It is said that Konovas has two kinds of powerful men: thugs and schemers. Beser is king among the thugs, but Essen is the master of the schemers. He is the ever-present shadow of Konovas, understanding the power and intrigue, doing nothing openly, but pulling many of the strings.
When Huther was killed and the other bandit leaders humiliated, Essen siezed the opportunity to ingratiate himself to the Empire. He helped Dinesh and Fishbone rescue Behram Gage and in exchange asked them to inform key individuals in the Empire that he wanted to find the way to bring Konovas under Imperial control.
As a way of controlling his reputation, Essen is never seen without Asald. Asald is a quixix bodyguard masquerading as a prostitute. Human/Quixix mating is seen as an unforgivable perversion, which is the sort of thing that gives someone power in the seedy underbelly of Konovas.