The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 34: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 33

"You know, of course, that Bern has fallen to Scotland," Duke Puccio muttered, sounding bored despite discussing the fall of one of his own cities.

"Of course," replied Philip Grimston, English Diplomat,"We also know that Scotland flooded into your regions when their spies knew your cities were lightly guarded. We know that they came in winter through storms and cold that would have killed any other army. We know they struck hard and fast and caught your own armies by surprise. We also know that Winter is over, that Milan is now prepared and its armies on the march, and that Scotland's only access to your cities is through a thin mountain pass that could be defended by four old men and a goat were it necessary."

"Yes, and England's cities sit flush on the border with Scotland's new territories, with the Holy Roman Empire poised above you to strike," noted Puccio,"And as such, your new King has rethought the Alliance that Godwine so thoughtlessly tossed aside."

Grimston bit his lip, obviously aggravated at the suggestion that it had been England's fault their previous Alliance with Milan had faltered. Puccio was a user, he forged Alliances and then used them all to his own advantage, and England had suffered greatly as a result of its deal. But England NEEDED Milan now, and so it had swallowed its pride and sent Grimston to sign a new deal. Puccio had agreed to see him, but not in Court where Scotland might have spies, but in his private quarters late in the night, where the near insomniac Duke conducted most of his important business.

Puccio eyed the young Diplomat, who stood quietly to allow the Milanese Duke to process his thoughts. Puccio's thoughts were not on the Alliance however, he'd all ready made his decision on that. Rather, he was thinking about the young man, and how he looked in the fine clothing he wore.... and how he would look out of it.

"Harry the Honest, they call your King," grinned Puccio,"I wonder.... how honest is he? Surely he sent YOU, a young, attractive man to me with specific purpose."

"My Lord?" queried Grimston, confused.

"I shall accept your offer of Alliance on one condition," he continued,"That condition being you."

"Me?" asked Grimston, still confused,"I don't understand."

"Oh you will," chuckled Puccio,"I suggest you close your eyes and think of England."


As the Priest said his final words, the shrouded form of Steaphan Vissman slid from the plank and over the ship's rail, causing a large splash as it hit the water, the weights in the shroud dragging the dead Scotsman to the bottom of the ocean.

Steaphan deserved more, Domnall thought angrily as the men hastily disbanded and moved away, each desperately trying to keep their distance from the other. It was a pointless effort, when you had hundreds of men on a ship - no matter how large it was - distance was impossible, but you couldn't change the human desire for self preservation. Steaphan had been the first to die, but he would not be the last. The man who had faced down the Mongol Hordes and played a vital part in their decimation had died quickly and horribly of a disease that was like unto a curse from God. Now scores of other men across all the ships in Admiral Fearghus' fleet were coming down with the dreaded plague, and efforts to quarantine the sick from the healthy would not be enough... but they also couldn't land and disembark without running the risk of infecting other Scottish towns.

"Tell me of this plague, EVERYTHING" demanded Domnall as he fell in beside the ship's physician, a slight and nervous man who had an annoying habit of running his hands through his hair.

"We ken little about it, to be honest," muttered the Doctor,"It comes in three forms, the deadliest of which killed Lord Vissman, turning his skin purple and destroying his insides. The second form seems at first like a bad case of the flu, with a hacking cough and trouble breathing, until the victim starts coughing up blood. The third and most common form is discomfort, headaches, chills despite a high fever and swelling of the groin, neck and armpits. As far as we can tell it is spread like the flu, so quarantine and isolation may nae have much impact."

"How do we treat it," demanded Domnall,"I ken it kills most, but there must be treatments that have some impact."

"I would recommend going through the ship's hold and finding any fragrant leaves or herbs packed as army supplies, my liege," grunted the Doctor,"Keep pots of them constantly burning on deck to keep the air purified, and keep the boats moving so the air continues to shift and the disease cannae easily be spread from man to man. For those infected, each ship's physician must do the best he can. I can design a plague suit that will mostly protect me from infection while I treat those suffering, and on those with the most common form of the plague, bloodletting will relieve the swelling. After that, all that can be done is to wait. Most will die, some will survive."

Domnall cursed softly under his breath, and rubbed absently at the flea bite on his arm.


"WHERE'S GILLE CALLINE YE STUPID BASTARD MUSLIM!" roared a voice, and the man in question sat up startled in his chair, tipping his cup onto the table. Cursing angrily, he quickly pulled a series of papers away from the spill and stood up as the wine dripped off of the table, careful to avoid any falling on his clothes.

