Verin Mathwin (pronounced: VEH-rihn MATH-wihn) was an Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. Although she presented herself as somewhat scatterbrained like the typical Sister of her Ajah, Verin was extremely sharp and intuitive. She was a scholar with an impressive amount of knowledge about obscure or esoteric fields, such as the Portal Stones, the Age of Legends, and Tel'aran'rhiod.
After researching the Black Ajah, Verin was caught and was forced to join the order devoted to the Shadow. After she spent seven decades cataloguing the identity of every member of the Black Ajah and their inner workings, she chose to sacrifice her life so her work could be given to Egwene al'Vere.
She is short, about 5' (152 cm) tall, and plump, with a square, ageless face that looks placid. She has dark eyes, and her hair is brown with a touch of gray. She seems to have aged prematurely as most Aes Sedai her age (151 at time of death) would not get be showing any signs of graying. This is likely due to her stressful double life as a mole within the Black Ajah.
She has a scar on her arm that she claimed came from Tel'aran'rhiod; Anaiya healed her, but it did not work as well as it should have.
Despite the ageless face, she looked like a mother or aunt, or the cook at an inn.
Her fingers were often stained in ink, and she habitually rubbed her nose especially when lost in thought, so her nose was often smudged.
Like all members of the Brown Ajah, she devotes herself to knowledge and the pursuit of it; as a result, she has a tendency to go on fruitless tangents in dire conversations, and appear lost in thought at inopportune moments. She was driven to learn as much as possible.
Unlike other Brown sisters however, she seems only to appear to be in these reveries to disguise her intentions, as she is at times very sharp and insightful. Moiraine Damodred remembered her particularly fondly from her days as a Novice and Accepted as Verin used to have the cooks leave sweets out for her and Siuan Sanche. Verin also told Morgase Trakand that there was no real need for her to remain in the Tower as she would never be able to do much with her limited talent even with teaching.
Her rooms in the Brown Ajah's quarters are located next to a tapestry of two Kings who lived before Artur Hawkwing. Her rooms are full of books, scrolls, maps and skulls. There is also a brown owl that sits on a skull to keep the mice down as they chew paper. She wears plain garb, shying away from the finer silks and fabrics some other sisters prefer. She almost always keeps a writing case on her belt in order to jot down notes on certain goings-on when she feels it is important. Her notes take up many cupboards and chests in her room in the Tower. The notebooks are written in a cipher to prevent anyone reading what she is really writing about.
feeble. However, Verin believes no Aes Sedai can surpass her at Delving. She is one of the Aes Sedai who has the ability to Travel, though she might be only able to open large Gateways with her Lily brooch angreal. She claims though, that she is not strong enough to use Portal Stones. Her skill in Cloud Dancing must be at least of average strength because she often has worked with the weather.
Perhaps most notable is Verin's discovery and use of a weak form of Compulsion, similar to the form Liandrin of the Black Ajah uses. This was purely an exercise in curiosity at first and was done by piecing together fragments of wilders' tricks to get people to do as they wished. Verin's weaves are far from foolproof, however; the object of Verin's Compulsion weaves must find reason within herself to obey the commands and trust in Verin is essential. It also never works on men, even on those with weak personalities.
Verin was born in Far Madding in the year 849 NE. She had a fiancé Eadwin before she was exiled for being able to channel the One Power. She still fondly remembers Eadwin's mischievous smile. She went to Tar Valon in 864 NE, where she spent 5 years as a novice and 6 years as Accepted before being raised to the shawl and joining the Brown Ajah in 875 NE. Driven to learn as much as possible, she thought the Brown Ajah was the best way to accomplish that. She was pleased, surprised and frightened when she passed the test to become Aes Sedai.
In 929 NE, she joined the Black Ajah because she was caught while inquiring too deeply into their existence. She had begun studying rumors and tales and had come dangerously close to discovering who some of the Black Ajah members were. She joined it to escape death, but used the opportunity to secretly study it in hopes of eventually trasmitting her knowledge to someone who could end the Black Ajah.
She had traveled extensively, even going as far as Falme to look at a Portal Stone and perhaps even spent a month in Cairhien trying to find the source of Hurin's powers to smell violence and bloodshed. She also at one point found a twisted ring ter'angreal known as a sleepweaver hidden by the Tower's last Dreamer and used it to enter Tel'aran'rhiod, the World of Dreams, where she received a physical scar that Anaiya was unable to heal fully. Ten years after the death of her first warder, Balinor, she bonded her second warder, Tomas. She was also one of the seven Aes Sedai present at the raising of Moiraine Damodred to Aes Sedai.
The Great Hunt
Verin is one of the fourteen Aes Sedai - the other Brown being Serafelle - who accompanied Siuan Sanche to Fal Dara. After an assault by Shadowspawn on Fal Dara, during which the Horn of Valere was stolen, she writes down (with Serafelle) the Prophecy of the Shadow, written by one of attackers on the walls of the dungeon, and interprets it for Siuan and Moraine. She correctly guesses that the verse "The man who channels stands alone" refers to the Dragon Reborn and that one of the three ta'veren must be him, causing Siuan and Moiraine to briefly consider detaining her before bringing her into a level of trust. Later on, she elects to follow the three ta'veren in their attempts to recover the stolen Horn, rather than return to Tar Valon. She claims that Moiraine asked her to accompany them, but Moiraine later says she did nothing of the sort. During her travels, Verin offers Rand al'Thor a hint at how to activate the Portal Stones. As a result, Rand propels the entire party into a series of painful visions about the alternate lives they could have lived. Upon reaching the cape town of Falme, Verin sends Rand, with Matrim Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Ingtar Shinowa and Hurin to recover the Horn as well as Mat's dagger, which incidentally fulfills a passage from the Karaethon Cycle.
Verin returns to Tar Valon with Elayne Trakand, Egwene al'Vere, Nynaeve al'Meara and Matrim Cauthon, becoming the only person other than Siuan herself to know that Siuan hides the Horn of Valere in the White Tower. There, along with nine other Aes Sedai, as well as a powerful sa'angreal, Verin helps sever Mat's connection to the tainted dagger from Shadar Logoth. In the meeting with Siuan she hints at letting him die so he would no longer be linked to the Horn and some other person could blow it for the Tower. She also becomes aware of Egwene and Nynaeve's search for the Black Ajah. She later gives Egwene the sleepweaver, allowing her to enter Tel'aran'rhiod. Verin fails to give Egwene some notes that could be important for her Talent or her search for the Black Ajah.
In the Two Rivers
Verin turns up in the Two Rivers with Alanna Mosvani, where the two discover many girls with the potential to channel, including Bode Cauthon. In the Two Rivers Verin helps Perrin fight an immense horde of Shadowspawn that were assaulting Emond's Field. While helping Perrin in his fight she makes notes on the effects that Perrin has through him being ta'veren, and shows an interest in the hammer that Perrin carries in contrast to the axe he had carried the last time they met. Just before the final battle with the Trollocs, she wonders when he would forsake the axe for the hammer. One of the Prophecies in the Karaethon Cycle says, "When the Wolf King carries the hammer, thus are the final days known." We see from this musing that Verin has a keenly evident understanding of the Propheceies and their imminent applicability, something we had only witnessed in Moiraine, and insight into Perrin's nature. She is very interested in the three ta'veren, and expresses a desire to split into three just so she could tail all of them, even going as far as to say she would marry one or all of them in order to stay by their side.
Verin sides with the rebelling faction of Aes Sedai centered in Salidar after reaching Caemlyn, and sends the new novices from the Two Rivers to Salidar. She attempts to manipulate other Aes Sedai into confronting Rand and they decided to follow him to Cairhien after they receive a letter from him. On their journey they meet up with Perrin who is leading an army to rescue Rand from the White Tower. Verin takes part in the Battle of Dumai's Wells and is caught up so strongly in his ta'veren pull that it caused her to swear an oath to Rand after winning the battle. She then sets about helping Rand by using a weak form of Compulsion on some of the Tower Aes Sedai who had kidnapped him so that they will serve Rand up until Tarmon Gai'don. It is also likely that she did this to ease the treatment the Aes Sedai were suffering under the Wise Ones. She joins the group of sisters who follow Rand led by Cadsuane Melaidhrin. Verin wants Rand to get to the Last Battle but her true allegiance is unclear at this time: it is possible that she has spoken a lie, which should be impossible due to the Three Oaths. Verin is also ready to poison Cadsuane in Far Madding when she thought that Cadsuane would harm Rand.
Verin takes part in the battle where Rand removes the taint on saidin. During this battle she, while linked with Kumira and the Windfinder Shalon din Togara Morning Tide, encounters Graendal who they fend off in exchange for Kumira's life. After continuing to travel with Rand Verin suddenly disappears. She leaves him a letter saying he can trust Cadsuane but no other Aes Sedai no matter what oaths they have sworn to him.
Verin travels to Tear with the intention of continuing on to Tar Valon. During her journey the ta'veren nature of Mat draws her to Trustair through interruptions while she attempts to Travel and exiting at the wrong place when Skimming because of an off-hand comment by Tomas. Correctly guessing the ta'veren pull as the source of her traveling difficulties, Verin distributes pictures of Mat and Perrin in an effort to locate them. Meeting up with the Band of the Red Hand, Verin offers to take them directly to Caemlyn if Mat will agree to follow a letter of instructions that she leaves with him. The letter is to be opened ten days after his arrival in Caemlyn. Mat negotiates a deal that gives him the choice to either open the letter after ten days and follow the instructions or not open it but stay in Caemlyn for thirty days. Mat intends to use the latter option. Before breaking camp, Mat notices that Verin had a stack of sealed envelopes in her bag.
"I will tell, Verin", Egwene promised. "But your soul is not Brown. I can see it. Your soul is pure white. Like the Light itself."
