Episode 1.01 – Valiant
“In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy. His name: Merlin.”
Western isles, shop
Knight Valiant enters a shady shop.
Valiant: I understand you have a shield for me.
The merchant, Devlin, motions for him to come behind the counter.
Devlin: With your sword craft and this shield, I guarantee you will win.
Valiant: Show me how it works.
Devlin: Certainly. Tharanai im bis entra ofra honra stolle.
Snakes slither out of the shield.
Devlin: When you're competing in the tournament, you pin your opponent under the shield, a snake strikes. Your opponent will be paralysed.
Devlin hands him the shield.
Devlin: The snakes are now under your command. They will do anything that you tell them to do.
Devlin: Just say the word.
They both laugh darkly.
Valiant: Kill him.
A snake strikes Devlin. Valiant rides for Camelot and places his helmet and seal on the registration table.
Valiant: Knight Valiant of the Western Isles. I'm here for the tournament.
Steward: Welcome to Camelot.
Outside castle ramparts
Arthur trains in his standard armour with no helmet. Merlin wears armour with a helmet and shield.
Merlin: Would it make any difference if I said no?
Arthur: Not really.
Merlin draws his sword. Arthur attacks.
Arthur: Body. Shield. Body. Shield.
Merlin: Head? Ow.
Arthur: Come on, Merlin. You're not even trying.
Arthur tags Merlin in the back.
Merlin: I know. Ah.
Arthur: Once more.
Merlin: Oh, no.
Arthur: To the left. To the right. And left. Head.
Arthur: Come on, Merlin! I've got a tournament to win.
Merlin: Can we stop now, please? Ow! Shield. Body.
Merlin: Shield. Ah.
Arthur hits him in the head.
Merlin topples over backwards and his helmet rolls off.
Arthur: You're braver than you look. Most servants collapse after the first blow.
Merlin: Is it over?
Arthur: That was just the warm up. How's your mace work coming along?
Merlin walks in, losing his armour as he goes.
Gaius (chuckle): So, how was your first day as Arthur's servant?
Merlin taps his head.
Merlin: Do you hear clanging?
Merlin sits at the table wearing his tunic. Gaius massages Merlin's shoulders.
Merlin: Ah! It was horrible. Ahh, and I've still got to learn all about tournament etiquette by the morning. onhríne achtung bregdan.
A book slides to Merlin on the table and opens up.
Gaius slaps the back of Merlin's head.
Gaius: What've I told you about using magic like this?
Merlin: If I could actually feel my arms, I'd pick up the book myself.
Gaius: Never mind your arms. What do I do if you get caught?
Merlin: What would you do?
Gaius: Well you just make sure it doesn't happen, for both our sakes.
Gaius goes back to treating Merlin's shoulders.
Merlin: Ah! I save Arthur from being killed and I end up as a servant. How is that fair?
Gaius: I'm not sure fairness comes into it. You never know, it might be fun.
Merlin (scoff): You think mucking out Arthur's horses is going to be fun? You should hear my list of duties.
Gaius: We all have our duties. Even Arthur.
Merlin: It must be so tough for him with all the girls and the glory.
Gaius: He is a future king. People expect so much of him. He's under a lot of pressure.
Merlin: Ah! That makes two of us.
Merlin brings Arthur's armour to Gwen's house. Merlin's dressed in the armour.
Gwen: So, you've got voiders on the arms.
Gwen: The hauberk goes over your chest.
Merlin: The chest. The arms. The chest.
Gwen: I guess you know what to do with the helmet.
Merlin: Erm, yeah. Yeah, that was the only bit I'd figured out.
Gwen giggles. Merlin puts the helmet on.
Merlin: How come you're so much better at this than me?
Gwen: I'm the blacksmith's daughter. I know pretty much everything there is to know about armour, which is actually kind of sad.
Merlin: No, it's brilliant!
Merlin struggles to get the vambrace on Arthur's lower arm.
Arthur: You do know the tournament starts today?
Merlin: Yes, Sire.
Merlin fixes the buckle on the gorget.
Merlin: You nervous?
Arthur: I don't get nervous.
Merlin: Really? I thought everyone got nervous.
