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Darken Rahl makes his first and only major appearance in the novel Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind. He later appears as a ghost in Stone of Tears and Temple of the Winds. His father, Panis Rahl, sought to conquer the New World, consisting of Westland to the west, the Midlands in the middle, and D'Hara to the east, with mountain ranges seperating the respective areas. In his campaign to conquer the Midlands, Panis Rahl faced strong resistance from its administrator, First Wizard Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander. In revenge, Panis Rahl had Wizard Zorander's wife murdered and his daughter held hostage. While in captivity, a teenage Darken Rahl raped her, conceiving Richard Rahl. Wizard Zorander than killed Panis Rahl from afar off with deadly, napalm- like wizard's fire and brought up a section of the underworld into the world of the living to seal off D'Hara and prevent further atrocities. However, Darken Rahl was with his father when the fire struck, and he was severely burned. He spent days in agony while healers repaired him, the only sign left afterwards being an ugly scar on the side of his penis. He swore vengeance against Wizard Zorander, but he had hid himself and a baby Richard with magic and fled to Westland, which had been set aside for a place without magic and sealed off similar to D'Hara. Richard and his mother lived with George Cypher, her husband, and Richard was never made aware of his relation to Darken Rahl or Wizard Zorander, while Darken Rahl remained unaware of his son's existence. As Lord of D'Hara, Darken Rahl fathered at least three more children, Drefan, Jennsen, and Oba. As they were ungifted, they had to be raised in secret because Darken Rahl killed all of his children born without magic, a family tradition of sorts. In his quest for vengeance, he gained the ability to travel through the underworld and around the boundaries by sacrificing children to the Keeper of the Underworld. In this way he managed to bring down the boundary between the Midlands and D'Hara and begin a reign of terror there. On a similar foray into Westland, he disembowelled George Cypher in an attempt to find information regarding Zorander's whereabouts. This sent Richard off on a quest of vengeance, eventually leading to a confrontation with Darken Rahl. Darken had been gathering together the three Boxes of Orden, which, if he opened them would have different effects,depending on which box had been opened. One would kill the opener, one would destroy the world, and one would give the opener unlimited power. Richard tricked him into opening the killing box, which slowly sucked him into the underworld. At this time, Zorander informed of his relation to Richard, the darkness of the underworld devouring him forever soon afterwords. Later, Richard unwittingly loosed Darken Rahl into the world of the living in a ritual. Richard eventually sent him back using the Stone of Tears. Later, Darken Rahl's ghost continued to make Richard's life a living hell when he had to enter the Temple of the Winds in the underworld. He as not been featured in the series since.
Legend of the Seeker
Darken Rahl is a main antagonist in the TV series Legend of the Seeker.
Boxes of Orden
Agent of the Keeper
After the apparent explosion of the Boxes of Orden and his death, Darken Rahl awakens in the Underworld among hordes of tortured souls. Realizing his master the Keeper is near him, he apologizes for failing him, but the Keeper congratulates him, as he suceeded in tearing the Veil which allowed the Keeper to unleash his minions on the World of the Living. Darken Rahl becomes the chief agent of the Keeper's army. Later he appears to Richard and burns the Mark of the Keeper in to his chest and after saying to Richard "You are for the Keeper".
When a woman who was with Zedd got killed, Darken Rahl turned her into a Baneling to try and kill Zedd, when Zedd went into the Underworld by going straight into a rift, he started to age and die, but Richard rescues him. Darken Rahl tries to trap them by closing the rift but they got out in time.
Later after Richard got killed by Denna, Darken tries to persuade Richard to come back as a Baneling, but he refuses. Darken then takes the pleasure to torture him forever with the flames of the Underworld, but later on his soul was summoned away from the Underworld. He then says they'll meet again.
In a hallucination of Richard's worse fears, Darken Rahl appears saying he is the last person alive in the world and that he will suffer his remaining life contemplating at his mistakes.
When Cara was killed, Darken Rahl agrees to turn her into a Baneling. After learning of a cure for Banelings he tortured Thaddicus (Zedd's brother) into telling him the source of the cure, he destroyed the source by having it sucked into the Underworld by a rift, but not before Cara got the cure from the source.
The newly revived Sister Nicci summons him to persuade the Keeper to sign a guarantee that the Margrave of Rothenburg and his kingdom will be immortal, in exchange for handing the captured Kahlan the Mother Confessor over to the Sisters of the Dark to kill her. After failing in the plan, Nicci summon him and he orders her to bring him the Stone of Tears. After failing in that too he appears to Nicci telling her that the Keeper isn't pleased. Nicci tells him she no longer serves him and that she is her own master.