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KILGHARRAH
In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name: Merlin.

EERIE VOICES
Heo cwaeth. Se wyrdes last bith ansiene. Nu syndon his folma blodige ond tha ne maeg he feormian. His endetime is on ofost. Heo cwaeth. Se wyrdes last bith ansiene. Nu syndon his folma blodige. His endetime is on ofost.

Niede
Osgar. You know what must be done?

OSGAR
I do.

Niede
Stand. Take it. The fate of Arthur Pendragon is in your hands now. See that you honour it.

___________________________________________________________________________

OPENING CREDITS

TRAINING GROUND

ARTHUR

You're getting good, Mordred, very good.

MORDRED

My lord.

ARTHUR

I may have to start trying soon.

MERLIN

My lord?

[HE CLAPS]

ARTHUR

And...always remember...

_______________________________________________________________________

ARTHUR’S CHAMBERS

ARTHUR

Mordred used a contre quarte to my high-line attack. It was skilfully done. Really?

You do understand what a contre quarte is?

MERLIN

At a guess, a type of parry, beginning in the quarte position, ending with a twist of the wrist.

ARTHUR

You have been paying attention. And what do you think of young Mordred?

MERLIN

He's, er, making progress.

ARTHUR

He has all the makings of a fine knight, don't you think?

MERLIN

There are many fine knights in Camelot.

ARTHUR

Yes, but if I'm not mistaken, he'll be one of the finest, and I'm determined he'll receive nothing but encouragement from me.

__________________________________________________________________________________

GAIUS’ CHAMBERS

GAIUS

You think he's not ready?

MERLIN

It's not that. He's an excellent swordsman.

GAIUS

You think he's too young? Too headstrong?

MERLIN

He's always been thoughtful and modest.

GAIUS

The boy sounds perfect, Merlin.

MERLIN

I can't ignore what I saw. Gaius, Mordred is destined to play a part in Arthur's death.

GAIUS

Perhaps, perhaps not. The future has many paths. That is only one. Have you ever seen him show anything but kindness towards Arthur?

MERLIN

No, but...

GAIUS

If Mordred wished Arthur ill, he has had ample opportunity to do so. He's a likeable boy, Merlin.

MERLIN

I know. I like him myself, but I can't ignore what I saw.

GAIUS

Seeing is not the same as knowing. And we must know - for certain -

before we act.

___________________________________________________________________________

COUNCIL CHAMBERS

ARTHUR

What news from the East, Sir Leon?

LEON

Serious news, I'm afraid, sire. As you know, a few days ago, our garrison in the Forest of Brechfa intercepted the man who goes by the name of Osgar.

ARTHUR

The sorcerer?

LEON

The same. They were trying to apprehend him when he used his powers to escape. I am sorry to report... Sir Ranulf was mortally wounded.

ARTHUR

Sir Ranulf? He was a loyal and true knight. Place all the men in the eastern territories on high alert.

LEON

Yes, sire.

ARTHUR

I personally shall lead a patrol to bring this Osgar to justice.

GWEN

Is it necessary for you to go in person?

ARTHUR

A king must lead, or what is the point of him?

GWEN

You lead the men when you saved Mithian's father - and I nearly lost you.

ARTHUR

Sir Ranulf's death cannot go unpunished.

GWEN

You have many fine men to avenge him.

ARTHUR

He wasn't just a knight, Guinevere, he was a friend. We knew each other as boys. I must go. Have no fear. I will be perfectly safe. As you say, I have many fine knights.

KNOCK AT DOOR

ARTHUR

Yes?

MORDRED

You wished to see me, sire? Ah, Mordred, come in, come in.

ARTHUR

The time has come for you to accompany your king.

MORDRED

My lord?

ARTHUR

I want you to join me on a patrol to the Black Mountains.

MORDRED

Me? To Brechfa?

ARTHUR

Congratulations.

MORDRED

This is a great honour. I...

ARTHUR

You have earned your place. Be ready to ride at dawn.

