The Rising of the Shield Hero is a popular and action-packed isekai series but, unlike most isekai, it's more on the dark side -- and not just because the hero, Naofumi Iwatani, is a moody anti-hero. His first major ally in the kingdom of Melromarc is the demi-human girl Raphtalia, and she had a rough life before she met him.
This is no video game isekai, like Sword Art Online. Every time Naofumi sees someone suffering, that's a real, living person, and once he learns what really happened in Raphtalia's past, Naofumi swears all over again to protect her from any and all harm. It's a reasonable reaction -- what Raphtalia went through is the stuff of nightmares.
Raphtalia's Demi-Human Village Was Destroyed
Lurolona village was situated between the kingdoms of Melromarc and Siltvelt, and it was the home of the young Raphtalia and many other demi-humans, or humanoids with animal ears and tails. The village existed in peace until the first of the devastating Waves arrived, and Lurolona was devastated. Worse yet, the Melromarc kingdom didn't seem terribly inclined to help, so Raphtalia took it upon herself to rally the townsfolk and get Lurolona back on its feet. Bravely, the young Raphtalia stood atop a crate and spoke simple but heartfelt words to lift everyone's spirits.
Already, Raphtalia had suffered a great loss when her parents pushed her out of harm's way and were devoured by a Wave monster, but Raphtalia's spirits weren't broken yet. Then, the kingdom's soldiers arrived -- and they brought disaster with them.
The soldiers weren't here to help; they took advantage of Lurolona's weakened state to slaughter the adults and capture the children to sell into slavery at Melromarc's borders. Raphtalia was captured along with the other children, and she was eventually purchased by the cruel nobleman Idol Rabier. Rabier tortured and tormented his demi-human slaves for fun, and Raphtalia endured the loss of her friend, Rifana, during this time, causing her to suffer a mental breakdown.
Likely bored with his traumatized slave, Rabier sold Raphtalia to a Melromarc slave trader, where she could only sit in a cage and await for her next owner. Her next owner, however, was totally unlike her first: Naofumi Iwatani, the isekai hero.
Raphtalia Faces Idol Rabier One Last Time
Years later, when Raphtalia had become Naofumi's loyal party member, she faced her old tormentor once again. This time, she was grown up and armed with a sword, and she engaged Idol Rabier in mortal combat as Naofumi and Princess Melty watched. After an intense duel, Raphtalia had Idol Rabier begging for his life, and his twisted mind remembered Raphtalia's torture as something very different. Rabier argued that he had "saved" Raphtalia and her friends from dying in the wild, as though he had adopted some stray animals.
Raphtalia dearly wanted to kill him, but she decided that doing so would make her just like him, and Rabier would live and atone for his grievous sins. Insulted that Raphtalia considered herself above him, Rabier sprang to his feet and attacked once again.
This time, Raphtalia thrust her sword straight through her old master out of self-defense, and Rabier was finished. He stumbled back and fell out the window, and he would haunt Raphtalia and the other demi-humans no more. However, the night's battle wasn't quite over yet; a terrifying monster was about to appear, one unlike any that Raphtalia or Naofumi had faced thus far.