Shadowspawn is a generic term for creatures of the Dark One. The Aiel use the term Shadowwrought instead. Different varieties often have very little in common with each other except that nearly all of them will instantly die if they attempt to pass through a gateway. Most are a form of artificially created life which were known as constructs in the Age of Legends, and virtually all were created by the Forsaken known as Aginor.
During the War of Power, Aginor first created the Shadowspawn constructs. Some were created using human and animal stock, the byproducts of which often became other Shadowspawn themselves. This genetic engineering was carried out with the One Power, used to give many Shadowspawn special attributes and to infuse them with Shadow-taint so that they are inherently evil. It is estimated that 50 million people died in order to fuel the experiments that Aginor undertook to create the Trollocs alone. How many people died to fuel his other experiments is not known.
- Main article: Trolloc
By far the most abundant variety of Shadowspawn, Trollocs have the body of a man and the head and feet of an animal such as a bear, bird, wolf, or goat. Trollocs are quite large, generally around eight feet tall. They are unable to swim, and will not even wade through waist-deep water.
Trollocs can see well in the dark, but bright light will blind them temporarily. Some may track by scent or sound, but they are lazy and easily give up unless driven to pursue their prey. Trollocs kill for the sheer pleasure of killing.
Trollocs are divided into tribe-like bands, each with their own sigil. The nomenclature used for some of these tends to express mythological or fantasy creatures.
- Ahf'frait (Efreet) - whirlwind
- Al'ghol (Ghoul)
- Bhan'sheen (Banshee)
- Dha'vol (Devil) - horned skull
- Dhai'mon (Demon) - iron fist
- Dhjin'nen (Djinn)
- Ghar'ghael (Gargoyle)
- Ghob'hlin (Goblin) - goat skull
- Gho'hlem (Golem)
- Ghraem'lan (Gremlin)
- Ko'bal (Kobold or Cobalt) - blood red trident
The Trollocs were originally a failed experiment. While their great strength and size make them powerful troopers, they are useless as soldiers due to their bloodlust and inability to follow orders. Only the males fight, with the females doing little but serving as breeding machines.
- Main article: Myrddraal
Occasionally, a Trolloc offspring is a genetic throwback in the direction of the original human stock and the taint of evil is even stronger in them. Myrddraal, also known by many other names including Fades, Lurks, the Eyeless, Halfmen and more, are man-sized and pasty white with no eyes, yet they see like eagles by night and day.
Their powers stem from the Dark One, such as the ability to travel instantly to any place where shadows meet the light. Aginor expended over one hundred Myrddraal attempting to learn more about this ability, but was unsuccessful. He believed that the Fades might be slightly shifted out of phase with reality. Halfmen appear as misty blurs in a mirror, and their dead black cloaks are not touched by even the strongest wind or thickest rain.
Myrddraal are no match for an Aes Sedai, however could be thought of as the equivalent of a blademaster, and can therefore best most warriors in melee combat. When finally killed, they seem to "refuse to die" for a long time, thrashing about until sunset -- even when beheaded. Thus, even a Myrddraal's dead body, if armed, is deadly. Their blood is corrosive, and must be cleaned off of weapons or armor soon after exposure, to avoid pitting and corruption.
The Myrddraal were the answer to the initial uselessness of Trollocs as soldiers. Trollocs are terrified of Myrddraal and will obey them under almost any circumstances. The only time a Trolloc will disobey is when it is ordered to face something that terrifies it more deeply than the Myrddraal.
Myrddraal have the ability to "link" with a limited number of Trollocs; this allows an even greater scope of control, but results in the instant death of the linked Trollocs if the Myrddraal is struck down.
The Myrddraal do not use the same crude weapons and armor as their Trolloc parents. Instead, they wear black plate armor, which enhances their serpent-like appearance. The Halfmen wield swords made at Thakan'dar, near the entrance to the Pit of Doom. Each sword is quenched in the tainted streams of Shayol Ghul and seasoned with a human soul. A wound inflicted by one of these blades almost always proves fatal unless the One Power is used to Heal the victim.
- Main article: Darkhound
Darkhounds look like pony-sized dogs or wolves, and are used by the Shadow to hunt down targets. Their saliva is deadly poison; a single drop on the skin can kill. Darkhounds leave footprints in stone, along with a trace scent of sulfur, but will leave none at all in softer ground.
Darkhounds can be extraordinarily difficult to kill, regenerating from even mortal wounds like the severing of a limb. While some can be harmed by normal weapons there exists a stronger variety that cannot be killed with anything short of balefire. They do not give up easily on their prey and once they have your trail the only choice is to turn and kill it or be killed. The Darkhounds dislike rain and thunderstorms, but this will not stop them once on the trail of their quarry. They are faster than horses, and can maintain their speed longer than even the strongest horse.
Darkhounds are formed by the twisting of the soul of a wolf. This twisting, done by another Darkhound, transforms the wolf soul into a Darkhound with no memories of its prior life.
- Main article: Gray Man
Gray Men, also known as Soulless, are not constructs but men (and sometimes women) who have given their souls to the Dark One. The process renders them almost completely unnoticeable. While the Gray Men are not invisible in the literal sense, they are used primarily as assassins because of their ability to effectively infiltrate any location or situation completely unnoticed.
