The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 18: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 17

Captain Cormac stared from the walls of York out at the Danish Army. He ignored the battering ram. He ignored the siege tower. He ignored the siege ladders. He ignored the Danish Captain, Skaapti, marching about importantly on his horse issuing orders to his Cavalry units. He ignored the Dismounted Huscarls, tough Danes the match of any English Knight.

It was the Vikings that worried him.

The Danish were a Christian Nation now, but they had never forgotten their Barbarian past, much like the Scottish. The Vikings were raiders, killers, fighters, drinkers. They were born for battle and revelled in it, and they knew no fear. They were like the Scottish Highlanders, a force so potent that they needed to be directed outward against the world; else they turn on the rest of the Nation and destroy it from within.

There were over 1000 Danes, and several hundred of them were Vikings, and the Garrison here at York held less than 700 men in total, over half of them simple town militia. Cormac had received word that Prince Alexander and Prince Adam had taken what men could be spared from London and Edinburgh to ride to their aid, but it was too late. The Danish were ready to attack now, and it was time to test the mettle of Scottish men against the legendary Viking Raiders.

"Here goes," grunted Cormac as he saw Skaapti motion his men forward, and the Danish Army began to move towards York.

"Eh?" asked the Highland Archer standing beside him.

"Nevermind," replied Cormac,"Ye just remember what I told ye lads to do."

"Spears, ye will NAE MOVE!" roared Cormac, looking down at the Spearmen in place behind the Gate to the City, spears in place to absorb any cavalry charge should the Danes take the Gate,"ALL OF YE MEN! REMEMBER MY ORDERS! FOLLOW MY COMMANDS! WE'LL SHOW THESE VIKING BASTARDS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO FIGHT REAL MEN!"

Him men cheered, and then Cormac turned his attention back to the approaching Danes, focusing on the Huscarls pushing the battering ram forward.

"FIRE!" he roared,"ALL ON THAT RAM!"

The Archers lined up along the wall lit their arrows and fired, sweeping down burning arrows on the Huscarls and - more importantly - their ram.

"Fools," grunted Skaapti, watching on his horse from a distance,"They concentrate their fire on the ram, and ignore the siege tower at their peril."

"They've reached the walls!" cried the Commander of the Religious Fanatics from his section of the wall.

"Keep them from climbing them, damn ye!" roared Cormac, cursing the fanatics left under his command. They were fierce fighters due to their religious fanaticism and total lack of fear of death, but they looked at everything from a religious slant, and were not pleased to be fighting fellow Catholics,"Archers, keep firing on that ram, damn ye!"

More and more arrows rained down on the ram, and finally it was too much, the treated wood unable to prevent the mass of burning arrows. The ram caught alight and quickly became a blazing bonfire, the Huscarls who had been pushing it retreating quickly from the flames.

"Fools," chuckled Skaapti, repeating himself,"They've destroyed our ram, but now our tower is too close for them to destroy in time. The walls are...."

"NOW!" screamed Cormac, and from behind the walls, kept back from the battle till now, the catapults were fired.

Two massive burning rocks soared through the air over the wall of York, Scots craning their necks to look at the missiles flying above them. At top speed, they smashed into the tower as it drew near the walls, tearing through wood like it was paper, creating instant kindling that quickly caught alight, the flames dancing to the larger wood and spreading.

"THESE WALLS ARE SCOTLAND'S!" roared Cormac, and a mighty cheer rang up from his men.

"We'll see," hissed Skaapti, incensed to see his Siege Tower in flames, with the only way into the City now through the ladders. The tower was burning, the battering ram had collapsed and burnt out, but the ladders were still against the walls, and now Danish men had reached the tops of the walls and were leaping over the top, axes swinging as they went to battle with the Scottish.

Now was the moment of truth, Cormac had suspected that the Danish would attack the walls at the Religious Fanatics. The Danes knew as well as he that the Fanatics were in York only because of the recent Crusade, and their passion was for killing heathens, not fellow Catholics.

He needn't have worried.


The Fanatics threw themselves with reckless abandon at the Huscarls, smashing at them with the clubs, their fists, screaming in righteous fury as they threw the Danes off of the wall.

"Enough is enough," growled Skaapti as he watched the Huscarls dying at the walls,"Send in the Vikings."

