Merlin 4.04 – Aithusa

This week we have hot older men with god complexes, Merlin in bed with Arthur, snail porn, Merlin in Arthur’s pants, an arrow to the knee, a baby Pokemon (I choose you, Aithusa!), and a Raiders of the Lost Ark tribute. Yay! 

Get yer Merlin drinking game Bingo card right here!

Our story this week begins far from Camelot, at the foot of a cliff where a bunch of druid hobos are asleep all cuddled up like a pack of puppies and/or religious zealots. I’ll leave it to you to guess which one fits this bill. Down from the clifftop dangles a rope, from which slides – and I know you’re never going to believe this in a million years – a handsome man. What! Not on this show!? It’s true, and because he’s a little bit older, I can lust after him freely without feeling like the world’s biggest creeper. Anyway, he tiptoes through the sleeping throng to a wooden chest, which he breaks open and digs through until he finds The Golden Snail o’ Magic. Lo and behold, he brought his own Golden Snail of Magic, and he puts them together with a satisfying and somewhat dirty click.

Take that shell off, baby.

He looks up from his task only to find each and every druid is now awake and standing, silently staring at him. Freaked but good, he dashes into the woods, only to find that the druids are already there, loitering weirdly along the way. They don’t try to stop him; they don’t have to. There’s a deep-assed ravine ahead that’s going to do it for them. He arm-wheels at the edge, but everyone seemingly tesseracts so they’re instantly right behind him. He takes one of them hostage with a dagger to the throat, but the leader is less concerned with spilled blood than the Triskellion the guy stole from them. He’s assured he’ll never find the third snail Triskellion, but the guy claims he already knows where it is, HA HA. And with that he does an Evel Knievel over the ravine and escapes. D’oh! Next stop for our anti-hero: Camelot! Cue credits.

Our new friend is Julius, an old “friend” of Gaius’s. He comes for a visit that night when Gaius is up late turning lead to gold or whatever he does for fun, and Merlin is fast asleep. Merlin breaks Zs and gets up in the cutest peasant sleeping shirt to take a peek at their guest. He overhears Gaius reminding Julius that he’s a cowardly liar, but that’s neither here nor there in Julius’s mind. He knows the third part of the Triskellion is hidden in the vaults under Camelot, and he wants Gaius’s help to steal it. Why? Because once the Triskellion is whole, it will give them access to the very last Dragon’s egg in the entire world OMG! Gaius kicks him to the curb and asks him to leave. Julius tells him where he’ll be in case he changes his mind. “I know I’ve caused you trouble, but I’m a changed man. Believe me.” Hell, we don’t even believe him and we’ve only known him for five minutes.

Once he’s gone Merlin comes out and yells at Gaius to rethink his position. They argue, but Gaius won’t be swayed. Saving the dragon race is not a good thing if the dragon ends up in the hands of the likes of Julius. Gaius goes to bed super-grumpy. Merlin stays up, thinking thinking thinking. Even though just last week he was kicking himself for not listening to Gaius (which ended in Merlin KILLING THE KING), he sneaks out into the night.

Merlin calls the Dragon, who’s thrilled that he may not be the last of his kind after all. He orders Merlin to save the egg. But, Merlin points out, Gaius has fobidden it. Screw Gaius, the dragon snips. Dragonlords don’t listen to no loving father figures who only have their best interests at heart! And so Merlin promises to save the egg, even swearing on his dead father’s name. Excellent.

Next stop: the tavern, where Arthur thinks Merlin spends most of his waking hours anyway. Julius is less than thrilled to meet Merlin when he sneaks into Julius’s rented room, and promptly jabs a pointy knife in his throat. He perks up when Merlin offers to help him get the Triskellion, until he’s sure Gaius didn’t send Merlin. Then he doesn’t even care enough to kill him, telling Merlin to bugger off. That is, until Merlin tells him he’s Arthur’s personal servant. Then they’re insta-BFFs.

