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A man lives after his life, but not after his honor.
— Finn Mac Cool by Morgan Llywelyn

Fionn mac Cumhaill was a legendary Irish hero and the leader of the band of warriors known as the Fianna. He was born to Cumhall, an earlier leader of the Fianna, and his wife Muirne, a druid's daughter. Cumhall would be killed in battle by Goll mac Morna, who replaced him as the Fianna's leader.

Fionn was raised and taught by his druid aunt and the warrior woman Liath Luachra, who taught him all the basic skills of a warrior. After setting out on his own, Fionn would achieve many great feats. He attained great knowledge from eating the Salmon of Knowledge, slew the fire-breathing demon Aillen, and replaced Goll as the leader of the Fianna.

The Fianna prospered under Fionn. Their numbers grew to around twenty-thousand. When they weren't fighting or hunting, they spent every moment training to become the fastest, strongest, most agile, and most capable warriors in Ireland.

The Fianna would eventually fall apart as a result of a change in character for Fionn, caused by a feud between him and Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, one of the most famous members of the Fianna. After the collapse, Fionn and his remaining followers descended into a cave to sleep, where they will remain until they awaken to save Ireland in its greatest hour of need.

Battle vs. Cú Chulainn (by Laquearius)[]

It was a calm, and foggy morning. For Cú Chulainn, the only sound was that of his chariot's wheels quietly rolling across the top of a grassy hill outside of Ulster. The army of Queen Medb had not been seen for several days, and the Hound of Ulster was out scouting for any sign of them. As the chariot reached the summit of the hill, a confusing sight befell the hero.

He ordered Laeg, his charioteer, to halt. Peering through the fog, he saw a giant of a man seated on a rock amidst the bodies of several slain Ulstermen. The fair-haired giant was cleaning blood off of the tip of his spear while humming to himself, seemingly unaware of the chariot's arrival. The Hound lept from his chariot, dismissed Laeg, and prepared to greet the stranger.

Unbeknownst to the Son of Lugh, the giant was well aware of his prescence. In fact, the giant had seen Cú Chulainn long before Cú Chulainn saw him. As the Lord of the Fianna sat with is thumb in between his teeth, several thoughts raced through his mind.

'Cú Chulainn. Hound of Culann. Son of Lugh. Setanta. Army-destroying war hero. Gae Bulg. Riastrad.'

The power of the Salmon worked its magic quickly, and soon Fionn knew almost eveything that could be known about the approaching warrior. The only thing he did not know, was his intent.

Fionn snatched up his spear from its place on the ground, rose to his feet, and pointed his weapon at Cú Chulainn's throat. Cú Chulainn was mesmerized by the man's size; the giant was almost twice as tall as he was.

"Who are you, giant? Another champion of Medb, here to make a fruitless attempt on my life? Many like you have tried, and I still breathe."

"Easy, there. I know not of this "Medb" you speak of. I was simply doing a bit of hunting, when these men..." said Fionn, as he gestured to the bodies that surrounded him, "...interrupted me. I assure you, I mean no harm."

"If that is so, then why do you continue to point your weapon at me?"

Fionn looked down onto to his spear, and hesitated before lowering it. "Of course, I'm so-"

"Fool!" shouted the Hound, leaping at Fionn with his sword, Cruaidin Catutchenn, drawn. "Your lies will not save you, servant of Medb!"

Light bursted from the hero's sword as it drew closer to its target. Shielding his eyes, Fionn leaped to the side, nearly dodging the strike. He grabbed his shield, Sgiath Gailbhinn, which hissed with corroding poison as he took it in his hand. He swung the shield in a wide arc in front of him, the rim barely scraping the Hound's arm. Cú Chulainn roared with pain as his skin was burned by the poison. Taking up his own shield, Duban, the Hero of Ulster took a defensive stance and prepared for Fionn's next move.

