Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
Logged In (0):
Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,
Last ten comments at Theoryland.
by AmaentesIf DO was able to alter reality with power...
by JoramJust wanted to comment on something in reg...
by JoramSorry to necro this thread, but I was just...
by jimbop79I was just thinking that since the Finns l...
by jimbop79This was alluded to early on, but let me s...
by pjrobertsonAlthough the books are over here is what m...
by NaeblisSunshineThis has a lot of spoilers, so please, if ...
by shaihaludWow, found a link to this while purging my...
by MMustafaNow see, Rand isn't the only one who wants...
by WaxerIn the epilogue as rand is carrying Moridins ...
Last ten theories at Theoryland.
Padan Fain, Roommates With the Dark Oneby aNewAge
The Real Slayerby Cabadrin
How the Bore Will Be Sealedby Tremalking
The Bore is in Tel’aran’rhiodby Great Lord of the Dark
Callandor's Purposeby RealAshaman
Rand and the True Powerby Zombie Sammael
Caemlyn's Battleby 1eyedfool
Moghedien Raises the Deadby Truthless
Breaking the Sealsby Kamaul
Let me die forever!by Kamaul
WARNING: THIS THEORY HAS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT.
When I read the Nakomi scene, Verin came to mind immediately. I still read it skeptically, but it was like every time she spoke, I was more convinced it was Verin. I am pretty sure that this one will end up on the 'unrevealed' list, so I'm not really interested in arguing it much on the internet, but I figured I would lay out the evidence.
As to how she learned that Aviendha would be going to Rhuidean...there are a number of possible ways. She might have gone through the Rings of Rhuidean herself. If Sorilea really is a Darkfriend, she could have easily learned of it through her; Verin conferred with the Blacks in the Tower before she visited Egwene, so it's probably safe to assume that she was not avoiding her compatriots between the time that she left Rand and the time that she met with Egwene. There was no reason to - her actions were circumspect - and it would have been suspicious if she'd dropped off their radar entirely. She might have even been ordered to kill Aviendha.
Aviendha thinks that Nakomi cannot channel, but I think there is at least one rather large clue that she could:
TITLE - Towers of Midnight
CHAPTER: 39 - In the Three-fold Land
A sound came from outside her camp.
Aviendha opened her eyes and jumped up, embracing the Source. A piece of her was pleased that she now instinctively looked to the One Power, rather than spears that were not there. She wove a globe of light.
"Greetings, Wise One," the woman said, bowing her head. "Might I share water with you? I am traveling far, and saw your fire." The woman had furrowed skin, and she could not channel - Aviendha could sense that easily.
"I am not yet a Wise One," Aviendha said, wary. "I currently take my second path into Rhuidean."
"Then you will soon find much honor," the woman said. "I am Nakomi. I promise that I mean you no harm, child."
Suddenly, Aviendha felt foolish. The woman had approached without weapons drawn. Aviendha had been distracted by her thoughts; that was why she hadn't heard Nakomi approach. "Of course, please."
This scene is a nice reminder of the first time that Egwene met Aviendha:
TITLE - The Dragon Reborn
CHAPTER: 38 - Maidens of the Spear
Egwene sighed. And colored when she met Elayne's eye. Well, I am not a Daughter-Heir, to know all these things. I will learn them, though. As she looked around at the Aiel women, she realized that far from soothing them, she had put them even more on edge. If they try anything, I will hold them with Air. She had no idea whether she could seize four people at once, but she opened herself to saidar, wove the flows in Air and held them ready. The Power pulsed in her with eagerness to be used. No glow surrounded Elayne, and she wondered why. Elayne looked right at her and shook her head.
"I would never harm an Aes Sedai," Aviendha said abruptly. "I would have you know that. Whether Dailin lives or dies, it makes no difference in that. I would never use this" – she lifted one short spear a trifle – "against any woman. And you are Aes Sedai." Egwene had the sudden feeling that the woman was trying to soothe them.
"I knew that," Elayne said, as if talking to Aviendha, but her eyes told Egwene the words were for her. "No one knows much of your people, but I was taught that Aiel never harm women unless they are – what did you call it? – wedded to the spear."
Bain seemed to think Elayne was failing to see truth clearly again. "That is not exactly the way of it, Elayne. If a woman not wedded came at me with weapons, I would drub her until she knew better of it. A man... A man might think a woman of your lands was wedded if she bore weapons; I do not know. Men can be strange."
