In human form Rafael is a handsome man of Mexican descent, dark brown skin; his voice is deep and soft, and his lack of accent suggests that despite his ethnicity he is either U.S. born or raised. He is tall, at least 6', with a face marked by a touch of arrogance. In rat form, he appears as a tall humanoid rat, with jet black fur, black button eyes, and wears cut-off jeans for freedom of movement.
He has a brand in the form of a four pointed crown on his left arm, that is visible in both forms.
Personal history Edit
Rafael married after he was turned, and has a child, but his wife couldn't deal with his lycanthropy and left him, breaking his heart. He is now divorced and visits his son twice a year on supervised visits. His ex-wife and son live out of state.
History within seriesEdit
In Guilty Pleasures we learn that as the leader of the St. Louis wererats Rafael opposes Nikolaos's attempts to use the rats as her servants. For that reason Rafael has ordered his people to stay away from Nikolaos and her lair beneath the Circus of the Damned, and to resisted her call as much as possible. However, some in his ranks disobey, either through fear of Nikolaos or because they hope to see Rafael replaced.
After learning that some wererats have been instructed to terrorize a prisoner of Nikolaos in her dungeons, Rafael comes to the prisoner's aid, later claiming it was more to defy Nikolaos and stop his people disobeying him than out of concern for the prisoner, the animator Anita Blake. After making it clear to the dissenting wererats that he will kill any who disobeys his authority, Rafael talks to Anita, and advises her to do as Nikolaos wants in order to avoid being hurt; they connect somewhat when Anita points out that Rafael isn't following his own advice.
A few days later Rafael is contacted by Anita, who asks if he can lead her and Edward through the tunnels so they can make a covert entrance into the Circus, so that she can slay Nikolaos. Through Rafael makes it clear that because of Nikolaos' power over them, the rats cannot assist in the actual fight, he and some others agree to Anita's request. After Anita slays Nikolaos, Rafael and his people enter the Circus and provide medical assistance to Anita and Edward, and watch as Anita slays Zachary.
In The Lunatic Cafe Rafael offers protection to Anita when Marcus does not. In Burnt Offerings he demonstrates that he is strong enough to resist giving his rats to Padma, Master of Beasts, even when being tortured. Anita negotiates Rafael's release and he heals his injuries, even though he has been skinned alive. In Narcissus in Chains Rafael takes Anita's side against the pack. Wishing to strengthen the ties with Jean-Claude (The Harlequin) Rafael offers himself as a pomme de sang for Anita but is turned down. Regardless, he is an important ally to Anita and Jean-Claude, as well as the Coalition, and one of Anita's occasional lovers with whom she feeds her ardeur.
In Dead Ice Rafael thinks he's becoming too old and weak to lead the wererats, because an opponent cheating in a fight for the leadership leaves him with a serious wound he can't heal. He comes to the Circus for safety, but doesn't alert anyone of what has happened in fear that the word of his weakness will spread. When Anita discovers him she manages to talk him into allowing Micah to check out the wound, and they realize the healer who checked Rafael out after the fight actually poisoned the wound with silver nitrate, which makes it impossible for any lycanthrope to heal, no matter how powerful. As Rafael is still alive, this is a proof of his strength rather his than weakness, and he finally consents to receiving medical treatment, but only after he gets the wheels rolling for dealing with the treacherous healer. In the meantime Anita and Micah both try to help Rafael heal by using their powers, but as he doesn't have any metaphysical ties to them, these attempts fail.
| Spoilers: Crimson Death
This article or section contains spoilers for 2016 novel Crimson Death.
In Crimson Death we learn that Anita has recently allowed Rafael to infect her with rat lycanthropy on purpose in his rat-man form, with promise that she will make him her rat to call if she tests positive for it. This confirmation has already been received before the events of the book, but they haven't had time to seal the deal, so Rafael forbids his rats from accompanying her to Ireland in order to prevent her from binding any of them to her in an emergency. Rafael himself is out of town with Micah on the Coalition business by the time the Ireland trip becomes a reality, and as such isn't available for either becoming her animal to call before she leaves nor for providing backup himself. It's possible that this whole arrangement was planned because of the events of Dead Ice, in order to give Rafael that missing metaphysical connection and to bind him more tightly to the power structure.
Powers & AbilitiesEdit
As a wererat, Rafael possesses enhanced senses, able to see in dim lighting clearly, hear noises far off, and, even in his human form, able to smell normal humans' emotional states. In wererat form he possesses enhanced strength to an unspecified degree, enhanced endurance, and accelerated healing, though he is still vulnerable to silver weapons. He is also extremely agile and limber, able to compress and twist his body to fit through spaces much smaller then his large frame suggests.