"Stupid bastard Muslim?" Gille Calline asked himself, and then the door to his office burst open and an angry looking man stormed in followed closely by Gille's manservant, a dark skinned Spaniard who was the most devout Catholic Gille had ever met... including all of the Popes.

"AH!" snapped the stranger, as if Gille had been hiding from him,"THERE ye are!"

"And who might I ask are you?" asked Gille, hiding his irritation.

"Gordon of Edinburgh!" exclaimed the man, as if that explained everything. When Gille continued to stare blankly, he sighed and spoke slowly, as if dealing with an imbecile,"Ye're supposed to be mentoring me. Adam Canmore sent me to be ye protégé!"

Even the famously blank-faced Gille Calline could not help but sigh.


Paolo the Wrathful was dangerous man for an entirely different reason to Duke Puccio. Where Puccio worked politically and shifted spies and assassins about on his map like they were chess pieces, Paolo governed his city - Dijon - firmly but fairly, controlled his armies personally and played no favorites. He was Milan's greatest General, and it was he who would be commanding the counter-offensive against Scotland. Now that the long winter was over, he was looking forward to mounting up and killing some Scotsmen.

Now he stood in what was dubbed his War Room, which featured a giant map - set into the floor - of the entire world. Regions were marked on the map, but not cities, which were instead represented by large moveable blocks set in different colors to represent different nations. Similarly for the armies of nations, in fact the entire thing had the appearance of a giant child's game, and some had joked - never in Paolo's presence of course - that the War Room would be better known as the Toy Room.

Now Paolo stood on the map atop Dijon, a green city-block beside him, and stared to his right towards the now blue city-block of Bern. Dego di spina had been meant to organize the reinforcement of Bern and the recapture of Metz before Winter's end, but instead the spy had disappeared, along with the men in his command. The lack of reinforcements had meant Dougall Macdonchie had easily taken the lightly defended Bern, and now Dijon was the only Milanese city left beyond the mountain walls that protected their holdings in Marseille, Genoa and Milan. But Dijon held thousands of men, the crème of Milan's soldiers, all highly trained and loyal to a fault, and it was they who would help him recapture Bern, then Metz, Rheims and Paris. He expected to have those cities captured by the end of Summer, and to begin hording for Winter during which time the cities would be reinforced against another Scottish winter offensive. The next summer they would be ready to move on Angers, Caen, Rennes, Bruges and Antwerp, and then let the Scottish spend their Winter hiding in terror of the coming Milanese force in their so-called "United Kingdom.

Move to Bern on his map, Paolo lifted the blue markers representing the Scottish armies of Dougall Macdonchie and tipped them on their side. He chuckled to himself, he could see it all so clearly, everything wou-

He crashed to the ground and convulsed wildly, the poison on the Scottish marker quickly travelling through his bloodstream. His arms shook at his sides and his legs flailed as froth erupted from his mouth and his eyes rolled wildly in their sockets.

An hour later when a servant bought him wine, Paolo had all ready been dead for 55 minutes.


"It was my understanding," noted Gille Calline carefully,"That Pope Maczeus' excommunication of Duke Puccio had more to do with the man's.... predilections.... than his politics."

"He buggers boys, ye mean," grunted Gordon, and Gille sighed heavily.

"Buggers boys?" asked Pope Saracinus,"I was never made aware of this in my former life as a Cardinal."

Gille had noticed that most of the Pope's he'd dealt with over the decades all shared a common conceit. Despite having spent years or even decades dealing at the heart of the dirty and human politics of the Papacy, the moment they became Pope they all seemed to firmly believe that theirs was a divine selection and the underlying politics of the Church no longer existed.

"Puccio is a discreet man, but those he chooses to keep in his court speak volumes without saying a word. He has a-"

"He keeps "ladies" about who can grow beards, have bad knees and a talent for biting pillows," snapped Gordon, obviously disgusted.

"Come now, Gord-" started Gille, but the brash diplomat from Edinburgh overrode him as the wide-eyed Pope looked on.

"Oh come now my arse!" he snapped, standing up and pacing angrily about the room. The meeting was supposed to be a standard formality, Gille had been having weekly "chats" with whoever the Pope was in Rome for the moment for years now,"Everyone kens, even England's Harry the Honest sent him some stupid young Catamite to spread his arse for an Alliance."

