The Let's Play Archive

Medieval II: Total War - A Scotsman In Egypt

by Jerusalem

Part 75: A Scotsman In Egypt - Chapter 74

What had once been Timurids ran in terror across the snow, untouched by the cold in their fear, pushing their exhausted bodies beyond their limits in their desperate, futile effort to escape.

And the Scottish followed.

Khan Horkhudagh had thought he'd escaped the wrath of the Scottish and the slaughter of the greatest army the Persians had ever raised. He had convinced 1000 men to flee in dishonor rather than face sure destruction at the hands of King Domnall. As Ongirran and the others had ridden to face the Scottish, Horkhudagh had pushed the men back up through the mountains into the snow-covered lands of what had once been Polish lands, and Russian before that.

And they'd found the Scottish waiting for them.

The new Scottish King - Aodh - had taken 1400 of his men from the 10,000 left from the great battle with the Timurids and ridden around the mountains to where Eoin Makartane had told him Horkhudagh would likely emerge, and the Master Spy had been proven right once again. The Scottish had descended on the Timurids as they emerged from the mountains and devastated them, and less than 300 had managed to escape the carnage. The Scottish hadn't let up, hounding them across the snowy fields, pushing them relentlessly, cutting them down in 1's and 2's, breaking their spirits till they were barely men anymore, reduced to near mindless animals.

Until finally they could run no more, and those who had survived the culling fell to their knees to beg for mercy.

"Mercy?" growled Aodh, his voice dripping with contempt,"Where is ye Khan? Where is the man ye worms call ye leader?"

Desperate to curry favor with the man they thought of as "Kanmor Khan", scores of men pointed at the Khan, who had tried to disguise himself in simple Timurid clothing like the other men... as if the softness of his body would not give his identity away. Aodh pointed at the terrified Horkhudagh, and he was dragged before the King, who stepped down from his mount and removed his helm, grey hair the only sign of age in his face. At 56 years old, Aodh felt in his prime, and the rage and contempt he felt for the Timurid before him overshadowed any fatigue the long chase had brought to his body.

"Stand up," Aodh commanded, and when the terrified Khan remained on his knees, he repeated the order with a roar, causing the Timurid to scramble to his feet.

"Draw ye blade," Aodh ordered, and the Timurid stood blinking in confusion.

"DRAW YE BLADE, SWINE!" screamed Aodh, stepping forward menacingly, and Horkhudagh backed away in fright,"DRAW YE BLADE OR I WILL GUT YE WHERE YE STAND!"

Visibly weeping, Horkhudagh draw his blade from his side with a shaking arm, and held it out before him, eyes twisted shut and head turned away. All eyes were on he and Aodh now, Scottish and Timurid alike, and Aodh twisted his lips in a sneer.

"Attack me," he hissed.

"I....I can't!" moaned Horkhudagh, and moaned in humiliation as his bladder released,"You'll kill me!"

"ATTACK ME!" roared Aodh, and Horkhudagh let out a scream, a mixture of humiliation, terror and rage and charged at the Scottish King. Aodh slapped the blade from his hand contemptuously, and drove his palm into Horkhudagh's throat, lifting him up off of the ground and crashing into the snow. The Scottish King instantly dropped to his knees beside the Khan, grabbing his arm and twisting it up behind his back, forcing Horkhudagh's face into the snow.

"Pathetic," he hissed,"That ye should live when my Brother is dead. That ye should run from the men ye were supposed to lead, and allow them to die defending a nation that YE are supposed to lead. A King, a Khan, a General, a Nobleman.... whatever their place, a commander of men should fight on the frontline with those men, and ye ran.... ye are nae a man, ye are swine, a pig nae worthy of the honor of a blade."

He twisted the Khan around, the man coughing and spitting the snow that had clogged his mouth and throat clear. Grabbing the Khan's arm by the wrist, he pulled it high and tight and wrenched it, dislocating his shoulder. Horkhudagh screamed, then Aodh slammed his palm against the elbow and shattered the joint, and the Khan's scream shattered with it, becoming a hissing exhale of air as the effort of screaming was countermanded by his mind trying to comprehend the pain he was feeling.

"Ye are nae a man," Aodh hissed, and his voice was flat and dead, his face blank and emotionless, sending a chill through even his own men,"Ye dinnae deserve anything but the most humiliating death."

