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|Les Murs ont des Oreilles|

By WI_
Backup thread

The winds of change have long blown through Ranceau. 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 François VI. An incompetent administrator with no talent save for emptying the royal coffers, he has hid behind the dark basalt walls of the capital, Saint-Véran, and observed with vacillation as his people suffer. Ranceau 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 Lacrouge, Crown-Prince Henri. 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, Henri 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, François 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.

Henri 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 François' 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 Ranceau.

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 Ranceau like carrion to a corpse. Her fertile farmland to the south is prized by both Caglia & Cadaja. For so long they have been separated by their own 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 Ranceau.

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

The biggest threat of all comes from the north; King Richard VII of the Celtia Kingdom. Across la Mur du Âmes Perdues, the Sea of Lost Souls, lays a heavily militarised and potent foe that has long rivalled Ranceau 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 Richard, much like his long time rival François, is neither young nor popular amongst his own court, taxing his barons harshly to refill his coffers as he has done. There are many who say a significant victory against the southern realm would do well to steady his control of his own realm. If it should happen to line the pockets of his nobles? Well, that would just be 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?



- Ranceau - Ron-sue.
- François - Fron-sw-ah.
- Henri - On-ree.
- Saint-Véran - San-veh-ron.
- Lacrouge - Lak-rou-j.
- Cadaja - Cah-dah-ha.
- Âmes Perdues - Am pear-doo.


Firstly, Les Murs ont des Oreilles is French for; “the walls have ears”. Fitting, no?

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 Henri, though will take the role of François, 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 if you want to push your own plots. You can create whole towns and cities if it will make for a better world/post. I can lead most of the time but do take the reins now and then.

- Feel free to use Henri and François as needed and harm them too if you wish. If it improves your post to have someone attack Henri, perhaps someone slashes at him and cuts his arm etc, then just do it. I will do the same to you. Short of killing Henri 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, to get to the place you want to be without having to stop every 5 minutes for said permission.

- 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 or learning of it OOC.

- 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. This isn't a ‘dropped into the middle of everything’ kind of fairytale, you're going to have lived in the world for years before the roleplay began. Have history, have character and personality etc.

- I don't envision this being fantasy but more so an alternative reality of earth. You're bright, you realised Ranceau is France, we're in around the 12-13th century and so on. Work within that general idea.

- There is no magic. No fantasy races. I will only make an exception for hominid races; elves, dwarves, hobbits, giants etc. and only if you have a good idea for them existing or are convincing for why I should allow it. No orcs, no shapeshifters, no dragonkin, no fae, no furries and so on. I don't want people casting wizard spells just like I don't want someone running around with a rocket launcher and a space ship.

- 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. These aren't set in stone but markers for me to know how we are progressing. Please note; this leaves things 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 into everything. There can be adventures that put the main plot to the side for a time before we come back to it - kind of an RPG in that sense, yes?

- 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', taken off site if a must, 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 (see next point).

- Gender and sexuality will come up, it is medieval life, but these will be used very rarely. Although given the setting you'd expect 'women treated poorly for being women' or ‘a man must be honourable and do everything chivalrous’ - I find that quite dull and limiting. 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..


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 if it helps you.

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. If I get no response in a month, with no DM, that's kind of my limit. 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.

Video ChatKumospace [Everyone] [Everyone]


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vicevrsaAmani   30d ago

Amani stares unseeing at the body at her feet. Her mind vehemently refuses to process her current reality. Safiat Alsamt, royal spy of Cadaja, is dead. Amani is alone on the road to Ranceau, just a few short miles from the border and her chance of becoming the most renowned bard on the continent died before she even got to play one note outside of Cadaja. 

Her mare stamps it's hoof impatiently. The bard blinks and looks down the road from once they came. Going back, the very idea of turning around, is admitting defeat. Amani refuses to give up before she's even started. She turns her gaze toward the road ahead. Going forward just got more complicated, but her mind is made up. 

She bends down and says a quick prayer of forgiveness under her breath before digging into Safia's cloak. Amani retrieves the spy's bag of coin as well as the royal wax seal of Cadaja. The Bard doesn't know the first thing about being a spy but it couldn't be harder than mastering six instruments or singing in five different languages can it? All she has to do is listen and report home. 

She can do this. 
She has to do this. 


"There's supposed to be two of you." Duke Roland Baume observes. They are meeting in the noble's study and Amani is immersed in high quality Ranceaun decor and furniture. It's all she can do to keep her eyes from wandering over the tapestries, artwork and fine carpentry. The Duke is standing at the window behind his desk. Amani doesn't know much about Rancean politics, but the duke is an ally to Cadaja. His lands proximity to the border means he interacts with merchants from Cadaja on a regular basis. Amani noticed a few Cadajan glass pieces in the halls when she was guided to the study. Safia didn't say much more about him during their travels, only that he was someone they could trust, for now. 