Arthur: Will you shut up!
Merlin grabs Arthur's cape, ties it on him, and hands Arthur his helmet.
Merlin: Great, yeah. I think you're all set.
Arthur: Aren't you forgetting something? My sword.
Merlin: Oh, yeah. Yeah, sorry. Guess, uh, you'll be needing that.
Arthur grabs the sword and marches off.
Merlin: That went well.
Gwen and Morgana sit excitedly in the stands of the tournament grounds as the competitors enter the arena. Merlin peeks around the entrance as Uther struts past the front line of knights.
Uther: Knights of the realm, it's a great honour to welcome you to a tournament at Camelot. Over the next three days, you will come to put your bravery to the test, your skills as warriors, and of course, to challenge the reigning champion, my son, Prince Arthur. Only one can have the honour of being crowned champion, and he will receive a prize of 1,000 gold pieces.
A box is opened revealing the gold.
Uther: It is in combat that we learn a knight's true nature, whether he is indeed a warrior or a coward. The tournament begins!
The crowd cheers. The knights exit the arena. Uther stops by Arthur on his way to the stands.
Uther: I trust you will make me proud.
Uther slaps his back. Guards take Arthur and the other knight's capes, and they put on helmets. Crowd cheers. Gwen whoops. Arthur and the knight fight.
Merlin: Yeah! Come on!
Arthur wins. The crowd cheers.
Valiant wins his bout. Other knights compete. Arthur and Merlin watch Valiant fighting.
Merlin: Knight Valiant looks pretty handy with a sword.
Valiant exits the arena and stops near Arthur.
Valiant: May I offer my congratulations on your victories today?
Valiant: I hope to see you at the reception this evening.
Valiant leaves with his servant.
Arthur and Merlin snort.
Arthur: Uh, for tomorrow you need to repair my shield, wash my tunic, clean my boots, sharpen my sword, and polish my chainmail.
Arthur’s entire checklist is magically being done while Merlin reads the magic book. Gaius enters and all of the objects drop.
Gaius: Are you using magic again?
Gaius: What's all this, then?
Gaius: I just came to tell you that supper's ready.
The tournament knights queue up to meet Uther and Lady Morgana.
Valiant: Knight Valiant of the Western Isles, My Lord.
Uther: I saw you fighting today. You have a very aggressive style.
Valiant: Well, as My Lord said, "To lose is to be disgraced."
Uther: I couldn't agree more. Knight Valiant, may I present the Lady Morgana, my ward.
Valiant bows to kiss Morgana's hand while Arthur looks on with a wry grin.
Valiant: My Lady.
Morgana: I saw you competing today.
Valiant: I saw you watching. I understand the tournament champion has the honour of escorting My Lady to the feast.
Morgana: That's correct.
Valiant: Then I will give everything to win the tournament.
Morgana smiles and nods to him, Valiant nods back.
Valiant: My Lady.
Valiant walks over to shake hands with other knights, Morgana and Gwen watch him. Arthur bows to his father.
Arthur looks over at Valiant before walking to Morgana.
Morgana: They all seem rather impressed by Knight Valiant.
Arthur: They're not the only ones.
Morgana: You're not jealous, are you?
Arthur: I don't see there's anything to be jealous of.
Morgana's smile fades. Arthur walks on.
Morgana: Could Arthur be any more annoying? I so hope Knight Valiant win the tournament.
Gwen: You don't really mean that.
Morgana: Yes, I do.
Castle – Armoury
Merlin hears a hissing sound.
Merlin: Hello? Is there someone there?
Merlin finds Valiant's shield and sees one of the snake eyes blink. he moves to touch it when someone puts a sword to his chest. Merlin gets up.
Valiant: Can I help you with something, boy?
Merlin: Nope. I'm good. I, I was just...I was, erm, gathering my master's armour.
Valiant: Then you'd best be on your way.
Merlin: Right, yeah. No problem.
Merlin picks up the armour and stumbles on his way out.
Arthur's armour is laid out on the table. Arthur enters, dressed in his gambeson.
Arthur: You did all this on your own?
Merlin: Yes, Sire.
Arthur: Now let's see if you can get me into it without forgetting anything.
