Pham Thi Ly is a warlord of Hsien, and the "First" member of the File of Nine, during Soldiers Live. Like all members of the File, he wears a mask during their anonymous meetings. He is from a territory in Hsien called Ghu Phi.
Croaker knew him to be "an excellent general with a good reputation among his troops, a believer in a unified Hsien, but old enough to have lost his zest for struggle". This was in stark contrast to many other File members, some of whom Croaker considered to be "amongst the most reprehensible generals I have ever encountered".
He and the other members of the File steadfastly refused to allow Sleepy and the Black Company access to the shadowgate secrets stored at Khang Phi. Using Tobo's Unknown Shadows, Sleepy uncovered all the names of the File of Nine. During a tense meeting with the File, she broke their anonymity by speaking most of their names aloud. Before she could speak Pham Thi Ly's name, he interrupted and asked for time to confer, so his identity actually remained concealed from the rest of the File. This was a distraction, however, as her agents simultaneously stole the books containing the secrets the Company needed. 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 non-lethal torment by the Unknown Shadows.