MORDRED

I shall be, my lord. You won't regret this. I promise.

ARTHUR

He has all the makings of an excellent knight.

GWEN

I do believe you've grown fond of him.

ARTHUR

One of those things I do.

___________________________________________________________________________

MAIN SQUARE

LEON

You sure you haven't forgotten anything, Mordred?

MORDRED

Do you think so?

PERCIVAL

Isn't he missing a dagger?

ELYAN

I can't see a water bottle.

PERCIVAL

His boot. He's missing a boot, I think.

KNIGHTS LAUGH

MERLIN

Are you sure this is a good idea?

ARTHUR

He's a good fighter, a brave knight.

MERLIN

He's very young.

ARTHUR

Where would any of us be, Merlin, if no-one had given us a chance? Gentlemen!

GWEN

Merlin? You will take care of him?

MERLIN

He doesn't always make it easy.

GWEN

I know.

ARTHUR

Merlin!

LEON

It is a tradition.

ELYAN

Goes back years.

PERCIVAL

We all had to do it on our first patrol.

ARTHUR

Mordred, what on earth are you doing?

MORDRED

Melding the saddle, my lord.

GWAINE

As in the ancient tradition... of melding.

ARTHUR

Of course. I trust your breeches are on inside out?

MORDRED

My lord?

THEY LAUGH

HORSE NEIGHS

GWAINE

It's Osgar. He's close.

PERCIVAL

He's getting careless.

MORDRED

Sire?

GWAINE

Who are you? What's your purpose?

OSGAR

I was beginning to fear you had taken the wrong path.

GWAINE

Who are you?

OSGAR

My name is Osgar. And I have an important message for your king. Take me to him.

ELYAN

It'll be our pleasure.

OSGAR

Do you not know who I am?

GWAINE

You are a sorcerer, a heretic and a murderer.

OSGAR

No. Just a man who values his freedom. Take me to your king. Would you challenge me?!

Forth fleoge!

TWIG CRACKS

ARTHUR

Stop!

OSGAR

Sire... My name is Osgar.

ARTHUR

I know who you are.

OSGAR

I am sent from the sacred Disir to pass judgement on Arthur Pendragon, the Once and Future King.

MORDRED

What right have you to pass judgement?

OSGAR

No man is above the Disir - however royal. It is my duty to pass their judgement on to you, dread King. My sacred duty. Your hand...Arthur Pendragon. It is done.

ARTHUR

What is the meaning of this?

OSGAR

It is both judgement and fate. You have waged war on the people of the Old Religion. Now the ancient gods answer you. The Disir have spoken. The circle of fate begins to close. For even as Camelot flowers, the seeds of her destruction are being sown.

ARTHUR

What nonsense is this?

OSGAR

It is not too late, Arthur. Not too late to find the true path. Redeem yourself. No further chance shall be given.

TWIG CRACKS

MORDRED

What would the king say? Sorcerers are not permitted marked graves. It's all right, Merlin. I'd have done the same. He was one of us, after all.

MERLIN

It won't always be like this. One day we will live in freedom again.

MORDRED

You really believe that?

MERLIN

I do.

MORDRED

Until then, we go unmarked - in death as in life.

MERLIN

The swelling should go down by the morning.

GWAINE

Let's hope so.

ARTHUR

How is he?

MERLIN

I've applied poultices. They'll make a full recovery.

MORDRED

You are a skilled physician, Merlin.

MERLIN

I've watched Gaius, that's all.

ARTHUR

He also makes a very fine breakfast, as you'll soon discover, eh, Merlin? Now I've offended him. Come, Merlin, warm yourself, have a drink. To young Mordred -

and his first successful mission.

MORDRED

It was nothing.

ARTHUR

It was timely and vigilant. Merlin!

MERLIN

Congratulations.

ARTHUR

If he died and was granted eternal happiness, I do believe he'd find reason to be miserable. Come, Merlin, we've triumphed.

