She has golden hair and green eyes. She tends to wear as much jewelry as she can which covers most of her considerable bosom.
Even as a young woman, Sevanna finds herself drawn to power. Using her beauty to achieve her goals, she marries Suladric, clan chief of the Shaido, at age sixteen. As such, she becomes roofmistress of the Jumai hold.
Following Suladric's death, Sevanna assumes the role of leader for the clan, "speaking as the clan chief of the Shaido" until a new chief is chosen. The widow swiftly and shrewdly selected the men most likely to succeed her late husband as clan chief: Muradin and Couladin.
Muradin is given permission by the Wise Ones to enter Rhuidean, to become clan chief if he returned. Sevanna had designs to marry Muradin upon his return, but the revelation of the Aiel's history is too much for him and he never emerges from the glass column ter'angreal.
When the Aiel gather at Alcair Dal in response to Rand al'Thor's summons, Muradin's first-brother Couladin reveals that he has the markings of the Car'a'carn to all assembled before Rand has a chance to do the same, and indirectly becomes clan chief. Sevanna attaches herself to him in an effort to gain control of the entire clan, and together they lead the Shaido west of the Dragonwall.
The Shaido lay siege to the city of Cairhien after leaving a trail of death and destruction during their journey from the Aiel Waste. They begin taking the fifth from any place they passed, and any wetlanders they could find as so-called gai'shain. This is considered dishonorable by the majority of the Aiel; those who do not follow ji'e'toh are not subject to its dictates. A gai'shan serves willingly and humbly to restore honor while these wetlanders taken prisoner are unwilling slaves. The Shaido are prepared to break more traditions as it becomes expedient in the near future, Sevanna perhaps first and foremost of that mindset.
When Rand and the rest of the Aiel clans arrive, a large battle ensues. Mat Cauthon, with what would become the Band of the Red Hand, encounters a group of Aiel led by Couladin outside the city. The two groups fight and Mat kills Couladin.
Overwhelmed, the Shaido retreat north of the city to Kinslayer's Dagger. With Couladin's death, Sevanna once more eagerly finds herself leading the Shaido. The clan remains at Kinslayer's Dagger for some time, but the Shaido Wise Ones journey to the camp of the Wise Ones at Cairhien with Sevanna. Despite having never visited Rhuidean herself (and thus not knowing the truth of Aiel history), or even being accepted as an apprentice to a Wise One, she is nonetheless acknowledged as a Wise One by the Wise Ones of her own clan. This forces the Wise Ones of the rest of the clans to do the same.
Sevanna has her sight set on Rand, the Car'a'carn, chief of chiefs, the most powerful position of which a power-hungry Aiel can dream. While the Shaido are at Kinslayer's Dagger, she encounters a wetlander by name of "Caddar," who is actually Sammael. He provides her with a callbox with instructions to use it when she has captured Rand.
An embassy sent by the White Tower to Rand in Cairhien meets with Sevanna and several of her Wise Ones. Sevana agrees to give the aid of her Shaido to the Aes Sedai plans to kidnap Rand and bring him to the White Tower. The Aes Sedai also plan to send the Younglings, who are escorting the embassy and led by Gawyn Trakand, to fight the Shaido thus eliminating the Younglings.
Sevanna does not intend to follow through on the promise of help. Sevanna intends to kidnap Rand away from the Aes Sedai for herself, to marry him, control him, and thus have the ultimate power over all Aiel. She convinces thirteen of the Wise Ones who can channel to kill one of their own, Desaine, with the One Power. Sevanna chooses Desaine to die because of her vocal disagreement with Sevanna. Sevanna's loyal Wise Ones grimly agree to the secret murder as a means to put Rand into their hands. The secret of Desaine's true cause of death binds these "loyal" Wise Ones to her firmly.
Claiming the murder was perpetrated by Aes Sedai, Sevanna calls on all channeling Wise Ones to take part in an attack against the Aes Sedai at Dumai's Wells in retaliation for Desaine's death. There are six or seven Wise One channelers for every one Aes Sedai holding Rand. There are 40,000 algai'd'siswai.
Sevanna orders all of the Shaido spears committed to the attack. She revels in the excitement of battle, and she is confident of victory, although she would prefer to watch from a rise to have a clear view as would a clan chief or battle leader directing the dance of the spears. Instead she is on the ground verbally shouting orders of encouragement. She is surprised to notice wolves and wetlanders in the fight; Rand's rescue army of Aiel, soldiers of the Two Rivers, Tairens, Cairhienins, and Mayeners arrive and slash through the Shaido. Sevanna is shocked that Wise Ones not of the Shaido are participating in the battle with the Power. Ultimately the Shaido are forced to retreat, despite Sevanna's feverish urging, when the Asha'man begin their butchering.
Sevanna uses the callbox to summon Caddar, asking him for a way to Travel so that she may obtain more wealth; Caddar later returns with items he calls traveling boxes that ostensibly use saidin to create gateways. He tells Sevanna that it is best to use them now, as Rand is on the way with a few clans to confront the Shaido. Caddar opens multiple gateways, pretending that the boxes were doing the work.
The gateways do not all lead to the same location, but rather scatter the Shaido across multiple nations. Sevanna's party has all of the Wise Ones who can channel, and is sent to Ghealdan.
Sevanna by this time is growing very greedy; the Shaido spears with her continue to raid towns and villages, taking money and jewels. She also wishes to take more gai'shain, although she much prefers putting nobles into the white robes. It is on one of these raids that Shaido spears capture Faile and her party, including Alliandre and "Maighdin", among others. All three women become Sevanna's personal gai'shain.
The Shaido's demise
The Shaido finally settle in the town of Malden where they wait for the rest of the septs to find them and join them. The Shaido become increasingly lazy and drunk under Sevanna's leadership. Therava argues with Sevanna that the Shaido need to move from there to somewhere more fortified, to which Sevanna disagrees. Therava reveals that Bendhuin has received permission to go to Rhuidean, much to Sevanna's displeasure.