cousin had been up to in the Borderlands until the knowledge was years too late to do any good." She had eyes-and-ears on Siuan and Moiraine for many years.
Years later she shows up in Cairhien, and attempts to assert herself with Rand al'Thor, but fails to get through to him immediately. She seems disgusted with the sisters who swore an oath of fealty to Rand, and drills Merana Ambrey, Annoura Larisen, Bera Harkin and Kiruna Nachiman on events that have happened recently.
Cadsuane later assists Rand in escaping from what was thought to be a "bubble of evil" outside of Cairhien and helps him get back to Cairhien. This was actually Padan Fain and his Mashadar-like mist powers. Subsequently, she took the place of Moiraine Damodred as one of Rand's primary advisers. She made a pact with Sorilea, one of the most influential of the Wise Ones, to make him "remember laughter and tears." To show faith in her part of the deal, Sorilea showed Cadsuane the weave for Traveling.
Cleansing of saidin
She blackmails three Asha'man - Jahar Narishma, Damer Flinn and Eben Hopwil - into accepting Warder bonds from some of the Aes Sedai she leads. She also holds in captivity for a while Shalon din Togara Morning Tide and blackmails her into finding out what the Sea Folk want with Rand. She then takes Alanna Mosvani with her to find Rand and goes to Far Madding to meet him there. While in Far Madding Cadsuane meets with Aleis Barsalla and the rest of the Counsels and bullies Aleis into letting her and her group stay at her premises. She later confides in Verin Mathwin about Min Farshaw's revelation that Rand needs her, and that she intends to teach him laughter and tears again. After Verin meets Rand on the streets of Far Madding, she is sent to ask if Cadsuane will be his adviser.
When Rand is captured by the Far Madding guards, Min and Alivia run to tell Cadsuane about it. From there she gathers the Asha'man and walks in on a meeting of the Counsels. Aleis has Rand prisoner and intends to hand him over to the White Tower. She is forced to break Aleis, in order for her to release Rand.
They then leave Far Madding and Travel to just outside Shadar Logoth where Rand and Nynaeve begin to cleanse saidin. She organizes the defenses for the Battle near Shadar Logoth. She stays by Rand and Nynaeve and uses one of her hair ornaments to hold a shield dome above them while they are defenseless. She uses another to detect where any of the Forsaken may be channeling and guides Elza Penfell where to point callandor and "fire".
Rand finally begins to use her as his advisor and asks her opinion on his planned truce with the Seanchan. She at first isn't happy with it until Rand also tells her of his answer from the Aelfinn and the land has to be divided. She participates in the fight with the Trollocs when they attack the mansion. When Logain reveals that Rand is drawing as much as he can from the source, she turns to Min and asks how he's feeling. Min refuses to answer. She also seems to rub not only Rand, but all other Asha'man the wrong way, when she gets the chance such as hassling Logain about him losing his small strip of land when he became a false Dragon. She seems to respect Rand when he bites back and gives her the condition of not threatening Min or any of his other friends again.
She seems surprised with Rand when he hands over Verin's letter to her when Verin decides to leave Tear by herself.
She Travels to Arad Doman and stays with Rand at Lord Tellaen's manor. Cadsuane sits in on the meeting between Rand and the Aiel chiefs, where Rand gives the order for the Aiel to capture all the Council of Merchants. After Semirhage's capture, she was put in charge of interrogating the Forsaken, but was told not to torture her under any circumstances. After days of getting nowhere, Cadsuane realized that to break Semirhage, she had to tear down the woman's status as a legend. When Semirhage refused to eat what was brought to her, Cadsuane spanked her and made her eat off the floor. When Semirhage escaped, she is given the male a'dam by Shaidar Haran, which was hidden in Cadsuane's room and used it to collar Rand al'Thor. In the aftermath, Rand blames Cadsuane for this slip-up, and exiles her, telling her that if he ever saw her face again, he would kill her.
Cadsuane realized she had misjudged how to treat Rand, and feared that he might be able to kill her with a thought, as he had previously claimed. In a final effort to help Rand, Cadsuane had Tam brought to Tear. When Rand found out that Cadsuane sent Tam, he became furious, nearly killing Tam. Tam then burst angrily into Cadsuane's room to find out what she did to Rand. Cadsuane ties Tam up in weaves of Air and lifts him into the air. Min attempts to intercede on Tam's behalf, saying that this is unnecessary. Tam is unfazed and responds by saying he has met other bullies before. Cadsuane then releases Tam. Meanwhile, the confrontation sent Rand on a very abbreviated journey of self-discovery during which he considered destroying the pattern with the Choedan Kal, but turned the sa'angreal on itself, destroying it. Then he laughed. As a result, Cadsuane could be said to have succeeded in teaching him to laugh and cry.
Return to service
Cadsuane is part of the group that investigates Alanna Mosvani's mysterious disappearance from the Stone of Tear. When Rand returns back to Tear, he lifts Cadsuane's exile and sends her to Caralain Grass. When Rand returns from Maradon with Rodel Ituralde, they go to her quarters where they find a recently returned Cadsuane with Ituralde's king Alsalam Saeed Almadar.
Cadsuane is with Rand when he decides to re-meet with the Borderlander army stationed in Far Madding. She is chagrined when Rand corrects her on calling him boy when he is several centuries older than her. She then begins to call Rand by his proper name. They all sit down to formally discuss matters when Rand asks for their oath of obedience in exchange for him to teach the secret of Traveling to the Borderlander rulers' Aes Sedai. Cadsuane admits to herself that she is very proud of how far Rand has come and how much he has changed.
The Last Battle
Cadsuane watches events unfold at the Field of Merrilor when Rand lays out the Dragon's Peace. Rand drives a hard bargain and with the timely assistance of Moiraine, manages to convince all the rulers to finally sign. At the end of all this, Cadsuane is extremely proud of what Rand has accomplished. She is with Rand, when he stands just outside Shayol Ghul, testing whether the Dull dagger works. Cadsuane has a last word with Rand alone, before his strike on Shayol Ghul. She tells Rand that he should not assume he will die at Shayol Ghul. Cadsuane is also pleased with how he has turned out. She then asks about what Rand expects to do about the Black Tower. Rand knows it is a trap and is hesitant to answer. Cadsuane reveals they have freed themselves but are recovering from their ordeal. She would have liked to know what his answer would have been though.
She assists Rand's forces in the Last Battle and marches with him into Thakan'dar valley. There she and her fellow former unaligned sisters act outside of Rand's orders to leave Aviendha in charge of his channeling defence. Nonetheless Cadsuane provides a valuable defensive force. Initially Cadsuane dislikes the fact that Rand puts Aviendha in charge of the defensive group instead of herself but some time later she saves Aviendha from a surprise enemies attack. After realizing that a powerful female Forsaken using the True Power is their main enemy, Cadsuane, Aviendha, Sorilea, and Amys establish to call the help of each other every time the Forsaken appears because she is too dangerous to defeat alone.
After the fighting has stopped, she attends Rand's funeral pyre. She sees Moridin ride away from Rand's funeral and deduces that Rand switched bodies with Moridin and that Rand lives on. She chooses to leave him be.
She is then approached by Saerin Asnobar, Yukiri, Lyrelle and Rubinde, who ask for direction. Cadsuane tells them to talk to the new Amyrlin, whoever she may be. She then realizes the intent of the women and curses at it, resigning to her fate.
It has been confirmed by Brandon Sanderson that she becomes the new Amyrlin Seat.
Cadsuane owns a set of ten golden hair ornaments consisting of an angreal and nine ter'angreal, in the form of "small dangling golden fish and birds, stars and moons", dating from the Breaking of the World. Rand reveals that the collection of hair ornaments is something called a "paralis-net". They are linked by little gold chains to long gold needles used to fix Cadsuane's hair in a bun.
Of the ornaments:
- A bird that looks "a little like a shrike" is an angreal, it is not very powerful but still stepped her up to the top male level of strength, above any unaided woman 
- A double ter'angreal in the shape of two intertwined crescent moons, facing one another and overlapping; they functioned like Mat's Foxhead medallion, causing flows direct to Cadsaune to dissipate and also warning that someone closing is embracing the Power; they become cold but did not distinguish between saidin and saidar though they worked on and warned of both 
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a hummingbird is a Well. It is like a storage battery with a small but significant amount of power. It needs periodic recharging after use, but it wouldn’t run down on its own no matter how long the lapse between uses. It can be used in places shielded from the True Source like a Stedding or Far Madding.
