Rafuel is a scholarly assassin. He is first introduced in Froi of the Exiles when he puts a dagger to Japhra's throat to gain an audience with the Lumateran Queen and her Consort.
Rafuel spent his childhood in the palace in the Citavita. He was a gentle boy, constantly shouted down at by others in the palace. When Lirah and Gargarin began seeing each other, they used him as a messenger between them. Rafuel carried a basket of cats with him often. On the night of the original Day of Weeping, Gargarin of Abroi encountered Rafuel and his basket of cats in the palace after saving the life of the male lastborn of the Citavita (Froi). He gave the baby to Rafuel to take to the Priests of Trist to keep safe. Rafuel took the baby to the Priests of Trist, and left the baby with them.
At age fourteen, Rafuel ran away from his father and the palace. When he returned years later to find out what he could about the lastborn of the Citavita, he was rounded up along with the other boys in the Citavita and sent to work in the army. He was posted in the woods on the Charyn-Osterian border. When a boy claiming to be the heir to Lumatere was captured holding a ruby ring, he was taken to the barracks, where Rafuel's soldiers beat him until he revealed that he was just a Sarnak thief named Froi. Rafuel began to suspect that the boy was the lastborn of the Citavita, and sent word to the Priests of Trist saying that he believed he had found him on the Charyn-Osterian border. When Finnikin, Trevanion, Lucian and Perri arrived to rescue Froi, Rafuel was relieved and allowed them to escape with Froi out of the barracks and to the Osterian side of the river. He sent word to the Priests about what happened, and they agreed to let Froi stay with the Lumaterans, because it was safest there for him.
In Froi of the Exiles
Three years later, Rafuel returns to Charyn and is sent by the Priests of Trist to the Valley between Lumatere and Charyn with seven other men not more than boys, to search for the lastborn and bring him to Charyn to kill the King of Charyn and bed Quintana of Charyn, the female lastborn of the Citavita. He tries to gain an audience with the Lumateran Queen and her Consort, but fails each time until he puts a dagger to the throat of Japhra of the Flatlands, a broken girl being trained by Tesadora in the arts of healing.
He is arrested and incarcerated within a cell in a building in the Mountains. He is interrogated by the Captain of the Guard, the Queen's Consort, Lucian of the Monts and Perri the Savage, and Tesadora and Froi. He explains Charyn's curse to them, and tells them of his (and the Priests') plan to kill the King of Charyn. He says that Froi would be the perfect assassin. Eventually, the Lumaterans agree to it, and Rafuel prepares Froi for the journey to the Citavita. He lets it slip that he is searching for the lost lastborn of the Citavita, and implies that Froi is the lastborn. He claims that Froi is a Charynite, and is punched by Froi.
After Froi leaves for Charyn, Rafuel spends the next few weeks imprisoned in the Mountains. However, the hostility of the Monts towards him becomes too much and the Lumateran Guard is forced to move Rafuel into the Valley, where they will chain him to a tree. As soon as they arrive in the Valley, a group of men on horses approach the Valley. Rafuel is ecstatic at first, believing that it is Froi returning to the Valley. However, when the men come closer he realizes with growing horror that they are street lords from the Citavita and that they have come for him and his men. When they demand to see Rafuel, Rafuel tries to stand and reveal himself but is stopped by Lucian and Aldron. One of Rafuel's men bravely stands and claims to be Rafuel. The riders realise that Rafuel is not among them, and kill each of Rafuel's men one by one as Rafuel watches on the other side of the stream.
The riders begin searching the women for the mark of the lastborn. Rafuel realizes that Phaedra is in danger because she is a lastborn girl, and tells Lucian and the others this. Lucian rescues Phaedra from the riders and takes her to their side of the stream.
Rafuel is taken back up the Mountain. He is grief-stricken and chants the names of his men over and over again. Instead of returning him to his cell, Lucian extends an invitation for Rafuel to stay in his cottage on the Mountain.
From then on Rafuel joins Lucian, Phaedra, Tesadora, Jory and Yael in Lucian's cottage where they would speak of the day's events. On one such occasion, Phaedra suggests that Rafuel return to the valley and act as a spy for the Lumaterans. Despite the others' objections to the idea, Rafuel wants to do it, and argues with them to let him. When Lucian says he will suggest the idea to the Queen and her Consort, Rafuel leaves the cottage frustrated and goes to Japhra.
