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.
[Alator is seen running through the forest with Morgana's men chasing him.]
MORGANA I was hoping for more of a challenge. There was a time when the name Alator struck fear even into the most courageous. Your skills of torture were unparalleled, did you know that?
ALATOR That was nothing to be proud of.
MORGANA What was it you used to say? The victim always talks eventually.
ALATOR What do you want from me?
MORGANA I thought that was obvious. I want you to tell me where Emrys is.
ALATOR I told you before, never.
MORGANA I was rather hoping you'd say that.
[Arthur, Gwen and Merlin are having a picnic.]
ARTHUR This really is the most perfect spot is it not?
GWEN It is my lord.
ARTHUR Sometimes I forget how beautiful Camelot is, but never how beautiful my queen is. Was that you Merlin?
MERLIN It was the horse.
ARTHUR Because if you were mocking the king...
MERLIN I wasn't. I wouldn't.
ARTHUR There is a special punishment preserved for such impudence. You're too easy Merlin. Every time. How about here, Guinevere?
GWEN Yes, that looks perfect.
ARTHUR Than here it shall be.
GWEN Over here?
MERLIN I haven't seen him this happy in a long time.
GWEN Yes, he has changed hasn't he?
MERLIN Yeah, yeah I think he has.
ARTHUR Sorry, pick that up will you, Merlin?
MERLIN Well perhaps he hasn't totally changed.
ARTHUR And this one too are you ready?
ARTHUR I think my dog can catch better than you.
MERLIN Possibly because you treat him better.
ARTHUR Are you blind, Merlin?
MERLIN Something happened here.
ARTHUR Stags marking their territory.
MERLIN No, this was caused by magic.
ARTHUR Merlin, who knows more about hunting me or you? It's rotting season, half the trees in the forest look like that. Come on. Your king awaits.
[Merlin picks up a medallion he sees on the ground. The scene changes to Merlin, Arthur and Guinevere riding into Camelot.]
ARTHUR What happened?
LEON This sanctuary hit the western garrison.
ARTHUR Ashwinds' been at peace since my father's time.
LEON They're not from Ashwind. They fell over the borders from Odin's land.
[A council meeting is assembled.]
LEON Two days ago the city of Helva was attacked. Only a handful of people managed to escape.
ARTHUR Who is responsible?
LEON At first we assumed it was the Saxons. They've been active in that area before, but the refugees tell a different story. They say magic was involved.
LEON The evidence suggests so, sire.
ARTHUR Strengthen the garrison. Double the patrol on the border.
MERLIN Who would Morgana attack Helva?
ARTHUR She must have her reasons.
MERLIN That's one of the few places where magic is practiced freely. Why would she attack her own? It makes no sense.
[Gaius is studying the medallion Merlin found in the woods.]
GAIUS The workmanship is undenyable. See how the pattern repeats itself. It's from Helva.
MERLIN Anything else? A name? A date?
GAIUS Not that I can see. It's a fine piece. No one would part with it willingly, perhaps one of the refugees dropped it.
GAIUS Merlin, what are you up to?
MERLIN I'm going back to where I found it.
GAIUS I doubt the owner will still be there.
MERLIN Something terrible happened there, Gaius. Something only the strongest magic could do. I could feel it.
GAIUS You're not suggesting that Morgana's within the Camelot's borders?
MERLIN Who else could it be?
GAIUS Don't go Merlin.
MERLIN I'll be fine.
GAIUS Take someone with you, at least. If it is Morgana...
MERLIN Than it won't make any difference who I take, will it?
[Merlin rides to the spot he found the medallion. He sees a broken carriage and finds some papers. He shows Gaius the papers back at Camelot.]
GAIUS You shouldn't have gone. It might have been a trap.
MERLIN Can you decipher it?
GAIUS It's in Catha, that's for sure.
MERLIN What does it say?
GAIUS It's been so long since I heard the language, never mind read it. There's part of a signature here
MERLIN What is it?
GAIUS Alator. That's why Morgana attacked Helva. Alator was the prize she was after.
MERLIN Why risk so much for one man?
