Peter F Hamilton

The Raiel are an ancient species of physically massive, hyperintelligent aliens. They were first encountered by the Commonwealth aboard the High Angel.

An adult Raiel is larger than a bull elephant, with a bulky ovoid body supported by eight pairs of pillar-like, jointless legs. Their heads look similar to an octopus tipped on its side – a bulbous head surrounded by a collar of tentacle-limbs ranging from a large pair at the bottom that are used for heavier work to small clumps of slender manipulators above the mouth. They have clusters of five small eyes on the side of the head, capable of independent movement. Their mouths are partially obscured by tentacles and folds of skin, and have brownish fang-like teeth. When speaking English, Raiel converse in whispery, sad-sounding voices.

The Raiel are extremely advanced, both technologically and evolutionarily. They are the originators of the Dark Fortress technology used by the Anomine to imprison the Primes, as well as sentient arkships like the High Angel.

They are the implacable enemies of the Void, attempting to destroy it many times, and watching over it for over a million years. Some of the Raiel live within one of the domes of the High Angel, including one called Qatux, who has an intense interest in humans, and even marries one: Tiger Pansy, a former porn star.

In A Night Without Stars, Paula Myo locates and frees the Raiel invasion fleet, which was thought lost in the Void long ago. This fleet is crewed by "Warrior Raiel," an aggressive variant that has vestigial wings in addition to the physical features observed in the contemporary Raiel of the time. In addition to assisting all non-Faller sentients with transport from Bienvenido back to the galaxy, the Warrior Raiel reveal that prior to human exploration of the galaxy, the Raiel had previously exterminated all Fallers located outside of the Void.