Monday, July 30, 2001

The Hunt for the Horn

By Linda

My theory explains how Verin delicately guided Egwene to contact the person in the Tower who Verin trusted with the knowledge of the location of the Horn of Valere.

Verin hid the Horn cleverly even to get it to the Tower:

“The Horn of Valere?” she [Siuan] gasped. “You brought that all the way here, across hundreds of leagues, with the Hunters looking everywhere for it? Light, woman, it was to be left with Rand al’Thor.”
“I know, Mother,” Verin said calmly, “but the Hunters all expect to find the Horn in some great adventure, not in a sack with four women escorting a sick youth.

- The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat

so when Siuan told Verin to hide it away without telling anyone:

“For the moment,” the Amyrlin said finally, “we will find some place to hide this where no one but we two know.”

- The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat

Verin was the right person to do so. She had already boldy disguised the Horn as an insignificant parcel. Unlike Siuan, Verin knew how extensive and pervasive the Black Ajah was and how, therefore, for the Horn to remain secret and safe, it had to be away from rooms frequented by Aes Sedai. Siuan never tells us what Verin said she did with the Horn.

Merana tells us that Verin’s manipulatory skills are pretty good:

Verin had hardly touched her own plans really, except for guiding Demira into suggesting today's unfortunate confrontation. It had been done quite skillfully; Merana did not believe anyone but a Gray would have noticed.

- Lord of Chaos, The Mirror of Mists

From a Grey, that’s quite a complement. Verin is the past master of nudging people into doing what she wants (or thinks they should do) with deceptively casual prattle. Even in the hour of her death. Or should that be especially in the hour of her death?

As she took poison, Verin twice told Egwene to speak to Laras:

"My, but this is good tea," Verin said. "When you next see Laras, please thank her on my behalf for providing it. She promised that she had some that hadn't spoiled, but I didn't trust her. Can't trust much these days, can you?"
"What, is Laras a Darkfriend?" Egwene asked.
"Heavens, no," Verin said. "She's many things, but not a Darkfriend. You'd sooner find a Whitecloak marrying an Aes Sedai than find Laras swearing to the Great Lord. Extraordinary woman.

- The Gathering Storm, A Visit from Verin Sedai

"It takes a very special tea to make asping rot go down sweetly," Verin said, taking another sip. "As I said, please thank Laras for me."

- The Gathering Storm, A Visit from Verin Sedai

At such a time she would hardly talk about trivialities, so there had to be good reason for this.

Verin quite subtly but firmly suggested to Egwene to visit Laras as a seemingly innocuous 'last request'. She also implanted the idea that Egwene should see to this personally – because “you can’t trust much these days” and assured her that Laras was no Darkfriend and moreover was trustworthy. She then went on to say "When you next see Laras, please thank her on my behalf..." And a short while later again: "As I said, please thank Laras for me."

Verin said when Egwene next sees Laras even though Verin would have deduced that Egwene was soon to be Amyrlin judging by the political currents in the Tower and would therefore have much to attend to. She compliments Egwene on how well she has done politically so she was certainly aware of how close Egwene was. Yet Egwene is to visit Laras...

The last time Egwene was with Laras, Laras was prepared to arrange Egwene’s escape from Elaida’s efforts to break her:

"No time for jabbering!" Laras said, as if she weren't the one doing all of the talking. She was obviously nervous, the way she kept glancing about and tapping her foot. But she'd obviously also done this sort of thing before. Why was the simple cook in the White Tower so skilled at sneaking, so handy with a plan to get Egwene out of the fortified and besieged city? And why did she have a bolt-hole in the kitchens in the first place? Light! How had she created it?

- The Gathering Storm, In the White Tower

Laras did help Min rescue Siuan and Leane, all the while regaling Min with tales of her ‘lively’ youth and how she was near to being hanged.

Considering Verin's ringing endorsement of Laras, and her urging of Egwene to visit her, I think that Laras was the one to whom Verin handed her parcel containing the Horn way back in The Dragon Reborn. I don’t think Laras necessarily knows what’s in the parcel. It’s possible the parcel was warded by Verin.