MERLIN

Osgar could have easily killed you.

ARTHUR

But he didn't, did he?

MERLIN

He was a sorcerer, it was quite within his power.

ARTHUR

He was deranged.

MERLIN

And the runemark?

ARTHUR

A trinket - nothing more. Here. I'll have the jeweller mount it as a memento of our success.

Are you feeling all right, Merlin?

MERLIN

Quite, my lord.

ARTHUR

Only, more and more I find your face resembles the back end of a cat. See, you don't even laugh at my jokes any more. Seriously... I haven't seen you smile these past three days.

MERLIN

I'm not sure there is a great deal to smile about.

HE SIGHS

___________________________________________________________________________

GAIUS’ CHAMBERS

GAIUS

Sire, thank you for coming. Please.

ARTHUR

Tell me Merlin's got you believing his nonsense too, Gaius.

GAIUS

This is a runemark, my lord.

ARTHUR

So everyone keeps telling me.

GAIUS

In times past, this mark aroused great fear. It was given to those found wanting by the court of the Disir.

MERLIN

The Disir?

GAIUS

The highest court of the Old Religion. Three women were chosen at birth to be trained as seers and soothsayers. Their only task was to interpret the word of the Triple Goddess. When they sat in judgement, their word was final.

ARTHUR

This worn-out superstition has no relevance now. I don't see how what bearing it has on me or Camelot.

GAIUS

Because, sire, the Disir saw fit to give you this. This is the judgement of the gods against you.

ARTHUR

This is...nonsense, surely?

GAIUS

The Old Religion held that the runemark not only contained a man's guilt but the path that the gods had chosen for him. That is why it is both a judgement and fate.

ARTHUR

I make my own path.

GAIUS

Do you? It is said that only the gods can alter a man's fate... And even then, only when he repents and appeases them.

ARTHUR

You don't believe any of this? Gaius?

GAIUS

I am an old man, sire. Old enough to be wary of dismissing other people's beliefs.

________________________________________________________________________________

ARTHUR’S CHAMBERS

ARTHUR

Have I not made Camelot a fairer and more just kingdom?

MERLIN

You have, my lord.

ARTHUR

Have I not rid it of the cruelties and injustices of the past?

MERLIN

You have.

ARTHUR

I am not my father.

MERLIN

No.

ARTHUR

Then why do they judge me so?

MERLIN

I'm not sure I'm the person to ask.

ARTHUR

I am asking you...Merlin. Man to man.

MERLIN

Well, perhaps they feel you are worthy enough to be judged.

ARTHUR

What do you mean by that?

MERLIN

Judgement is wasted on a...man who won't listen.

ARTHUR

You think I should take them seriously?

MERLIN

I think you already have. If there's nothing else...?

ARTHUR

No. Thank you.

MERLIN

O drakon!

E male so ftengometta tesd' hup' anankes!

KILGHARRAH

You were right to summon me, Merlin. The Disir are the mouthpiece of the Triple Goddess. It is she who has decreed Arthur's fate.

MERLIN

What is it to be?

KIILGHARRAH

The runemark predicts Arthur's death.

MERLIN

When? When will Arthur die?

KILGHARRAH

The future is never clear, Merlin. You should know that by now. There are many paths. Not all lead to Camelot's ruin.

MERLIN

Do they lead to Mordred?

KILGHARRAH

The Druid boy? His fate and Arthur's are bound together like ivy round a tree.

MERLIN

I fear he is dangerous.

KILGHARRAH

There is good cause to doubt him.

MERLIN

Is there nothing I can do?

KILGHARRAH

Sometimes...to save the tree, the ivy must be cut. You had a chance to kill the Druid boy once before. If you have another... you MUST not fail.

____________________________________________________________________________________

ARTHUR’S CHAMBERS

GWEN

Arthur? I thought you might be hungry. You ate nothing at supper.

ARTHUR

Thank you. That was kind.

GWEN

He was a deranged, desperate man. You said so yourself.

