The Lady of the Lake
Season 2 - Episode 9
The Lady of the Lake

Out with Gaius one night, Merlin finds a frightened girl chained in the street. Gaius suspects she has fallen prey to a bounty hunter, and Merlin is appalled. He locks eyes with the girl and she makes a silent, desperate plea for help. He knows he must do something.

In the dead of night, the young warlock breaks the girl free from her cage. She's scared, but Merlin calmly reassures her. Before they have a chance to escape, the drunken bounty hunter, Halig, emerges from a tavern. Sensing something is wrong, he pulls out a knife, but Merlin incants a spell, bringing the tavern sign down on Halig's head.

Narrowly avoiding guards at every turn, Merlin leads the girl into the tunnels beneath the castle. She wonders why Merlin is helping her. He tells her he couldn't see her treated like that. A moment of understanding passes between them and she quietly tells him her name is Freya.

The following morning, Halig reports the missing druid. The King is unconcerned, but Halig stresses that the girl is dangerous. Uther orders a thorough search of the city for the girl and her accomplice.

Merlin takes Freya some food he has stolen from Arthur's plate, and she falls on it hungrily. He spots a druid symbol on her arm and asks about her past. She's defensive about her time with the druids, and it's clear she sees her magic as a curse. Merlin promises he'll be back to visit her again and she smiles. A bond has formed. Later, Freya confides in Merlin about her one happy memory; of the beautiful lake by her first home, back before she lost her family. The pair's unspoken mutual feelings are writ plain.

That night, a mysterious animal viciously attacks and kills two guards in the town. There are no signs of an animal leading away from the bodies - only human footprints. Uther is certain magic is responsible and Gaius vows to solve the mystery.

Halig closes in and Freya is terrified, but Merlin vows he won't let her be taken. He tells her he's going to get her out and, what's more, he's going to come with her. He insists he only wants a life with her, far from everything. They kiss. Freya hugs Merlin close, but he doesn't see the sad, fearful tears in her eyes.

That night there's another attack. Witnesses speak of a huge black cat with. Gaius suspects Merlin is sneaking away to be with the druid girl and warns him that she could be the killer. Merlin scoffs, but Gaius tells him that there is a creature called a Bastet - a cursed human who, at night, turns into a deadly beast against their will. Could this be why the druids rejected Freya, and why she claims she is unworthy of love? Merlin begs for more time but Gaius can't promise that - not when Freya could kill again.

The warning bell sounds as night falls and Merlin races to the tunnel. But Freya is not there.

She runs through the shadows of the lower town, barefoot and terrified, chased by guards. As Merlin madly searches, Halig and the guards close in. The clock strikes midnight and Freya screams out in pain as she transforms into the Bastet - huge and cat-like, with great and terrible wings. The guards flee as the Bastet lunges at Halig, pinning him. Arthur leaps in bravely, striking out with his sword. It looks like the beast will slay Arthur, too, but, at the last moment, it withdraws; Arthur has badly wounded it.

Merlin finds the Bastet back at the tunnel and bravely embraces the beast, holding it until it turns back into small, sobbing Freya. She's badly wounded, and fading. She's amazed that Merlin doesn't hate her, even now. The curse means that Freya will kill again every night forevermore, and wake every morning to know the guilt. She begs Merlin to leave her to die, but he won't go. He tenderly lifts her up and carries her out of the tunnel.

Freya opens her eyes again to find it is dawn and she is on the shore of a beautiful lake, cradled in Merlin's arms. He remembered her happiest memory and brought her here. She's overwhelmed. Merlin promises he will find a way to heal her. He refuses to give up. But it's too late. Freya is dying. With her last breaths she thanks Merlin for everything he has done for her. They kiss once more, and then she's gone...

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