Hello, all. Have you guys encountered this problem whereas some of your characters has access to spies and secret service and whatnot and you just feel like abusing it to advance your plot and overcome obstacles? Consider Varys in A Song of Ice and Fire. All we know is that he has little birds/spies, and he simply tells the small council what they want to know. Do you consider this as another form of deus ex machina? In my story, the protagonist is backed by his grandfather who was a retired statesman and one of the most powerful mages in the world. And as such, he has a network of spies all over the world. The antagonist has his own network. Is it cheating if, since my character is looking for this sword in a faraway land while receiving updates from his grandfather every once in a while, I just present to him the location in the form of a scroll or a letter from said grandfather? And of course espionage is prone to counter espionage. Ugh. Any thoughts on this?