For the last chapter of "Battles of a Total War" we have the finale of the Scottish-English war!
Let battle commence!
The proclamations were sung by heralds and read on letters, they spread like wildfire across Scotland and England, they made the King of England himself sit up and take notice.
The Scottish leader Domhall was surrendering himself and ending all thoughts of rebellion towards the English Crown. He and the ringleaders of the rebellion would all be in the city of Edinburgh, and they would place themselves into English custody.
The English army had driven the French forces into submission all across Europe, and now the second greatest threat to the English forces was about to be neutralized.
"Make arrangements for my retinue to travel with Captain Arthur's command when he apprehends these rebels, I wish to see Domhall drawn and quartered myself." The King told his aid as he put the letter down.
"This is a good idea"
Both Scottish and Irish forces stared in disbelief at their Captain, the man who had led them, nurtured the fire of rebellion in their hearts, was suggesting surrendering to the English and giving up their dream.
Captain Domhall looked at his men, watching the looks of hopefulness pass from face to face as each man and woman digested the news.
"I shall surrender myself and end this war in our favor. If I don't give myself up the English will never stop hunting us." Domhall added, "Our people, both Scottish and Irish will always be hunted and we shall never be truly free."
"How will giving up free us?" A Highlander asked.
"Because I have a plan that will finally give us freedom not just in the eyes of England, but in the eyes of the world. Now listen closely…"
The Scottish city of Edinburgh stood defiantly on the hillside, it was the capital of the Scottish resistance and where Domhall made his home. Despite a few English efforts, it had never been taken by them and had been a sore spot for the English military.
However, it soon would be returned to English hands, as would the entire kingdom of Scotland.
Captain Arthur rode next to the King of England, trying not to seem as incompetent as the reports made him out to be. While other generals earned glory during the Seven Years War against the French, he found himself unable to quell even a simple rebellion launched by peasant troops, brigands, and landless nobles.
Which made him the laughing stock of the English military, and made it so he was stuck in Scotland instead of being promoted to a command anywhere else.
But if he could make sure the surrender went off without a hitch and could beat back any still rebellious Scottish groups, then the king would surely promote him!
Not that he expected to be attacked anyway. His own army of battle-hardened dismounted knights and sergeants marched behind him, three sixty man units of each, followed by a thousand men at arms and a thousand archers on foot. Five hundred cavalry marched next to him, followed by the king's personal bodyguard.
A unit of fully armored knights followed their king, and they were beautiful. Their horses were strong and wore mail coats, their armor was shined and adorned with the symbols of their houses, and their weapons were shined to perfection, making them almost seem like trophies rather than instruments of death and slaughter.
More dismounted knights, clad in the same shined armor as their mounted fellows, walked behind them as two units of crossbowmen brought up the rear. Their helmets and bowstrings were polished and waxed, and their bolts were shined to glitter in the sun.
It was a retinue of four thousand men, all ready to see the Scottish surrender and end the rebellion before it either grew out of control or became such a drain on England's resources they were forced to give the Scots independence. If they did that more English vassals would surely demand independence of their own.
That was unacceptable.
The English gripped their weapon handles tighter as they approached the walls, sighting the Irish archers walking on the walls and the Scottish spearmen standing by the gate.
The iron gate opened wide as the English army stood outside the walls, the king's knights and Captain Arthur's men following their leaders in as Captain Domhall and his guards stood in the center of the castle.
"So the king himself came down here to witness my surrender," Domhall remarked, drawing his sword and placing the blade at his feet. "I guess I deserve it since I made a mockery of your men for this long."
The King smiled as his men moved forward to force the Scottish noblemen back at sword point, as he nodded at Domhall. "You and your lice-ridden army were nothing to me, and now you will be slain and your head will rest on a pike outside the city gates!"
"I don't think so." Domhall chuckled "Despite what you may think of us Scottish, we aren't stupid. You were brought here for a surrender, but not mine. Now!"