"GORDON!" roared Gille angrily, then turned to the Pope,"Your Holiness, I apologize profusely for my associat-"

"It is nothing," sniffed Saracinus, waving an arm dismissively,"Truth be told, I welcome the directness of your companion, he has given me much to think of. Please leave me now, I would confer with God."

Gille bowed, his familiar blank face returned after his angry outburst. Gordon followed suit, and then the two left, Gille whispering harshly to Gordon as they moved down the marble corridors of the Pope's Palace. Anyone who saw the two would believe the older man was berating his (comparatively) younger companion, which was exactly what Gille was hoping for. What he was actually saying was,"Well done, young man, well done indeed!"


Captain Corsello could not believe that Dijon was in the hands of Scotland.

It was his fault, he had been played completely by the Scottish, who had pulled his strings and run him about like a dog on a leash. The death of Paolo had enraged Corsello, who had suddenly had control of Dijon thrust into his hands until Puccio's austere younger brother Count Catelano could arrive from Genoa to take control. But when news had arrived that Bern's garrison was severely under strength, Corsello had made the decision to divide the forces in Dijon and retake Bern before Catelano's arrival. He had taken 1300 men from Dijon's 2000 strong garrison and ridden to lay siege to Bern, thinking that Scotland's armies were spread thin around their newly captured territories and thus unable to gather enough men to threaten Dijon. The city itself sat in a depression surrounded by high mountains, making it naturally defendable and notoriously hard to lay siege to. Even if access could be blocked from the north, the city's inhabitants could still escape through the mountains to Marseilles, Genoa or Milan.

But Corsello has erred, as he laid siege to Dougall Macdonchie in Bern, the reason for Scotland's lightly defended garrisons was made clear. A force of 1000 men led by a Captain Ranald had marched on Dijon, where spies inside the city had opened the gates and allowed them to march in and massacre the remaining garrison. Thus, the mighty city of Dijon had been captured almost without a fight, leaving Corsello with the largest and best trained army in Milan.... and no city.

He instantly broke off the siege on Bern and force marched his men back to Dijon, enraged and determined to regain some prestige AND a city. He could not allow Dijon to be Scottish, and if he had to kill all of his men he WOULD recapture the city.

In Dijon itself, Captain Ranald had been expecting just this to happen. The Milanese were proud, and even if they weren't, no one could stand being played the fool so openly and publicly. Corsello was bringing 1300 angry and determined Milanese with him, almost twice the number of Ranald's own 741. But his Scots were just as determined to hold Dijon as the Milanese were to regain it. If Milan held Dijon, it left open their mountain passes and would allow more troops to enter Scotland's newly captured territories. If Scotland held Dijon, then Milan's armies would be restricted to behind the mountains and forced to defend rather than attack.

Ranald placed bombards behind the main gate and Spearmen and Pikemen all about them. On the walls themselves, Pikemen stood ready to defend the walls from any number of attacking Milanese, and Ranald was convinced that if they could hold Milan outside of the city, they could successfully hold Dijon despite the numbers disadvantage.

What he hadn't counted on was Corsello's trebuchet.

"Ahhhh SHIT!" yelled Ranald, then screamed down from the wall,"BOMBARDS! MOVE TO THE BREACH AND FIRE ON THAT TREBUCHET! DINNAE LET THEM SMAS-"


The bombards fired, and cannon shot smashed directly into the first trebuchet, shattering it into pieces. The second trebuchet fired a blast that arched over the wall and deep in the city, hitting the roof of a building and tearing through it. A second bombard blast ripped through it, and the Milanese were no longer able to attack from a distance.... but now there were two huge breaches in the wall, and well over a thousand armored Milanese soldiers charging through the grass towards "their" city.

"HOLD THEM AT THE BREACH!" Ranald screamed down from the wall as he watched the Scottish desperately bracing and trying to hold back the wave of screaming Milanese pouring into the breaches, swords swinging as the pikes of the Scottish.

"WARE THE TOWER!" cried a man to his right, and Ranald turned and cursed as he saw one the siege tower lumbering forward towards the wall.

"BRACE!" he roared at his men,"First Milanese bastard to come over this wall goes back without a head!"

