Part 23: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 22Captain Malcolm Hew appraised the situation quickly as he rushed to the city walls.
"Get those Crossbowmen on the walls!" he roared,"We'll pick the bastar-"
A massive vibration rocked the ground beneath his feet and cracks appeared in the wall before his eyes, and he let rip with a string of angry curses,"Scratch that lads, back away from that wall and HOLD YOUR POSITIONS!"
The walls came crashing down quickly under the onslaught of cannonfire, and Malcolm grunted as he saw his men shielding their eyes with their arms.
"LET THE DUST IN YE EYES YOU IDIOTS!" he roared,"WHAT DO YE NEED EYES FOR? MOVE INTO THAT GAP AND PUSH YOUR SWORD AT ANYTHING IN FRONT OF YE!"
The Scottish soldiers charged into the still cloudy, dust billowing remains of the wall, coming into almost immediate contact with the Milanese host as they moved in. This is what Malcolm had been hoping for, that the Milanese would be so confident in their numbers that they'd push immediately forward to the breach in the walls. Now they would have to engage the Scottish, which would negate the effectiveness of their Catapults, which could not fire without hitting their own men.
Suddenly a familiar rumbling noise filled his ears and he cursed again.
"WHO IS OPENING THAT BASTARD PORTCULLIS!?!" he screamed, as he saw it jerking open,"I'LL HAVE HIS GUTS FOR A BLASTED KILT! THE BLOODY MILANESE ARE COMING THROUGH THE GATE! HIGHLANDERS!"
"God's Blood," grunted a Highlander as he swung his sword at a Milanese soldier trying to push through the breach in the wall,"Does he ever shut up?"
"I think he'll go on yelling when he's dead," chuckled another,"Come on, let's go kill the bastards!"
A group of Highlanders peeled off from the fighting in the debris and charged into the side of the Milanese coming through the gate, expecting all the Scottish to be at the breach. Malcolm cried out in delight, was that...? Yes! It was! The banner of the Milanese Captain, Baldassare. It jerked about as the Highlanders plunged into the side of the Milanese, then dropped and was trampled underfoot as Baldassare's planned triumphant charge into the city met an abrupt end.
"THE CAPTAIN'S DEAD!" cried the Milanese.
"WANT TO JOIN HIM, LADDIE?" laughed a Highlander as they crashed into the Milanese with renewed vigor, sensing the men in the gateway were losing their nerve,"Come here and I'll introduce ye to me axe!"
The Highlanders around him roared with laughter and that was enough for the men of Milan, who were suddenly scrambling backwards away from the terrible, unstoppable Devils that were Scotland.
"HOLD YE PLACE!" screamed Malcolm,"GUARD THAT GATE LIKE IT WAS YE ARSEHOLE IN ATHENS!"
The Milanese who had been fighting in the breach had given up and run as soon as they saw their fellows charging out of the City. The Scots who had fought them off moved to join the Highlanders at the Gate, where they stood and called and shouted for the Milanese to prove their manhood and come face them.
"Come on, men!" roared a Milanese Knight, red-faced beneath his helm as his manhood was called into question by the distant Scots; his parentage debated; and his sexual habits gambled on,"There are barely 500 of them, we outnumber them by a sizeable margin! I say we ride through them, over them! Grind them underfoot where they belong! FIGHT FOR YOUR HONOR!"
They charged, hundreds of them roaring as they passed under the arch of the gate and smashed into the Scots. The Highlanders at the front roared in delight and swung their axes eagerly, but found themselves lifted from their feet and pushed backwards. For a moment the men behind them provided resistance to the inexorable push of the Milanese, and then all of them were being pushed backwards, skidding through the dirt and snow.
"NOW!" screamed Malcolm in glee,"KILL THE BASTARDS!"
The Crossbowmen who had been holding back stepped forward, and the Milanese realized too late that they'd left their entire flank unprotected. A stream of crossbow bolts punched through armor like it was paper, and men dropped like flies, some screaming in pain, others dying with barely a grunt or gurgle. The forward momentum of the Milanese halted, and the Highlanders planted their feet firmly in the ground and began to slide around the enemy, attacking them from all sides.
