1565 A.D.

The great roar of cannon fire and the smaller rat-a-tat of musket fire resounded off the walls of the fortress on the Island of Malta, along with the great cannonballs fire from the Ottoman guns. The Knights of Saint John were defending one of their greatest and most important strongholds in the Mediterranean along with the citizens of Malta. Upon the wall, Sir Morgan Black, a massive Scotsman in a fine suit of armor, roared orders to the knights and defenders. "Repel the godless bastards, lads. We only need hold until Sir Alan arrives." Alain Magnan was the Knight Commander of Morgan and the knights in his division. With his knights were also a number of Spanish swordsmen, crossbowmen and several groups of musketeers with matchlock muskets. The amount of shot and powder was low however and the Ottoman Janissaries were far more adept with them. They fired great volleys of lead against the walls in an attempt to keep the defenders down. Morgan ignored the shots brazenly, standing in full view and striking down any who tried to take the wall by ladder or rope with his great broadsword. The great guns continued to pound the gatehouse and the walls around, attempting to make a breach that the Turks could rush through. Under his breath, Black muttered, "Dammit! Where is Alain?" and out loud, he shouted, "Get some pike men and those musketeers to the courtyard. If they breach it, make them pay in blood!"

Bellow in the yard, the pike men gathered in uniformed lines, lowering their weapons towards the gates and kneeling. Behind them, the musketeers aimed their loaded weapons behind them, their weapons resting upon the rods that held them steady. Another cannonball struck the gate, causing long cracks to appear but still it held. Upon the wall, Morgan turned to one of his servants and demanded, "Did they light that signal fire?" The squire, a young lad, nodded his head vigorously, "Yes, my lord. It was lit almost a half hour ago." Morgan cut down another janissary as did the squire before they both heaved against the great ladder, pushing it over to the side. It smashed into a second and also knocked men off several ropes. Suddenly, there was a deafening roar as all four of the great Ottoman cannons fired. Though cannons were not so accurate in those days, all four iron cannon balls struck the gates and they shattered, killing and injuring a dozen defenders behind them. They had just enough time to reform when Turkish soldiers rushed through the breach with a great cry. Morgan ran down to the gate to join the fight when a horn blast was heard. Morgan wooped and shouted, "Make-way! Alain Magnan has arrived, lads!"

The cavalry had arrived, led by a very impressive figure in richly made armor, the cross of Saint John inlaid in silver upon his breastplate. The musketeers fired one final volley and then leapt to the sides as the knights pounded down. They drove the Ottomans down to the beach and, so great was their onslaught, the Ottoman gunners left their guns and headed towards their landing craft. Behind the cavalry, Morgan lead a charge on foot, killing any who the mounted knights and lancers had missed. Though he attacked any whom he reached, he sought a specific foe, an Ottoman named Sahin, known to the knights as the Falcon. The Turk was standing near a landing boat, skillfully holding several knights off as his troops piled onto one of the landing boats. With snarls, Morgan struggled towards the boat and the Turk but the Janissaries seemed to guess his plan and they did everything they could to slow him. It was only a few moments before the boat near Sahin was all but full with only enough room for him. Cooly, the Turk watched for several moments as Morgan and his squire struggled through four Janissaries. As the last one fell, Sahin helped shoved the boat into the water and the rowers heaved on the oars. Morgan splashed into the shallows but the boat was already too far gone. Sahin stood in the bow and yelled, "We do not have to fight, Frenk. You ever question foolish orders?" Morgan's eyebrows furrowed and he yelled, "Why do you call me Frenk? I am Scottish." Sahin retorted as he continued to move away, "All you Europeans are Frenk to me. Continue to act blindly, Morgan Black, and you and your pathetic knighthood will be irrelevant in the modern world."

Sir Morgan Black did not reply. He just watched as the boat made it to the Turkish ships. With a sigh, he turned and sloshed back to the shore where Alain met him, still mounted on his great white charger. As Morgan approached and saluted Alain with his sword, the Knight Commander said, "Well done, Morgan. The Turks are held up in the caves, east wards down the coast. If we attack now, we can drive them from Malta." Morgan nodded and looked up the beach. The Knights had captured two of the four cannons and had destroyed the other two. "Do we have any here who can use those monstrosities?" He asked. One of the other knights, an Italian, said, "Yes we do. There are enough to crew both of those cannons and the Turks have left much powder and shot. Shall we take them with us, my lords?" Alain scratched his neat silver beard before saying, "Yes. Load the ammunition into wagons and gather our knights. We leave in one hour, Morgan." He turned and headed towards the shattered gates where craftsmen were already working to clear the rubble and rebuild the gates. Morgan watched him go. Though he had a great deal of respect for the Knight Commander, something about him always made him uneasy. For years, Morgan had ignored the feeling but it had never left him. He doubted it ever would. Turning to a group of halberdiers and crossbowmen who had been standing by, he said, "Strip the dead and take any loot into the fortress. The quartermasters can sort it out there."