In the Kingdom of Tuerre, a number of nobles have gathered at the behest of King Foxes III for a great celebration. It is All Kings’ Night, a holiday in Tuerre marked by jousts, wine, feasts, song, and dance. It is an exceptionally popular holiday, and the turnout for the King’s personal festival has been large. So many people have arrived that many of them scarcely know each other, which has, fatally and unfortunately, allowed some uninvited company to infiltrate the castle. For on this particular All Kings’ Night there is also politicking of the most dastardly sort. The King is murdered, blame is cast, and political machinations are put into motion that may spell the end of the Kingdom. With the perpetrators of this heinous assassination hidden among the ranks (as infiltrators, by definition, typically are), the guests of the late King take it upon themselves to determine just who among them are the liars and murderers. Following an ancient tradition, these nobles, servants, and infiltrators seal the castle doors and set up a deadly game.
That game is one they call Doubt.
1. There are two sides to the game, the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys are attempting to kill all of the bad guys through the use of the lynch vote and whatever other means are at their disposal. If they manage to do this, they are victorious. The bad guys are attempting to acquire points, which they score whenever players with a point value die. If they score 35 points, they win.
2. No screenshots. Seriously, the entire point of the game is for it be a game. There are supposed to be lies, doubt, and deceit, and if someone tells you “Hey, I’m the physician” this should not be backed up by a screenshot. The titular doubt in Doubt, the suspicion, deceit, and so on and so forth, is what makes the game fun. Screenshots kind of kill that. Don’t be a dick.
3. No role reveals may be made in the thread.
The Queen of the realm. She is a just and fair woman, and also the only role publicly known to everyone. Because of her status as the new head of state in the wake of her husband’s death, her death would destabilize the kingdom immensely. She is the highest value target, worth ten points to the Assassin. However, those who would see the Kingdom of Tuerre fall should exercise caution in attacking her. The Queen of Tuer lacks not for guardians. Her vote counts twice for the lynchings.
The daughter of the late King and Queen of Tuer has hidden herself among the other guests with a clever disguise so that she might be kept safe from the assassin, if not the lynch mob. As the heiress to the throne, her head is worth 8 points to the assassin. However, like her mother she may not be unguarded, and the enemies of the Kingdom should exercise caution in attacking her. The Princess may also be male, in which case the role would be the Prince. The Princess has no specific powers.
A powerful lord among the lords, the Duke was one of the King’s most trusted advisors. A charismatic and politically adept fellow, he holds great power and respect both within the country and outside it. Due to his uncanny ability to forge alliances and influence the nobles, he may redirect the vote of one person, other than the queen. Due to his great political influence, his head is worth seven points to the assassin.
There are many vassals in the Kingdom of Tuerre, but several of these are more important than others. The deaths of those of greater importance would contribute to the destabilization of the kingdom. The lords who the Assassin counts as targets are worth five points each. Those who are not counted by the Assassin as targets are worth nothing. The lords have no specific powers.
Oh, ye foul villain, ye knave. The Assassin is the primary antagonist in the pay of powers unknown, and every night phase he may kill a player of his choice. His objective is to kill as many of the targets possible, with the objective of scoring 35 points.
The physician of the King’s Court is a skilled practitioner of the art of medicine. Each night phase, he may name three people to attend to. If any of these three are attacked, there is a chance that he may be able to save them from death. Should the attacked player survive, they may possess some critical clues as to the identity of their attacker.
The Court Wizard
An adviser to the late king in all things magic and arcane, each night the Court Wizard may choose to scry on other players to learn the nature of their roles.
These are the low born of the castle. They are the common cooks, servants, jesters, minstrels, and so on and so forth. They have no particular role to play. Or do they?
There are also a plethora of secret roles, some of which are not mutually exclusive. All roles are assigned randomly.
Can I get an official list of players? I'd like to get in the realm of 25.