Amani arrived at the Rancean noble's estate just after nightfall. She had felt confident in her decision to stick to the mission at the beginning, however, now in the face of the duke, she is less sure. 

His stern frown and cold eyes tell Amani that he isn't all that impressed by her. Due to her late arrival, she wasn't able to wash the week's ride off of herself and change out of her brown linen riding robe. This certainly isn't the impression she wanted to make for the man who will sponsor her intial career at Ranceau's court. 

"My companion, may the Virgin guide her home, had an accident on our way here." Amani bows her head, kisses her first three fingers, then touches her chest over her heart as a sign of mourning. "She won't be coming." 

The duke sighs through his nose and mimics the gesture. 
"Well, that changes some things. I assume you are the bard, then?" He waves at the guitarra strapped to Amani's back. "At least your cover is solid and you speak Ranceau well enough. What do you know of spy craft?" 

Amani hesitates, but answers, "All I have to do is listen, yes?" 

Duke Baume scoffs. "Listening is but a small portion of what you will need to do in order to get the information that Cadaja needs. You need to be around people who are worth listening to and, if need be, infiltrate spaces to find the things that are left unsaid." The duke rises from his desk and heaves another sigh, this one louder and through his mouth. "This won't do. I will write to Cadaja and let them know what has happened. Maybe they will send someone else." 

"No!" Amani blurts out wide eyed and maybe a little desperate. 

"Excuse me?" The duke is just as wide eyed, shocked by her boldness and appalled by her rudeness. 

Amani winces, "I'm sorry, Your Grace, for my outburst. But I believe I can do all that you've said. I'm a quick study and I'm motivated to see this mission through. I can't return home before I've tried." 

Duke Baume is quiet as he considers her. The bard straightens her posture. If need be, she will go on without his help. This assignment isn't just about securing a future for Cadaja, this opportunity is also about securing the future she wants for herself. After a moment he seems to make up his mind about her because he sits back down at his desk. "There will be no 'trying'. You must do it and do it without getting caught or we are both dead. Do you understand?" 

"Yes. Your Grace." 

"Good. Now let's go over your path to the inner circle."

WI_     25d ago
The Antiquated

May the God’s forgive him for whatever transgression he had committed to be punished in such a manner as this. That was all the Duke could think as his dark brooding eyes looked across his desk to the girl before him. Perhaps she was sent as penance and his tolerating of her would bring him greater enlightenment? Pah. Who was he kidding? She was a naive musician who felt she could easily slip into the guise of a master spy?! He sighed as his fingers rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"My dear, for the final time, you are not here to play your lute and sing merry little songs as the passing rabble throw coppers into your cap,” his voice strained with the tension of their hours long talk, “but to rub shoulders with the elite of this country and progress my agenda.” His eyes had closed as he spoke, but they snapped open and toward her. “And help Cadaja, of course.” He added on swiftly.

Pushing himself to his feet his chair squeals in relief, and he carries his hefty body across to a small table near to the window. He took up a decanter of alcohol, a rich honey-comb coloured liqueur that left a hint of apple in the air as he poured himself a splash.

Do you know where I got this?” He called out to her as he replaced the stopper and lifted the glass up. “A small village called Avidoba in the north-eastern foothills of Cadaja. The people there, all they do, all year round, is tend to their apple orchards.” He turned to face her as he swirled the golden liquid. “They have a shepherd there who rears a very rare species of sheep just for their waste to spread onto the tree roots. Their apples are said to be the size of melons and can only be picked after midnight in the light of a full moon.” He spoke with such reverence it was like a priest speaking of their respective lord and all he had sacrificed for the world.

With that said, he raised and knocked back the small tipple and allowed a few precious seconds of silence to hold as he savoured its flavour. “Perfection,” he whispered before his attention returned to the dirty bard sat perfectly still in front of his desk.

Do you see the similarity at all?” He asked, though cut her off before she could even move her lips in response. “Of course not, but then I expected as much of a musician.” He grumbled to himself as he came to stand behind his seat, empty hand resting on the back. “You will devote every waking moment and do everything within your means to bring me a worthy product. Where they harvest apples, you harvest truths. Where they spread manure, you spread your lies. As they harvest in the light of the moon – well, so shall you.”

It was typical of a man of his lofty status to talk down to her in such simplistic terms. She was nothing more than a tradeswoman, only her trade did not give him pretty pictures for his walls, sturdy furniture to sit upon, nor even a delicious banquet to feast upon. She was a beggar with tricks.

That will be all tonight. Alain!” His voice carried a little hoarse, the strong drink having left his throat tickled. On cue an older gentleman opened the door and stepped in. He was tall and stringy with a shaved head and plain features. He had been the one to see Amani in when she first arrived. “Alain, see her to a bedroom and ensure she is cleaned.” Duke Baume ordered the older man who only bowed his head in acknowledgement.

