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: What else could I do? It's my fault Gwen's going to die! Gaius
: Yes, but you don't prover her innocence by offering to jump into the flames. You do it by finding out what's causing the disease.
: But not all magic is bad. I know it isn't. Gaius
: Magic is neither good nor bad. It's how you use it.
: Patience is a virtue, Merlin. Merlin
: What? Sitting by and doing nothing, that's a virtue?
: [trying to find out what caused the disease
] What's different about this victim? Merlin
: Um, she's-she's a woman. Gaius
: Sometimes I do wonder whether your magical talents were given to the right person. Anything else?
: Water. You think the disease is spreading through water? Gaius
: Merlin, you're a prodigy.
: Well, whatever it is, one thing's for sure, Arthur's not going to find it. He thinks he is *so* sharp. But even when I told him that I was a wizard, he still couldn't see it. Gaius
: A wizard's pretty hard to spot. Merlin
: Well maybe I should go around wearing a pointy hat.
: [the dragon tells Merlin how to defeat the creature, and that he and Arthur are two sides of a coin. Gaius doesn't know about the dragon
] How did you find this out? Merlin
: Um, I just knew, y'know? Upon my powers. Gaius
: What else did your powers tell you? Merlin
: That... I am one side of a coin. The brighter side, obviously.
: One day, Merlin. One day. Merlin
: One day what? Gaius
: One day, people won't believe what an idiot you were. Merlin
: When I was young I heard talk of an ancient ritual of the old religion called The Tiana Diaga. Merlin
: Tiana Diaga? Gaius
: The Sacred Fire. The ritual used the mandrake root to bring unimaginable terror to the victim. Their screams could be heard twenty leagues away. When it was finally over, their will was no longer their own. They were slaves of the high priestesses for eternity.
: Merlin, the only person who ever doubts your powers is you.
: You know how exhausting the aging spell is, Giaus. I don't have the strength to do that and perform the ceremony. Gaius
: Then you must find the strength.
: This tincture of belladonna, what are its effects? Gaius
: Patient is rendered into a deep sleep... Arthur
: Patient? Gaius
: It is generally used for the badly wounded. Arthur
: How long does it last? Gaius
: A few hours. It has to be administered several times a day to provide a continuous sleep. Merlin
: But for no more than three days. Gaius
: It is true, sire. The tincture should not be taken for an extended period. Arthur
: Or? Merlin
: The body will not tolerate it. Arthur
: Thank you, Merlin.
: It is the only way, sire. Sorcery has to be fought with sorcery.
: Gaius, you're sure this is gonna work? Gaius
: You' be amazed how much license old age lends you, sire. Merlin, come. We meet at the darkling wood. Arthur
: Merlin, if you drop her... Merlin
: I know. I lose my head. Arthur
: Just so we're clear.
: Are you all right? Merlin
: [struggling to tote the queen in a wheelbarrow
] She's a lot heavier than she looks. Gaius
: That might very well be grounds for treason.
: Merlin, are you all right? Merlin
: [still enchanted
] I-I'm pacing. Gaius
: Yes, I can see that. Merlin
: A man who is all right does not pace, Gaius. Gaius
: Oh, well, that's why I asked. Merlin
: I'm wrestling with a problem and there are many factors to take into consideration, and I have not yet come up with a solution. Gaius
: Can I be of assistance? Merlin
] No. Gaius
: Would you like to share the problem with me?
[Merlin pauses with an arrogant expression
: No. Gaius
: Sometimes two heads are better than one. Merlin
: Yes, but not when one of them's yours.
[Gaius opens a smoking canister and holds it under Merlin's nose
: [awakening with a start, coughing
] What is that? Arthur's socks? What're you trying to do to me? Gaius
: I'm trying to stop you from killing the king!
: For now the serpent is dormant, though when it wakes, your mind will be Morgana's once more, and nothing will stop you from killing Arthur. Merlin
: But how do we get rid of it if it keeps growing back? Gaius
: There's only one way, I'm afraid. You have to kill the mother beast. Merlin
: That creature that lives in Morgana's hut?
: Great. How long have I got? How long before this thing wakes up? Gaius
: A day, no more. And I wouldn't face her alone. Merlin
: Oh, don't worry. I won't be there at all. Well, not exactly.
[Merlin picks up a potion bottle from a table
: She won't recognize me if I'm eighty years old. Gaius
: Oh, what should I say if Arthur asks for you? Merlin
: Uh, tell him I'm anywhere.