9. Vena Sera IV
21. Nargle - Royal Guard to the Princesss
There was naught but a scream in the night, and at the break of dawn the guests of King Foxes, the Third of His Name, gathered in the court.
Queen Beatrix sat upon the throne, her eyes red and tired. She looked as though she hadn’t slept in days. Her back was bent as if burdened by some unseen weight, and her gaze was dull and unfocused. As the lords and servants who had arrived at the court filed into the room to learn of the terrible news, she looked at none of them in particular, and those who looked into her eyes as they passed felt as though she were looking through or past them. How else could she be expected to react to the news of her husband’s death, alone in a room of strangers?
There was a low murmur of hushed voices. Gossip couldn’t help itself but to fly, even in front of the grieving queen. Hellis held a hand out to silence the crowd. “Silence. Let our Queen speak to us.” Queen Beatrix nodded to him before addressing the gathering. She steeled herself.
“Last night, just past the witching hour, I awoke in my bed as my husband cried out in pain. I found myself staring into the eyes of a villainous assassin, who tore my husband’s chest open with a cruel blade and then vanished into the shadows before my eyes. I called for the guard, and though they gave chase they lost sight of him through the corridors of this castle.”
There was a ripple of gasps. Some were genuine, others were faked. News spread quickly in the castle, and it was no accident that knowledge of the King’s death had flown from one mouth to another. The kitchen wench, Natsume, had a particular fondness for chin wagging, and had spent the greater part of the morning developing conspiratorial, half-sane ideas on the identity of the murderer. She had accused Lord Zed as soon as they had heard the news, but then quickly shifted her accusation to one of the chefs, Smiral. This, of course, was offset entirely by the fact that Natsume would later accused Lord Jorick of being the killer after he ‘abused his pony’ as she told it. What she meant by ‘abused his pony’ was up for debate, though it was thereafter agreed that her opinions on things were generally ridiculous and hardly worthy of note.
“How did the killer escape, Your Grace?” Lady Seravee asked, her eyes wide and fearful. Beatrix gripped the arm rest of the throne. Her knuckles whitened.
“He didn’t.” There was another ripple of gasps. These were all genuine. “All the exits and entrances to the castle were sealed through the night for our security. Little did we know that a killer was already among us,” she continued.
“How do we know he didn’t escape in the meantime?” Lord Jorick asked, his arms crossed and his lips pursed. He was a tall, broad man, having been a knight in his youth. The years wore on, though, and they had taken their toll. After his father had passed away and he had become the new Lord of Asterry, he had spent less and less time in armor and more and more time levying the King’s taxes and overseeing his estate. The king had always been fond of him for his dedication and due diligence.
“We know he did not escape for the fact that the exits and entrances have remained sealed, and no window has been breached. Unless our assassin may fly by some witchcraft,” there were some uneasy chuckles, “he and his accomplices are still among us. And I’m afraid to tell you that their work is unfinished.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Lady Bela, Lord Jorick’s wife. They stood side by side, and shared a brief glance between them after she asked her question. Queen Beatrix called to Hellis, who brought a letter to her.
“This letter, here, was dropped by the assassin after he fled the scene of my husband’s murder. It is a direct order from his employers, who have asked him to kill a number of those assembled here tonight. It isn’t specific enough to determine who his targets are, but we are all unsafe until this assassin and his accomplices are found and killed,” the queen said.
“Then we should leave,” Lord Grif said. “We should all walk out now, go home where he can’t track us.”
“If we leave, we’ll all be tracked down and killed eventually. If they can kill a king, these infiltrators have a very long reach. We must root them out and eliminate these threats here, while we still can,” Lord Jster replied in an even, self-assured tone. He was an unshakeable man, possessed of a cold, unflinching manner of speech and form. “Your grace, the fables of the smallfolk tell of an ancient, noble game that is played among rabbits in search of a wolf in their ranks. We find ourselves in a similar, very real situation.”
