Rafi al-Dimashqi, a Moorish physician
Rafi was born in Damascucs in 1190, during the 3rd Crusade, when it was part of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. From a young age Rafi displayed great compassion for the suffering of others. He decided to become a physician and apothecary and trained in Damascus under the tutelage of Salah al-Adinís own personal physician. Despite his illustrious training, he remained humble and respected the work of others in his field.
His parents were from an old noble family, well-respected in their community. However, his families finances were waning. At the age of 29, his parents arranged a marriage for him with the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who would gift his family a large dowry upon their marriage. Unfortunately, Rafi was in love with a female servant in his household, Buthaynah. After noticing that Buthaynah showed an interest in his work, Rafi had trained her to assist him during surgeries and with his apothecarial duties. He refused his parents demands and married Buthaynah. He appeased his parents by agreeing to marry the merchantís daughter as his second wife. However, the merchant felt this was an insult to his daughter, as the first wife was nothing but a servant, and he refused. Rafi believed that his parents would most likely disown him, as he had cost them a large amount of money. However, they allowed the couple to live in the family home, and were seemingly welcoming to Buthaynah. Three months later, Buthaynah died. Rafi noticed on her body the tell-tale signs of poison, but was unable to prove who had killed her, though he suspected his mother. Rafiís parents re-negotiated a marriage deal with the merchantís daughter. The heart-broken Rafi took this as confirmation that his family had poisoned Buthaynah and left Damascus for Tyre, where he hoped to engage passage to Europe, and escape his family there.
In Tyre, he accidentally met with Zebeebah al-Zarqa, who had brought her daughter Arwa to see him, as she was ill. A strange but charming woman, Zebeebah said that she was traveling to Carcassonne in Southern France to join a collection of people who were studying there. When he mentioned that he was interested in leaving, she invited him to join her, and mentioned that there might be a place for him at the covenant where she was heading. Having no better offers, Rafi decided to go along. Also, he knew if things didnít work out at the covenant, then he could always travel to nearby Spain and work as a physician among the Arabs there.