Egwene embraces the Source, and immediately, Aviendha tells her that she means her no harm. Egwene has no idea that this is because Aviendha could (most likely) see the glow around her, or sense her holding the Power, so she keeps holding it, thinking Aviendha can't know the difference. This would explain why the Wise ones thought Aviendha was long overdue to start her training. In the passage with Nakomi, Aviendha embraces the Source, and Nakomi tells her that she means no harm, and Aviendha feels foolish, despite knowing that the woman cannot channel and therefore would not know the difference. The woman 'had approached without weapons drawn'. Which seems to be a direct reference to what Bain said, about an unwedded woman coming at her with weapons.
Verin has known of hiding one's ability to channel since she faced Graendal at the Cleansing, at the latest, and since Egwene had lifted the restriction on teaching that particular weave in ACOS, it's not unreasonable to assume that Nynaeve taught it to them. Both Nynaeve and Cadsuane used the weave when they went against Semirhage in KOD. Inverted weaves and Illusion explain every odd thing that occurred in the scene. Leanne from Theoryland asked Brandon if Verin knew the weaves, and he gave her a MAFO, which would seem to indicate that if Verin was Nakomi, whe wasn't using Illusion or hiding her ability to channel. Unless, of course, he was just trying to be sneaky. Then Tam asked Maria on Twitter:
Matt Hatch on Twitter 8 November 2010
Did Verin know the weave to hide her channeling ability from being detected by another female channeler?
Sneaky sneaky Verin knew a lot. And that's all I have to say at the moment.
But let's assume that the simplest explanation is true. Brandon has learned how to give Aes Sedai answers, but the truth of the matter is that it is easy to see him not having a clue (despite the Theoryland tshirt) what Leanne was getting at (Tam would have made him more suspicious) because he never had to write Verin using the weave. I think it unlikely he would be clueless, and I also think it unlikely he would knowingly kill a good Verin theory so soon after the release, but assuming he was clueless, there is still also a possibility that Aviendha fell asleep, and was pulled into Tel'aran'rhiod, or that maybe Verin entered her dream and controlled it. Tam thinks that this is what happened, but that it was the Wise Ones, rather than Verin. There is at least some evidence against that:
TITLE - The Shadow Rising
CHAPTER: 52 - Need
"Elayne thinks you know all sorts of tricks with dreams. Is there any way I could get into Amathera's dreams to see if she is a Darkfriend?"
"Foolish girl." Bair's long hair swung as she shook her head. "If Aes Sedai, a foolish girl still. To step into another's dream is very dangerous unless she knows you and expects you. It is her dream, not as here. There, this Amathera will control all. Even you."
"If I cannot enter her dream, can I bring her into the World of Dreams? I need some way to talk to her."
"We would not teach you that if we knew how," Amys said, hitching her shawl angrily. "It is an evil thing you ask, Nynaeve Sedai."
"She would be as helpless here as you in her dream." Bair's thin voice sounded like an iron rod. "It has been handed down among dreamwalkers since the first that no one must ever be brought into the dream. It is said that that was the way of the Shadow in the last days of the Age of Legends."
And of course, Verin is rather well-positioned to have been instructed in these ways of the Shadow; she has probably been pulled into Tel'aran'rhiod herself at some point or another. She studied all of Corianin Nedeal's notes, and she entered Tel'aran'rhiod at least once, probably. She claimed to have been there once, but there is nothing to say she was being truthful, really. She told Egwene that she was not supposed to give her the ter'angreal, but by her own thoughts, the Black Ajah did not know of it:
TITLE - The Dragon Reborn
CHAPTER: 21 - A World of Dreams
Page upon page, covered with a precise hand, the black ink barely faded after nearly five hundred years. Corianin Nedeal's notes, everything she had learned in fifty years of studying that peculiar ter'angreal. A secretive woman, Corianin. She had kept by far the greater part of her knowledge from everyone, trusting it only to these pages. Only chance and a habit of rummaging through old papers in the library had led Verin to them. As far as she could discover, no Aes Sedai besides herself knew of the ter'angreal; Corianin had managed to erase its existence from the records.
Once again she considered burning the manuscript, just as she had considered giving it to Egwene. But destroying knowledge, any knowledge, was anathema to her. And for the other... No. It is best by far to leave things as they are. What will happen, will happen.
In retrospect, we have to wonder why exactly Verin didn't give the notes to Egwene. If the Black did not know of them, and they contained helpful knowledge...we know that Verin's motives were pure. What was in those notes that was dangerous? Was Corianin a Darkfriend? She she use Tel'aran'rhiod for evil purposes? Or did the notes simply contain dangerous clues?