Merlin puts on Arthur's hauberk and coat, followed by the gorget, vambraces, pauldron, and couter. Next: his mail coif, belt, sword belt, dagger, and sword. Merlin hands Arthur his helmet.
Arthur: That was much better. Not that it could have got any worse.
Merlin: I'm a fast learner.
Arthur: I hope, for you sake, that's true.
Merlin: Good luck.
Arthur walks into the arena and acknowledges the crowd. Merlin watches from the entrance.
Gaius: Is it my imagination, or are you beginning to enjoy yourself?
Merlin: It isn't totally horrible all the time.
Arthur fights his opponent.
Merlin claps enthusiastically. Valiant fights in the arena. He knocks down Sir Ewan, whose helm rolls off. Valiant pins him down with his shield.
Valiant: Strike him.
Serpents come out of Valiant shield.
Valiant: Strike him!
Serpent bites Sir Ewan. Valiant hits him and stands up. Crowd cheers. Arthur and Merlin see Sir Ewan just lying there.
Merlin: I think he's badly hurt.
Gaius enters the arena with his medical bag.
Merlin enters and puts down Arthur's armour.
Merlin: How is he?
Gaius: It's most odd. Look at this. See these two small wounds. Looks like a snake bite.
Merlin: How could he've been bitten by a snake? He was injured in the sword fight.
Gaius: But the symptoms are consistent with poisoning: slow pulse, fever, paralysis.
Merlin: Can you heal him?
Gaius: Well, if it is a snake bite, I'll have to extract venom from the snake that bit him to make an antidote.
Merlin: What happens if he doesn't get the antidote?
Gaius: Then I'm afraid there's nothing more I can do for him. He's going to die.
Merlin: He was fighting Knight Valiant.
Gaius: What's that?
Castle – Guest chambers
Valiant walks through the Red Ribbon Chamber and Merlin spies him from around the corner and follows to spy on Valiant in his guest quarters. Valiant pulls a mouse out of a cage.
Valiant: Dinner time. Come on.
Valiant feeds it to the snakes in the shield. Merlin scurries away, but Valiant hears him and follows. Merlin hides in an alcove of the Criss-cross Corridor and Valiant gives up the chase.
Merlin: I've just seen one of the snakes in Valiant's shield come alive. He's using magic.
Gaius: Are you sure?
Merlin: The snake ate a mouse - one swallow, straight down. Sir Ewan was fighting Valiant when he collapsed. It must've been one of the snakes from the shield. I have to tell Arthur.
Gaius: Is there any chance you might be mistaken?
Merlin: I know magic when I see it.
Gaius: Perhaps, but have you any proof?
Merlin: Don't you believe me?
Gaius: I fear you'll land yourself in trouble. How will you explain why you were in Valiant's chambers?
Merlin: What does that matter? He's using magic to cheat in the tournament!
Gaius: But you can't go accusing a knight of using magic without proof. The King would never accept the word of servant over the word of a knight.
Merlin: What? So what I say doesn't count for anything?
Gaius: I'm afraid it counts for very little as far as the King is concerned. That's the way it is.
Training grounds/Tournament grounds
Merlin and Arthur watch as a serving boy uses a step ladder to put on the helm of Arthur's next opponent.
Merlin: You're telling me you've got to fight that?
Arthur: Yes, and he's strong as a bear. But he's slow.
Merlin: Ah, and you're fast.
Merlin finishes helping Arthur with his armour. Morgana absently strokes Gwen's cloak in the stands.
Gwen: You're not worried, are you?
Merlin sees Valiant put down his shield. Gaius approaches Merlin.
Gaius: How're you getting on?
Merlin: Fine. Just doing my job. Minding my own business.
Arthur fights the bear knight and wins. Valiant wins his next match. Merlin and Gaius look at the final brackets.
Merlin: Valiant's going to fight Arthur in the final. He'll use the shield to kill him.
Merlin sits with Sir Ewan by the sickbed. Gaius enters.
Gaius: Merlin, about what I said yesterday...Look, Uther wouldn't really listen to you or me, but you are right. We can't let Valiant get away with this.
