113 – Le Morte d'Arthur
“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.”
Arthur's hunting party sneaks through the woods.
ARTHUR: Merlin, spear.
Merlin drops it on him.
ARTHUR: Do you have any natural gifts, Merlin?
MERLIN: No. Well, let me think. I'm not naturally rude or insensitive.
ARTHUR: Just naturally irritating.
They move forward and hear growling noises. Arthur catches Merlin's expression.
ARTHUR: It's probably more scared of you than you are of it.
Arthur signals to his knights where to go. Questing Beast jumps out at them. Arthur drops his spear and they all run. Merlin falls. Arthur and Sir Bedivere help him up. Bedivere subsequently falls and gets killed by the beast.
MERLIN: Have we lost it?
ARTHUR: Who's missing?
MERLIN: Where's Sir Bedivere?
SIR BEDIVERE: *scream*
Castle – Council Chamber Of Doom
GAIUS: The creature you describe has all the characteristics of the Questing Beast.
ARTHUR: Surely that's a myth.
GAIUS: According to the old books, the appearance of the Questing Beast is supposed to foreshadow a time of great upheaval.
UTHER: Gaius, it's an old wives' tale.
ARTHUR: Look, whatever it is, it's spreading panic. The people fear it will enter the city.
UTHER: Then we must kill it. Arthur, gather the guard together. You ride at dawn.
GAIUS: I beg you, Sire, do not dismiss this. The beast is an omen. I've seen it come before, the night your wife Ygraine passed away.
UTHER: I've told you not to speak of that night again. I have conquered the Old Religion. It's warnings mean nothing to me now. Arthur will destroy the beast and we will no longer suffer at its hand.
GAIUS: This is no ordinary beast, Merlin.
MERLIN: Don't worry.
GAIUS: No, listen to me, you don't understand. Uther may not respect the Old Religion, but it is very real. To face a beast such as this, you must understand where it came from.
MERLIN: What do you mean?
GAIUS: At the very heart of the Old Religion lies the magic of life and death itself. The Questing Beast carries that power. One bite, you die, and there is no cure.
Morgana dreams of the dragon flaming, Merlin yelling "NO!", Arthur and Merlin running in the woods, Arthur lying sick in bed, and the Questing Beast. Morgana bolts up in bed screaming.
GWEN: Morgana? Morgana?! Wake up.
Gwen struggles with flailing Morgana.
GWEN: Wake up, it's me! It's Gwen! Stop it! It was just another dream.
MORGANA: It was terrifying.
GWEN: Oh, it's going to be alright.
Gwen hugs Morgana.
Castle – Main Square
Arthur speaks to his knights.
ARTHUR: You've seen the foe we face. It's a creature of nightmare, but you are the best knights in the realm. We can, and we will, kill it before it harms another citizen of our kingdom.
Arthur draws his sword.
ARTHUR: For the love of Camelot!
The knights draw swords.
KNIGHTS: For the love of Camelot!
Morgana rushes out of the palace in her nightgown, hysterical.
ARTHUR: Morgana, what are you doing?
MORGANA: You cannot face this!
Morgana tries to grab him, Arthur struggles with her.
ARTHUR: Morgana, go back to bed. There is nothing to be afraid of.
MORGANA: Please, Arthur. I have seen terrible things! You cannot go!
MERLIN: She probably had a bad dream, Sire. I'll take her to see Gaius.
MORGANA: No! I will not let you go!
ARTHUR: Please, Merlin, get her inside.
Arthur hands her off to Merlin and motions for the guards to come down. Merlin guides Morgana up the steps.
MERLIN: I will make sure he's safe, My Lady. I promise.
Merlin hands her off to the guards.
Guards lead her inside.
Arthur and knights sneak through the woods. Arthur finds gigantic paw print.
ARTHUR: Let's follow the trail.
They hear growling and heavy footfalls.
ARTHUR: Keep close.
They find and enter beast's lair. Merlin and Arthur split from the rest. they hear hissing.
MERLIN: What is it?
Questing Beast sneaks up on them. Arthur pushes Merlin out of the way and takes on the beast. The beast claws him in the chest, throwing him to the ground. It moves in on Arthur. Merlin tries to distract it by waving his torch.
MERLIN: Hey! Hey!
Merlin uses magic to pick up Arthur's dropped sword.
MERLIN: Fléoge! Bregdan anwiele gefeluc!
Merlin enchants the sword and magically throws it into the Questing Beast, killing it. Merlin goes to Arthur and shakes him.
MERLIN: It didn't bite you. It didn't.
Merlin sees blood on his hand.
MERLIN: Arthur?! Somebody help me!
Merlin clears a table with one sweep. Guards place Arthur's stretcher on it.
GAIUS: What's happened?
Gaius looks at Arthur's wound.
GAIUS: He's been bitten.
MERLIN: I tried to save him.
GAIUS: You must tell the King.
MERLIN: There must be something you can do.
GAIUS: I wish there was.
MERLIN: I'll find a cure.
MERLIN: Trust me!
Merlin bolts into his room.
GAIUS: Can you hear me, Sire?
Merlin brings out magic book.
GAIUS: The King'll be here any moment!
MERLIN: He can't die. It is my destiny to protect him. We haven't done all the things we're meant to do.
GAIUS: That is a lament of all men.
MERLIN: Gaius, he's my friend.
GAIUS: Then save him.
Merlin uses magic to flip through the book.
Nothing happens. Merlin flips through the book again.
MERLIN: Maybe the spells need time to take effect.
GAIUS: The bite of the Questing Beast is a death sentence that no magic can overturn.
UTHER: Where is the Prince?! Where is my son?!
Merlin magically closes his magic book.
UTHER: Do something, Gaius!
GAIUS: I am trying, your majesty.
MERLIN: Gaius will find a cure. He will not let him die.
GAIUS: I will do everything in my power.
Uther desperately picks up Arthur himself.
UTHER: I'll bear him to his chamber.
Castle – Main Square
Uther walks through the Square with Arthur in his arms, Merlin and Gaius following. Uther collapses in his grief. Four knights come to bear Arthur inside as the King weeps on his knees. Morgana opens a window and watches the scene below.
Merlin rushes to the Dragon's Cave.
MERLIN: I have failed Arthur, failed in my destiny.
KILGHARRAH: And yet, you would not be here if that were true.
MERLIN: He was bitten by the Questing Beast. He's going to die.
KILGHARRAH: Does he still breathe?
MERLIN: Only just.
KILGHARRAH: Then there is still time to heal him.
MERLIN: I've tried. I cannot save him.
KILGHARRAH: You do not know how to save him.
MERLIN: But you can tell me how?
KILGHARRAH: Perhaps. It will not be easy.
MERLIN: I will do anything.
MERLIN: Please, just tell me what I have to do!
KILGHARRAH: Very well. The Questing Beast is a creature conjured by the powers of the Old Religion. You must use the same ancient magic to save him.
MERLIN: But the Old Religion died out centuries ago.
KILGHARRAH: The Old Religion is the magic of the earth itself. It is the essence which binds all things together. It will last long beyond the time of men.
MERLIN: But how can that help me save Arthur?
KILGHARRAH: You must find those who still serve it. Those who hold dominion over life and death.
KILGHARRAH: Go to the place that men call the Isle of the Blessed, where the power of the ancients can still be felt. There you will discover Arthur's salvation.
MERLIN: Thank you. Thank you.
KILGHARRAH: And Merlin, the young Pendragon must live, no matter what the cost.
GAIUS: Merlin, you're back. I need your help. You must get this to Arthur to ease his passing.
MERLIN: No. We have to save him.
Merlin starts packing food.
GAIUS: You've already tried.
MERLIN: The beast comes from the Old Religion. The cure must come from there as well.
GAIUS: There are not many left with such an art.
MERLIN: You said yourself, the Old Religion is still alive, and there is an island beyond the White Mountains...
MERLIN: The Isle of the Blessed...You know it?
GAIUS: It was said to be the centre of the Old Religion, the focus of its power.
MERLIN: Why did you keep this from me?
GAIUS: Because it was too dangerous, Merlin.
MERLIN: It's our only chance! I have to find it!
GAIUS: And once you are there, what will you ask?
MERLIN: For Arthur to be saved.
GAIUS: The Questing Beast chose Arthur. That means the Old Religion has decided his fate.
MERLIN: Then I will convince them to change their minds!
GAIUS: It is not that simple! The High Priests have the power to mirror life and death, but there will be a price to pay. They will demand a life in return. Merlin, please, I beg of you.
MERLIN: I'm sorry, Gaius. Whatever the price is, I will pay it gladly.
Arthur lies dying in his bed.
Castle – Gate
Merlin prepares his horse to leave. Gaius approaches him.
Gaius hands Merlin rolled parchment.
GAIUS: You'll need a map. And I'm going to give you this. My mother gave it to me.
Merlin unwraps tiny package.
GAIUS: It's a rabbit's foot.
MERLIN: To keep you safe.
GAIUS: It was said to protect you from evil spirits. It's rubbish. I don't believe in superstition. I don't know why I gave it to you.
Gaius reaches to take it back.
MERLIN: No. I want it. Thank you. (sigh) You've got to keep Arthur alive until I get back.
Merlin mounts and rides off through the woods.
Arthur stirs in his fevered sleep. Uther watches him.
UTHER: Shh. Sleep, Arthur.
Merlin travels through the countryside with the map.
KILGHARRAH (voiceover): You must travel to the place that men call the Isle of the Blessed. Beyond the White Mountains. Through the Valley of the Fallen Kings. To the north of the great seas of place name: Marador, you will find a lake.
Gaius is asleep in the chair next to Arthur's sick bed. Gwen enters and knocks on the door to wake Gaius.
GWEN: Gaius? You should get some rest.
GAIUS: He must not be left alone.
GWEN: I will nurse him.
Gaius leaves. Gwen takes the towel from Arthur's forehead, dips it in a bowl of water, and sits on the bed to tend to him.
GWEN: You're not going to die, Arthur. I'm telling you. Because I know that one day you will be King. A greater king than you father could ever be. It's what keeps me going. You are going to live to be the man I've seen inside you, Arthur. I can see a Camelot that is fair and just. I can see a king that the people will love and be proud to call their sovereign. For the love of Camelot, you have to live.
A crowd gathers outside Arthur's window holding candles. Uther watches from the Griffin Landing window. Gaius comes up behind him.
GAIUS: Is there anything I can get your majesty?
UTHER: The people have begun to say goodbye.
GAIUS: He's not yet gone, Sire.
UTHER: But he will not recover.
GAIUS: Not without a miracle.
UTHER: I don't believe in miracles.
Lake / Isle Of The Blessed
Merlin approaches the lake, steps in a little boat.
The propels boat across the lake. Merlin steps out into the fortress on the island and looks around.
NIMUEH: Hello, Merlin.
NIMUEH: Do you know who I am?
MERLIN: Nimueh. You can't be who the dragon meant.
NIMUEH: And why is that?
MERLIN: You tried to kill me.
NIMUEH: Before I understood your importance.
MERLIN: And Arthur.
NIMUEH: Arthur was never destined to die at my hand, and now it seems I will be his salvation.
MERLIN: So you know what I've come to ask?
MERLIN: Will you do it?
NIMUEH: I do not have the power to mirror life itself and yet give nothing in return.
MERLIN: I know that a price will be asked.
NIMUEH: To save a life, there must be a death. The balance of the world must be restored.
MERLIN: I willingly give my life for Arthur's.
NIMUEH: How brave you are, Merlin. If only it were that simple.
MERLIN: What do you mean?
NIMUEH: Once you enter into this bargain, it cannot be undone.
