The Kin are a secret group of women that formed as far back as the Trolloc Wars. They are based in Ebou Dar and have not finished their training in the White Tower. Most have been put out of the Tower for one reason or the other, usually because they could not pass the required tests, but some have left the Tower for other reasons and are runaways. Some of the Kin are not very good at channeling. They are also not allowed to teach each other weaves and are discouraged from trying to learn more (ACoS, Ch. 31).
They do not allow wilders (ACoS, Ch. 23), and they are never allowed to marry (TPoD, Ch. 4). The Kin think that the Aes Sedai do not know about their existence, but the Tower knows and uses the Kin to return Tower runaways because they know sooner or later the runaways end up with the Kin (CoT, Ch. 14). The Tower is not aware of their actual numbers. This comes from the Kin not staying in one place for more than ten years so no one notices that they don’t age. As part of their need to not be noticed, they will often take many names and trades over the course of their lives (TPoD, Ch. 3).
The Kin have a farm outside of Ebou Dar that serves as a retreat for women and also serves as a cover for Kin coming and going from Ebou Dar. The hard farm work is also used as a penance under the severe discipline system of the Kin. The Kin have no laws but follow the same rules as the novices and the Accepted of the Tower do. The wise women that live in Ebou Dar are members of the Kin. They wear a red belt to distinguish them from the others, and use the One Power to heal.
Strength in the Power
The majority of the Kin are people who do not have sufficient strength in the Power to be raised Aes Sedai, only about 62.5% of the people with the ability are strong enough to be Aes Sedai (Robert Jordan's Blog October 4th 2005). This suggests around a third of women who go for training will be put out for not being strong enough, though actual figures may be higher, Elayne states that out of around forty novices when Egwene arrives at the Tower, only about a quarter of them will be raised (TGH, Ch. 18). Whichever figure gives the more accurate representation of likelihood of success, it is clear that a substantial proportion of women who become novices will be put out for being too weak. Of the Kin that have featured in the series, out of about 160, eight are strong enough to form gateways (CoT, Ch. 12), which is lower than the general proportion amongst Aes Sedai, for whom people considered missing in strength, such as Careane and Sareitha are not strong enough (CoT, Ch. 10).
Ages of the Kin
When the Kin are first encountered, the Aes Sedai are surprised to find out that there are almost two thousand of them (ACoS, Ch. 31). In part, this is because they convinced themselves that the White Tower is the only organisation that women would willingly belong to for any period of time, but also because the Kin live much longer than Aes Sedai (ACoS, Ch. 31). The numbers bear this out somewhat, there being about twice as many members of the Kin as Aes Sedai, which if they live approximately twice as long and on average, half of all novices are raised Aes Sedai, would be expected. The oldest living member is Aloisia Nemosni, who is almost six hundred (WH, Ch. 10). The oldest in Ebou Dar was Reanne Corly, who was four hundred and eleven (ACoS, Ch. 31) and the second oldest Sumeko Karistovan, whose age is unknown, but she is over three hundred as she is older than Kirstian. Despite being many hundreds of years old, the Kin do not have the Ageless look, which led some of the Aes Sedai to doubt their ages at first (TPoD, Ch. 3).
No member of the Kin has made it past Accepted so they don't know how the Aes Sedai arrange their hierarchy. So they rank themselves by age. The oldest being the leader of the thirteen "Eldest of Elders." They are known as the Knitting Circle or just the Circle. Reanne Corly is the Eldest of the Kin in Ebou Dar, although there are older Kin elsewhere. During her Accepted test, Reanne didn't make it through the three arches and was kicked out of the Tower. As the Kin have left Ebou Dar, technically the Knitting Circle does not exist any more.
The Knitting Circle
The Knitting Circle is the name given to the group of thirteen eldest Kin members in Ebou Dar who rule the Kin. None spends too many years there as that could lead to suspicion from people noticing they don't age.
- Members of the Knitting Circle
With the revelation that the White Tower has always known about the Kin, and the discovery that the Kin outnumber Aes Sedai (ACoS, Ch. 31), the relationship between the groups is set for change. Egwene has decided that Aes Sedai are to retire into the Kin, where they will remove the three oaths and follow the Kin's rule (CoT, Ch. 30, KoD, Ch. 13), though it is not clear if the Aes Sedai will accept this, and some, such as Romanda are vehemently opposed (CoT, Ch. 30). Elayne makes a separate offer to have the Kin remain in Caemlyn with support from the Andoran crown, in return for occasional favours, though she made this offer without clearing it with Egwene (ToM, Ch. 17). As part of this agreement, Alise begins to take a less informal leadership role (ToM, Ch. 17).
Members of the Kin
- Main article: The Kin Character List