The Chariot Drive to the White Dash

This then is the order of battle when CuRuada went West on his first ranging with his companions of the Boys Troop.  CuRuada and Felmid were together in the King’s own chariot, but with them went several of those boys who took up arms that day.

These then went out at Concubar’s command to range along the East bank of the White Dash and then North to the Ridgeline that overlooks the inland sea above the Plain of Muirthemne.  His thinking, with Fergus, was that these were deserted borders of Ulster and that the lads would find no trouble nor cause any.

With CuRuada was his charioteer, Felmid, who’s arm was not yet fully set, these two rode in the King’s chariot with the reins in Felmids good hand and the goad beneath his arm.  Following was Conall, the son of the Champion, and with him was Fionn, who was older than the rest and had taken up his arms the year before.  A third chariot held Diarmid, with Aengus, and Morna who held the reins.  Last of all came Conor and Braen and an older lad named Rinnchu who drove the fourth chariot.

So it was that all these came to the vale in which is the White Dash, the cold lively mountain fresh river that falls quickly from the Mountains of the West to rush across the broken bones of the mountains at their feet along the Westmost part of Ulster.  As they topped the ridge they all saw the gentle fall of the good land of Ulster as it goes down to the river and the harsh land of rock and tree that is beyond.

There below them also was the fording place called the Ash Ring for the trees that circle the slower place in the river where men can cross if they seek timber or trade with the men of the mountains.  For miles up and down the White Dash there is no such place where folk can safely pass across the waters.

“See you there,” asked CuRuada, “I see a man at the fording place.  What mischief might he be at here at the West gate of Ulster?”

“Not hard to learn,” shouted Felmid, “and with a whoop, he set the team to racing, the chariot leaping down the fall to the Ash Ring.”

“This is like to be trouble,” said Fionn to Conall.

“How could it be other?” said Conall, his face set hard and grim.  “Let us go quickly lest that youth leads all these others to death.” Nodding Fionn set the whip to their team and they started down behind CuRuada and the other two chariots.