ARTHUR

Merlin was right - he could have killed me but instead he thought it was more important to give me this, and he gave his life in doing so.

GWEN

Who can fathom the mind of a fanatic?

ARTHUR

That wasn't what was in his eyes, Guinevere. There was no hatred there. It was something else - pity almost. Why would a sorcerer pity a king?

GWEN

Come, eat something.

ARTHUR

What if the Disir are right? What if I have transgressed in some way? What if I have put Camelot in danger?

GWEN

Arthur, you are a good and just king.

ARTHUR

The Disir don't seem to think so.

GWEN

That is because they don't know you like I do. If they did, they would feel nothing but love.

__________________________________________________________________________________

GAIUS’ CHAMBERS

HAMMERING AT DOOR

MERLIN

Is it late? Have I overslept?

GAIUS

It is not yet dawn.

HAMMERING AT DOOR

GAIUS

My lord, I...

ARTHUR

Where can I find the Disir?

GAIUS

Sire, I... Gaius,

ARTHUR

if anyone knows where to find them, it is you.

GAIUS

Until yesterday I didn't know they still existed.

ARTHUR

But they do. As we know. So again, where can I find them?

GAIUS

Sire, I do not think it is wise for you...

ARTHUR

Gaius, do I look like a man to trifle with?

GAIUS

It is said that the Disir divines using an ancient pool. In turn, the pool is fed by the sacred spring at Caerlanrigh. The source of the spring is a grove of yew trees in the Black Mountains. The Grove of Brineved.

ARTHUR

Thank you. We leave within the hour.

GAIUS

Be careful, Merlin. I don't know what you'll encounter but the Old Ways will be at their strongest there. The Caerlanrigh is the very centre of their powers.

MAIN SQUARE

MORDRED

My lord, you are going to the Black Mountains?

ARTHUR

I am.

MODRED

Then I humbly petition to come with you.

ARTHUR

It is not for novices, Mordred.

MORDRED

Did I not serve you well?

ARTHUR

You did.

MORDRED

Then I will do again.

ARTHUR

It is no mere sorcerer this time, Mordred. Our mission is dangerous - in ways we cannot perhaps imagine.

MORDRED

Then you will need good men by your side. Let me serve, let me do my duty.

ARTHUR

Merlin! See to it he has everything he needs.

ARTHUR

Stay close. You know your positions.

MERLIN

My lord.

ARTHUR

What is it, Merlin?

MERLIN

This place is sacred.

ARTHUR

It's a cave, Merlin.

MERLIN

It's more than that.

ARTHUR

To me, one cave is the same as another.

MERLIN

You can't go armed into a sacred place!

ARTHUR

You want us to go in there unarmed? Of all the ridiculous things that you have ever said, Merlin - and there's been a few - that is the most ridiculous. By far.

I am Arthur Pendragon, King of Camelot. I come to know the meaning of this. The Grove of Brineved is in the kingdom of Camelot, subject to its laws, its decrees. Every man, however humble, however noble, has the right to be judged only by his peers. Yet YOU judge me in my absence. Explain yourselves.

1st DISIR

We do not judge.

2nd DISIR

We do not condemn.

3rd DISIR

We are but the internuncio of the one who presides over all.

1st DISIR

Who sees all.

2nd DISIR

Who knows all.

ALL DISIR

The Triple Goddess.

1st DISIR

And you, Arthur Pendragon, have angered her.

ARTHUR

How so? Have I not been an honourable king? Have I not made Camelota fair and just kingdom?

1st DISIR

So much is true.

2nd DISIR

But you have denied the Old Religion.

3rd DISIR

Dismissed its faith.

1st DISIR

Persecuted its followers.

2nd DISIR

Even unto slaughter.

ARTHUR

I fight against sorcery and superstition, that is all.

2nd DISIR

Embrace the ways of the Old Religion, Arthur. Or risk the ire of the Goddess.

3rd DISIR

The destruction of everything you most value.

