Cunning, Contempt, Confusion


Released In:

Cunning, Contempt and Confusion
A Guide for the Conservators of House Dres

The Way of Cunning is the Anticipation of Almalexia

The Warrior is the Ratchet

The Warrior is unmoving while the ratchet is turned every so slightly each day. The Warrior is slow, but only advances, never retreats. Of every servant and slave ask, "How can they turn the ratchet a tiny bit?" Of every unexpected development ask, "How can this turn the ratchet a tiny, tiny bit?"

The Mage is the Flood

The Mage spews forth fire in the right hand and lightning in the left hand like a broken sluice gate. The Mage stands at the gate, while the flood destroys all before him. Of every enemy ask, "Can I strike now with all my might and win?" Of every situation ask, "Would it improve my position to flood this place?"

The Thief is the Pit

The Thief digs a pit, covers it, and sets a bait to attract the foe. The Thief hides while tools do the necessary work. Of every superior ask, "What can I use for bait?" Of every conversation ask, "Where can I lay my traps? What words shall construct them?"

The Morning Star is the Beginning

When your plans come to fruition, open the pawl, close the sluice gate, cover the pit, and make everything as it was before save that your goal is achieved. The fewer things change, the fewer the consequences, the less resistance.

The Decree

Should the law be public and plain? What good is a public law if even slaves can quote the law to their betters? What good is a law that cannot bend to your current situation?

Decree laws secretly and write them ambiguously. The law must ever be your servant, not your master.

When making important decisions or decreeing laws, consult the heavens. The heavens are always changing and encourage clever interpretations.

Know the difference between dawn and dusk. A different style, a different kind of minister is required for endeavours that are new and daring versus those which are old and routine.

The Way of Contempt is the Anticipation of Sotha Sil

The Winding

Contempt starts in the mind. Contempt for your superiors, contempt for your slaves and servants, contempt for the Houses, contempt for all foreigners. Let your contempt be your motivator. There is none better.

The Train of Gears

Contempt spreads by words in a long chain of greivance. Speak a few words to make the first tiny gear, then another few words days later to make a larger gear that fits the first perfectly. With each new gear, their contempt grows. When the last gear is larger than they are, you can control them entirely by turning the first, tiny gear.

The Escapement

Contempt must be encouraged and released beat by beat. Those not of our House pretend to despise contempt, and will flee from its display. But there is no better way to turn them to your cause than a steady drumbeat of reminders. Do not make them face their contempt, do not make them admit their contempt, merely prevent them from forgetting it. Remind them how they hate their victims, and they will beg you to lead them.

The Pendulum

In weak Dunmer, contempt swings hearts from sloth to rash action and back in an instant. In strong Dunmer, contempt swings back and forth, lower and lower, until it strikes down the greatest men. Both are useful.

The Rule

Should the leader's motivations be known? The weak would say no, that only the law should be known, so that the best followers of the law are promoted. But how can you achieve your goals if they are known.

Make certain desires known to your followers so that they may compete to win your favor. Reward those who achieve your goals without ever leaving the shadows. Reward those who most cleverly interpret your rule in your favor. Punish those who are caught. Punish those who place their own goals ahead of your own. Allow them their victories, as long as they are lesser.

Stay at the center of the web where there are many strings to pull. Avoid the edges where your choices are limited. Never hang by a single thread.

The Way of Confusion is the Anticipation of Vivec

The Mouth is not Action

Confuse your enemies and followers by saying one thing and doing another. By promising one thing today and another tomorrow. Some of your words should be in favor of your goals and some against it. Some of your actions should be in favor of your goals and some against ithem. Make sure the actions against them are ineffective.

The Hands are not Method

A ruler should make some of his goals known to certain followers. Only those who futher the ruler's goals should be thrust forward. Those who fulfil their own goals as well are doubly rewarded, for success is its own reward. Those who fulfill their own goals at the expense of the ruler's goals should be thrust down.

The Head is not Legitimacy

Titles and ranks mean little. They are but tokens in the game, and rarely the most valuable. If your ruler is deposed, follow him, even into exile. If a necessary ally is exposed, cover him. If you owe nothing to a man, when he ascends to the throne of the Empire, you still owe him nothing. If you owe your life to a Dres, when he falls to the gutter, you still owe him your life. Bind your allies in a web of mutual favors, mutual desires, mutual secrets.

The Following

Should those who do not rule respect the title or the mer? The title is merely words and will often be given to the unworthy. The mer will remember your deeds, while the next holder of the title may be a stranger.

Hold all titles and outside positions in secret contempt. Appear compliant while working to reduce the power and respect of titles, Houses, and foreigners and dismantling their plans.

Place personal loyalty above all. Serve your master in all things, regardless of his title. Serve your master, secretly if you must, even in disgrace and exile.

When your master becomes unworthy, or when it is time for you to become the master, first gather loyalty about yourself. A rank without followers is a useless burden. Then plot with your followers in darkness and deceit. Strike quickly with guaranteed success. Cover your deeds in shadow. Thus you may become a master and make an impression on the other masters who never saw your hands.

Scroll to Top