Merlin: But we don't have any proof.
Gaius: Well, if we could cure Ewan, he could tell the King that Valiant was using magic. The King would believe another knight. But how we get the antidote...Well, that's another matter.
Merlin gets up and leaves.
Council Chamber of Doom
The knights toast.
Knights: Long live Valiant!
Uther: So, Valiant, do you think you stand a chance of defeating my son?
Valiant: He is a great warrior, My Lord. I do hope to be a worthy opponent.
Merlin peeks into the Council Chamber.
Uther: You should stay in Camelot after the tournament. I could do with more knights like you.
Valiant: I'd be honoured, My Lord.
Merlin heads to Valiant's guest chambers.
The door unlocks. Merlin enters and takes a sword from a rack, approaching the shield. Merlin turns to the door when he hears someone approaching. a snake slithers out of the shield and poises to strike. Merlin sees the shadow of the snake and turns around to cut off its head. The other snakes come out, but Merlin drops the sword, grabs the first snake head and runs out of the room.
Gaius drains some venom from the snake head.
Gaius: I'll get started preparing the antidote.
Merlin: I'm going to tell Arthur.
Gaius: You'll need this.
Gaius hands Merlin the snake head.
Gaius: And Merlin, what you did was very brave.
Arthur is dining in his chambers.
Arthur: You? You chopped its head off?
Merlin: Ewan was bitten by a snake from the shield when he was fighting Valiant. You can talk to Gaius; you can see the puncture wounds in Ewan's neck where the snake bit him. Ewan was beating him, he had to cheat.
Arthur: Valiant wouldn't dare use magic in Camelot.
Merlin: Ewan was pinned under Valiant's shield. No one could see the snake bite him.
Arthur: I don't like the guy, but that doesn't mean he's cheating.
Merlin: Gaius is preparing an antidote to the snake venom. When Ewan's conscious, he'll tell you what happened. If you fight Valiant in the final, he'll use the shield. It's the only way he can beat you. Look at it!
Merlin picks up the snake head.
Merlin: Have you ever seen any snakes like this in Camelot?
Arthur takes the snake head and looks it over.
Merlin: I know I'm just a servant and my word doesn't count for anything. I wouldn't lie to you.
Arthur: I want you to swear to me what you're telling me is true.
Merlin: I swear it's true.
Arthur: Then I believe you.
Valiant is escorted through the Square to the Council Chamber of Doom. Gaius treats Sir Ewan in Gaius’s room. Ewan wakes.
Gaius: Welcome back.
Ewan: There was a snake on his shield. It came alive.
Gaius: You're weak. The snake's venom is still in your system.
Ewan: I must warn Arthur.
Gaius: Arthur already knows. He's requested an audience with the King. Now, they'll want to talk to you. Rest. You'll need your strength. I need to fetch more herbs. I'll be right back.
Valiant’s snake slithers to Ewan's bed and strikes him.
Castle – Council chamber of doom
Uther: Why have you summoned the court?
Arthur: I believe Knight Valiant is using a magic shield to cheat in the tournament.
Uther: Valiant, what do you have to say to this?
Valiant: My Lord, this is ridiculous. I've never used magic. Does your son have any evidence to support this outrageous accusation?
Uther: Do you have evidence?
Arthur: I do.
Arthur motions for Merlin to come forward, who hands Uther the snake head.
Gaius mixes a potion.
Gaius: I'm afraid this potion tastes like toad water, but it'll get you back on your feet. Ewan?
Gaius checks for Ewan's pulse.
Castle – Council chamber of doom
Uther: Let me see this shield.
Merlin (whisper to Arthur): Don't let him get too close.
Arthur: Be careful, My Lord.
Arthur draws his sword. Uther inspects the field. Gaius enters the room.
Gaius (whisper): Merlin.
Arthur (whisper to Merlin): We need Ewan. Find out what's happening.
Valiant: As you can see, My Lord, it's just an ordinary shield.
Arthur: He's not going to let everyone see the snakes come alive.
Uther: Then how am I to know that what you say is true?
Arthur: I have a witness. Knight Ewan was bitten by one of the snakes from the shield. Its venom made him grievously ill; however, he has received an antidote. He will confirm that Knight Valiant is using magic.
