[Tenir en Échec]

By WI_

[tenir en Échec]

The winds of change have long blown through Roullon. A formidable realm, long united, stable and unmatched in the world, has been left to wither away in decades of decline under the now elderly Emperor Grégoire V. An incompetent administrator with no talent save for emptying the royal coffers, he has hid behind the dark basalt walls of the capital, Château des Ombres, and observed with vacillation as his people suffer. Roullon is like a wilting tree decaying and rotting from within as his strength, and consequently his authority, ebbs away day by day. He stubbornly holds onto what power remains, though where weakness is found there will be those ready to take advantage.

Chief amongst his detractors is his first-born son, the Dauphin of Terredorée, Crown-Prince Cédric. Nearing his thirtieth name-day he has crafted a cult of personality about himself. He is his fathers antithesis; a strong and charismatic man known for his chivalry and altruism. The calls for his father to step aside and allow his named successor to take the throne have grown beyond mere murmurs behind closed doors. Whilst the words have yet to pass from his own lips, Cédric does little to quell the support building behind him and revels in their approval, only offering token backing of his father as to keep the peace. However, Grégoire has seen the swell of supporters joining the ranks of his son, and he seeks to reset the balance of authority in his lands - through drastic measures if need be.

Cédric is not alone in his desire for power. There are plenty of siblings and far removed relatives with tangible links to the throne. Those who so brazenly promulgate their desires the most however are the same nobles and court officials who once swore unfettered loyalty and absolute allegiance to their old Emperor. Where once they manoeuvred to have the man's ear and advance their own goals through Grégoire's throne, now they position themselves for personal glory in the aftermath of his impending demise.

But they are pushed along by others more tactile and clandestine in their methods. These shadowy figures do not seek the throne itself, far too messy and public of a role, but rather they seek to make themselves indispensable to whomever does and run the realm by proxy. Be wary of these individuals more than anyone else; they are by far the most dangerous. Their sharpened daggers are unsheathed, their vials of poison uncorked, their forked tongues hiss in the ears of the powerful. They are like maggots festering within the body of Roullon.

What keeps them subdued for the moment is that they must also keep at eye turned outwards, as external threats are more immediate and leave all in great agita. Neighbouring realms jostle for position to pluck away at Roullon like carrion to a corpse. Her fertile farmland to the south is prized by both Benevenna & Maruña. For so long they have been separated by their historical rivalry that they were never a threat by themselves, but there are growing fears that they may set aside their differences in their shared distrust of Roullon.

To the east, a growing confederation of barbaric tribes are uniting under the banner of the uncivilised Sigismund. His people have a deep hatred for the civilisation found to their west and are gathering together to overwhelm Roullon and plunder it's rich towns and cities. They may be savages but their numbers make them a credible concern.

The biggest threat of all comes from the north; King John III of the Arturian Kingdom. Across la Mur du Âmes Perdues, the Sea of Lost Souls, lays a heavily militarised and potent foe that has long rivalled Roullon as the powerhouse of the region. Whilst not in open war currently, their ships do actively battle for supremacy - under the flag of privateers of course. Wars are expensive and their last left both countries licking their wounds. King John is not popular amongst his own court, taxing his barons harshly to refill his coffers, and there are many who say a significant victory over his long time rival Grégoire would do well to steady his control of his own realm. If it should happen to line the pockets of his nobles? Well, merely a happy side effect.

So, as you can see, there are many threats - both internal and external. There is great wealth and power to be had, but there is a noose around your neck and a knife at your belly. Make a move and it could be the making of your own dynasty. Or the end before it can even begin.

What is your next move?

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Pronunciations;

- Roullon - Roo-yon.
- Grégoire - Grey-gwar.
- Ombres - Om-bruh.
- Terredorée - Ter-door-ee.
- Bénévenna - Ben-a-ven-a.
- Maruña - Mah-rune-ya.
- Sigismund - Sii-gi-smunt.
- Âmes Perdues - Am pear-doo.

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Firstly, Tenir en Échec is a French expression used in chess and means 'to prevent someone from succeeding'. Essentially; check.

