The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 54: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 53

Domnall and Nectan Canmore bit back giggles as they watched the magician performing his tricks for them. The old Egyptian had been in the Court at Cairo for a week now and quickly become a favorite with the nobility, with demand for his services in high demand. It seemed he had once entertained the Egyptian Nobility before Edward and Edmund Canmore had set sail from the Scottish Coast, and spent much of the intervening time honing his art for a new audience.

With a flourish, the old man whipped a sheet over the collection of ceramics he'd used as props throughout his act, and before the boy's wide eyes they simply... vanished! They applauded with delight and the old magician smiled, bowing low and somehow becoming a large bird that hopped about as they burst into outright giggling, before gasping in awe as the "bird" spread its wings wide and seemed to fall apart, becoming a number of birds that flew up into the sky, leaving no magician behind.

"WOOOHOOO!!!" squealed Domnall in delight, leaping up and tossing his fist into the air,"THAT WAS GREAT!"

"How'd he do it!?!" gasped Nectan, scrabbling with wide eyes over the Palace Garden grounds where the magicians had disappeared,"How'd he do it!?!"

"Magic!" sneered Domnall smugly,"He used magic!"

"That's stupid!" snapped Nectan back at him,"It was a trick or something, I just don't know ho-"

"How do ye turn into a giant bird and then turn into a bunch of birds and fly away unless it's magic!" grunted Domnall angrily,"Ye always have to ruin everything! Why can't ye just accept things the way they are?"

"Because the leaders of Scotland can nae afford to take anything at face value, Domnall," spoke a smooth voice, and the two young brothers twisted around in surprise. Standing a few feet away from them were two men, their Father Edmund Canmore, and.... him.

Fearghus Campbell.

Edmund stepped forward and knelt before his sons so they were at eye level, and placed a hand on Domnall's shoulder,"Childhood is a time for joy and wonder and play, Domnall, but the years are not far away when ye will both be considered men... it is time ye learnt that ye cannae just accept what ye see with ye eyes."

The two boys stared at their Father uncertainly, wondering what he meant and fearing that it would somehow involve Fearghus. No one knew exactly what the man did, but rumors were rife in the palace that he was some sort of personal killer or private executioner for Edmund, and many of the noble children had been told by their nannies at one point that if they weren't good, Fearghus would come and take them down to his hidden rooms beneath the Palace.

Domnall gulped while Nectan tried and failed to keep the trepidation out of his face as Campbell approached and reached into his robes, then pulled loose... a coin. With wide eyes, Domnall and Nectan watched as a blank-faced Fearghus placed the coin on his knuckles and then seemingly made it begin to dance. It rolled and twisted along and between his knuckles, seemingly jumping up and down of its own will, twisting onto its side and running up and down the length of Fearghus' forearm. It rolled back down between his knuckles and then bounced into the air, and as Domnall and Nectan's eyes followed its flight it suddenly... disappeared!

"Magic!" gasped Domnall.

"A trick!" gasped Nectan.

"A magic trick," whispered Edmund with a slight, almost sad smile on his face,"Show them, Fearghus."

Still blank faced, Fearghus turned his hand around and opened his fist, revealing the coin in his palm. With exaggerated slowness, he shifted his hand so the coin seemed to travel back around till it was on his knuckles. Then he began to bump his knuckles up and down, making the coin move between them, and as the boys watched he slowly made the movement of his knuckles slighter and slighter till it seemed as if the coin was dancing by itself. Then he visibly bumped one knuckle again so that the coin rolled up onto his forearm, then shifted the angle of his arm so it rolled back down. This time when he tossed the coin into the air, the boys watched in surprise as it only lifted an inch or so into the air before he turned his hand around and palmed the coin.

"But before... ye threw the coin into the air!" Nectan insisted.

"Nae," replied Edmund,"Ye eyes became so focused on the coin "dancing" over his knuckles that it was trapped there. When he threw it into the air, it went only an inch before his quick hand grabbed it, and because ye eyes were nae focused on his hand and it moved so fast, ye mind decided that the coin was still rising through the air. By the time it realized that the coin was gone, his hand was back where it always had been, so ye mind simply told ye eyes to "stop" seeing the coin."

"Oh," muttered Domnall, and the disappointment in his voice was clear.

"Oh!" gasped Nectan, and the delight in his voice was clear.

