The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 6: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 5

The King Is Dead, Long Live The King!

Malcolm III was dead, and Edward could scarcely believe it. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he'd always believed he'd see his Father again, though in his fantasies it was his Father who would come to him, on bended knee in the court of Cairo to beg forgiveness for ever doubting his son. Outside of assigning Patrick MacDougall the task of forming a hasty Alliance with Egypt, Malcolm had never acknowledged his son's departure to Egypt, never called for reconciliation with him or Edmund. He'd been notoriously quiet on the subject of Edward's victory at Jerusalem and offered no comment on the destruction of Egypt, and now he never would. He was dead, and now the rest of the world had no option but to call Edward what he'd been now for years.

The King of Scotland.

King Edward the Crusader looked up from his seat with a sad smile at the man before him, Mac Dobarchon of Angus. A Highland Noble from a family fallen on hard times, Mac had travelled with them to Egypt as little more than a lad, and was now a fully grown man who had proved himself in bloody battle at Jerusalem, Cairo and Gaza. Now he was more than just a soldier, he was family.

Edward, to his great surprise, had taken the death of his Father hard, and realised that despite he and Edmund being married and having two more brothers beside back in Scotland, there was no one of an age he could trust to take control of Scotland if he was to die. Thoughts of mortality were usually the last thing on Edward's mind, but the knowledge that the constant presence of his Father SOMEWHERE in the world was no longer there.... he needed someone he could rely on. Edmund was as fine a brother as any man would ever have, and his education made him one of the brightest men in the world as far as Edward was concerned. But would the people follow him? Would the Pope accept a Scottish King who kept a Pagan Magician in his retinue? More importantly, did Edmund even WANT to be King?

He'd not have thought any man would ever say otherwise, but their years in Egypt had shown Edward that his brother's truest concern had always been being appreciated. He'd been angry with Father because Father had taken him for granted, and that was something Edward had never done - he still considered his Brother a fellow King, and treated him as such, even if officially HE was the King of Scotland.

"Acre," Edward said, breaking off his chain of thought,"A small rebel stronghold led by a Captain Baydara.... it sits to the north of Jerusalem and prevents contact with the Continent and possible diplomatic ties that could improve Scotland's position.... it is important, do you ken, Mac?"

"Aye," nodded Mac,"You want me to take it from the Rebels and open up trade lines."

King Edward nodded, adding,"Not just that, Mac, this is your chance to command men, more than just the unit you commanded at Gaza, you'll control the whole host. I need to know you can do this, the men need to know you can do it.... it's important, Mac, so important."

"I shall not let you down, my King," saluted Mac,"Nor ever forget the chance you have given me."


Mac Dobarchon of Angus sat his horse as the catapult blasted at the gates of Acre, mulling over his intelligence. They were almost twice outnumbered, but the Rebels were rabble with no cavalry to speak of, depending on the strength of the walls to protect him.

The gates shattered, and Mac lifted his sword, ordering his men forward through the unguarded gates. Keeping in mind the lessons he'd learned from King Edward and Prince Edmund, he sent his infantry through first and brought up the rear, to avoid a sudden attack that would kill him and send the army into a panic. The air was still and the streets deserted, a foreboding feeling in the air, the calm before the storm.

"Where are they," muttered Mac, and then heard a familiar whistling noise, raising his head to see flaming arrows arcing through the air towards him as he cried out in warning,"SHIELDS!"

He threw up his own shield and felt an arrow bounce away from him as he stared down the street and saw a large collection of archers reloading to fire once more. They were only archers though, and relying on the element of surprise.

"CHARGE!" he roared, knowing the lightly armored Rebels would quickly outpace his own infantry,"BRING THEM DOWN!"

The Archers were brought down in large numbers, completely unable to cope with Mac's Bodyguard as they charged through them, the infantry not far behind slaughtering those that survived the initial charge. But as the last survivors scrambled down the streets towards safety, a cry rang up from the Gate, as the catapult unit was attacked on the main street by Captain Baydara's Spearmen.

"Infantry, back! Cavalry, follow me!" roared Mac, leading his horse down the side street with his Bodyguard in tow. They broke out onto the main road behind the force of Spearmen who were concentrating on the swiftly approaching Infantry, completely oblivious to the Heavy Cavalry behind them. Mac grinned fiercely, and kicked at his horse's sides as he screamed the order,"CHARGE!"

They smashed into the backs of the Spearmen, who screamed in terror as they were trampled and bitten by horses while their rides slashed with their swords. Captain Baydara called the retreat and those of his men still in possession of their wits charged to the sides of the street along the walls of buildings where the way was relatively clear of the Horse.