"AH GOD! GOD HELP US!" screamed a Knight, and the panic spread like wildfire from man to man, the Knights losing their nerve once more and charging in the only direction the Scots weren't, back through the gates of the City.
The Scotsmen stood watching the Milanese run for a few moments, then let loose a loud cheer. Malcolm smiled and let it spread, then roared out angrily,"WHAT ARE YE STANDING AROUND CHEERING FOR? THERE ARE BLOODY MILANESE OUT THERE RUNNING AWAY, ARE YE GONNA LET THE BASTARDS LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY?"
The Scots let out a roar and charged through the gate, the remaining archers and Catapult operators who hadn't been broken fighting at the walls taking one look and then turning and running in horror.
"Aye," grinned Malcolm as he watched the Scotsmen chase down the fleeing Milanese, feeling a warm tingling of satisfaction spreading through his chest,"Nae Milanese bastard is going to take MY city from me."
Jebe The Tyrant - Dreaded Warlord of the Mongol Horde - stared at Edessa with black eyes that were impossible to read. Beside him was his younger cousin, Bayan, who showed promise in the art of killing. Jebe grunted approvingly as he watched Bayan's eyes moving over Edessa, its walls, the surrounding desert, the dunes, every possible mark of cover, every possible ambush site. The creatures that called Edessa home had known they were coming, of course, and in a pitiful attempt to protect themselves were feverishly surrounding their homes in high rock, replacing the wood.
The Mongols were Nomads; they did not live in villages, huts or cities. They made camp when they weren't riding, and the only time they weren't riding was when they were enjoying the benefits of their conquests - the wine, the women.... especially the women. Genghis Khan has forged their disparate tribes into a single conquering force, and kept them together by always having something to conquer. They were the human equivalent of a shark, they had to constantly keep moving, or they would fall apart.
"Skot-tish," grunted Jebe to Bayan,"That is the name of these creatures. The men we tortured to learn more of these lands feared them almost as much as us. Their Leader is Kanmor Khan, they say he is The Demon."
"A demon?" grunted Bayan, watching as their own Khan angrily beat a slave who had displeased him. The Khan did not like it when his tent was not up before he was ready to retire to it, he especially did not like it when he was told no women had been captured to service him. It seemed The Skot-tish had cleared all the lands surrounding Edessa of non-soldiers, in preparation for the coming of The Horde. This pleased Bayan, he liked a foe with a spine, it made it so much more fun to tear it out.
"No," smirked Jebe humorlessly,"THE Demon, the evil spirit these creatures believe holds sway over their lives and lands."
A horn sounded, long and deep, and the gathered soldiers were moving with eerie precision instantly, drawing their weapons and looking towards Edessa, where the Gate to the City was swinging open. The Khan cursed angrily and slit the throat of his terrified servant, leaping atop his horse and riding to Jebe and Bayan's side, shouting angrily,"What is the meaning of this!?!"
"The Kanmor Khan appears to be a man, not a creature," hissed Jebe, and his teeth appeared as his lips stretched back in what was the closest he ever got to a genuine smile. The gates to Edessa had opened, and a single horse rode out, a single man atop it, wearing not a scrap of armor, dressed casually in strange clothes unfamiliar to Jebe, who wore furs despite the desert heat.
The man rode slowly, almost casually towards them, and all present took in not only his apparently languid pose, but his emotionless face and eyes hard as flint. Those were the eyes of a Warrior, the eyes of a Mongol... the eyes of a worthy opponent.
"You are Kanmor Khan?" challenged Jebe, as the man reached hailing distance.
"You are Genghis Khan? replied the man coolly, his eyes taking note of everything - the numbers of The Horde (vast); their armor and weapons (unparalleled); and also their placements, including who stood where, who rode next to who, who didn't ride next to who.
"I AM THE KHAN!" howled their leader, and Jebe hid a wince behind his emotionless facade,"I AM KHAN CHAGHATAI! I AM THE CHILD OF GENGHIS KHAN WHO WAS! I LEAD THE ONLY TRUE MEN INTO THE NEW WORLD TO CONQUER! THE NEW WORLD WILL BE THE HOME OF THE HORDE! I WILL BREAK THE NEW WORLD'S MEN, BURN THE NEW WORLD'S CITIES AND TAKE THE NEW WORLD'S WOMEN! I AM THE HORDE!"