[opens and closes the door, but looks inside one last time
: Anywhere but the tavern.
: [wryly welcoming Merlin back
] Don't do that again, Merlin. My heart can not take the strain. Merlin
: Yes, well, you are getting on a bit.
[Gaius stares back, stunned
: What is the strongest poison that you possess?
[Gaius stares back with interest
: I had this great opportunity to lace the bandits' food with poison and nothing to do it with. Gaius
: Well, that would be aconite. Merlin
: [looking through Gaius' bottles and finding what he needs
] Ac-o-nite. Well, I think I should take some of this with me from now on. You never know when you might need to kill someone. Gaius
: [as Merlin leaves
: The Druids build shines to bring rest to tormented souls, souls that were so badly wronged they could find no peace in the other world. Merlin
: Why do they hang all the ribbons and flags? Gaius
: The ancient rituals heal the ground so that the souls of the victims can find rest, but the magic that binds the earth is delicate and is easily undone, so the ribbons and flags act as a warning.
: Did anyone touch anything? Merlin
: No. I don't think so. Why? What is it? Gaius
: Anyone who disturbs the resting place risks releasing the spirit.
: I'm done trying to be nice to Arthur. I cook, I clean, I'm always there for him - not to mention that small matter of saving is life more times than I care to remember. Do I get any thanks? Nope. All he ever does is shout at me.
[Gaius is unresponsive
: So now YOU'RE ignoring me. Great. I might as well not even exist. "Hello, my name's Merlin, but don't worry about me. I'm not even here." Gaius
: [finishing his reading
] I fear we may have more important things to worry about than Arthur shouting at you.
: Your father was relentless in his persecution of the Druids. Many died. I believe it is one of those tormented souls that now possesses Elyan. Arthur
: And that's why he seeks revenge. Gaius
: The spirit craves peace. He wishes to find his proper place in the other world but the unjust nature of his death has denied him that.
: She's drawing you in, Merlin. It's a trap. She knew your real name. There's only one explanation for that. Alator told Morgana who you really are and she has sent this woman to lure you to her. Merlin
: But I looked into her eyes. She meant no harm. Gaius
: You think a sorceress of her power couldn't feign any look she wished?
] "Let loose the hounds of war. Let the dread fire of the last priestess rain down from angry skies, for brother will slaughter brother, for friend will murder friend as the great horn sounds a cold dawn at Camlann. The prophets do not lie. There, Arthur will meet his end upon that mighty plain." Merlin
: So many have suffered so that I may hear this.
: [at the body of a murdered knight
] The disfigurement is not as a result of disease or infection. It's the result of powerful magic. In the old days there was a punishment known as ragaid, the ultimate warning from the high priestess to her enemies. Arthur
: Why was this knight chosen? What had he done? Gaius
: He'd done nothing... except be a knight of Camelot. It's a warning, sire. A warning to the whole kingdom. Morgana has declared war.
: Only your magic can save him, Merlin. Merlin
: I cannot save the life of a man destined to kill Arthur. Gaius
: If Mordred is destined to take the king's life, why has he just saved it? Merlin
: I cannot ignore what the dragon said. Gaius
: What happened to the young boy who came into my chambers just a few years ago? Merlin
: He grew up, and he learned the meaning of duty.
: I can't ignore what I saw. Gaius, Mordred is destined to play a part in Arthur's death. Gaius
: Perhaps. Perhaps not. The future has many paths. That is only one. Have you ever seen him show anything but kindness towards Arthur? Merlin
: No, but... Gaius
: If Mordred wished Arthur ill, he's had ample opportunity to do so. He's a likable boy, Merlin. Merlin
: I know. I like him myself, but I can't ignore what I saw. Gaius
: Seeing is not the same as knowing, and we must know for certain before we act.
: This is a rune mark, My Lord. Arthur
: That's what everyone keeps telling me. Gaius
: In times past, this mark aroused great fear. It was given to those found wanting by the court of the Disir. Merlin
: The Disir? Gaius
: The highest court of the old religion. Three women were chosen at birth to be trained as seers and soothsayers. There only task was to interpret the word of the Triple Goddess. When they sat in judgment, there word was final. Arthur
: All this worn out superstition has no relevance now. I don't see what bearing it has on me or Camelot. Gaius
: Because, sire, the Disir have seen fit to give you this. This is the judgment of the gods against you. Arthur
: This is nonsense, surely. Gaius
: The old religion held that the rune mark not only contained the man's guilt but the path that the gods have chosen for him. That is why it is both a judgment and fate. Arthur
: I make my own path. Gaius
: Do you? It is said that only the gods can alter a man's fate, and, even then, only when he repents and appeases them. Arthur
: You don't believe any of this? Gaius? Gaius
: I'm an old man, sire, old enough to be wary of dismissing other people's beliefs.
: [too busy to make a distant house call
] Might I make a suggestion, sire? Why not send Merlin in my place? Arthur
: Merlin? Gaius
: He has a knowledge of the healing arts. If the diagnosis is straightforward, he can prescribe a remedy, I'm sure. Arthur
: And what if it isn't? Gaius
: Then he can bring his findings to me. Arthur
: Findings? Merlin can't find his own backside most of the time. Gaius
: I think he's capable of much more than you imagine, sire.
: Does anything strike you as odd about these bodies? Gaius
: Yes, sire. There's not a mark on them. Arthur
: Not so much as a scratch.
: The girl escaped and killed them all but him. Arthur
: How is that possible? She's just one girl. Gaius
: Not a girl, sire. A lamia. Arthur
: A lamia? Gaius
: A creature of magic. In their wars with the ancient kings, the high priestesses of the old religion took the blood from a girl and mingled it with that of a serpent. The creatures they created has ferocious powers. They could control the mind of a man, suck the life from him with a single embrace. Arthur
: Which is why none of the traders has a mark on them. Gaius
: But the lamia proved more deadly than their makers had ever imagined. They could transform at will and become hideous monsters. And they kept on killing, sire. They would not stop.
: He's a sorcerer.
[Gaius doesn't answer
: You knew. Gaius
: Arthur, he is your friend. Arthur
: I want him gone. Gaius
: There is no need to fear him. Arthur
: Have him take word to Camelot, to Guinevere. Gaius
: We can not send Merlin. I will go. Arthur
: I need a physician right now, not a sorcerer. Gaius
: He can do far more than me, far more than you can ever imagine. Arthur, he doesn't just have magic. There are those who say he's the greatest sorcerer ever to walk the earth. Arthur
: Merlin? Gaius
: If you're to stand any chance of survival, you'll need Merlin to help you, not me.
: There's a fragment of sword embedded in his chest. Merlin
: Well, we'll use magic to draw it out. Gaius
: No. The blade that struck Arthur's no ordinary blase. I'm afraid it was forged in a dragon's breath. Its fatal power will not be easily denied.
: Gaius. Give this to Guinevere. Gaius
: It's the royal seal, sire. Arthur
: If I am to die, I can think of no one who I would rather succeed me.
: A journey to The Valley of the Fallen Kings, Merlin? It's a den of murderers, cutthroats. Merlin
: It is dangerous. Gaius
: It's a long way north of dangerous. Merlin
: What am I supposed to do? Let this girl die? Gaius
: The journey there and back is going to take you the best part of a day. how are you gong to keep it from Arthur? Merlin
: I'm sure you'll think of something! Gaius
: Merlin! Gaius
: Uh... he's garnering herbs, sire. Arthur
: But, I need him. Now. Gaius
: Well, he may be some time. Arthur
: Where is he? Gaius
: He's gone out in pursuit of a young agrimonia. Arthur
: A what? Gaius
: Agrimonia, sire. A noble but shy plant, not easy to find. It could take him all day. Arthur
: All day? Gaius
: It is invaluable, sire. It's properties open up both the liver and the spleen. Arthur
: He's in the tavern, isn't he? Gaius
: No, sire! Arthur
: Well, when he's finished opening up his liver and his spleen, tell him he has exactly one hour to sober up and get to my chambers. We've a guest to prepare for.
: Sarrum does have a reputation. Arthur
: Even my father feared him. They say he takes joy in impaling men. Gaius
: Not just men, sire. Women and children, too. He also has a fondness for assassinating his friends. Arthur
: I doubt we'll ever be that close, although we do share on thing - a hatred for Morgana.
: Have you been playing with your food again?
: [waking up after being unconcious
] What happened? Where am I? Merlin
: Can you remember anything? Arthur
: Ah... Oh, my head.
: There was a girl. Sophia. She, uh... I asked my father something about her. I asked him...
[remembers and sits up, a look of disgust on his face
: What was I thinking? Merlin
: Well, we did wonder. Ecspecially when you eloped with her last night. Arthur
: I did *what*? Gaius
: Merlin had to bring you back to Camelot. Arthur
: I don't recall any of this! Gaius
: Must have been some blow. Arthur
] *What blow?* Merlin
: Well once I caught up with you, I couldn't persuade you to return. You were beyond reason. So I had to make you. Arthur
] You managed to knock me out? Merlin
] Yep. With a lump of wood. Gaius
: He only did it to bring you back safely. Arthur
: [stabs a finger in their faces, dead serious
] No one can know about this. Any of this. Is that understood.
[they nod and Arthur falls back on the bed, groaning
: Merlin, I get the distinct impression there's something you're not telling me. Merlin
: No. Why would you say that? Gaius
: Because there usually is.
: In the days of the old religion, the priestesses trained for years before entering into the spirit world. It was fraught with dangers. There was one thing they were schooled never to do: As the veil closed, they were never to look back at the spirit. Merlin
: What happened if they did? Gaius
: They'd release the spirit into this world. Merlin
: Arthur must've looked back.
: Arthur's planning on using magic? Merlin
: He's desperate. He knows it's his only hope of healing Uther. Gaius
: Merlin, please tell me you're not going to do this. Merlin
: I'd be lying if I said no. Gaius
: You can't risk exposing yourself like this. It's too dangerous. Merlin
: Arthur didn't recognize me last time when I was eighty years old. There's no reason why he should this time. Gaius
: Need I remind you the last time you used an aging spell you nearly had yourself burnt at the stake. Merlin
: It's worth the risk. Gaius
: Do you think Uther is going to thank you for healing him with magic? He's more likely to have you hanged. Merlin
: Uther will never change his attitude towards magic - I know THAT - but if Arthur allows it to be used to heal his father, his attitude will be changed forever. He'll see that magic CAN be a force for good.
] Gaius, have you seen my worthless toad of a servant? Gaius
: [knowing Merlin's hiding right behind the door
] I'm afraid not. Arthur
: Well, where on earth is he? Gaius
] You tried the tavern? Arthur
: The tavern. Of course. I am going to make him wish he was never born.
: [of Mordred
] He's fond of the king, and the feeling is mutual. They've become great friends. Merlin
: That's my fear. Arthur's blind to him. I'm not. I won't make that same mistake.
: There are some parts woven so deeply into the fabric of the world, Merlin, that nothing can be done to change them.
: Here! Come and join me.
[Merlin, Gwen, Gaius, Lancelot, Gwaine, Elyan, Leon, and Percival take seats around the round table along with him
: This table belonged to the ancient kings of Camelot. A round table afforded no man more importance than any other. They believed in equality in all things. So, it seems fitting that we revive this tradition now. Without each of you, we would not be here. My father has languished in prison for too long. Tomorrow, I make my bid to rescue him. Are there any around this table who will join me?
[each of them stand and talk in turns
: You taught me the values of being a knight, the code by which a man should live his life. To fight with honour for justice, freedom, and all that's good. I believe in the world that you will build. Elyan
: Even though I was a commoner, a nobody, you were willing to lay down your life for me, Arthur. It is now my turn to repay you. Sir Leon
: I have fought alongside you many times. There is no one that I would rather die for. Gwaine
] I think we've no chance. But I wouldn't miss it for the world. Percival
: Your enemies are my enemies. Gaius
: If you need an old man.
[Arthur smiles briefly, tears flowing in his eyes
: You know the answer.
[everyone has now stood up, except for Merlin, who grins where he is still sitting
: [raises an eyebrow
] Merlin? Merlin
: No, I don't really fancy it. Arthur
: You don't have a choice, Merlin. Merlin
[he stands with a smile, then nods seriously
: You need to be careful. Merlin
] I've got the easy bit. The warning bell is nothing compared to the cells. Gaius
: I overheard you, Merlin. If Morgause catches you, she'll kill you. Merlin
: [nods, now serious
] I have no choice. Gaius
: [smiles proudly
] I remember the bumbling idiot that came charging into my chambers all those years ago. Who would believe?
: We need to get Arthur out of here whether he likes it or not. Give him some kind of potion, something to knock him out. Gaius
: I don't know anything strong enough. In my chambers perhaps, but the Southrons have control of the palace. Merlin
: There must be something. Gaius
: I'm sorry, Merlin. Maybe there's something YOU can do. Arthur won't go willingly, but what if he was to lose his will? Merlin
: Are you suggesting magic? Gaius
: Can you do it? Merlin
: I can try.