As the Knights and Swordsmen charged after the fleeing Spearmen, Mac and his Cavalry laid about them dealing with those not lucky enough to have escaped. As the last man was brought down, he turned his attention back down the dusty rode only to see that the Rebel Spearmen were spreading distance between them and their pursuers. There was nowhere to run, but Mac was furious, the battle should be over by now, the Rebels were only extending the inevitable.

"After them, men!" he cried,"Let's finish this now!"

He charged forward, lost in battle and forgetting his battle plans, believing that at this point all was said and done. He quickly passed his Infantry, closing the gap between him and the Rebels and letting loose a blood chilling scream of triumph as he raised his sword.

"NOW!" screamed Captain Baydara as he charged forward, and from the alleyways emerged a small group of reserve Spearmen, bracing themselves as they presented their spears at an angle directly at the heart of Mac's horse.

"NO!" he had time to scream, and then his horse was buckling and screaming itself as he fell to the side and hit the ground with a rough gasp. Acting more on instinct than anything else, he rolled aside and to his feet, swinging his sword wildly and cutting into the side of a Spearman as the Rebel lunged at him.

"To me, men!" he cried, tearing his sword free as the Spearmen charged him,"TO ME!"

The rest of his cavalry not caught in the trap had rode clear and turned, and now they prepared to charge back when the rest of the fleeing Spearman turned and charged at them, surrounding them and preventing their horses from moving as the men riding them fought desperately to get clear.

"MEN OF SCOTLAND TO ME!" screamed Mac as a sword jammed in his upper arm, causing him to drop his own,"TO ME!"

The infantry charged in, overwhelming the Spearmen surrounding the Scottish Noble as he collapsed to his knees, a spear jammed into his side and blood spilling from several wounds.

"Men of... Scotland...." gasped Mac Dobarchon of Angus,"Men of Sco....."

And then he spoke no more.

"KILL THEM!" screamed a Crusader Knight who had served under Mac at the battle of Gaza, horrified to see his former Commander lying dead on the streets of some filthy rebel town,"KILL THEM ALL!"


The remaining Spearmen charged screaming, and the remaining Scots charged screaming louder, and when the two met, Captain Baydara quickly discovered why it was a bad idea to upset a Scotsman.


Edward was enraged when the news reached him, Acre was taken but at the expense of Mac Dobarchon, who had died in battle with Captain Baydara. The death of a man he had fought with and recently adopted into his family hit him so hard that some whispered he was using the death of the man as an excuse to vent his grief over the death of his Father. He retired to his chambers, warning death on any who disturbed him, and even Edmund knew enough to leave his Brother to himself. After a day he ordered food brought to him, and then drink, then more drink and then more drink. At night the Palace at Gaza roared with Edward's voice, alternating between laughing, crying, singing and cursing. Then for a day there was no noise from him at all, and just as Edmund was considering entering his Brother's chambers unbidden, the call came from Edward to meet him.

When he arrived, several men were gathered around Edward's desk, the King looking dishevelled, unshaven and red-eyed. They bowed to Edward, then turned and bowed to Edmund as they left, the Prince recognising his spy Fearghus Campbell and another man he knew the former had recruited. The others were diplomats, though Patrick MacDougall was conspicuous by his absence. Another man entered the chambers behind Edmund, and he turned to raise an eyebrow at him, recognising him as an able commander from their army, one Finguine Arthyn. He knew Finguine more by reputation they personal experience, by all accounts he was a promising commander with a strong religious bent, but he was also well known for taking victory at all costs, including using non-combatants as a means to an end. Finguine shrugged at him, indicating he didn't know why he had been summoned either, and then Edward coughed roughly and got both their attention.

"Finguine, ye Father was a landless Noble, was he nae?" asked Edward.

"Aye, my King," replied Finguine,"Our Grandfather went into debt and my Father was forced into the army, which I was born into."

"I am adopting ye into our Royal Family, Finguine," grunted Edward almost dismissively,"Ye're a good Commander and ye're nae naive, ye ken the realities of the world..... Mac Dobarchon did nae, and he died."

"My.... my King," gasped Finguine, astonished,"I dinnae ken what to say..."

"Ye'll prove your worth with me on the field as ye have in the past," Edward snapped, cutting him off,"Forgive ye King, Finguine, for circumstance makes what should be a joyous occasion a short one, return to the barracks and take what ye will from ye quarters, then return to the palace where ye'll be given quarters."

"My King," replied Finguine gravely, bowing,"May God bless ye."

He left, and Edmund raised an eyebrow at his brother.

"Our family needs more able Generals, Edmund," Edward explained,"You and I rule a large Empire now, we cannae lead every battle ourselves, nor should we, for the good of the Nation."