MERLIN: Whatever I have to do, I will do. His life is worth a hundred of mine.
NIMUEH: The Cup of Life, blessed by centuries of powerful sorcerers so that it contains the very secret of life itself. If Arthur drinks water from the Cup, he will live.
Merlin takes the Cup.
Nimueh makes it rain on Merlin for a moment. Merlin collects the water in the Cup. Nimueh takes the Cup and pours the water into a small, decorative canteen.
NIMUEH: The bargain is struck. I hope it pleases you.
Merlin rides into Camelot the next morning.
MERLIN: We need to give this to Arthur.
Merlin hands Gaius the decorative canteen.
GAIUS: What is it?
MERLIN: Water drawn from the Cup of Life. If Arthur drinks from it, he will recover. Please hurry.
Gaius begins to walk out, but stops and faces Merlin.
MERLIN: What are you waiting for?
GAIUS: What price did you pay to redeem his life? Whose life did you bargain?!
MERLIN: We don't have time.
MERLIN: Don't worry, Gaius! Everything's going to be alright.
Gaius and Merlin giving Arthur the water. Uther enters.
UTHER: What are you doing, physician? What are you giving him?
GAIUS: It's a... It's a tincture made from the lobelia plant, an ancient remedy for poisonous bites.
UTHER: A cure?
GAIUS: We hope.
UTHER: Do you really think it will have some effect?
GAIUS: It's our last resort, Sire. Perhaps you should allow him to rest.
UTHER: I will not leave him.
Gaius and Merlin exit. Uther sits by Arthur's bedside.
Castle – Central Corridor
Gaius and Merlin head down the corridor. Morgana grabs Merlin's arm and pulls him into an alcove.
MORGANA: Please, Merlin, you must beware. This is only the beginning.
Merlin pulls away and continues down the corridor.
Gaius paces in Arthur's Chambers, Uther sleeps hunched over the bed. Arthur wakes. Uther wakes.
Arthur looks around and puts his head back down.
Gaius enters in his chambers where Merlin is pacing.
GAIUS: The Prince lives.
UTHER: I thought we'd lost you.
ARTHUR: Don't worry, Father, I'm not going to die. I think there's someone watching over me, keeping me from harm.
UTHER: Maybe you're right. On your long journey to become King, you will need a guardian angel. I shall inform the court that their Prince lives.
Gwen enters as Uther exits. she puts down the towels she's carrying and looks anxiously at Arthur. Arthur opens his eyes and turns to look at her. Gwen smiles in relief.
GWEN: I knew it. I said you'd be alright.
ARTHUR: I can remember you talking to me.
GWEN: You can?
ARTHUR: You stroked my forehead.
GWEN: I was tending to your fever.
ARTHUR: You never lost faith.
GWEN: I was just talking.
ARTHUR: Tell me again what you said?
GWEN: I don't remember.
ARTHUR: Yes, you do.
GWEN: No, I don't.
ARTHUR: Come on. Something about "the man I am inside."
GWEN: No, I never said that.
GWEN: I have to get these washed, Sire.
Gwen exits hurriedly with the dirty cloths. Arthur grins in amusement.
Merlin sits on his bed, waiting to die, while a thunderstorm whips through the night. A figure enters the Camelot on foot. A trembling diseased hand opens the door to the Physician's Chambers. We see Morgana bolting awake screaming. Morning comes and Merlin is still alive. He rushes out of his room.
MERLIN: Gaius! I'm alive!
Gaius is crouching over a collapsed figure on the floor.
MERLIN: What is it? What's happened?
GAIUS: Merlin, stay there!
MERLIN: What's wrong?
GAIUS: No, don't!
Merlin walks over to see Hunith, covered in sores, struggling to breathe on the floor.
MERLIN: What's happened to her?
GAIUS: She's gravely ill.
MERLIN: Do something!
GAIUS: If I could.
MERLIN: Please, Gaius!
GAIUS: Merlin, this is no ordinary illness.
MERLIN: This cannot happen.
