Padan Fain is a peddler and Darkfriend from Lugard who made regular visits to the Two Rivers and Emond's Field. He has since become far more than a simple peddler and is a secondary antagonist for most of the series.
Fain is pale and skinny, with gangly arms. He has a large beak of a nose and wide ears.
Peddler and Darkfriend
Padan Fain became a Darkfriend in his twenties, for the promise of immortality. Continuing his work as a peddler, he came to Emond's Field every spring, and loved being the center of attention. Unknown to anyone in the town, he has also been a Darkfriend for more than forty years, and was the "Dark One's Hound", searching for the Dragon Reborn.
Dark One's Hound
Sometime in 996 NE he was chosen for a special task: to seek the Dragon Reborn. He journeyed to Shayol Ghul and met Ba'alzamon, who gave him dark powers to aid in his hunt. In 997 NE, he journeyed back to Shayol Ghul and his mind was "distilled" of his findings. By 998 NE, given the special ability to track the ones he was seeking, he had narrowed his search to three boys from Emond's Field: Rand al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara. With this certainty in mind, he brought Trollocs and Myrddraal to Emond's Field on Winternight.
After the failure of that attack, he was forced to join the Trollocs in the hunt for Moiraine Damodred and company. When they hid in Shadar Logoth, he managed to escape the Myrddraal only to be trapped by Mordeth, the ancient spirit which had caused the downfall of Aridhol (now Shadar Logoth). Mordeth had at last found the vessel he needed to command so he could escape the damned city, but because the Dark One had touched and changed Fain's soul, Mordeth could only merge with Fain, not overtake him.
The resulting entity was considered a maverick by the forces of the Shadow; Mordeth's hatred of the Shadow combined corrosively with Fain's resentment of the changes forced upon him. After this merger, his compulsion to hunt Rand, Mat and Perrin grew even stronger, aided by the fact that he could already sense where they were. He blamed the boys, on some level, for causing what had happened to him. Following them to Fal Dara in Shienar, he was captured and arrested. While imprisoned, he was able to remove his ties to Ba'alzamon, renounced his Darkfriend vows, and claimed to be a changed man; in fact, any changes wrought made him more dangerous and evil, not less. In the chaos of the attack against Fal Dara, he escaped with Mat's dagger and the Horn of Valere.
While traveling in the Ways, Fain was caught by Machin Shin, the Black Wind of the Ways that devours souls, be they human or Shadowspawn. The screaming voices of the Wind greeted him as a friend and feared him, the Wind fleeing from him (this is the first time something living has been grasped by the wind and escaped; Machin Shin fled from Fain). It is unknown whether this had any real effect on Fain, but the Wind appears to have picked up Fain's compulsion to hunt Rand; the Wind was next seen trying to force itself out of the Ways to devour Rand in Cairhien (again, a first, as it is assumed that the Wind cannot leave the Ways, and had never before sought specific people). It has since been shown that the Wind will be drawn to any Waygate that Rand attempts to open, effectively preventing Rand from using the Ways. Fain appears to be unaware that, after having been grasped by the wind and then released, Machin Shin has acquired Fain's own compulsive desire to hunt after Rand. It should be noted that Perrin does not have this problem, indicating that when Fain encountered the Wind his hunt for the Dragon Reborn had already been narrowed to Rand.
He enticed Rand, Mat, Perrin, Verin Sedai and Ingtar Shinowa to Falme, where he lost the dagger and the Horn. Calling himself Ordeith (wormwood in the Old Tongue, pronounced: OHR-deeth), he changed strategies from force to manipulation: convincing Lord Commander Pedron Niall of the Whitecloaks, as well as Elaida do'Avriny a'Roihan, Amyrlin Seat of the Aes Sedai, to oppose Rand. He also convinced Niall to send Whitecloaks to the Two Rivers, hoping it would draw Rand out. Unfortunately, he got Perrin instead, and the future Lord Goldeneyes of the Two Rivers broke him of his Whitecloak affiliations.
He is one of the most dangerous creatures in the known world, as dangerous as any Forsaken. He can corrupt people by just being in their presence; he can sense fear and tension and can tell a Darkfriend on sight. He has also developed a way to inflict pain by touch, from levels of "merely" harmful to deadly. Eventually he recovered the dagger (his primary interest) in Tar Valon; he feels complete with it. He is very likely insane, and is wanted by the Shadow. Slayer was sent to the Two Rivers to kill him, but failed when Perrin interfered.
Fain changed his name to Jeraal Mordeth, and sought out Toram Riatin, leader of the Cairhienin rebellion against Rand, whom he advised. When Rand showed up to neutralize the rebellion, Fain was able to wound him with the dagger from Shadar Logoth, which - but for the frantic efforts of both a Yellow Ajah sister Samitsu Tamagowa and the Asha'man Damer Flinn - would have resulted in al'Thor's death.
The next time he showed up was in Far Madding, with Toram Riatin, where after killing some renegade Asha'man, he lured Rand and Lan into a trap. However the trap failed, leaving Toram dead and Fain injured and fleeing. He also appeared to show a new ability to produce ghosts or mirages of dead people. Whether this was his own ability or a continuing sign of the Dark One's approaching freedom remains to be seen.
Robert Jordan has confirmed rumors suggesting that he may be something entirely new, an entity or amalgamation never seen before in the Pattern. He has also confirmed that the destruction of Shadar Logoth has not affected Fain.
Fain is next seen walking through the Blight. He has now become so dangerous that he can kill Jumara with just his dagger. He also appears to have become both completely insane and almost inhumanly psychotic. He comes across a group of Trollocs and a Myrddraal and attacks them with Mashadar. His Mashadar is so powerful the Myrddraal seems to die instantly instead of remaining alive until sunset. The mist has a strange effect on the Trollocs, corrupting them and raising them as almost zombie-like slaves that Fain believes will fight even more viciously than they did before he enslaved them. He has now finally decided to stop the hunt and kill al'Thor.
He appears on the battlefield at Thakan'dar calling himself Shaisam. He is able to spread Mashadar by consuming the souls of Trollocs and Men, and appears to believe Fain is his only weakness, which he can eliminate as soon as he re-establishes himself in a new location, as he had in Shadar Logoth. Mashadar touches Mat, who appears to die. Shaisam finds Mat lying on the ground, pretending to be dead. Mat rises up, surprising him, steals the dagger and rams it into Shaisam's heart, finally killing him.
Fain is a parallel to the character Mordred out of Arthurian legend whose name is similar to Fain's alias, Mordeth. Mordred was a traitor to King Arthur, and, during their last battle, he fatally wounded Arthur. This is similar to the way that Mordeth left Rand with a never-healing wound during one of their encounters.
He is also a close parallel to Gollum from The Lord of The Rings. His relentless pursuit of a character as well as the theme of "transformation by evil" are the main similarities.
- Padan Fain was nearly named Nikel Fain until his name was changed by Robert Jordan while editing his test manuscript for "The Eye of the World".
In the television series
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 3
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 49
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 46
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 6
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 19
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 30
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 34
- The Dragon Reborn, Prologue
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 28
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 19
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 33