Lord Commissioner Rawley Hendrick is the highest ranking member of the Amaranth Khmal (or "Blades") in Rosemoor Dell. He oversees any and all Imperial intelligence work in the province, and keeps the Lord of Rosemoor appraised of potential threats to the safety and security of the population. Hendrick is well-respected in the Blades, but he is also considered "old school" - he has no problem coloring outside the law if it means getting the job done.
Hendrick's history is one of the most interesting in our cast of characters and full disclosure: I'm not going to share everything. Most of the characters in Summer Twilight don't know much about who he is and where he came from; you'll get some of the secrets, but more will be revealed later in the series! If you want even more, make sure you check out this article, all about Hendrick's personality and motivations.
Not much is known about Hendirck's childhood. Rumor has it that he grew up near the center of the Empire, where the four provinces meet. Some say he comes from loggers in southern Colmar, a rugged folk who live in relative isolation; others claim he grew up the son of a trader, traveling through the heartland of the Empire bartering goods.
Whatever the truth, it is known that as a young man, Hendrick joined a group of bandits in the lawless Whispering Plains of southern Danen. The province is known for its bustling trading cities, governed by various powerful merchant families and guilds. In the wilds between civilization, the Bandit Lords reign. While accounts vary greatly about what activities Hendrick was involved in (some claim he was a shrewd businessman who made himself useful by improving profits; others swear he was an enforcer, shaking down those who owed protection money or debts), one thing is certain: he rose quickly.
Within a few years, he had earned a place in the governing council of his gang; soon after that, he was second only to the current Bandit Lord. By his early thirties, Hendrick was in absolute control of his bandit gang, known and respected as a Bandit Lord across the province. It is here the story becomes a little more clear, for Bandit Lords are the most high profile of the criminals in Danen.
Hendrick established his reputation on fairness: he did not seek bloodshed for its own sake, nor was he easily corruptible. If he, or any of his lieutenants, gave their word, both criminal and law abiding citizen alike knew it would be so. He brought a somewhat old view of chivalry to the role, and became known for quickly and brutally quashing any in his gang with an interest in returning to the old ways of pillaging and thievery.
Those who lived in Danen during the height of Hendrick's power knew him as the Honorable Scoundrel; a man who was not afraid to break the law, but one who was equally governed by his own code. When he was able to secure windfall after windfall for his gang, they quickly fell in line, becoming his ardent defenders. It became a time of relative prosperity across the province; townsfolk grew less afraid of the Bandit Lords, and a makeshift law and order was established.
However, not all of the Bandit Lords agreed with Hendrick's way of doing things; many internal struggles broke out between the various gangs. It was during one of these bloody disagreements, some ten years after he had taken power, that Hendrick disappeared, quite suddenly and completely, leaving behind a power void. In the years since he left Danen, the legacy of the "honorable bandit" has all but vanished, as men returned to their baser instincts, and corruption won out.
For a few years, rumors ran rampant: some believed Hendrick had been murdered; others claimed to have seen him traveling the Empire, posing as a wealthy merchant. When he did resurface broadly, it was, to the shock of any paying attention, as an Imperial spy.
Hendrick--and, indeed, the Blades more broadly--do not speak of the agreement which must have been brokered between them. One day, Hendrick simply popped up in Colmar, assigned to the Blade headquarters there as a Warden. He spent several years serving the Empire in the dark forests of Colmar, hunting down beasts, catching criminals, and generally playing the political games which permeate the circles of espionage.
He received his first leadership role, as Deputy Lord Commissioner, in Rosemoor Dell, and has made it his home ever since. Nearly a decade ago he became the Lord Commissioner, after the previous man retired, and since has gone about instituting a similar rule of law he represented as a Bandit Lord. His word is law, and the word of any of his subordinates carries equal weight. Due to his deep sense of honor, he has earned the trust of Lord Mattias Roussel, the ruler of Rosemoor; and he plays enough of the game of politics to keep the Imperial presence relatively at bay.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!