If Verin was still alive at the time, it is not outside reason that she could have used Tel'aran'rhiod in this way. And if she was already dead...well, it's also not so hard to believe that she became a Hero of the Horn. Some are sure that she is suffering eternal torment - she certainly did not seem to think she deserved redemption - but I tend to think that those who take great risks to do great deeds with no expectation of redemption are those most likely to receieve not only redemption, but honor. Verin may have singlehandedly saved the world from destruction with her last acts. It may seem a bit strange that her first act as a dead Hero would be to break the prescripts...but, who knows? Maybe she has been a Hero for several Turnings of the Wheel already, and she of all people knows a risk that is worth the cost when she sees it (though she, in true Far Madding style, perhaps, badly misjudged Mat Cauthon...we have to admit it is an easy thing to do, especially considering that Mat was dagger-sick the entire time Verin knew him, and only a shadow of the awesome character that he eventually became).
But with establishing how it is possible for Nakomi to have been Verin, I have gotten rather far afield from the main point.
Part of the reason I suspected Verin when reading the Nakomi scene is that there is reason to suspect from the beginning that Nakomi is not actually Aiel. She gives neither clan nor sept, refuses to reveal where her roof is, and speaks of Aiel concepts almost as if they are foreign to her, though she of course pretends that they are not. But more to the point, nearly everything she said might be traced back to the first time Verin ever encountered an Aiel, not long after we first met her in TGH. This is a pretty long quote, but it has a number of important things in it:
TITLE - The Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 28 - A New Thread in the Pattern
Urien turned to Verin, just getting down off her horse, and made an odd bow, digging the points of his spears into the ground and extending his right hand, palm up. His voice became respectful. "Wise One, my water is yours."
Verin handed her reins to one of the soldiers. She studied the Aiel as she came closer. "Why do you call me that? Do you take me for an Aiel?"
"No, Wise One. But you have the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidean and survived. The years do not touch the Wise Ones in the same way as other women, or as they touch men."
An excited look appeared on the Aes Sedai's face, but Ingtar spoke impatiently. "We are following Darkfriends and Trollocs, Urien. Have you seen any sign of them?"
"Trollocs? Here?" Urien's eyes brightened. "It is one of the signs the prophecies speak of. When the Trollocs come out of the Blight again, we will leave the Three-fold Land and take back our places of old." There was muttering from the mounted Shienarans. Urien eyed them with a pride that made him seem to be looking down from a height.
"The Three-fold Land?" Mat said. Perrin thought he looked still paler; not sick, exactly, but as if he had been out of the sun too long.
"You call it the Waste," Urien said. "To us it is the Three-fold Land. A shaping stone, to make, us; a testing ground, to prove our worth; and a punishment for the sin."
"What sin?" Mat asked. Perrin caught his breath, waiting for the spears in Urien's hand to flash.
The Aiel shrugged. "So long ago it was, that none remember. Except the Wise Ones and the clan chiefs, and they will not speak of it. It must have been a very great sin if they cannot bring themselves to tell us, but the Creator punishes us well."
"Trollocs," Ingtar persisted. "Have you seen Trollocs?"
Urien shook his head. "I would have killed them if I had, but I have seen nothing but the rocks and the sky."
Ingtar shook his head, losing interest, but Verin spoke, sharp concentration in her voice. "This Rhuidean. What is it? Where is it? How are the girls chosen to go?"
Urien's face went flat, his eyes hooded. "I cannot speak of it, Wise One."
In spite of himself Perrin's hand gripped his axe. There was that in Urien's voice. Ingtar had also set himself, ready to reach for his sword, and there was a stir among the mounted men. But Verin stepped up to the Aiel, until she was almost touching his chest, and looked up into his face.
"I am not a Wise One as you know them, Urien," she said insistently. "I am Aes Sedai. Tell me what you can say of Rhuidean."
The man who had been ready to face twenty men now looked as if he wished for an escape from this one plump woman with graying hair. "I ... can tell you only what is known to all. Rhuidean lies in the lands of the Jenn Aiel, the thirteenth clan. I cannot speak of them except to name them. None may go there save women who wish to become Wise Ones, or men who wish to be clan chiefs. Perhaps the Jenn Aiel choose among them; I do not know. Many go; few return, and those are marked as what they are Wise Ones, or clan chiefs. No more can I say, Aes Sedai. No more."
Verin continued to look up at him, pursing her lips.