Slowly, methodically, and with the same fixed expression on his face, the new King of Scotland proceeded to shatter Horkhudagh's limbs. The Khan's spine arched and his shattered limbs weakly twitched as much they could, a high pitched keening emanating from his mouth now, and Aodh shoved him back down. The King grabbed a handful of snow from the ground and jammed it into Horkhudagh's mouth, then another and another, filling his mouth, throat and nose with snow, holding his head down. Horkhudagh tried desperately to writhe his head about and spit the snow out, but with Aodh weighting him down and his limbs shattered, he was as weak and helpless as a newborn babe. Aodh jammed more and more snow in, until finally Horkhudagh's pathetic struggles weakened, slowed and finally stopped.

The Khan was dead.

Aodh stood slowly, viewing his handiwork, and then spat onto the corpse before staring around at the horrified Timurid prisoners.

"Kill them," he grunted, and turned and walked away as they wailed in despair and made final lunges for freedom, only to be cut down within moments by their captors. The Scottish King returned to his horse and pulled himself into his saddle, turning to stare at the Generals he had brought with him.

"Well?" he asked, challenging them to question his actions.

"He bought it on himself," said Edward of Shetland, looking sick to his stomach and meeting his Great-Uncle's eyes.

"It was cruel, but a necessary lesson," Hew Mar noted,"My Father always said making an example of a troublesome bastard was a necessity in battle."

"It was needless," Patrick Makfulchiane - Domnall's son-in-law and well known for his chivalry - grunted, shaking his head,"But ye are the King, it was ye decision to make."

"Aodh Canmore," said Angus the Mauler, eyes sparkling with admiration,"Ye are my King.... and it is YE who are the Mauler."


My dearest Joan,

I thank you for your kind letter regarding the death of your Uncle Domnall, I only wish you could have traveled to Cairo with me for the funeral, if only to see our burial chamber within the Great Pyramid. The seal there (which I have described many times to you) remains a mystery to me, but as my time on this Earth draws closer to its inevitable end, I have come to realize that not every mystery can be solved. Indeed some mysteries like the appearance of our family crest inside a sealed chamber from 1000 years in the past I have happily put down to further proof of the divine. Such proofs are everywhere to be seen, but accepted by so few who cry out for God to appear before them.

Domnall's body was placed on the great stone under the niche where I once placed Nectan's ashes so long ago. I placed one brother's remains there even as I met a man who would become as close to me as a brother, and now I have returned years later to place another brother's remains, and all are gone now, I have no brothers left whether by blood or by friendship. But I have my daughters, my grandchildren, I have Eoin who is - if not the brother Nevin was - a respected confidant. And I have you, my beloved daughter, who has proved herself so many times better than any son.... would that you could be my heir! A Canmore Queen of Scotland would be a wonder to behold indeed, and it is to my great regret that the world is not ready for such a thing as of yet.

I have, as you have likely heard by now, set about the governance and security of the far-flung corners of our Empire (indeed, our world now). Domnall destroyed the great Timurid army, but their "Emir" Tamerlane remains alive in his own army, and we can ill afford to launch a campaign into the unknown lands to the East just yet. The world is apparently larger than we ever knew, but Domnall left me an Empire finally at peace, and I would secure that peace before setting out on a new war. I strongly feel whoever leads our Nation to war once more, it will not be me.

I have given Angus control of the wintry Northeastern lands, and he has taken the city of Moscow as his base of operations to execute the command I gave him. He will forge handpicked soldiers into steel, a mixture of the frozen climate and Angus' training will create a first line of defense against any further invaders from the East, should Tamerlane ever raise another army to threaten our lands.

To Hew Mar I have gifted command of the United Kingdom, our ancestral homeland. He is returning to Edinburgh which had been sorely neglected in terms of Governance since Adam took control of Toulouse. Hew tells me he is done with war, and means to settle in, take a wife, have children and grow fat and boring and learn to become fascinated with finance and taxation rather than maneuvers and flanking. I wish him nothing but the best.

My cousin Aed continues his rule of the desert lands conquered by my Father and Uncle, along with his much loved wife (oddly enough another of my cousins). He too has no desire for War, and told me he hopes that the Timurids was the last he will see of combat. It is my desire as well as his that he shall die an old man, peacefully. Aed is a good and kind man, the Canmore that everyone forgets as he continues his quiet, peaceful rule. Long may he live.