"Finguine wouldnae be my first choice," suggested Edmund.

"He was nae mine," grumbled Edward,"But circumstance dictated otherwise.... ye saw the men I sent out before ye?"

"Aye, spies and diplomats," nodded Edmund,"What are ye up to?"

"Rebels, Edmund," came the growled reply,"Accursed rebels who think to lead themselves in violation of every law of nature, nobility and God. They are responsible for Fath.... for Mac's death, and they will pay for it!"

Edmund inclined his head, and did not mention his Brother's slip, if some rebels needed to die for Edward to release his grief, then so be it. They were, after all, only rebels.


As the days turned to weeks, the world moved on as it had in the past and would in the future, no matter who died or how important they had been. Cardinal Brian Maknab died in York, apparently inconsolable after the death of his old friend Malcolm III, and Edward was incensed anew when a Venetian Cardinal was chosen by the Pope to replace the late Scottish Cardinal in the College of Cardinals. But death was not the only constant, as the Scottish Royal Family finally began to produce the children delayed for so long by the warring of its eldest sons.

The Spies sent out by Edward to seek Rebels had begun to report back on Cities formerly held by rival Nations, now held by rebelling slaves and freemen. As Edward considered their reports and discussed with Edmund plans to take the cities for Scotland, his Diplomats began to stretch throughout the World, making contact with other Nations and opening diplomatic relationships with them, gaining trade rights and map information as Edward finally accepted he needed to focus his attention on the wider world outside of Scotland's immediate interests.

Edward's former good mood returned with a vengeance when news came through these Diplomatic connections that Venice had grown arrogant with the selection of their Cardinal into the College of Cardinals, and gravely insulted the Pope in a moment of madness. The Venetians were immediately excommunicated, and Edward threw a party on a whisper-thin pretext.

And then Alexander and David arrived.

Edward and Edmund had not seen Alexander since he was a child and David not at all. The two youngest brothers of King Malcolm Canmore had taken ship to pay respects to their brother and new King, and their arrival threw the Royal Court into an uproar, as the Scottish high society based in Egypt struggled to find out the disposition of the elder brothers to their younger kin, and thus how they should act accordingly.

Edward sat his throne in his Gaza Palace as the heralds announced the arrival of Alexander and David at court, Edmund standing beside him, Finguine in the field preparing for Edward's latest planned campaign against the Rebels.

"Introducing Alexander Canmore of Edinburgh and David Canmore of York!" announced the Royal Herald, and the two men stepped into court to be seen by most for the first time. Edward gripped at his throne as Alexander entered, the man was the spitting image of his father at a younger age, though bald and affecting a moustache. David was tall and pale, having an almost sickly complexion. But his eyes were bright, and darting, taking in everything around him while his face held a blank expression.

Alexander and David knelt before Edward, lowering their heads as Alexander acknowledged him as King of Scotland, words echoed shortly after by David. He bid them stand, and noticed that David seemed visibly paler from the slight exertion. He welcomed them to his court, and told them that it was long since past time the Brothers Canmore were reunited, though the four of them had never been all together in the same room before. Edward had tolerated Edmund as a youth and then grown to love him, but Alexander had been the baby to both of them, and neither had time for him. But it was important that the proper things be said, especially in front of the right people; something Edward's father had always insisted on and that Edward had never seen the need for until becoming King himself.

Later that night, they sat at feast as they celebrated the "reunion", and while Alexander and Edmund took part in an energetic debate about the use of assassins in warfare, David leaned across to Edward to speak to him for the first time, and the words he used burned themselves into Edward's mind.

"Father spoke of you often."

As Edmund pointed out that assassins by their nature were as duplicitous as spies but twice as dangerous because of their training in the arts of murder, he noticed Edward and David stand up and leave the hall together, and he wondered briefly to himself what the two strangers could possibly have to talk about.


David Canmore was heir to the throne of Scotland.

Edmund could scarce believe it, but he had to admit that the choice made sense. A week ago they had almost forgotten Alexander and David existed, then they had come to Gaza, held a feast and David and Edward had disappeared for half the night. The next day, Edward had summoned Edmund and told him his plans, qualifying every statement and seemingly at pains for Edmund's approval, though Edmund himself knew it was someone else's approval he was looking for.


David had told Edward that Malcolm had seemingly gained a soft touch in his old age, and often when he and David spoke, it was Edward and Edmund that he spoke of, Edward most often. David had then handed Edward a letter, written in Father's hand by the old man on his deathbed, cursing himself for a stubborn old fool and telling Edward that he was proud of his son for having the guts to go out and gain himself a Kingdom rather than wait for his Father to die and inherit an impoverished Scotland under all but official rule by the English.