The vast Mongol Horde assembled before Edessa roared right on the climax to this speech, indicated it was well rehearsed and often spoken. Jebe cursed once again the conflicting forces within the Horde itself that had deadlocked itself and allowed Khan Chaghatai to take Genghis' place following their former leader's death. Jebe had thought to wrest the position for himself, but another Warlord - Aradai - had delusions of grandeur and the support of Khanzada Kublai, while Jebe had Bayan to support him. Recognizing that clashing would only end up in breaking up the Horde, they'd agreed to continue to control their own men within the greater reach of the giant army, and place one of Genghis' many bastards into a figurehead position. The trouble was, Chaghatai had proven his naiveté by publicly naming Khanzada Kublai his heir, meaning that if he was to die (an easy enough "accident" to happen on the battlefield) then Khanzada would be Khan, Aradai would be his second, and Jebe and Bayan would never rise higher than Warlord. Perhaps not even that, Aradai and Khanzada had broken off from the main Horde Force two days earlier without explanation, though Chaghatai had seemed unconcerned and refused to speak of it.
"A pity," grunted the man on the horse, then raised his voice,"I AM EDWARD CANMORE, KING OF SCOTLAND!"
"Have you come to mewl and whine?" spat Khan Chaghatai,"Have you come to beg for life? To offer what you creatures call "dah-plow-ma-see? All that the Horde have faced have tried in one way or another to avoid their fate, but w-"
"Oh shut up, ye oily-skinned love stain," grunted Edward, and for once Jebe had to work hard to maintain his stoic expression as he fought back a smile.
"I came looking for Genghis Khan!" yelled Edward,"I was given to understand he was the one man in this world I could look to as almost my equal... and instead I find a pathetic boy trying to convince himself and all else that he is a man, and a few thousand squat, fur-suited animals that somehow learnt to ride horses and pull a bowstring!"
He turned his horse about, deliberately showing his back as he began to walk his horse slowly back towards Edessa. He was perfectly safe, of course, and knew it. The Mongols did not ascribe to the same "rules of warfare" as other nations of the world, but Edward knew that they would look cowardly if they attacked a single, unarmored man on a horse.... especially with his back turned.
He paused after a few steps and looked over his shoulder.
"I'll nae order ye from my lands or threaten death on ye. Rather I will warn ye now that ye can spare yeself death at Edessa's walls, but ye cannae spare yeself death. Ye have passed into Scottish lands now, and ye life is forfeit. Take up ye swords and slay yeselves here where ye stand now, and save yeself the pain and humiliation of utter destruction at ou... at my hands."
He rode on, and Jebe turned an eye to Bayan and Chaghatai.
"Prepare equipment to take control of these.... walls," spat Chaghatai contempteously,"Make sure they can see us building them, but move the bulk of the forces back out of their sight.... I have a little surprise in store for these Skot-tish."
Work began quickly outside Edessa, as well as inside where work continued feverishly on building up the defences of the small stronghold. As the days of the siege passed, the forces inside grew used to seeing small units of the Mongols going through training exercises, never many all together all at once.
Then, one morning King Edward sat in the Banquet Hall eating a quiet breakfast with his brother Edmund and nephew Domnall when a runner burst into the hall bearing an urgent message.
"The Mongols, my King!" gasped the runner.
"Mmm?" asked Edward, looking unconcerned despite the possibility that several thousand Mongols were about to throw themselves at his uncompleted walls,"What of them?"
Chaghatai roared with laughter as he rode his personal army towards the river, flanked on either side by Jebe and Bayan.
"The fool, so like my Father," laughed Chaghatai, though he had never actually personally met his Father, who had no interest in any of his bastard offspring,"He thought to enrage me into attacking his walls, where our archers and horse would be useless and massacred.... he thought me a simple barbarian! But while he and the majority of his army sit in that offal pit, his cities lie ahead of us, emptied of their soldiers to face us where they thought we would be!"