I shall return soon to Rome to take up once again the reins of Governance, and continue the silent work that was meant to be Nectan's. You shall continue in your role of Governance at my side, my most trusted and worthy daughter, and we shall ensure that the peace Domnall bought our Empire at the cost of his life is strengthened. From Rome the world can be ruled, but it pleases me that Hew Mar, Angus and Aed are there to rule in the North, East and South. That, of course, leaves the lands to the West, those areas once known as France and Spain. It is my hope that one day Edward of Shetland or young Kirk Canmore will take up that role. Edward has some experience now, but the people would be more accepting of a Canmore, even if his Father was a cruel Governor. Kirk will become a man soon, and I shall be interested to see what kind of man he becomes.

Yours with love,

Aodh Canmore.




I am concerned about your recent letter outlining proposed methods of dealing with those disaffected souls who have been protesting on the streets of Toulouse. When I came to my manhood and became Governor of this great City, I did so with the determination that I would rule differently to the way my Father did. His use of fear even more taints my own rule, as the people fear I will reinstate the punishments Father used to maintain order. It is my belief that undertaking a series of civil projects will bring the peoples of Toulouse together, and using inclusion to give them a stake in their own city will breed gratitude - more importantly, it will be gratitude earned. Let the disaffected protest my rule, they will only look the more crazed and foolish when my civic projects show the peoples of Toulouse that I will be a just ruler, and that it is the rule of law that governs this city, not the rule of privilege or birthright.

I have been looking through the city's finances and discovered several untapped sources of income that can be used to finance the project, so it will engender no additional cost or request for monies from Rome.

More to the point, the methods you proposed indicate to me that the infamous Spy Network credited with aiding Scotland's past victories remains in effect, and that agents now spy on Scottish citizens. I am deeply troubled by the connotations of this surveillance going on without either my consent or knowledge, and would appreciate some reassurance from you regarding this.

With respect,

Kirk Canmore.


Dere King Aodh

traineng go well it is gud to haev men wanna fight they maek me prideproud soem are gren but i whip them into shaep gettin news they say Timurids comming bak we got my best scouts look into it i coud yous moar offices Besat not bad Shetland kwite goud but they dont haev the knack to enspire menand I need a secon wish you coud return t fight but you King you haev to rule I dont envy you this I right in person because this between you and me I need a canmore hear command secund army the men hav been led by Canmores for every grate battel but you are King and Aed is not the rite man I dont know Kirk is he moar liek Domnall and Edward or Adam and David you tell me King I jus a soldier.

Your Servant Angus


Dearest Mother,

I have heard you had taken ill, I hope this letter finds you well.

The former lands of Russia and Poland are infamous for their frozen climates, but knowing and experiencing are two different things. I found it almost impossible to move the first few days of my posting here, but if The Mauler is anything, he is a motivator. After explaining to me quite casually of the horrible things that he intended to do to me if I did not get "my arse into motion" I learned that the secret of this horrible place is to start moving and never stop. Once the blood is pumping, keep it pumping, and you can - if not entirely ignore it - remove the worst bites of the cold.

My experience in leading men in small sorties against pathetic rebel bands too stupid to enter into the diplomacy I offered them was a joke, I see now. Angus instructs not only in the traditional forms of war, but in the realities of warfare. The use of inspiration to drive men to superhuman feats, the way to sap the morale of the enemy so they half-defeat themselves. It is fascinating from a theoretical standpoint, but I wonder how I will fare when it comes to the practical applications.

It is my hope it will not come to this, The Mauler has singled out myself and several other nobleborn he seems to believe have potential as leaders. His way of inspiring us to become better soldiers, commanders and eventually Generals appears to be by running us raggard, screaming insults at us and making us fight each other in brutal hand to hand combat because "if you lose your bloody sword, don't expect the enemy to give you another one... unless it's in the belly." He does take us drinking though, and it is fascinating to hear the man hold forth on his primitive beliefs regarding the way the world works, and I must admit to beginning to feel a connection and empathy with my fellow "Generals". Angus is a primitive, crass and brutal man, but what he does works.

