Raphael Sánchez (d. 1505) was the treasurer of Queen Isabella I, and a member of the Spanish Brotherhood of Assassins during the late 15th century. He fought against the Templar Tomás de Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, helping Ezio Auditore da Firenze rescue Assassins throughout Aragon. Alongside Luis de Santángel, he and Ezio foiled a Templar conspiracy to exploit the Granada War as a means to bankrupt the Castilian treasury and prevent the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
Like his compatriot Luis de Santángel, Raphael Sánchez entered service with the Catholic monarchs of Iberia in a contest against the Templars to influence the Spanish governments. While Luis became a finance minister of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Raphael was appointed as the royal treasurer of Queen Isabella I of Castile. As a Jew within a heavily anti-Semitic nation on the cusp of the Inquisition, reaching such high-ranking positions within the Spanish government was not easy, and he reluctantly converted to Catholicism to curry the favor of the Castilian court.
Rescue of the Aragon Assassins
In late 1491, Raphael traveled to Barcelona when he received news that the Spanish Inquisition was targeting the Assassins of Aragon. On the day of his arrival, he met Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian Assassin, in the sewers after the latter had fled from the city guards. Immediately recognizing him as an Assassin by his outfit, he directed him to the prosecutor responsible for their arrests, Gaspar Martínez.
Raphael rendezvoused with Ezio after the Florentine had assassinated Gaspar and saved an Assassin from execution. When Ezio presented him with a list of six names recovered from Gaspar's corpse, he confirmed that the men were Assassins of Zaragoza. Concluding that these allies were also in danger, they decided to travel to Zaragoza together and rescue them. Once they had arrived, Raphael told Ezio to locate Pedro Llorente, but added that he could not accompany him, as given his local fame, he needed an alibi should an untimely demise find Llorente. Aside from this excuse, as the treasurer of Castile, he actually had to attend a finance meeting in Zaragoza that very day.
Once Ezio had freed five of the imprisoned Assassins, he reported back to Raphael with the results of his mission, including that he had learned that Rodrigo Borgia, Grand Master of the Templars, was the mastermind behind the purge. In the process, he had witnessed Llorente and Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada execute one of the Assassin prisoners. After providing this news, Ezio hastily left to finish off Llorente, which he would do so successfully at the city cathedral.
When Ezio returned, Raphael was eager for them to journey next to Granada to foil whatever Templar scheme was brewing there. Though reluctant, given that he was anxious to return to his own affairs in Italy, Ezio acquiesced. En route to Granada, the two encountered a rogue named Helene Dufranc, who Ezio had encountered previously. The French adventurer traded banter with the two before hurrying off to target a man known as the Cygnet. Knowing that the Cygnet was a Templar financier, Raphael sent Ezio after Helene to learn the Templar's face for future reference. More importantly, her attack had to be stopped lest it alert the Templars to their presence in the area. With his superior freerunning skills, the Florentine Assassin managed to intercept Helene before she could spring her ambush.
By the time Raphael and Ezio had reached the outskirts of Granada, the former had finished explaining the details of the Granada War to his friend: that Isabella and Ferdinand had been convinced by the Inquisition to conquer the last of the Moors in Iberia to unify the land under the Catholic faith. He noted that despite the fact Emir Muhammad XII of Granada at that point only held onto his capital city, with defeat all but inevitable, he stubbornly refused to surrender, a peculiarity that Raphael believed warranted investigation.
At the outskirts, the two separated to sweep the disputed territory of all Templars before eliminating groups of Spanish soldiers that were pillaging the countryside and threatening civilians. As planned, Raphael waited with Luis at the chapel at the center of the village for Ezio's rendezvous. Upon Ezio's return—which was delayed after he fell into a Templar ambush—Luis informed him of his next task: to find a Templar spy that had been feeding false counsel to Muhammad XII. This, the Florentine accomplished, locating the spy in the Spanish camp dug deep into the hills. His report to Raphael and Luis after assassinating him confirmed their suspicions that the Templars were deliberately prolonging the Granada War, and they deduced that this was to drain Castile of its funds for sponsoring Christopher Columbus's voyage, ensuring that the Templars could explore and dominate the Americas first.
As instructed, Ezio left to infiltrate the Alhambra by using the secret passageway through the catacombs favored by the spy so as to reach the emir and persuade him to surrender. In the meantime, Raphael and Luis proceeded to Granada overland. That night, the Spanish commenced another assault on the city in their seven-month long siege. In the midst of the battle, Ezio managed to free the emir, who by then was held hostage by the Templars, and personally delivered news of his capitulation at the city gates.
With the war effectively ended, Raphael and Luis—this time in the company of Columbus—met back with Ezio, where they were soon interrupted by a civilian crying for help against a Spanish attempt to destroy the city even while Queen Isabella was in the midst of negotiating peace terms with Muhammad XII. The Assassins deferred to Ezio to stop this massacre which Raphael believed had been triggered by Templar machinations.
In January 1492, after Muhammad XII had formally transferred sovereignty of Granada to the Spanish, the Spanish Inquisition defied Queen Isabella's terms and sent their soldiers to purge the city of all non-Catholics. As before, Raphael and Luis relied on Ezio's skills to save the citizens and kill Juan de Marillo, the Inquisitor in charge of the operation.
Templar assassination attempt
Thanks to their efforts, Columbus was finally able to conduct his expedition west, setting sail from Palos de la Frontera on 3 August 1492 and promising Raphael that he would write him a letter as soon as he arrived at his destination. Shortly afterwards, the infuriated Templars sent soldiers of the Inquisition to murder Raphael and Luis. A force of guards raided Raphael's estate under he false pretense of arresting him. Moments before Raphael was nearly killed, Ezio arrived and slew the guard captain that had cornered him, having just saved Luis the same.
As ordered by Luis, Ezio was now determined to eliminate Torquemada once and for all for this outrage, but rather than killing him outright, Raphael advised him to confront him directly first and goad him into revealing the extent of his affiliation with the Templars. To this, Ezio agreed, though it would cost him a successful assassination. Moreover, he would incorrectly deduce by Torquemada's response that the man was merely a religious fanatic manipulated by the Templars when he was in fact a Master Templar himself.
Training the Crows
Sometime around 1498, Raphael was invited to serve as the instructor of a group of orphans in the arts of the Assassins. Unbeknownst to him, the ones who contacted him were not Assassins as he believed, but the Templar Cesare Borgia, seeking to create a secret unit that specialized in countering Assassins through the replication of their own techniques. Raphael accepted the offer, training the orphans for years at the Vallombrosia Abbey without ever realizing that he was being deceived. After more than five years of instruction, he was suddenly visited by the Templar Sirus Favero, who informed him that his task was over and that he may return to Spain. Though bewildered by this, Raphael did as asked, still ignorant of the deceit. The orphans he trained would then summarily be indoctrinated into Templar ideology and re-christened as the Crows led by Sirus himself; they would plague Tuscany from the shadows for the years to come until being destroyed by the Assassins around 1506.
- Raphael Sánchez is based on Gabriel Sanchez, who was historically the royal treasurer of King Ferdinand II of Aragon not Queen Isabella I of Castile. He was the addressee of one of two editions of the letters written by Christopher Columbus which were widely publicized and responsible for launching the explorer to fame; the other edition was addressed to Luis de Santángel himself. Specifically, the letter to Gabriel Sanchez was the one translated into Latin and disseminated throughout Italy and Central Europe. Earlier versions of this edition of the letter addressed the recipient as "Raphael Sanxis" before it was corrected to "Gabriel Sanchez".