The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 16: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 15

"Behind those walls are the English, lads!" cried Feradac of Peeblesshire, and his men booed.

"Behind those walls is England's last stand, they have no other forces throughout Ireland, Scotland or England, the Welsh are the only people to be held in servitude now!" continued Feradac,"Defeat them here, lads, and all that will be left are the English nobles cowering in their stolen cities along the French Coast, and THIS land! THESE countries! Will be Scotland's!"

His men roared in approval, and charged forward as the English holding the walls stared in horror at the vast Scottish horde, an unstoppable force that made their walls seem thin as printed paper and the armor they were encased in as safe as a house on fire.

And then the Scottish were on the walls and through the gate, as if the English defences were nothing.

"HOLD THEM BACK!" screamed Captain Aston in desperation, riding his men into the writhing mass of death that had smashed through the Gate, fighting back his own terror as the Scots howled and laughed and killed,"KEEP THEM OUT OF THE CITY!"

If his men heard, he would never know, as they concentrated solely on surviving from one second to the next, the Scottish seemingly everywhere all at once, and Aston cast about with is sword, striking down Scots who were replaced instantly by two more, three more, a score more.... dozens upon dozens, all of them eager to draw English blood and knowing this might be their last chance. How had it come to this? How had mighty England fallen to such lows? Not so long ago they'd been ready to take the last of Scotland's cities in the country, and now they were reduced to Wales and the French coast, and.... and.... and he was falling, his horse spilling from beneath him. He rolled as he'd been taught, coming to his feet with his head ducked to avoid a strike. Scottish Infantry were crushing his men all about and he howled in impotent rage, swinging his sword at the nearest Scotsman he could see.... and then he was down again, a massive weight and pain on his back and the coppery taste of blood in his mouth and the Scottish were everywhere they were everywhere they w-

On the walls, Scotsman roared and laughed and sang as they struck down the hapless English peasants and Billmen who had been drafted into fighting to hold the city. They were all the English had available to them that could be spared to fight on the walls, and they only fighting benefit they had is that if they died in sufficient numbers they might block the walls and keep the Scottish out. As they fought desperately, a cry rose from the back of their tightly packed unit, and they turned to see even more Scots climbing the walls, laughing and crying out taunting cries.

"RUN!" screamed one man amongst the peasants, and that was enough, they ceased their futile resistance and just charged, joined moments later by the Billmen, shouldering through the surprised Scotsmen and into the guard tower, skidding down the spiral stone stairs weeping and wailing, all thought of anything but flight gone from their minds.

Beneath the gate, Scots stood amongst the piled corpses of English dead, cheering and laughing as the Commander of the Crusader Knights rode up beside Feradac to report they held the Gate and the remaining English soldiers were fleeing.

"Send forth ye Knights," ordered Feradac,"Castle Caernarvon can be easily defended by six sheep and a simpleton... and the English might even be able to do it too, make sure the survivors do nae make it inside the Castle."

The Commander saluted and rode his men forward; tearing through the streets of Caernarvon watched from behind closed doors and shuttered windows by the people of the city. They rode along the walls of the massive castle, and the Commander muttered a curse as he saw the portcullis was closed, and through the bars he could see the survivors of Captain Aston's cavalry, safe inside.

"Damn their hides!" snapped the Commander,"Now we must lay siege anew inside the blasted city!"

But then came the cries and wailing of the surviving English infantry, and turning in surprise, the Commander saw the remaining English peasants running towards them, or more precisely, the portcullis of Castle Caernarvon.

"Step back, lads," he grinned,"Let's see how callous our foe can be."

The peasants reached the portcullis, throwing themselves against it and screaming to be let in, and inside the Castle Courtyard, the surviving Cavalry turned and stared with despair at each other. They had no Captain anymore, and no clear leader, and some of those men were related, if distantly. They themselves were only recently promoted to the Cavalry, a sure sign of the lack of troops available to the English in this abandoned corner of the English Empire.

"KILL THEM!" roared the Knight Commander.

"Dammit!" cried an English Cavalryman, swallowing the bluff,"OPEN THE GATES!"

The Portcullis groaned and then opened, the Cavalry on the other side screaming at the peasants to rush in, but the Crusader Knights were all ready moving, riding down the peasants and entering the Courtyard.

"FIRE BALLISTA!" cried an English soldier in desperation as he saw the Ballista troops standing by their weapon, transfixed with horror on the approaching Scottish... but then it was too late, the Scottish were on them.