Very well, Your Grace, I have had the guest bedroom prepared~” He stepped in, opening the door wide to take Amani away, but his lord turned his dark eyes to him quickly.

No, no, that won’t do. What if I have guests? Real guests? No, have her taken to a bedroom in the servants quarters. It will be more than acceptable.” With a flick of his wrist he turned back to partake in a further tipple of his favourite beverage. “And have someone send for Etienne to meet with her in the morning. They’ll have to teach her a great deal before she’ll be of any use.” He spoke of the dark skinned girl like she wasn’t in the room to listen, dismissing her as quickly as he would any servant – save for the ringing of a little bell. For now, that was all she was to him. She was a means to his own ends. Etienne would be the one to train her and get him the outcome he hoped for.

vicevrsaAmani   13d ago


Amani has dealt with the attitude and snobbery of the noble class the majority of her life. Being a graduate of the Magana school of music and dance, put her in direct contact with Cadaja's social elite. The performing arts are the pride of Keja, the capital city of Cadaja. The performers, however, are still lower class. The credit of the dances, the music, and the lyrics always fall to the school or patron the performer belongs to and Amani wishes to change that. 

Safia had warned her about the cultural differences between Cadaja and Ranceau. That up north, they care about physical beauty and the possession of it rather than the intangible and temporary beauty of music and dance. So Duke Baume's absolute disregard for her craft is not a shock to her, especially when he was promised a spy for has his own agenda. 

Despite knowing all of this, she couldn't help but bristle. She may be lower class and ignorant, but she isn't an idiot nor without pride. She is not a bard who plays for copper pieces on the side of the road. She is a learned musician of Cadaja's court. There is a reason she was sent with Safia in the first place and that is because she is the best Magana, and by extension, Keja, has to offer. 

All wariness about the mission at hand flees her mind and is replaced with spite and determination. She will do this and be the best spy and informant Cadaja needs as well as play her "little lute". Amani will be the best damned musician to grace Ranceau's court, forever changing it's culture for the better. 

She is brought to a small room with only a bed and a small table with a washing bowl on top. Her travel pack and sleep roll as well as her lyre and flute in their respective pouches, sit next to the door. Amani sets the guitarre on her back down next her things, then digs through her back for her soups and wash rag. 

Once collected, she goes about washing up. She scrubs the dirt and grime out of her hair and off of her skin until the wash bowl water is dark even in the low candle light. Then she changes for bed, twists her wet curly hair up in a cotton scarf, and slips under the itchy wool covers. A long week on the road made the lumpy staw mattress a pillow feel like a luxury and she falls asleep without much effort. 

Morning comes too soon. 

Amani wakes to a soft knock and a voice saying that Baroness Etienne is waiting for them and to get dressed. Groggily, she confirms that she is awake and sits up to stretch. She gets up and pulls out her nicer outfit: a linen blue and yellow aljuba robe with a matching almejia on top, and tan goat leather boots. 

Amani unwraps her hair and shakes out the curls. She does her best to dress her curls without a mirror, gathering twisting the front strands away from her face and pinning them at the back of her head. Without a second thought, Amani grabs her guitarre, slings it over her shoulder and steps out of the room. 

There, sitting in a chair right across from door, is a woman. She is dressed in a simple but well made pale blue cotte, her hair done up in simple braids underneath a white veil. The Baroness looks older than Amani by a decade, perhaps. When she sees the bard, she smiles kindly, delicate wrinkles touch the outside of her eyes. 

Amani smiles back. 

“Good morning, Bard. I trust you slept well? You've almost missed breakfast.”

Amani bows respectfully. "Good morning, My Lady. And yes, after a long week on the road, a bed and a roof of my head was quite the luxury." 

The Baroness stands and begins to head down the hall. Amani follows. 

“We will head straight to the library. I'll have a servant send us a small meal there so we can begin as soon as possible.”

Once there, Amani stops to admire the grand room. The library isn't as impressive as the one at her school nor as extensive as the Gran Bibliotheca in Keja, however, the eight rows of large bookshelves filled with tombs is still a large collection for a nobleman. She now knows how the Duke spends his money. 

The Baroness leads them to a small desk in front of the many east facing windows, where a quill, parchment, and a thick book is waiting for them. Amani takes off her guitarre and sets it to lean against the side of the desk opposite of where the baroness stands. 

"You speak our language quite well, but can you read?" 

Amani would not have been chosen for this mission if she could not.  "Yes, My Lady—" she hesitates, it would probably serve her well to be honest, “though I'm a bit slow at it.”

"Excellent, that makes this easier and you can get some practice in reading Ranceau before we to court." she says brightly and pulls out the desk chair for Amani to sit. 

Amani has never met a kinder noble. She smiles back and takes a seat. 


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