"Oh indeed," nodded Edmund, standing up again and smiling down at his boys,"One day, lads, ye will serve as Princes of the Realm.... maybe more. Ye cannae afford to nae see everything around ye and understand it for what it really is, nae what it only appears to be. I am sorry to take magic out of ye lives, but from now on whenever ye see something or hear something, I want ye to really look and really listen, nae let ye mind simply accept what it thinks it is seeing and hearing. Do ye ken?"

"Aye, Father," nodded Domnall glumly, even as his brother said the same with obvious enthusiasm.

"Run along now and play," smiled Edmund, and the two moved away, their voices quickly growing louder as they discussed Fearghus' trick and began playfully teasing each other over who would learn to emulate it first. Edmund felt a burst of love for his children and not for the last time wished he could let them stay innocent forever. But such was not to be, they both had duties to serve that would end their childhood soon enough. At least he would never need to teach this lesson to Aodh, the young lad was studious and naive, and even now he sat up in his rooms engrossed in his books. The young lad would spend his life in the Church and never know the true darkness and dangers of the real world, and for that Edmund was eternally grateful.

"Do ye think they will learn their lessons, Fearghus?" he asked his Spymaster.

"Nectan will, the lad is bright," replied Fearghus smoothly,"Domnall will learn the lesson slower, but he will learn it."

"Aye," nodded Edmund with a sigh,"Christian has provided Edward with only Afraig, and it does nae seem likely she will give him a son any time soon. Edward will have nae choice but to name one of those boys the next King of Scotland."

"Nectan?" asked Fearghus.

"Domnall," replied Edmund with a shake of his head,"He is the one who the common man will follow, the one who will lead by example.... the one with the sheer bloody-mindedness that makes Edward so effective."

"And what of Nectan then?" asked Fearghus, though he knew the answer.

"When we are gone, old friend," smiled Edmund,"Nectan will replace us both in protecting Scotland in a completely different way to Domnall. He is the only one who can do so."

Edmund walked on through the gardens, but Fearghus remained behind a moment. The Spymaster lifted his eyes a window in the high walls of the Palace facing onto the garden. He allowed a small smile to cross his face as he saw the small white face that had been peering through the window disappear.

"I wonder," he muttered to himself,"I truly wonder."


Scotland was truly blessed.

"She's a beautiful sight, Aodh, I have to admit," smiled King Domnall as they stood within the massive Cathedral,"Ye can see where every one of the significant florins went."

"It is not the cost in florins but the measure of devotion," noted Aodh smoothly, and Domnall roared with laughter, the sound echoing ominously throughout the rafters. Not quite officially open yet, the new Cathedral at Milan was being visited by the King and the Prince late at night to view the interior.

"Aye, Aodh, have ye ever noticed that the more the florins, the higher the so-called devotion?" chuckled Domnall, shaking his head with a smile,"The Church is a funny old thing, is it nae?"

"The Church is the House of God, where man may communicate with the Divine," Aodh warned him,"And those who serve the Church have a way of hearing things."

"Fucking inquisitors," grunted Domnall grumpily and Aodh hid a wince. The King had returned to Milan only a few months ago and Aodh had been shocked to discover that what had once been the odd burst of lewdness from his Brother had become a far more regular occurrence. The people had taken to calling their King (good naturedly) Domnall the Lewd, and it concerned Aodh. The King of Scotland needed to be respected and loved by his people, true, but he also needed to be feared. Domnall was becoming a "character" and eccentric, which was a nice and respectful way of saying he was becoming odd.

Now instead of talking with awe about the Scottish King, the people were more likely to speak of Angus the Mauler, and his now legendary ride through the Russian Winter to take new lands for Scotland on the frozen Northern Edge of the world. It worried Aodh, not just because of how it affected his own plans and his own needs, but because Domnall was his brother, and it pained him to see a once great man brought low by advancing age, drink and the complacency of peace.

As Domnall moved up the aisle trailing his fingers along the pews and looking up at the massive vaulted windows, Aodh watched him walk and came to his decision.

It was time for Scotland to go back to War.