Merlin isn’t done with the sneaking around. He tip-toes into Arthur’s room at dawn, and proving he’s neither tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy, tries to find the vault key by clanking through all the keys while Arthur is asleep a foot away from him. Arthur is, of course, shirtless (DRINK). He instantly wakes up and mutters, “What the fuck are you doing?” Merlin is, naturally, checking for wood worms. Knock knock. Knock knock. “GTFO,” mutters Arthur. On his way out, Merlin spies the vault key (inexplicably) on the belt of the pants Arthur wears every day. He takes them to be “washed”, but Arthur mutters, “I’m going to need that belt.” Dammit! Merlin will have to wait for another humourous opportunity to betray his best friend and liege. Merlin, you rascal!

Arthur goes to a council meeting, and while he’s discussing wars and borders and shit, Merlin decides he’s waited long enough for that freaking key. He uses a bit of magic to…pull down Arthur’s pants. You heard me. And isn’t this really the moment we’ve waited for all these seasons? Before Arthur can pull them up, Merlin falls on him with shouts of “I’ll help you, sire!” And promptly pickpockets the key off him while engaged in – I don’t even know how to properly describe it.

Awkward

Just as promised, that night Merlin lets Julius into the castle. “I’m beginning to like you, Merlin,” Julius tells him.  To his credit, Merlin doesn’t actually steal anything, just shows Julius the way to the vault and leaves him to it. Julius dispatches the guards posthaste, and uses the “borrowed” key to get into the vault. The vault stores hundreds of items, good and evil, that the rulers of Camelot wanted to hide from prying eyes. Julius has to search for days to find what he’s looking for. Wait, did I say days?  I meant he has to look at not just one, but TWO things before he finds the third piece of the Triskellion, for a grand total of ten seconds. Hee!

He wastes no time putting the last piece together, then meets Merlin in the hall. Merlin hides him from the guards and leads him safely outside the castle walls. “Tell me Merlin, are you a good liar?” he asks. “When I need to be,” Merlin replies modestly. That’s when Julius gives him a big old thanks-for-your-help by karate chopping him in the neck, making him collapse, unconscious (DRINK). “You’re going to need to be.” What a dink!

Merlin wakes the next morning, and rushes the key back to Arthur’s room, needing to merely jump into bed with Arthur (not like that) to distract him. He’s saved when the alarm bells start to clang. Lucky the vault guards were unconscious fifteen minutes longer than Merlin. Whew, that was a close one!

Down in the vault, Arthur calls for Gaius to tell him what was in the box that was emptied. Gaius tells him rather forcefully – and with more than one glare at Merlin – that it’s a free pass to a dragon’s egg. Arthur immediately decides the only thing to do is follow the thief and destroy the egg. Oops. Once again, young Merlin has put his foot in it.

The second Gaius gets Merlin alone, he tears a strip off him as wide as a moat. Merlin tries his best to defend his decision, but Gaius trounces him. If Merlin had just left things alone, the dragon’s egg would have been safe for another 400 years! And if Julius gets his hands on the egg before Arthur, god knows what he’s going to do to the poor baby dragon! Merlin opens his mouth,then closes it. There’s nothing to say that won’t make him look and feel worse.

Arthur drags Merlin and his most trusted knights along for the eggcellent adventure (sorry). They’re practically on top of Julius, but night is falling and as Arthur says, “Unless you can see in the dark, Merlin, there’s nothing we can do.” Which is funny, because Merlin can totally see in the dark. Dammit!

They camp for the night, and the knights amuse themselves by making Merlin think he’s going to starve to death after they eat all the food he’s made for supper. Ha ha, silly boy! There’s a plate for you, too – here, hidden behind our backs. Honestly, the knights think of Merlin more as an entertaining pet dog than anything else.

In the middle of the night, Merlin is woken by someone whispering Emrys in his head. He jumps up and finds the druid hobos waiting for him in the woods. The leader (who has a damn nice haircut for a druid OR a hobo) tells him where to find Julius and the egg, but beware: the Triskellion isn’t just a key to the the tomb where the egg is hidden, it’s also a trap. According to legend. No details as such, alas. Well, good luck! Oh, and  also: wherever you go, there you are. Or some other such murky clue that Professor Layton himself would be proud of.

