Born in Fringewood. Of common birth, and with something of a temper, Hershel Gaines was at one point a renowned bare knockle boxer, known for his strength, speed, and cunning in a mach, though not particularly smart outside of them -- or so he claims. Noting some promising (if hard won) capacities, Erstwyl picked him up as an assistant after clearing him on an erroneous murder charge.
Hershel is no-nonsense and speaks with a commoner's tongue. In the years as Erstwyl's investigative aide, Gaines has picked up on quite a bit, and has on some occasions worked solo investigations on behalf of Erstwyl.
The ghost of a former brawler can be seen in his glare, but he has since fallen a little out of shape. Though not in his prime, he was blessed with an athletic build, and retains it in spite of his tendency to slouch. His eyes are dark and his hair is short. His stubble is patchy and he can't seem to stop picking at it.