The Midlands were the lands between Westland and D'Hara, ruled by the Mother Confessor, through the Central Council of the Midlands. Each separate nation of the Midlands was entitled to have its own monarch or other form of government, depending on the culture of said land, though each separate land still came under the jurisdiction of the Central Council and hence the Mother Confessor. The judicial rule of the Confessors was ended when they were massacred by Darken Rahl, Master of D'Hara. The Midlands Alliance and Central Council were dissolved by Richard Rahl and the current Mother Confessor, Kahlan Amnell, such that the Midlands and D'Hara could be united in the D'Haran Empire in order to fight the Imperial Order.
Long ago, wizards acted as rulers of the lands, during this time many became frustrated by the corruption around them. They hated the lies and deception. Soon the wizards wanted a way to prevent corrupt leaders from using their power to deceive and subvert the people. At that time, many unscrupulous leaders would simply accuse their political enemies of a crime, and have them executed for it, at once dishonoring them and eliminating them. The wizards wanted a way to put a stop to this. They needed a way that left no room for doubt. So they created a magic, and gave it a life of its own. They created Confessors and the Seeker of Truth to discover important truths and seek out justice.
The wizards made one mistake when creating the Confessors. They didn't give sufficient thought to how the power would take a life of its own. They didn't foresee how the power would be passed on to the offspring, and be so different in men. Shortly after the creation of the Confessors, a few male Confessors joined forces and brought about a terrible reign of cruelty. It was called the dark time. At last, the wizards hunted them all down and killed them. Many of the wizards were killed. From that time, the wizards withdrew from trying to rule the lands. Too many of them had been killed. Instead, they only tried to serve the people, to help where they could. But they no longer interfered with rulers if they could help it. They had learned bitter lessons.
In the past, arrogant rulers had thought to make the Confessors submit to their word. In those times, there were farsighted Confessors, now revered as legends, who knew they must lay the foundation for their independence, or forever submit to domination; so the Mother Confessor took the rulers with her power. The rulers were removed from their thrones, and replaced with new rulers who understood that Confessors were to be left alone. The old rulers, those who were taken, were kept in Aydindril as little more than slaves. The Confessors took those old rulers with them when they traveled to the different lands, made them carry the provisions and luxuries of travel. Back then, there was more ceremony surrounding the Confessors than there is now, and it made the intended impression. From then on, Confessors have always been the highest ranking beings in the Midlands.
For more see: Great War
The wizards of the New World, believed magic was the gift of the Creator, while the wizards of the Old World, believed it to be the taint of the Keeper. This ideological difference sparked the great war.
As most of the wizards of the New World, resided at the Wizard's Keep in Aydindril, the Midlands naturally played a role in the great war. It was from the Wizard's Keep that the wizard's directed the war effort. The enemy also sent weapons of war through the sliph at the Keep as a means of assassinating New World wizards.
The events surrounding the Temple of the Winds also took place in the Midlands, atop Mount Kymermosst. It was during the great war, that the Confessors were first created. The Midlands and the rest of the New World were eventually sealed off from the Old World, due to the Towers of Perdition.
For more see: D'Haran War
Panis Rahl was a leader of one of the D'Haran nations who, through backstabbing and treachery, took over all of D'Hara. By that time, the peoples of the Midlands had seen what he was about, and were not to be taken so easily. They knew that signing a peace treaty with him was as good as signing an invitation to invasion. Instead, they chose to remain free, and joined together, through the Council of the Midlands, in a common defense. Many of the free lands held no favor with each other, but they knew if they did not fight together, they would die separately, one at a time.
Panis Rahl threw the might of D'Hara against them. War waged for many years. As his legions were finally slowed and then halted, Rahl turned to magic. Panis was ruthless in his use of magic against the free people using trickery, sickness, fevers, and the shadow people. Whole battalions were found killed to a man.
When Panis Rahl started using the magic in that way, a great and honorable wizard, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, joined the side of the Midlands' cause. Many thousands had already died in battle, but the magic killed many more. With the help of the great wizard holding Panis Rahl's magic in check, his legions were driven back into D'Hara.
Aftermath of the War
The wars had been devastating, but it was concluded that going into D'Hara to destroy Panis and his forces would be too costly. Yet something had to be done to keep Panis Rahl from trying again, as they knew he would. To keep the forces of D'Hara at bay, Zedd created an impassable boundary between D'Hara and the Midlands. Many in the Midlands were more frightened of the magic than of the hordes from D'Hara, and they wanted to have nothing to do with it ever again. Another boundary was put up, and Westland was set aside for those people. So it was that there came to be three lands, separated by the impassable boundaries.
At first, things were quiet in the Midlands after the boundaries were put in place as people recovered from the war. As time wore on the Central Council of the Midlands became corrupt and, because of their greed, began appointing the position of Seeker of Truth to whomever they chose and mishandling important magical artifacts. The other wizards Zedd had trained also became consumed with greed, and sided with the council. Because of this, the great wizard left the Midlands for Westland and cast a wizard's web so that no one would remember his name or what he looked like.
Darken Rahl Movement
Darken Rahl was the son of Panis Rahl and the heir to D'Hara. The Darken Rahl movement started almost 40 years after the boundaries were put into place and sprang up out of nowhere. All of a sudden crowds of people in the bigger cities chanted the name of "Father Rahl", calling him the greatest man of peace that ever lived, despite the fact that he lived on the other side of the boundary. At about the same time, Gars began pouring over the boundary to D'Hara, killing a large number of people. No one knew it, but the boundary at the time was weakening and in the spring it faded away.
It was then that the People's Peace Army, Darken Rahl's army, marched right into a few of the bigger cities. Instead of fighting them, crowds of Midlanders threw flowers at them wherever they went. People who didn't throw flowers were hung, not by the armies of Rahl, but by the people of the Midlands. After a time, the People's Peace Army stepped in and stopped the killing. Instead, the dissenters were sent to schools of enlightenment to learn about the greatness of Father Rahl, about what a man of peace he was and became Rahl's most fanatic converts. Darken Rahl went before the Central Council of the Midlands and asked them to join him in an alliance of peace. Those who did were held up as champions of harmony. Those who did not were held up as traitors and publicly executed on the spot by Darken Rahl himself. This began to open the wizard's eyes to Rahl's tyranny. Rahl then outlawed the use of all magic in the Midlands and declared anyone using it an insurrectionist, including all creatures of magic. Then he outlawed fire. People in many areas of the Midlands ignored the alliance, although Rahl considered it a petty problem. His true goal was to obtain the Boxes of Orden which would make him master of all, without having to fight anyone.
Five of the six wizards realized the truth and began a search for the great wizard, Zedd, so that he could make the appointment of a true Seeker of Truth to combat Darken Rahl. The sixth wizard, Giller, sold his services to Queen Milena, although it was later discovered he did so to protect one of the boxes of Orden. Darken Rahl began his hunt for the great wizard as well. The great one could not be found in the Midlands, and it was concluded he had fled to Westland. It was decided that someone would have to journey to Westland to find him, and, if need be, force his cooperation. Even the five wizards combined did not have the power to force the great one to make the appointment of the Seeker of Truth, therefore they sent someone who did, the Mother Confessor, Kahlan Amnell. The wizards cast spells over the Mother Confessor's tracks so none could know where she went or follow, as well as spells that allowed her to cross the boundary without dying. They then killed themselves so they could not be made to talk.
Conflict with Darken Rahl
The Mother Confessor was successful in discovering the great wizard, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, who named a Seeker of Truth, Richard Cypher. The three journey towards the Midlands, but Zedd is incapacitated and Kahlan and Richard are forced to leave him behind with a sorceress named Adie, to recover. Much later, the three are reunited, near Tamarang, after Richard and Kahlan learn from Shota that Queen Milena is in possession of a Box of Orden.