Now, some key points to know about the roleplay;

- I am craving a 1x1 medieval roleplay that is based heavily around political intrigue, court antics, the constantly shifting alliances and double-crossing of royal life. It will be about never knowing who you can truly trust, whether they are using you and the almost never-ending need to be one step ahead of everyone lest you lose your head.

- I will primarily be playing the Crown-Prince Cédric, though will take the role of Grégoire, advisors and more as and when needed. Being a 1x1 the other person would ideally play someone fresh to the court, perhaps someone from a newly conquered peoples, perhaps from a lesser lord/minor noble, or even just a lowly merchant/peasant who finds a way to elevate themselves. Just generally not too accustom to this royal court. It means we can introduce characters and relationships without 'oh, you've lived here all your life but don't know X?'.

- You will be expected to play multiple characters but you can keep it to just the one main character. I'm not expecting you to play 5 people all at once. However if you are pushing a particular plot/storyline, I expect you to utilise characters already made or bring in your own to supplement your idea. Don't just be 'Main Character' and expect me to play everyone else in this world.

- Feel free to use Cédric and Grégoire as needed and harm them too if you wish. If it improves your post to have someone attack Cédric, perhaps someone slashes at him and cuts his arm etc, then just do it. I will do the same to you. Short of killing Cédric or your main character, I do not feel the need to ask 'does this attack hit?' I am trusting you not to abuse this and to use the permission to extend your post.

- The bigger details will be hashed out in the roleplay itself. You can make or I can provide a character who will act as a kind of 'Wikipedia' of this realm. They'll point out important people, give you lore and provide context. It will save you constantly messaging me about things and also be believable within roleplay that you need to ask and learn about what is going on rather than just inherently knowing.

- Your character can be whomever you want. Man, woman, old, young, foreigner, local, etc etc. Just know I will be highly critical of characters in the sense of how you fit into the world. You can go for any role from serf to foreign royal, but the character must make sense in the world.

- I don't envision this being fantasy but more so an alternative reality of earth. You're bright, you realise Roullon is France and so on. Work within that general idea.

- There is no magic. No fantasy races. I will only make an exception for elves, dwarves, hobbits, giants etc. if you have a good idea or are convincing for why I should allow it. No orcs, no shapeshifters, no dragonkin, no fae, no furries and so on.

- Essentially it will be open ended in plot, though with some as yet secret milestones to hit as I don't want it to go on forever. Please note; it is very open for action to be taken by the other party (you). They can introduce their own characters, plot points, hell, start a war and kill a few characters off. I'd love you to weave in your own sub-plots.

- Finally; there will be romance, death, harsh language and swearing a-plenty - it is a royal court after all - but sexual stuff will likely be 'fade to black' and so on for site rules. Obviously. Although it's a medieval setting, racism won't play a part – again, obviously - however expect a good deal to revolve around ones class, around certain privileges, about ones social status and such.

- Gender and sexuality will come up, it is medieval life, but these will be used very rarely. With a mature partner to write with, this may be mitigated slightly, but I'm not expecting that to change. Although given the setting you'd expect 'women treated poorly for being women', I find that quite dull. Thus the focus will be more on your social status than whom you find attractive or what gender you are.

So that is basically it. Medieval royal life. Should have just left it at that really.

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What do I expect of you?

I expect someone who can give me a few paragraphs to work with but isn't afraid of offering me 100 words if simply reacting. If I ask you 'where is X person', then I don't expect 1000 words or 20 paragraphs. It's okay to have conversations that are 20+ posts of 100 words each. It's back and forth etc. It makes sense in that context. But in general, I want a few paragraphs to show your feeling, your thoughts, your progression of the plot etc. Not too much right?

I have no expectation regarding pictures; I probably won't use them or character profiles but feel free to do so yourself.

I also don't expect any kind of posting frequency. If you reply in an hour or a month, that's fine. I'll probably check in after a fortnight, make sure you're not stuck or want to leave etc. But no rush.

Finally, I do expect you to reach out to me to talk if you feel apprehensive or unsure about writing something. I'm here to talk in DM's etc if it means a better roleplay in the end.

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