The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 33: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 32

Dego di spina was the most dangerous man in the world.

It was a conceit he allowed himself, one of very few. At 58, the Milanese Spymaster had seen and done it all, and taken Milan to a position where only one other nation could possibly challenge it - Scotland. He worked tirelessly to change that, and he was a man given to such modesty and personal sacrifice that one could be forgiven for thinking his motives were purely patriotic. In most cases, they were, but not in his quest to better Scotland, that was a personal obsession, and it was based purely on ego.

Milan was the second mightiest Empire in the world. Milan had the second best spy network in the world. Milan had the second greatest treasury in the world. Milan was second best in almost all respects.... and it was purely due to Fearghus Campbell.

Ever since gaining Duke Puccio's eye and rising to a position of prominence within Milan's Spy Network 30 years earlier, Dego had been aware that Scotland's Spy Network was controlled by a Spymaster beyond compare, a shadowy figure aware of everything that happened in the world, not just within the confines of his own nation. A professional interest in finding out more about the mysterious figure - at the time Milan had not had any dealings with Scotland - had grown into an obsession, as Dego found every line of inquiry, every intelligence probe or push defied. He had known Fearghus Campbell was a spy, of course, but the man seemed to be no more than any other Scottish spy, competent enough but hardly the legendary figure everyone knew the Scottish Spymaster to be. Dego had briefly considered Prince Edmund Canmore might be the Spymaster, then Gille Calline the Balleol, but always his theories had found some fatal flaw, some incontrovertible piece of evidence that showed the Prince or the Diplomat could not be the Spymaster.

Then Fearghus had died, and the barriers keeping Dego's inquires and probes out had relaxed. He still could not fully penetrate the network - Fearghus' protégés had been well trained - but now he had enough knowledge to know that Fearghus HAD been the Spymaster, disguising himself in plain sight. Dego had to give the man credit, he'd come with Edward and Edmund to Alexandria a nobody and helped the two Brothers create an Empire the likes of which the world had not seen in 1000 years. But now he was dead, and with his death, Dego di spina now believed himself to be the greatest Spymaster in the world, and by extension the most dangerous man in the world.

So woe be to Scotland then, as Dego de spina moved quietly, inconspicuously through the streets of Metz - a Milanese city only recently captured by the Scottish - towards his meeting with the traitor who would spell the beginning of the end of the Scottish War on Milan.


Aodh Canmore was miserable. His horse had picked up on his mood and moved restlessly beneath him, and he was painfully aware of all the noise it was making as compared to the silent, still shadows in the darkness around him.

King Domnall's army stood before the walls of Iconium, final refuge of the Turks. Within the walls were Sultan Chaqmaq and Crown Prince Orhan, rulers of the Turkish Empire, and Domnall meant to end their royal line before the dawning of the new day.

And he meant Aodh to take part.

"Ye'll watch and listen closely today, Aodh," Domnall said, riding up beside him. His face was backlit by the torches of the men before him, and it gave him a demonic look that Aodh did not like. He had seen his Uncle in battle and could understand the holy fire and passion that had overtaken him. He had seen his Father in battle and could understand the numbness that had kept him from the horrors of warfare. He had seen his brother Nectan in battle and could understand the disgust and disdain he felt for battle. But he could not understand the bloody-minded pleasure than Domnall seemed to feel in battle,"Ye'll hear my orders and listen as I explain them to ye. Most of all, ye'll take part, and ye'll kill Turks yeself, and I hope ye'll learn the lesson I mean ye to learn."

And so it was that Aodh sat his horse beside Domnall, and endured both witnessing the battle to end the Turkish Empire, and a lecture.

"A man has preceded us to Iconium by many days," Domnall explained,"He has become just another part of the background for those living inside, and thus invisibility. He has assured the gates of the city are open, allowing our men to enter without enduring a long siege and the construction of siege equipment. Note that I send archers and trebuchet forward to pin down the Turks on the walls, while our Spearmen and Pikemen rush the gate to gain a foothold there."

"We have taken the gate, and our men are inside the walls," Domnall continued his lecture,"But we dinnae rest on our laurels, now we must break holes in the walls, so that the Turks will nae be able to concentrate all their men at one point to hold ours off. We outnumber them, and we take advantage of our numbers."