Dere King Domnal

it is gud to right to you my King you hav many tiem in the past herd report from me on Scotlands northen holding but this is first tiem i hav chance to right in person it is cold in winter in Russia but the men of Scotland are strong they maek me so prideproud you shud haev seen the fight it was glorius i fight the russian nobelman hand to hand i kills him and now Scotland is have have moar lands this is good this is rite Scotland needs to gro and it is but we need moar my King everi tiem we taek new land we gro closer to our enemys everi tiem they look at us and are jelus my King my men report that haev found speisspies they maebe think that maebe they are Danes the Danes are strong but they haev always been scare of Scotland after we fort them off long tiem ago maebe they think becaus we a long way aways at Novgrod and Riga the rest of Scotland wont coem and saev us liek we need saev but we dont but we kild crush them betwen us my King i ask your permission to go to war with Denmark.

Your Servant Angus

Domnall chuckled as he read the letter again. He had brought it with him for the urgent meeting that Aodh had requested, hoping to amuse his brother. Angus the Mauler was a very good General, and he was a surprisingly competent Governor, but his motivations and desires were incredibly transparent. Go to war with Denmark? Why would he break the peace that he'd fought so desperately to regain after Spain attacked them? Why go to war with the Danes, a nation well known for their fighting spirit, based only on the selfish phony suspicions of a half-mad General whose mind had been boiled by the Desert Sun.

Aodh entered his study where the King waited on him and forwent the usual traditions, something they had long since abandoned when not on public display together. Aodh often walked beside the King, spoke casually to him, joked (rarely) with him and shared stories of their children and Domnall's own Grandchildren. As Domnall opened his mouth to greet his Brother and tell him of the letter, Aodh shook his head and sat down heavily, his eyes looking haunted.

"Aodh, for God's sake man, what is it?" asked Domnall with concern, Angus' letter forgotten.

"Look at this, Domnall," gasped Aodh, hanging over a bundle of documents held together by thin string,"I did nae ever expect results from this inquiry, I did it more from duty than an expectation of results, but.... just look."

Domnall stared at his Brother, then undid the knot of the string and began to look through the documents, first with confusion, then growing alarm, and then finally.... fury.

It took him an hour to read through everything, and he never said a word or looked up the entire time. Aodh sat in silence watching his Brother, and when he finally finished the documents and looked up at Aodh, the Prince flinched back in spite of himself.

"Denmark," growled a Domnall Canmore not seen in quite some time. This was not Domnall the Lewd, this was a Domnall Canmore full of rage and hate focused entirely on one thing and one thing alone.

"I am going to wipe Denmark off the face of the Earth."


In Magdeburg to the Southeast of Hamburg, Jens Slyngebard had been living the good life. He ruled a good sized Fortress in the midst of a green and verdant land, right on the border of Denmark's land, meaning he did not often have to deal with the demands of the other Danish Royalty.

How he wished he lived closer now.

He had been preparing for bed when word had reached him that an army was marching on Magdeburg, and he'd wondered who was mad enough to attack 300 elite Danish soldiers in an impregnable fortress of solid stone.

2000 mad Scotsmen, that was who.

"I want the gates torn down and the men inside put to the sword," growled Domnall Canmore to his two Generals,"There will be no mercy, do ye understand me?"

Patrick Makfulchiane exchanged a look with his fellow General, Hew Mar, and nodded. Domnall's son-in-law had been shocked by the change in his King when summoned to him to prepare for war. The man had been in the midst of a chillingly controlled fury, his every word dripping with malice as he ordered the gathering of the troops. Makfulchiane had seen the writing on the wall, this would not be a smooth campaign accompanied by instruction and advice from a kindly King, this was going to be a bloody and brutal war. He did not know why, and he did not expect to be told, it was only for him to do his duty.

They'd ridden north within days, and joined with a force commanded by Hew Mar outside of Hamburg. Makfulchiane had heard somewhat of Mar, he knew he was a life-long soldier practically raised in the army by a somewhat infamous Father before being adopted almost by accident into the Royal Family. Since then, Mar had proved himself an asset, and featured at least peripherally in the tale of The Farmer and the Spaniard, which told of how Scottish farmers and villagers had risen up in force under Mar's command and wiped out an army of elite Spanish soldiers. The two got on well enough, and both seemed to understand their position in the army that Domnall had raised. They were to handle the day to day operation of the army, and come the battle itself, King Domnall himself would lead them.

"Bombards!" hissed Domnall, a harsh grin crossing his face,"Bring down the gates, let our men IN!"

"CHARGE!" screamed Domnall, and the men - who had picked up on his mood quickly on the march north - screamed with him as they charged the walls of Magdeburg.