More news filters through of a possible fresh invasion force of the Timurids. Only rumor and speculation reaches us here, my Uncle's highly touted Spy Network operates in secret from us "little people", but one such rumor is that Tamerlane is on his deathbed, and has sent a hastily gathered force in the hopes of gaining some small victory against Scotland to avenge his bitter humiliation of several years ago, when Domnall and Aodh destroyed his men. Angus still talks fondly of that battle when in his cups, and claims to long to eat elephant steaks once more before he dies.

Again, I hope this letter finds you in better health, I send you these words along with my love.



My King,

As you have no doubt heard by now, our intelligence proved correct regarding the fresh invasion force of Timurids. Hastily placed together and barely half the number of the original invasion force led by Timur the Pious, they are nevertheless all proven men devoted to the cause of gaining some kind of victory - no matter the size - against the Scottish. Tamerlane is indeed on his deathbed, and his humiliation at the hands of Domnall (and yourself) all those years ago burns him deeply. He has allowed the Empire he crafted together to fall apart as he focused on rebuilding a force to return to Scottish lands, proving that your own conviction to focus on maintaining the peace than preparing again for war was the correct one.

The Khan leading this invasion force was far better suited that Horkhudagh, a monster by the name of Shahrukh. They attempted to lay siege to the walls of Sarkel and use their artillery to smash through the walls, but were completely unprepared for the armies we had waiting in ambush. Angus crushed them against the walls and Steaphan Cullane led the forces inside Sarkel outside to create a fresh wall of death, and Shahrukh's men were obliterated. The Khan himself has wisely held back a small force and attempted to retreat into the wilderness, and young Kirk proved his worth by blocking his escape. It seems Angus' training has had the desired effect and honed Kirk's natural talent for command, he correctly predicted Shahrukh's plans and - against Angus' specific orders - led the men under his command into position to ambush the Khan. The fighting was pitched, and Kirk fought on the frontline with his men, displaying a worrying but familiar lack of concern for his own safety. Indeed, it is my understanding that Kirk would have been killed if not for the intervention of the Swiss Arnold von Winkelreid (please see my attached notes), who threw himself into harm's way to save Kirk.

I was greatly impressed with Kirk's post-battle speech, where he lauded the men for their bravery and insisted that they all be honored along with him when Angus tried to compliment the lad for the killing of Shahrukh. The men were all ready impressed enough by the fact he was a Canmore, now they are growing to love him. If he survives the upcoming battles against the rest of the Timurids, I see no reason why he should not grow into a tremendous leader of men.

I remain, as ever, Scotland's greatest friend and servant,




It is with a glad heart that I report the destruction of the Timurids. We drove their remaining men back as far as the mountainous border between Bulgar and the vast deserts from which they came, then killed them to a man.

As you know, since being promoted to Commanding General of the Scottish Forces here a year ago, I had attempted to engage in diplomacy with the scattered forces of Timurids. My predecessor and current Second - Angus "The Mauler" - claimed I was wasting my time and I must admit that he appeared correct. The Timurids threw every attempt at diplomacy back in my face, but I persevered in the hope of saving the lives of men dying at the whim of a dying madman living a life of luxury in the far Eastern reaches of the eternal desert. They would have none of it, and now they are dead. Justice has been served, death had been brought to men who refused the chance at life, and I sleep easy at night despite being personally responsible for the deaths of thousands. I made every effort to come to this outcome by less bloody means, but in the end I achieved the inevitable - Scotland's borders are once again safe.

The Spy you sent me - Makartane - tells me that Tamerlane is dead himself, and that his Empire has fractured into warring factions who are likely to spend decades or even centuries infighting, proving no threat to us. He also tells me that it has long been in your mind that once Scotland was secured from the Timurids, and your work in stabilizing the peace of the Empire Domnall left you was done, you intended to begin preparing armies to march East. I pray that day will not be soon, the wars that built our Empire were a necessary evil to protect our people, but now we are at no risk. If we are to explore, let us do so for the purpose of discovery. I spent much of my youth fascinated by the sea, and it is an obsession that has never truly left me. I want to know what is out there in the Eternal Western sea - we once thought the Eastern deserts were empty, and now we know better. The Shopbuilders in Caernarvon often talked of building a great fleet of vessels and sailing them into the unknown, but were always held back by their inability to find a crew willing to undertake the journey. Perhaps now in this time of peace, the spirit of discovery will be rekindled in the peoples of Scotland? Even if the sea is endless, there is still much to learn.... I have longed since I was a boy to undertand why sails appear on the horizon before the rest of the ship? Once I thought it meant the Earth was curved, but then why do the oceans not recede?

The Empire has been at peace for years now, but I have known only War. I would like to think there will be more to my life than this.




As you have so often expounded to me in your letters, there is no true difference between a Noble and a Commoner outside of the opportunities afforded by birth. I have long believed that a man is born to a particular station because God wills it so, a concept alien to my own Father and perhaps to you as well.

Nevertheless, let me make this perfectly clear to you. I am your King, and though you are my nephew and the General of my greatest armies, you are still servant to the King. I have tolerated - even encouraged - your eccentricities and sometimes blasphemous beliefs because they have worked to enhance your work as a General, a soldier, a Governor and a man. But now you have gone too far, and forced me to abandon pretense and establish a clear delineation of our roles.

I am your King, and I have given you a command, and you will follow it. You defeated the Timurids, and secured the borders of the Scottish Empire. Now you - and Angus, Edward of Shetland, Edmund Besat and Steaphan Cullane beside you - will continue to train the armies you have and the fresh recruits I send you. When I give the command, you will march those armies over the mountains into then great Eastern deserts, and you will conquer the fractured remnants of the Timurid Empire. Then, if I allow it, you can return to more scholarly pursuits, and eventually when I die, perhaps it will be you who replaces me as King, and you can indulge in these flights of fancy about ships and sails and horizons.

Your King,

Aodh Canmore.


Kirk Canmore sat in Angus' spartan quarters, high in the palace of Moscow that the brutal "Mauler" had long since made his own. Edward of Shetland was with them, as was Edmund Besat, the three young men having bonded as friends during the violent and bloody days of their officer training under the fourth man in the room - Angus the Mauler.

Despite the supposed celebratory nature of this drinking session, the mood in the room was dark. The Timurids had been destroyed, something that Angus could say he had seen twice now, but their bravado and triumph had turned melancholy, as they discussed the frank letter the King had sent Kirk.

"Thi... thish ish it," slurred Kirk,"Thish will be my life, serving at war under the command of a bitter old man, a glorified erran boy."

"Who ar... who the heh you calling bitter!?!" demanded Angus, and Kirk shook his head with a sigh.

"Not ye, ye useless drunk," he snapped, and Angus grinned sloppily before falling back into his chair,"Aodh... my Uncle.... he'sh.... gonna send us East to kill the Timuridsh!"

"ELEPHAAAANTS!" roared Angus, throwing his arms wide but remaining in his cheer, laughing happily,"Besht time of my life, that bloody elephant."

The three young men stared wide-eyed at Angus, then burst into laughter. Angus grunted at them and hauled himself to his feet, staggering to the blazing fire and pulling open the crotch of his pants to piss into the flames, his urine sizzling and steaming, filling the room with an acrid stench that made the others gag and shout at him. Angus simply waved his arm dismissively back at them, ignoring them.

"We're... we're men," grunted Kirk finally,"Aodh finksh hesh sho sma... sho smart, playsh all the anglesh, buh wha he don.... wha he dinnae geh.... wha it ish....."

"we're nae toy soldiersh," muttered Edward of Shetland.

"ECSHACTLY!" cried Kirk, standing up from his seat and weaving before regaining his balance,"WE'RE NAE TOY SOLDIERSH!"

"We... We shoul be in control of our own livesh," muttered Edmund Besat, head lowered, hands clutching the mug near his ankles.

"I dinnae wantsh the desert, I wantsh the sea!" Kirk proclaimed, lifting his mug high,"I wantsh the unknown!"

"Let's hear it then, lad," Angus said, and as Kirk turned, he saw that the Mauler was nowhere near as drunk as he'd been making out.... just like Kirk himself. The young Prince of Scotland turned and looked back at his two drunken friends, and then back at Angus, whose permanently snarling face still conveyed a kindly, tolerant smile,"I'm interested in hearing it."

Kirk smiled at his unexpected ally, and began to outline his plan, one which would finally answer the question that had plagued him since childhood.

Why did the sails of ships appear on the horizon first?



Likely you gave me up as dead long ago, perhaps this letter comes to you as a pleasant shock, or perhaps you curse that I yet live.

But live I do, on land in a sea once thought to be run unbroken to the great void at which our world sits in the centre, circled by a sun, the sum of all "God's" Creation. The great Carrack the shipbuilders at Caernarvon constructed took the army I commandeered west, west, ever onwards west till we despaired of discovering anything.... and then we found paradise.

The peoples of this place - they call it "Caribbean" - fell down and worshiped us as Gods when we first arrived. Angus, Edward and Edmund were all keen to exploit this, but I would not allow such a blasphemy (or a blatant exploitation) to continue. Even when we established that we were human, they were eager to fall under our rule, they consider us to be far in advance of themselves - in which they are correct - and so for the first time in years, Scotland has gained new land, which is remarkable considering we had conquered the "world" well over a decade ago.

They have told us of a large landmass to the South, and the strange peoples who live there. They claim they are men who can take the form of animals, and perform great and terrible magics. I am interested in seeing how their primitive beliefs will translate into reality. I have initiated diplomacy with the mainland, sending scouts who have reported back and made contact with the peoples of the land. I am hopeful we can establish proper diplomatic ties and an exchange of cultural ideas and concepts, for once Scotland will establish new trade routes and contact with another Nation without resorting to war.

Uncle, I know that your heart was set on expansion to the East, but I have discovered something that may finally convince you that this action I took was the correct one.

There are pyramids here, Aodh.


Eoin Makartane stepped off the boat onto the glorious, golden beach and felt the heat sink into his bones. He allowed a brief smile as he looked out over the crystal clear waters, then the beautiful vegetation running along the beach. Natives mixed casually with Scottish soldiers who had traveled here with Kirk Canmore with no knowledge that they were acting without consent of the King, but seemed completely at ease now despite surely being aware of that fact by now.

"Makartane," grunted a familiar voice, and Eoin nodded at Kirk as he stepped up to greet the spy,"Did ye enjoy the trip?"

"It was long and the view was constant, sea and sky, sky and sea," replied Eoin,"The King sends his greetings and also his relief to ken ye live.... and also this letter."

Kirk took the sealed letter from the spy and eyed it critically, before breaking the seal and reading the contents, his expression changing to a frown as he slowly shook his head.

"He believes that the pyramids are a sign from God as surely as that damnable crest in the Great Pyramid of Giza," spat Kirk in disgust,"He wants me to take control of the cities by force, and believes God will delay my diplomatic contacts long enough for me to receive this order."

"Have ye made diplomatic contact?" Eoin asked, a smile playing across his lips, indicating that despite being on a boat for so long, he knew the answer.

"Some strange disease riddled our men," grunted Kirk,"I did not deem it practical to meet with a foreign diplomat and have his first introduction to Scotland's fighting men be with invalids.... but that does nae mean God brought some disease down on us so we would be delayed long enough to be ordered to slaughter an alien nation! I have arranged to meet with a representative of Emperor Montezuma - Xolotl - within the day, and I will make a success of diplomacy! We will have trade and peace with these people! I am sick of Scotland being a plague of death and destruction! That was the old world, and this is the new!"

The natives and Scottish soldiers moving about the Prince and the Spy on the beach had stopped to stare, and Kirk cursed angrily and stormed away, crumpling the letter in his hand as he did.

Aodh may have been King, but Kirk had no intention of following what would be his final order to the Scottish Prince.


Aodh Canmore lay on his deathbed.

The Scottish King had lived to the age of 63, a year longer than his own Father, but now his body was failing, even as his mind remained as keen as ever. He lay in the huge, luxurious bed within his massive room within the Palace of Rome, alone now after ordering out his Physicians and servants, left with the one person in the world he truly loved and trusted.

His daughter, Joan.

"Would that I could have ye as my heir," he said, not for the first time,"Would that ye could be Queen of Scotland."

"And give up my delightful life of dinners, diplomats and fending off the advances of young men who think their good looks will drive me into a passion and marry them into the Royal Family?" smiled Joan, but it was tiinged with sadness, as she held her Father's hand and felt the weakness of him, knowing he was not long for this world,"And besides, what happened to ye faith? Ye told me that God granted ye a final vision, that Kirk will prove his worthiness as ye heir."