“Lord Jster, what do you suggest?” Lady Vena Sera asked. The Lady of Whitecastle, widowed two years after her husband perished in a jousting accident, was well known throughout the lands as a fair and just ruler. Queen Beatrix narrowed her eyes, staring at Jster long and hard.
“I second that question,” she said slowly. Lord Jster bowed his head in respect as she addressed him.
“My queen, this game is called Doubt.”
“I know it. You are suggesting that we gather ‘round and determine for ourselves who the killers are? So that we might lynch them by vote?” Lord Jster nodded curtly.
“With all due respect, your grace, it seems to me the most efficient manner in which we may weed out these insurgents within our ranks.”
“And if we vote wrongly? An innocent man or woman dies,” Lady Noxious said. “Lady” Noxious was not of the nobility at all, but was known throughout the castle as a master of swordsmanship and the art of war. She had trained some of the younger lords present in the arts of swordsmanship during her time, and she was well respected, if the butt of some jokes due to her sex.
“And efficient? Hardly,” Jorick growled. “Your grace, this proposal is outrageous. Innocents will die as we hunt for the killer,” he roared. Lord Jster shrugged.
“I trust in the judgment of my senses and those of my peers gathered here. If we cannot catch a killer among us, we make a very poor set of leaders indeed,” he said. There was discontent, but Lady Seravee came to support him.
“I agree, your grace,” Lady Seravee said. “It is fair enough, and best we stop these conspirators here than let them kill us one by one in our homes.” The queen nodded, pensive.
“If we shall vote on the lives of our peers, then we should vote on whether we pursue this course at all. A show of hands, please,” she said. Hands rose, many of them uneasily. When all was said and done, only Noxious, Bela, and Jorick remained in opposition. The others with reservations had followed the example of their betters or fellow lords.
“Then it is done. We vote at dusk,” the queen declared.
After the funeral, a feast was prepared. In the kitchen, the common servants ran to and fro as they prepared courses and brought them out to the guests of the court. Whetfeather and Nargle returned to the kitchen, a stack of plates and cups in each of their hands. “Lord Zed requests more wine, Clirkus,” Whetfeather said to the cupbearer, and in half an instant Clirkus had poured another chalice’s worth of wine for the lord and brought it out.
“Lord Zed does like his wine,” Nargle commented dryly. Rilla, who was carving a flank of boar, shouted at them from across the kitchen.
“Nargle, can you bring this plate of grapes out?” the head chef asked. “Set it out by Lord Alphakoka if you could. He’s famished and says that only grapes will satisfy his hunger.”
“Fucking weirdo,” Nargle growled as she took the grapes.
The banquet hall was grand indeed, with a long, oaken table with room for all the lords. It was a somber affair, cheered only by the occasional hint of quickly-quashed laughter and the music of Tempest, the traveling minstrel. She was said to be one of the best in the kingdom, though to Nargle she seemed as good as any other tavern dwelling bard. As she sang a few bars of “The Lay of Ser Savien” she delivered the grapes to Alphakoka, sliding the silver platter onto the table and begging his pardon. Alphakoka summoned her with a finger as she turned to leave and gestured that she come closer.
“Nargle, was it?” he asked. She nodded. “I’d just like your opinion. Of these fine gentlemen, kitchen wenches, chefs, and all the like, one or more among us would see others dead. Who do you suspect?” Nargle took a deep breath as she formulated a response.
“I couldn’t say, my lord.”
“Come now, you can speak to me honestly. I shan’t tell a soul,” he said.
“I really couldn’t. Of all these men and women it strikes me as nothing less than shocking that one among them would kill our king,” she said. Alphakoka took a drink from his cup of wine.
“You’d be surprised. King Foxes was not so beloved as he might have believed. His tax policies were too progressive for many of these lords,” Alphakoka replied, and though Nargle could hear the words slur in his mouth she could tell that the wine had made him more forthcoming with certain truths.