GAIUS: Who did you meet at the Isle of the Blessed?
MERLIN: It was as you said. She demanded a price, but I bargained my life, not my mothers.
GAIUS: Merlin. I wish there was something I could do.
MERLIN: I will make you better. I will.
MERLIN: You knew this would happen! You had me trade my mother's life for Arthur's!
KILGHARRAH: You said you would do anything.
MERLIN: Did you know my mother would die?
KILGHARRAH: I knew the price would be a heavy one.
MERLIN: But you sent me anyway.
KILGHARRAH: We need Arthur to live.
MERLIN: I'm not one of you!
KILGHARRAH: We are both creatures of the Old Religion. It is the source of your power.
MERLIN: What's that supposed to mean?
KILGHARRAH: Your destiny is to protect the young Pendragon until he claims his crown. And when he does, magic can be returned to the realm. Only then will I be free.
MERLIN: Oh. So that's all you cared about? I thought you were my friend.
KILGHARRAH: I am more than that, Merlin. I am your kin.
MERLIN: No. The only family I have is my mother, and you had me murder her.
KILGHARRAH: Her life has not been taken in vain. We will achieve great things together, you and I.
MERLIN: You will never be released! For what you've done, I'll make sure you never see the light.
The Great Dragon breathes fire at him.
Merlin blocks the flames.
MERLIN: You won't see me again.
MERLIN: Where is she?
GAIUS: She's sleeping.
MERLIN: I have to save her.
GAIUS: You cannot.
MERLIN: If the balance of the world needs a life, then Nimueh must take mine.
GAIUS: No, Merlin.
MERLIN: Yes. I will return to the island.
GAIUS: You are young. Your gifts, your destiny are far too precious to sacrifice.
MERLIN: My destiny? This is my mother. My powers mean nothing if I cannot save her. You have taught me so much. Taught me who I am. Taught me the purpose for my skills. Taught me that magic should only be used for great deeds. But most of all, you have always taught me to do what is right.
MERLIN (sniffle): I need to say goodbye to Arthur.
Merlin enters as Arthur is pouring himself a drink, his other arm in a sling.
ARTHUR: Ah, Merlin.
MERLIN: How are you?
MERLIN: I'm pleased.
ARTHUR: Yes. I owe it all to Gaius.
MERLIN: I need to talk to you.
ARTHUR: You still haven't got it yet, have you? I decide when we need to talk.
MERLIN: Not today.
ARTHUR: I sometimes wonder if you know who I am.
MERLIN: Oh, I know who you are.
MERLIN: You're a prat. And a royal one.
ARTHUR (chuckle): Are you ever going to change, Merlin?
MERLIN: No, you'd get bored. But promise me this, if you get another servant, don't get a bootlicker.
ARTHUR: If this is you trying to leave your job...
MERLIN: No. I'm happy to be your servant. Till the day I die.
ARTHUR: Sometimes I think I know you, Merlin. Other times... *shakes head*
MERLIN: Well, I know you. And you're a great warrior. One day, you'll be a great king.
ARTHUR: That's very kind of you.
MERLIN: But you must learn to listen as well as you fight.
ARTHUR: Any other pointers?
MERLIN: No. That's it. Just...don't be a prat.
Merlin enters his chamber where Gwen is sitting by Hunith's bedside.
GWEN: Gaius had to go and get some supplies. He asked me to keep an eye on her until you got back.
MERLIN: Thank you.
GWEN: I'm sorry.
MERLIN: No, she'll get better.
GWEN: I've tried to make her feel comfortable.
MERLIN: You have such a good heart, Gwen. Don't ever lose that.
Gwen leaves and Merlin goes to sit with his mother.
MERLIN: I'm going to make you well again. I promise. You'll see.
HUNITH: You're such a good son.
MERLIN: But I don't want you to worry about me. I know that the gods will look after me, and that one day I will see you again.
HUNITH: I will miss you.
MERLIN: I will miss you, too.