"Aye, he will, I am positive of it," smiled Aodh,"But even so, ye would be a better ruler than he.... ye would have been a better ruler than me or Domnall, I'd wager."

"And Edmund?" she asked, smiling.

"Well there ye might have met ye match," Aodh chuckled, then coughed harshly and had to rest for several minutes to regather his strength.

"Ye think I underestimate Kirk's convictions, his concept of natural justice and the equality of all men," he said at last, surprising Joan,"Aye, I'm nae so old that I've turned blind, I ken ye concerns, but for all ye intelligence, my darling, ye never truly understood the one constant of my life. My faith has always sustained me, and my faith sustains me now. Through Father's death and Nectan's, being stricken by the plague, the loss of my ability to empathize and the way Domnall helped me regain it.... through it all, I have always had my faith, and I have it now."

The door to the lavish quarters opened, and Joan frowned in irritation as a messenger entered carrying a sealed envelope marked with the Canmore crest. She took it from him and he left with a shocked glance at his King, who lay breathing heavily, rasping for each breath.

"Open it, read it," he smiled,"It would nae have been brought here were it nae of vital importance, read me the contents - I know their message but nae the words."

She broke the seal, and extracted the letter, not surprised to see Kirk's signature at the base, but extremely surprised by the contents.

My King,

These people are savages!

They worship animal spirits and demons, they build their great structures upon the broken backs of a servile slave class, and perform hideous pagan blood rites. They sacrifice humans taken from their own population! They hunt their own people for game and call it customary right! The streets of their cities run red with blood, their pagan rites are brutish abominations!

I cannot allow this travesty and injustice to continue, and I realize now my true purpose in life. I must bring civilization to these savages, and they respect only strength and power, like the Timurids they mistake death for honor.... well I shall bring them honor! I will claim these lands in the name of Scotland, and any other lands I find. The civilization I was raised in made me long to bring peace to the world, little realizing that our civilization was brought about in the Old World through war and sacrifice.... and so it shall be in the New World.


Prince Kirk Canmore of Scotland.

"Faith," Aodh said, smiling blissfully as Joan finished reading the letter, and then his eyes went blank and his body completely settled, and Aodh Canmore passed on from the physical world, secure in the faith that had sustained him throughout his entire life.


The man who was unaware that he was now King of what was effectively the entire world sat on his horse of the great mainland, and stared at the army of the strange, savage people he had once hoped to make his allies, and now sought only to destroy.

"It's about bloody time we got to the fighting," grunted Angus, seated beside Kirk,"Some of these bastards dress up as animals, what the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"I think it's supposed to scare us," replied Kirk calmly to the man who had once been his Commander and now served him without question. At first Angus had begrudged becoming Kirk's subordinate in the second Timurid War, but he'd quickly grown to respect Kirk's talent for command, if not his desire for peaceful resolutions.

"And are ye scared, lad?" chuckled Angus.

"I fear nothing," Kirk replied smoothly, without a hint of braggadocio. He simply spoke the truth.

"Then let us kill them," grinned Angus, who had no idea that once Kirk discovered he was the new King of Scotland, would name the brutal, half-mad General as his heir,"Look at the crazy bastards, spiked bats and catsuits.... I could nae tolerate to let them live on general principles!"

And Kirk raised his sword, and started the destruction of the Aztec Empire.

Xolotl was on his knees, begging in his alien tongue not to be killed as his men were hunted down through the trees and Kirk Canmore slowly rode towards him, recognizing the Aztec from the disastrous negotiations in the Caribbean where the rough translations had first revealed to Kirk the extent of the dark, bloody rituals of the Aztecs. He stared into the eyes of the Scottish King, and in his face Xolotl saw the death of his people.

"Please don't kill me! I can help you! Montezuma has gold! SO MUCH GOLD!" Xolotl squealed in his own language,"I CAN SHOW YOU WHE-"

"A gah-lah bala to ye too, laddie," grunted Kirk, and split open the man's head with his blade, before pulling it clear. He no longer had any interest in Xolotl, his thoughts were all ready on Huitzilihuitl, on Tlaxcala, Cholula, Nopaltzin, Tenochtitlan and Montezuma. On the new world.

Much like the Old, The New World.... would be Scotland's.