The Danes who had been standing ready to defend the walls turned and fled before the screaming army of Scotsmen. They recognized in the contorted, raging faces the pure hate and fury that King Domnall had spread amongst the men without ever having to say a word, and the Danes fled from that senseless hate in the desperate hope that Jens Slyngebard could save them.

He did his best.

As the Scottish chased the Danes through the narrow streets and then up the hill towards the second Fortress Gate, Jens ordered the archers on the walls to open fire, hoping to break and panic the Scotsmen.

The flaming arrows did not seem to give the Scotsmen even slight pause, and Jens gritted his teeth and gave his next order. As the Danish soldiers passed through the Fortress Gate, Jens rode his men down the hill and charged directly into the vanguard of the Scots, using momentum and sheer force of weight to send the Scottish stumbling back, causing a ripple effect directly down the long column of Scottish soldiers.

"WHY WON'T THEY BREAK!" screamed Jens as his spare men rode back and around again and again to drive against the Scottish, while those caught up in the fighting slashed down on the Scotsmen and used their horses as weapons to kick and ride over Scots. But the men stood and fought despite the deaths of their comrades, and Jens stared in despair at the faces of his enemies, at the hate and fury there, and he wondered why, what had caused this? Why was Scotland suddenly so desperate to destroy the Danes?

Flaming arrows suddenly came raining down on his men, and now the Danish Cavalry found itself splintered as the Scottish regathered for a final push, and Jens turned and shouted his final command to his men.


As the portcullis thundered down, Jens turned his horse and stared at the gathered Scotsmen, watching as the last of his cavalry was cut down.

"Why is this happening?" he whispered in horror, and then a crossbow bolt slammed into his neck and he pitched back off of his horse, his world reduced to the white hot pain centered in his neck... and then he felt no more.

"The General is dead!" cried one of the Archers on the walls,"THE GENERAL IS DEAD!"

The gathered Danes inside the second level of the Fortress turned and stared at each other in concern. The suddenness with which their worlds had been turned upside down was terrifying, and now the man who was supposed to lead them was dead.

"Will the gate keep the Scottish out?" asked one Dane to another.

"They're rolling up the Bombards!" cried out the archer on the wall again.

"SCOTSMEN ON THE WALLS!" cried another as they spotted a small group of Scotsmen fighting their way along the walls, having worked their way up around the outside wall,"THE SCOTSMEN ARE ON THE WALLS!"

"What is the reason for this madness," whispered the Danish soldier who had asked if the gate would protect them,"Why this attack? Why this unrelenting hate? WHAT DID WE DO!?!?!"

He never found out the answer.


Two days after the Danish were wiped out to the man at Magdeburg, King Domnall received word that a Mercenary Captain was requesting to meet with him. He agreed, and the man came to the small hall that had doubled as Magdeburg's meeting room, banquet hall and war room. The Mercenary Captain was named Steaphan, and his accent seemed a strange hybrid of Scottish and French, indicating his mixed parentage and upbringing. He bowed low upon entering the King's presence, who bid him with some irritation to get to the point. Domnall had all ready begun the process of preparing the army to ride North towards Stockholm, his lust for Danish blood not sated by the death of a mere 280 Danes.

"I understand ye mean to ride North soon, my King?" asked Captain Steaphan.

"Aye, what of it?" grumbled Domnall, in no real mood to waste time.

"Might I suggest ye wait a week or so, mighty King," suggested Steaphan, and Domnall sneered at the sycophancy.

"And why would I do that?" he grunted angrily.

"To the Northeast is the Polish City of Stettin," noted Steaphan,"And the Danish have recently been looking to expand North. A sizeable force of Danish under the command of Skapti Orvendilson is riding to lay siege to Stettin, unaware that ye have taken control of Magdeburg. Skapti has control of 1900 men, but must fight through close to 1000 Polish soldiers to take the city. If ye were to wait, the Danes will take Stettin at a bloody cost and then ye can sweep in and take the City for ye own."

"And ye would ride with us.... for a cost of course?" asked Domnall, taking in this information.

"Aye, mighty King," nodded Steaphan,"We may even forgo out normal charge for service if we can be allowed our part in the sacking of Stettin when ye take it."

"Poland is allied with Scotland," Domnall noted,"Ye wish me to take control of a Polish City?"

"But that is just the thing!" grinned Steaphan, not seeming to notice the tone in the Scottish King's voice, or the contempt in his eyes,"It will nae be a Polish City when ye take it! It will be Danish, and ye will in fact be avenging ye Polish allies!"

