A Personal Journey – Five seasons of Merlin, part two by Tony de Haan

Hello Merlin Fans,
You know, questing is a rather time-consuming event, but I feel I really must make some time to share with you my thoughts on Episode 5: Lancelot.
Sometimes, and only sometimes, hardly ever I might add, there is something wrong, and that first scene of Lancelot is wrong! Nothing more, nothing less. Please, don’t be angry now and turn away in disgust from this post, refusing to read any further, but please bear with me!
First we see Merlin running, trying to get away from the griffin. He is quite scared even. But… Merlin is a sorcerer. Surely he can come up with some spell to drive that creature away? Try something simple like oþfléogan, or Ic bebod þæt þu nu flíehest or words to that effect.

Lancelot fights the griffin

Lancelot fights the griffin

The second thing is Lancelot battling with the griffin. That is not well executed, on the contrary even. Lack of money? Lack of time? Lack of both? Don’t get me wrong, the griffin itself looks awesome, no complaints there, but just look at the scene. Lancelot slashes and parries and hits the beast (or so we are supposed to think), but the CGI and the live action simply do not match. A blemish on an otherwise wonderful episode!
Poor Arthur, he was definitely not pleased as Lancelot bested him! He, the unbeatable Arthur, beaten by someone who isn’t even a highly trained knight! Now he knows how Merlin must have felt in the first episode! Still, Uther did dub him a Knight of Camelot!

Arise Sir Lancelot, Knight of Camelot...

Arise Sir Lancelot, Knight of Camelot…

All in all a great episode, and such a shame Lancelot was banished from Camelot on a mere technicality: he was not of noble birth (and there was something concerning a forged seal of nobility…).

"My seal of nobility, sire..."

“My seal of nobility, sire…”

A Personal Journey – Five seasons of Merlin by Tony de Haan

Hello, Merlin Fans,

I have set myself on a quest, a quest to, over the next few months, watch every episode of Merlin all over again.
However, I am afraid I must bore you from time to time with my musings, comments, rantings and ravings, and of course share with you all my happy memories. Don’t worry, it won’t be every day, or week!
And what better way to start than with the first episode of season one. It’s forever imprinted on my mind, and I’m sure on yours too, that very first scene where you see a hill and Merlin appears with his backpack and sleeping mat, and there on the horizon we see the white crenellated towers of Camelot. And what a great first impression he got, our young Merlin, for the first thing he sees upon entering Camelot is the beheading of a sorcerer. That look on his face as he realises he is a sorcerer too, and that man with his head on the block could very well be him!

Merlin's arrival at Camelot

Merlin’s arrival at Camelot

At the courtyard watching a sorcerer be beheaded

At the courtyard watching a sorcerer being beheaded

Another thing that struck me was that the character of Arthur was not yet fully formed, they (director? writers? Bradley himself?) were still searching, and they found the character in episode two, where you see a different Arthur.
Last question: does anybody know where his friends from that first episode went? We have never seen them again.

Searching for Arthur...

Searching for Arthur…

A few days later I watched episode two: Valiant, and it truly is a magnificent episode, not in the least by that most wonderful of spectacles: the tourney! Oh, what joy it is to see all those knights in their awesome and mouth-watering armour, showing their skills and prowess. It gladdens my heart and rejoices my soul!
There is, however, one rather strange occurrence in this episode: Merlin is supposed to hide his magic at all times, no-one must know lest Uther has him killed. Why then, oh why, why, why, does Gaius shout:”Merlin, are you using magic again?” as he enters his chambers, and leaving the door open! Gaius, a word please: shouting things about Merlin using magic, whilst leaving the door open so all can hear you, is not, I repeat NOT, the best way of keeping Merlin’s magic a secret!

Cleaning by magic

Cleaning by magic

And so my quest continues… Last night I watched episode the fourth, and what a great episode it was! Poor, poor Merlin, all dressed up in the “ceremonial robes” of Camelot with the most ridiculous headware I’ve ever seen! And Arthur was having so much fun with Merlin’s discomfort, I’m sure he planned it all beforehand.

Ceremonial robes...

Ceremonial robes…

But then Merlin fell gravely ill… all thanks to the machinations of Nimueh who was trying to kill him. (Fact File: in the Arthurian mythology it is Nimueh who seduces, and later imprisons, Merlin. She puts him in a cave of tree from which he can never escape.) Wonderful, outstanding acting by Colin Morgan!

A gravely ill Merlin  is guiding Arthur by magic

A gravely ill Merlin is guiding Arthur by magic

And wasn’t Arthur great: going on rather a dangerous mission to save Merlin? (Or, as Uther likes to call him: “that servant, easily replaced”.) That is a far cry from the Arthur we see in the first episode!
One thing was a bit odd: Arthur kills the cockatrice by throwing his sword at him, and it was quite a distance. In the next scene, a mere second later, his sword is in his sheath again… Now, either Arthur very, very quickly retrieved his sword, cleaned it and put it back, or we have what we call a “continuity error”. But does it matter? Not really. Come to think of it, Arthur might have been carrying two swords… What do you think?
(Fact File: this was the spell used by Gaius to make the morteaus flower into an antidote to cure Merlin:
Seópan ærest wearð feasceaft. Denum æfter dom. Dreamleas gebad he gewann langsum.”
It translates a bit like this: “I boil this first in liquid to protect you from this wretched spreading, this judgement will be discharged, I want you to conquer this protracted sadness.”)

That’s it so far. We will talk again soon!

Alexander Vlahos, a most charming villain

Alexander Vlahos, best known to us as Mordred, the one who killed Arthur. This graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (in 2009), has appeared in several movies and TV-series.
His first role was in the 2009 TV series Crash, in 2010 he starred in Doctors, Pen Talar and The Indian Doctor; and in the movie Bright Lights.
Alexander also played Dorian Gray in the audio-series The Confessions of Dorian Gray, and in 2013 he appeared on stage in Fortune’s Fool at the Old Vic.
Most recently Alexander played Monsieur in the upcoming series Versailles.

Alexander-Vlahos

As private Keenan in Privates (2013)

As private Keenan in Privates (2013)

Confessions of Dorian Gray

Confessions of Dorian Gray

The cast of All Shook Up. Alexander (right, in the blue shirt) as Dafydd Hibbard (2010)

The cast of All Shook Up. Alexander (sitting) as Dafydd Hibbard (2010)

As Luke in Truth or Dare (2012)

As Luke in Truth or Dare (2012)

In Versailles

Alexander in Versailles

As Monsieur in Versailles (2015)

As Monsieur in Versailles (2015)

As Yeletsky in Fortune's Fool (2013)

As Yeletsky in Fortune’s Fool (2013)

3mTiY

Mordred

Mordred

Mordred

Mordred

Angel Coulby, a wonderful and versatile actress

Angel Coulby, forever imprinted on our minds as Gwen, who rose from maid to Morgana, to Queen Guinevere of Camelot.
She was born in North London and studied at the Queen Margareth University in Edinburgh. She first appeared in an episode of the documentary reality series Scariest Places on Earth, Not! (1997) as a scared student, followed in 2001 by playing Shiv in four episodes of ‘Orrible.
Angel continued to appear in quite a number of TV series, including Casualty, Having it off, Manchild, Holby City, Imagine Me and You, Hustle, Doctor Who and The Visit, before landing the part of Gwen in Merlin.
After Merlin Angel appeared in Dancing on the Edge and The Tunnel, and most recently as (the voice of) Tanusha “Kayo” Kyrano in The Thunderbirds (now in post-production).

Angel Coulby (source: www.farfarandaway.com)

Angel Coulby (source: www.farfarandaway.com)

Manchild (2003), here with Anthony "King Uther" Head

Manchild (2003), here with Anthony “King Uther” Head

As Katie in Good People (2014) at the Hampstead Theatre

As Katie in Good People (2014) at the Hampstead Theatre

As Katie in Good People (2014) at the Hampstead Theatre

As Katie in Good People (2014) at the Hampstead Theatre

As the companion of Mme de Pompadour in the Doctor Who episode The Girl in the Fireplace (2006)

As the companion of Mme de Pompadour in the Doctor Who episode The Girl in the Fireplace (2006)

As Laura Roebuck in The Tunnel (2013)

As Laura Roebuck in The Tunnel (2013)

As Jessie Taylor in Dancing on the Edge (2013)

As Jessie Taylor in Dancing on the Edge (2013)

As Jessie Taylor in Dancing on the Edge (2013)

As Jessie Taylor in Dancing on the Edge (2013)

As Gillian Lafferty in Vincent (2005)

As Gillian Lafferty in Vincent (2005)

As Maxine Framley in Holby City (2004)

As Maxine Framley in Holby City (2004)

As Anna in Imagine Me and You (2005)

As Anna in Imagine Me and You (2005)

Gwen, from serving girl...

