((OOC: Originally these essays were going remain as drafts until we have more information on military things, however the new format of the Royal Herald I have decided to release them. The intent behind this is to be a manual of arms written by Degwin Zabi based on his military experiences, it’ll be divided into four parts. Part One will cover the Introduction and Chapter One: The Recruitment and Training of Infantry and Cavalry and their Equipage. Part Two will cover Chapter Two: Formations and Tactics of Land Battles. Part Three shall cover Chapter Three: Military Engineering and Chapter Four: Siegecraft. Part Four shall cover Chapter Five: Espionage. I expect as our knowledge of warfare grows Nirath’s generals (and eventually admirals) will write commentaries and edits – and help propagate the knowledge of the art of warfare through successive generations.))


Dear Reader I suspect you are wondering what a chapter regarding the dishonourable act of espionage is doing in a book on the military arts. However a military leader must inform his decisions with information, lest he lay a trap for himself and for his men through ignorance. .

The Need for Spies

Rraising an army of a thousand men and marching them great distances entails heavy loss on the people and a drain on the resources of the Kingdom. Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition is dangerous both to the army and to the Kingdom which it serves. Any commander who acts thus is no leader of men, no present help to his sovereign, and no master of victory. Thus, what enables the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.  As this knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions and intentions cannot be demanded from the Qin, nor can it reliably be inferred or deduced through experience, information must be garnered from those who know about the movements and intentions of the enemy.

Organised Espionage versus Dispersed Espionage.

The kingdom of Nirath has no spymaster and King Dragor is secure in the trust of his people that he needs none, however the King still is able to gain information on his enemies as rapidly as those dukes of his that have spymasters and grand offices dedicated to the accumulation of information. This is the difference between Organised Espionage and Dispersed, or Informal, Espionage. Organised Espionage tends to be more efficient for efficient for larger forces as it allows for military commanders to focus on the whole. It also provides for counts, dukes and kings, a way to formalise their intelligence gatherers, and to reward loyal service, though care must be taken to ensure the loyalty of ones spy master. Dispersed Espionage tends to be more efficient for smaller forces as there is less need for smaller groups to have specialist intelligence gatherers. It is also better for nobles who have no wish to engage the considerable expense, and risk, that having a formalised intelligence group entails. Sometimes this is a moral choice as well, King Dragor has decided to take a moral stand against engaging in organised espionage, believing that his people, even his enemies should have freedom from oversight, a stance that I have disagreed with him on often.

The Five Classes of Spies

There are five types, or classes of spies. These are local spies, inward spies, converted spies, doomed spies and surveilling spies.

Local Spies

Local spies are the inhabitants of a county, by treating your own people with fairness and even-handedness, and by treating the people of conquered lands kindly you can use them as spies against your enemies.

Inward Spies

Inward spies are the officials of the enemy either those placed there by you or those who have become disillusioned by their own leaders. Placing inward spies in the enemy’s midst is difficult to achieve and requires a significant amount of time and patience, it is thus recommended that a commander looks towards the disaffected. The commander must look for worthy men who have been degraded from office, criminals who have undergone punishment; also, favourite concubines who are greedy for gold, men who are aggrieved at being in subordinate positions, or who have been passed over in the distribution of posts, others who are anxious that their side should be defeated in order that they may have a chance of displaying their ability and talents, and fickle turncoats who always want to have a foot in each boat. Officials of these several kinds, should be secretly approached and bound to one’s interests by means of rich presents. In this way you will be able to find out the state of affairs in the enemy’s country, ascertain the plans that are being formed against you, and moreover disturb the harmony of the kingdom and create a breach between the sovereign and his ministers.

Converted Spies

Converted spies are those spies who were formerly loyal to your enemy but are now loyal to you. By means of heavy bribes and liberal promises detaching them from the enemy’s service, a good commander can induce enemy agents to carry back false information as well as to spy in turn on their own countrymen.

Doomed Spies

Doomed spies are those spies who are deliberately given false or misleading information in the hopes that they will be captured and relay incorrect information to the enemy. This can also be a specific use of converted spies, by feeding identified enemy agents incorrect or outdated information the enemy can be directed through false information without risking one of your own agents.

Survielling Spies

This is the most ordinary type of spy, often forming a regular part of an army, such a spy must be a man of keen intellect, though in outward appearance a fool; of shabby exterior, but with a will of iron. He must be active, robust, endowed with physical strength and courage; thoroughly accustomed to all sorts of dirty work, able to endure hunger and cold, and to put up with shame and ignominy. These men however may gain great fame after a war however and reap grand rewards. When the Dukes of Usifan were quelling their eastern rebellion a loyal man by the name of Mercer was sent to spy upon the rebels. He was accompanied by two other men. All three were on horseback and wore the enemy’s uniform. When it was dark, they dismounted a few hundred feet away from the enemy’s camp and stealthily crept up to listen, until they succeeded in catching the passwords used in the army. Then they got on their horses again and boldly passed through the camp under the guise of night-watchmen; and more than once, happening to come across a soldier who was committing some breach of discipline, they actually stopped to give the culprit a sound cudgeling! Thus they managed to return with the fullest possible information about the enemy’s dispositions, and received warm commendation from their duke who was able to inflict a severe defeat upon their rebels. House Mercer was granted a county in reward and the family has thrived since.

On the Keeping of Spies

There are no soldiers in the army that a commander maintains as intimate a contact with as his spies. No other soldiers should be more liberally rewarded and in no other business should greater secrecy be preserved. Before using spies a commander must assure himself as to their integrity of character and the extent of their experience and skill. They should never be known to anybody; nor should they know one another. Never communicate anything to them but what is absolutely necessary that they should know.

When you have attracted them by substantial offers, you must treat them with absolute sincerity; then they will work for you with all their might. However you must  be on your guard against the possibility of spies going over to the service of the enemy or of wishing to usurp your position in the favour of the sovereign.

 On Using Spies

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. This is the first step towards ascertaining if any of these may be converted into inward spies.

The enemy’s spies who have come to spy on us must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. Thus they will become converted spies and available for our service. We must tempt the converted spy into our service, because it is he that knows which of the local inhabitants are greedy of gain, and which of the officials are open to corruption, it is through the information brought by the converted spy that we are able to acquire and employ local and inward spies. It is owing to his information, again, that we can cause the doomed spy to carry false tidings to the enemy either using our own agents or enemy agents that the converted spy has identified.

Our surveilling spies should be sent to range ahead of the army either in uniform or mingling with the local populace returning with details of the terrain ahead and the order of battle of the enemy’s forces. Doomed spies should be sent to sabotage enemy supply lines and assassinate key enemy figures, so that they may cause a double blow to the enemy.

A Final Warning

A final warning must be given regarding the use of spies for while n army without spies is like a man without ears or eyes. Just as water, which carries a boat from bank to bank, may also be the means of sinking it, so reliance on spies, while producing great results, is oft-times the cause of utter destruction. A wise commander therefore balances what his spies tell him, never focusing too much on what he wants to see, or on the reports of just one spy, he determines using the information given him his own path, and does not rely on his spy master to determine the path for him.