"This is not the way of the Horde," cursed Bayan lightly under his breath,"Kanmor Khan challenged us to a glorious battle the likes of which has never been seen, we pretend to be preparing to face him with honor and.... we run!"
"We are not running," grunted Chaghatai with a dismissive wave,"We go to conquer.... and I will not have my authority questioned, Bayan, I am Khan. You would not have questioned my Father."
He rode ahead, and Bayan and Jebe exchanged a silent look that spoke volumes.
Chaghatai was NOT anything like his Father.
"Looks like we've been outsmarted, Edward," muttered Edmund, as they stared over the abandoned Mongol camp,"He's pushed his armies past us towards the coast, where our cities' garrisons are mostly under strength."
"Oh aye," grunted Edward,"This Khan of theirs.... a smart one, would ye nae say so, Domnall?"
Domnall stared at his Father and Uncle aghast, why were they taking this so calmly? The coastal cities were ripe for conquest!
"I sent Aradai and Khanzada Kublai north around the head of the river," Chaghatai was boasting, telling Bayan and Jebe at last what had happened to the other two Warlords,"They will have secured the bridge crossing at the river a day or so ago, and we can leave a force there to guard it against the Kanmor Khan following us. The Horde will be near full strength when it rides into their coastal homes, and we will burn their cities to the ground, and kill their pitiable defenders, and the women.... ahhh it has been too long since I took a woman, I look forward to that most of all. Do you think the Skot-tish women will try to fight back? That makes it so much more fun."
"I do not like this," grunted Jebe, ignoring much of Chaghatai's babbling,"The Horde's strength lies in it operating as one.... this breaking apart and rejoining will weaken us.... it may be the death of us."
"You are an old woman, Jebe!" laughed Chaghatai, not noticing the restraining arm Bayan placed on Jebe's shoulder. He had killed for lesser offences than what "his" Khan had just called him. Chaghatai remained blissfully unaware, still talking,"Over this dune lies the other half of the Horde, we shall be rejoined and then there will be no sto-"
He cut off suddenly, and his horse stopped, causing a rippling effect back through the long, long, long chain of horsemen and infantry following him.
"Ye ken what is the worst part, Domnall?" Edmund asked, once more using the lecturing tone that meant he was trying to teach his son a valuable lesson. Domnall looked at his Father, and then at his Uncle, and for the first time he realized they were not calm at all, they were in fact trying desperately to stifle laughter.
"The worst part, Domnall," laughed Edward, finally losing his control,"Is that piss-for-blood, bow-legged, oily haired bastard Chaghatai actually thinks I dinnae know all that happens throughout MY lands!"
"By all the Demons of all the Hells," grunted Jebe, as he stared down the sand-dunes towards the now revealed river and bridge, and on the other side what was supposed to be the other half of the dreaded Mongol Horde.
"Where are Aradai and Khanzada?" gasped Chaghatai in disbelief, as he stared at the Scottish army waiting patiently over the bridge.
"If they have any honor, they are dead!" snapped Jebe furiously,"This is the result of your "cleverness" you dungheap! You have split The Horde and trapped us between the Skot-tish and a man who is more of a Mongol than you will ever be!"
"HOW DARE YOU!" roared Chaghatai,"I SHO-"
He cut off suddenly as Jebe backhanded him, knocking him from his horse. The Mongol Warriors surrounding them had been watching impassively as their leaders argued, but now interest sparked in their faces. Their Khan had just had his honor and leadership directly challenged!
"That is why you will never be a true Khan!" hissed Jebe,"Genghis never said,"I should...", he just DID!"
He wheeled his horse about and stared at the waiting Skot-tish below, and gritted his teeth in that approximation of a smile he saved for occasions like this. He looked back over his shoulder at the Horde, diminished from its true potential size but still an awe-inspiring sight,"Those Skot-tish believe they have our measure! They've likely dealt with Aradai and Khanzada and believe that knowledge will frighten us, but they do not know what it truly is to be The Horde! We will ride to them, we will ride through them! And we will conquer as we conquered under Genghis Khan! Those with honor, follow me to battle! Those without, run like cowards, and enjoy the rest of your life as women! I curse you and the dung you will call your children, you are not true Mongols!"