Gwen, from serving girl…

...to Queen Guivevere

…to Queen Guivevere

 

Anthony Head: gifted actor and gifted musician

Anthony Head was born in Camden Town (London) in 1954. His father Seafield L.S.M. Head was a documentary filmmaker and his mother Helen Singer an actress.

He was educated at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and his career spans many decades now. Anthony has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies.
His first role was in the musical Godspell, and his first appearance on TV was in 1978, in the TV series Enemy at the door, and now, 37 years later, in 2015, Anthony can be seen in Galavant.
Most notable series includes Bergerac, Highlander, Jonathan Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Little Britain and of course Merlin, where he portrayed king Uther Pendragon.
Anthony has also starred in around 20 movies, the first being Lady Chatterly’s Lover (1981) and the latest was in 2013: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

Anthony is also an accomplished musician. In 1983 saw the release of the album Face in the window with his band Two way, and in 2002 the album Music for Elevators was released.
He also starred in the Rocky Horror Show, playing Frank-N-Furter.

As Anton in Lady Chatterly's Lover (1981)

As Anton in Lady Chatterly’s Lover (1981)

As "detective" in Scoop (2006)

As “detective” in Scoop (2006)

An uncredited cameo-appearance as a ghost in Sweeney Todd (2007)

An uncredited cameo-appearance as a ghost in Sweeney Todd (2007)

As Geoffrey Howe in The Iron Lady (2011)

As Geoffrey Howe in The Iron Lady (2011)

As Chiron in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

As Chiron in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

As Tony Kroesig in Love in a Cold Climate (1980)

As Tony Kroesig in Love in a Cold Climate (1980)

As Simon in The Detectives (1993)

As Simon in The Detectives (1993)

As Adam Kraus in Jonathan Creek (1997)

As Adam Kraus in Jonathan Creek (1997)

As Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

As Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

As James in Manchild (2002-2003)

As James in Manchild (2002-2003)

As the Prime Minister in Little Britain (2003-2006)

As the Prime Minister in Little Britain (2003-2006)

As Mr Finch in Doctor Who (2006)

As Mr Finch in Doctor Who (2006)

As Stephen in Free Agents (2009 and 2011)

As Stephen in Free Agents (2009 and 2011)

As Nathan Wallace/Repo Man in Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

As Nathan Wallace/Repo Man in Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

As Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (1990-1991)

As Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (1990-1991, also in 1995, 2000 and 2006)

Sweet Transvestite, sung by Anthony Head (1991)

Sweet Transvestite, sung by Anthony Head (1991)

In the short movie Ella (2010(

In the short movie Ella (2010)

as Uther Pendragon

as Uther Pendragon

Uther marrying Lady Katrina, the troll.

Uther marrying Lady Katrina, the troll.

Merlin, the adventures continue…: Epilogue

title

Previously on “Merlin, the adventures continue…”:
The goddess Macha has taken over Morgana’s body in order to destroy both Arthur and Merlin, and to take over Camelot. Arthur already nearly escaped death, and Merlin was under the influence of a sleeping spell, which was slowly killing him, but he is finally cured.
In the meantime Macha’s influence made several kings want to go to war with Camelot, and in the subsequent battle Mordred inadvertently stabs Arthur with his sword.

Epilogue
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now

Everybody stood in shock, unable to move, at Morgana’s sudden appearance from thin air. Behind her they could see the air moving, repairing itself.
“Well, boys, what do you think of my little plan? Don’t you just love it? I will finally destroy you, little brother, and take the throne of Camelot all for myself. I see you’re almost dead already. Such a pity… My heart breaks… And my dear Merlin, there is nothing you can do to prevent his death. I now have powers you can’t even begin to imagine! And as for you, poor little Mordred, you should have sided with me when you had the chance, for now it’s too late!” And with these words she hurled a spell at Arthur: Ætynedest heaðuglemm ferhþes. Arthur’s body involuntarily jerked and then he lay still again, and to Mordreds’s horror, the wound started to open up again. Mordred immediately tried a healing spell, but the blood kept slowly flowing.
For a split second Merlin was faced with a terrible dilemma, try to heal Arthur first, or stop Morgana and leave Arthur behind with the one person he did not trust: Mordred. Then his eyes glowed golden and with an outstretched arm he ran towards Morgana, an unearthly scream escaped his lips, face contorted in utter savagery. “Ástrice,” he yelled hoarsely, and he could see his raw magic enveloping Morgana. She stumbled for a second, but nothing further happened. “Ic þé wiþdrífe,” he shouted in a deep, commanding voice, but Morgana did not move.
Forbearnan ácwele”, and a huge fireball sped towards Merlin, who, at the last second, was able to counteract it, causing the fireball to explode in a blinding flash, scorching the grass.
Most of the soldiers and some of the knights had fled now, deadly afraid they were, and fearing for their lives and above all fearing for their souls.
Merlin felt his new-found magic surging through his every fibre, every nerve. Without thinking he cast another spell. The air around Morgana shimmered, but still she did not waver. Her eyes flashed, and Merlin flew through the air and with great force was hurled against a tree. Before Morgana could strike again, he cast another spell, causing part of Morgana for a brief moment to disappear. An idea had formed in his mind: create a rift in the fabric of time and space, and get her away from here forever, transport her to the spirit world. Instinctively he knew he could do it. He felt another hit, saw the evil magic penetrating his battered body and felt his own magic battling to survive; and in his mind spells formed.Merlin198

Mordred had rolled up his cloak and put it under Arthur’s head. He looked at the wound. No matter what healing spell he used, the wound would not completely close. “I’ll get you for this, Morgana, I will never forgive you for this,” he said grimly, jaw clenched, and he looked at the still raging battle between Merlin and Morgana. He did not see how Arthur had opened his eyes. Arthur tried to speak, but no sound came. He tried to understand what he was seeing, Merlin casting spells and battling Morgana, he didn’t know if it was a dream or real. No, it must be real, he thought, there is too much pain for it to be a dream. “Merlin, you are a sorcerer,” he thought, still unable to utter a sound or even move a muscle. He felt terrible waves of pain surging through his body, but he wanted to continue watching. He saw Merlin hurl a flaming ball to Morgana, but she countered it, causing some trees to burst into flames, leaving nothing but a charred and twisted trunks. “Merlin, you are a sorcerer,” and slowly he felt himself drifting back into unconsciousness again.tumblr_mfk78v1Cn51qaj0h3o1_r1_500

Both Merlin and Morgana were showing signs of fatigue now, but neither would stop, could stop. The grass was blackened now, trees burnt or uprooted, rocks smashed into tiny fragments of stone. Merlin suffered from burns, he was bleeding from numerous wounds and some of his bones were broken, but he blocked out all his pain, all he could think of now was sending Morgana to a different plane, somewhere she could do no more harm. “Géosceaftgást edhwierft hinderþéostru,” he yelled, giving everything he had and more. He saw the air behind Morgana shimmering and a rift opened. “Scéotan!” With all his might Merlin tried to magically push Morgana into the rift, and finally, with a horrible scream Morgana disappeared, her howling becoming more and more faint. A sudden blinding flash and then the rift closed. An eerie silence descended over the battle-field, the fighting was over. The remaining warriors of both sides who had been brave enough to stay and witness this terrible magical battle, retreated, and Camelot’s knights gathered in their camp, grieving their fallen comrades, grieving their king, for they were convinced he must be dead.tumblr_mk89514vVz1r4ocdmo3_500