The Horn could well be in the kitchens under Laras' watchful eye. It's not a place an Aes Sedai would hang out, so the Horn would be safe there, but it is a place where almost anyone can enter or leave with a parcel and no one would think anything of it. In the real world, such kitchens in the 16th-18th centuries had cupboards and cellars under lock and key to which only the Butler or Head Cook had access. Laras even revealed to Egwene a hidey hole as we saw in the quote above. So there is no lack of secure places in the kitchen for a package to be hidden.

I also think Laras was the recipient of one of Verin’s letters of instructions she was giving out in The Gathering Storm, a letter telling her to hand the parcel to Egwene when Egwene drops by.

So when Egwene remembers Verin’s request and goes to visit Laras she’ll find out just what an extraordinary woman Laras is. Not a Hero of the Horn, but its guardian.


Anonymous said...


Did Fain not say that the Horn was in the same room as the dagger when he went to retrieve that though?

Or am I just remembering wrong?

Linda said...

No he didn't. He said he knew how to sniff out things and believed he knew where the Horn was - in the strongrooms. Just because Fain was right about the dagger - which he could sense, unlike the Horn - doesn't mean that he was right about the Horn's location.

When Fain got the dagger he thought: No time to find the Horn of Valere now.

He was in a strongroom at the time.

I think Verin is quite capable of laying a false trail - either putting it there and secretly moving it after a short while, leavinga decoy in its place, or sneaking back and moving it later when she learned Travelling. Fain visited the Tower so long ago.

Anonymous said...

I think it's very feasible and it's definitely the kind of thing Verin would do. Now why didn't I think of that?

luvtheedragon said...

I can believe this, but I want to know a few things ...
1. I don't think Fain has made any on screen appearance after the cleansing of the source( post far madding). So its quite conceivable that his powers have diminished, since shadar logoth, which was a hub for his power, is no more. I would be like the bore being sealed, for DFs. If so will the control that the shadow had over him start to reassert itself and, would his dagger be still equally effective ? So in effect what I mean is it possible that the wound that Rand took by Fain's dagger transform due to the above reasons into a single corruption than the dual corruptions trying to fight each other, and was this why Rand was able to channel TP ?

2. if the horn is blown by somebody while Mat is away with the fins ...any effect ? because moraine appeared dead even to Lan. so the bond will actually break, but moraine would have done that on purpose.

Ewan said...

This sounds extremely plausible.
At the time i wondered why there was such an insistence on visiting laras.

Also @luvtheedragon thats a very interesting point you make,that visiting the finns could break the link to the horn.
In that case though wouldn't it be broken already from when he went through the gates in Tear and Rhuidean?

Or would it just mean someone else could use while hes there?

TWW said...

Just as the bond between Moiraine and Lan wasn't broken when she went through the doorway in Tear, nothing should have happened to Mat's link with the Horn. The link between Moiraine and Lan was severed because the doorframe melted.
Then again, Mat will be entering Finnland by different means, so who knows?
My guess is that unless the ToG, the portal to Finnland from Randland, is destroyed, then nothing should happen to his link with the Horn.

TJ said...

Firstly gerat spot Linda... it makes sense. Heck upon reading it again I can't believe it sailed right over my head that she made such a point of Laras' name. It did though, Verin is too subtle and clever for me... hopefully Egwene is better equipped.
As regards Mat I am sure his link with the horn will remain in tact as he is prophecied about as the Horn-blower. Whats more surely his encounter with Balefire would have severed his link if anything was going to.
I wonder if Egwene will ask Siuan about the horn, get told it was Verin who hid it for her and then wrack her brains and remember the seemingly innocuous comment.

RabidWombat said...

It is as good of a theory as any. I am inclined to believe that it is hidden in the ter'angreal and angreal storeroom since Elayne and Nynaeve dropped in there using need. It is possible that what they needed to unite the tower and Rand was something else, but I am inclined to believe that it was the horn.

It is also possible that Verin used Laras to distribute some of her notes after she died. Verin wouldn't be able to betray the DO until the hour of her death. But she might be able to tell Laras to pick up some incriminating notes that are hid somewhere after she (Verin) died.

Frank said...

*hits forehead* Of course! Sneaky Verin is sneaky.

Linda said...

Thanks for your comments all. Nice to have them.