The Vikings came, and Cormac ordered all men manning the walls to defend at the point where the ladders rested. The Vikings came, and they were as fierce and as deadly as their legend. The Vikings came, and they climbed ladders and killed the Scotsmen who stood in their way. The Vikings came, ignoring fiery arrows, swung clubs, swinging swords and thrown punches. The Vikings came, and they came, and they kept coming.... and something strange happened.

The Scotsmen held their ground. The Scotsmen kept fighting. The Scotsmen laughed and sang as they fought, even as friends and kin died around them. The Scotsmen goaded the Vikings, asking if this was the best they had, the best they could bring. The Scotsmen began singing as they fought, and the Vikings began to feel something they had never before felt in the heat of battle.

The Vikings became scared.

For the first time in as long as anyone could remember, the Vikings threw down their swords and ran in terror. As they ran, they screamed to each other that the rumor and legend was true. The Scottish were not men, they were Devils from Hell, and anyone who came against them did so at their own peril.

"SCOTLAND!" screamed Cormac as he watched Captain Skaapti turn and lead his men away in humiliation, following the fleeing Vikings,"SCOTLAND! SCOTLAND!"

"SCOTLAND!" roared the men on the walls.



Prince Domnall entered the tent and immediately knew something was wrong, his Father was reading through a large pile of papers with a deliberately blank face, and his Uncle was pacing about the tent with a face blackened with rage.

"Domnall!" Edward almost shouted,"Good, good, this is important, lad."

"This is troubling," noted Edmund coolly,"Outside of the plainly obvious, it speaks of a well placed secret enemy."

""This" being what, exactly?" asked Domnall, used to his Father and Uncle talking amongst themselves as if all present were in on the subject of conversation. They were currently camped near Sicily's only coastal city on ths edge of the world, and had been preparing to lay siege to it within the week.

"Last week we received a note," Edmund explained, placing down his papers,"Neither Edward nor myself told you of it, because we did nae think it was anything ye would need to worry about. It was a message from The Pope, expressing concern that we were spilling the blood of other Catholics in the form of the Sicilians. Coupled with Alexander's war against the English and the failure of Feradac to reach Toulouse in time for the Crusade, our normally rosy relationship with the Papacy was under strain. The Pope warned us that no King should expect blanket support from any Pope based on previous dealings, and that he was also concerned that Scotland had retained control of Holy Cities like Jerusalem and Baghdad while dishing out "crumbs" like Adana. He warned that if we stayed our current course, we could expect to be excommunicated within a year."

"That is grave indeed," frowned Domnall,"But ye still planned to siege the Sicilians?"

"Time was on our side.... or so we thought," growled Edward, still pacing,"We'd take the city, the Sicilians would retreat, and then we would send a diplomat to make peace with the bastards. By that point Alexander would have dealt with the English finally one way or the other, since Feradac recently took Rennes from them and left the English but two strongholds in their Empire. Our relationship with the Church would be rocky for a few months that we'd sit out until monetary donations and the death of a few thousand heathens improved our standing once more."

"I take it something went wrong then?" asked Domnall.

"Today," sighed Edmund heavily,"We received a new message from the Pope, confirming personally what he'd all ready declared publicly. The Pope has excommunicated Scotland for warring with the Catholic Nations of Sicily, England and Denmark."

Domnall almost physically reeled from the statement, excommunicated from the Church!?!

"Bu... but the first message..."

"Was delayed!" growled Edward angrily,"Though we did nae discover so until we went back to check the wording of his statement. We came to realize that somehow the message had been delayed - or rather, someone had delayed it - so we did nae realize till too late that we were on the verge of excommunication."

"Someone has played us very well indeed," noted Edmund,"It could be any one of our rivals, or even one of our allies. Someone is seeking to gain at Scotland's misfortune, and now we face a dreadful problem... we have nae reason to stop our war with Sicily, but apparently we also war with England and Denmark, the latter only confirmed by a message from Alexander that arrived yesterday warning the Danes had laid siege to York. Scotland is the mightiest Empire in the world, but even we can not stand against ALL the Catholic Nations, and that is now a very real possibility. Scotland may soon find itself at war with the rest of the World."


Later that night, Edmund sat in his own tent reviewing reports, messages and other communications from the last several months. He doubted he could weasel out the identity of whoever had laid such a clever trap for them, but there was no harm in looking. If the identity turned out to be hidden within, he would not forgive himself if he had not checked.

A cough caught his attention, and looking up he wasn't at all surprised to see Fearghus Campbell standing before him, having once more entered his tent undetected by either Edmund or the guards outside.