For Mordred there was no more battle, no more fighting. There were shapes of men running around, but he did not see them anymore, they were like a dream, they were not really there, for all he could see was a dying Arthur. Somehow he found the strength to drag Arthur to his pavilion, avoiding numerous fallen men and horses, and he put him gently on the floor, almost collapsing next to him, only Gaius’ hand saved him from falling down.
“Get that tabletop,” Gaius said, “quickly, and where is Merlin?”
“Percival carried him to the knight’s tent I guess. I think. I don’t know, I saw them vaguely.”
Gaius nodded, fully understanding. Merlin must be exhausted, drained, after such a battle.
They moved the still unconscious Arthur on the wooden board, carefully lifted it up and put him on the round table. “Get water, hot if possible, and clean cloths, if there are still any left that is, and be quick about it,” he said impatient to a squire who had just walked in, involuntarily looking at the pile of bloodied cloths already laying on the floor. The boy ran, to return minutes later with a bucket of water. He took off his own tunic, saying: “This is the least dirty rag I could find”.
“Good,” Mordred said, “now find Leon and get him in here. We must speak with him.”
Gaius felt Arthur’s pulse, listened to his heart, prodded the wound and looked worried.
“Morgana managed to cast a spell, the wound will not completely heal, no matter what I try,” a desperate Mordred said.
Then there was a groan coming from Arthur’s lips: “Wha… happe… hap… Merl…”
“Don’t try to speak now, Sire, you have been grievously wounded, but you are no longer in mortal danger,” said Gaius, and he put his hand on Arthur’s chest, hoping he was right about his claim.
“We won the war, Sire,” Mordred said, “Camelot is safe,” and he saw Arthur trying to smile.
“Good,” he managed to croak, before slipping into unconsciousness again.
Not long afterwards Merlin came stumbling in. His face was ashen and covered in mud and blood, breathing was difficult and he dragged his left leg behind him.
“How’s Arthur,” he croaked, looking with fear in his eyes at the fallen king.
“He has been enchanted,” Mordred said, “Morgana was able to cast a spell, his wound will not heal.”
Merlin limped to Arthur and laid his hands on his chest. His eyes closed and his whole body swayed.
“Merlin,” Mordred said, and there was some panic in his voice, “are you alright? Can I help?”
Slowly Merlin shook his head and almost immediately fell down. “I’m fine,” he whispered, “get me some water.”
Mordred looked at Arthur, the bleeding seemed to have stopped.
“What’s happening here,” came the voice of Leon as he entered the pavilion. Without waiting for an answer he almost ran to where Arthur lay and immediately turned an accusing eye at Gaius, as if he was responsible for Arthur’s fate.
“As far as we can tell, Arthur is no longer in mortal danger,” Gaius said.
“Good.” It was at that moment that Leon finally saw Merlin.
“I’m fine,” Merlin said and tried to sound as cheerful as possible.
“What news,” asked Mordred curtly.
“A most strange thing has happened,” Leon answered, “soon after that witch Morgana disappeared, king Peredur came to us, crying. He claimed he has been under Morgana’s spell and wants to speak with Arthur. He didn’t want to fight, he said, but Morgana made him. He is in quite a sorry state, and laments the loss of his men and ours too.”
“Tell him,” said Gaius sternly, “tell him Arthur is severely wounded and cannot see anyone at this moment. As his physician I strictly forbid it!”
“Where’s Gwaine? And Percival?” Merlin asked anxiously, at the same time afraid to hear of their possible deaths.
“There’re fine. Battered, bruised and wounded, but otherwise fine. Even Galahad.”
Merlin heaved a deep sigh of relief.
“Now please leave us, I must attend to Arthur’s needs,” Gaius said and shooed Leon and a few squires out of the pavilion.
“Tell Peredur we will talk to him later. And what about Maleagant?”
“I don’t know, he seems to have run away, the coward, leaving all the dead behind, left to rot, and looting just about everything and everyone,” and Leon spat in disgust on the floor.
“Well,” Gaius said urgently to Merlin, “how is Arthur? Tell me now, don’t dally!”
“I don’t know for sure. I managed to encapsulate Morgana’s spell somehow so it can’t harm him anymore. It’s a very powerful spell, but it needs a human host to do any harm. It will fade now. I think. I hope… But there was something else I saw. That was not Morgana. It was her body, but there was someone, something, else in her mind, a very powerful being. I managed to sent her, them, back to where they came from, I could see it in her mind. It’s not on this plane. We’re safe for a while, I did something to her magic, but I don’t know what exactly, but she’ll be back for sure. They’ll be back. I don’t know, I think I did something… I… I… I don’t know Gaius, it all so confusing. There are two Merlins in my head, at least that’s how it feels. I gave Arthur a mild sleeping-spell, so his body can heal. Arthur, did Arthur see me using magic?” and a sudden fear crept in his voice, eyes darting to and fro. Mordred shook his head. But every knight and citizen on the battle-field did, he thought, we must urge them to keep silent somehow. “Arthur must never know. And all we can do for Arthur now is let him rest. He must let his body cure itself now. And I’m so very tired.” With these words Merlin crashed on a chair and instantly fell in a troubled sleep.

.
“Nooooo…” Macha and Morgana screamed in one voice. They felt Morgana’s body almost torn asunder from the enormous forces of magic as she was thrown back into Macha’s realm. Morgana landed with a dull thud on the ground, her head hitting a rock, and she lay there, motionless. The force had ripped Macha’s essence from Morgana’s body, and she desperately tried to find her own body again. Her face was almost unrecognizable with primal anger, and she let her magic run wild. Trees were uprooted and burned, rocks blasted to smithereens. Then she heard a thundering voice: “You idiot, you birdbrain, I gave you the simple task of eliminating the Pendragon dynasty, one simple task and you bungled it! I gave you that powerful sleeping spell, I made sure you would use Morgana and what did you do? Made a mess of things! And what’s worse, that upstart of a Merlin is by now the most powerful warlock in Camelot instead of a dead one!”
“Then give me something better or do it yourself next time!” Macha yelled, completely besides herself with anger now.
“How dare you!” roared the voice of Caer Ibormeith, the ancient and forgotten god of sleep and dreams, for it was he who had set everything in motion, it was he who held a deep grudge against Camelot, and Macha was knocked down. Her eyes rolled back in her head, her body convulsed and then she lay still.

.
It was a sorry sight at the Knight’s tent that day. Some of the surviving soldiers of king Peredur were still gathered there, wounded and downtrodden, lamenting their fallen brothers in arms. The rest had retreated to their own camp, taking their fallen comrades with them. Only now they fully realized this whole battle had been so unnecessary, so futile, but they had to follow their king in battle, follow a king acting under the influence of evil magic. The Knights of Camelot brought them what little food they could spare and they waited, waited for their king Peredur who was inside the tent, talking and pleading; but it was the knights who did all the talking, and Pederur was merely listening.
“This has been a terrible day,” Leon said, “a terrible day for all our peoples. We all have lost so much. Friends and family gone, knights and citizens gone, decimated, and all because of one evil witch. She is gone for now, but there is no telling when she will return, and when she does, we must be ready. We must be strong and vigilant. I have heard king Arthur talk of uniting all our kingdoms one day, and on behalf of King Arthur and the Knights of Camelot, I offer you my hand in friendship.”
“Thank you, Sir Leon, there is gladness in my heart upon hearing these words. I will gladly take your hand, Sir Leon, and let our kingdoms henceforth be both allies and friends.”
Both men clasped each other’s fore-arms. Gwaine filled goblets with a generous amount of mead. “To Camelot and to our united kingdoms,” he said, and they all drank to that.
“As soon as king Arthur has recovered from his wounds, I will come in peace to Camelot to seal our friendship once more.” The council was over, Peredur stood up and left the tent, recounting the agreement to his soldiers, and they began their cheerless journey home.
bradley james shirtless merlin
For days now Arthur had been tormented with a very high fever. Every day and much of the night Gwen sat by his bed, keeping his forehead cool, moistening his lips, watching him struggle, tossing and turning, clinging to life. Gaius had had Arthur’s bed moved near the window, so he might hear the sounds of the courtyard, the sounds of knights training, in the hope that Arthur would hear it and wake up.
Every day Percival, Gwaine, Leon and Mordred came to see Arthur, telling him how the training went, boasting of their skills. Sometimes even Galahad came with them, but he invariably kept silent.
And every day Gaius came, changing the bandages and cleaning the wound. Merlin and Mordred had done all they could by using their magic, and now there was nothing left but wait for the fever to break. All Merlin could do was keep Arthur company, he even slept in Arthur’s chambers, “in case Arthur woke up”, he claimed. He never spoke of the possibility that Arthur might die.
“The wound is healing nicely,” Gaius said one day, smelling the wound, and trying to sound as optimistic as possible, “there is no more sign of rotting flesh, and we should be grateful for that.” He had put quite a number of maggots on Arthur’s wound these last few days, for the wound had become infested, and the maggots would eat away all the putrid and rotting flesh, thus cleaning the wound.
An exhausted Gwen vaguely smiled as she wiped the sweat from Arthur’s brow, smoothing his damp hair, watching Arthur fighting a battle, fighting to stay alive. She had never felt so helpless in her life.
Then, one sunny afternoon, the fever finally broke.
It did not take long for Arthur to recover, the wound was completely closed now, and he had started training with his sword again. Careful at first, but every day he got better and faster. Soon the day would come when he would be his old self again, and his strength and agility would be back completely.
“I saw what you did back there,” Arthur casually said one day, when he and Merlin were alone in his chambers. “at the Hill of Badon, your fight with Morgana, using magic” and his eyes bored into Merlin’s, mouth set in a thin and grim line.
Merlin paled, and it felt as if his legs buckled under him, unable to hold his weight anymore, the jug he was holding crashed to the floor. This is not happening, he thought, Arthur doesn’t know anything. Nobody had told Arthur anything, or did they? He wanted to say something, but all he managed was a twitching of his lips, and a feeble gesture with his hand.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were a sorcerer, Merlin,” Arthur said, his voice deceptively calm. “WHY?” he yelled and threw a goblet at Merlin’s head, narrowly missing him. “Why Merlin, why did you lie to me all those years. I thought we were friends, but no, you had to deceive me, lie to me, time after time, playing the o-so-innocent servant. You’ve betrayed me Merlin. Why Merlin, why?” His eyes were blazing, his whole body trembled with pent-up anger and confusion. Merlin just stood there, fidgeting, not knowing how to react. “Talk to me Merlin,” Arthur whispered angrily, “talk to me or get out and never come back!”
“You know as well as I do Uther would have had me killed,” a now emotional Merlin said, finally finding his voice, “How could I have told you, even if I wanted to? I was given a destiny, I was to protect you and do you know how many times I saved your life? And yes, by using magic! So no, Arthur, I had to keep my secret, for if I died you would soon follow and there would be no more Camelot.”
“So you’re the worst possible protector. I nearly died, remember? I nearly died! And you should have told me, your secret would have been safe with me.”
“Really? No Arthur, that’s not true and you know it. All your life you were taught to hate magic and when you were convinced Uther had died of evil magic, you loathed sorcery even more. Would you have let me live if you knew I was a sorcerer? Magic must be banned at all costs, you said. At all costs!”1796528_283276105154694_462132082_nBoth men stood there, the air heavy with tension and unspoken words, almost visibly quivering with the release of these hidden secrets and whirling emotions.
“I had to keep quiet, Arthur, for your sake and mine.”
Silence fell and nothing could be heard but the labored breathing of two tormented and confused souls.
“My mother died by evil magic, my father died by evil magic. So can you blame me? Can you blame me for denouncing magic after that? Can you? CAN YOU?”
Merlin shook his head and whispered almost inaudibly: “No”.
Arthur had started pacing now, hands clasped over his ears, as if he refused to listen to Merlin anymore. Merlin still did not move, only his eyes moved, following Arthur.
“Who knew you had magic?”
For a moment Merlin kept silent, the last thing he wanted was to incriminate others.
“Who, Merlin.” Arthur’s voice sounded like the sharpest of swords, cutting through Merlin’s last shreds of resistance.
“Gaius,” he whispered, “and Mordred. And Lancelot too. And Leon I think, and perhaps Gwaine.”
“So just about everybody, except me. How great…” Arthur’s voice was now cold as steel.
“Where did you learn it? Who did teach you?” Arthur said after an uncomfortable silence.
“No, I was born with it.”
“Born with it?”
“Yes Arthur, I have been a sorcerer from birth. And do you have any idea what it is to constantly live in fear? Fear of being discovered? Fear of getting killed? Trying to save your life without anyone noticing? Every time Uther executed a sorcerer, I said to myself, I could be the next one. I have such a great gift, Arthur, I can do so much, I can help so many people, and all I can do is stand idle and watch, unable to do anything. There were times when I wished I were dead!”
Arthur stopped pacing, and, looking at the wall instead of Merlin, he said: “I need time to think, Merlin, please go. Too many things are happening now. Tell the guards I will not see anyone, not even Gwen. We will talk later.”
And with a heavy heart Merlin left Arthur’s chambers, afraid of what his future might hold. His life was now in Arthur’s hands.flat2

Two days later Arthur summoned Merlin to his chambers. For Merlin it had been two torturous days, not knowing what Arthur would decide, hardly eating, hardly sleeping, and now his heart sank completely. His face was white as a sheet, and he could not stop trembling.
“Have faith,” Gaius said, embracing him, patting him encouragingly on his back, “Arthur will do the right thing.”
But what if Arthur thinks killing me is the right thing, Merlin thought, and slowly he walked to Arthur’s chambers, entered the room and carefully closed the door behind him. Arthur stood there, facing the window. He did not turn around, nor did he speak for what seemed like ages. Finally he said: “Listen carefully, Merlin.”
And in the courtyard he heard a herald proclaim:
“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! Arthur King of Camelot has issued the following statement and wants it known throughout the whole Kingdom of Camelot!
“Firstly, let it be known that Arthur King of Camelot has decreed that magic is no longer forbidden, provided said magic is used for good intentions and good intentions only;
“Secondly, let it be known that Arthur King of Camelot has decreed that druids are no longer outlawed and are henceforth free to walk and live in the Kingdom of Camelot without fear of persecution;
“Thirdly, let it be known that Arthur King of Camelot has decreed that the use of evil magic within the Kingdom of Camelot is still, and always will be, forbidden and practitioners of aforementioned evil magic will be immediately put to death.
“Thus Arthur King of Camelot has spoken.
“Long live the King!”

“Soon the whole kingdom will hear this,” Arthur said, still not turning around. Merlin kept quiet, he was desperately trying to understand what he had just heard, still trying to grasp its meaning. Magic no longer forbidden?
“Last night I had a vision,” Arthur continued, “I saw Ygraine, telling me the curse on Tintagel was lifted, now that I had decided to lift the ban on magic. My mother told me she was finally at peace now. Then I knew I had made the right decision. Don’t think I embrace magic now, I don’t. Don’t imagine I’m rejoicing, I’m not, far from it. For the moment I’m willing to tolerate magic and that’s all.”
And all that time Merlin stood there, fidgeting. Suddenly Arthur turned around, eyes cold as steel, and with voice equally cold said: “Come here, Merlin.”
“But Sire, I…”
“NOW, Merlin!”
Merlin failed to notice the smile Arthur was trying to hide, nor the laughter in his eyes. His feet felt like lead, as he walked over to Arthur. Then Arthur embraced him and they stood there, both unable to utter another word, two souls with far too much emotions to handle all at once.
“Dollophead,” Merlin whispered at last.
“Jug ears,” answered Arthur.

Finis1545541_209629282559049_1497978333_n

Arthurus, Rex quondam Rexque futurum

Links to previous chapters:
Prologue: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/834/
Chapter 1: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventure-continues-chapter-1-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 2: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventure-continues-chapter-2/
Chapter 3: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventure-continues-chapter-3-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 4: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-4-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 5: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-5-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 6: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-6-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 7: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-7-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 8: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-8-by-tony-de-haan
Chapter 9: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-9-by-tony-de-haan
Chapter 10: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-10-by-tony-de-haan

Also please visit our forum: Merlin’s World of Magic
http://forum.merlinsworldofmagic.com/

Tsu ~ The Social Network That Pays You

Original Article by Andy Whiteley  Co-Founder of Wake Up World with additions by Francesca Azuremare

Every time you create a post on Facebook, send out a Tweet or share a photo on Instagram, that content provides a financial value to those companies.   Currently, around 2 billion people create content on social media platforms and so, in the spirit of give and take, isn’t it about time that someone created a social media model that allowed everyone to prosper?

fourwindsTsu.jpg

Founder of tsū Sebastian Sobcza has done just that. And over the past few weeks, Wake Up World has been testing out this new social network, which rewards users for their input.

What is tsū?

tsū (pronounced ‘sue’) is a free invitation-only social platform that gives 90% of its ad revenue back to its users — the people who spend the time and effort creating the content that keeps people coming back to social network sites in the first place.

Sebastian, founder of tsū, explains:   “Established social networks have built amazing business models prospering on the total monetization of free user-generated content… Why should anyone commercially benefit from someone else’s image, likeness and work giving no financial return to the owner? The markets we participate in are enormous, growing, and can materially compensate each user — we’re simply and uniquely rewarding the users who are doing all the work. This is the way the world should work.”

Sounds like a fair exchange to me.   Especially when you consider that Facebook, for example, hosts approximately 1.3 billion users each month [1], earning the company US$7.87 billion in revenue last year & $1.5 billion profit , with the total value of its financial assets (then) approaching the US$18 billion mark. [2] Even the small-by-comparison Twitter hosts 271 million users [3] with a total revenue in 2013 of US$664 million [4] while Instagram, currently the fastest growing social platform [5] (and a subsidiary of Facebook Inc.) is valued at approximately US$500 million. [6]

There is certainly no shortage of revenue where social media is concerned.

How does tsū work?

Social media platforms generate their revenue from third party ads, sponsorships and corporate partnerships. The more activity, or traffic, they draw to their site, the more valuable those sponsorship deals become.

Differentiating itself from other social platforms, tsū acknowledges the value of its users, and rewards them by sharing the revenues generated by their social activity.

Once economic value is created, tsū receives 10% for maintaining the platform (a standard commission rate). Half of the remaining revenue (45%) is paid to the user who created the content, and the remainder (45%) is shared through the user’s network (or ‘family tree’) who helped distribute that content. In tsū economics, the content is valued, not just the platform that carries it.shared_economics_ad_revenue-24e53f6044b271878915e4cab8dfe4f3

Is tsū popular?

Since launching to the public in October 2014, tsū has generated some serious traffic! Over the past weeks we have received numerous invitations to join their network, which is what first prompted us to check it out. Judging by the alexa.com ranking graph below, it seems people are really warming to this new social media model.

TSU-Alexa-Ranking

Since we joined the tsū network, we have posted a few articles and shared some pictures, just to test the waters. Initially, people seems quite active and willing to connect. Without asking anyone to visit my page we have organically found over 190 followers and friends already!

Best of all, tsū have a ‘no-censorship’ policy — unlike other (inconsistently censored) social media platforms.

How do I join?

New members can only join tsū by user invitation. Their invite-only system enables tsū to track network value and distribute revenue to the users who help them grow.

Click here to receive an invitation from me to you

 

What can I do with money earnt on tsū?

Users can receive a cheque for the revenue they earn, once their balance reaches US$100. Users also have the ability to transfer funds in their tsū account to other friends, charities or members in the network. This alone could mean millions of dollars are directed to worthwhile causes and community activities, rather than ending up on a corporate profit statement.

Tsu sample money
If you’re interested in checking out this new social platform, read on for more…

Content is the key!

In social media, content is the key. It’s simple – the more engaging you are, the more social activity you generate. In the tsū model, your content contribution is rewarded via your tsū bank balance.

So today, I’m inviting readers to join the invitation-only tsū network and share my content  far and wide! A win/win/win situation.

Get started on tsū

To get started, join the tsū network here   . You can then invite your family and friends to join too. (You don’t have to invite anyone, but social media is always more fun with your friends!)

See you on tsū!

fourwindsTsuYOU.jpg

Still skeptical?

There are some concerns being discussed within social media circles of the tsū model, which some are likening to a ‘pyramid’ scheme. After taking in the various perspectives of this discussion, I would like to share a few thoughts…

The platform launched 8 weeks ago and so far we haven’t seen any ‘red flags’ – it’s free to join (always a good start), you’re not asked to provide bank details to receive payments, the platform itself is user friendly, and unlike pyramid schemes, you don’t invest anything into it but your time and social content — which 2 billion of us are already doing every day.
The invitation-only sign up process makes sense when you consider the revenue sharing component. Having control of who you invite into your immediate network (family tree) allows you to determine who shares in the 45% of ad revenues that your social activity generates. For many, networks will be made up of family and friends.

Initially, it seems less like a ‘scheme’ and more like a bonus system to attract and engage users on a new social platform in an already saturated market. But of course, we will be keeping an open mind on the platform model, and its benefits limitations and incentives, until we’ve had a chance to properly experience it and see what happens over time.
Right this moment, I believe this new platform presents an opportunity. And as stake-holders, tsū users will ultimately determine how valuable that system is — by how they choose to use it.
Personally I like the function that allows you to forward any $$’s you earn to other tsū users, like community groups and charities. In essence, tsū offers users an allowance and the ability to invest it within their social community, and although the amount each user earns may be small individually, cumulatively, the potential is enormous. What we do with that potential is up to us.
So rather than rely on reviews, we’re going to explore the possibilities and decide from experience.

If you’d like to check it out for yourself, here’s your invitation:

https://www.tsu.co/MoreMerlin

Note from Francesca:   I joined Tsu after reading the above article in Wake Up World.   I’ve been on Tsu almost a week, have 250 friends and I’m loving it.   For me, it’s the next step in evolution for social media.   It’s funny because literally a few days before seeing this, I was feeling so fed up with Facebook… and actually said out loud “wish someone would do something alternative that shares with people”   and here it is!     I feel the energy flows much more on Tsu… there’s a lot of ‘light” and beauty and it’s not surprising… considering the business model.  

 

What has this to do with Merlin?  If anything?  

Good question.   And here’s the answer.   We’ve created a “More Merlin” page on Tsu.   So assuming you decide to join Tsu simply because it makes sense … by sharing the More Merlin posts, you will be contributing to getting a Merlin Movie made.     Because we will be taking 50% of revenue made on the More Merlin page on Tsu and putting it aside as seed money for a Movie.   There’s a lot of Merlin fans out there so it shouldn’t be too long before we can start some serious conversation with respect to producing a Merlin Movie.

Are you in?   To re-write that dreadful ending?  To see Merlin using magic freely in Camelot? To see the golden age of Albion?     Let’s Keep the MAGIC Alive!

Click here to join Tsu

 

Merlin, the adventures continue…: chapter 10 by Tony de Haan

title

Previously on “Merlin, the adventures continue…”:
The goddess Macha has taken over Morgana’s body in order to destroy both Arthur and Merlin, and to take over Camelot. Arthur already nearly escaped death, and Merlin is under the influence of a sleeping spell, which is slowly killing him.
Galahad finds the cure, but by using it he might have killed Merlin.
In the meantime Macha’s influence made several kings want to go to war with Camelot.

Chapter 10
Brimful of sorrow and dismay…

Nobody saw the black-clad man on that dark and moonless night as he slipped without a noise through the postern gate of the castle of king Peredur. A horse was already waiting for him, its hooves were swathed with cloth, in order to ride as stealthily as possible, so they would not alarm the guards. At a safe distance from the castle he removed the cloth from the horses’ hoofs and rode with great haste to Camelot, this spy of king Arthur, and to tell the king of the many hundreds of knights and soldiers king Peredur had assembled, for he wanted nothing more than to take over the throne of Camelot. Even the farmers and day-labourers, no matter how old or how young, armed with their own pitchforks and flails, were forced to supplement king Peredur’s army; and the millers and bakers were ordered to give all their flour and bread to the king’s kitchens, and the blacksmiths were not allowed to forge anything but swords and battle-axes. “King Peredur has surely gone mad,” the citizens thought, “he cares nothing for us anymore, soon we will all die of starvation,” but they were afraid to voice their qualms, lest king Peredur would hear of it and throw them in the dungeons or perhaps even hang them.
And then, one fateful morning, not long after the spy had fled king Peredur’s castle, the whole army began their slow march towards Camelot.

Around the same time an unruly mob of soldiers, labourors and rabble of all sorts left king Maleagant’s castle, armed with a great variety of weapons and sharpened farming tools. Some said Maleagant was possessed by an evil spirit, others blamed his untrustworthy counselors, for all Maleagant could talk about was conquering Camelot, his rightful place, as he claimed to all who would hear it. No one knew where this delusion so suddenly came from, and most of them really didn’t care, eager as they were for war and the prospect of rich spoils, for Camelot must surely be very rich indeed, they thought.
And so this disorganized and undisciplined kludge plodded along, yelling and cheering, to Camelot and to victory.

.
He didn’t know for how long he had sat there, cradling Merlin’s head, and feeling his pulse over and over again, but every time there was nothing, not one single heartbeat, however feeble. He was almost beside himself, the thought of him having killed Merlin was too much to bear. “I didn’t want this,” he sobbed, “I thought I was doing the right thing, all I wanted to do was to help you.” He didn’t know what to do anymore, how could he face Arthur, how could he tell he murdered his servant, his friend. He thought about running away, running and running until he could run no more; and forever living in fear, fear of being found and killed or worse, forever living with the knowledge of being a murderer and a coward. How could he face Leon and Gwaine, Percival or Mordred, they would be furious, devastated and they would probably banishing him from Camelot forever, or simply kill him where he stood. And all that time Merlin lay there, the stone clutched firmly in his cold, white hand. Galahad felt so alone now, so utterly alone and utterly desperate. A tear fell on the stone and to his amazement Galahad saw the stone turning white now, it became almost translucent. A part of his wanted desperately to pry that murderous stone from Merlin’s fingers, but he dared not, afraid he might die also.
Slowly the realization came that there was no escaping his fate. He must go to Arthur and tell him everything, he must bear the consequences of his actions. “Father, please forgive me, I have failed you,” he whispered, “I have tried to become a knight of Camelot, I have tried to live up to your expectations, and all I’ve done is kill an innocent man.” Galahad did not see the spirit standing in a corner behind him, a smile on his lips. “I’m so sorry, Merlin,” Galahad’s voice a barely audible whisper now, “I truly wanted to help, but the others were right, I’m a good-for-nothing, I’m useless.” He tried to stand up, but his legs felt so heavy. He slumped down again, unable to stay awake, and the spirit faded away, still smiling.
Merlin3x0800012There is a storm raging in my head, I can see nothing but a swirling red mist. It is so cold that it hurts. Another storm is coming, a white one, and it is colliding with the red. There are horses now, all made of mist, red and white horses, and they are galloping towards each other and clashing and dissolving. The noise is deafening, splitting my skull, suffocating me. There are all kinds of shapes now, horses, wild boars, dragons destroying towers, and all of them red and white, all doing battle and they are all shouting at me to help them, to defeat the others. I don’t know what to do anymore, I must fight it, and now I feel magic surging through my every fibre, red and white magic, powerful magic, talking to me, pleading, pulling me in every direction. I don’t want to fight, I just want to be left alone! Fireballs are exploding, spells are shouting, words are coming alive. I see Arthur, laughing, and Galahad, smirking. Galahad is all red now, I grab him and he is starting to turn white. Every second I hold him feels like burning a hole in my soul, but still I hold on. Then he lays there, sobbing, drained of all colour. There’s a stone in Galahad’s hand, a blood-red stone. Do what you must do to survive, I hear someone shouting and I pick up the stone and then I see a white blur, it’s grabbing me in its hands and I feel another battle in my head, I see evil magic now and good magic battling it out while that white thing is holding me, shouting. Fight it, it says, fight it or die and so I fight but what is it I’m fighting? I see that blood-red stone flying towards me and it shatters right in front of me, showering me with razor-sharp white shards and suddenly I find myself in a white room, at least I think it is a room, but it’s more like there’s clouds all around me, thick white clouds. Then I see him standing there, the Spirit I once met in that forgotten room in the archives, the one who gave me that scroll, the one who looks just like me. He is smiling broadly now, this spirit. The noise is gone, the silence is deafening.
“Welcome, my dear Emrys, welcome. So we do meet again! How time flies! And there has been a most wondrous event! Young Galahad actually sacrificed something in order to save you. He has played his part well. By giving his blood, and his compassion, to the stone, you were finally able to conquer that evil magic within you, and releasing all your true power at the same time. That sleeping-spell could only be eliminated with the unselfishness of another soul, and Galahad’s destiny was to be that soul.” His eyes now had a dreamy far-away look. “Destinies, young warlock, destinies are curious things and not all is clear. Arthur’s destiny is to become the greatest ruler Albion has ever known, and that destiny will be fulfilled as it is your destiny to protect Arthur even if it means your death and oh, don’t look so alarmed, you are not dead yet. I think. It is also written Arthur will die by a druid’s hand, and that hand could very well be Mordred’s, but it could be yours also, Emrys. Did Kilgharrah not tell you to kill Mordred, for he will be Arthur’s downfall? But you chose not to, didn’t you Emrys, and in doing so, are you therefore not Arthur’s murderer should Mordred be the one to kill him one day? But on the other hand, it could be someone we don’t even know, someone who isn’t even born yet. But enough of this gloomy talk, and let us turn our attention to more joyous matters, for, my dear Emrys, you have finally unlocked all that ancient magic within you and you are going to need it, for terrible events are about to happen. Be ready, young warlock, be ready… Sorry, gloomy talk again. Do you remember, of course you do, how could you forget, the first time we met, you said I looked like you, but it is a bit more than that, for I truly am you, I am the magic you unlocked…” and with these words the spirit started to fade, and wispy tendrils of a white, iridescent fog reached out to Merlin, touching him, absorbing into his very body. Suddenly Merlin felt a sharp and piercing pain in his head. He no longer could see anything, everything was white, one blinding flash of white light and then it was over.
Gwaine-1“Galahad, where are you? Oh, there you are. We lost you there for a moment there. Why are you sitting alone in that room? Feeling too proud, too high-and-mighty to be seen sleeping with us?”
Galahad looked up and saw Gwaine’s face hovering above him. He opened his mouth to explain, but no sound escaped his lips. Quickly his eyes scanned the room, looking for Merlin, but he was not there anymore. And the door, it was suddenly open now. He must have been dreaming for sure. How did I get here?
“Look, you guys, our Galahad’s just crashed here, preferring to sleep alone on the cold floor instead of sharing a room with us. You really disgust me, Galahad,” and with these words Gwaine walked away, leaving a bewildered Galahad behind.
“Nice dreams,” Percival said, without bothering to stop or even to look at him.
“He was here, Merlin, he was here,” Galahad stammered, trying to stand up and he felt a sudden sharp pain in his little finger. With incredulity he looked at it, finding half his finger gone.
“No, Galahad, Merlin is already fast asleep, he was never here, he never left the Great Hall. We left him there just seconds ago, sleeping,” Leon answered sharply, “And don’t touch the mead again, you’re obviously hallucinating.”Sir-Leon-9-Wallpaper-merlin-characters-31177915-1709-953“But….” Galahad tried to explain, but Leon too was gone. “What’s happening to me, I wasn’t hallucinating, I saw him, I saw Merlin, I killed him…” he said, and suddenly he remembered his maimed finger. Half of it was indeed gone, the wound already scabbing over. I did slice my finger to draw blood, he thought, but it was only a minor scratch. “Merlin,” he almost shouted, remembering Leon’s words, and he ran to the Great Hall, his finger forgotten. There, sprawled in a chair, was Merlin. With a trembling hand Galahad felt Merlin’s pulse and a great relief washed over him, there was a steady heartbeat. “You’re not dead,” he whispered.
“And why would he be dead?” Arthur said as he emerged from the shadows.
“Sire, I… I…” Galahad stammered, trembling.
With one quick motion unsheathed Arthur his sword and its sharp point touched Galahad’s throat. “Why would Merlin be dead?” Arthur asked again, his voice soft, yet ice-cold.
“Please Sire, please let me explain,” he faltered, “I only wanted to save him, it wasn’t my fault, I had a dream, I thought,… please Sire, don’t kill me.”
“Sit,” Arthur commanded, leaving his sword on Galahad’s throat. Galahad walked slowly to the chair and sat down. Only then did Arthur lower his sword. “Talk.”
And, with a lot of sobbing, faltering and stammering, did Galahad tell his story. Arthur remained silent. “Go and join the others in the sleeping quarters. We will talk about this in the morning,” he said after a while.

When Galahad had gone, Arthur closed the door and walked over to Merlin. His breathing was regular, and Arthur thought Merlin’s face looked calmer, more at ease. “Merlin,” he whispered, “Merlin, are you awake?”
“You just can’t let me sleep in peace, can you,” came the sleepy voice of Merlin.
“No, I just don’t want you sleeping in a chair, so you can complain the whole day tomorrow how sore your poor muscles are and can’t do any work, provided you actually have muscles.”
Merlin kept silent, a look of bewilderment on his face.
“What, are you actually, for the first time in years, at a loss for words?”
Merlin looked at Arthur and said: “I feel fine, Arthur, I actually feel fine. I actually feel awake for the first time in weeks.”
At hearing these words Arthur wanted to shout for joy, but instead he said: “That’s nice to hear, Merlin, that means you can actually start polishing my armour properly now?”
“Yes, YES,” Merlin was absolutely beaming now. “It worked! That stone did heal me, I’m sure of it!” He did not tell Arthur about his dream, about the ancient magic he now so strongly felt, about the spirit.
“So Galahad was successful,” Arthur asked thoughtfully, “he really was the key to your recovery?”
Merlin nodded, smiling broadly.
“I’d better talk to him then,” and Arthur almost ran to the sleeping quarters and shouted: “Galahad, I want to talk to you. Now!” and he turned on his heels, followed by a terrified Galahad.
“Justice at last,” mumbled a half-asleep Percival, before falling asleep again.

Galahad stood there with his head bowed, eyes firmly locked on the toes of his boots. His heart was beating like mad in his dry throat, the palms of his hands were slick with sweat.
“Merlin told me he feels fine now, like he’s cured. You were supposed to be the key to his recovery, and it looks like you’ve succeeded. I just wanted you to know this. Tomorrow morning I will ask Gaius’ opinion. If Merlin is indeed free of the sleeping-spell, I will honour my promise regarding a knighthood. If, however, Merlin is still under some enchantment, you will be banished from Camelot forever, quest or no quest.”
“Yes, Sire,” Galahad whispered, barely audible.
Without another word Arthur left the hall.

“Merlin has made a truly remarkable recovery, Sire,” said Gaius the next morning. He and Merlin already had a long talk beforehand, and Merlin had finally been able to tell the whole story to an overjoyed Gaius. “The sleeping enchantment is no longer there.”
Arthur and the knights cheered like mad at this most wonderful news.
“Galahad, come here,” Arthur commanded as he drew his sword. Galahad did so and fell on one knee before Arthur, head bowed. Arthur touched his sword on both his shoulders and solemnly said: “Arise, Sir Galahad, Knight of Camelot!”
“Thank you, Sire,” he said softly. Then he turned to the knights, who were standing there, saying nothing, nor smiling or cheering, and said: “I know I’ve been an insufferable person, and I can’t ask of you to be glad of this great honour bestowed upon me, but I know I can change, must change. Please, give me that chance, give me the chance to become a valued Knight of Camelot, a worthy son of the great Lancelot.”
Still the knights kept silent, then Gwaine said: “Very well, I am willing to give you a chance, but only because you were instrumental in healing Merlin.”
“Same here,” Percival said. Mordred and Leon merely nodded.
“That’s settled then,” Arthur said, “either you become accepted by the knights or not, and if not, there is no place for you in Camelot.”
“And remember,” Gwaine added, “earning our respect and your place among us will not be easy. For me, you’re not Lancelot’s son, far from it, you’re nothing but a stranger, and a yokel and lout to boot.” The rest nodded, thinking exactly the same.
“Thank you,” answered a now humble Galahad, determined more than ever to become a knight and do his father Lancelot proud.

Queen-Guinevere-merlin-on-bbc-28658666-2560-1707
“This is very serious indeed,” said Gwen after the spy had told his story. He stood there in the Council Chambers, panting heavily and still dirty from the long ride. Gladly he took the beaker of cool water from Cerdic’s hands and drank it all in one go.
For a short while Gwen was silent, thinking over the implications of what she just heard. Camelot was in grave danger, and something must be done quickly. “How many men can we assemble?” she asked her trusted advisors.
“A few hundred knights at the most,” said Sir Algovale.
“And of course all the men in the kingdom who are fit to fight,” said Sir Kay, “I’m sure they are willing to defend their land and families.”
“Yes,” chimed in Sir Bors the Younger, “and how about our allies of the neighbouring kingdoms? I think they will gladly give aid, for if Camelot falls, they are sure to follow.”
The door opened and Osgar, Master of the Maps, came in. He spread a giant map made of several sheets of vellum on the table. “My Queen, Sirs, the map you requested,” and he withdrew.
“First get Doran in here. I want him to go to Tintagel as quickly as possible and get Arthur here.”
“My Queen, If I may make a suggestion,” answered Sir Kay, his gaze still firmly fixed on the map, “I don’t think that will be necessary. I think it might be better to get Arthur to meet us here,” indicting a spot on the map.
“Yes,” said Sir Bors the Younger, “good idea. Maleagant and Peredur, these two are the only ones rebelling against Camelot? As I said, they will want to go through here, and so march together to Camelot.”
“Yes, as far as we know, there are no more kings plotting against us, but that may very well change of course.”
“So, if we can get our army here,” and Sir Algovale pointed at a piece of land, surrounded by a river and marshes, “we stand a good chance of winning.”
And so it was agreed. Doran was sent to Tintagel with precise instructions, and the Knights started preparing for war. They all hoped it would be a short and victorious one. And all the while Cerdic stood there, listening.

.
“Mistress Macha, there was a spy amongst king Maleagant’s household, and now the knights are preparing for war already. Camelot will be deserted for sure and can easily be taken. Only the women and children are here, and those too old and feeble to fight. I don’t know where the knights will put their camp, I could not see the map clearly, but I tried, really I tried, and a messenger has gone to get Arthur. Will you be queen of Camelot now, mistress Macha? Please don’t forget your loyal servant Cerdic.” Slowly Cerdic put the statue down, for Macha had severed the connection. He smiled, thinking he would be handsomely rewarded for all he had done.

Macha, in her cave, burst out in a loud and scornful laughter. Finally, she thought, finally the chance to take Camelot and to eliminate all the Pendragons! No more fooling around with nonsense like a poisoned mail shirt of a useless sleeping spell. Now she had the armies of two mighty kingdoms at her disposal, and they will crush Camelot’s army without any trouble whatsoever. Still she had a firm mental hold on both kings, they would do anything she told them to. “Do you hear, Morgana? We are about to conquer Camelot and then I will be queen!” Her laughter now sounded like a whole pack of harpies all screaming at once. “Queen at last! Free at last! Oh, your body will serve me well, everybody will think Morgana is on the throne, poor, little, evil Morgana! Did you really think I would let you go? Never, my dear Morgana, never! With your body, I can go where I please and escape this prison once and for all!” With another horrible laugh she merged with Morgana, ready to go to the battle-field and wallow in Arthur’s, and Camelot’s, utter defeat.
Merlin203_0180

It was late in the afternoon when Arthur and the knights arrived at the campsite. An exhausted Doran had told Arthur everything and without delay they had rode to here, the plains near the Hill of Badon. There was a huge river and marshes, effectively defending the camp from that side, as the river could not be forded there, and the marshes were treacherous; and there were rolling meadows, dense copse and trees on all the other sides, giving the knights and soldiers plenty of room to fight and to lay in ambush. The camp was a beehive of activity; cooking fires were everywhere, filling the air with the smell of wood-smoke and roasting meat. Knights and soldiers alike were sharpening their swords and axes, mending their mail shirts and greasing the leather straps of their armour; and their squires were busy tending the horses and running errands.
Hundreds of tents and brightly-coloured pavilions were set up, dozens of pennants were fluttering in the breeze, a proud golden dragon on a field of red. In the centre stood Arthur’s pavilion, big enough to hold at least twenty men. A round table stood in the middle, strewn with maps.
“Welcome Sire,” said Sir Owain, and he held open the flap so Arthur and the knights could enter. Arthur nodded, threw off his cape and walked to the table.
“What’s the situation?” he asked, looking at the maps.
“The army of Maleagant is now here,” Owain said, indicating an area a few miles from the camp, “and Peredur is around here.”
They all looked at the map, and then Mordred said: “This land here is rather marshy, can we lure them to there somehow?”
“Good idea,” Arthur said, thinking it over, moving some wooden pieces over the map.
“We can take a small amount of soldiers to here,” Leon indicated, “and create a diversion, forcing Peredur to advance to here…” he added, and moved some other pieces on the map.
“”Leaving this open for Maleagant to take advantage of the gap, and he will, I’m sure of that, where we will have a large force hidden,” said Gwaine.
Arthur nodded, deep in thought. If they were to succeed, they must rely on the element of surprise, that much everybody understood all too well. They were outnumbered two to one at least. “Tonight, get half of the archers to this spot here. They will be well hidden until they start firing, and when Peredur wants to retreat or even advance, there will be knights on horseback here and here.”
“And Maleagant?”
If I were him, I would go to here,” said Arthur, stabbing on the map, “The trick is, get them as close to the marshes as we can.”

That night, under the cloak of darkness, hundreds of archers stealthily left the camp and took up their positions in the woods, hidden from prying eyes. Percival rode with a small group of soldiers to the enemy camp, making as much noise as possible and aimlessly shooting burning arrows, thus creating a diversion so a large group of Camelot’s knights could leave Arthur’s camp undetected.
The next morning horns sounded, piercing through the quiet morning air. The battle was about to begin.
Arthur_and_odin_fight
From The History of the Kings of Camelot by Geoffrey of Monmouth:
And there was fierce fighting that day, and the air was heavy with the clanging of swords and splintering of lances and the groaning of men and horse alike.
And there King Arthur fought wondrously; he struck down all he met in his path, and no one got away unharmed. He fought so well that none dared face up to him, for no iron or steel, no matter how strong, could withstand his blows. And on that day there fell 940 men by Arthur’s hand alone, and no one struck them down but Arthur himself. And when the enemy saw him coming, they turned in flight, for they did not dare face up to him.
And there was Percival, swinging his sword which he held two-handed, hewing through helm and coif and splitting the enemy down to his teeth.
And there was Gwaine, striking this way and that, with his mighty sword drawn, fighting as fiercely as he were a wild boar.
And there was Leon, hitting the enemy so hard on the helm that he knocked off a big piece and sent it flying, and the enemy fell down in a faint.
And there was Galahad, striking the enemy with his lance, and brought horses and riders down in a heap.
And there was Mordred, fighting side by side with King Arthur, and his sword clove helm and mail and bone and all who saw him fled in fear.

“We’re gaining ground, Sire,” shouted Gwaine hoarsely, his armour splattered with blood, some of it his own, trying to make himself heard above the terrible din of the battlefield. The grass was red and sticky from spilled blood from knights and enemy alike, the air heavy with a cloying stench; and there were flies everywhere, buzzing ceaselessly.
They saw the remnants of the armies of king Maleagant and king Peredur slowly but surely retreating, and the Knights of Camelot started to fight with renewed vigour, driving the enemy further and further into the treacherous marshes.
Then, from the corner of his eye, Mordred saw a Saxon warrior from Maleagant’s army running towards Arthur, a short but lethal sword held high above his head, ready to slay the king. Quickly Mordred turned on his heels to block that fatal blow, and in doing so his own outstretched sword sliced through Arthur’s mail shirt, gambeson and body, thus grievously wounding the king.
It was as time itself came to a standstill. Merlin saw Arthur bleeding profusely, and every drop seemed to hover in the air before slowly falling to the ground, each fallen drop sounded like thunder in Merlin’s ears. He saw Mordred, bloodied sword in hand, mouth open in a soundless scream, eyes full of disbelieve and horror and his sword fell ever so slowly from his hand.
Arthur shall die by a Druid’s hand. Merlin relived his dream again, vividly and in every detail, his dream in which Arthur was killed by Mordred. He saw himself lifting Arthur’s dying body again and he felt the enormous grief he had felt in his dream over and over again.
Time crawled and Merlin saw Arthur fall, saw the death in his eyes, saw his face contorted with pain. The whole world now had stopped, birds hung motionless in the air, horses stood unmoving and still Arthur kept falling. Then it was all over.Mordred_riled“Nooooo…,” yelled Mordred. Merlin stood stock-still for a brief moment before he came to his senses and started running towards Arthur. Both he and Mordred knelt by the fallen king. Blood spurted from his gaping wound, his face had turned ashen, his breath came in ragged gulps. Tears streamed from Mordred’s eyes as he tried to staunch the wound and stop the bleeding.
“We must use our magic,” he whispered, but Arthur could no longer hear them, for he had fainted. Mordred cast a powerful healing spell, whispering lest Arthur should awaken and hear him. The blood started to flow more slowly and Mordred heaved a deep sigh of immense relief. Merlin too cast a spell, his eyes golden: “Licsar ge staðol nu”, he whispered, and there was a mere trickle of blood now, the wound had almost completely closed, but Arthur had lost so much blood, too much blood; and there was no way of knowing how much damage there was to his intestines.
“We must get Arthur to his pavilion as quickly as possible,” Merlin said, “there he can be examined properly. Gaius will see to that.”
But before Mordred could answer, a loud thunderclap sounded, splitting the very air, frightening both men and horse alike.
“Hello boys,” sounded a mocking voice and Morgana appeared as from nowhere, a sardonic smile playing on her cruel lips, “having fun?”
Merlin-finale-feelings
Next time on “Merlin, the adventures continue…”:
Will Arthur live? Will Camelot fall?
Read the conclusion on Christmas Eve, December 24.

 

(my thanks to the Arthurian Vulgate, volume 2: Merlin, and the Historia Brittonum for the inspiration for Geoffrey’s account of the battle)

Links to the previous chapters:
Prologue: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/834/
Chapter 1: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventure-continues-chapter-1-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 2: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventure-continues-chapter-2/
Chapter 3: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventure-continues-chapter-3-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 4: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-4-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 5: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-5-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 6: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-6-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 7: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-7-by-tony-de-haan/
Chapter 8: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-8-by-tony-de-haan
Chapter 9: http://www.merlin-arthur.com/merlin-the-adventures-continue-chapter-9-by-tony-de-haan

Also please visit our forum: Merlin’s World of Magic
http://forum.merlinsworldofmagic.com/

Colin Morgan moves onto Hollywood Radar with “Humans” & William Hurt

It was announced in October that Colin “Merlin” Morgan was to star in Humans, a co-prodution between Channel 4 and AMC. Most first reports did not include the fact that the amazing William Hurt is also starring in Humans.
For me and with this production, Colin is moving into the “A” list. This is the first time he is working with a star of this calibre. William Hurt may no longer be considered an “A” lister in Hollywood (that’s reserved for Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep, de Niro) but he once was and he is most definitely one of the greatest actors to have come from North America. And he has pulling power. His name means it will be given a higher profile in the US, not just in terms of when it is shown on AMC, which is a major US channel but also in terms of the amount of publicity it is given. That means so will Colin.

This will put Colin on the real “radar” in America, something he has yet to achieve in the US.

It’s possible that Damien will do the same for Bradley, depending on how popular it becomes. Lifetime too is a major channel there but it does not seem that any major American stars are cast in it so far.

William Hurt achieved stardom after his performance in the thriller Gorky Park then went on to seal his upcoming rising reputation as a solid acting talent with Body Heat a steamy murder plot with Kathleen Turner, Children of a Lesser God which pioneered the use of sign language in film, then Broadcast News a stinging TV news reporter yarn. He has continued to make always interesting movies showcasing his excellent acting ability most recently seen in Artificial Intelligence and the brilliant Indie movie produced by Sean Penn Into the Wild. He has been nominated four times for Best Actor and has won Best Supporting Actor.

I’m sure Colin must be thrilled at the prospect of working with him. If Colin’s part is substantial, he will indeed be on the American radar and I would expect following that to see Colin being offered substantial and lead roles in American movies. Knowing Colin, he will choose wisely. I think also Colin will also keep both feet firmly planted in the soil of his Northern Irish roots and come back to the UK for theatre, film & tv drama.

Colin Morgan and William Hurt

Colin Morgan and William Hurt

Humans, written by Spooks scribes Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, examines a “parallel present” where humanity is dependent on advanced robot slaves (called “synths”) leading to dire consequences for a family who unwittingly buy a rogue model.

Oscar-winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman) stars as George, a widower with an oddly close relationship with his synth, while The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson will play a lawyer haunted by demons whose husband (Tom Goodman Hill) buys a synth (played by Fresh Meat’s Gemma Chan) that may be more than it seems.

Bradley James to star in “Damien”

Bradley “King Arthur” James will play the title role in the, what may be a rather controversial, new six-part series Damien. Bradley portrays the now adult Damien Thorn, the mysterious child from the 1969 horror movie The Omen. In Damien, he must come to terms with his destiny: being the Antichrist.
Will this be just another series filled with violence and satanic influences, or will we see a tormented Damien, torn between good and evil?
We will have to wait until next year to find out.

And what are your opinions? Please share them with us!

Bradley James

Bradley James

Bradley James as King Arthur in "Merlin"

Bradley James as King Arthur in “Merlin”