@luvtheedragon: Because we haven't seen Fain in a while we don't know how he is. Howver, there has been no change in the wound in Rand's side (which surprised Flinn) so I would say Fain is just as he was before the Cleansing.

Rand was able to channel the True Power because he is so close to Moridin. Does that mean Fain is weaker? I don't know.

@RW: If Verin had collected her poison tea from Laras, and intended to drink it very shortly, then it was effectively the hour of her death, since it takes less than an hour to kill. Also, she might have taken a sip to ensure that it was the hour of her death. That might be how she circumvented betraying her oath.

Another way would be to tell Laras not to open the letter until x days after she heard Verin had died...

Linda said...

Not that getting Laras to tell Egwene about the Horn has anything to do with the Dark One.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the bond between Moiraine and Lan broke because the doorway melted. I think it was because Moiraine was stilled during or shortly after her battle with Lanfear.


Alec said...

Wow. Excellent catch. The only unresolved issue related to this is what Verin wrote to Mat in the sealed instructions.

It could have to do with the Horn. That would be the only alternative to your theory that I can see. Perhaps the two somehow co-exist.

Though I actually believe that Mat's instructions are related to something different - the Moiraine rescue.

Devin said...

I don't think that Moraine was stilled/severed when she went through the door way. Remember that she had already been through to visit the aelfinn in Tear and her bond was not broken with Lan. Having known what was going to happen to her, she was already prepared to sever her bond with Lan by passing it off. However this action caused Rand to think that she was dead even though he was told that she would live.

Anonymous said...

“For the moment,” the Amyrlin said finally, “we will find some place to hide this where no one but we two know.”
You wrote it yourself, has Suian said anywhere she doesn't know where it is. Maybe Laras does know, but I think Suian still does. Laras might be a back up in case Suian dies though. but min has already nipped that in the bud unless Suian and Gareth are foolish enough to think that they only had to escape death once each.

Anonymous said...

On a different note, Laras has been more interesting. I'm rereading and she's been in the tower a long time and has always been helping the good guys. she got Min out of the tower in the first hours of the schism (sent her to buy silk) and when min comes back she shelters min and sneaks out suiane and leane, she's always helping people, and i read in one of her profiles online she has a shocking past.
i think Laras was herself once a novice but the aes sedai were too harsh for her liking and so she ran away not completely trained which lead to her burning out or something worse/more shocking, and she found her higher purpose than channeling in helping the novices who cannot suffer through being aes sedia by smuggling them out of the tower...
yeah kind of off topic with the where verin hid the horn subject... sorry, but in terms of where the horn is i think this is just a red herring, Laras might have something to reveal though.

1eyedfool said...

Nice food for thought. Siuan says "where no one but we two know” to verin, so I'd rule out an initial involvement of Laras in the hiding. There are many places to hide things in plain sight, after all. However, when Verin asks aras for the famous tea, then likely the chief cook comes into play as ultimate responsible for the Horn to be hidden until someone can take proper responsibility for it. Someone = Egwene? Yes, Verin trusts her, even if she's not yet Amyrlin and Verin cannot say when this will happen. But Egwene is a) a reliable person (not Black neither a fool) b) from the Two Rivers, and c) oe of the few to know who's the Hornblower (Mat). So, Verin tells Laras where's the Horn and to keep it hidden, but to inform Egwene as soon as she sees her. I'd imagine she left alternate instructions like, if Mat shows up, give it to him... this may be not easy, as even if Mat comes to the Tower, he'd not be going to the kitchen or to see Laras; however, that's an interesting alternative, if Mat comes in the middle of a Seanchan attack and with Egwene still in Merrilor.
By the way, I've got the idea that Laras could be a 'converted' former Darkfriend. Possibly captured by Cadsuane, who was a great Darkfiend hunter [see the notes on Cadsuane from The Great Hunt 2011], then 'converting' back to the Light - in a way that would convince Cadsane; then, Cadsuane - if well persuaded - could spirit her away and save her from the gallows, hiding her in the Tower kitchens (and slapping the bottom of anyone, sitting Amyrlin included, who would complain). This would explain Laras' familiarity with subterfugeand cloak 'n' dagger and her 'interesting' former life.