Arthur

what a dick.

Imagine for a moment that you are Arthur, King of the Britons. You are the hero of an epic romance, wielder of the sword Excalibur. Your reign is the legacy of magic and betrayal and court intrigue. Fate, murder and destiny. You and your men will face off against Morgan le Faye, the romans and go to Ireland to steal a dog.

Wait, what?

Arthur, at this point, is still the son of the king of Briton, and travels to visit Finn with three times nine men. Twenty seven men. They are hunting one day and, arranging their efforts so that the sea will stop the deer escaping, Arthur sees Finn with his best girls, Bran, Sceolan and Adhnuall. Even cursory reading of the Fianna legends will tell you no one, I mean no one, messes with Bran and gets away with it.

It’s not like there weren’t other dogs. Finn had 300 hounds with 200 whelps, and if Arthur had just asked Finn would have given him the best of them. He’s just that kind of guy. But, apparently immediately after the hunt when they are counting the dogs Finn notices three conspicuous absences. He sends for his golden bowl of water and plunges his face into the water, and then puts his hand over his face, and… I don’t know. Has a vision? Is it a magic bowl? Finn is usually a foil for magic, he doesn’t usually use it himself. Was he just washing his face and suddenly realises that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who was there before Bran went missing and wasn’t there after? His acquaintance-at-best, Arthur Pendragon.

He sends nine men after him, an unusually measured response from someone who threw ten hundred of his men against a drunken bet. Three of them are, however, his sons and roughly the equivalent of a hundred men each anyway, so it is still overkill. They find Arthur and his men straight away because the moment they got back to England they just relaxed on the beach. They kill everyone except for Arthur himself and that’s only because Goll stopped them. As they take the hounds and houndnapper back to Ireland, Goll notices a pretty cool horse standing nearby with a gold bridle, and a mare standing beside it wearing a silver bridle.

Now, I’m pretty sure that two fancy horses wearing gold and silver bridles near a prince probably belong to that prince, but after the bloodbath that just occurred over three dogs, Arthur wasn’t saying shit. He becomes Finn’s bondsman for the rest of his days, because really what choice did he have, but the important part of the story is that they didn’t have horses before, and the mare that Goll brought back bore eight foals eight times and from those sixty four horses came all of the horses the Fianna rode thereafter.

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