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World of Origin Yolen
Universe Cosmere

The fain or fainlife is a class of lifeforms on Yolen.[1] Fain creatures generally have six limbs.[2]

Two of the three sapient species from Yolen, the Sho Del and dragons, are fain;[3][2] the Sho Del fill the same niche in the fain ecosystem that humans fill in the normal one.[4] Another form of fainlife is Tamu Keks, bones that are somehow similar to singer gemhearts and can be used for inter-Realm communication in some way.[5][6] Fain flora is bone-white.[7]

Though it originated on Yolen, the fain ecosystem has spread beyond that planet in significant ways.[8][9] Knowledge of its existence is not uncommon among cosmere-aware people after the Shattering of Adonalsium; when discussing how Ruin and Preservation used the Yolish ecosystem as a model for Scadrial, Khriss is able to mention without further explanation that "of course" this means the non-fain parts.[1]

Unpublished Works[edit]

This page or section contains details from the unpublished works The Liar of Partinel and Dragonsteel Prime!
This information has the potential to ruin plot elements of both published works and upcoming book releases for the reader. It should also be considered uncanonical and could completely change in the future.

In The Liar of Partinel, the fainlife had rapidly grown to cover much of the planet, though humans eventually learned to keep it in check with something known as a trune ring;[10][11] trune was the name given to the regular, non-fain ecosystem.[12] A type of fainlife known as skullmoss heralded the advance of further fainlife. Its leaves would sometimes drift across a trune ring and some cities would gather them up and burn them, though this was not strictly necessary. Merely interacting with the fainlife was safe and some cities even used fain wood for construction, but eating any amount of fainlife was deadly to humans.[11]

In Dragonsteel Prime, the Yolish version of the Shattered Plains was the only connection between the fain and non-fain parts of the world. At the Shattered Plains, Sho Del fought humans for a material known as Dragonsteel. According to Jerick, at least some Sho Del had also made it past the Shattered Plains and killed civilians, and had attempted to kill his king.[13] In this draft, Tamu Keks were long, thin bones that came to a point at both ends that could be found on Sho Del; Jerick was able to sense the power coming off them and warned one of his companions not to touch them.[14]

In the non-canonical work The Traveler, fainlife is described as looking like ordinary flora, though the plants and land overtaken by it are bone-white.[15]


  • The Sho Del, dragons, and Tamu Keks are some of the few things from Dragonsteel Prime that are still part of the cosmere.[16]
  • When writing Rhythm of War, Brandon debated whether to have the communication box that Mraize gave to Shallan contain a seon or a Tamu Kek, but eventually settled on making it a seon because they have personalities whereas Tamu Keks are just bones.[6]
  • The fainlife ecosystem was built from Brandon thinking about what sort of ecology would likely give rise to dragons and about what other evolutionary strains would exist in such an ecology.[17]


This page is probably complete!
This page contains most of the knowledge we have on the subject at this time.
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