The iron gates clanged and locked as the Scottish drew their swords, the archers on the walls turned and took aim as the King drew his own blade.
"What is the meaning of this?"
"You've got one chance to surrender!" Domhall smiled "Or we take up discussions with your heir."
Captain Arthur gritted his teeth and moved forward, his sword pointing directly at his hated foe.
"How dare you insult your king?! We have an army outside the city gates ready to arrest all of you and batter this city to the ground!"
Domhall's smile widened as cries arose from outside. "They sound a little busy."
The English army watched with wary eyes as their King entered the castle with only a few knights and men at arms to defend him, and the remaining soldiers were ever alert for treachery, knowing that if the King was slain the rest of their vassals would rise up and most assuredly rebel.
So they waited, their hands resting on their weapon hilts as the meeting progressed until they heard the sound of steel clearing sheaths coming from the inside of the castle.
Before they could advance and investigate the sounds, cries rang out from the trees and an army of Scottish and Irish soldiers charged out of the trees, followed by a shower of arrows.
They were a mix of Highlanders and spearmen and they pounced upon the English like cats on mice, slashing at them with axes and swords as they let out loud warcries. Their attacks struck down the nearest English soldiers as arrows hissed through the trees, sending dead and wounded men sprawling as army struggled to make sense of the ambush.
The Knights bunched together in shield walls, letting the arrows pinge off them as they slowly began to advance towards the disorganized men that charged at them. If they could shatter them with one concentrated charge of their own, the rabble army would disband into the trees and fall apart on their blades.
Irish and Scottish cavalry thundered out of the woodland, shooting arrows at the backs of the knights to support the heavy rain of arrows that came down from the trees.
The shields of the English knights, while large and impressive in their own right, could not be everywhere as the more than accurate Scottish archers galloped around their lines. Although the arrows could not pierce the armor of the knights, it did send the men into a panic as they struggled to avoid being flanked.
"Charge men! Charge!"
More galloping sounds filled the air as the English knights finally mounted their horses and managed to get them into a charge, the armored steeds chasing after the rebel forces as English lances gleamed in the sun. Screams of pain and death rose over the sounds of battle as men were speared, falling either wounded or dead from their steeds transfixed by arrows or lances.
The English knights kept marching forward, scattering the remaining highlander forces back into the trees, already starting to break ranks to charge into the woods and end the threat.
Before a wall of spear points and axes bristled in front of them, as organized and efficient ranks of Scottish soldiers emerged from the undergrowth, charging at the English as they struggled to back up into their ranks.
Melees erupted throughout the forest as the armies attacked one another, arrows whistling down from the trees and sword blades clashing with axes as the elite English forces and the Scottish rebels fought one last battle, the battle that would either preserve Britannia's independence or destroy it.
The clashing of swords rang throughout the castle courtyard as Captain Arthur and Domhall faced off, surrounded by their guards and retainers as they fought to defend their charges from other attacks.
No words were spoken, other than the grunts and cries of battle, as the two mortal enemies put their sword skills to the test. Their eyes stayed locked on one another's as their blades flashed, the battle even until Domhall finally lashed out with a kick.
The attack sent the Englishman backward, stumbling for purchase on the stones as Domhall smiled, his blade already descending down to slice at the man's neck.
Only a punch from another guard to the back of the Scotsman's neck saved Arthur's life as he kicked at Domhall's legs, sending the Rebel sprawling.
The King, despite jokes from the Scots and Irish that he was a soft and spoiled man, was more than holding his own as he cut down any rebel who tried to attack him with his sword. His royal robe hid his muscles well, as more than one attacker found out that it was by design.
An arrow pierced the chest of the English guard that had attacked Domhall as the Scottish leader rolled to his feet, ducking Captain Arthur's sword swipes as he shouted the first words of the duel.
"You will die by my hand! There's nowhere to run now traitor!"