“I’ll keep that in mind when I cast my vote, my lord,” she said, and hurried away as quick as her feet could carry her. Drunk lords tended to talk overmuch, and she wanted no part in whatever backlash would come of it.
“You know there’s a feast going on, Drakel.”
Drakel lifted his eyes from the book and found himself speaking to Lord Herzinth. The castle library had long been his place of refuge, a safe haven from the hustle and bustle around the keep. He was a servant to King Foxes, or had been, but he had always found a few hours to spend pouring over old texts, usually concerning dragons. “I find myself disinclined towards the noise and troubles associated with such events. Affairs for gossip mongers.”
“And everyone is gossiping about the identity of this killer,” Herzinth replied, taking a seat across from him. “All of them, wily eyed lords and servants in the kitchen, are gossiping to each other and attempting to come up with some clues that could possibly point them in the right direction, but where are you? Here, all by your lonesome. It’s enough to make someone suspicious.”
“My loyalty to the realm is unquestionable, my lord,” Drakel replied. Herzinth smiled coyly.
“Oh, I’m not saying it isn’t, merely that others would disagree with you. Appearances are everything in this game, my friend. Let’s hope our names don’t come up at the vote tonight. Speaking of, we should probably get going. We have a lynching to attend.”
“Noxious, Nargle, step forward,” Queen Beatrix said. There was a cold silence in the room, and all those who had gathered in the court turned their eyes to the two. They both stepped forward. Noxious was forthright, confident and bold as per her natural demeanor. The master-at-arms of the castle did not bat an eye at the prospect of death. Whether she was simply fearlessness or took solace in her innocence was indeterminable. Nargle, though not cut from the same stone as Noxious, walked with similar poise. There was concern on her face, who wouldn’t show concern in the face of the noose?
“We have voted and there has been a tie between you two. I now ask that we hold a revote to determine your fates with more certainty. Lords, ladies, and servants of the court, I ask you to weigh in on these two suspects.”
There was an uproar as the court descended into frenzied deliberation. Sides were switched time and again, recounts were demanded, but before long some consensus had been reached. Lord Herzinth spoke for the charges against Noxious, while Lady Vena Sera spoke against Nargle.
“Your grace, there is much to be said for Noxious’s abilities with the sword. She is well known as a master of armed combat and more than a match for any of us. With such skills she could have easily slain our late king, and with her knowledge of the castle she could have evaded the guards with ease. There is not much to go on, but of these two I find Noxious to be the far more likely candidate,” Lord Herzinth explained, and though some were moved by what he had said more still were indifferent.
“Truth be told, Noxious does have the skills an assassin would require to kill our king, but I question her lack of motive. Nargle, on the other hand is a common servant, no doubt feeling that she is oppressed by her betters. What better motive to kill a king than the pursuit of democracy?” Vena Sera’s argument was even less persuasive than Herzinth, but between the two it seemed that she had captured their attention. Gradually, people submitted their votes, and before long, it was over.
“Noxious, you have six votes against you. Nargle,” she said, pausing dramatically. There was a sharp intake of breath.
“Ten. Hellis, seize her immediately,” Beatrix commanded, and so Hellis did.
“That’s quite a burn,” Angel Kitten said, looking over Smiral’s hand. “Not much you can really do about those, just soak it in water when you can, keep from scratching or aggravating it.” Smiral gave her a quick word of thanks and departed, allowing KnightShade and Stryder to come forward. KnightShade was a servant to the queen, an errand boy and general aid when Hellis wasn’t around. Stryder was a lord from the north, a count of some remote castle. They had been chatting before entering the kitchen, and upon seeing Angel Kitten sauntered over to her.
As Sebaschan, Natsume, Smiral, and Bluedragon cleaned the kitchen, the three of them talked.
“What happened to her?” Lord Stryder asked, nodding to Smiral as she scrubbed the floor on hands and knees. Angel Kitten rolled her eyes.