Merlin takes out the rabbit's foot and gives it to his mother.
Merlin comes out of his room and begins packing for his trip the next morning.
Merlin finds a note with his name on it. Merlin reads it while Gaius travels to the Isle of the Blessed.
GAIUS (voiceover): Dear Merlin, My life is already near to its end. There has, for the most part, been very little purpose to it, very little that will be remembered. In contrast, Merlin, your life is destined for greatness. Live by the tenets I have taught you, and I believe you will, in time, become the greatest warlock ever. To have known you has been my greatest pleasure, and to sacrifice myself for you is but an honour. You are and always will be the son I never had.
Merlin rides out of Camelot.
Isle Of The Blessed
Gaius steps out of the boat onto the island.
NIMUEH: I never thought I'd see you here again.
GAIUS: My Lady.
NIMUEH: It's a long time since you called me that.
GAIUS: I come to ask for your help.
NIMUEH: As you did once before for Uther? You did not like the outcome.
GAIUS: I offer a chance for you to atone for the death of his wife.
NIMUEH: I have saved the life of her son. What more do you ask for?
GAIUS: That this time, you take a just price. Merlin intends to offer his life for his mother's. I want you to take mine in his place.
NIMUEH (laughs): With all my powers of prediction, I could never have foretold this. Gaius the hero. Why should I grant your wish? You stood and watched as our friends burned in the Great Purge. You are nothing but a traitor.
GAIUS: Merlin is the one man who can bring magic back to this land. At Arthur's side, he can help forge a new kingdom. A world of peace and beauty that we can only dream of.
NIMUEH: And you're willing to give your life, Gaius, for the future they will bring? I'm waiting. Are you ready to die, Gaius? Gaius?
GAIUS: For Merlin I will give my life.
Merlin approaches edge of the lake of the Isle of the Blessed, he can hear Nimueh.
NIMUEH: Ic, séo héahsácerd, þe ácwile strengþe ealdan æwfæstnesse!
Merlin rushes onto the island.
NIMUEH: Back again so soon, warlock?
MERLIN: What have you done?
NIMUEH: Your mother is safe. Isn't that what you wanted?
MERLIN: Have you killed him?
NIMUEH: It was his wish.
MERLIN: I bid my life for Arthur's, not my mother's, not Gaius's!
NIMUEH: The Old Religion does not care who lives and who dies! Only that the balance of the world is restored. To save a life, a life must be taken. Gaius knew this.
MERLIN: It is not the Old Religion that has done this. It is you.
NIMUEH: Come now. We are too valuable to each other to be enemies.
MERLIN: No! I share nothing with you!
NIMUEH: With my help, Arthur will become King.
MERLIN: I will make Arthur King. But you will never see that day. Ástríce!
Nimueh absorbs his attack.
NIMUEH: Your childish tricks are useless against me, Merlin. I am a priestess of the Old Religion. Forbærne! You, too, are a creature of the Old Religion. You should join me.
MERLIN: You think I would join forces with such a selfish and cruel magic? Never.
NIMUEH: So be it. Ácwele!
The spell hits Merlin.
NIMUEH: Pity. Together we could've ruled the world.
Nimueh walks away. Merlin gets up and glares at her.
MERLIN: You should not have killed my friend.
Merlin uses the power from the clouds to strike Nimueh down. Merlin runs to Gaius.
MERLIN: Gaius! Gaius!
Merlin cradles unconscious Gaius.
MERLIN: No! No! *cries*
MERLIN: Gaius. Gaius. Gaius, you're alive!
GAIUS: What did you do?
MERLIN: Nimueh's dead. The balance of the world has been restored.
GAIUS: You amaze me. You've mastered the power of life and death itself. We'll make a great warlock of you yet.
MERLIN: So you believe in me now?
GAIUS: Well, I would do if...if you could stop this blasted rain.
KILGHARRAH: Merlin! No! *roar*
Morgana wakes from a nightmare.
Special thanks to Lika_mikala for allowing us to use all of her scripts.