'The prophet says, "By nature of definition only the coward is capable of the highest heroism".' - Serbitar (Legend)
Regnak or Rek, known as the Earl of Bronze, was a Drenai hero of the First Nadir War. He became the seventh Earl of Bronze through marriage to Virae, the daughter of Earl Delnar. Regnak is best remembered for his defence of Dros Delnoch when it was besieged by Ulric in 1226.
In Waylander II: In the Realm of the Wolf it is revealed that Mirael, Waylander 's adopted daughter, and Senta conceived a child during the siege at Kar-Barzac and that child, it is not entirely clear which, is either Rek's grandfather or great grandfather. The focus is mainly on the line of the uniter, but as Rek is Tenaka Khan's (see The King Beyond the Gate) "round-eye" predecessor it shows their line starts with the child of Senta and Mirael.
During the events of Legend Rek is almost 30 years old and his history is patchy; it is mentioned he has been in the Drenai army and was a popular lower to mid-level officer and had left the job claiming family issues were dragging him away, but it is hinted that he left due to his fears and self-doubt.
At the beginning of Legend Rek is introduced with Horeb who is said to have raised him since his father was killed fighting the Sathuli, it is also said Rek had saved Horeb from an attack by three deserters prior to the events of the book.
The only parts of Rek's childhood that are referred to are nightmares of running through dark tunnels.
Rek is a classic example of Gemmell's flawed hero. He comes across as a coward due to his intention to run from the coming war, however despite all his self-doubt and fears, he grows to become a true leader and alongside Druss creates a legend of his own as the Earl of Bronze who holds off Ulric's forces.
One of the main aspects of Rek is that although beset by many fears and doubts, especially about himself, he is more determined not to be seen as a coward and often confronts his fears head on, despite his intention to run from the coming war, his love - although stupidity cannot be entirely ruled out - for Virae brings about a change of mind and he accompanies her, first to visit the Thirty, then onto Dros Delnoch towards what he suspects is certain death.
It is during this journey that the reader and Virae discover Rek's secret - he is a baresark! This is an aspect of his character which frightens him the most as his reaction when Virae has seen his attack on Menahem is one of fear that she will leave him because of it, showing his doubts about how others will see this side of him. A baresark is best described during this scene by Virae's thoughts as she watches the fight:
- "All Swordsmen gravitate between defence and attack, for despite a desire to win there is an equal desire not to lose. But the baresark loses all fear; his is all-out attack, and invariably he takes his opponent with him even if he falls." - (Legend, p.73, Legend Books, 1987.)
He also describes himself as a bit of a romantic and often gently chides Virae for her lack of poetic vision. This romantic side of him is a strong drive for him as he is only going to war because that is where Virae is headed and at least once - jokingly - mentions his intent to ride away with Virae once a few walls have fallen, though he never does so.
Upon retrieving the Armour of Bronze from beneath the keep, Rek becomes a symbol of the Drenai and from then on acts accordingly, as well as inspiring the men around him, the armour also brings about a change in Rek making him a leader. The men look up to him as he throws himself into the thick of the fight and carves out a reputation.
Rek is related to multiple characters who appear in later Drenai Series books: