01x04 - The Poisoned Chalice

Episode 1.04 – The Poisoned Chalice

“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.”

Nimueh drops some of her blood into a stone basin.

Nimueh: *spell*

Nimueh drops a flower petal in the water. She watches Merlin in the water, pulls out the petal and puts it in a silver goblet.

Nimueh: Merlin.

Castle throne room

Bayard and his men arrive in Camelot, they meet Uther his men in the Throne Room.

Uther: Camelot welcomes you, Lord Bayard of Mercia. The treaty we sign today marks and end to war and a beginning to a new friendship between our people.

Uther and Bayard grasp arms. Both parties applaud while Nimueh stares Merlin down.

Castle – Upper corridor

Merlin passes Gaius while carrying a heavy bag.

Merlin: Why do I always get landed with the donkey work?

Gaius: You're a servant, Merlin. It's what you do.

Merlin: My arms will be a foot longer by the time I get this lot inside.

Gaius: It's character building. As the old proverb says, hard work breeds...a harder soul.

Merlin: There is no way that's a proverb. You just made that up.

Gaius: No. I didn't.

Nimueh fakes a fall right in front of Merlin.

Nimueh: Sorry.

Merlin: It's alright.

Nimueh: Excuse me.

Merlin: Let me give you a hand with that.

Merlin crouches down and catches Nimueh's eye. They stand up.

Merlin: Hi. I'm Merlin.

Merlin shakes Nimueh’s hand.

Nimueh: Cara. You're Arthur's servant. That must be such an honour.

Merlin: Oh, yeah. It is. Well, you know, someone's got to keep the place running.

Nimueh: Thank you, Merlin.

Merlin: Hmm?

Merlin looks down at the pillow he picked up for her.

Merlin: Oh, right. Yeah. Er, no problem.

Nimueh: It was nice meeting you.

Merlin watches her leave.

Gaius: Shouldn't you be busy running the place?

Gaius laughs.

Castle corridor

Nimueh goes to Bayard's guest quarters.

Nimueh: Alysan duru ronne.

The door opens. Nimueh enters and opens a box with two silver goblets inside. She replaces one of them with an identical one that she enchanted at the beginning.

Arthur’s chambers

Merlin sets down Arthur's clothes for the feast and reels backwards, covering his face.

Merlin: When's the last time these were cleaned?

Arthur: Last year some time. Before the feast of Beltane.

Merlin: Did it end in a food fight?

Arthur: Don't all feasts?

Merlin: I wouldn't know. The heirs and graces of the court are a mystery to me.

Arthur: Not tonight they won't be.

Merlin: I'm gonna be at the banquet?

Arthur: Not quite. You'll be there to make sure my cup doesn't run dry. If I have to sit through Bayard's boring speeches, I don't see why you should get out of it. Be sure to polish the buttons. Do you want to see what you'll be wearing tonight?

Merlin: Won't this do?

Arthur: No. Tonight you'll be wearing the official ceremonial robes of the servants of Camelot.

Arthur holds them up for Merlin to see.

Merlin: You can't be serious.

Castle - Banquet hall

Bayard signs the treaty in the Hall of Ceremonies. Gwen chuckles at Merlin's feathered hat.

Gwen: Nice hat.

Merlin: Thanks.

Merlin catches Nimueh's eye and takes off the hat. Gwen notices his gaze.

Gwen: She's pretty isn't she? For a handmaiden, I mean.

Merlin: She's pretty for a princess, let alone a handmaiden.

Gwen: Mmm.

Uther finishes signing the treaty and grasps arms with Bayard. The crowd applauds and Gwen leaves Merlin.

Bayard: People of Camelot, for a great many years we have been mortal enemies, and the blood of our men stains the ground from the walls of Camelot to the gates of Mercia. And though we remember those who have died, we must not allow any more to join them.

A serving girl brings in the box with the goblets.

Bayard: As a symbol of our goodwill, and of our newfound friendship, I present these ceremonial goblets to you, Uther, and to your son, Arthur, in the hope that our friendship may last.

Nimueh approaches Merlin with fake anxiety in her voice.

Nimueh: Merlin, I need to speak to you.

Bayard: The wounds we received in battle...

Merlin: What is it?

Nimueh: Not here, please. I don't know who else to tell.

Merlin leaves with Nimueh. Gaius notices.

Bayard: Tonight we toast a new beginning for our peoples. We look towards a future free from the toils of war.

Castle corridor

Nimueh and Merlin stop to talk in a corridor.

Nimueh: It wasn't until I saw him give the goblet to Arthur that I realised...

Merlin: Whoa, slow down. Start from the beginning.

Nimueh: Two days ago, I was bringing Bayard his evening meal. We're supposed to knock. He didn't expect me to walk in...

Merlin: So, what are you trying to say?

Nimueh: If he knows I said anything, he will kill me.

Merlin: I would not let that happen to you, I promise. Please tell me what you saw.

Nimueh: Bayard is no friend of Camelot. He craves the kingdom for himself.

Merlin: Cara...Tell me. What has Bayard done with the goblet?

Nimueh: He believes that if he kills Arthur, Uther's spirit will be broken and Camelot will fall.

Merlin: What has he done with the goblet?

Nimueh: I saw him putting something in it.

Merlin: What?

Nimueh: I shouldn't! He'll kill me!

Merlin: Please, tell me! Was it poison?

Nimueh nods. Merlin runs back to the Hall of Ceremonies and Nimueh smirks.

Banquet hall

Bayard: And may the differences from our past remain there. To your health, Uther.

Everyone stands to toast.

Bayard: Arthur.

Arthur starts to drink.

Bayard: The Lady Morgana.

Morgana nods. Arthur waits.

Bayard: The people of Camelot.

Arthur starts to drink.

Uther: And to fallen warriors on both sides.

Everyone starts to drink.

Merlin: Stop!

Merlin runs in.

Merlin: It's poisoned! Don't drink it!

Merlin runs up to Arthur and takes his goblet.

Uther: What?

Arthur: Merlin, what are you doing?

Merlin: Bayard laced Arthur's goblet with poison.

Bayard: This is an outrage!

Bayard and his men draw their swords, so do the knights of Camelot.

Uther: Order your men to put down their swords.

Camelot guards rush in.

Uther: You are outnumbered.

Bayard: I will not allow this insult to go unchallenged!

Uther: On what grounds do you base this accusation?

Arthur: I'll handle this.

Arthur skirts around the table.

Arthur: Merlin, you idiot. Have we been at the sloe gin again?

Arthur grabs Merlin and takes the goblet.

Uther: Unless you want to be strung up, you will tell me why you think why you think it's poisoned now.

Merlin: He was seen lacing it.

Uther: By whom?

Merlin: I can't say.

Bayard: I won't listen to this anymore.

Uther: Pass me the goblet.

Arthur hands it to him.

Uther: If you're telling the truth...

Bayard: I am.

Uther: Then you have nothing to fear, do you?

Bayard sheathes his sword and reaches for the goblet.

Uther: No. If this does prove to be poisoned, I want the pleasure of killing you myself.

Bayard: *snort*

Uther hold the goblet up to Merlin.

Uther: He'll drink it.

Arthur: But if it is poisoned, he'll die!

Uther: Then we'll know he was telling the truth.

Bayard: And what if he lives?

Uther: Then you have my apologies, and you can do with him as you will.

Gaius: Uther, please! He's just a boy! He doesn't know what he's saying!

Uther: Then you should've schooled him better.

Arthur: Merlin, apologise. This is a mistake. I'll drink it.

Merlin: No, no, no, no, no. It's, it's alright.

Merlin toasts to Bayard and Arthur, then drinks as Nimueh watches with glee. Gwen takes a few steps forward in her anxiety.

Merlin: It's fine.

Uther: He's all yours.

Gwen sighs in relief. Merlin chokes and falls to the floor unconscious.

Uther: It's poisoned. Guards seize him!

Arthur crouches over Merlin. Nimueh leaves. Gaius and Gwen crouch over Merlin.