Urien looked at the sky as though he was trying to remember it. "Will you slay me now, Aes Sedai?"
She blinked. "What?"
"Will you slay me now? One of the old prophecies says that if ever we fail the Aes Sedai again, they will slay us. I know your power is greater than that of the Wise Ones." The Aiel laughed suddenly, mirthlessly. There was a wild light in his eyes. "Bring your lightnings, Aes Sedai. I will dance with them." The Aiel thought he was going to die, and he was not afraid. Perrin realized his mouth was open and closed it with a snap.
"What would I not give," Verin murmured, gazing up at Urien, "to have you in the White Tower. Or just willing to talk. Oh, be still, man. I won't harm you. Unless you mean to harm me, with your talk of dancing."
Urien seemed astounded. He looked at the Shienarans, sitting their horses all around, as if he suspected some trick. "You are not a Maiden of the Spear," he said slowly. "How could I strike at a woman who has not wedded the spear? It is forbidden except to save life, and then I would take wounds to avoid it."
"Why are you here, so far from your own lands?" she asked. "Why did you come to us? You could have remained in the rocks, and we would never have known you were there." The Aiel hesitated, and she added, "Tell only what you are willing to say. I do not know what your Wise Ones do, but I'll not harm you, or try to force you."
"So the Wise Ones say," Urien said dryly, "yet even a clan chief must have a strong belly to avoid doing as they want." He seemed to be picking his words carefully. "I search for ... someone. A man." His eye ran across Perrin, Mat, the Shienarans, dismissing them all. "He Who Comes With the Dawn. It is said there will be great signs and portents of his coming. I saw that you were from Shienar by your escort's armor, and you had the look of a Wise One, so I thought you might have word of great events, the events that might herald him."
"A man?" Verin's voice was soft, but her eyes were as sharp as daggers. "What are these signs?"
Urien shook his head. "It is said we will know them when we hear of them, as we will know him when we see him, for he will be marked. He will come from the west, beyond the Spine of the World, but be of our blood. He will go to Rhuidean, and lead us out of the Three-fold Land." He took a spear in his right hand. Leather and metal creaked as soldiers reached for their swords, and Perrin realized he had taken hold of his axe again, but Verin waved them all to stillness with an irritated look. In the dirt Urien scraped a circle with his spearpoint, then drew across it a sinuous line. "It is said that under this sign, he will conquer."
Ingtar frowned at the symbol, no recognition on his face, but Mat muttered something coarsely under his breath, and Perrin felt his mouth go dry. The ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai.
Verin scraped the marking away with her foot. "I cannot tell you where he is, Urien," she said, "and I have heard of no signs or portents to guide you to him."
"Then I will continue my search." It was not a question, yet Urien waited until she nodded before he eyed the Shienarans proudly, challengingly, then turned his back on them. He walked away smoothly, and vanished into the rocks without looking back.
Urien tells her of the fact that Wise Ones go to Rhuidean to be raised, and that they come back marked. This likely gave Verin a suspicion that there were ter'angreal in Rhuidean. He told her about the sin-punishment aspect of the Three-fold Land, and the prophecies indicating they should leave the Three-fold Land to take back their places of old, and these are the very things that Nakomi addressed with Aviendha.
TITLE - Towers of Midnight
CHAPTER: 39 - In the Three-fold Land
"It is an unexpected pleasure," Nakomi said, rifling through her pack, "to cross the path of one on her way to Rhuidean. Tell me, was your apprenticeship long?"
"Too long," Aviendha said. "Though primarily because of my own stubbornness."
"Ah," Nakomi said. "You have the air of a warrior about you, child. Tell me, are you from among those who went west? The ones who joined the one named the Car'a'carn?
"He is the Car'a'carn," Aviendha said.
"I did not say that he was not," Nakomi said, sounding amused. She got out some tea leaves and herbs.
"The wetlands are not glorious," Aviendha said. "They are dangerous. They make us weak."
Who is this woman? It was not unusual to find Aiel traveling the Waste; even children learned to protect themselves. But should Nakomi not be traveling with friends, family? She did not wear the clothing of a Wise One, but there was something about her...
"You seem troubled," Nakomi said. "Far be it from me to question an apprentice Wise One. But I do see worry in your eyes."
Aviendha stifled a grimace. She would have preferred to be left alone. And yet, she had invited this woman to share her water and shade. "I am worried about our people. Dangerous times come."
"The Last Battle," Nakomi said softly. "The thing the wetlanders speak of."
"Yes. I worry about something beyond that. The wetlands, corrupting our people. Making them soft."