Feradac rode through the city, his men cheering him and themselves, and the General smiled. His heart had been heavy since the death of Arcill, but it had been lifted somewhat since the news had reached him that the Inquisitor had been found dead, burnt at the stake by heretics who apparently had wanted to humiliate his good name by killing him as he had killed heretics in the past. It was a good story, and one seemingly accepted by the Church, which had pleased Feradac a great deal.

But not as much as this.


His men cheered, but he wasn't done.


"HAIL THE UNITED KINGDOM!" roared the men.

"HAIL THE UNITED KINGDOM!" he roared again, and then they all roared it together.



Following the broken siege of Cairo by Sicily, the Canmore Clan seemed to become blessed by one divine favor after another. Amongst all those who counted, Scotland was recognised as the greatest, richest and most powerful nation in the world, and to top it all off, the Clan was blessed by another marriage, when Domnall Canmore married Raghnailt Lesly.

Upon the completion of Domnall's honeymoon, he was delighted to discover that his father and King Edward had decided he would accompany them on what they hoped to be the start of their Moorish Campaign. Less pleased was Nectan, who was informed he would be remaining behind in Cairo to Govern the City, and he made his displeasure clear.

"The fact is, Nectan, Domnall needs it more," Edmund explained to him in private,"I know, and more importantly, Edward knows, that you have the potential to be a great battlefield General. But we need all the sons of Canmore to be skilled in leading men in battle. Domnall must learn now while he has the chance to from Edward, whereas you will always be a great General, no matter if you are shown the way by Edward or take it yeself. I am proud of all my sons, Nectan, but only a fool would pretend that different sons do nae have different strengths."

So Domnall Canmore found himself gone from the cities he had been raised in, away from walls and women, servants and libraries, tutors and taverns. Now he was in the desert that had surrounded his homes for as long as he could remember, riding a horse through the endless sands beside his Uncle and Father, watching as they administered to the Army and negotiated with mercenary Sudanese to join them. In a bid to gain favor with a Church that was becoming frustrated anew with Scotland, Edmund declared the Army for the Crusade, announcing they would make for Toulouse once they had dealt with a Rebel Encampment at Dongola. He believed Feradac would have reached Toulouse by that point and the Crusade would be over, but Scotland would receive the Pope's thanks regardless. Edward was a keen advocate for the Church, having grown into his faith over the decades, but he also had a master grasp of politics and knew when to use his relationship with the Pope to his advantage. Domnall watched all of this, taking note of what his Father and Uncle did even when they did not specifically tell him why.

Such as the overwhelming numbers they took with them to Dongola. At a glance one would expect it to indicate that King Edward meant to over run the Rebel town through sheer force of numbers. But there was so much more to it, some of which was explained to him and some of which he gleaned for himself. Edward and Edmund had a Moorish Campaign planned, and needed to battle test their forces on an easy target first. The sheer size of the force was a telling warning to warring Nations like Sicily that Scotland was so mighty it could easily remove a force of such a size from its Border Cities and still leave them defended.

"Watch now, son," Edmund whispered to Domnall as King Edward gave his pre-battle speech to the men,"Ye'll note we have four battering rams prepared, and two catapults besides, and the Rebel Captain has paced out his men accordingly around the walls to try and prevent our entry. But appearances can be deceiving."

Edward finished his speech and the men responded with a massive cheer, the Sudanese apparently either understanding well enough to get the gist of his speech, or infected with the rising battle lust of the Scots.

"Now, this is what we call warfare of the mind," grinned Edmund,"Watch."

"NOW!" roared Edward, lifting his sword high, and before the startled eyes of the Rebels, the doors to the Encampment swung open as the Scots charged forward.

"Now the enemy are perplexed, horrified and scared," grinned Edmund,"Watch as the Rebel captain panics and calls his men to concentrate on the gate."

Action matched words, as the Rebel Captain bellowed for his men to follow, and they charged into the fray as Rebels desperately tried to hold back the Scottish howling at the entrance to the small town, swords swinging.

"Now the Rebels are helpless to think in their panic," Edmund said, continuing his education of Domnall,"Men who should be guarding other key points of entry will ride in to try to and help their friends. They will be too panicked to think we have had a spy infiltrate them and open the gates, so the legend of King Edward the Demon Scot will be in their minds.... what witchcraft or act of the Catholic God has opened their gate? Have their own Gods abandoned them? Ahhh and look, the Rebel Captain has pushed too far forward and is amongst our men, and he falls to his death before his own men... and the panic grows."