Gaius: Merlin. Can you hear me? We have to get him back to my chambers. Bring the goblet. I need to identify the poison.

Arthur picks up Merlin and Gwen grabs the goblet.

Gaius‘s chambers

Arthur enters carrying Merlin. Gaius and Gwen follow.

Gaius: Lay him on the bed quickly; he's struggling to breathe. Gwen, fetch me some water and a towel.

Arthur: Is he gonna be alright?

Gaius: He's burning up.

Gwen: You can cure him, can't you Gaius?

Gaius: I won't know until I can identify the poison. Pass me the goblet.

Gwen hands it to him.

Gaius: Ah. There's something stuck on the inside.

Arthur: What is it?

Gaius: It looks like a flower petal of some kind.

Gwen: His brow's on fire.

Gaius: Keep him cool; it'll help control his fever.

Gwen tends to Merlin while Gaius pulls out a book.

Gaius: Ah. The petal comes from the Mortaeus flower. It says here that someone poisoned by the Mortaeus can only be saved by a potion made from the leaf of the very same flower. It can only be found in the caves deep beneath the Forest of Balor. The flower grows on the roots of the Mortaeus tree.

Arthur: That's not particularly friendly.

Gaius: A Cockatrice. It guards the forest. Its venom is potent. A single drop would mean certain death. Few who have crossed the Mountains of Isgaard in search of the Mortaeus flower have made it back alive.

Arthur: Sounds like fun.

Gaius: Arthur, it's too dangerous.

Arthur: If I don't get the antidote, what happens to Merlin?

Gaius: The Mortaeus induces a slow and painful death . He may hold out for four, maybe five days, but not for much longer. Eventually he will die.

Castle drawdridge

Nimueh rides out of Camelot.

Morgana's chambers

Gwen enters.

Gwen: My Lady, I am so sorry I haven't been here to attend to you.

Morgana: Don't worry, I'm alright. How's Merlin?

Gwen: If Arthur comes back with the antidote in time, he'll be fine.

Morgana: Then he'll be fine.

Gwen sighs.

Morgana: You should be with him. I'll manage. I know what he means to you. Go.

Gwen: Thank you.

Castle – Central corridor

Arthur walks with Uther. Arthur's dressed in his chainmail.

Uther: What's the point of having people to taste for you if you're going to get yourself killed anyway?

Arthur: I won't fail, no matter what you think.

Uther: Arthur, you are my only son and heir. I can't risk losing you for the sake of some serving boy.

Arthur: Oh, because his life's worthless?

Uther: No, because it's worth less than yours.

Arthur: I can save him. Let me take some men.

Uther: No.

Arthur: We'll find the antidote and bring it back.

Uther: No.

Arthur: Why not?!

Uther: Because one day I will be dead and Camelot will need a king. I'm not going to let you jeopardise the future of this kingdom over some fool's errand.

Arthur: It's not a fool's errand. Gaius says that if we can get the antidote...

Uther: Oh, Gaius says? That's exactly what makes it so.

Arthur: Please, Father. He saved my life. I can't stand by and watch him die.

Uther: Then don't look. This boy won't be the last to die on your behalf. You're going to be King. It's something you'll have to get used to.

Arthur: I can't accept that.

Uther: You're not going.

Arthur: You can't stop me.

Uther: Damn it, Arthur, that's an end to it! You're not leaving this castle tonight.

Arthur's chambers

Arthur storms in, tosses his sword onto the table, and leans over the fireplace. Morgana enters.

Morgana: Say what you like about the food, but you can't beat our feast for entertainment.

Arthur: Morgana, I'm sorry, I should have made sure you were alright.

Morgana: Disappointed actually. I was looking forward to clumping a couple around the head with a ladle.

Arthur: I'm sure the guards could have handled Bayard and his men.

Morgana: Yeah, but why let the boys have all the fun?

Arthur: Morgana, you shouldn't get involved. It's dangerous.

Morgana: Spare me the lecture; I've already had it from Uther.

