Cuchulain had drawn first blood and as the storm that had delayed Maeve’s forces lost its strength the battles began anew. One incident finds a charioteer belonging to one of the Sons of Maeve cutting down poles of holly to repair a chariot in a forest when Cuchulain spots him.
Now it should be remembered that Cuchulain was merely a young teenager and at first glance he was an unimposing figure however when he was in battle he became a hideous sight to behold a juggernaut that could not be defeated. One look at him in this mode caused many of Maeve’s conscripted forces to fall dead from terror.
Cuchulain comes to the charioteer offering his assistance. The charioteer asks Cuchulain to trim the poles. Cuchulain does as he is bid but once the charioteer sees the quality of Cuchulain's work becomes suspicious and asks Cuchulain his name. Once Cuchulain tells the charioteer who he is the man begs for his life but Cuchulain comforts the charioteer telling him that he does not harm women or unarmed men but has a task for the charioteer.
Cuchulain asks the charioteer to run to his master Orlam and tell him that Cuchulain is coming for him. The charioteer does so but as he runs Cuchulain outdistances him then runs to the camp of the army of Maeve and then finds Orlam and decapitates him with one stroke and as fast as he had come Cuchulain disappears into the woods he knows so well leaving Maeve’s army mystified.
Maeve however was furious that one man alone could harass her legions as such and her troops attacked Murthemney where Cuchulain was born and Bregia although it cost them dearly. They were forced to halt their advance in Bregia.
The army of Maeve was under siege by one man and although Cuchulain was no ordinary man he was growing tired of nonstop combat. When he could he would use his sling from the hilltops near the enemy encampment in sniper attacks and would even in sport shoot ravens and other pets as they sat upon Maeve’s shoulders. He wanted her to know that no one in her numbers was safe.Cuchulain almost day and night attacked legions of Maeve’s troops killing many and then disappearing she was slowly losing troops and her troops were quickly losing morale. Maeve could only endure this for so long and soon decided to meet with Cuchulain herself to mediate some sort of temporary truce.
Fergus came up with a deal Cuchulain could agree with. The pact stated that Cuchulain could not make his continual assaults against the host of Maeve as long as they would send a champion to face him in mortal combat and while Cuchulain and Maeve’s chosen champion fought the army of Maeve could advance until the combat was over however if Cuchulain won he would advance ahead of them and if he lost or gave up the fight Maeve’s forces would march ahead of him. Cuchulain agreed. Cuchulain was to meet his combatant at the ford of the River Dee in nearby Louth. Maeve felt it was better to lose one man a day and gain ground than to lose several a day and go nowhere.
Cuchulain battles one of Maeve’s commanders one day at a time until Maeve asks Fergus to engage Cuchulain in combat. Fergus and Cuchulain have made a pact long ago that if they ever were to face each other in combat Cuchulain would flee from him and then later Fergus was required to do the same. So they met and keeping his word to his old friend Cuchulain walked away angry with himself for remembering that Maeve would eventually send Fergus and forgetting how their pact would affect the battle. For the first time Maeve’s army marched past him.
Maeve had finally gained some ground and so now having an advantage in that Cuchulain was behind her and having to catch up she finally sent one of her finest warriors whom she had been holding in reserve to finally put him far behind her the champion of Leinster, Natchranthal and so it was while he and Cuchulain did battle Maeve went with a third of her army and raided Ulster again going as far as Dunseverick but when they reached Slievegallion in County Armagh they were surprised to find the Bull of Quelgny.Four days had passed and Cuchulain had not yet slain Natchranthal.
The Morrigan the Goddess who was the personification of dark magic had warned the bull just before the invasion that the forces of Maev were coming for him and so the bull attempted to elude capture by seeking refuge here but he was found and in no time Maev's forces took him and the herd back to the encampment passing Cuchulain ,who managed to finally slay Natchranthal, as they went.Cuchulain was furious and although he managed to slay the leader of the raid Buic MacBanblai he failed in retrieving the bull for he was worn with the previous battle with the Champion of Leinster Cuchulain knew without the bull Ulster would suffer greatly and the worst was yet to come.
Now that the news of the raid had reached the rest
of Ireland Maev had been able to garner more support from four other provinces who all had grudges against King Connacher
all in an effort to destroy Ulster and seeing how she had what she came for. Maev sent twenty men at a time to fight Cuchulain.
By day and by night she sent fresh new troops to hunt him down so that he may not rest it was at
this time Cuchulain had his own run in with the Morrigan.
END PART TWO
Part Three The Battles of Murthemney