"Now his men are in desperation, and in desperation a man can find strength he never knew he had," Edmund told Domnall, who watched on spellbound from his horse, not far from Edward who was bellowing orders. So far they hadn't moved their horse from where they'd stood as Edward gave his speech, it was nothing like Domnall had expected battle to be. The way his Father spoke, it was as if it was all as prepared and rehearsed as a well-known play. Edmund continued,"So Domnall, we must crush their spirits before anger and desperation can mix together and create hope.... observe now, our battering rams, forgotten by the Rebels in the desperate battle at the Gate."

"Attacked from all sides now, all that is left for the Rebels is a desperate dash for survival, they run from our men, and our men give chase, and I need not tell ye what the result will inevitably be."

Prince Edmund turned to fix Domnall with a harsh stare,"Learn the lesson well, Domnall, sheer force of numbers alone will nae win the battle. A man does nae think in battle, he reacts. A good Commander will put his men into a position where their reactions turn the battle to his advantage, and the enemy's reactions turn the battle to their disadvantage."

Domnall nodded, he didn't know what else to say, only that battle was a far more complicated thing than his lessons or favorite war stories had taught him. If he was to command men like his Uncle, he had a lot of work ahead of him.


Domnall's next lesson was on a different type of warfare, that of diplomacy. After Dongola fell, news came that Nectan had repelled a Sicilian Force that had mistaken the size of King Edward's army for an emptying of the Cairo Garrison. Domnall could not help but think this suited his Father's purpose well, as it told the rest of the world of the might of Scotland's armies, plus Nectan now had proved himself an able battlefield commander. Domnall had been in as many battles as his twin now, that being one, but he couldn't help but feel that Nectan had got the best of the deal, as Domnall's experience had been sitting on his horse in full armor in the desert heat while his Father lectured him. After news of Nectan's victory came news that Milan and Sicily had ended their previous bitter warfare, and Domnall could easily guess that the Sicilians had realized it was madness to war with Milan AND the Scottish at the same time. Edward and Edmund discussed an offer of Trade Rights between Scotland and Poland and eventually agreed to it after Edmund convinced Edward that more money was always a good thing, especially with a new campaign ready to be launched against the Moors. Nectan announced his betrothal to Eufemie of Bute, and Domnall was surprised to hear that they would not return to Cairo for the wedding. They were committed to the Crusade, which was taking longer than expected, and if they did not make even a token movement North soon, the Pope would start to think they were not truly committed to the Church.

Then Domnall learnt his next lesson - of Canmore moving against Canmore.

"Alexander is completely committed to annihilating the English," growled Edward one night in his Command Tent, sitting at his desk as he, Edmund and Domnall reviewed their maps,"He holds Feradac at Caen instead of pushing him towards Toulouse, and reports say the religious mercenaries have begun abandoning the army to move to join those that have all ready laid siege to Toulouse."

"The English tried to take Edinburgh, and Alexander vowed their destruction for the temerity," noted Edmund to Domnall,"But he was nae satisfied with taking Ireland, Wales, Nottingham and London... his rage is acting towards the detriment of the greater Scottish Empire."

"So send an order to Feradac directly," suggested Domnall,"An order from the King cannae be ignored."

Edward and Edmund shared a quiet look, one Domnall was growing used to and beginning to hate, a look that said that he was failing to grasp some deeper meaning.

"Reports and letters and orders have a way of getting lost when someone does nae want to hear them," Edmund finally said,"Feradac is our man, he always has been, and Alexander knows it, he will nae allow such a command to reach Feradac."

"Alexander is a true Canmore, and loves Scotland," added Edward,"But he suffers the same shortcoming that Edmund and I's Father had, he can nae see past Scotland. Our Empire will suffer if we lose the Pope's favor, and our enemies will grow bold. Sicily and Milan will see us as targets, and to the North, the Danes and the Spaniards will look at the Scottish coast. But Alexander does nae think to the long term, he thinks only of Scotland, and taking revenge on the English."

Domnall thought carefully, and thought he saw approval in his Father's face. Previously he would have spoken the first thing to come to his mind, now he tried to think deeper. Finally he spoke,"We cannae order Alexander to order Feradac to Toulouse, because the order may be "lost", and even if it were not, we would humiliate Alexander and damage his standing amongst the Nobles... creating the impression of a rift amongst the Canmores."

