The Angel Chronicles
Student, Vyrasis Imperial University; Malakhim of the Wisdom Shard
Raoul Gravois is the protagonist of Emperor, and a main character throughout the series.
His Charahub profile can be found here.
Raoul is described as a tall, gangly man when he is first encountered by Maya Kovac in Soldier. He has “neatly-kept brown hair” and “a thin blade of a nose,” according to Maya (B1P8). He is 5’11" with grey eyes and fair skin, and is often unconcerned with his appearance; many times he appears ruffled or unkempt, with no concern for his clothes or otherwise.
Raoul is intelligent and clever, albeit slightly socially awkward. He is well-bred and well-educated, and is more at home with his nose in a book than anywhere else. He is absentminded but well-meaning. He has a tendency to forget the world outside his books, and is uncomfortable with the adventure he has been thrust into.
Upon becoming the Malakh for Noaptea, the Apostle, Raoul develops some very serious mental disabilities, including chronic depression and anxiety coupled with severe agoraphobia. His attachment to Noaptea, whose sin was envy, makes him extremely reliant on Maya and her angel Agheat, the Champion for his sanity and well-being. In Soldier, it is unclear how separation from Maya might affect his state of mind.
Family and Friends
Raoul’s father is Armand Gravois, the Third Archbishop of the Church of Vyras. His mother is Rienne Gravois. He has one older sibling, Henri Gravois, and two younger – a brother, Alphonse, and a sister, Renee.
Raoul’s relationships before Soldier are largely a mystery. He is known to be close friends and colleagues with Adrian Sterling, despite their age difference. He states that he attended university with his brother Henri, and is closer to him than his younger siblings.
During Soldier, Raoul develops a close friendship with Maya, and through her, becomes friends with Alistair Jayne, Dion LowryDion Lowry, and Wren Garrison. During his time with the Kana’im, he also maintains working relationships with Nimat Shahpuhr and Syrene Coulter. Additionally, he develops a friendly relationship with Neil Holloway, unbeknownst to Maya or the Kana’im.
Raoul identifies as a cismale bisexual, although he does not discover his sexuality until the events of Healer. He has a small dalliance with Maya in Soldier, though it slow to start due to his unstable mental state; Raoul himself claims that he’s “not well” when Maya first makes her feelings clear (B1P117).
Skills and Magical Abilities
Raoul’s innate gifts are in language, both spoken and written, as well as theology and historical knowledge. He speaks both Imperial and Praetorian, and can read and translate Old Praetorian. He picks up Scythic with ease when Eirian starts teaching him, and also demonstrates a great understanding of word roots and origins.
His magical ability comes from Noaptea, who is aligned with the element of shadow, and is mostly based in movement, communication, illusion, and deception. His involuntary outbursts of magic happen only when his life is in danger – he reaches out psychically for Neil, and teleports himself and Maya across nearly the entire capital.
Upon further study, Raoul discovers he can best control his magic through language, and develops Old Praetoran incantations to help focus his mind and give shape to his abilities. By the time we encounter him in a position of power in Harlot, Raoul has mastered the ability to listen to far away conversations, peer through solid objects, cloak himself in shadow, and teleport short distances (though not to the extent he did alongside Maya). These abilities lend themselves well to subterfuge, and through further exploration he believes he can master full-blown illusions or even a weak projection into someone’s mind.
Raoul is first introduced in the beginning of Soldier when he hires Maya as his undercover bodyguard for an expedition to uncover the Adrastos Scriptures. He is revealed to be heading the expedition under the advisement of Adrian Sterling, who as Raoul claims “doesn’t do anything unless he’s absolutely certain of its success” (B1P14). The expedition is successful in its discovery of the Scriptures, and Raoul immediately sets about translating them from their original Old Praetoran.
During the translation work, Raoul and Maya are attacked by members of the anti-Imperial group known as the Kana’im, who are attempting to steal the Scriptures. Because Maya’s brother Rajan Kovac was one of the Kana’im in the attack, she is arrested on suspicion of conspiring against the Empire. While Maya is in prison, Raoul learns through Adrian that her employer Clove Garrison has been discovered as rebel sympathizer, and both he and Maya are to be punished for conspiracy. Convinced of her innocence, Raoul frees Maya from the Imperial Guard prison and urges her to seek out her brother and the Kana’im, as they are likely to be the only sanctuary she finds. It is at this point that the events of Soldier lose track of Raoul, since he and Maya have parted ways.
Unbeknownst to Maya (and the reader), Adrian discovers Raoul’s involvement in Maya’s escape. Seizing the Scriptures as well as Raoul’s translation, Adrian imprisons Raoul in his home and reveals to him the existence of the Malakhim. Adrian possesses two of the Divine Shards – his own, the Courage Shard, as well as the Wisdom Shard, which he reveals to belong to Raoul. Through a series of attempted brainwash and other mental and emotional torture, Adrian controls Raoul through his reliance on the Wisdom Shard (and Noaptea, the Apostle’s dependence on a need for companionship).
By bonding with Noaptea, however, Raoul manages to reach out psychically for help – and is answered by Neil Holloway, his father’s personal physician and the Malakh of
Vinta, the Scholar. Though he is in hiding from Pamantar, the Destroyer, Neil helps Raoul escape, taking the Wisdom Shard and the translated Scriptures with him. Raoul doesn’t know, however, that Adrian has planned for this eventuality by planting a spelled coin in Raoul’s belongings; the coin will allow him to track Raoul wherever he goes.
Half-mad with Noaptea’s loneliness, Raoul finds himself at the house in Tower District, an abandoned Kana’im safehouse. He hides there for several days, haunted by Noaptea’s song which urges him to seek out Agheat, the Champion, though Raoul does not know his identity. After a few days, he discovers none other than the Champion’s Malakh, Maya, washed up on the beach after her encounter with Adrian at the Gravois’ home. The reunion of Agheat and Noaptea quells some of Raoul’s madness, and he realizes his reliance on Maya for safety – both physical and emotional.
Maya convinces Raoul to come with her to Kana’im headquarters in the catacombs under the city, where he would be a valuable resource to the uprising. Hesitant at first, he agrees when Maya promises him that no one would ask him to fight or go against his family.
Upon joining the Kana’im, Raoul begins translating some other document from Old Praetoran, and continues to act in a support role until the headquarters is attacked by Adrian, accompanied by a corps of the Imperial Guard. Though Adrian proves much stronger than Raoul or Maya, Raoul manages to teleport them to safety with some help from Noaptea. He finds himself once again at the Tower District safehouse, where he and Maya are found by Nimat Shahpuhr. According to their orders, the three escape the city and head to Theopolis to regroup with other Kana’im members.