As Domnall delivered his lecture to Aodh, inside the walls another Noble meant to teach a lesson to the Scottish. Sultan Chaqmaq hated the Scottish, they had killed his Father in their unprovoked attack on Caesarea, and now they came to Iconium! They meant to kill him and destroy the proud lineage of the Turks!?! Well not so long as he drew breath! He spurred his horse forward closely followed by his loyal, highly trained bodyguard and his son Orhan. Drawing his scimitar, he let loose a bloodcurdling scream and rode his men directly into the Scottish Pikemen.


The Scottish Pikemen, all veterans of the Mongolian War, held just fine.

The death of their Sultan broke his mounted Bodyguard, who turned and rushed back towards the City Square, Orhan dragged along by his personal bodyguard who screamed at him that as the new Sultan he could not afford to throw his life away in anger. The Scottish gave chase, haranguing the fleeing Turks at every step, fighting ferociously with those who could not get clear while flaming arrows and trebuchet blasts rocked down amongst those running.

"And now, Aodh?" asked Domnall.

"Now?" asked Aodh, confused.

"What do we do now, sitting here on our horses outside the city as our men chase the Turks deeper inside of it?"

"I dinnae understand?" Aodh said, frustration clear on his face.

"Aye, that's the problem," sighed Domnall,"Aodh, of all the lessons Father and Uncle Edward taught ye, ye did nae grasp the most important. The Canmores have always fought on the frontline with their men, it is how we show them we consider them our brothers in arms, our kin, our blood, our people. Do ye think I love battle? That I revel in blood and death? I fight because war is necessary to ensure the protection of my people, and that is why ye do nae start a war for no reason. Edward and Edmund erred when they declared war on Egypt, it was the act of men too stubborn to turn back on a course set when drunk, but that mistake created the greatest Empire this world has seen in 1000 years and turned Scotland into a true world power. Such mistakes rarely end so well, though, and I warred with the Mongols because they threatened Scotland. I war with Milan because they threaten Scotland. There was nae reason to declare war on the Turks, and now ye will see the consequence of that decision. Ye will ride with me into the heart of the battle, and together we will kill alongside men who serve not because of God's divine will or because of who we were born to be - but because they love and honor us, and because we love and honor them."

Aodh sat dumbfounded, mouth agape. Had he really misjudged his brother so poorly?

"RIDE AODH!" laughed Domnall, spurring his own horse forward,"RIDE WITH ME AND FIGHT WITH ME! FIGHT WITH THE MEN OF SCOTLAND!"

"AYE!" cried Aodh, surprising himself with laughter of his own,"FOR SCOTLAND!"

Aodh felt his stomach drop and his lungs freeze as he charged along with Domnall and their cavalry into the thick of the fighting. But at the same time he felt his heart pumping and exhilaration spilling through his body, and what was more, over the clamor of battle he heard the Infantry cheering. The Canmores had come to fight with their men, and they fought with renewed vigor because of it. Then the time for thought was over, as Aodh crashed into the middle of the fighting and - more from instinct than the training he'd had as a child - began to lay about him with his sword, hacking at anyone not wearing the blue of Scotland. Time seemed to slow, the sound of battle fading to almost nothing, his labored breathing filling his ears. He saw men come at him and swing their own weapons, but they were as nothing, every detail was in perfect clarity, and he saw how to strike, how to parry, how to fight back and kill.... and then a screaming Turkish face was in his own, a man roaring in their barbaric tongue that he killed his father, he killed his Grandfather, he would kill him an-

The man's head went flying through the air and his body collapsed, and Aodh stared with wide eyes as Domnall laughed before him, having just cut Crown Prince Orhan's head off.

"Now we pull back, Aodh," smiled Domnall, clapping his brother warmly on the shoulder as they sat their horses during a brief lull in battle,"We have done our duty, and to stay longer is to risk death, which we cannae allow for the good of the Empire.... plus I have a personal attachment to my own head I'd like to keep, I call it my neck!"

Aodh smiled, feeling a rush of love for his brother he had not felt in some time, and together they lead their cavalry back through the Scottish infantry and past the archers as their men cleared up the last of the Turks. Iconium was Scotland's, and the Turkish Empire was no more.


Farquar Makfulchiane entered his private quarters and sealed the door, sighing grumpily as he settled down into a chair and began tugging at his boots.

"I have a lotion good for footsores," chuckled Dego di spina, and Farquar squawked in alarm, jumping out of the chair and grabbing at the dagger at his side. Dego stepped forward and plucked the weapon from Farquar before he had a chance to do more than fumble, carelessly tossing it behind him and slapping the Scotsman gently on the face,"Calm yourself, Farquar, it's me."