2nd DISIR

The end of your reign.

3rd DISIR

The fall of Camelot itself.

ARTHUR

I refuse to be judged by those who do not know me.

2nd DISIR

You are known, Arthur. you have always been known.

1st DISIR

And now you come here, to the most sacred of the sacred, to the very heart of the Old Religion, with weapons drawn.

2nd DISIR

Trampling hallowed relics.

3rd DISIR

Treating our sacred space like you

do your kingdom - with arrogance.

2nd DISIR

With conceit.

1st DISIR

With insolence.

GWAINE

Enough! You speak of the King!

ARTHUR

On me!

Merlin!

Pull back!

ARTHUR

How is he?

MERLIN

It is not a simple wound. Sorcery is involved.

ARTHUR

Is there anything you can do?

MERLIN

This is beyond my skill, sire. We need to get him back to Camelot.

ARTHUR

That is a long and arduous journey. What if he doesn't survive it?

MERLIN

Look, I fear that Gaius is the only one who can save him.

ARTHUR

Mount up. We ride for Camelot.

ARTHUR

He grows worse.

MERLIN

There has been little change.

ARTHUR

I should never have let him come.

MERLIN

He wanted to prove himself.

ARTHUR

And he has. He saved my life for the second time.

GAIUS’ CHAMBERS

GAIUS

Merlin is right. This is no ordinary wound. There is magic at play.

ARTHUR

Can you save him?

MERLIN

I am but a physician - there are limits to my knowledge.

ARTHUR

There must be something that can be done.

GAIUS

Perhaps. I shall do everything in my power, sire.

ARTHUR

Let me know the moment he improves... ..or...

GAIUS

I shall.

Only your magic can save him, Merlin.

MERLIN

I cannot save the life of a man destined to kill Arthur.

GAIUS

If Mordred is destined to take the King's life, why has he just saved it?

MERLIN

I cannot ignore what the dragon said.

GAIUS

What happened to the young boy who came into my chambers just a few years ago?

MERLIN

He grew up. And he learned the meaning of duty.

ARTHUR’S CHAMBERS

GWEN

It is not your fault. He begged you to let him go - it was a kindness to allow him.

ARTHUR

It was foolishness. No.

GWEN

You told me once that Mordred had a strong sense of duty.

ARTHUR

That is true. You also told me he was impetuous. I should have listened to you.

GWEN

No, you shouldn't. If Mordred hadn't gone, it could be

you in Gaius's chambers. Mordred did his duty

so you could do yours... To be king.

KNOCK ON DOOR

ARTHUR

Yes?

DOOR OPENS

GAIUS

Sire.

ARTHUR

Is there news? I thought that once we'd got him back to Camelot and your care...

GAIUS

The staff that caused his wound was forged using powerful sorcery.

ARTHUR

All the same...

GAIUS

And the poison that runs through his veins is beyond remedy.

ARTHUR

There must be... something you can do!

GAIUS

I'm afraid not. Only the Disir themselves have the power to counteract their own sorcery. I'm afraid we must prepare ourselves for the worst.

ARTHUR

I'll go to them.

GAIUS

Sire, I do not think that is...

ARTHUR

And I beg for mercy.

Prepare the horses. We leave at once.

MERLIN

Why do you risk so much for one man?

ARTHUR

I would do the same for any knight.

MERLIN

Though, obviously, not me.

ARTHUR

Actually, I would. Servants are hard to come by - even bad ones.

MERLIN

I'm touched(!)

ARTHUR

Mordred saved my life. What greater debt could there be?

MERLIN

The debt to your people, to your destiny.

ARTHUR

You almost sound as if you care.

MERLIN

I do care. About who you are, Arthur, who you are destined to become.

ARTHUR

If it's fated. It doesn't matter what I do, it'll still happen.

MERLIN

There is a difference between fate and destiny.

ARTHUR

You think too much, Merlin. The situation is quite simple. A brother-in-arms saves my life. When he, in turn, is threatened, it is my duty to do all I can to save him.