Uther: Where is this witness?
Arthur: He should be here...
Arthur turns to Gaius and Merlin.
Arthur: Where's Ewan?
Merlin: He's dead.
Uther: I'm waiting!
Arthur: I'm afraid the witness is dead.
Uther: So you have no proof to support these allegations. Have you seen Valiant using magic?
Arthur: No. But my servant fought one of the snakes from...
Uther: Your servant? You made these outrageous accusations against a knight the word of your servant?
Arthur: I believe he's telling the truth!
Valiant: My Lord, am I really to be judged on some hearsay from a boy?
Merlin: I've seen those snakes come alive!
Uther: How dare you interrupt?! Guards!
Guards begin taking Merlin away.
Valiant: My Lord.
Valiant: I'm sure he was merely mistaken. I wouldn't want him punished on my account.
Uther: You see? This is how a true knight behaves - with gallantry and honour.
Valiant: My Lord, if your son made these accusations because he's afraid to fight me, then I will graciously accept his withdrawal.
Uther: Is this true? Do you wish to withdraw from the tournament?
Uther: Then what am I to make of these allegations?
Arthur: Obviously there has been a misunderstanding. I withdraw the allegation against Knight Valiant. Please accept my apology.
Arthur: I believed you; I trusted you, and you made me look a complete fool.
Merlin: I know it didn't go exactly to plan.
Arthur: "Didn't go to plan"?! My father and the entire royal court think I'm a coward! YOU HUMILIATED ME!
Merlin: We can still expose Valiant.
Arthur: I no longer require your services.
Merlin: You're sacking me?
Arthur: I need a servant I can trust.
Merlin: You can trust me!
Arthur: And look where it got me this time. Get out of my sight!
Castle – Dragon’s cave
Merlin: Where are you? I just came to tell you: whatever you think my destiny, whatever it is you think I'm supposed to do, you've got the wrong person! That's it. Goodbye.
Kilgharrah: If only it were so easy to escape one's destiny.
Merlin: How can it be my destiny to protect someone who hates me?
Kilgharrah: A half cannot truly hate that which makes it whole. Very soon you shall learn that.
Merlin: Oh, great. Just what I needed, another riddle.
Kilgharrah: That your and Arthur's path lies together is but the truth.
Merlin: What is that supposed to mean?
Kilgharrah: You know, young warlock, this is not the end. It is the beginning.
Merlin: Just give me a straight answer!
Merlin sits on the steps. Gwen approaches.
Gwen: Hello, Merlin.
Merlin: All right?
Gwen sits next to him.
Gwen: Is it true what you said about Valiant using magic?
Gwen: What are you going to do?
Merlin: Why does everyone seem to think it's down to me to do something about it?
Gwen: Because it is! Isn't it? You have to show everyone that you were right and they were wrong.
Merlin: And how do I do that?
Gwen: I don't know.
Merlin catches sight of a dog statue.
Merlin: That's it.
Gwen: Where are you going?
Merlin: Do you have a wheelbarrow?
Merlin wheels in the dog statue.
Gaius: What are you doing with that?
Merlin: I'm going to let everyone see the snakes for themselves.
Merlin puts the statue in his chamber and pulls the magic book out from under a floor board.
Merlin: Bebay odothay. Bebay odothay arisan quickum.
Merlin tries out the spell.
Merlin: Bebay odothay arisan quickum. Bebay odothay arisan quickum.
Morgana has a nightmare about Arthur fighting Valiant and jerks awake.
Morgana (whisper): Arthur!
Morgana gets up and goes to the window to watch Arthur practicing in the Square below.
Merlin tries the spell over and over but nothing happens.
Merlin enters Arthur's open chambers.
Arthur: I thought I told you to get out of my sight.
Merlin: Don't fight Valiant in the tournament tomorrow. He'll use the shield against you.
Arthur: I know.
Merlin: Then withdraw. You have to withdraw.
Arthur: Don't you understand? I can't withdraw. The people expect their prince to fight. How can I lead men into battle if they think I'm a coward?
Merlin: Valiant will kill you. If you fight, you die.
