Gregor Relak's Collected Essays and Lectures on Leadership and Governance
I suppose someone would wish me to say a few words here to those who might be reading this. For some time now there have been those in the Relak family who have hounded me to compile these essays, and lectures. I have been delaying any such action for equally as long. In the end I merely handed them over to my protege Boeth Relak. Since he left Hasland, and has returned from Arcaea he has had little to do; so rather than letting his great intellect goto waste I left it up to him to create this compendium.
I have not read this, I doubt I ever will for true knowledge is felt, and experienced. That was only possible for my many students by living with me for a time in whatever realm I happened to be in. A great number of them were in Fontan, though others were under my tutelage in Falasan, and even Ibladesh before then. I suppose if I were to dedicate this massive tome it would be to them. They have all done me proud in their own way. There might be errors in this text, in fact I can think of a great number of things which might even be patently false, but do not let it deter you if you are ambitious. Some say I was the greatest there ever was, I personally find that to be rubbish.
Take what I write with a grain of salt, and make sure to wash it down with a nice cool ale. Make that several ales, I want you all to be quite drunk before you begin this. Now, if you can still read these words have a few more then we'll see if any of this doesn't make sense. There, much better. I doubt I will still be alive before anyone manages to finish this, but learn this if you learn nothing else. Destiny exists only if you make it. Reach out and grab history, bend it to your will and nothing will ever stop you. Well, except for your enemies host of arms, and possibly a few rebellious nobles, or a poisoned dagger. Cheers to the generations yet born!
~Signed, Gregor Relak, Guardian of the House of Relak
To begin every troop leader must first understand what their duty is. Their duty put simply is to their Chancellor/Prime Minister/King/etc. From here all things flow. Now this is not to say that one cannot disagree with their ruler, but that they must respect them. Having established this all else falls into place rather nicely. One must follow orders, one must take care of one's men, one must even risk ones own life in the defense of the realm. But this does not tell you how to be a good leader of men, merely the bare minimum which you must do. To start with many young nobles find themselves leading a group of arms-men around as if they owned the world. Quite simply this is not the case. There is an order to society which must strictly be adhered to. Nobility is no reason to shirk their duty.
The hierarchy of a realm maintains its social order. Without order, chaos and destruction reigns. While it is true that some besmirch their position within the hierarchy of a realm, the greatest students of governance know full well that this is both foolish, and dangerous. What I will describe to you is general, and should not be taken as the penultimate. Some societies have developed complex, and arcane inner-workings. They generally can be identified with what I show below. Rather than confound your sensibilities, I will use the most common titles, so that a greater understanding can be had. A final warning, social institutions are easily shattered. If you are raised to the highest echelons beware your own power, for it can lead to your downfall.
The walk of life of a man is often one that is of his choosing. You can safely therefor judge him on his profession. The simple soldier is often an uncomplicated man, the hero even more so. It is important therefor that you consider first who you are; for by knowing that you can proceed upon life's journey into the unknown with a sure step, and either a mighty horde at your side, or perhaps a small retuine of devoted followers. Remember always that as the seasons change, so too do men. Fear not to be bold, and life will reward you.
To organize the masses, and to govern them the nobility comes together and selects among themselves leaders: men or in some justifiable, though stupid, cases women. These leaders are charged with various duties ranging from the most mundane of food distribution and banking, to the prosecution of war, and defense of the realm. When entrusted with such a position, it is important to understand the role that one takes in society. In fair Fontan, criticism of the council members is akin to civic duty. In the Ubent of old, the mere thought that the Dictator was as mad as a hatter could get one killed. Responsibility and the power to meet the charges one has are given, but easily taken away. As such it is important to recognize a system of governance for what it is, and understand that it is the positions within which matter most, not the individuals who fill them.
All men as they grow old dream of peace, and security for their people. They see a vision of pure light, establishing their reputation not as the terrible tyrant who slaughtered his foes mercilessly, but as the benevolent and wise ruler who saw his people to prosperity. Of course, this is not always possible, but to triumph in such a quixotic quest one must have friends, and allies, both within the realm and without. The most dangerous wars are those which are not fought with swords, and when this lesson is understood best, if it does come to blows he who knows it best will more often prevail than he who is the lesser.
Blood running from gaping wounds, men screaming out in agony, a metallic stench from the rivers of lifeblood, this is true war. It is unglamorous, it is dangerous, it will end with one man dead, and the other standing. Sheer strength can carry the day, but it is unlikely to do so on its own accord. Only through a carefully planned, and plotted execution of deft strategic and tactical moves will a war be won. Battles can be lost, and peace a distant memory, but victory, true and ultimate victory, can be the most satisfying of all pleasures. Let it be that the bitterness of defeat be forever dead in you, for I shall ensure that you are equipped with the finest weapons and shields of all, your wits.