The File of Nine is a group of warlords in Hsien who claim to rule Hsien's southern region during Soldiers Live. The area is ruled by a large number of warlords who offer some acknowledgement of power to the File, Khang Phi and also the Court of All Seasons. They issue edicts aimed towards unifying the people of Hsien and bringing on a golden age of piece and prosperity, but their edicts are ignored as often as they are followed.
The File of Nine is purported to be made up of one warlord from each of the nine regions, but the Black Company discovers that to be a falsehood. They meet at Khang Phi because of the authority that it grants their meetings, and because the monks encourage it, in the hopes that the warlords will find wisdom. Their meeting chamber is composed of five stone seats and an altar. When in person, members where masks to disguise their identity, which is suggested by Croaker to have been adopted from the Shadowmasters.
When the Black Company lives in Hsien, the File of Nine denies them the books, located in Khang Phi, containing knowledge of shadowgate repair. They do not want travel on the Plain of Glittering Stone to be reopened, because they worry that a conquering army from another world would bring war to their fragmented civilization just as the Shadowmasters had done.
On their final meeting with the Black Company seven are present, with the two junior members being given temporary seats. Croaker speculates that five of the nine are permanent positions, while the other four are junior positions within the file. At this meeting, Sleepy distracts them by speaking at least 5 of their names aloud; meanwhile, her agents steal the books with the secrets of shadowgate repair. Their identities, discovered by Tobo's Unknown Shadows, included the following:
- Tran Thi Kim-Thoa – "the Last Entered of the File", the most junior member, he wears a mask surmounted by a crane's head
- Tran Huu Dung
- Tran Huu Nhan
- Tran Huu Nhang
- Tran Lan-Anh
- Pham Thi Ly – their spokesman, the "First"
After the Black Company steals the information, the File hurriedly creates an army and threatens the Company with it, but back down after several nights of torment by the Unknown Shadows. Tran Huu Nhang arrived under a flag of truce, and conducted a mostly ceremonial face-saving meeting.
One of the File's primary goals once the Black Company arrived is to gain control of Longshadow, to put him on trial for his past crimes in Hsien. Longshadow is granted to them after the Company leaves Hsien and he is executed shortly before Tobo repairs their shadowgate.