The Day Camelot Fell – part 3, by Tony DeHaan

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By sunrise he came out of the woods as he did every morning. Long unkempt dark hair he had, and a dirty beard framing a gaunt face, skin stretched taut over his cheekbones, sunken eyes darting to and fro. Thin as a rake he was, his once-red tunic torn and dirty, and there were holes in his boots. Every morning he came here, to the shores of the Lake of Avalon and every day you could see him walking by the lake, his eyes forever on that small island in the middle, and every night he disappeared again into the woods as he has done for a long time now. The Wild Man of the Woods they called him, and some say they had heard him mutter words in a strange language, the same words over and over again, but what it meant they knew not. Some made fun of him, driving their carts with great speed as they passed him by, laughing and booing, narrowly missing him, but he never missed a stride, he kept on walking, oblivious to the world around him. Even the Saxons left him in peace, that crazy Wild Man of the Woods.
Sometimes he went to a cave, hidden deep within the forest, far from prying Saxon eyes. An old man lived there, very old and very wise. We know each other, the man had said numerous times, we know each other very well, but remembering it he did not. When he came to visit he just sat there, never saying a word, slurping the thin and tasteless soup the man usually gave him. He was kind, this Gaius as the man called himself, very kind. After finishing the soup, he invariably sat on the only bed, knees drawn up to his chin, arms around his legs and the man told him stories. Tonight Gaius will tell him a story he must have heard many times before, a tale of who he is and why they came here, but remembering it he did not.
“It happened over five years ago now I think,” Gaius said and there was a deep sadness in his voice now, “five long and lonely years ago. You were the servant of Arthur, king of Camelot. Great friends the two of you were, loyal to each other, respecting each other, regardless of ancestry. A young man of noble birth and a young man of humble origins, brought together by destiny.
“But you were so much more. You were born with magic in a time when magic was forbidden. Still is I should think. And your magic was strong, far stronger than anyone could imagine, stronger than even you could imagine. Many times with that magic you saved Arthur’s life and he never knew it. It was your destiny.”
He sat there, listening and drinking nice cool water, but remembering it he did not.
“Then one day disaster struck. In a fierce battle Arthur was mortally wounded. You brought him at great peril to yourself to the Isle of Avalon so he could heal from his wounds, but you were too late and Arthur died in your arms. Such a tragic day that was, with so many of our friends dead or dying. So, after you had gently laid down Arthur’s body in a boat, it floated to the Isle of Avalon and then you came back to Camelot. Mad with grief you were, mad with inconsolable grief. You thought you had failed your destiny, that Arthur’s death was all your fault.”

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He nodded and his sunken eyes seemed to drink in each and every word Gaius told him, but remembering it he did not.
“It was not long after that, that we were forced to flee. It was getting far too dangerous for us in Camelot. Magic was still outlawed, no matter how hard Gwen tried to make magic accepted, but there were too many knights who were against magic, having been told to detest magic too many times by Uther and later by Arthur. Perhaps they were afraid of it too, anyway, one day a witchfinder came to Camelot, one of Aredian’s pupils as I found out later, and this one was good, oh so very good…” Gaius shuddered at the thought, and he saw again all those innocent people being beheaded or burned at the stake. He closed his eyes for a moment, unable to continue his story; and all the time Merlin sat there, listening.
“So one night we managed to flee, that witchfinder knew who you were, and he wanted you dead. We finally came here, I knew this place of old. You were still so broken-hearted, day after day you would just sit here, crying, and night after night you woke up screaming, do you remember?”
He just shook his head as he sat there, listening. Gaius was playing with a crude little wooden dragon, hoping it would trigger some memories in Merlin, for it was the dragon Merlin’s father Balinor had once made for him, so many years ago now.
“Slowly I started to lose you, Merlin, you were getting more and more depressed, building wall after wall around you, completely shutting yourself off from this world. Then one day you started to lose your magic, very slowly at first, and hardly noticeable, but losing it you did, making you even more depressed, and the more you lost your magic, the less you talked and one day you simply stopped talking altogether. I no longer could get through to you, Merlin, and then one day you were gone, gone for a few days, and as that happened more and more I followed you one day and I saw you walking by the lake, never stopping, gazing over the water. And now you are gone every day and almost every night.”
I don’t remember my name being Merlin, he thought.
“And now you have been walking there for almost five years, hoping for Arthur to return. Merlin, I felt so sad for you, but nothing I said or did had any effect on you, your mind was closed to all but yourself and it still is I’m afraid. I tried to help you, but in vain. I even tried magic, but to no effect, your mind was closed even to that. But one day you will remember, one day you will realise that Arthur is gone forever, one day you will be Merlin again.”
Arthur will come back, Merlin thought, I know he will, I’ve seen it.
That he did remember.

*

She did not know what day it was, she did not even know if it was day or night, for the dungeon was deep underground, no sunlight could penetrate there, there was only the chill rising up from the ground, making Gwen’s bones colder with every passing day, despite the straw that had been put on the floor. From time to time her guard, Ned his name was, came with some food and water.
“There you are, little princess,” he would say, flinging down a bowl of water, and precious drops sloshed over the rim into the densely packed mud of the floor; followed by a bowl of watery soup with a few pieces of stringy meat floating in it, and a piece of stale black bread. Quickly she gulped it all down, trying not to think what sort of meat it was. There was shouting outside her cell, and she saw Ned punching another guard. “Don’t you dare hurt her, or even touch her,” he shouted, “Maleagant wants her in one piece and alive, unlike you, remember Alfric!” And Gwen did remember: Alfric had tried to hit her repeatedly with a sharp stick, just for fun, and Ned had made sure Alfric could never hurt her again, by killing him where he stood. Another blow and the guard got hurled against the grille of her cell, followed by a kick from Ned. Gwen recoiled, but she also knew she was safe. And every day she got the same food; enough to keep her alive, but not enough to satisfy her hunger.

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The noise in the dungeons was deafening. Every cell was filled with prisoners, and more were coming in every day. People from all over the kingdom of Camelot, innocent people. They fought over crusts of bread thrown into the cells, tearing it from each other’s mouths even. Sometimes the guards took people away, they shouted, pleaded, fought, resisted, but to no avail. They were taken away, never to be seen again. She heard talk of villages looted and burned to the ground. She heard talk of Ealdor and cupped her hands over her ears, she did not want to hear the fate of her beloved Ealdor, her beloved friends.
So Gwen lay there, listening and thinking, hoping for a miracle that may never come, hoping for Arthur’s return, and her thoughts went back some years ago, to the time of Arthur’s demise. It has been so difficult, Gwen thought, so very difficult, those first few months after my beloved Arthur’s death. I never even got the chance to see him after Camlann, I never had the chance to say good-bye. The knights had been helpful, giving advice on how to rule the kingdom. They had, after all, sat with my husband on all matters of state, they knew so much… they have done so much… I tried to rule just and fair and I think I succeeded. The people of Camelot lived in peace, trading was good, our alliances with other kingdoms were strong. Life simply went on as before, for the citizens of Camelot I was their strong queen, keeping Arthur’s legacy alive, but for me it was all a play: I may have been a queen during the day, but I was a grieving widow at night, every night.
And then one day the Saxons came.

But Camelot was strong and they could not take our kingdom by force, so they planted spies and instigators in the outlying villages, and even within the castle itself. They sometimes poisoned our food and water, set fire to our houses, killing our men at night. We found them out eventually, but by then it was almost too late. Camelot by then was corrupted from within, its foundations were shaking. And it was during those times that Gaius and Merlin disappeared. It must be almost five years now. A witchfinder came, finding sorcerers everywhere and having them killed. Nobody had seen Gaius and Merlin, nobody knew where they went, if they were taken, or where they were taken. I don’t even know if they are still alive or not.
And Leon, strong and loyal Leon, went missing too, but whether he was dead of captured to be ransomed later nobody knew, for his body was never found, and no request for ransom ever came.
But Camelot remained strong, we survived somehow and we defeated the Saxons time and time again, but all the fighting had taken its toll and Camelot started to grow weaker and weaker, and eventually the Saxons won, and now some brute is sitting on the throne, my throne, Arthur’s throne, but Arthur is dead, so many people are dead and Merlin and Gaius must be dead too, and soon I will be dead and there will be no more Camelot and…
Tears came to her eyes again and Gwen cried herself to sleep, oblivious to all the noise around her.

*

And northwards the Knight rode, stopping only to rest the horses or to rest themselves. They ate whatever meagre rations they could find, for the land was a wasteland, and they filled their water-bottles at every stream they came across. This land was free of Saxons, there were no more villages or supplies left for them to plunder. And so they finally came to the kingdom of Dinas Emrys which was still unspoiled, the Saxons had not yet come this far north. They rode until they reached the castle known as the Castle of the Pond of Dragons and asked for an audience with King Ban, for he had always been loyal to Camelot. They were asked to wait, and they could see dozens of archers behind the crenellations, watching them, ready to fire a volley of arrows should the knights make one false move.
They did not have to wait long. The drawbridge was lowered and the Knights, tired and hungry, rode into the inner courtyard where they were met with numerous fully armoured knights, swords drawn. King Ban was not taking any chances, for the Saxons could easily come to his castle too. Kay, Lamorak, Gareth, Gaharis and Ywain raised their hands, showing they came in peace. For a moment nobody moved, then a knight of king Ban nodded curtly, sheathed his sword and said: “Welcome Sirs,” and to his squire: “Take their horses and look after them well. See that they are fed and watered and be sure to groom those horses with great care and attention. Sir Knights, please follow me. King Ban is very anxious to speak with you, but perhaps you would like to freshen up first?”
“Thank you good sir,” Sir Kay said, “a little water perhaps, but it is better if we speak with King Ban first.”
And so with great haste they were shown into King Ban’s chambers. “My good Sirs, I have heard of the terrible Saxon attacks in the south. I gather there is something very wrong or you would not be here,” Ban said without preamble.
“Indeed Sire,” Kay said, “I am afraid Camelot has fallen into the hands of the Saxons. Guinevere our Queen is held prisoner in Camelot. We saw no other way than to leave Camelot and seek help.” With these words Lamorak looked at Gareth, but the latter did not show any emotion. Lamorak relaxed just a little bit. “The Saxons are making a stronghold in the south first it seems,” continued Kay, “before heading north and they will head north, of that I am sure, parts of the land has already been plundered. It is therefore that we stand here before you today, Sire, pleading that you, and all those who are loyal to you and to Camelot, will raise an army to retake Camelot and restore peace in our lands once more. This, Sire, we humbly ask of you. Together we can drive that Saxon vermin from our kingdoms. For if we do nothing, more and more kingdoms will fall, and those Saxons will rule over our beloved Albion.”
Ban sat quiet for a while, lost in thought. Finally he said: “My head knows you are right but my heart is worried. Many lives will be lost, including many of my own men.”
“Too many lives have already been lost Sire, lives of innocent children, innocent women. We all must unite now to save all those who are still alive, including your own citizens.”
“Yes…” Silence again. “Very well. I will sent envoys to the neighbouring kingdoms and urge them to come to your aid, to our aid. We hold Camelot in high esteem, for you have helped us in the past, and Arthur has always been a honest king, just as Guinevere is a worthy queen. Besides, as you said, one day they will be heading north, and that day will soon be upon us. Now, allow me to have you escorted to your chambers for a hot bath and hot food. We will talk further of this on the morrow. I must make preparations now”
The knights bowed deep.
“Thank you King Ban,” Kay said, “You truly are a wise and just king.”

to be continued…

The Day Camelot Fell – part two, by Tony DeHaan

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With great speed they urged on their horses, kicking op thick clouds of dust. It had not been an easy decision, leaving Camelot, leaving their queen in the lurch, locked in a dungeon, but there was no other option. The last remaining Knights of Camelot had fled, hoping to raise an army and retake Camelot one day soon. With pain in their hearts they had to abandon her, hoping she would still be alive when they would eventually return. “No use getting ourselves killed,” they had said, “better to flee now and regroup,” and so they rode on knowing full well they had broken their chivalric code, broken their oath to Arthur and Camelot and to the Round Table. They felt their hearts grieving and their eyes crying, and they all recalled the moment when they had so stealthily fled.

