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Fardeep, formerly known as the Guardian, is a man of Rithmere. Fardeep was the owner of the Champion Inn in Rithmere before being transformed into the Guardian of the Diamond by the Shadow Lord. Over time four beasts grew from his body, attached by fleshy cords. When Lief, Barda and Jasmine encountered the Guardian in their quest for the gems of the Belt of Deltora, they managed to free Fardeep of his curse and return him to his former self.
Fardeep owned and operated the Champion Inn in Rithmere for many years. He amassed a great deal of wealth and respect in the Mere territory through the Inn, which was famous for its games. Many years before King Endon took the throne, Fardeep's family was killed by bandits that invaded Rithmere on the Shadow Lord's orders and Fardeep was driven from the Champion Inn. The Shadow Lord later converted the Champion Inn to suit his purposes, while Fardeep fled to a valley in the Jalis territory.
Fardeep, embittered by the loss of his family, sought peace in the valley. The Shadow Lord however, sensed his anger and misery. He was corrupted and manipulated by the Shadow Lord, who offered him a palace and immense powers, ultimately entrusting Fardeep — now known simply as "the Guardian" — with the great Diamond, stolen from the Belt of Deltora. Before obtaining the Diamond, he simply offered a casket of jewels and gold. Ranesh once encountered him, but refused to play the game, and the Guardian allowed him to leave the Valley.
The Shadow Lord allowed the Guardian to construct an elaborate game to protect the diamond. The Guardian offered the diamond to anyone who could win the game by discovering his true name. The Shadow Lord instructed the Guardian to claim that his true name was "Endon", hoping that anyone who successfully reached the diamond would be deceived into thinking that the King of Deltora had become one of the Shadow Lord’s servants.
When the Torans broke their vow to King Endon and were banished from Tora, they wandered into the Valley of the Lost and the Guardian enslaved them with his magic. Only one man successfully completed Fardeep's game, Doom, who was so horrified and defeated by the idea that Endon had been corrupted that he left without taking the diamond, his faith in the royal family shattered.
The Valley of the Lost
As the Guardian
The Guardian forced Lief, Barda, Jasmine, as well as Neridah to enter his palace when they arrived in the Valley of the Lost in search of the Diamond. He offered them a magnificent-looking feast, though the food tasted like ashes, and spoke to them at length. The Guardian told them some of his past, though he omitted some details, and commented on the names he had given his "pets". None of the creatures possesses the vice for which it is named: Pride is not prideful, Envy is not envious, Hate is not hateful or envious and Greed is not Greedy. He offered the group a choice to either leave without the diamond or play his game. Neridah opted to leave, while Lief, Barda and Jasmine insisted that the Guardian explain his game.
The Guardian elaborated, telling the group that that they needed to guess his true name and that there were clues hidden throughout the palace. If they were correct, the Guardian would allow them to take the diamond from a magically sealed room and leave. If they were incorrect, the Guardian would curse them to languish in the Valley of the Lost with the rest of his "subjects". The Guardian then went to sleep for the night, leaving Lief, Jasmine and Barda to try their hand at his game. The three companions, with some help from the Topaz, managed to slowly piece together the clues to the Guardian's name, with Jasmine and Barda eventually concluding that the Guardian's name was "Eedoe". Lief, however, realised their mistake at the last moment, offering the correct answer to the riddle: "Endon". The Guardian confronted them, angry that they had won, and mentioned the only other man who ever successfully guessed his name, whom Lief realised was Doom.
The Guardian insisted that they take their prize and leave immediately, but Lief realised that the Guardian was trying to trick them; the Belt of Deltora did not react to the diamond in the room as it had when they first saw it and Lief accused the Guardian of hiding the great Diamond elsewhere. The Guardian admitted that he had hidden it in the Valley, but Neridah, who had not left the Valley as she said she would, stole it. The Guardian refused to tell them where Neridah had gone, commenting on the Diamond's value to him, which prompted Lief to point out that the Guardian had gained nothing but misery from owning it.
The Guardian, now suspicious, realised that they were the ones that had been reassembling the Belt of Deltora, having been warned by the Shadow Lord. He grabbed the Belt, but its magic disrupted the Shadow Lord's hold over him. Pride, Envy, Hate, and Greed lashed out at him, clawing and tearing at their master, until the Guardian begged Lief to cut the cords that connected them to him. Lief mercifully did so, killing the pets, and the Guardian told them where Neridah and the Diamond were.
Fardeep was restored to his old self along with the Torans and the rest of the valley when Lief placed the Diamond into the Belt of Deltora. He explained the Shadow Lord's trick to Lief, confirming that he was not Endon, but rather the former owner of the Champion Inn, Fardeep. He mentioned the current state of the Inn disapprovingly. Fardeep apologised to the group and offered them shelter in the valley.
Return to Del
Fardeep quelled the group’s fears when mist began to reappear in the valley, explaining that the Torans were disguising the place to keep the Shadow Lord from growing suspicious. When Doom and Dain arrived in the valley, Fardeep greeted the former, though Doom nearly attacked him, recognising the old hermit as the former Guardian. Lief calmed Doom and explained the situation.
Fardeep revealed that he was a member of the Mere tribe when the group was trying to assemble a member of each of Deltora's seven tribes. He advised Lief, Jasmine and Barda to remain in the valley rather than risk travelling and alerting the Shadow Lord, though they insisted to the contrary.
Fardeep later journeyed to Withick Mire and, with Zeean and Glock, hid himself among the vagabonds until Lief, Barda, Jasmine and Steven arrived. He was crestfallen when he read the note the Lief and Jasmine had recovered, seemingly proof that Endon and his heir had died years ago. When Barda proved that the note was a fake, Fardeep thanked him for renewing his hope.