Several hundred Scots stood firm at the breaches, slashing back at the hundreds of Milanese who flooded in against them. Bodies fell between the two sides, Milanese and Scots lying in piles, blood on the stones of the city. Screams and taunting had dropped to nothing now, both sides grunting with effort and concentrating solely on staying alive. As hard as the Milanese pushed, the Scottish held, but as many Milanese that the Scottish killed, more kept coming. The same could not be said for the Scots, there were only so many of them, and for each that died, there was one less to defend.

Suddenly a roaring challenge rang up from behind the Scottish, the voices of fresh men eager to fight. But it was not Scottish, the Milanese had scaled the walls with ladders on the Western breach and now ran into the backs of the Scottish and smashed against them, striking down surprised and undefended men who now found themselves fighting for their lives from in front and behind.

The gates to the city between the two wall breaches pushed open against the weight of the Milanese on the other side, seeking to cut between the two groups of Scottish fighting. They found to their detriment, however, that this move had been anticipated, as the bombards open fired from only a few feet back and send flaming death smashing through the gate and into the men beyond.

On the wall, the Milanese had successfully fought their way over from the siege tower, creating a small gap where they could stand and fight against the Scottish.

Ranald cursed as he watched the Milanese charging up the siege tower onto the wall. If he could just get a bombard outside of the walls to destroy the blasted thing....

"ABANDON THE WALLS!" he cried, inspiration striking him,"LET THEM HAVE IT, LADS! FOLLOW ME! I HAVE A PLAN!"

He charged down the narrow winding stair of the tower (no easy feat, especially in full armor) with his men thumping behind him, and felt a momentary burst of affection for his men for not questioning his order to abandon their walls to the Milanese. Charging out onto ground level, they were to the side of the mass of fighting Scottish and Milanese, who had passed through the breach and were spreading out along the interior wall of the city.

"INTO IT, LADS!" cried Ranald,"Surround the Milanese bastards and wipe them out!"

The men from the walls - still relatively fresh - smashed into the exhausted and bloody Milanese, giving cheer to the equally exhausted and bloody Scotsmen who had been desperately defending the breach. Moving to join with his other men, Ranald saw the Milanese surrounded and attacked from all sides, preventing them from being able to focus on one particular front. As a result, Milanese started falling in greater numbers, and everywhere they turned, they found more Scottish waiting for them.

Ranald had achieved the unthinkable, he was outnumbering a bigger army.

"ENOUGH!" cried one Milanese, and pushed desperately past his fellow countrymen and back out the breach, charging across the grass away from a city he had called his own for many years. No more, the Scottish could have Dijon, the price in blood and death was not worth it.

As if this was the cue, the other Milanese instantly broke and followed, and the Scottish who had been fighting them at the breach for close to an hour now stood bewildered watching them go before letting out a ragged, relieved cheer.

"We're nae done yet, lads!" called Ranald, pointing to the Scottish still fighting at the western breach,"Into them, lets have those Milanese follow their craven countrymen!"

It did not take long.

Ranald sighed with relief as he watched the Milanese running, then turned and stared back up at the wall where he could see several hundred remaining Milanese - those that had taken the walls he had abandoned.

"Bombards!" he snapped, and the bombard commander rushed to his side,"If ye get ye cannon over that pile of dead Milanese bastards by the gate, I want ye to blow that siege tower into pieces. Those bastards are nae going to have an easy way out when we kill them."

"Aye sir!" snapped the commander with a salute, and then turned and screamed at his men to get into gear and get the bombard outside of the city.

"Well then," sighed Ranaldo, turning to stare at his panting, bloody and exhausted men... all of them grinning widely,"Shall we go explain to yon bastards on our wall why Dijon belongs to Scotland now?"

His men roared in approval, and then they marched towards the wall where Captain Corsello and his men waited. Despite seeing hundreds of his men break and run like cowards, Corsello remained confident. He held the high ground yeah, the Scots would have to come at him a handful at a time, and even with half his army dead or deserted, he still had more men than the Scots.

They could not possibly defeat him.

Ranald stood knee-deep in the dead, bloody remains of hundreds of Milanese, Captain Corsello's body sliding off of his sword. The Milanese Captain had stood brave to the end as his men broke and ran around him, but he'd died nonetheless, and now the Milanese were running, still numbering in their hundreds but broken and scattered now. The siege tower lay broken before the wall, destroyed by the bombards, and those few units of the Scottish not too exhausted were chasing down the running Milanese still within reach, while the others disappeared into the mountains.