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Earlier that day
“Have you all gone mad?” Gareth shouted, “Running away just like that, leaving our Queen behind?” His whole body quivered with rage, his hand gripped the hilt of his sword, ready to strike any moment as he looked with contempt at the four other Knights assembled at the postern gate, deep within the walls of Camelot and as yet undiscovered by the Saxons.
“Will you keep your voice down,” Gaharis whispered angrily, “Saxons have ears, you know!”
“The let them come, I say, let them come!”
“So what do you suggest, Gareth, stay here and get killed too?”
“Gaharis is right,” said Lamorak, “we can’t stay here, there are far too many Saxons for us to handle. We must leave Camelot and find reinforcements, raise an army. Only then may we be able to drive the Saxons away and retake Camelot and—“
“NO, it is wrong!” Gareth interrupted, “This goes against anything we have been taught, everything we Knights stand for, or had you conveniently forgotten that, SIR Lamorak?”
“I will never forget that, and one more remark like that…” whispered Lamorak through clenched teeth as he unsheathed his sword just a little bit. The air was heavy with tension as Gareth and Lamorak were all but ready to fight each other.
“We swore an oath, remember? An oath, a Knight’s Oath, to protect Camelot, the King, the Queen.”
“We all understand that, Gareth,” said Kay, trying to ease the tension, “and it pains us that we can’t uphold our code at this moment, but you must understand too that the best way to protect our queen is to go and find as many allies as possible. We can’t fight those Saxons alone, Gareth.”
“There are hundreds of them and only a handful of us. Use your head, Gareth, have you seen the courtyard lately? There are dead knights everywhere, Gareth, dead! And all of them died because they tried protecting our queen, defending our Camelot. And they were all killed, every last one of them. As much as it pains me to say this, but we can’t win this by ourselves, we have no choice but to go and find help.” Lamorak took Gareth by his shoulders and looked him in the eyes, pleading with his common sense.
“And if they really wanted to kill our queen, they would have done so already,” said Ywain. He had kept silent until now, being the youngest and the least experienced of them. “They will keep her alive for ransoming, I’m sure of it.”
“We have sworn to protect our queen,” Gareth said stubbornly, as if he was reciting a personal litany, “what you’re proposing is nothing short of treason. What would king Arthur say if he heard you talking like this? Do you think he would run away like an old maid?”
A sudden flash and the tip of Lamorak’s sword pressed into Gareht’s throat.
“Don’t, Lamorak, hasn’t there been enough killing?” said Kay as he took a step forwards.
“Do not speak to me of Arthur like that.” Lamorak’s words sounded grim and harsh, his eyes cold as steel. Slowly he lowered his sword and sheathed it again, keeping his eyes on Gareth all the time. Gareth touched his throat and felt droplets of blood on his fingers, felt them trickling down.
“So,” Kay said, “it’s either the five of us go, or it’s four. Your choice, Gareth, you can stay here and be heroically killed, or you can join us and—” Kay raised his hand and whispered: “Keep still, someone is coming.”
They all heard the sound of footfalls now, getting louder with every step. A shadow could be seen on the wall, and seconds later a limping figure came into view. Five razor-sharp swords were pointing at his chest.
“Roland,” Kay said, heaving a sigh of immense relief, “you’re still alive!” And the knights sheathed their swords. “What happened to you?”
“Those Saxon animals, Sir,” Roland, squire to Sir Kay, said with some difficulty, “they were having some fun with us squires, but that is not important now. All is ready, as we agreed.” And Roland tried to steady himself against the wall. One of his eyes was black and swollen shut, and blood still seeped from the strips of cloth bound on his wounded arms and legs. “There are horses waiting for you in the woods, I don’t think those Saxon animals noticed anything, it took us all night to get them there…” He faltered, closed his eyes and took a deep breath and groaned, as he was in great pain. “Broken ribs, I think, Sir Kay, nothing to worry about. But Aiden was not so lucky. Those animals caught him in the courtyard and they… and they… they broke his arms and kicked him about. I don’t think he’s alive anymore,” Roland stifled a sob, “and I couldn’t get to him, I’m really sorry, Sir Gaharis,” for Aiden was, or better had been, Sir Gaharis’ squire.
“You did well, Roland,” Gaharis said quietly, his voice unnaturally calm, vowing to avenge his squire.
“Any word on our queen?” Lamorak asked.
Roland nodded. “Still in the dungeons, Sir Lamorak, I’ve heard our queen is not hurt very much.”
“As we agreed?” came the strangled voice of Gareth, “as we agreed?”
“Good,” Lamorak said without bothering to answer Gareth, and he grabbed Roland’s shoulders, “I, we, have a task for you, Roland, an important one, and a dangerous one. Try to keep an eye on our queen, try to get some food to her, even if it means siding with those heinous Saxons, Offer your services to them if need be, but remember: you’re only doing this to save our queen, save Camelot.”
Gareth stood there seething, barely able to contain himself, hands opening and closing, as if he was trying to strangle someone.
“Now go, Roland, and be brave!” And Roland limped away as fast as he could. “And as for you, my dear Gareth,” Lamorak continued as he turned towards the enraged knight, “we did talk about this earlier this week, but you chose to furiously leave the room. Now let me make this simple for you: either you’re with us or against us. There are horses waiting, and those Saxon animals are still dead drunk from last night, going away undetected shouldn’t prove too difficult. You can come with us now or stay behind, at this moment I really don’t care.” With these words he turned his back on Gareth, opened the postern gate and ran as fast as he could to the edge of the forest. No Saxon arrow pierced his body, no warning bell sounded. He looked around and saw Gareth running behind the other three knights. “Good, a wise choice.”
Gareth kept silent. Suddenly they heard bells tolling. “I guess someone saw us after all,” Ywain said as they disappeared into the darkness of the forest.