GAIUS There can only be one reason. To have him reveal who Emrys is.
MERLIN Alator would never betray me.
GAIUS Not willingly, but Morgana will use every power she has to break him and even Catha's cannot resist forever.
[Morgana's soldier is torturing Alator.]
MORGANA Enough. Hello again Alator.
ALATOR You are wasting your time Morgana. I will not tell you who Emrys is.
MORGANA We both now that's not true. Otherwise, why would I have spared your life?
ALATOR I am a Catha. Trained from birth to master all physical pain. To rise above the...
MORGANA Yes, yes, you can resist any physical torture. Separate your mind from your body. It's all very impressive Alator. But you see it's not your body I'm interested in. Not even you can separate your mind from your mind. Do you recognize this? I see that you do.
ALATOR A nathair.
MORGANA That's right, Alator. A nathair. Can cause the most exquisite pain, not in the body of the victim, but in his very soul. So I ask you again, where is Emrys?
[Merlin walks into Arthur and Guinevere's chambers.]
MERLIN What are you doing?
ARTHUR I'm gonna surprise her. Breakfast in bed.
MERLIN Oh, what a lovely thought!
ARTHUR Where are you going?
MERLIN You don't need me do you?
ARTHUR I can't very well get the breakfast, can I? What if she wakes up and... panics?
ARTHUR Look, just, go and get it alright? Merlin, flowers don't forget the flowers.
MERLIN Of course, the personal touch. Nice.
[Merlin is picking flowers in the meadow and a woman is seen watching him.]
FINNA Be still. The great battle is nearing. You must listen to me. Emrys.
MERLIN How do you know my name?
FINNA Arthur's enemies are closer than you think. If you value your king, meet me tonight at the old temple of Earu. Come alone, or not at all.
[Merlin brings Guinevere's breakfast.]
ARTHUR Where are the flowers?
[Guinevere starts to wake up.]
ARTHUR Good morning.
GWEN That is so sweet.
ARTHUR It's nothing. Who's there? Merlin! What do you think your doing in the royal chambers?
MERLIN I thought I heard voices.
ARTHUR Well, maybe next time you'll be good enough to knock.
MERLIN Yes, sire.
GWEN Merlin, thank you.
ARTHUR It was my idea.
[Merlin draws a picture of Finna's tattoo.]
GAIUS If it is what I think it is, this is the mark of the Bendruy.
GAIUS Before the time of the Great Purge girls would be chosen at birth for the priesthood. They would be taken away from their families and brought up as initiates in the old religion.
MERLIN I thought Morgana was the only high priestess left.
GAIUS Many tried, few succeded. For ordinary gifts were not enough. Only those possesed with exeptional magical power could ever hope to be one of the nine. But do not underestimate this woman's abilities. All Bendruy are practiced in potent magic.
MERLIN She said "Arthur's enemies were closer than I thought." Now, who else could she mean, but Mordred?
GAIUS If she meant Mordred, why not say so?
MERLIN We were interrupted.
GAIUS She's drawing you in, Merlin. It's a trap. She knew your real name. There's only one explanation for that. Alator told Morgana who you really are and she has sent this woman to lure you to her.
MERLIN But I looked into her eyes. She meant no harm.
GAIUS You think a sorceress of her power couldn't feign any look she wish?
MERLIN I was there Gaius. You were not.
GAIUS You mustn't go to her Merlin.
MERLIN She can help me protect Arthur. Do I have a choice?
GAIUS Don't you understand? If something happened to you we would all be lost.
MERLIN If she can truly help me protect Arthur from Mordred, and I refuse to go, would all not be lost then too?
GAIUS Merlin. It was I who told Alator of your true identity.
MERLIN You had no choice.
GAIUS But I cannot let that destroy you. If ever you held me in any regard, please, do not do this.
MERLIN You know I'd never do anything to hurt you, Gaius.
GAIUS Thank you.
[Merlin walks out of the room. Finna is casting a spell on a raven in the Temple of Earu, sending him to Morgana Pendragon. Gaius knocks on Arthur's door.]
ARTHUR Yes? Gaius.