"Good lad," smiled Edmund,"So what do we do?"

Domnall thought again, looking at the problem from different angles. He had a reputation as an introvert given to outbursts of joviality, and many thought this meant he was usually lost deep in thought. But the truth was he preferred his own company, the result of being a twin perhaps, and often when he was alone he did not think at all, beyond the every day concerns and thoughts of any man. When he grew bored enough, he looked to others for company, and a well masked shyness was overcompensated for with bawdy jokes and heavy drinking. Now he was deep in thought though, and he surprised himself by speaking out loud as he came to what he saw an inevitable, if ignoble, conclusion.

"Scotland's war with England is accepted by the Pope because their King has been excommunicated," he said,"So if England's King is dead, the Pope is likely to reconcile the Church with the new King, in exchange for consideration from the new King for the privilege.... thus England will fall under the Church's protection once more, and Alexander will be forced to order Feradac to Toulouse..... but we dinnae have time to kill the King in battle, so he must be killed by other means.... an assassination?"

He looked up at his Uncle and Father, who wore blank faces as they stared at him. Finally, Edmund nodded, and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Assassination is a dirty word, lad," he said,"A grim word, and a bitter order for a Noble to make. Ye Uncle Alexander once told me of the use and need of an assassination network, and despite my own fondness for intelligence networks, I had to disagree with him. But they have their place, and sometimes expedience must be embraced over nobility."

"I despise them," grunted Edward,"But as ye Father says, sometimes for the good of Scotland, bitter decisions must be made."


Prince Edmund lay in his tent, trying to escape the bitter heat of the desert. Word of the reconciliation of England had reached him yesterday, and today had come word that Feradac was moving towards Toulouse. Domnall's idea of a week earlier had worked, though of course both he and Edward had all ready come to the conclusion before his son suggested it.

He was pleased with Domnall's progress; the lad was showing a capacity for strategy he had feared was not there. Even better, in Cairo, Nectan was proving an able Governor, and letters from his son indicated that the lad's desire to see battle had been quenched by his clash with the Sicilians. Everything was going as planned, and it seemed that after 1000 distractions, Scotland's long planned Moorish Campaign could finally begin.

"My Lord," whispered a voice, and Edmund was rolling up from his bunk, hand reaching for his sword in a flash. Who had entered his tent unbidden, unannounced by the guards..... and then he relaxed, when he realized who it was.

"My Lord," repeated Fearghus Campbell, Master Spy of Edmund's extensive network,"Forgive the intrusion on ye thoughts, but I have travelled as fast as I could through the desert to give ye this information personally, it could nae be trusted with anyone else."

Edmund noted Fearghus' clothes and hair were unusually unkempt, his skin coated in dried sweat, his eyes more intense than ever.... this was important. He cast his mind back to the last he had heard from Fearghus, investigating the movements of the Turks to the north of Adana. The spy handed him a sheet of documents, and Edmund sat on the bunk and began reading through them, face curious at first, then frowning, then concerned. Finally he finished, and looked up at Campbell, who had not moved since handing him the notes.

"This information.... accurate?"

"Aye, as well as can be ascertained, my Lord," sighed Fearghus,"Were it nae for the suddenness with which the reports grew, I would have dismissed it as merely a childhood bogeyman, immature gossip of the actions of the Devil. Almost all of the reports are thirdhand, but something told me to investigate further, and I eventually tracked down a very unique man."

"How was he unique?" asked Edmund.

"He was alive," Fearghus stated simply.

"You will nae tell a soul of this but me," Edmund said at last,"Ye will return and find out what more ye can, and then ye will report directly to me. There is nae need to worry the King with this, and there is every chance this information can be turned to Scotland's advantage."

Fearghus nodded, and turned to leave, then turned back,"My Lord."

"Aye, Fearghus?"

"I've only heard one man spoken of like the man in that report before," the Spy said,"And that was King Edward."

Edmund nodded, and the Spy left as quietly as he'd entered, the surprised guards peering into the tent where Edmund cast a weary wave at them to show all was well. He looked back at the report Fearghus had bought him, and shook his head in disbelief.... why now? He put the papers down, and leaned back, speaking the strange name written of in the report, a name that he felt sure would soon cast a shadow over the Scottish Empire.

"Genghis Khan."