"How is a man a traitor if he only wishes to be free from an unjust country?" Domhall responded, "I was never English, nor was this ever English country. All I want is for my men to be free!"
"You took up arms against your rightful king! You followed in the footsteps of dozens of rebellious Scottish lords who fought against their rightful English rulers! You are a traitor, and the sooner your people surrender and accept the lordship of the English, your lifestyles shall improve."
"Aye, but what kind of a life is a life where a man is ruled by another king across the seas? Instead of a king from his own land who constantly sees the needs of his people first hand!"
"A good life!" Arthur yelled, locking his blade with the Scottish leader "The Kings think and you peasants obey, what more could you want?!"
"Freedom!" Domhall shouted, shoving the Englishman backward and swinging several quick sword strikes, letting their blades clang and clash as men from both sides began to fall as the savage melee continued, and the battle outside grew louder.
Scottish, Irish, and English soldiers fought and died in droves as the battle continued, blood soaking into the soil and corpses thudding into the ground as they became separated, smaller units moving together and fighting with no sense of coherency with their fellows.
The only objective was to slay the enemy soldiers, and the rebel forces, who were used to fighting alone and unaided were accomplishing this much better than the English knights.
Their clothing blended into the forest, allowing men and women to spring out from behind trees or shrubs, driving weapons into the English sergeants and knights before fading back into obscurity to prepare for the next ambush.
As Englishmen struggled to fall back and regroup, they were forced to run by the bodies of their fellows who were pinned to trees by arrows or cut down by savage axe blows, causing most of them to break out into a run as terror filled their veins.
Shadows moved threateningly behind trees, and every moving shadow, snapping twig, and shifting piece of underbrush signaled a potential threat turning the English retreat into an unstoppable rout.
Weapons and shields were cast aside as the Scottish and Irish forces rushed out of the trees, their blades and bows covering the English as they enforced the surrender at the tips of their arrows and points of their blades.
As the sounds of the battle faded, the King laughed and moved towards the gate, throwing the last defender to the ground as he seized the winch that opened the gate.
His men had surely defeated the Scottish rebels and with their numbers, Domhall would be executed then and there for crimes against the king, including attempted murder!
As the gate finally opened, the King's thoughts of victory turned to thoughts of shock as his eyes registered the situation.
His men were sitting on the ground, their weapons in a pile away from them and rebel weapons at their throats.
He turned towards his men inside the castle, seeing that most were dead or wounded and only a few still continued the fight.
Captain Arthur turned at his King's command, wondering if he had misheard something before he looked deep into the eyes of his liege.
Sadly, it was over.
He tossed down his sword as Domhall smiled, swinging a punch to lay him low before turning to the king of England.
"Here are my terms King. You and your men leave Scotland and never return. You will sign a treaty to recognize Scotland as an independent kingdom, and you will sign a peace treaty vowing to never invade our shores!" He ordered, breathing a hidden sigh of relief.
His risky fake surrender had drawn out the king, his ambush had handed the King's army a resounding defeat, and now Scotland would truly be free for all generations to come.
Arthur was wrong because Scotland needed no king. They could rule themselves just fine.
After the treaty had been signed and sealed, the English returned home as the cries of celebration rung in their ears.
Captain Arthur nursed a bruised jaw as he focused on Domhall's memory. His chances for promotion, for higher standing, for glory… they were all ruined because of one man.
Someday, someday, that Scottish rebel would pay.
The reason I am ending this story for now, is because in 2018 I really want to focus on my novel (Including self-publishing it!) and a few other short stories and projects so I'm ending some stories that are basically a collection of one-shots (This story and teach me "How to Say Goodbye") among them for now!
I am playing a lot of historical video games and the "Total War" series on my Let's Play channel, so I'll definitely have the inspiration to continue this story sometime next year. :D
Thank you for all the support and reviews for this story! They always make me smile!
As always please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day!