The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 56: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 55



Inge's stunned men stared down the steep snow-covered slope, at the ancient standing stones, and then up the next slope to where the Scottish were waiting in far larger numbers than their own. Inge cursed at their indecisiveness and roared angrily, hoping to either shame or scare them into action.


Across the hollow, King Domnall watched as a trebuchet blast crashed into the ground ahead of the forest line where his men waited, and allowed a harsh grin to cross his face.

"They're going to try and bring us to them, lads," he called out,"Crossbowmen, archers, step forward and open fire on them! Infantry, be ready to give them their wish, but only when I give the word!"

Arrows and crossbow bolts launched through the air on both sides of the standing stones, and fell just short of their desired targets. Inge cursed as the Scottish seemed reluctant to take the bait, while King Domnall sat amongst the trees smiling.

"My King, we make no progress this way," Hew Mar pointed out. He'd been chosen to accompany the King after Patrick Makfulchiane had been left to govern the newly conquered Danish Cities, but he wasn't sure if it was to be considered an honor or not. King Domnall kept his own counsel, and seemed consumed by a still only vaguely explained hatred for the Danes. Now that they'd encountered another large number of them, Hew had expected Domnall to charge straight in, but he seemed satisfied to hold the men back.

And then his answer came in the frantic blowing of a Danish Horn.

Inge twisted about to stare behind him as a bloodstained Danish scout emerged from the trees, clutching a horn to his lips and blowing frantically.

"What is the meaning of thi-" started Inge, and then heard the thunder of hooves and realized to his horror what the presence of the Scout meant. They're believed they were a day's ride ahead of Angus the Mauler.

They had been wrong.

The men manning the trebuchets were struck down as Angus the Mauler charged his Cavalry into them, cutting them down as the Danes standing in formation before them cried out in terror. The great monster that had been pursuing them had arrived, and they rushed down the slope of the hill with no other thought than to escape him.

"INFANTRY!" roared Domnall, watching with glee as the Danes moved into range of his archers and crossbowmen,"FORWARD!"

Inge cried out, desperately trying to hold his own unit of men in place as he watched the bulk of his army charging into the trap that had been so simply set for them. His men stared about in uncertainty, unsure whether to join their fleeing countrymen or stand with their Captain. Then all thoughts of anything but staying alive were banished as Angus rode his men into them, and they fought desperately for their lives.

As their Captain struggled to stay alive, the bulk of the forces under his "command" drew swords and halted in the midst of the hollow, the pagan standing stones of their past to their side as the Scottish Infantry marched towards them. Their immediate panic had gone and now they recognized the danger of their predicament, and too late they prepared to make their stand.

The fighting was brutal and merciless, and to their credit the Danes gave as good as they got. The cold was forgotten, men moved through the snow as if it wasn't there, and cried out their defiance as they were cut down. Scotsmen fell before the blades of the Danish, but every one that fell was replaced by two more, and to the horror of the Danes, many of those cut down were seen to rise up again, in pain and clutching their wounds, but also charging back into the fray.

And all the time that they fought, the Danes knew that Angus the Mauler waited behind them, and in the trees up the hill before them, King Domnall Canmore himself sat watching their destruction.

And then the King came to them.

"Forward, Mar!" he snapped suddenly,"We must let our lads ken that we fight with them.... and besides, why should they get all of the fun?"

Inge stared about him in despair, watching as the numerically superior Scottish began to surround his men; watching as King Domnall rode out of the trees and towards one of the Dane's exposed flanks; watched as a screaming Angus the Mauler terrified his men into dropping their weapons and being cut down by the Scottish Cavalry almost without a fight.


Inge got his wish... just not in the way he expected.

A crossbow bolt fired from the throng of fighting men somehow shot its way clear of the fighting and plunged into the back of his neck and out through his throat. He managed to make a single grunt of surprise, and then he tipped backwards into the snow, lying dead amongst his men. Almost as if the death of their Captain marked the turning of the tide, the Danes (many of whom were unaware of Inge's fate) suddenly broke before the crush of the Scottish and turned to run, their only thoughts to make it to the trees and evade capture. All thoughts of Denmark and defending the honor of their King were gone, all they knew was that the Scots meant to kill them, and the only way to escape that was to run.