Domnall stood from his makeshift throne and approached the Mercenary, who for the first time seemed to realize that the King was not overly excited by the proposal being put to him.

"A Scotsman earns his money, lad," growled Domnall, placing a hand firmly on Steaphan's shoulder and squeezing it painfully,"Ye want me to sit on my arse and wait for our allies to die at the hands of those bastards the Danes? Nae, ye and ye men will ride with me and those that live will be paid well for it."

"Sur... survive, my King?" asked Steaphan uncertainly.

"Oh aye," said Domnall, smiling at last, a cruel and hard smile,"We're going to meet this Skapti Orvendilson on the field of battle, and I'm going to kill him and every last bastard Dane he has with him."


Word had reached Skapti Orvendilson of the Scottish Army overrunning Magdeburg only that morning, and he had still been in a state of shock when his second surprise of the day had come. He'd been considering whether to abandon the march on Stettin or not when the decision had been taken out of his hands.

The Scottish Army had found him.

"Their numbers are about the same as ours," his Commander informed Skapti,"But our scouts have reported back to us that the Polish had a small force of reinforcements coming to aid the Garrison at Stettin.... if we do not end this quickly, they will ride up on our flank."

"Then we end it quickly," Skapti had grunted,"The Scottish are infamous for their fury in attacking cities and defending them, but they'll soon learn that on the field of battle, their bombards and arrows will not deal out the quick kills they are used to."

Skapti's Second considered reminding his General that the Scottish army was led by Domnall Canmore, a man who had once ridden against two Mongol Armies in the wide open spaces of the desert and wiped them out, and then thought better of it.

They would need all the morale they could get.

The two massive armies marched towards each other, the Scottish thumping in unison, chanting and singing a bawdry pre-battle song, the Danish marching and singing back a pre-battle dirge. They all knew that the last time the Danes had faced the Scottish in large numbers, the Danes - including the legendary Vikings - had been driven back.... but that had been attacking high stone walls, not in the open field of battle. Each man was confident, their numbers were equal, their armor and weapons on par.... this would come down to the quality and toughness of the men involved.

The Danes knew they were better than the Scots.

The Scots knew they were better than the Danes.

"Look at them men!" cried out Domnall, who had rode silently as the men sang around him. Their voices dropped and all eyes turned to their King riding in the saddle, waiting to hear him speak,"Look at the Danish! I ken that some of ye wonder, why do I hate them? why do I despise them and want to see them all lying dead before me? Well I'll tell ye, because I thought the Danes were like us! I thought them a proud people! A strong race of men who looked their enemies in the eyes and fought with honor!"

He extended his arm out at the army in the far distance.

"What did I discover? That they were no such thing! The Danes are a race of cowards hiding behind a facade of manhood! They plot in the darkness, they move in the shadows and they kill good men with their plots and planning! THEY ARE COWARDS! AND I HATE THEM AND DESPISE THEM FOR IT! NOW WHAT SAY YE!?! WILL YE BE BESTED ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE BY COWARDS AND WOMEN!?!"

"NAE!" screamed the men together.

"THEN KILLLLL!" roared Domnall, and he was wild with rage, Hew Mar staring on in almost horrified fascination. This was beyond anything he had seen, even his Father's legendary rages were nothing as compared to this,"KILLLLLL! KILLLLL!"

And the Danes proved themselves cowards.

There was no finesse to the battle, despite Skapti's attempts to impose order on the chaos and to order his men about. The Scottish charged in a screaming horde directly into the Danish and began to kill, and to the credit of the Danes they stood and fought back, screaming their defiance. But the Scottish soldiers were fired up with the fury and the rage of their King, a contagious hatred that kept them fighting, gave them a strength beyond their normal stubbornness. Scotsman dealt critical wounds would spit in rage and fight their way back to their feet to continue fighting, and all the time King Domnall rode into the frontline, striking down Danes who seemed unable to touch him. Even Hew Mar found himself caught up in the moment, and rode everywhere after the King, striking down the Danes that threw themselves in desperation at him.... and finally the Danes could take it no longer, and they turned and ran in desperation from the baying, mocking Scotsmen.

"AFTER THEM!" screamed Domnall, lifting his sword high and pointing after the retreating Danes,"EVERY DAY THE COWARD'S LIVE IS MORE THAN THEY DESERVE!"