- A ter'angreal in the shape of an eight-pointed star with four long and four short wavy rays; it detects the ability of a man to channel within a distance of thirty or forty paces. But it did not identify which man inside that range could channel, only the presence of one. It vibrates in the presence of men who can channel, more so with increasing numbers.
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a bird that seems a swallow; it detects the use of every very small amount of saidin and saidar within as much as three miles; if held by its chain it would turn to point its beak to the direction of use. It can detect only saidin and saidar used alone, not combined
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a six-pointed star. When triggered it forms a thin "armor" against the skin of the wearer. This protection is invisible except to whoever is using it. It protects against the blows of swords, knifes, arrows and even maces because it dissipates the force of the blow over the entire body, thus reducing it.
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a sleek fish with sharp fins. It enables the wearer to pull someone else into an involuntary circle under her/his control guiding the flows. It works only if the other person has already seized saidin or embraced saidar.
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a shadowed moon: a full moon disc with a part chiseled leaving a brightly burnished crescent. Its use is unknown.
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a leaping fish that looked like a trout. Its use is unknown.
- A ter'angreal in the shape of a fish that looked like a carp. Its use is unknown.
But we know from the fight against Semirhage that Cadsuane has a ter'angreal that disrupts weaves at close proximity. So one of the last three ornaments has this power.
The circumstances under which she acquired the set remain somewhat unclear. She was given them by a "toothless wilder" called Norla who resided in the heart of the Black Hills. It seems that Cadsuane's encounter with her was pivotal in her development as an Aes Sedai. How this woman came into possession of the ornaments and why she passed them on to Cadsuane is unknown.
Recently Cadsuane thought even to sleep with her ornaments in hand, because of the danger that she was facing.
Rand, using the memories of the Age of Legends, recognizes Cadsuane's ornaments as a "full paralis-net." He says that while some of the ornaments are unknown to Lews Therin, he was present when the original ones were designed and wore the original male version.
One of Min's viewings shows that she will teach Rand and all the other Asha'man something they have to learn and that none of them will like it. This hints at her pact with Sorilea about teaching Rand "laughter and tears."
It can be said in many ways that Cadsuane is the perfect Amyrlin Seat, perhaps the perfect Aes Sedai. The Amyrlin is supposed to be "of all Ajahs and none", and whilst almost all retain their connection to their old Ajahs, Cadsuane is one of the few Aes Sedai who can be said to have elements of all Ajahs about her. Although she is primarily Green and her main goal was to reach the Last Battle alive, she was extremely devoted to that cause and approached it with an almost Blue-like dedication. She has confronted and captured more male channelers than any other living sister, making her a more successful Red than any actual Red sister. She is as effective a mediator as one of the Gray, although her methods are sometimes unconventional, and has a vast amount of knowledge about a wide range of things which easily equals what would be expected of a Brown sister. She is also logical and reasonable with the serenity and calm head of a White and while her skill in Healing with the One Power is only average, it is stated by Suana Dragand that Yellows must simply have a desire to fix things and make them well, and Cadsuane demonstrates this on several occasions.
Brandon Sanderson reveals in an interview in January, 2013 that Cadsuane does end up being the next Amyrlin.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 A Crown of Swords, Chapter 19
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Robert Jordan's bio on Cadsuane Melaidhrin
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 New Spring Correspondence between Robert Jordan and Les Dabel
- ↑ The Path of Daggers, Chapter 27
- ↑ Winter's Heart, Chapter 33
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 23
- ↑ A Crown of Swords, Chapter 18
- ↑ Winter's Heart, Chapter 13
- ↑ Towers of Midnight, Chapter 12
- ↑ The Gathering Storm, Chapter 22
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Winter's Heart, Chapter 35
- ↑ The Path of Daggers, Chapter 12
- ↑ Winter's Heart, Chapter 34
- ↑ Knife of Dreams, Chapter 27