"God's blood!" snapped Farquar, grabbing at his chest,"Do ye want my heart to explode from fright? Can ye nae knock like everyone else?"

"I'm "nae" like everyone else," muttered Dego, settling down at the end of Farquar's bed and using the man's dagger to nonchalantly clean his fingernails,"And you knew I was due in Metz today, so you should have prepared yourself for the shock. Now, did you find out the passcode for the watchtower as instructed?"

"Aye," sighed Farquar, settling down in his chair again,"When ye army comes, ye'll have all ready infiltrated the Gate Tower and locked the doors open for them. Milan will walk right through the door and take Metz back.... and when Duke Puccio has his precious city back I mean to be recompensed!"

"Yes yes," grunted Dego,"You'll be paid a fine price for your treachery."

"TREACHERY!" barked Farquar,"Is it treachery when ye own nation turns against ye? When ye own family disowns ye? When ye idiot cousin is accepted into the Royal Family because he studied with the right people in the right places while ye are overlooked because of the indiscretions of ye Father? Is it treachery when ye are only seeking to establish a trading goods company based in Milanese territory and ye own damned "King" disrupts everything ye've built up because he wants to get into a pissing contest with Duke Puccio? Is it...."

Dego let him rant on, long since bored of hearing Farquar's favorite subject - himself and how the whole world was against him. He'd found the man through his Spy Network, an angry Scotsman in dire financial straits who'd he'd turned into his creature. He'd tested the man with a series of small tasks, each one slightly more treacherous than the last, and each time Farquar had done as he'd been told eagerly, his only question being how much money would he get for it. Other times, Dego had let false information fall into his lap to see how Farquar would react, and each time the outcome had been favorable. If it worked against Milan, Farquar kept it quiet, if it worked against Scotland, Farquar was sure to "inform" Dego's Spy Network quickly, with again the only question being how much money was in it for him.

This was the most treacherous thing Dego had ever asked of him, though. He'd used Farquar's connections to get into Metz, and then used him to find out inside information about Metz's defences. Duke Puccio had put Dego in charge of Milan's counter-offensive against Scotland, hoping to regain the rich territories that Scotland had gained in their sudden Winter offensive. Dego planned to use Scotland's own tactics against it, infiltrating occupied cities with spies and attacking in the middle of Winter, taking advantage of the weather to catch the occupiers off guard.

Winter was almost over, but for Scotland, a storm was coming.


"We have a new Pope, Aodh," Domnall noted as they rode towards the docks,"What do ye make of him?"

"I was disappointed that Cardinal James was not chosen," offered Aodh diplomatically, and Domnall laughed. The two brothers previously strained relationship had been much improved since they took Iconium, and now that Aodh had seen war for what it truly was, Domnall almost regretted sending him back to Antioch to study Governing under Nectan. But for what Domnall had planned, he wanted his brothers together and far from him, lest the worst should happen.

"Aye, but still, Maczeus was a good friend to Scotland... thanks in no small part to Gille Calline, and I hope Saracinus will follow in his predecessor's footsteps."

"I thi-" started Aodh, and then stopped as his horse shied, and the howling of dogs started to spread through the city.

"What is this?" grunted Domnall,"Some-"

Suddenly the ground began to shake and groan, the buildings about them shifting alarmingly, dust falling from cracks suddenly appearing in the walls. Domnall cursed and pulled at the reins of his mount, trying to gain control of it, and then the wall to his side collapsed as down the street a building fell apart and crashed down on top of itself. Domnall's vision shook along with the earth, and he saw Aodh fallen from his horse, helped to his feet by other Scots who tried to pull him to safety.

And then it was over, and all stood in the street in preternatural quiet before cries, screams and shouts rose up throughout Iconium.

"Send runners to the Castle and see to it no one was damaged, we'll hold off our departure until we get word. I dinnae think that was too large a quake, but the injured must be seen to."

"That was an ill omen, brother," grunted Aodh, back on his horse and at Domnall's side.

"Pah, that was an earthquake and nothing more," snapped Domnall,"Me and the wife have shaken the bed more than tha-"

He cut off as cries of disgust rose up along the street, and then a strange collective squealing. He turned and watched in astonishment as a black wave rippled along the ground, past the feet of Scottish soldiers, underneath the spooked horses which shifted and whinnied nervously.

"I'll nae hear a thing about any omens," Domnall growled at Aodh as they watched the wave of black rats spill on down the street.


