Shea, Panamon, and Keltset were traversing the Streleheim when they came upon the remains of a battle between Gnomes and Eventine Elessedil's army of Elves. The three men were attacked by a Skull Bearer, who claimed that it could sense the presence of the Sword of Shannara nearby and that the trio must therefore have possession of it.
None of the three understood why the Skull Bearer was making that claim, but the confusion was quickly forgotten as the creature attacked. Shea managed to defeat the Skull Bearer using the Elfstones.
After the commotion was over the men noticed sounds coming from some nearby bushes. Keltset investigated and captured Orl Fane, who had been hiding there. The Gnome claimed to be a warrior from the Pelle tribe of Gnomes, but Panamon immediately caught him in his lies and identified him as a scavenger and a traitorous deserter. On top of that, it was clear that the Gnome was mad as well, and obsessed with a sack of cheap, worthless weapons and trinkets that he had in his possession.
Despite all of this the trio decided to take Orl Fane with them, but only because the Gnome claimed he could give them information about the Sword of Shannara's whereabouts. Unfortunately for the three men, Orl Fane waited until everyone had fallen asleep that night before chewing through the ropes he had been bound with and fleeing. When the trio noticed the next morning that Orl Fane had taken a sword from his sack with him, Shea recalled the Skull Bearer's words and realized that Orl Fane must have had possession of the Sword of Shannara the entire time. Indeed, the Gnome had stolen the Sword from the Elven army after it had battled with the Gnome troops.
Orl Fane fled from the plains into the Northland, losing his pursuers. However, he was captured by Trolls who brought him to Skull Mountain, the Warlock Lord's stronghold. There he was imprisoned, until he was found by Shea, Panamon, and Keltset.The three managed to get the Sword off of Orl Fane and into Shea's hands. As the magic of truth that lay within the talisman came of life, the Warlock Lord awoke and went to confront Shea in Orl Fane's cell.
The Warlock Lord, unable to touch the Sword himself, tried to attack Shea in his mind with an overwhelming sense of fear in order to get the Valeman to drop the talisman. When that proved to be unsuccessful, he used his magic to control Orl's Fane body like a puppet and force the Gnome to try and wrest the blade out of Shea's grasp.
However, touching the Sword exposed Orl Fane to its magic, and each time the Warlock Lord forced him to grab the blade he was also forced to confront the truth about himself: that he was a mad, pathetic traitor and outcast. Touching the Sword in its activated state proved to be unbearable.
Finally, still struggling under the Warlock Lord's control, and pained by the visions shown to him by the Sword, a distraught Orl Fane hurled himself onto the blade, possessing the talisman one final time before dying. Shea pulled the Sword from the Gnome's body, and the Warlock Lord resumed his attack on Shea's mind.
However, Orl Fane's death and the thought of how many others could die if he failed in his quest helped Shea to hold on to his resolve, and he managed to use the weapon effectively and defeat the Warlock Lord.
Orl Fane is described as having yellow skin and a twisted physique, like all Gnomes. He has shifty, dark green eyes that dart everywhere and alternate in expression between helpless and cunning.