Mallolwch of course was able to see Bran cross the river; Bran was like fifty feet tall after all. So he threw together an emergency plan. It wasn’t a good plan, as Mallolwch would have been the first to admit, but it was better than what all Mallolwch’s Irish courtiers came up with (nothing).
As soon as the Welsh troops were across the river and Bran had stepped over himself, he was accosted by a host of Irish goodwill ambassadors! Not troops, definitely not troops. Troops would have implied that Mallolwch was something other than Bran’s very dear friend who totally by mistake and confused accident had spent the last three years abusing Branwen and blockading Wales.
“Welcome to western Ireland!” The welcoming committee thrust a gift basket into Bran’s hands. “Here’s a fruit basket, totally complementary, and a personalized greeting from Mallolwch, who wishes he could be here in person, and a coupon good for twenty percent off at Honest Seamus’s House of Shillelaghs! And a cake shaped like a clover!”
The welcoming committee smiled at him, baring all their Irish teeth as best they could in an attempt to be disarmingly charming. “As we said, Mallolwch wishes he could be here, but he’s busy putting the finishing touches on his plan to abdicate the throne in favor of his son, your nephew, which is basically like giving you the throne if you think about it!”
Bran and his advisors huddled up. “What’s happening?”
“I think they’re offering terms of surrender.”
Bran scowled, because this was weird Irish trickery. “Then why don’t they say that?”
“Maybe they’re trying to create a version of reality where we are indeed all friends?”
“Feh!” When Bran went feh it was impressive, on account of him being fifty feet tall and all. “Irish magic! Bah, I say, and feh! Huddle over!”
The Irish diplomancers cleared their various throats. “Have you come to a decision regarding our fruit basket, sire?”
“Yeah, no. Hell no, in fact. Hell no!” Bran and his army were not interested in the diplomat’s overtures. “Come back when you’re ready to make a real offer!”
The Irish ambassadors were prepared for this eventuality; they had a number of hole cards they could add to sweeten the deal. “Perhaps a pot o’ gold? Some whiskey? You know we spell it with an E here? Totally different from your Scotch whisky you may be familiar with. Fine, fine Irish whiskey?”
But Bran just rumbled at them, angry giant style, so the ambassadors skedaddled.
NEXT: THINGS GET CRAZY!