Ranald sighed with relief, it had finally happened, what they'd been waiting for since this war truly began. The most powerful, well trained and effective army of the Milanese had met head to head with the Scottish.... and been found wanting.


Strange dreams. Colors that didn't exist. Noises faded in and out. Thirsty. Burning. Nauseous. Confused. A bird man? Words spoken he didn't understand.

He was dying.

King Domnall blinked his eyes slowly, looking about him. He lay on his bunk, his room was shrouded in darkness, and leaning over him was a.... a thing.... a bird-man reaching with leering eyes and black hands.

"GET AWAY!" he coughed hoarsely, and the bird-man pulled back, surprised.

"Ye're awake?" asked the bird-man, and his voice was strange, muffled and... he smelt like vinegar?

"What are ye?" gasped Domnall, and clutched at his throat, wincing at the pain. He was so thirsty, but his throat burned and felt swollen.

"It is I, Doctor Kinsey," replied the bird-man calmly,"Remember, my liege? This is my plague-suit, it protects me."

"Plague," gasped Domnall, remembering. They were at sea, an army infected by the dreaded plague. Scores of soldiers, possibly hundreds, dead or dying. And he was one of them? Yes, he'd felt the first swelling only two days after Steaphan Vissman had been buried at sea, felt the fever and other symptoms the Doctor had told him of,"I am... dying?"

"Possibly," grunted the Doctor, who Domnall now recognized as wearing the bizarre protective costume of a "Plague Doctor", which included a bird-like face mask containing vinegar and various herbs and fragrant leaves, designed to purify the air through which the plague apparently spread,"Ye show all the signs, my liege, and unless there is something to the old superstition of the divine blood of the royalty, ye chances are no better than any other man."

Domnall lay back on his bunk, and found himself staring directly up into his father's face.

"...." started Domnall in shock, mouth opening wide.

"Ach, Domnall, ye disappoint me, lad," sighed Edmund, standing over Domnall's bunk,"I thought I taught ye better than this."

"I... I...." gasped Domnall.

"Yes, my liege?" asked the Doctor, raising an eyebrow behind his mask.

"What have I told ye about accepting established knowledge, hmmm?" lectured Edmund, in that tone of voice that Domnall knew so well, the one he used when he was trying to teach his son a lesson,"Now ye're just going to lie here and die because someone tells ye that is just the way things are? And ye showed such promise with the way ye dealt to the Mongols too."

"My liege?" asked the Doctor again, concerned as he watched Domnall focusing on a point above him where there was nothing to focus on but the roof of the cabin.

"Ask yeself, Domnall, ask yeself where ye have just been and who ye have with ye. Dinnae disappoint me lad, ye're better than this."

"My liege, I want ye to look at me," cried the Doctor, and sighed with relief when Domnall did, turning his eyes towards the Doctor.... but then his relief faded as he saw the intense look of concentration on Domnall's face. The plague-ridden King of Scotland hauled himself into a sitting position, sweat breaking out on his all ready dangerously dehydrated body, and he fixed his gaze on the Doctor.

"When we left Iconium, we took a unit of Turkish mercenaries onboard with us," he growled,"Go to them and find their Doctor, or whatever the closest to one they have is, and bring him to me."

"My Liege?" asked the Doctor, confused,"What do ye...."

"NOW!" roared Domnall, and the Doctor exited the cabin at a run, as Domnall lay back and panted with exhaustion. Had that been the shade of his father? Or just a fever-sparked hallucination telling him what he all ready secretly knew deep inside of him. Whatever the case, it did not matter. If he was wrong about his sudden intuition, the worst that could happen was that he would die, which would happen if he didn't follow it.

At least he would not die lying on his back and waiting for fate to come for him.


"A good day's work today, Gordon," complimented Gille Calline the Balleol, sitting at his tidy desk across from Gordon's cluttered one,"We have secured some stability for our Nation's expansion plans today."

"Aye," noted Gordon,"That Danish Princess had a good set of tits, too."

Gille sighed, which was becoming a more common occurrence nowadays. Gordon was - when actively trying - a brilliant diplomat who had a deft touch for seeing what was hidden, reading between the lines and in turn hiding his own thoughts and feelings. But once outside of what he believed to be a diplomatic setting, he became a foul-mouthed, intolerant religious bigot.