"But the wetlands are part of our destiny, are they not? The things the Car'a'carn is said to have revealed . . . they link us to the wetlands in curious ways. Assuming what he said was true."
"He would not lie about this," Aviendha said.
Also interesting is that Nakomi says 'Far be it from me to question an apprentice Wise One...' And Verin has done exactly that, with the Aes Sedai 'apprentices' outside Cairhien. In this POV, there is one of many indications that Verin had a special interest in the Aiel:
TITLE - The Path of Daggers
PROLOGUE - Deceptive Appearances
Verin saw a black-robed woman plodding away not fifty paces off, struggling to pull a waist-high pile of rocks behind her on a cowhide. The deep cowl hid her face, but no one in the camp except the captive sisters wore those black robes. A Wise One strolled along close to the hide, glowing with the Power as she shielded the prisoner, while a pair of Maidens flanked the sister, using switches to urge her on whenever she faltered. Verin wondered whether she had been meant to see. That very morning she had passed a wild-eyed Coiren Saeldain, sweat streaming down her face, with a Wise One and two tall Aielmen for escort and a large basket heaped with sand bending her back as she staggered up a slope. Yesterday it had been Sarene Nemdahl. They had set her moving handfuls of water from one hide bucket to another beside it, switched her to move faster, then switched her for every drop spilled when the water spilled because they were switching her to move faster. Sarene had stolen a moment to ask Verin why, though not as if she expected any answer. Verin certainly had not been able to supply one before the Maidens drove Sarene back to her useless labor.
She suppressed a sigh. For one thing, she could not truly like seeing sisters treated so, whatever the reasons or need, and for another, it was obvious that a fair number of the Wise Ones wanted... What? For her to know that being Aes Sedai counted for nothing here? Ridiculous. That had been made abundantly clear days ago. Perhaps that she could be put into a black robe, too? For the time she thought she was safe from that, at least, but the Wise Ones hid a number of secrets she had yet to puzzle out, the smallest of them how their hierarchy worked. Very much the smallest, yet life and a whole skin lay wrapped inside that one. Women who gave commands sometimes took them from the very women they had been commanding earlier, and then later it was turned about again, all without rhyme or reason that she could see.
Gaining permission to be alone with the prisoners had required nearly as much effort as getting Sorilea and Amys to decide they needed to be questioned, and by someone intimate with the White Tower. If they ever learned they had been guided to that decision... It was a worry for another day. She seemed to be piling up a great many of those.
Here is another quote showing her interest in the Aiel, from shortly after they met Urien:
TITLE - The Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 35 - Stedding Tsofu
The Ogier turned to Verin and bowed. "Aes Sedai, I am Juin, son of Lacel son of Laud. I have come to take you to the Elders. They would know why an Aes Sedai comes among us, with armed men and one of our own youths." Loial hunched his shoulders as if trying to disappear.
Verin gave the Aiel a regretful look, as if she wanted to talk with them, then motioned Juin to lead, and he took her away without another word or even the first look at Loial.
And another, in the Two Rivers:
TITLE - The Shadow Rising
CHAPTER: 31 - Assurances
"It is quite all right, Mistress al'Vere," Verin interrupted in a soothing tone. "You did exactly the correct thing. Perrin is in the right hands, now. Also I will enjoy the chance to learn more about the Aiel, and it is always a pleasure to talk with an Ogier. I will pick your brain, Loial. I have found some fascinating things in Ogier books."
Loial gave her a pleased smile; anything to do with books seemed to please him. Gaul, on the other hand, exchanged guarded looks with Bain and Chiad.
The evidence is, of course, fairly tenuous....but I feel like it is far less tenuous for Verin than it is for other candidates. We know that she has a special interest in the Aiel, and a closer relationship with them than most Aes Sedai. We know that she has been aware from the beginning of the philosophical questions that Nakomi raised with Aviendha. And while I felt that Nakomi was Verin not far into the passage where she appears, I felt like her comment at the end was a dead giveaway:
TITLE - Towers of Midnight
CHAPTER: 39 - In the Three-fold Land
"And so," Nakomi said softly, "once Sightblinder is defeated, what is left for us? Perhaps this is why so many refused to follow the Car'a'carn. Because they worried what it meant. Why continue the old ways? How do we find honor in raiding, in killing one another, if we are no longer preparing for such an important task? Why grow harder? For the sake of being hard itself?"
"I'm sorry," Nakomi said. "I've let myself ramble again. I am prone to it, I fear. Here, let us eat."