"My King," gasped Hew, riding up beside him sweating and panting but feeling exhilerated,"I've just received word, two small forces of Polish are riding up on the flanks of the retreating Danish army."


He thrust his heels into his horse's sides and charged forward, and with a wild and impetuous laugh of his own, Hew Mar followed him.

King Domnall sat his horse in the midst of the field as he watched his men fanning out and mixing amongst the Polish as they broke up the fleeing Danish into smaller groups and cut them down.

"It is a good start," he grunted to himself,"But it is only a start."

He had wondered if his initial rage and hatred would diminish over the days and weeks, or after killing a few hundred Danes. But it hadn't, if anything it had grown stronger, and he'd found clarity in his rage that reminded him of some perverse version of the detached nature his Father had told him he felt in the midst of battle.

It was because of his Father that he felt this rage and hatred. That had been what Aodh had shown him in the documents he had brought him. His brother had undertaken a longshot investigation into the delayed letters which had prematurely ended Edward Canmore's planned Moorish Campaign... the very same campaign that had been meant to be Domnall's first. He still remembered how angry Edward had been, and also how intrigued his Father had been over the fact that someone, somehow had managed to delay letters from the Pope that saw Scotland technically guilty of defying the word of the Church, and led to Scotland's temporary ex-communication. They had returned to Cairo with their planned campaign postponed indefinitely, and shortly after the Mongols had come.

Edward and Edmund had ridden to Edessa and left Domnall behind, and Edmund had received wounds in the final great battle with Subutai the Merciless that had eventually caused his death.

And now Domnall knew who had been responsible.

Aodh had uncovered incontrovertible evidence that Danish diplomats at the time, under the order of their King, had been delaying the transmission of letters from the Pope to a large number of foreign rulers. There had been no plan or design to it, it had been a sloppy operation that had only succeeded because of an inside connection the diplomats had amongst the Papacy. It had ended shortly after, and somehow that made things worse.... the plot that had indirectly lead to the death of Domnall's Father had been a scattershot wild plan not even directly aimed at Scotland.

His Father had died for no reason.

And Domnall meant to see to it that they all died for it.


"It has begun then," Nevin spoke up as he walked out onto the seaside balcony within the palace at Genoa. Aodh did not start even slightly, even when Nevin managed to approach him in complete silence, he was by now used to the man's voice coming out of thin air.

"Aye," he nodded,"Domnall shall take his revenge for our Father out on the Danes."

"Indeed," nodded Nevin,".....only, the Danes are nae to blame, are they?"

Aodh turned to stare at his Spymaster, his face unreadable.

"Or maybe they are," conceded Nevin,"Maybe it was the Danes who caused Scotland's ex-communication all those years ago.... but if so, the evidence is long since gone and the perpetrators long since dead. Ye forged those documents, my Prince."

Aodh simply stared, and then he turned back around to stare out at the sea again. Finally, he spoke.

"I had my reasons to do so, some altruistic and others personal and selfish. Scotland was beginning to see their King as a loveable, affable buffoon past his prime, but today word on the streets is of the terrible, righteous fury of King Domnall the Avenger, King Domnall the Killer, King Domnall the Merciless."

"But that was nae ye only reason, was it?" noted Nevin.

"Suffice it to say, Nevin, that I needed to goad Domnall and rekindle the flame of his youth. His greatest victories came when he was trying to prove himself a worthy successor to Edward... but Domnall once told me something I would nae have guessed. He hates War, and he hates that he is so gifted at it. Once he achieved peace for Scotland he was loath to let it go, but for all of Scotland's strength, I need it stronger yet to achieve it's destiny.... so I gave him the excuse he needed to use his gifts."

"Ye manipulated ye own Brother," pointed out Nevin, his voice even and giving no indication what he thought of the fact,"And if he ever finds out, he will nae thank ye for it."

Aodh turned back to Nevin and smiled, and Nevin felt a chill run up his spine. For just a moment, he had not been looking into the face of his Prince and his friend, Aodh Canmore. Though Aodh's features were nothing alike, for just a moment, Nevin of Shetland had found himself looking once more into the face of Fearghus Campbell.

"My Brother will nae find out, Nevin," Aodh said calmly,"Because he did nae fully learn the lesson my Father wanted him to ken.... a lesson my Father did nae intend for me to ever learn."

"The leaders of Scotland can nae afford to take anything at face value, even the word of their own family."