Fionn watched his opponent carefully, waiting for an opening. The Son of Lugh ran out of patience and lunged at the giant, who expertly parried with his spear. Fionn then made an attack of his own, thrusting the Spear of Fiacha at Cú Chulainn's sword hand. Superhuman strength forced the spearhead into Cú Chulainn's flesh, and the hero dropped his sword with a shout. Recovering from the strike, Cú Chulainn tugged his hand back, pulling the spear from the shocked warrior's hand and casting it to the ground. Cú Chulainn then swung the sharpened edge of his shield at Fionn's neck, who quickly reacted and leaped backwards onto the hillside. He drew Mac an Luin from its sheath to replace his lost weapon and readied himself.

"Enough games!" growled Cú Chulainn, his voice deeper and harsher than it was before. He tossed his shield aside and drew his legendary spear, Gae Bulg.

Fionn swung his sword to the side, attempting to disarm his opponent again. Cú Chulainn was ready, and he ducked under the swing and thrusted directly at Fionn's neck. Fionn pulled his shield up to deflect the blow, but the Spear of Mortal Pain was not stopped, and the spearhead split the shield in two. Fionn pulled back just in time to avoid the strike, and was only scratched by the spear's tip.

Shoving Cú Chulainn back, Fionn hurled his broken shield at the Hero of Ulster, which slammed into his face, the poison burning him badly. He grabbed his face and growled from both pain, and the burning fury within him. Fionn took this opportunity to charge forth, and run Cú Chulainn through with all of his strength. Mac an Luin pierced Cú Chulainn's stomach, who went limp. Fionn sighed as he allowed the hero's body to fall.

"NOW I'M MAD!" screamed the wounded body, getting to its feet and burning red with rage. Fionn stepped back as he witnessed the most horrifying event he had ever seen in his life.

There were sounds of the sickening cracking of bones, and the blood-curdling tearing of flesh. Cú Chulainn's legs twisted around, his cheeks tore open to reveal a terrifying smile, one of his eyes was sucked back into his skull, while the other burst out of its socket. His muscles and veins bulged wildly, and his stature grew to make him even taller than Fionn.

The man-turned-monster roared, and began to charge. Fionn snatched up Duban from the ground and prepared for the coming blow, but the strength of this beast was even greater than his own now. Fionn was sent flying over the hill, and landed in a gulch with an explosion of mud and earth. Thinking quickly, he drew his bow and hurried to to the top of the hill. He knocked an arrow and searched frantically for the monster, finally spying him on the peak of another hill. He let arrow after arrow fly, to no avail. The beast paid no mind to the shafts that pierced his skin as he placed a massive rock into the pad of his sling.

Fionn fired another volley, this time aiming at the monster's arm to stop his attack. However, it did nothing to prevent him from slinging the stone in Fionn's direction. Fionn leaped off of the hill and back into the gulch just as the top of the hill erupted into a rain of dirt. Fionn barely had time to recover before Cú Chulainn was upon him. The beast grabbed hold of him and hurled him into the sky. Fionn was in the air for several seconds before he crashed down into another hill and split it open. Gasping violently, the Fian struggled to get to his feet. He crawled out of the newly-made pit and collapsed onto the grass. His vision went dark just before he felt the tip of Gae Bulg enter his back.

Cú Chulainn roared triumphantly, his enemy defeated. Exhausted from the fight, he only made it a few steps before he collapsed himself and sleep took hold of him. Soft rain began to fall upon the fields. Droplets sprinkled down onto the bodies of the two warriors, but only the Fian awoke. Fionn attempted to stand up, but his body was broken. He could hear the breathing of the Hound nearby. Mustering all of his strength, he raised his open palm to the sky. Only a few drops landed in his hand, but that was enough. He turned his palm and let the drops fall into his mouth. Fionn let out a gasp as his wounds healed and his strength returned. Getting to his feet, he hurried off before the Hound could awaken.

Winner: Cú Chulainn

Expert's Opinion[]

While Fionn far outclasses Cú Chulainn's normal form, the warp spasm would be too much for Fionn to handle. The massive increase in physical power it provided by the warp spasm and the resulting greater devastation of Cú Chulainn's weapons make the Hound of Ulster the deadlier Irish hero.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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