Panis Rahl was a ruthless ruler of D'Hara. Using power and treachery turned his attention to seizing control of the Midlands. Panis Rahl threw the might of D'Hara against the Midlands and war raged for many years. As his legions were finally slowed and halted, Panis became more ruthless and brutal in his use of magic, using trickery, sickness, fevers, blindness, and the Shadow People. His armies killed thousands and wiped out whole villages, towns, and cities. He used Mord-Sith to capture Wizards and Sorceresses and extract everything they knew about his enemies' plans. One of the notable commanders under his command was Anargo. At that time, the great wizard Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander sided with the Midlands against Rahl and was able to hold Rahl's magic in check. Zedd cast a spell that held Panis Rahl in his palace in D'Hara, blunting his magic. Panis Rahl was enraged by Zedd and tried to kill him, but couldn't. Instead, he sent a quad after Zedd's wife, Erilyn, and eventually captured Zedd's daughter. Rahl continued to send all kinds of vile people to kill Zedd, even Mord-Sith. Rahl's legions were driven back into D'Hara. An impassable boundary was put up by Zedd between the Midlands and D'Hara to keep the forces of D'Hara at bay.
Panis Rahl died from a blast of Zedd's wizard fire infused with the Underworld when he was fifty-seven years old, just as the boundary was going up. His son, Darken Rahl, who was also injured in the blast, succeeded him on the throne of D'Hara.
The body of Panis Rahl was placed in an elaborate crypt in the People's Palace in D'Hara. Torches set in ornate gold brackets lit the walls of the crypt with a constant flickering light that reflected off the polished pink granite of the huge, vaulted room, lending their smell of pitch to the fragrance of roses in the dead, still air. Fifty-seven gold vases set in the wall beneath fifty-seven torches that represented each year in the life of the deceased. The white roses in the vases were replaced every morning without fail for 3 decades. The floor was white marble, so that any white rose petal that fell would not be a distraction before it could be whisked away. A large staff saw to it that no torch was allowed to go spent for longer than a few moments, and that rose petals were not allowed to rest long upon the floor. The staff was attentive and devoted to their tasks. Failure to do so resulted in an immediate beheading. Guards watched the tomb day and night to be sure the torches burned, the flowers were fresh, and no rose petal sat too long on the floor and to carry out the executions.
Staff positions were filled from the surrounding D'Haran countryside and being a member of the staff was an honor, by law, which brought with it the promise of a quick death if an execution was in order (a rare and greatly valued thing in D'Hara at that time). Before beginning service, new recruits would have their tongues cut out, to be sure they would not speak ill of the dead king while in the crypt.
A short pillar in the center of the immense room supported the coffin itself, giving it the effect of floating in the air. The gold-enshrouded coffin glowed in the torchlight. Carved symbols covered its sides, and continued in a ring around the room, cut into the granite beneath the torches and gold vases. The symbols were instructions in ancient D'Haran from Panis Rahl to his son, Darken Rahl, on the process of going to the underworld, and returning. The door to the crypt was massive and elaborately carved and polished.
- Panis Rahl was able to use magic to summon the Shadow People and could teach his Wizards to do the same.
- Panis Rahl, knowing how children loved red fruit, used a constructed magic specific to color from the Wizards of old to turn all red fruit into a slow and deadly poison in order to strike a blow to the hearts of his enemies. However it's power, as is all magic, was limited. Only one spell to be used once and a limit of distance. This distance mapped out where Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander raised the boundary of Westland, seeing as how there could be no magic in Westland.
- Panis Rahl was able to create a fog that caused blindness.
- Darken Rahl (gifted son) †
- Richard Rahl (gifted grandson) †
- Drefan Rahl (ungifted grandson) †
- Oba Rahl (pristinely ungifted grandson) †
- Jennsen Rahl (pristinely ungifted granddaughter)
- Alric Rahl (distant ancestor) †
- Nathan Rahl (distant ancestor)
Legend of the Seeker
In Legend of the Seeker, Panis Rahl was quite different from his novel counterpart. He was portrayed by Paul Barrett, Sam Snedden (younger version seen in flashbacks), and John Rhys-Davies (scholar disguise).
Panis was depicted as less malevolent, to some extent. While he was also known to be a tyrant, there was notable peace and order during his reign. His mentor was Carracticus Zorander, who earned his ire when he refused to teach him magic. Later, Panis befriended and manipulated Carracticus' equally powerful wizard son, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, who then agreed to teach him magic and even helped him treat his infertility.
When he was finally able to conceive a child, he had Darken Rahl, whom he raised proudly. However, Carracticus was told by Shota the prophecy of the child's dark future, urging him to curse the child. Panis let Darken Rahl die and subsequently revived by a Mord-Sith's Breath of Life. Panis then confronted Carracticus while in the guise of Zedd and, when Carracticus admitted to it, killed him.
When he realized the growing darkness in Darken Rahl, he decided to act by fulfilling the prophecy that foresaw that he would sire another son who would someday defeat Darken Rahl. Panis set out and found Taralyn, Zedd's daughter, being someone whose magical bloodline equaled his own. With the magic he learned from Zedd himself, he took the form of a shepherd and, with Taralyn, had Richard, who would go on to become the Seeker of Truth. Panis bragged about his unborn child to his firstborn briefly before Richard's birth; in a fit of rage, Darken Rahl killed him. Panis was subsequently found by his trusted D'Haran Commander Trimack, revived by a Mord-Sith's Breath of Life, and hidden away by some of the most loyal members of his retinue.
Since then, Panis had spent the rest of his years in hiding, dedicated to prayer and the study of Valdaire, trying to find ways to atone for his sins as a member of the monastic Order of Ulrich. Meanwhile, Zedd and his brother, Thaddicus, both swore to have vengeance on him. At one point during this time, Panis once again saw Taralyn and had another child with her; this time, a pristinely ungifted who would become Jennsen Rahl.
More than two decades into hiding, Darken Rahl, Zedd and Thaddicus finally found his hideaway, but Panis had already made himself scarce. He set up his "encounter" with the Seeker and his companions. Disguising himself as an eccentric old scholar named Horace Guildermayer, he insisted on helping them find the scroll that would tell them what to do with the Stone of Tears. His deceit was eventually revealed when Zedd and Thaddicus caught up to them. Panis then explained the truth about Carracticus' death and continued to insist that they put their trust in him in finding the scroll. He later successfully led the group to the scroll, after which Zedd was able to let go of his grudge against him.
During a battle against the Sisters of the Dark, Panis took a killing blow to protect Zedd. Panis gracefully accepted his death, glad that he had atoned for his sins and that he was able to hold Richard's hand before his death. Upon death, his appearance reverted back to its original form. He soon awoke in the Underworld, expecting the worst from his eldest son. Instead, Darken Rahl gave him his forgiveness and asked for his, much to his surprise and confusion.