He launched his horse forward and heard a massive rumbling as a great number of Mongols followed him. He knew his own men would, of course, and he believed Bayan would too. Chaghatai? He did not care, either Jebe would be dead by day's end, or he would be victorious. If the latter was the case, he would hunt down Chaghatai and kill him himself.
"Hold that line, men!" ordered Gawain Arthyn, staring with pleasure at the dark mass of Horde on the far side of the river, just now coming into view.
The son of Finguine Arthyn - who had died of the plague in Baghdad and passed on his right of succession to Scotland's throne to his adopted son Comgell - Gawain knew this was his chance to prove his worth to King Edward, who was technically his Grandfather via adoption.
His orders had come from a terrifying man who had appeared in the darkness, holding sealed orders marked with the seal of Prince Edmund. Gawain had followed the orders within without question, travelling in secret and being presented with an army designed for one purpose and one purpose alone.
To kill The Mongols.
His army had joined with two others, surely nearly the entire bulk of Scotland's Egyptian Holdings, and they had clashed a day's ride with two massive forces of Horde. Their battle had been inconclusive, but the Scottish had held the higher ground and forced the Mongols to retreat, something they had never apparently done before. Then they had moved to this bridge, the only major point near Aleppo and Antioch where an army the size of the Mongols could cross the river with anything resembling haste. Now his Pikemen held the bridge exit, and the Horde could only come one way.... straight into them.
Gawain had planned this battle carefully, working with strategies presented to him by the silent, mysterious man. He suspected this was Prince Edmund's rumored Spymaster, and indeed he always bought him strategies written up in the hand of Prince Edmund or King Edward himself. The Mongols used distance, speed and overwhelming numbers to decimate and destroy their opponents on the field, and the only truly effective way to deal with them was to force them to attack a city or caste or to use higher ground. What it all boiled down to was forcing them to come to you, and this bridge, they could hold them at...
"ARRRRGH LET'S GET THEM LADS!" screamed a voice, and Gawain twisted his head to stare in shock as a group of Scottish peasants, recruited to be used as cheap archer units, charged down the hill towards the bridge.
"What the hell are ye doing!?!" he cried, but it was too late, the archers were pushing through the braced Pikemen and onto the bridge, hauling out their bows and arrows and levelling them at the charging Mongols.
"Crazy bastards," grunted Gawain, then put them from his mind. The peasants were units in from one of King Edward and Prince Edmund's other specifically designed armies, and he would worry about his own men, not them,"Archers, use fire! Catapults, let them get nice and bunched up and then unleash hell!"
Flaming arrows and massive burning rocks smashed into the tightly packed Mongols as they pounded screaming down the bridge. They died in scores, screaming and burning, catching other men alight, pitching over the side and falling flailing into the water below to drown. Gawain grinned as he watched them die, feeling a vindication he had never felt before. Fighting the soldiers on other nations on the field was a duty of all men, but the Mongols were different. They did not want to conquer to rule in the stead of the nobility, they wanted to annihilate everything different to them, to destroy civilization, to destroy and rape and kill and nothing else. They were war for the sake of war, a pestilence upon the world, and Gawain saw their deaths not as the honorable meeting of foes, but the extermination of a potentially lethal pest.
His Pikemen were holding their lines, the Mongol Horses impaling on the pikes and creating a wall of the dead to act a further barrier to their countrymen. The Mongol's feared archers could not get close enough to fill the sky with death, but Scotland's archers could, and they sent wave after wave of burning arrows into the mass of armored Mongols, who screamed not only in pain but rage and an alien hatred that was not the stuff of warriors or even barbarians, but animals.
"Hold your positions!" ordered Gawain,"We're obliterating them, lads! Don't get silly now, settle yeselves in a for a nice, long, boring extermina-"
He stopped in horror, watching as more units from the other Mongol Extermination Army flooded over the hill and down towards the bridge. They'd been ordered to hold in place, dammit, in case Gawain's men were overrun, what the hell were they doing?