The next day they track Julius to a cave. As per always, Merlin tells them this is the way they must go, but Arthur thinks he’s an idiot (DRINK) until one of the knights comes to the same conclusion. Arthur, you one percenter jerk, you. They go into the cave and through a waterfall, which has apparently been enough to confound nearsighted, water-averse adventurers for centuries. On the other side of the waterfall is the castle that hides the dragon’s egg. Hooray!

But oh no, Julius is lying in wait for them. Sir Percival takes an arrow to the knee, and the rest scramble to hide. Arthur scampers out to create a diversion so the others can get Percival out of harm’s way, and would surely be killed if Merlin didn’t use magic to save him AGAIN. Julius escapes in the ensuing mayhem, and Arthur decides to camp for the night. Man, they’d never make it to Mordor at the rate they’re going.

The knights think there’s nothing better than a practical joke that they’ve already played, so they make a big production out of eating all the food while Merlin wastes away to nothing. Little do they know that Julius has put poison in the pot when nobody was looking. Their little joke ends up saving their lives, however, when Merlin is able to cure them with magic because he didn’t get a chance to eat the poison. They’re still fast asleep though, so it’s up to Merlin to get to the egg before Julius does. He catches up with Julius just as he’s using the Triskellion to unlock the tomb. As promised, it’s also a trap, and Julian promptly gets gassed. Oops!

Now Merlin is free to go into the tomb, where the pretty teardrop-shaped egg is waiting for him, with not a speck of dust on it after 400 years. Cool. Merlin is about to nab the egg when Julius pops in, very much alive. Those medieval gasses never did work worth spit. He begs Merlin to give him the egg, then promises him anything, and finally resorts to violence. He shoves Merlin to the ground and makes fun of him when Merlin tells him that dragons are for everybody to enjoy. “What do you know? You are but a serving boy,” Julius sneers.

Merlin has had enough of being pushed around by everybody, everywhere, all the time. With fire in his eyes and his heart, he tells Julius that he’s the last  Dragonlord, and he best keep his grubby hands off that egg. The way he says it makes Julius believe him (and us cheer), and Julius tries to bonk him on the head with his torch. Merlin instantly gives him a magic push (DRINK). He snatches the egg off its pedestal, which unfortunately has also been booby-trapped. The castle starts to crumble around him, and Merlin has to run for his life, a giant boulder rolling behind him. Okay, no boulder, but you get the idea. Merlin escapes just in time and hides the egg in his man purse.

And not a moment too soon, because here comes Arthur and the rest of the knights, swords drawn. Merlin tells them that Julius set off a trap and he and the egg perished in the toppled castle. “Are you certain?” Arthur barks at him. Merlin doesn’t need to answer, because Sir Leon pipes up. “Nothing could have survived under that.” And if a knight says it instead of a serving boy, then it must be true. ::nods firmly::

This is a shot of an authentic, bona fide castle. We swear to god. Please ignore the giant chickens on the road in front of it.

And it’s back to Camelot they go, victorious. Merlin and Gaius are having supper when Gaius mentions how it’s too bad the egg never made it out of the tomb. “You couldn’t save it?” he asks, then gives Merlin the trademarked Gaius stare. No, no, he couldn’t. Merlin brushes crumbs into a pile on the table (a lovely touch, I thought) and tries to look sad. But he can’t be for long, and breaks into a huge grin before retrieving the egg to show it off. Gaius is obviously pleased for him, but gives him hell once more for good measure, telling him it’s his fault the egg almost ended up an omelet. And what’s Merlin going to do with it now that he’s got it?

Good question. Merlin takes the egg to the Dragon, who is pleased as punch to see it. He tells Merlin that only a Dragonlord can summon the dragon from its egg (poor Julius was screwed before he began, although you have to wonder how dragons hatched before mankind came along, hmm?). All Merlin has to do is name the dragon to get it a-hatchin’. Merlin names it Aithusa, and out it comes, a cute little white dragon. Awww. The Dragon tells Merlin that this bodes well for him, and Arthur, and Albion, and the future. Not bad! Merlin is so overjoyed he cries, which is wonderful to see, and can only mean something horrible is going to happen just around the corner. Snort!

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