One night, Phaedra returns from the valley and tells Rafuel and the Lumaterans of news from the Citavita; mainly that Froi was seen rescuing the Princess Quintana from the noose. Rafuel finally admits that Froi is a Charynite lastborn and that he is the one that will break Charyn's curse. He says that he was at the Charyn-Osterian border when Finnikin and the others were there, and helped them rescue Froi from the barracks by making it as easy as possible for them to enter and leave the barracks.
The Queen of Lumatere finally agrees to let Rafuel return to the valley as a spy, and so Rafuel is escorted by the Monts downstream, and at a safe enough distance he crosses the stream and joins the Charynite exiles travelling towards the valley from Alonso. Rafuel is instructed to impress the camp leaders and find out what he can about what is taking place in Charyn and the Citavita. Rafuel takes a fake identity, and introduces himself to the camp leaders as Matteo of Jidia. Gradually he gains their trust and clandestinely speaks with Phaedra and Lucian on several occasions about what he has learnt.
One day, Rafuel is called to the women's cave by Phaedra, who claims that there is an outbreak of plague there. When Rafuel enters, he sees Quintana of Charyn and realizes that the plague is a ruse that is meant to prevent anyone from entering the cave. He orders the camp leaders and the men to stay away from the women's cave, saying that they have plague. When a man-- Harker-- resists, Rafuel threatens them at sword-point, saying that the next person to pass him would die with a sword through his heart. 'Plague is plague,' he says. Rafuel tells Donashe that the women will have to be isolated. Jory describes Rafuel as seeming like a madman. Phaedra takes the women further downstream, and they fake their deaths to protect Quintana. Rafuel makes sure that no one goes near their cave, claiming that it is too dangerous. When all the women are thought to be dead, Rafuel claims that he has burned the bodies, so that no one will go looking for any bodies to bury.
In Quintana of Charyn
Rafuel stays in the Valley as Matteo, spying on the camp leaders and making sure they do not intrude upon the women. He works with Tesadora to make sure Quintana is not discovered and killed by the camp leaders. Rafuel continues to deceive the men about the women until Lucian confronts him about it, having seen Phaedra alive not long ago. Rafuel is later forced to admit the truth to the rest of the men in the Valley, except Gies, who cannot be trusted with the knowledge as he is working for the camp leaders.
When the women are attacked by one of the camp leaders, who is killed in the process, Rafuel helps dispose of the man's body and prevent the other camp leaders from searching for their friend. Unfortunately, Gies goes searching, and finds Ginny, who tells him of Quintana and Rafuel and the women's deceit. Gies tells the camp leaders. They arrest Rafuel and beat him to a pulp. They then tie him to a horse and dump Rafuel in a mine shaft in Serker, where Rafuel is trapped for a month before he is found by the Priests of Trist. He is found barely alive and crazed scribblings about the women and Quintana were scratched onto the walls of the mine shaft. He is taken to the Citavita to be cared for by Arjuro of Abroi in the godshouse, at Gargarin of Abroi's insistence. 'Rafuel belongs here with us,' Lirah says to Froi when he visits the godshouse. 'It all began with him, didn't it, dear friend, with those silly cats? Where would we all be without Rafuel?'
At first Rafuel cannot even open his eyes, but after six months, he vastly improves, and is able hear what is being said to him but is unable to speak. Quintana and her babe visit the godshouse every day and Rafuel's eyes light up to see them. His physical condition improves greatly in the presence of the babe, and Lirah, Arjuro and Gargarin are hopeful of a full recovery, despite not knowing what damage he may have sustained in his brain.
Six months after Rafuel's arrival in the godshouse, Froi of Lumatere comes to visit and tells him all the news from the Valley and the women. Rafuel listens and is aware of what Froi is saying, and is presumably happy to hear about the women and other Valley-dwellers.
Rafuel is a lively man, a scholarly assassin. He was trained by the Priests of Trist in both the arts of killing and scholarly pursuits. After his beating and imprisonment by the street lords he becomes decrepit and almost lifeless. He has a large amount of knowledge about Charyn and its customs. Rafuel is also a genuinely caring person who cares about the people he loves. He is devastated to be unable to save his boys who are killed by the camp leaders and is guilt-ridden afterwards.
Rafuel has the colouring and appearance of the people of Sebastabol.