So it was that Edward spoke eloquently (and almost desperately) to Edmund of the need for a young Heir, someone with the best qualities of Clan Canmore. David was, by all accounts, a natural tactician with an eye for strategy and an inborn talent to command men. His weak physical nature spoke against him, but as General he need not ride into the thick of battle anyway. Edmund pointed out that Alexander was not much older than David AND tested in battle, which David was not - in fact he was concerned that the obviously weak-bodied youngest brother would faint dead away at the sight of blood. But Edward angrily pointed out that Alexander's great shame was his apparent impotence, and Edward would not name heir a man who could not father children. Finally Edmund had acquiesced, since he had to agree that whatever the reasons for Edward's choice of Heir, he himself had no desire to be King, and David seemed an agreeable enough lad, and obviously bright.

Plus, Edmund had to admit that both their younger brothers were keen to prove themselves. When Edward told them he was preparing to travel with Finguine to the desert city of Baghdad to take it from the Rebels there, both had insisted on travelling with him to take part in the battle. Edward had readily agreed, keen to make use of both Alexander and David's talent for strategy as well as show them the realities of war outside of dusty old books and accounts of battles 1000 years in the past.

They set out for Baghdad, leaving behind Edmund in Gaza to deal with the day to day management of the Empire, a task he mostly delegated to underlings anyway while taking part in his own passion, which was the Spy network he'd been working on for months now with Fearghus Campbell. After signing off on trade deals with France, The Holy Roman Empire and Denmark he went back to a report from Diplomat Gille Calline the Balleol, an exceptional Diplomat who had been working on opening relations with the Moors. It seemed Venice had been embraced once more by the Pope, and Sicily was trying to make inroads against the Moors, which would put them in proximity to Scotland's own lands. He frowned as he considered the implications of this, and then frowned again as a cough caught his attention. He looked up and saw to his surprise Patrick MacDougall, whom hadn't been seen in the palace for a good week now after Edward had roared at him for bringing news from Scotland, where the Council of Nobles was still obsessed with the Rebel stronghold of Inverness, and an English Spy had been caught in the act of trying to infiltrate York.

"My Lord," Patrick said with a bow,"I bring word from Damascus, the Rebels there are building up forces, apparently in preparation for an attack on Acre."

Edmund frowned, Fearghus' report on Damascus showed it to be lightly garrisoned, but the Spy had not been there for weeks as he infiltrated Baghdad on Edward's behalf. It was possible, and if true, with Edward and the bulk of the Scottish forces across the desert in Baghdad Acre was exposed. If Acre fell, it would cut their trade and negate the deals he'd only just signed into effect.

"Where do you get ye information from, Patrick?" asked Edmund, curious.

"King Edward has had little use for me, as ye know," sighed Patrick,"A Diplomat makes contacts whether his King will use them or not, and the word comes to me through my contact with merchants and fellow Diplomats travelling through our lands."

"Then we must take Damascus before Damascus can take Acre," grunted Edmund,"I can raise a small army, and our men in Acre can gather intelligence on the works of Damascus itself."

"If I may make a suggestion, my Lord?" asked Patrick, and continued when Edmund waved a hand,"Prince Alexander and David travelled with the younger sons of Scottish Nobles seeking to gain favor with the King. They are all military men, and experienced in combat, I am sure they would jump at the chance to fight for Scotland."

"Assemble them, Patrick," nodded Edmund,"I must prepare the city for my absence."


King Edward stood in his tent outside of Baghdad, reviewing his battle plans for Finguine, Alexander and David. A messenger entered the tent and passed him a note, and Edward grinned fiercely.

"Our spy has reported he has infiltrated the Gatehouse and will open the gates for us on command," he grinned,"The time is right, our men are rested, we go to battle!"

The others bowed and left the tents to make their own preparations, David and Alexander moving to the large tent they shared.

"This blasted Desert is a far cry from Scotland, is it not, Brother," grinned Alexander as he pulled on his armor.

"Yes Brother," agreed David, the Scottish accent he affected on Edward's behalf replaced by the accentless voice of someone raised and schooled in the finest academies of multiple Nations throughout the world,"But if all goes to plan, this heat is not something we need worry about for long."

"The fool really bought it, didn't he?" laughed Alexander, a bitter, barking sound,"He really thinks Father wrote that letter, that he took pride in this crazed dream of a Scottish Empire in Egypt!"

"Enough that the drunken sop made me heir," nodded David,"And if all goes according to plan here and at Damascus, soon I will be King, you will be my General, and we will be home where we belong, in Scotland."

With shared grins, the two who considered themselves Malcolm Canmore III's true sons prepared to go to War.