And then he realized, the units charging were Turkopole Archers, mercenaries who Edward and Edmund had ordered them to buy due to their hatred of the Mongols. Now that hatred was overriding their orders, as they saw the Mongols dying in huge numbers and could not stand not to be taking part. It seemed that their enthusiasm was infectious, as more and more units from the army thundered by, including the man who was supposed to be leading them. Gawain watched in horror as the Captain screeched in delight and charged by him with Scots Spear Militia after the Turkopoles, whooping his defiance to the world.
"No dammit, no!" cried Gawain as he watched the Turkopoles thunder through his Pikemen from behind, knocking them out of formation as they smashed into the pile of Mongol dead, burst through and over and began laying into the Mongols on the other side. One Mongol in particular stood out to Gawain, a powerfully built horseman who screamed with fury yet retained an impassive face as he cut down anyone that came near him,"Catapults! destroy their front line before our own idiot reinforcements break through! Aim at that tough bastard at the forefront! Bring him down!"
The rocks smashed down all around Jebe, obliterating his men, blasting aside others, and he let loose an animalistic roar of defiance.
"I DEFY YOU, SKOT-TISH!" screamed Jebe,"YOU CANNOT KILL THE HORDE! THE HORDE IS IMMORT-"
A flaming arrow plunged into his eye and he screamed in pain, falling from his horse. He felt thoughts tumbling madly about in his head, most concentrating on the fact that he had fallen from his horse. A true Mongol did not fall from his horse, it was a sign of weakness, it was he was was he weak who was weak a week of what when di-
With Jebe down, the Mongols were momentarily without a leader or direction, and the charging Scottish reinforcements pushed them backwards, which had the side-effect of pushing them forward as well as anyone unfortunate enough to be in their path. Some of Gawain's Pikemen found themselves being dragged along, having to run to keep from being trampled, and pulled further and further along the bridge.
"Get back!" cried Gawain, even though he knew the Pikemen were powerless to stop their forward momentum.
A bloodied Spearman staggered out of the melee on the bridge on Gawain's side, and the General walked his mount to the mans side, grabbing his shoulder and fixing his eyes firmly on him.
"Tell me lad, and tell me true," he whispered,"Why did ye attack the bridge against orders?"
"Th... the Captain...." gasped the Spearman,"...he said ye wanted all the glory...."
"The damned fool," hissed Gawain,"This is nae about glory, we need to exterminate the Mongols now while we have the chance."
"Bu... but surely they're nearly all dead," moaned the Spearman,"We...."
"You idiot!" hissed Gawain,"Did ye braindead Captain nae look BEHIND the bloody bridge!"
He forced the Spearman's head around, and for the first time the man tore his eyes from the eye-catching sight of nearly 2000 Mongols.... and saw the other 2000 Mongols riding down the dunes towards their end of the bridge.
Bayan the Wrathful was coming to avenge his cousin's death.
"The... the Catapults?" gasped the Spearman.
"Ye glory seeking Captain has his entire army on that bridge," snapped Gawain,"And I'll nae turn Catapult Fire on Scottish men, I'll nae become a Mongol to kill the Mongols!"
On the bridge, the "reinforcement" army had finally realized their error and, seeing 2000 Mongols charging directly for them, their nerve broke. They turn and ran back down the bridge, slipping and sliding over a mountain of dead bodies both Mongol and Scottish, and Gawain waited for his moment.
"Prepare the Catapults and flaming arrows!" he ordered,"But dinnae fire till our allies are clear! Pikemen! The very moment our men are off the bridge, close tight the end and brace as if ye life depended on it.... dammit, it DOES depend on it!"
He watched, biting his lower lip anxiously. This would take precision timing, if the Pikemen did not close and brace in time..."NOW!"
The Pikemen charged forward in desperation, throwing up their pikes.... and the Mongols smashed into them with the full, unbroken force of 2000 Mongols behind them. They were sent flying, tumbling across the ground with hooves stomping over and around them, pikes dropped as they concentrated solely on staying alive.
"Dammit! Forward!" roared Gawain,"ALL UNITS MEET THEM AT THE BRIDGE AND HOLD THEM BACK!"