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And so, with ever increasing rapidity, they urged on their horses, those last Knights of Camelot: Kay, the brothers Gaheris and Gareth, Ywain and Lamorak, hoping to find a kingdom still bound by friendship to Camelot and not overrun by the Saxons, and on their flight they passed many a village razed to the ground; and the stench of burned flesh and rotting corpses lingered in their noses by day, the images of maimed women and children haunted them at night.

To be continued…

The Day Camelot Fell – part 1, by Tony DeHaan

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The action takes place about five years after the last episode of Merlin

“My queen, we can’t hold the northern gate much longer,” Sir Gingalain, Knight of Camelot stammered as he came staggering into the Great Hall, his haggard face contorted with pain. His breath came in ragged gulps, his cape was torn and caked with blood, his mail shirt had large holes in it, and he was bleeding from wounds to numerous to count. He managed to take a few more unsteady steps before his sword fell from his hand and it clattered loudly on the flagstones. Then he fell and died without another sound in front of a horrified Guinevere. More knights, also heavily wounded, came staggering into the Great Hall, all bearing the same message: Camelot was about to fall, the Saxons were too numerous, too strong. Slowly the floor turned crimson, the air became heavy with an oppressive sweet and metallic stench. Guinevere slumped on her throne and her trembling hands covered her eyes. “Arthur, Arthur, why did you have to die,” she lamented, rocking to and fro, hot tears now streaming down her face, “Why, why, why…”. She had never felt so alone in her life, never felt so afraid. “And I never got the chance to say farewell.” Arthur dead, Gwaine dead, Gaius and Merlin gone missing, and Percival, loyal and strong Percival gone too. He had never been able to come to terms with Gwaine’s death, and soon after that fateful day at Camlann five years ago he had silently gone away, a broken man consumed by inconsolable grief. “I need you Arthur, I need you so much,” Guinevere whispered.

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Fierce fighting could now be heard in the hallways, the clanging of arms mixing with the shouts of the attackers and the dying groans of even more Knights of Camelot. Suddenly the doors were violently thrown open and a man came striding forth, clad in dirty leathers and furs and various bits of dented armour, the tip of his bloodied sword scraping the floor. Two more men came in, one nudging Sir Gingalain none too gently with the tip of his scruffy boot, rolling him over, another knight was dragged aside, creating a clear path towards the throne. The clamour of fighting had now stopped, and an eerie silence had descended over the Great Hall making the heavy footsteps of the man even more ominous.
“My queen,” he said mockingly as he reached the throne, and he made a florid and utterly contemptuous bow. Guinevere could smell his putrid breath, saw his yellow and brown teeth, some of them missing and all of them broken. Slowly and with great effort she rose, trying to look as regal as possible in the face of impending doom. Before Gwen could say anything, the man said: “I think you are sitting on my throne,” and he beckoned two of his warriors. “Take her away and throw her in some dungeon. And clean up this mess,” he shouted to no one in particular, waving to the fallen knights.
All her willpower, all her strength had fled now, and Gwen almost collapsed on the floor, but she managed to hold on to the throne, keeping her from falling. None too gently the warriors seized her by the arms and dragged her away, through the corridors and into the courtyard. For a brief moment she opened her eyes, but quickly closed them again, the image of the ghastly blend of red capes and red blood of hundreds of fallen Knights of Camelot was too much for her to bear. Finally they threw her in a dungeon and with a loud reverberating clang the grille closed, leaving Guinevere lying on the cold stone floor, all alone.
In the Great Hall King Maleagant of the Saxons plumped down on Arthur’s throne and laughed.
Camelot had fallen.

To be continued…

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!

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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