Arthur: If it's any consolation, you weren't the only one.

Morgana: Not that I listen to him. Sometimes you've got to do what you think is right, and damn the consequences.

Arthur: You think I should go?

Morgana: It doesn't matter what I think.

Arthur: If I don't make it back, who will be the next king of Camelot? There's more than just my life at stake.

Morgana: And what kind of king would Camelot want? One that would risk his life to save that of a lowly servant?

Morgana draws Arthur's sword.

Morgana: Or one who does what his father tells him to?

Morgana presents Arthur with the sword.

Castle drawbridge

Arthur rides across the drawbridge.

Guard: Halt!

Arthur rides past the guards out of Camelot. Nimueh watches from her stone basin.

Gaius's chambers

Gwen: He's getting hotter.

Merlin (muttering): Him. Liffrea, wuldres wealdend, woroldare forgeaf.

Gwen: What language is that?

Gaius: None. The fever's taken hold. None of those words are his own. His pulse is weaker.

Gaius finds a large circular rash on Merlin's arm.

Gwen: What is it?

Gaius: That can't be right. The rash is not supposed to appear until the final stage.

Gwen: What does that mean?

Gaius checks his book with a magnifying glass.

Gaius: It says here that "once a rash appears, death will follow within two days."

Gwen: You said he had four days.

Gaius: Something's increased the flower's potency. It warns that "the effect of the Mortaeus will be more rapid if an enchantment is used during the flower's preparation."

Gwen: An enchantment? But Bayard's no sorcerer.

Gaius: No, he isn't.

Gwen: Then who did this?

Gaius: It can't have been. She wouldn't dare come here. Unless...

Gwen: Unless what?

Gaius: What happened to that girl?

Gwen: Which girl?

Gaius: Just before Merlin burst into the hall one of Bayard's serving girls took him outside.

Gwen: She had dark hair. Very beautiful.

Gaius: Find her. Quickly.

Merlin (muttering): Arthur... swa...

Castle dungeons

Gwen checks the cells for Cara/Nimueh.

Morgana's chambers

Uther paces.

Uther: I expressly ordered Arthur not to go!

Morgana: I'd say it worked like a charm, too.

Uther: Not another word!

Morgana: My lips are sealed.

Uther: I should've put him under lock and key.

Morgana: You can't chain him up every time he disagrees with you.

Uther: Just you watch me! I will not be disobeyed! Especially by my own son!

Morgana: No. Of course you won't.

Morgana sits down at her desk to write. Uther approaches her.

Uther: You knew about this, didn't you? Morgana...don't lie to me.

Morgana: Arthur's old enough to make decisions for himself.

Uther: He's just a boy.

Morgana: Have you seen your son recently? You have to let him make his own mind up.

Uther: Even if it means letting him go to his death?

Arthur rides through the mountains. Nimueh watches him from her stone basin. She pulls up her hood and leaves her cave.

Gaius's chambers

Merlin stirs restlessly. Gaius inspects Merlin's rash. Gwen enters.

Gaius: Let me guess, she wasn't there.

Gwen: No one has seen her since the banquet. Who is she?

Gaius: Not who she claims to be.

Gwen: But you know, don't you?

Gaius: Cara. Though, that's not her name. Not her real name, anyway.

Gwen: Then who is she?

Gaius: A powerful sorceress.

Gwen: Well, we should tell Uther. Maybe he could send riders out after her.

Gaius: No, she'll be long gone. It's impossible to know where, though. Oh, no.

Gwen: What?

Gaius: She knows the only place an antidote can be found is the Forest of Balor. Arthur could be walking into a trap.

Merlin: Arthur. Arthur.

Arthur leads his horse through the forest. The Cockatrice hides under fallen tree.

Gaius's chambers

Merlin: *muttering*

Arthur leads his horse through the forest. He hears Nimueh's fake crying and approaches her as she sits on a fallen log with fake bruises.

Arthur: Hello? Are you alright?

The Cockatrice roars behind him.

Arthur (to Nimueh): Stay back.

Nimueh smiles as Arthur faces the beast. The Cockatrice lunges, Arthur rolls under it as it jumps, then throws his sword, killing it. Nimueh grimaces. Arthur looks at her and she gets up and backs away in pretend fear.

Arthur: It's alright. I'm not going to hurt you. Who did that to you?

Arthur points to her bruises.

Nimueh: My master. I ran away from him, but then I got lost. Please don't leave me.

Arthur: I won't. I'm not going to.

Nimueh: You can take me away from here?

Arthur: Not yet. There's something I have to do first.

Arthur looks at the cave mouth.

Nimueh: Why have you come to the caves?

Arthur: I'm looking for something. It can only be found here.

Nimueh: What is it? I know this place; I could help you.

Arthur: It's a type of flower that only grows inside the cave. It's very rare.

Nimueh: The Mortaeus flower? I know where they are. I'll show you.

Arthur and Nimueh enter the cave with torches.

Gaius’s chambers

Merlin: Arthur, it...it's a trap. It's a trap.

Gwen: His fever's getting worse, isn't it?

Gaius: The poison's setting in.

Merlin: eft gewunigen wilgesiþas, þonne wig cume.

Gaius: Shh. Could you fetch me some more Wolfbane?

Gwen: Yes, of course.

Gaius: Merlin, you must fight it.

Caves

Nimueh and Arthur turn a corner in the caves.

Nimueh: There they are.

The flowers are on the across a large gap with a narrow ledge and long drop. Arthur looks down.

Arthur: Keep back from the edge. Don't worry. We'll be out of here soon.

Nimueh: Eorthe, lyft, fyr, waeter, hiersumie me.

The cave begins to shake.

Nimueh: Eorthe ac stanas hiersumie me. Ic can stanas tobrytan...

Arthur: What are you doing?!

Nimueh: ...hiersumie me.

Arthur drops his torch as the rock falls out beneath him. he jumps for the opposite ledge and catches it with his hand.

Nimueh: I expected so much more.

Arthur: Who are you?!

Nimueh: The last face you'll ever see.

A giant spider shows up.

Nimueh: It seems we have a visitor.

Arthur edges away from the spider, draws his sword and kills the spider while dangling from the ledge.

Nimueh: Very good. But he won't be the last. I'll let his friends finish you off, Arthur Pendragon. It's not your destiny to die at my hand.

Nimieh leaves with the torch, leaving Arthur dangling from the ledge in the dark.

Arthur: Who are you?!

Gaius's chambers

Merlin: Arthur. It's too dark. Too dark. Fromum feohgiftum on fæder bearme. Fromum feohgiftum.

Gaius sees something glowing.

Gaius: Merlin.

Gaius folds down the blanket. Merlin holds a glowing ball of light in his hand.

Gaius: What are you doing?

Caves

Arthur sees the light in the cave.

Arthur: Come on, then! What are you waiting for?! Finish me off!

The light floats above Arthur and he pulls himself onto the ledge. The light moves higher, but Arthur spots the Mortaeus flower on the wall.


Merlin: Leave them, Arthur.

Spiders screech and crawl toward Arthur.

Merlin: Go. Save yourself. Follow the light.

Arthur climbs to the flower and grabs it and puts it in a pouch on his belt. spiders keep coming. Arthur races to the top.

Merlin: Faster. Go faster. Follow the light! Move. Climb.

Arthur makes it to the top and the light disappears from Merlin's hand.

Camelot

Guards spot Uther from the battlements.

Gregory: Inform the King! Arthur has returned to Camelot!

Arthur rides up to the drawbridge gate. guards block his way.

Arthur: What are you doing? Let me pass.

Gregory: I'm sorry, Sire. You're under arrest, by order of the King.

Castle dungeons

Uther visits Arthur's cell in the dungeons.

Uther: You disobeyed me.

Arthur: Of course I did, a man's life is at stake. Do not let Merlin die because of something I did.

Uther: Why do you care so much? The boy is just a servant.

Arthur: He knew the danger he was putting himself in, and he knew what would happen if he drank from that goblet, but he did it anyway. He saved my life. There's more. There was a woman at the mountain. She knew I was there for the flower. I don't think it was Bayard who tried to poison me.

Uther: Of course it was.

Arthur pulls out the flower.

Arthur: Gaius knows what to do with it.

Uther takes the flower.

Arthur: Put me in the stocks for a week, a month even, I don't care. Just make sure it gets to him. I'm begging you.

Uther crushes the flower.

Arthur: NO!

Uther: You have to learn there's a right and a wrong way of doing things. I'll see you're let out in a week. Then you can find yourself another servant.

Uther drops the flower just outside Arthur's cell door. The guards lock the door and Arthur tries to get the flower just beyond his reach.

Gaius's chambers

Gaius: He hasn't got much longer. Has Arthur got the flower?

Gwen: I don't know. Uther won't allow anyone to see him. Is there nothing we can do to help?

Gaius: Only the leaf of the Mortaeus flower can save him.

Gwen: And we have to find out if Arthur has it. I could sneak into the dungeon.

Gaius: That would be very dangerous.

Gwen: I've got to. Merlin will die if I don't.

Merlin struggles to breathe.

Gaius: Be careful.

Castle dungeons

Gwen walks down the Wrought Iron Stairway with a plate of food and approaches a guard.

Gwen: Food for the prisoner.

A guard unlocks the door for her.

Arthur: Set it down over there.

Gwen puts it down on a small table and takes a step back. Arthur gets up and goes to the table.

Arthur: Thank you.

Gwen turns to leave.

Arthur: Wait a minute.

Arthur puts the plate back down and walks back to his seat on the floor.

Arthur: I couldn't possibly eat this, it's disgusting. The state it's in, I'm not sure it's fit for anyone.

Gwen goes back to pick up the plate and smiles when she sees the flower on the plate. she leaves the cell.

Dungeon guard: You. Wait!

Gwen stops and turns around as the guard approaches. He picks over the plate and grabs some bread.

Dungeon guard: Waste not, want not, eh? We're not all as precious as our Royal Highness.

Gwen turns to leave just as another serving girl comes down the steps with a plate and cup.

Serving girl: Food for Prince Arthur.

Dungeon guard: Stay where you are!

Gwen drops the plate and dashes up the stairs.

Gaius’s chambers

Gwen runs in.

Gwen: How is he?

Gaius: Have you got the Mortaeus?

Gwen: Here.

Gaius: His breathing's much worse. We have to hurry.

Gwen sits down next to Merlin's sickbed as Gaius begins crushing the flower leaf.

Gwen: Why have you stopped?

Gaius: The poison was created using magic. We may need magic to make an antidote.

Gwen: But we can't. It's forbidden. Even if we could.

Gaius: I'll try and make it work without it. Oh, I need some fresh water.

Gaius hands her a bowl and she runs off. Gaius lifts the bowl he's holding.

Gaius: Sythan...

Gaius stops and looks around, nervous to be practicing magic again.

Gaius: Sythan arrest wearth feasceaft funden. Denum æfter dome. Dreamleas gebad he gewinnes longsum.

The potion sizzles and foams for a moment. Gwen runs back in and hands him the bowl of water before rushing back to Merlin's side.

Gaius: Thank you.

Gaius pours the potion into a small cup and goes to Merlin.

Gaius: Hold his nose.

Gwen pinches his nose as Gaius pours the potion into Merlin's mouth.

Gaius: Swallow, Merlin. Swallow it.

Gwen: He's stopped breathing. What's happening? Gaius?

Gaius puts his head to Merlin's chest.

Gaius: His heart has stopped.

Gwen: He's dead?

Gaius: He can't be. He can't be. It was his destiny.

Gaius stands up.

Gwen: It's my fault. If I'd have got here sooner. If I'd have been quicker.

Gwen gets up and cries in Gaius's arms.

Gaius: No, no. It was me. I should've looked after him better. It's my fault.

Merlin: That's disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourself. You're old enough to be her grandfather.

Gaius: Merlin. You're alive.

Merlin: No. I'm the ghost come back to haunt you.

Gwen grabs Merlin's face and kisses him.

Gwen: Sorry, I'm just...I thought you were dead.

Merlin: It's fine. It's more than fine. ...erm...what happened? The last thing I remember is drinking the wine.

Castle – Council chamber of doom

Gaius enters while Uther consults his advisors.

Gaius: Sire, forgive the interruption, but may I speak with you?

Uther: Not now.

Gaius: But, Your Highness, it is important.

Uther: Word of Bayard's arrest has got back to Mercia. We're about to be attacked.

Gaius: I feel that what I have to tell you may have some bearing on your plans. Please, it will only take a moment.

Uther steps aside with Gaius.

Gaius: I know who tried to poison Arthur.

Uther: So do I. He's locked in my dungeons.

Gaius: It wasn't Bayard. The poison was magical. And I'd recognise the hand that made it anywhere: Nimueh.

Uther: You must be mistaken.

Gaius: I wish I was.

Uther: It can't have been. We'd know her. That witch's face is not easily forgotten.

Gaius: She's a powerful sorceress. She can enchant the eye that beholds her. We never knew it was her.

Uther: Have you any proof?

Gaius: The poison used against Merlin was made more potent by the use of magic.

Uther: Are you saying that she conspired with Bayard to kill Arthur?

Gaius: No, Bayard is innocent. Look at what's happening. This is what she's wanted all along. A war to bring strife and misery to Camelot.

Uther: How long before Bayard's armies reach our walls?

Sir cador: A day. Maybe less. We should send cavalry out to meet them.

Uther: Instruct your men not to leave Camelot until I give the word.

Sir Cador: Sire.

Knights bow and exit.

Gaius: You are making the right decision, Sire. Do you think Arthur should be told the truth about Nimueh?

Castle

Arthur, Morgana, and Uther watch from the battlements as Bayard and his men ride away from Camelot.

Morgana: Okay. Let the bragging begin. How'd you manage it?

Arthur: I'm not sure. All I do know is I had help. Someone knew I was in trouble and sent a light to guide the way.

Morgana: Who?

Arthur: I don't know. But whoever it was, I'm only here because of them.

Morgana: I'm glad you're back.

Morgana leaves.

Uther: Arthur? The woman you met in the forest, what did she tell you?

Arthur: Not much. She was too busy trying to get me killed. It was strange, though.

Uther: In what way?

Arthur: I was at her mercy. She could have finished me off, but she chose not to. She said it wasn't my destiny to die at her hand.

Uther: You must've been scared.

Arthur: Had its moments.

Uther: Those who practice magic know only evil. They despise and seek to destroy goodness wherever they find it. Which is why she wanted you dead. She is evil.

Arthur: Sounds as if you know her.

Uther: I do. To know the heart of one sorcerer is to know them all. You did the right thing. Even though you were disobeying me. I'm proud of you, Arthur. Never forget that.

Gaius's chambers

Arthur enters.

Arthur: Still alive, then?

Merlin: Oh. Yeah, just about. I understand I have you to thank for that.

Arthur: Yeah, well, it was nothing. A half decent servant is hard to come by. I was only dropping by to make sure you're alright. I expect you to be back to work tomorrow.

Merlin: Oh yeah, yeah of course, er, bright and early.

Arthur turns to leave.

Merlin: Arthur. Thank you.

Arthur: You too. Get some rest.

Gaius: Arthur may give you a hard time, but at heart he's a man of honour. There aren't many who'd have risk what he did for a servant.

Merlin: It all would've been for nothing if you didn't know how to make the antidote.

Gaius: Eat your dinner.

Merlin: I still don't understand why she went to all the trouble of framing Bayard. She could've just kept quiet and killed Arthur.

Gaius: But destroying Arthur and Camelot wasn't all she was after. She knew you would be forced to drink that wine. It was you she wanted to kill. Seems someone else knows you're destined for great things, Merlin.

Nimueh watches Merlin in her stone basin.