ARTHUR Something wrong?
GAIUS I fear so.
ARTHUR Go on, Gaius, if you have something to tell me. There are no secrets between us.
GAIUS There is a special bond between a doctor and his patient. One might almost say a bond of sacred confidentiality.
ARTHUR I believe so.
GAIUS And yet, is there not also a loyal bond between a subject and his king.
ARTHUR There can be no greater duty.
GAIUS A patient has advised me that within the walls of Camelot, there is a follower of the old religion. It is my belief that this woman poses a threat, not only to the kingdom, but to you yourself.
ARTHUR I see. Does she have a name?
GAIUS All that I know is, she practices her craft at night, in the Darkling Woods near the ruined temple of Earu.
ARTHUR You did the right thing Gaius. Thank you.
[Gaius leaves Arthur's chambers. Gwaine is being teased by the other knights.]
GWAINE It's not funny.
PERCIVAL It's not funny at all.
GWAINE Nobody's laughing. It's just child play.
MORDRED You're right, it's stupid. Here.
PERCIVAL Um, we were just...
ARTHUR No matter. Mordred, I have a task for you.
[Merlin watches as Arthur speaks to Mordred quietly. Back at Gaius's chambers, Gaius gives Merlin his supper.]
GAIUS Your favorite. Do you not want it?
MERLIN No, of course I do, thank you Gaius.
GAIUS You're not still thinking about that woman in the forest, are you? It's for the best Merlin. Really, it is.
[Merlin leaves his room in the night and goes to Finna.]
FINNA Great one!
MERLIN Please, that's not necessary.
FINNA It is an honour to meet you, Emrys.
MERLIN How did you know my name?
FINNA From my master, Alator of the Catha. He sends you greetings, but also a warning. The great battle nears, the fate of Camelot rests in the balance. Only you, great Emrys, can ensure the great triumph of the Once and Future King.
MERLIN How do I do that?
[They hear the knights coming.]
MORDRED Seize them!
FINNA I cannot leave you!
MERLIN I'll find you, you have my word. Go!
[Merlin makes fire appear and runs off. In Morgana's castle, Alator is thrown into his cell and a raven appears to him from Finna.]
THE LETTER: Do not fear Alator. I have found Emrys. Our sacred mission continues. Your faithful servant, Finna.
[Arthur is talking to the knights about Finna.]
ARTHUR You saw her, but you lost her?
MORDRED She used magic, sire.
ARTHUR Even so, there are how many of you? Six? Against one old woman.
LEON There were two of them sire.
ARTHUR Oh! Well, that explains it! Mordred, who was the other?
MORDRED We couldn't see. But they were in earnest conversation, sire, that much we could tell.
ARTHUR Send out a second patrol. Seal off the Forge of Grensen and alert the border garasins. They must be found and brought to trial.
[Merlin watches as everyone leaves. He starts to pack.]
GAIUS I told Arthur because I was worried about you, Merlin.
MERLIN She was working for Alator not Morgana.
GAIUS How was I to know that?
MERLIN Had I told you.
GAIUS I'm sorry Merlin I thought it was for the best.
MERLIN Now, because of me, her life is in danger.
GAIUS No, not you, me. I acted like a foolish old man.
MERLIN No, never that. I have to go now. I must find out why she risked her life for me.
GAIUS Take care Merlin.
[Merlin leaves. Alator is being tortured by Morgana's men.]
ALATOR You continue to waste your time, Morgana. I'm a Catha priest.
MORGANA You think that will protect you?
ALATOR No matter what you do. You cannot break me.
MORGANA So it would seem. In which case I have no further use for you.
ALATOR You think I fear death?
MORGANA Shall I let you into a secret, Alator? I'm no longer interested in what you think or what you fear.
ALATOR I shall pass to the other world happy in the knowledge that you will never find Emrys. He is your destiny, Morgana, and he is your doom.
[Morgana slaps him.]
MORGANA What now?
BEROUN We found a letter in his cell.