It was time to be rid of Farquar.

Dego di spina didn't like losing assets, but Farquar had seen his face and heard his voice now, and it just made sense to get rid of him. All going to plan, Captain Baldassare would be riding on Metz within the day, which meant Dego could remove Farquar tonight, sleep in his quarters and then make his way at dusk to the Gate Tower and infiltrate it, there to wait Baldassare's arrival. He wasn't an assassin, but one did not last long successfully as a spy without learning a few things about killing covertly, and he had a nice paralytic which would take Farquar out of commission and allow Dego to smother him to death without him fighting back.

"Ale?" he asked, lying on the small couch by the shuttered windows,"I'm parched."

"Aye," nodded Farquar,"I have a barrel or two lying about, all that is left of my poor lost business. I'll draw us a mug each."

He stood up, then slapped his head angrily,"Ach, a fool I am! I received a message from Dijon today, I was supposed to pass it on to the usual contact in Bern, but I thought since ye were here I co-"

"Pass it to me, yes," sighed Dego, figuring it was nothing more than a standard report written up each month. Farquar reached into his tunic and passed a crumpled envelope to Dego before moving into the next room and noisily shifting about his junk to find the ale. Dego sliced it open with Farquar's dagger and opened the note inside, raising an eyebrow when he saw it was a short, handwritten note. He read the contents, and his eyes widened.

"No!" he gasped, and twisted as he leapt to his feet, arm stabbing quickly with Farquar's dagger. Farquar himself stood before him, having moved with terrifying silence behind him, and with a blank face the Scotsman grabbed Dego's wrist in a vice-like grip and twisted, causing the Spymaster to drop the blade to the couch. He opened his mouth to gasp in pain, and Farquar shot his open hand directly into Dego's throat, causing him to double over and gasp silently in pain.

"Pathetic," hissed Farquar Makfulchiane - or Farquar the Killer as he was better known, the premier assassin of the Scottish Empire,"If ye are the best Milan has to offer, it's nae wonder ye've always been behind us at every step."

Dego was twisted around and pulled tight against Farquar, who lifted the dagger from the couch and plunged it into Dego's stomach as his other hand held in place over the Spymaster's mouth. Farquar grinned harshly, and whispered into his victim's ear,"Dougall Macdonchie was waiting for ye Captain Baldassare... and ye Captain Vaggio... AND ye Captain Alessandro! There is nae army coming for Metz, and no reinforcements for Bern. Dougall will take Bern, and I'm personally going to kill Paolo in Dijon.... ye precious Milan will nae exist this time next year!"

Farquar dropped Dego's corpse to the ground, right onto the carpet strategically placed to catch any stray drops of blood. He'd wrap the body up and dispose of it later in the night, and these quarters themselves would be stripped bare and unoccupied before the day dawned. He did not fear capture or imprisonment, he was after all working under orders for the King, but he was a professional, and you kept your skills in practise even when you didn't need to use them.

He picked up the message that Dego had read, the message that had told him trouble was coming. Farquar had held it much longer than a day, it had been sent to him with specific instructions weeks ago, sent by the only man Farquar personally feared. He hadn't opened it out of respect, but now his curiosity got the better of him. Reading it, he laughed long and hard, shaking his head in admiration. A shame he would have to burn the message, he almost wished he could keep it for himself.

My dearest Dego de spina,

You were never as good as you thought you were.

Yours, Fearghus Campbell.


Domnall woke with a thumping headache, and sighed as it was joined by a thumping at his cabin door. After putting Aodh ashore at Antioch and taking Steaphan Vissman aboard, they'd set sail into the open ocean and Domnall had ordered a celebration of their recent conquest of Turkey. They'd drunk long into the night, and now he was paying for it. He had gained his Father's tolerance for drink it seemed, and wished he could have had some of Edward's famous tolerance for ale.

He pulled the cabin door open after dragging himself from his bunk, demanding,"WHAT!?!"

"My King," gasped the messenger, his face pale not from seasickness or a hangover, but from pure unadulterated terror,"Lord Steaphan! He... he....."

"Out with it man!" snapped Domnall,"What about Steaphan?"

"He... he's dead, my King!" gasped the messenger.

"DEAD!?!" demanded Domnall,"How the hell can he be dead?"

And the messenger answered with one word, a word that struck fear into the heart of any man, no matter what Nation, what race, what creed, what religion. He said the one word that Domnall would have paid any price not to hear.