—Verin Mathwin and Egwene al'Vere
Verin next appears in the White Tower. To quickly gain Egwene's attention and gain a private meeting, she lies about the color of Egwene's dress. She then confirms that she is a member of the Black Ajah and that her Warder Tomas was a Darkfriend. She also reveals that she had joined the Black Ajah after being caught asking too many questions; she was given the choice between joining or death, and decided to stay alive. She made the most of her situation by secretly studying them. During the meeting she says that to continue her research, she became involved with recent events and followed Rand. She also shows insight into how the Forsaken and the Dark One operate. Verin is able to tell Egwene all of this because she had poisoned herself (by the substance Sorilea gave her in Cairhien), and a loophole in her Black Ajah oaths, "not to betray the Great Lord, to keep my secrets until the hour of my death," allows her to betray them since her death was then imminent. She does not believe that she would be redeemed but gives Egwene two books, one with details of the Black Ajah and the other with the cipher to decode it. Egwene later uses this information to cull the Black Ajah from the Aes Sedai, stilling and executing many of them, although the majority were able to run away. Verin also tells Egwene that one of the Forsaken, Mesaana, had infiltrated the White Tower but she could not determine who she was impersonating. Also in the book she has recorded the prophecies Darkfriends believe and the different factions within. Egwene is impressed with how accurate Verin's list of Black Ajah members is. After revealing this information, Verin dies, though not before Egwene consoles her by saying her soul is a shining white,like the light. Soon after the Battle of Tar Valon begins.
Weeks later, Mat still hasn't opened the letter from Verin, and Olver unseals and reads it instead, then hands it to Talmanes. It is revealed that the letter is a warning to Mat from Verin, who expected Mat to open it within a few days. Verin knew of a Trolloc invasion headed toward Caemlyn that would pour from a Waygate, and she advised that Mat warn the Queen in time to destroy it. However, the contents of her letter were not discovered in time to prevent the invasion from beginning, and Caemlyn is ablaze. As Mat is in the Tower of Ghenjei, Talmanes musters the Band to defend Caemlyn. Caemlyn is destroyed in the invasion, though Talmanes is able to evacuate many of the citizens with the help of Aludra and her dragons.
After Verin's death, Egwene thinks that she would like to have Verin's actions publicized so she could be honored for her role in weakening the Black Ajah.
Verin's actions had led to speculation about her allegiance before it was revealed. The most suspicious act was her lie to Rand that "Moiraine sent me", when she helped him recover the Horn of Valere. Another suspicious act was hiding the notes of Corianin Nedeal after giving the sleepweaver to Egwene. She also discovered a method of compulsion that violates Tower Law, though the way she used it does not technically violate the Three Oaths as she phrased it in a way that would not harm the recipient.
In Verin's thoughts she referred to the Dark One by that epithet rather than by the title "Great Lord" which most Darkfriends would use. She also stayed her hand when about to poison Cadsuane upon discovering that Cadsuane's true intentions were to help Rand al'Thor survive to Tarmon Gai'don.
The reason for the inconsistencies was revealed by Verin herself when she revealed to Egwene that she had spent the previous seventy years as a mole in the Black Ajah. Originally joining the Shadow with her Warder Tomas, both quickly realised their mistake and rather than forsake the oaths she took to the Shadow, decided to work from within them, gathering as much information on the Black Sisters, known Darkfriends both high and low and the Shadow as possible before Tarmon Gai'don.
While she gave Egwene the Twisted Stone Ring ter'angreal, she had been ordered to hold the notes from Corianin Nedeal by the Black Ajah Supreme Council, but after the Amyrlin had ordered her to assist Egwene in her research of Dream, she had to give something.
In her final hour after meeting with the now Amyriln Egwene, she turned over copious notes about the Black, including a list of every member of the Black Ajah she could find, the list was remarkably accurate, with only a handful of others being found through Egwene's purges in both the rebel and Tower camps using the Oath Rod (three among the rebels, three in the Tower, and one more revealed in battle). To enable herself to betray the Shadow, she poisoned herself, using a loophole in the wording of her oath - not to betray the Shadow until "the hour of her death," more or less proving her true commitment to the Light.
Despite her death, a few of Verin's plots remain in motion. She gave Mat a sealed letter to be opened on the tenth day after she leaves him in Caemlyn. As she does so, other such letters are visible in her bag. Another such letter was handed to Rand upon his visit to the White Tower, while the envelope for another was found in Alanna's room after she disappears from the Stone of Tear. Though a small amount of doubt remains, it is far more likely that Verin's Letters were all set to aid the Light in some way with the information within the letter she gave to Mat.
- The Gathering Storm, Chapter 36
- The Wheel of Time Companion, Verin Mathwin
- Q&A with Mariea Simmons
- The Path of Daggers, Prologue
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 30
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 40
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 37
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 21
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 11
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 7
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 14
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 44
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 12
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 18
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 31
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 32
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 56
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 4
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 42
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 49
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 54
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 55
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 25
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 35
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 20
- The Gathering Storm, Chapter 38
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 13
- The Gathering Storm, Chapter 39
- The Gathering Storm, Chapter 43
- Towers of Midnight, Chapter 44