A number managed to bypass Angus' men as he dealt to the last of Inge's unit, leaving behind the hollow and the Standing Stones, passing the now useless trebuchets and rushing towards the forest they'd only just recently left behind.... and found themselves running directly into the rearguard of Angus' army.

"CHASE THEM DOWN, LADS!" roared Domnall, eyes wide and mouth parted in a cruel grin,"HUNT THEM DOWN LIKE ANIMALS!"

And the Scottish followed their orders with great delight.

Angus sat his horse and looked down the slope of the hollow and the Standing Stones, and he had to fight to keep himself still from his excitement. Far below him, he watched as King Domnall's man - Hew Mar - gathered together the roughly two hundred Danish who had been captured, while the rest of the army regathered around them while King Domnall himself rode past them, offering words of encouragement and jest here and there.

"It's finally time," Angus whispered to himself, his usually cruel sneer replaced by a visible excitement that seemed alien on his features,"My time has finally come."

Angus was a respected and feared leader, his own men thought of him as a legend, but they also feared his brutish temper and wild, impetuous nature. He'd been thrust into the responsibility of guarding the Northern Border at a young age, and then when Nectan Canmore had died of the plague, he'd had to take responsibility for the huge expanse of desert stretched from Yerevan to Baghdad to Jerusalem. He'd done all this without a complaint, and proved a competent and capable Governor and General, but never had he received a word of thanks or respect from the Canmores or the other ruling Lords of the Scottish Empire.

But now... now here he sat in the midst of Danish Lands, the King of Scotland himself waiting below to meet him. Angus would ride down in triumph, and the King would greet him as an equal and give him the command of the armies to finish the Danish Campaign... and then from there, who knew? Maybe Hungary, or even their supposed allies in Poland? It mattered not to Angus, what was important was that Domnall Canmore was growing old and talk had reached even as far as him of his growing drinking habit. Domnall would want someone capable to run the armies, and who was better suited to such a task than him?

He rode his men down the hill, passing soldiers who whispered and pointed at him, recognizing him as the Mauler, the man who had ridden deep into the Russian Winter and killing a Russian General by tearing his throat out with his teeth. They watched as he rode towards where King Domnall stood beside Hew Mar, giving him instructions.

Angus dismounted, his helm tucked under one arm and his most winning smile on his face... which wasn't a pleasant sight.

"Domnall Canmore!" he boomed with a laugh,"This is truly an hon-"

King Domnall turned and without changing expression lashed out with a mailed fist, smashing into Angus' face and lifting the Scotsman bodily up off of his feet before crashing hard into the ground. Shocked silence descended over the gathered army, and King Domnall turned back to Hew without a backward look.

"How many prisoners are there?" he demanded.

"J... just over 200, my King," replied Hew, eyes wide as he stared behind the King at Angus, who lay in the snow cradling his face.

"Kill them," snapped Domnall blankly,"Then prepare the men, we ride for Vilnius as soon as we are able. I mean to winter in Bjorn's own Capital City."

He marched off, and every eye followed him, including Angus'. All of them finally understood that King Domnall had shaken off the shackles of peace and returned to war. He was no longer King Domnall the Lewd.

He was King Domnall the Merciless.

Breaking out of his awed silence, Hew snapped at the men to execute the prisoners as per King Domnall's orders, then turned and approached Angus the Mauler carefully. He knew the man's reputation, and he worried how the firebrand General would react.... he would have to handle him carefully.

"Angus, dinnae take the King's actions as a personal insult," he said quietly as he offered the bleeding General a hand. Angus ignored it, getting to his feet and staring after the King with wide eyes aflame with something Hew did not at first recognize. He tried again,"Angus, the King values ye, ye must ken that, dinnae do something fool..."

"Do something foolish?" snapped Angus irritably,"Why would I do something like that?"

And finally Hew recognized the look in Angus' eyes. It was not hate or hurt or surprise or rage.

It was pure adoration.

"Take his actions as a personal insult?" gasped Angus, eyes wide, mouth wide open as he shook his head softly,"I would follow that man into the gates of Hell!"