"Gordon, I have told you many times," sighed Gille,"To be a successful diplomat, especially in a city as political as Rome, you must ALWAYS be a diplomat. Whether in private audience with the Pope; meeting with traders from Florence; drinking in a pub with dock workers; or, yes, sitting in our private chambers... you MUST act diplomatically. You must assume someone is ALWAYS watching, and act accordingly."

"Bah, I bet if ye dream about nude women, ye keep ye eyes averted and tell them ye appreciate their singing talent," grunted Gordon,"A man cannae be acting diplomatically all the time or he forgets what kind of a man he is, and just becomes a hollow shell spouting meaningless babble."

"There is a danger of losing your individuality, true," conceded Gille,"But there is a secret to it, a way to stay true to yourself without horribly offending someone and causing a war with Sicily in the process."

"Well ye're the one supposed to be mentoring me," chuckled Gordon,"Let's hear it then!"

"I suppose I'm not getting any younger," sighed Gille,"Very well, listen carefully."

Gordon leaned forward eagerly as Gill closed his eyes and sat up straight, apparently gathering his thoughts. But he continued to sit, and sit.... and sit.

"Calline?" grunted Gordon,"Balleol! OI! You have nae fallen asleep have ye, ye old fart?"

He stood up and pushed Gille's shoulder, and the man fell forward face-first against the table, then slid off of his chair and onto the ground.

His face remained blank and unreadable.

"Gille?" asked Gordon in horror, and dropped and grabbed the man's arm, feeling the rapidly cooling skin.

"Ahhhhh shit!"


Puccio stared with distaste at the Venetian Diplomat, who had just had the temerity to scald him in front of his court.

"Would you care to repeat that?" he asked with a dangerous smile, but the Venetian was not cowed.

"Your disastrous war with Scotland appears to have affected your hearing as well as your mind," he snapped,"You offered Venice an Alliance to present a united front against Scotland to DISSUADE them from expanding. But then you continued to send armies against them, and when you push Scotland, Scotland pushes back a hell of a lot harder. They've taken Dijon, they've taken almost all of your most profitable cities and made them into their own. They'll push through and wipe you out, and then they'll be sitting directly on Venice's border! You've not only doomed yourself, but you've put Venice at risk too!"

"I have created Alliances with Venice AND England, and made peace with the Moors," retorted Puccio softly,"If Scotland presses forward now, it will find itself surrounded by three Nations who consider it a risk to their sovereignty. Now is a time to be united, if our Alliance is broken, then Scotland will consider us all easy pickings.... if we remain united, they will be happy with their new territories. They will NOT come south through the mountains against us here in Milan, the pass is too easily defended and leaves them exposed against England in the north. The fall of Dijon was an unfortunate result of the unexpected death of its Governor, and his replacement - Corsello - overreacted to his new position of authority and lost the city. I will conduct diplomatic overtures to Adam Canmore in the Fall. He is a sensible man who does not seek War, he will return Dijon to me at the cost of some insignificant tribute that Milan can easily afford, and the war will end without either side feeling like they backed down."

The Venetian looked momentarily at a loss for words, while the Nobles in the Court all looked approvingly at their Duke... and then the spell was broken.


"Scottish!?!" snapped Puccio in agitation,"How could the Scottish be sailing into our port?"

Standing, he marched (along with most of his court and the Venetian Diplomat) down the corridors of his palace to the magnificent balcony overlooking the port of Genoa, where Puccio preferred to spend the hottest part of Summer. There it was, large as life and completely inconceivable.... a fleet of large Scottish ships sailing directly towards them.

"You..... idiot, Puccio," gasped the Venetian,"You've been completely out of your league this entire time and your damned arrogance may have cost us all."

Puccio ignored him, ignored the murmurs and whimpers of the Milanese Nobles behind him, ignored the cries of the townspeople and thudding of soldiers rushing for their barracks to suit up in armor and grab weapons. He ignored the Scottish ships themselves, focusing instead on the lead vessel, and the banner lifted high above even the Scottish flag.

The Canmore Coat of Arms, banner of the King of Scotland.

And on the bow of the lead vessel, King Domnall stood staring through narrowed eyes at Genoa. He was thinner than he would have liked, and still unsteady on his feet after a few hours of ordinary exertion... but he was alive and free of the plague, and though many of his men had died of the Black Death, many more had lived.

The Black Death had passed on from the Scottish, but now it was their turn to bring death to Milan.