MORGANA Show me. Do not fear Alator. I have found Emrys? Our sacred mission continues. Your faithful servant, Finna. You poor fool Alator. Undone by a few scribbled words. Find this Finna. Bring her to me. Alive. I will break her Alator. Break her like a twig. How does it feel to know all your resistence is for nothing? Enjoy your other world.
[Morgana kills him. Finna is walking in the woods and magically marks a tree. She hides from some knights she sees. Merlin goes back to the temple and follows the magical marks Finna left. He trys to hide from the knights, but Percival finds him.]
LEON Herbs? You were looking for herbs?
MERLIN Gaius is very particular. They have to be fresh, or their powers diminish.
PERCIVAL It's not the time or place to be gathering herbs.
MERLIN You were grateful enough for them when Gaius cured your palsy.
PERCIVAL It wasn't palsy.
MERLIN I was being polite.
LEON There's a dangerous sorceress at large, Merlin. Plus a bunch of Saxons. This is not the place to be alone.
MERLIN I'll be fine. I'll just, uh, pack the rest of my herbs and be on my way.
MERLIN I'll head back.
MORDRED We can't allow that either.
GWAINE You're staying with us Merlin. Until the sorcerer's apprehended.
MERLIN Well, thank you.
[Morgana is tracking Finna.]
MORGANA What news?
BEROUN The hound's have picked up a woman's trail.
MORGANA How far?
BEROUN Less than a mile.
PERCIVAL We've lost her.
GWAINE Do we split up? Then we must track back.
LEON It's nearly dark. We'll be sitting targets for the saxons. Start again at first light.
[At night, Merlin tries to sneak out, but Mordred catches him.]
MORDRED Good morning. Though, technically I think it's still night.
MERLIN I was just going for...
MORDRED Relieving yourself?
MORDRED You always put your boots on to do that, do you?
MERLIN I don't like splinters.
MORDRED You weren't collecting herbs either, were you? You don't have to explain yourself to me, Merlin. If you're willing to risk your life it must be important.
MERLIN It is.
MORDRED Problem shared. I understand. I'll tell them I escorted you back to the bridge.
MERLIN Thank you.
MORDRED Merlin! Be careful.
[Merlin follows Finna's marks. While Morgana is still trying to hunt her down.]
BEROUN We've lost the trail. She could've gone anywhere. Fan out!
[Morgana sees Finna's marks.]
MORGANA This way.
[Merlin finds Finna's camp.]
MERLIN Please, don't.
FINNA I thought I'd lost you.
MERLIN You doubted me?
[Morgana's men run to them from out of the bushes. Merlin and Finna fight them off, but one strikes Merlin with an arrow. Merlin falls to the ground.]
FINNA Lie back. They won't be alone. Morgana must not find you.
MERLIN Where can we go?
FINNA To the watch tower on the other side of the valley.
FINNA Can you walk?
MERLIN Yeah. Yeah, I think so.
FINNA It's not far. It's safe. You ready?
[Morgana finds her men.]
BEROUN There are no wounds.
MORGANA There wouldn't be.
[Morgana sees Merlin's blood on the ground.]
MORGANA She's been hit, bring your men.
[Finna is helping Merlin to climb the steps in the watchtower.]
MERLIN How do you know this tower?
FINNA When you've spent a lifetime running, you know all the places to hide.
MERLIN Running from... Arthur?
FINNA And from his father before him.
[Merlin groans in pain]
MERLIN It won't always be like this. Things will be better.
FINNA That's why I was sent. To help you make it so.
[They hear dogs barking in the distance. Finna helps Merlin to a room and bolts the door]
MERLIN Why are you doing this for me?
FINNA Without you, Emrys, Arthur cannot build the new world we all long for.
MERLIN I don't understand.
FINNA For hundreds of years the Catha have guarded their ancient knowledge. But now the time has come to pass it on to you, Emrys. For only you can carry their hopes into the great battle itself.
MERLIN How can I do that?
[Finna passes Merlin a small wooden box]
FINNA Here. Guard it carefully. It will help you in the dark days to come.
MERLIN Thank you.
[Morgana and her men approach the watchtower]
MORGANA Iwant her taken alive. Do you understand? Alive!