Arthur: Then I die.
Merlin: How can you go out there and fight like that?
Arthur: Because I have to. It's my duty.
Merlin wakes early the next morning with the spell book in his lap, and speaks drowsily.
Merlin: Bebay odothay...arisan quickum.
Valiant sharpens his sword near the tournament grounds. Arthur stands in the arena and looks around.
Arthur's old serving boy, Morris, helps him with his armour. Morgana enters, Morris bows and exits. Morgana puts her hands on Arthur's back and he begins to turn around.
Morgana: Let me.
Morgana fixes the strap for the gorget and tightens the vambrace.
Morgana: I used to help my father with his armour.
Morgana hands Arthur his helmet.
Arthur turns to leave.
Morgana: Arthur, be careful.
Arthur: See you at the feast.
Arthur enters the arena. Arthur and Valiant put on their helmets prepare to fight.
Merlin mumbles the spell with his eyes close.
Merlin: Bebay odothay arisan quickum.
There's a growl, but Merlin keeps repeating the spell.
Merlin: Bebay odothay arisan quickum.
The Rottweiler barks.
Merlin: I did it!
The dog starts lunging at Merlin; he rushes out of the room and shuts the door. Gaius enters.
Gaius: Arthur's fighting Valiant!
Merlin: I know. I'm on my way. Oh, whatever you do, don't go into my room. We'll deal with it later.
Gaius peeks into Merlin's Chamber and the Rottweiler barks at him.
Arthur fights Valiant. Arthur knocks Valiant's helmet off. Arthur removes his helmet and they both pull down their mail coifs. Valiant knocks Arthur to the ground and steps on his shield. Valiant disarms Arthur, but Arthur catches him before he can strike. Valiant pins Arthur against a wall, but Arthur shoves him off and Merlin takes the opportunity.
Merlin: Bebay odothay arisan quickum.
The snakes come out of the shield. The crowd stands up in surprise.
Valiant: What are you doing? I didn't summon you!
Uther: He is using magic.
Arthur: And now they see you for what you really are.
Valiant chuckles darkly and sends the snakes to the ground.
Valiant: Kill him!
Arthur backs up toward the stands and Morgana grabs a sword from the knight sitting next to her and throws it to Arthur.
Arthur catches it, swings at Valiant and then kills the snakes. Arthur disarms Valiant and runs him through.
Arthur: It looks like I'll be going to the feast after all.
Valiant drops and crowd cheers. Arthur slaps Merlin's shoulder on his way out of the tournament grounds.
Castle – Banquet Hall
Courtiers mingle. Uther spots Arthur entering.
Uther: My honourable guests, I give you Prince Arthur, your champion.
The court applauds and Arthur offers Morgana his arm.
Arthur: My Lady.
Morgana: My champion.
Merlin: See, I told you he gets all the girls and the glory.
Gaius: And he owes it all to you.
Morgana: Has your father apologised yet for not believing you.
Arthur: He'll never apologise. I hope, uh, you're not disappointed Valiant's not escorting you.
Morgana: Turns out he wasn't really champion material.
Arthur: That was some tournament final.
Morgana: Tell me about it. It's not every day a girl gets to save her prince.
Arthur: Uh, I wouldn't say I needed exactly saving. I'm sure I would've thought of something.
Morgana: So you're too proud to admit you were saved by a girl.
Arthur: Because I wasn't.
Morgana: You know what? I wish Valiant was escorting me.
Arthur: Me too. Then I wouldn't have to listen to you.
Morgana storms off to talk to Gwen. Arthur turns to Merlin.
Arthur: Can you believe Morgana? She says she saved me. Like I needed any help. I wanted to say I made a mistake. It was unfair to sack you.
Merlin: No, don't worry about it. Buy me a drink and call it even.
Arthur: Uh, I can't be seen to be buying drinks for my servant.
Merlin: Your servant? You sacked me.
Arthur: Now I'm rehiring you.
Arthur: My chambers are a complete mess. My clothes need washing. My, uh, armour needs repairing. My boots need cleaning. My dogs need exercising. My fireplace needs sweeping. My bed needs changing. And someone needs to muck out my stables.