They smashed together, his Knights and Cavalry Bodyguard charging into the overwhelming numbers as he roared for the Catapults to fire, fire, fire! But the Catapults were abandoned, the operators fighting for their lives as the Bayan led his men forward and cut down the now unprotected archers. Gawain watched horses and men falling aside with sickening regularity as he fought in the thick of it, and then to his horror, he heard a familiar cry and turned his head to see his brother, Nevin, surrounded on all sides, and the Mongol bastards.....
"NO!" he screamed, and then turned his horse aside so that it faced up the sand dune, crying out,"RETREAT! RUN AND LIVE! RUN SOUTH AND LIVE! SOUTH!"
He spurred his horse forward, tears flowing from his eyes as he left behind the fighting and his brother.... his dead brother. He felt a coward, but he had to run now, he had to get the Mongols to give chase, this was their last chance now, if the men had just understood his final command.
Bayan screamed with true pleasure as he sliced a Skot-tish head from its shoulders, and heard their Warlord screaming for them to run, to run South!
"SOUTH!" he laughed, his blood up and his adrenaline flowing, he felt invincible! He watched with delight as the Skot-tish forces turn and ran from them, as all eventually did before the Horde. They had been worthy opponents, and given Jebe an honorable death, but now the day was his, and with this victory he was sure he would be accepted as new Khan of the Horde,"SOUTH!"
They pushed up the hill, Bayan laughing with delight. Death was coming for the Skot-tish, and nothing could stand in their way, noth....
And then he rode over the top of the sand dune and saw what was waiting for him.
Gawain breathed a sigh of relief, the third army under Captain Steaphan had followed their specific orders and waited for a worst case scenario, and now they stood rested and ready to crash into Bayan and his men as they rode over the sand dune.
"COME THEN!" screamed Bayan, eyes wide as he saw the Scottish thundering towards him,"YOU'LL FIND I DON'T DIE SO EASIL-"
Spearmen charged up hard against the Mongols, and a spear plunged through Gayan's armor, into his belly and out of his back. Blood erupted from his mouth to finish his final word, and then he was tossed aside with the rest of the dead
The Mongols stared at their dead Warlord, stared at the dead and dying around them, and for the first time in known history, the Mongols broke.
They did not beat a tactical retreat, as they had when Gawain met Aradai and Khanzada Kublai, they were not captured and thus defeated by default.
No, the deadly Mongolian Horde, now leaderless and seeing inescapable death approaching, broke and ran in terror, screaming and begging for mercy like so many had run from them.
Just like the Mongolians in the past, the Scottish showed no mercy.
Khan Chagatai watched the Skot-tish mopping up the last of what had once been his men and, despite himself, grinned. He was far enough distant to avoid a chance of attack by his surprisingly resilient foes, but thanks to the height of the hills looking down at the river and desert battlefield, he could make out most of what was going on.
He turned his horse and stared at his assembled men, who had been looking at him with disdain during the battle itself but now had nothing but expectant looks on their faces. They needed a leader and now they knew that - for better or worse - he was it.
"We ride north," he grunted,"For now we avoid the Skot-tish, till we can find Aradai and Khanzada and rebuild the Horde. We will fight the Turks, perhaps, or these free-men who call themselves Rebels. We will rebuild, and when we are ready, we shall have our revenge on the Skot-tish and Kanmor Khan."
Several hours later, Gawain Arthyn rode his horse slowly through the desert, surveying what should have been the greatest day of his life, if not for the death of his brother. He had at least recovered the body, and would see to it that Nevin had a proper, Christian funeral.
"General," saluted a soldier, approaching him,"We've assembled the prisoners, what would ye have us do with them?"
Gawain turned and looked at the silent, shocked faces of the kneeling Mongols, their hands tied behind their back. They had never experienced anything like this before, to not only be defeated, but to break and run.... and then be captured.
"Many have died this day," grunted Gawain,"So many."
He turned and looked out over the desert again, and the mountains of dead bodies that would see the area called "Mongol Bridge Over Blood River" by locals for some time to come.
"So many have died," Gawain repeated softly to himself, then turned around and sneered at the Mongol prisoners,"I doubt the Devil will mind a few more, execute them."