: It seems your victory is short-lived, Morgana. Morgana
: Prepare the horses. We're going on a hunt.
: You've been avoiding my gaze. Gaius
: Oh, no, uh... My gaze isn't as sharp as it used to be. Grunhilda
: That's why I thought I'd move a bit closer. All the better to appreciate me, eh?
: I think Elena may be a changeling. Merlin
: Changeling? Gaius
: Inhabited by a fairy at birth. It would explain the clumsiness... Merlin
: And Elena has no idea this thing's inside? Gaius
: [shakes head
] And when the time comes, it will possess her entirely.
: Contained within this great kingdom is a rich variety of people with a range of different beliefs. I'm not the only one seeking to protect you. There are many more who believe in the world you are trying to create. One day, you will learn, Arthur. One day, you will understand just how much they've done for you.
[Arthur is going to Camlann
: I hoped never to hear that name again. Gaius
: He can not go, Merlin. You'll have to persuade him. Merlin
: I know Arthur better than I know myself. He'll not listen. Gaius
: If Arthur goes to Camlann, the prophecy will come true and he will die. Merlin
: This battle's the only way he knows how to save his people. If he's going to lose his life, he'll still go. Gaius
: Then what are we to do? Merlin
: If I can't prevent him from going, then I must protect him as best I can. Gaius
: But you can't protect him without your magic. Merlin
: Then I must regain my magic. Gaius
: I can't restore it. It's beyond my power. Merlin
: I know. Perhaps it's beyond anyone's power. No. If there's an answer, I must seek it elsewhere. Gaius
: But where? Merlin
: The birthplace of magic itself. The Crystal Cave.
: [starving in the dungeon
] You need to eat. Gaius
: Whether I eat or not, I'm not long for this world. Sir Elyan
: Come on, Gaius. Gaius
: I'm a physician, Elyan. I spent my days watching the cycle of life. If there's one thing I'm not afraid of, it's death. Don't waste your food.
: You noticed anything about Gwen of late? Gaius
: Nothing unusual. Why? Merlin
: I'm not sure, exactly. Gaius
: Something she's said? Something she's done? Merlin
: No. It's nothing in particular. It just seems to me that ever since she returned from The Dark Tower, she hasn't been quite herself. Gaius
: Well, is that so surprising? She lost her only brother. Elyan was all the family she had, and grief changes people, Merlin. Merlin
: I know they do, but... Gaius
: Besides, we can only guess at what Morgana put her through. Merlin
: That's what worries me.
: The future is as yet unshaped. It is we that shape it. It is you, Merlin. The decisions you make, the actions you take. Remember that.
: Hello, Gaius. Surely you remember me. Gaius
: Only too well.
: Is it my imagination or are you beginning to enjoy yourself? Merlin
: It isn't totally horrible all the time.
: It's character building. As the old proverb says, hard work breeds... a harder soul. Merlin
: There's no way that's a proverb. You just made that up.
: I'm thinking. Gaius
: You know how bad that is for you.
: So your great plan is to kill me. Merlin
: No! Well, yes. Not exactly. Gaius has made a potion that gives the appearance of death without the actual dying bit. It's fine. There's nothing to worry about. It will only bring you to the brink of death. Arthur
: Oh, only to the brink. Merlin
: We haven't got a choice. Gaius
: We have to make your father cry. Arthur
: He doesn't care about me anymore. Gaius
: Nonsense. That's Catrina's influence. I've known your father for many, many years. There's never been anyone or anything he has treasured more than you. It's perfectly safe. A single drop of the antidote will reverse the effects immediately. Arthur
: Antidote? What antidote? You didn't say anything about an antidote! Merlin
: I didn't think it was important. Gaius
: The potion will lower your heart rate and breathing. For all intents and purposes, you will be dead. Arthur
: And the antidote reverses the effects. Gaius
: Yes. If it is administered in time. Arthur
: If it isn't? Gaius
: You will be dead. Arthur
: You just said it wasn't important! Merlin
: Um, yeah. I suppose it is a bit important. Gaius
: Merlin will have the antidote. Once I have administered the poison, um the potion, you have half an hour to get it to him. Arthur
: Don't be late. Merlin
: Am I ever?