When all of the representatives from the seven tribes had finally arrived, Fardeep represented the Mere humbly, placing his hand on the Lapis Lazuli in the Belt. He joined Gla-Thon, Manus, Glock, Steven, Zeean and Lief in renewing the tribe's vow of loyalty to the heir of Adin and the Belt of Deltora. When Dain was captured by Ichabod, Fardeep joined the group in their trek to Del.
Fardeep was captured along with the rest of the group after Lief, Jasmine, Barda and Steven went ahead of them. He did not resist capture when they were brought to Del and helped Nanion carry Zeean, who had been badly beaten by the Grey Guards. He was brought to the Place of Punishment, chained and sentenced by Fallow to "double branding and death," as were the others. Before the sentence was carried out, however, the Guards brought Jasmine, Barda and Doom to the platform. Lief leaped onto the platform while Fallow was distracted and, in the confusion, Lief, the true heir to the Belt of Deltora, managed to finally drive out the Shadow Lord. Fardeep joined the rest of Del in cheering the new King of Deltora.
The Sister of the South
Fardeep attended Lief and Jasmine's wedding following the defeat of the grey tide. At some point before this he had reclaimed ownership of the Champion Inn, now called the "Games Inn" and attended the wedding with Joanna and Orwen, the games champions.
Fardeep is a tall, old man who often dresses in coarse, simple clothing. He has long grey hair and a long beard of the same colour. He wears plain robes and tied a cord around his waist. He is quite thin and maintained a straight posture.
As the Guardian, Fardeep wore a long, hooded, dark blue robe and had burning red eyes. The Guardian often held four grey, fleshy cords in his hands, seemingly leashes for his four "pets". In reality, the cords were attached to growths on the Guardian's chest. He covered the growths with his cloak and the cords were threaded through his sleeves. When cut, the cords bled a yellowish-green substance.
In the anime, Fardeep was depicted with light magenta eyes and wore a circlet around his head. His beard is considerably longer in this version, falling past his waist. As the Guardian, his cloak is black rather than dark blue.
Fardeep is a clever man with an immense love of riddles and games. He is quite peace-loving and more than content with his live in Rithmere before his family was killed. His calmness comforted the wild animals in the valley to the point that they approached him without fear. Even Filli and Kree are perfectly content being around him, despite having never met him before. He was humbled by his time as the Guardian, apologising sincerely to the Torans and others he had tormented. Since he transformed back into his former self, Fardeep has lived in a simple hut, rather than the Guardian's magnificent palace. He displays pride in his Mere heritage and heartily accepted the thought of meeting two men from the Plains tribe, despite the history of animosity between the Mere and Plains folk.
As the Guardian, Fardeep was overtaken by his darker traits. He was prideful, often stopping to let his captives gaze in awe at his palace. The Guardian displayed a great deal of arrogance, frequently flaunting his wealth, power, and intelligence, going so far as to sleep while Lief, Barda and Jasmine were in his palace. He was quite loyal to the Shadow Lord, grateful for his many "gifts". The Guardian felt betrayed by the world and eventually concluded that evil would inevitably succeed over good, hence his willingness to serve the Shadow Lord. He fancied himself as a king, which played into his guise as King Endon, and deliberately kept the people of Tora alive to serve as his subjects.
The Guardian retained Fardeep's love of games, but he twisted them to torment his captives. He was infuriated at the suggestion that his game was unfair or a matter of simple chance, insisting that he tested the player's wits. The Guardian had a genuine sense of fair play; he offered anyone who entered the Valley the opportunity to leave empty-handed and, although he hated allowing visitors to leave without playing his game, he seemed to uphold his promise. He even offered Lief, Jasmine and Barda some time alone to discuss their decision before playing. Despite this, the Guardian ultimately attempted to cheat even those clever enough to win his game by replacing the great Diamond with an equally large, but powerless lesser diamond while his challengers wandered through his palace.
Fardeep is an intelligent, clever individual, traits that the Shadow Lord used to its advantage when it allowed Fardeep to guard the Diamond. He was quite wealthy and respected before he was forced from Rithmere and has reclaimed ownership of the Champion Inn since the Shadow Lord was driven out of Deltora. He is a capable cook and survivalist, able to farm enough food and honey in the valley to feed the people of Tora for some time.
As the Guardian, Fardeep had powerful magic at his disposal, able to control almost everything that happened in the Valley of the Lost. He could impose his will onto others in a similar manner to Gorl, forcing his victims to do as he told them. The Guardian and his pets seemed to be able to detect pride, hatred, greed, and envy in others, as he commented that the "smell of greed and envy" was strong in Neridah, and that his companions felt it too.
The Guardian enchanted the Valley of the Lost, giving it its ominous, disorienting cover of mist. He also bewitched anyone who entered the Valley of the Lost and failed his game, leaving them alive but removing their need for food and drink or their ability to age, reducing them to bizarre, ghost-like beings. The Guardian had some level awareness of who was in the Valley of the Lost, as he knew exactly where Neridah and the Diamond were. Despite all of his power, the Guardian was cursed, having obtained the Diamond through dishonourable means, thus his "kingdom" was an empty one.
- On the cover of The Valley of the Lost, Fardeep seems to wear black gloves, though no indication of this is made in the text of the book. Another explanation may be that he simply has dark hands, another attribute of his more non-human form as the Guardian.
- Rodda, Emily. The Valley of the Lost. Scholastic Australia. 2002.
- Rodda, Emily. The Maze of the Beast. Scholastic Australia. 2001.
- Rodda, Emily. Return to Del. Scholastic Australia. 2002.
- Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. 2004.
- Rodda, Emily. The Forests of Silence. Scholastic Australia. 2000.