This is Verin to a T. In fact...
TITLE - The Path of Daggers
PROLOGUE - Deceptive Appearances
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. "I can't think of the reason you would. No, I fear what you have to look forward to is useless labor. That's shaming, to them. Bone shaming. Of course, if they realize you don't see it that way... Oh, my. I'll wager you didn't like digging without any clothes on, even with Maidens for guards, but think of, say, standing in a tent full of men that way?" Beldeine flinched. Verin prattled on; she had developed prattling to something of a Talent. "They'd only make you stand there, of course. Da'tsang aren't allowed to do anything useful unless there's great need, and an Aielman would as soon put his arm around a rotting carcass as... Well, that's not a pleasant thought, is it? In any case, that's what you have to look forward to. I know you'll resist as long as you can, though I'm not sure what there is to resist. They won't try to get information out of you, or anything that people usually do with prisoners. But they won't let you go, not ever, until they're sure the shame is so deep in you there's nothing else left. Not if it takes the rest of your life."
This is the most compelling evidence to me, because it was very much Verin's MO to prattle as if she had no real point that she was getting to. Just idle talk. But it was never just idle talk with Verin - she was probably more accomplished than any other Aes Sedai at guiding and prodding people to certain decisions or thought processes by prattling like a brainless girl. The reason it works so well is that she gives you the impression that she is babbling all of her thoughts to you without taking care to hold anything back. It gives her the impression of being open and honest. There are other things that detract from the mask - she can't really hide her cunning - but her way of going about it is distracting even to the astute observer. Those who know her - or those who know she is Aes Sedai - usually know that she is being manipulative, but they usually are left wondering exactly what she was getting at, anyway.
This is why I don't find it particularly useful to harp on the fact that, in this instance, Verin-as-Nakomi's motives are not entirely clear. She has always been a mysterious character; we only got four points of view from her in the entire series, and none of them were full chapters. Obviously this was mainly because RJ was trying to hide the fact that she was studying the Black Ajah from the inside, but as a consequence, we know very little of her thoughts on anything. However, it is well-established that she had an interest in the Aiel, and it was also well-established that she wanted to help save the world.
And while Verin's number one motive was obviously to betray the Shadow, I don't find it to be a leap to assume that she had thoughts on how to save the Aiel, as well. And it may be that she simply wanted to make some provision for the wetlands to be protected against the Seanchan. What would happen if Rand died at the Last Battle, and all of the Aiel returned to the Waste, leaving Randland with no chance against the Seanchan other than the Asha'man? Verin knows the Aes Sedai well enough to know that the Oaths will not disappear overnight.
Also interesting is that Brandon has at least confirmed that some of us are on the right track:
Someone else (two different people, actually) asked about Nakomi. Brandon RAFO’d, but then said that there were some very interesting theories out there, and that some hard core fan freaks may have had some that were more accurate than others he’d seen. I don’t know if he’s referring to Theoryland specifically or just the OCD fan community in general.
If you are interested, you can check out the early discussions on the subject at Theoryland and at Dragonmount, or a slightly later discussion at Dragonmount, and a later discussion at Theoryland.. Brandon might have been differentiating between the more hardcore fans (such as Tamyrlin and myself) and the casual drive-by fans, or he might have been talking about Theorylanders in particular. He indicated at that he might possibly address the issue in AMOL:
I had the chance to ask Brandon about [Nakomi] at a book signing in Northern Virginia. I specifically asked him if the scene is something he plans to address in the next book. To paraphrase, he stated that he wants to keep the specifics of what happened close to the chest for now, and that he has not decided whether he will address it in the next book.
(later) I asked Brandon about the chapter with Aviendha and Nakomi. I stated that it was a very striking encounter, and it reminded me thematically of the meeting with Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings, i.e., something mysterious an unexplained. I asked him if he would develop the encounter any further. He stated that he did not want to discuss the character any further at the moment, because he might explore the encounter in A Memory of Light.
But later on Twitter, he might have indicated that he will be leaving it open permanently:
Ashiya Kapadi on Twitter 8 November 2010
Who on earth is Nakomi?
RAFO. :) I'm leaving that one open to interpretation.
In any case, he's on to the Verin theory now!
Q: Was Verin in Towers of Midnight?
A: I know what you're looking for - is Nakomi really Verin? - and that's going to be a RAFO.
So, maybe we will find out one day. :) This is only a casual gathering of evidence, and I won't be all that surprised to discover more, but IMO it is intuitively obvious that Nakomi=Verin.