The three soon learn that Wizard Giller gave his life to protect the whereabouts of the Box, which he had smuggled out of the Queen's castle with a young girl named Rachel. Darken Rahl eventually discovered the last Box, however, due to his evil intentions, was killed by the power of Orden, though for some time it was believed that it was Richard's use of the Wizard's First Rule, that caused the power of Orden to destroy Rahl.
Beginnings of the Imperial Order War
After a massacre of the city of Ebinissia by the Imperial Order, Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell declared war with no mercy upon them. She personally led a force of five thousand men against a vastly superior Imperial Order force, wiping them out.
However, her year of absence travelling with Richard in their efforts to defeat Darken Rahl, caused the Central Council of the Midlands to believe her, the last Confessor, dead. The Council had become corrupt and pledged their support to the Order, who usurped control of Aydindril. Upon her return to the capital, Kahlan was sentenced to death by the Council. Only the intervention of First Wizard Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, who cast a Death spell over her, saved her life.
Shortly after, Richard, believing Kahlan dead, executed the entire Central Council for treason against her, the rightful Mother Confessor. He later learnt of Kahlan's survival, before taking control of D'Hara, as the new Lord Rahl, being that he was the illegitimate son of Darken Rahl. Richard also took back control of Aydindril and demanded the surrender of every land of the Midlands; so that they would be joined in opposition of the Order, with the new D'Haran Empire. The death spell around Kahlan was removed and she added her authority as the Mother Confessor, behind Richards. Some lands such as Anderith, chose to side with the enemy, while others willingly joined the D'Haran Empire; either way, the Midlands alliance was effectively no more.
The Midlands were between the nations of Westland and D'Hara in the New World. They were sealed away from Westland and D'Hara by the boundaries about forty years before the outbreak of the Darken Rahl Movement. There were many places in the Midlands where there were rumors of terrible beasts. However, most of these stories were just that, stories. But not all. The Midlands could be a fantastic and dangerous place. There were a number of nations within the Midlands, most who have a king or queen that was the master of the domain. Other lands were ruled in different manners, such as by councils. Some were places of magic creatures, such as the night wisps. No humans lived in these lands.
The Midlands never had close relations with D'Hara. It was a distant and secretive land that they knew almost nothing about until the war with Panis Rahl. After the second D'Haran War, when Richard Rahl became the Lord Rahl, the Midlands and D'Hara fused into an alliance that later became known as the D'Haran Empire.
The Midlands were a loose confederation of free lands; free, at least, to rule as they saw fit, and only so long as they lived in peace with each other. They were made up of several distinct nations that cooperated together in an organization called the Central Council of the Midlands. The Council of the Midlands was given force by the wizards and Confessors who enforced its rules and ensured that small or weak nations were protected by larger or more powerful neighbors.
- “It was my hair. Didn't you see the fear in her eyes when she looked at my hair? I have seen that look a thousand times. Do you have any idea what it's like to frighten people, even children, all the time?”
- ―Kahlan Amnell, on the social significance of her long hair
In the Midlands, no matter having to do with power is small. The length of a woman's hair has serious social significance, as it indicated their power within the entire class system. Short hair is a sign of submission to men and all people of higher rank than the women. A servant woman or peasant woman's hair may be long enough to cover her ears, but never past her jawline. Noble women often have hair that touches their shoulders, and sometimes a little beyond. A woman who allows her hair to grow beyond the length appropriate for her status is forced to forfeit some of that status as punished. Long hair is a symbol of authority, bordering on defiance, and usually invokes fearful or resentful reactions in Midlanders. Confessors wear their hair the longest of all women, allowing it to reach halfway down their backs.
Confessors are widely feared and hated, though they are the source of peace, order, and justice in the Midlands. Their power over monarchs and political figures, their unusual activities for women, and their practices in choosing mates makes them highly detested in the eyes of many.
A common religious practice in the Midlands is to push a raft of wildflowers into a body of water as an offering to the spirits of one's ancestors and as a request for protection.
Due to a spell casted by Panis Rahl, in the Midlands, any red fruit is poison. Offering a red fruit to anyone is an immediately recognized and extremely serious offense.