I am not totally insensitive, Merlin. I can see that some people feel this is a sacred place. I am even prepared to admit that you are right sometimes.

Obviously, I will deny I ever saying that.

MERLIN

Obviously.

1st DISIR

Arthur Pendragon.

2nd DISIR

King of Camelot.

3rd DISIR

We have been expecting you.

ARTHUR

My men and I behaved with arrogance and stupidity. We dishonoured this place and insulted your faith. I humbly beg your forgiveness. One amongst us, Sir Mordred... may yet pay the ultimate price. I have come here to petition you for his life.

1st DISIR

Why should we help you?

ARTHUR

I ask not for myself, but for a young man whose only crime was to sacrifice himself for his king.

1st DISIR

The future holds much pain and suffering for you? Arthur Pendragon.

2nd DISIR

For you and your people.

3rd DISIR

If you wish to save all you hold dear.

2nd DISIR

If you wish to save your kingdom.

1st DISIR

Embrace the Old Religion.

2nd DISIR

Learn her ways.

3rd DISIR

Bow to the Goddess.

ARTHUR

You know I can't do that.

1st DISIR

Consider carefully. You have until dawn.

ARTHUR

How did you know this place was sacred?

MERLIN

That's obvious.

ARTHUR

Pretend it isn't.

MERLIN

Everything here... is so full of life. Every tree, every leaf... ..every insect. It's as if the world is vibrating. As if everything is much more than itself.

ARTHUR

You feel all that?

MERLIN

Don't you?

What will you do?

ARTHUR

I don't know. My heart says do anything I can to save Mordred.

But I have seen what misery unfettered sorcery brings. Before my father outlawed magic, Camelot was almost destroyed by sorcery. In my own time, Morgana has used it for nothing but evil. What would you do? In my place?

MERLIN

Me? I'm just a lackey, a maker of beds.

ARTHUR

Lackeys can be wise. It is not like you to be silent.

MERLIN

A kingdom's future is at stake.

ARTHUR

And a man's life.

MERLIN

You must protect Camelot. You must protect the world you have spent your life building - a just and fair kingdom for all.

ARTHUR

You would have me sacrifice a friend?

MERLIN

I would have you become the king you are destined to be.

ARTHUR

If I DO save Mordred, all my father's work will be for nothing. Sorcery will reign once more in Camelot. Is that what you'd want? Perhaps my father was wrong, perhaps the old ways aren't as evil as we thought. So what should we do? Accept magic? Or let Mordred die?

MERLIN

There can be no place for magic in Camelot.

BREATHY SIGH

1st DISIR

You have returned.

2nd DISIR

Is your decision made?

ARTHUR

It is. I cannot do as you ask.

2nd DISIR

Consider carefully, Arthur Pendragon.

3rd DISIR

This is your last chance to save all that is dear to you.

1st DISIR

It will not come again.

ARTHUR

I have seen too much... to allow sorcery again within Camelot.

3rd DISIR

You have made your decision.

2nd DISIR

Sealed your fate.

1st DISIR

And that of your kingdom.

ALL DISIR

Farewell... Arthur Pendragon.

MERLIN

You did the right thing.

ARTHUR

I condemned a man to death.

MERLIN

For the sake of Camelot.

ARTHUR SIGHS

ARTHUR

He saved my life, Merlin. More than once.

MERLIN

I know.

MERLIN

'How could I have been so stupid!?'

ARTHUR

You did what you thought best.

MERLIN

I assumed the best way to protect Arthur was to kill Mordred.

GAIUS

A perfectly natural assumption.

MERLIN

But all I did was make sure he lived. That WAS the Disir's judgement. Mordred's life is Arthur's punishment for rejecting magic.

GAIUS

You mustn't blame yourself.

MERLIN

But it is my fault. Mordred is alive and well. He's free to play his part in Arthur's death and there is nothing I can do

to prevent it.

CHEERING OUTSIDE

Nothing.

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