- Main article: Jumara (Shadowspawn)
A jumara is a worm-like Shadowspawn, denizen of the Blight. They are so dangerous that other creatures of the Blight flee from them. A single jumara is said to be able to kill a Fade easily. They lack any tactile sensation, but they do feel hunger. They must be cut to pieces to be killed. According to Sammael, they are the larval stage of an even more terrifying breed of Shadowspawn, which is never closely described. Jumara were one of Aginor's many nasty creations. Sammael says people call them Worms now.
- Main article: Gholam
Six gholam, three appearing male and three female, were created during the War of Power as assassins of channelers. They look like ordinary people but are immensely strong and have no bones. This lack of bones allows them to squeeze through cracks in walls and doors to gain access to those they target. Their semi-liquid composition also makes them basically immune to conventional weapons, as wounds inflicted by sharp implements will close almost instantly. The lack of any vital organ likely makes blunt force equally useless. Gholam can go through gateways unharmed.
Gholam are immune to the One Power and can detect a channeler at fifty paces. Gholam live on fresh blood, and when feeding generally rend their victims limb from limb or rip their throats out. Gholam feel the One Power and even the True Power as an itch akin to what the Myrddraal feel, even up to several miles away. Their immense strength, resistance to physical harm and immunity to the One Power make them extraordinarily difficult to kill. Even the Forsaken fear them, though their loyalty to the Shadow is absolute.
In present-day, there is only one known gholam active, likely pulled out of a stasis box. There has only been one thing discovered in the present-day world with the power to harm the gholam: the foxhead medallion worn by Matrim Cauthon or one of its copies made by Elayne Trakand. The reason why this can hurt the gholam when it can ignore any other kind of attack is unknown.
While not necessarily made of the same material, the gholam and Mat's foxhead medallion are seemingly the only things which absorb the One Power, other than cuendillar (which is said to be strengthened by it, not simply dispersing it).
- Main article: Draghkar
In their service to the Shadow, the Dreadlords corrupted humans to create some of the Shadowspawn and the Draghkar are among the products of this corruption. Their appearance is similar to a large man with bat-like wings, whose skin is too pale and whose eyes are too large. On foot, they typically wear their wings as a cloak.
Unlike the Myrddraal and Trollocs, the Draghkar have little in the way of fighting ability. Instead, the Draghkar use their soft, hypnotic song to draw their prey to them. Once the Draghkar have their prey, they "kiss" them, draining away the person's soul. After the soul has been devoured, the Draghkar then drains away life as well.
People rescued from the clutches of a Draghkar are lifeless shells, with no soul or personality left to them. Once a Draghkar has a hold of someone, it is probably best to let the Draghkar finish its work.
The Draghkar are used primarily as assassins. Their abilities are best utilized at night and outdoors. They are often used in conjunction with a distracting attack by Myrddraal and Trollocs. An attack of this kind often allows a single target to be singled out and killed by a Draghkar.
Cafar are mentioned in passing as a very unpleasant creature, most likely locked away in a stasis box. They are most probably the "bloodwrasps" mentioned by Davram Bashere, given that Sammael has previously spoken of cafar as living in nests.
- Main article: Forger
Forgers are thick, slow-moving man shapes that seem hacked out of the mountain of Shayol Ghul. Their sole purpose is to forge the blades of Myrddraal on the slopes of Shayol Ghul. They are not truly alive and would turn to stone or dust if carried any distance from Shayol Ghul.
Zomaran were made during the Age of Legends for the sole purpose of serving. A zomara, whether male or female as it is difficult to distinguish the difference, is slender, beautiful, young-appearing, and always smiling, with golden hair and blank, dead black, empty eyes. They wear tight white breeches and flowing white blouses and move with disturbing grace. They are also able to read minds.
Aran'gar said she "hated the creature's ability to know what was in her head," even though it could not communicate it. They are only intelligent enough to receive basic commands. It was also remarked that Moridin must have found a stasis box full of them.
Classifying Zomara as Shadowspawn may not seem appropriate at first glance, as there is no evidence that they are in any way malevolent, but there can be little doubt that Humans were the base material for constructing Zomara. As such, they are arguably one of the more perverse violations of the AOL regulations which limited genetic modification to plant life, and prohibiting the use of animal stock in any such projects.
It is unclear who developed the Zomara construct (Aginor being the first and most obvious assumption). Their purpose appears to be unique among Shadowspawn as they demonstrate no combat capabilities, and thus may have been designed by a Chosen more inclined toward compulsion. Instead, they appear to have been created for the purpose of designing the perfect servant... docile, subject to all instructions (lacking any discernible agency), and capable of fulfilling its master's wishes without the encumbrance of verbal or somatic communication... the perfect slave.
- ↑ The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 15
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Lord of Chaos, Chapter 23
- ↑ Lord of Chaos, chapter 23
- ↑ Harriet Rigney confirmed in an interview during the TGS book signing tour that the name is not a typo.
- ↑ The Gathering Storm, Chapter 22
- ↑ Lord of Chaos, Prologue
- ↑ The Great Hunt, Prologue
- ↑ The Path of Daggers, Prologue
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Knife of Dreams, Chapter 3