"I fear I know what ye have come to tell me, Fearghus," sighed Edmund,"It has been a day for bad news."

"Aye, my Lord," nodded Fearghus grimly,"The tales of the Mongol Horde is nae tale, they exist, their leader may be worse than the darkest tales claim, and they have been seen sweeping through the lands near Baghdad like a swarm of locusts, destroying all in their path."

"Madness surrounds us on all sides," growled Edmund,"At a time when Scotland is at its mightiest, we are at our most vulnerable... we must find some way to turn our misfortunes to our advantage."

He pondered quietly for a moment, and then his eyes widened.

"Who else knows of this Horde?" he asked.

"At the current time, the Turkish Leaders believe them to be bandits surrounded mostly by reputation and superstition. I suspect this belief is based on their inner knowledge that they could not stand against such a force. Other than that, I know of no other Nation that is aware of their existence.... they are not known for leaving survivors."

Edmund thought for a moment, then grabbed a blank page and began furiously writing. When done, he sealed the message and handed it to Fearghus, telling him,"Ye must get this to Gille Calline the Balleol, I dinnae trust it in any other hands but ye and he, do ye understand?"

Fearghus nodded, and quickly departed the tent, Edmund sighing quietly. He had just taken a giant gamble, but if it worked.... oh if it worked!


Pope Stephanus grunted as he read another message warning of problems in Adana, where the residents were anything but the desperate Catholics in search of redemption they'd been painted to be. The Scottish really were a nuisance of late, and he wondered why a man such as King Edward - who had always served the Church faithfully - had turned his back on God.

"Your Holiness," whispered a servant reverentially,"A Scottish Diplomat is requesting an audience, shall I send him away?"

"No no, let him in," grunted The Pope,"I look forward to the distraction, and to venting God's fury towards Scotland to an actual person."

Gille Calline The Balleol entered, but the Pope's anticipation of unleashing righteous indignation was swept away in shock. Never had he seen the man so dejected, so bereft of his usual self-confidence and sardonic wit. The man before him was a wreck, his clothes dishevelled, his hair wild and his eyes hollow.

"Your Holiness," gasped Gille, dropping to his knees and stumbling towards The Pope, who recovered from his shock enough to offer his ring, which Gille eagerly kissed, almost sobbing.

"What is the meaning of this.... this display," demanded The Pope.

"I have received instructions, your Holiness," cried Gille,"Instructions to play the diplomatic game, to cajole and coerce where I can, to gain for Scotland what it wants, which is public reconciliation with the Church.... but they have gone too far this time.... man does not play politics with God.... no King can manipulate the Divine to achieve material gain on Earth.... I am a Scotsman, true, and a Diplomat as well.... but first and foremost, I am a Catholic!"

"It gladdens me to hear a man, especially a Scotsman, put God before King and Country," smiled the Pope, internally glorying in Gille's sad state. To see the man brought so low gave him a sense of satisfaction that, as Pope, he really shouldn't be feeling.... but to err was human, to forgive was Divine,"But what would they have had you do?"

"Play with the lives of men as if they were pawns on a chessboard," howled Gille, whose emotions had apparently fully breached the dam now,"To move one country against another in order to incur ye wrath against them, to ride to the rescue, to play the hero in an act of villainy they began. It was given into my power to offer Scotland's own holdings to perform these tasks.... but it is too much! It is TOO FAR! I WILL NAE DO IT!"

"Quiet, quiet my son," smiled The Pope,"You have done the right thing by coming to me."

"Aye, the right thing, I see it now," cried Gille, trying desperately to hold back his tears, still on his knees before the Pope. Then, a wild look of hope came over his face,"In fact I see it now... they have inadvertently given me the means to make a restitution they are unwilling too. If they would play with cities and the lives of men as if they were chess pieces, let me give those pieces to a man who would treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.... a man who would look to their spiritual needs. Let me give it to God's man!"

The Pope raised an eyebrow in surprise, as Gille Calline raised to one knee and formally placed his hand against his heart.

"Ye Holiness, Pope Stephanus," he said, his face serene despite the tears still running down it,"I, Gille Calline the Balleol, as a duly empowered representative of the Scottish Empire, make offer to ye as a Gift with no expectations or requirements attached, the Holy City of Baghdad."

"Yes, yes Gille," laughed the Pope, clapping his hands merrily,"I accept, of course, you have done the right thing this day!"

"Aye, ye Holiness," replied Gille, an open and honest look of admiration and gratitude on his face,"More than ye can know."