FINNA There's something else. Something Alator himself wanted me to tell you. Do not make the same mistake as Arthur. Do not trust the Druid boy.
[Crashing outside the room Merlin and Finna are hiding in. Finna helps Merlin up more steps to the room at the top of the tower.]
FINNA You must go on.
MERLIN There is nowhere else to go.
FINNA There is a roof. You will be safe there.
FINNA They think I am alone. Once they have me they will go.
MERLIN I won't leave you Finna. We'll fight them together.
FINNA No. If Morgana sees us together she will know who you are. That must never happen.
MERLIN Finna please...
FINNA It is my destiny, Emrys to serve you until the end. I could wish for nothing more. Grant me one favour.
FINNA Leave me your sword.
[Merlin passes his sword to Finna. He squeezes her shoulder then turns to the steps that lead to the roof]
FINNA It has been a privilege to know you, Emrys.
[Merlin turns to Finna and nods then continues to the roof. Morgana and her men are searching for Finna. Merlin crawls out onto the roof.]
MORGANA Finna, at last. I'm impressed. At your age, it's very spirited.
FINNA Stay away!
MORGANA But with age comes wisdom. I's over. Tell me who Emrys is.
FINNA [She laughs] Never.
[Finna stabs herself with Merlin's sword and dies. Merlin collapses on the roof. Morgana's men search Finna's belongings]
MORGANA Burn the body. Get the horses!
[Merlin hears hooves thud as they leave.]
MERLIN O drakon.... E male so ftengometta tesd' hup' anankes'.
[Kilgharrah flies across the night sky in front of a full moon. He picks Merlin up and carries him away. It's day light when Merlin opens his eyes lying on the ground. His wound has been healed.]
MERLIN Thank you.
KILGHARRAH It is my pleasure.
MERLIN For a second there, I thought you weren't coming.
kILGHARRAH I would never forsake you, young warlock.
MERLIN Are you alright?
KILGHARRAH Of course.
MERLIN Your wing...
KILGHARRAH I am tired, Emrys, that is all. But I shall serve you as long as I have the strength.
MERLIN If you are ill, I can heal you.
KILGHARRAH There are some things even a warlock as great as you cannot overcome. I am old, Emrys. My time has almost come.
KILGHARRAH It is the cycle of life. No more, no less.
MERLIN What will I do without you?
KILGHARRAH You will remember me.
MERLIN Will I see you again?
[Kilgharrah turns and flies away. Back in Gaius's chambers Merlin and Gaius look at the box Finna gave Merlin. Gaius opens it and removes a sealed parchment.]
MERLIN What does it say?
GAIUS Just a moment.
[Gaius reads from the parchment that is written in Catha.]
"Let loose the hounds of war. Let the dreadfire of the last priestess rain down from angry skies. For brother will slaughter brother. For friend will murder friend. As the great horn sounds a cold dawn at Camlann. The prophets do not lie. There Arthur will meet his end, upon that mighty plain."
MERLIN So many have... suffered so that I may hear this.
GAIUS Yes. I think I know what's going through your mind, Merlin. That your destiny is too much for one man to bear.
MERLIN Yes. You always did know me best, Gaius.
GAIUS Be assured of one thing. There was never anyone more capable than you, Merlin. You will not fail.
[Alarm bells ring out. Gwaine, Percival, Mordred and another knight enter Gaius's chambers carrying a knight on a stretcher, Percival follows them into the room.]
GWAINE We got here as fast as we could.
GAIUS You did well. Where did this happen?
PERCIVAL We found him just inside the border.
GAIUS Merlin fetch me my glass please.
PERCIVAL Do you know what it is?
GAIUS I fear so. The skin has grown across his face until he suffocated.
[Arthur enters the room and looks at the disfigured knight.]
GAIUS The disfigurement is not as a result of disease or infection. It's the result of powerful magic. In the old days it was a punishment known as raigaid, the ultimate warning from the high priestess to her enemies.
ARTHUR Why was this knight chosen? What had he done?
GAIUS He had done nothing, except be a knight of Camelot. It is a warning sire. A warning to the whole kingdom. Morgana has declared war.