“She slipped while making the stew earlier; she put her hand on the put. It burned the inside of her hand pretty badly. Nothing she won’t recover from, though.”
“Do you often play doctor in the kitchen?” KnightShade asked with a smile and small laugh. Angel Kitten smirked and shook her head.
“It’s not my forte,” she replied. “What brings a lord and the queen’s personal servant to the kitchens? Do you often find yourselves here?” Stryder twerked his mouth.
“If by ‘here’ you mean locked inside a castle, playing an insane game of cat and mouse with an assassin who’s only half as deadly as my dearly beloved peers, I must say no, it doesn’t happen often.”
“Insane?” Angel Kitten asked. KnightShade nodded.
“I have to agree with Lord Stryder, my lady. I don’t believe Nargle was the assassin. It would hardly surprise me if we just killed an innocent girl on a paper thin hunch,” he said. Angel Kitten took a deep breath and nodded.
“I understand. I get the same feeling, at times, but truth be told I feel as though this is the best way. Nargle may very well have been the killer. I suppose we’ll know soon enough.”
“I suppose,” Lord Stryder replied, and they parted ways.
Lord Herzinth’s room was situated on the outer side of the keep, and across the way, situated on the inner wall, were the gibbets. He was not looking forward to seeing Nargle’s body hanging from one of the noose, limp and lifeless. When he opened the door and entered after the execution, however, he found that the gruesome view was obscured by a female figure. Noxious turned around to greet him, a sword on her hip.
“Lady Noxious,” he said with a smile.
“Lord Herzinth.” She did not smile. Her hand was on the hilt of her sword, and her eyes were like fire. Herzinth was suddenly very much aware of how alone he was. He wasn’t even sure if anyone knew where he’d gone. If Noxious intended to kill him, he hoped that she left his body in decent enough shape. He’d hate to see his face ruined.
“How can I help you?”
“You almost killed me earlier today.”
“I did my duty to the realm, as our queen commanded. I simply spoke my thoughts,” Herzinth replied easily. He’d been expecting this, clearly.
“My loyalty to the realm is unquestionable, my lord,” she spat. Herzinth watched the sword all the while, but fortunately someone came to his rescue. Lord Jorick stepped into the room behind them, also armed with a sword. It was a ceremonial blade, but ceremonial blades were blades all the same. Herzinth didn’t fail to notice that Noxious’s hand strayed from the hilt of her sword.
“Lady Nox, might I speak with Lord Herzinth privately?” Lady Nox nodded and exited the room, flashing Herzinth a venomous glance on her way out. Jorick watched her leave, and didn’t continue speaking until the door’s latch had clicked behind her. “I have grave news, my lord.”
“How grave?” Lord Herzinth asked.
“Grave. After a thorough investigation of Nargle after the execution, we found several suspicious documents which we traced back to the late king’s very own council room. Nargle was not the assassin. In truth, she had been placed within the ranks of the castle by the king himself years ago, a covert guard to the Royal Princess unknown even to her.” Lord Herzinth seemed shaken by the news, and when he spoke his voice quivered.
“The princess is unguarded.”
“And night is falling,” Lord Jorick said, looking out the window. A pale moon had already risen, and the sun was just about settled for the night.
Whetfeather stood on the balcony outside the servants ‘quarters, watching the moon as it rose. Rilla joined her, a flower in hand for her. She smiled at him as he offered it to her without words and took in in her hand. The thorns had been removed from the stem with careful precision.
“What’s the occasion?” she asked. Rilla smiled broadly.
“Life is short, you are hot, and the moon is rising, which means life is twice as short as usual.” Whetfeather couldn’t help but smile.
“If Nargle was the assassin, we might be safe.”
“She was not.”
“Oh,” she said simply. Rilla nodded, his suddenly demeanor grave.
“The gods do not smile on us, Whetfeather,” he said quietly, and they stood silently on the balcony until the sun had burned out and the stars twinkled faintly in the sky.