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Season 1, Episode 9: Enemies and Lovers

Writer: Scott Forbes


King Athel’s village. Arthur and Kai, their hands tied behind them, are being led by a Warrior, and followed by a number of guards, towards a longhouse.

Warrior: Stay.

They come to a halt. The Warrior approaches the longhouse, and goes in. Kai gives Arthur a worried look. Morcant and the Warrior emerge from the longhouse.

Morcant: You are Saxon scouts!

Kai: We are not! We were out hunting when your men attacked us.

Morcant: You have been sent by Cerdig to spy on our land.

Arthur: We’re friends. Come closer – you know me.

Morcant: [to the Warrior] Have them killed at once. Bury them on the far side of the hill.

The Warrior goes to do his bidding.



The Warrior shoves Arthur and Kai towards the longhouse, using the flat of his sword.

Warrior: Go on!

Arthur: Where is your king? Where is King Athel?

Warrior: Get on!

King Athel is standing on the longhouse platform, accompanied by his grandson, Tarn.

King Athel: What is happening? Tell me!

Morcant joins them.

Morcant: We have captured two Saxon scouts, Sire.

Arthur: I am Arthur.

King Athel: Take me to him.

King Athel, who is blind, puts a hand on Tarn’s shoulder. Tarn leads him to Arthur and Kai. Tarn places King Athel’s hand on Arthur’s face. King Athel touches Arthur’s face, and then the metal clasp that fastens his cloak, which he examines with both hands.

King Athel: Where was your father slain?

Arthur: At the Battle of Ilchester.

King Athel: And he gave you this clasp?

Arthur: It came from you. It was your gift.

King Athel: Not for you.

Arthur: No. My mother gave it to me.

King Athel lowers his hands.

King Athel: Cut them loose at once!

The Warrior begins cutting their bonds with his sword.

King Athel: When last we met, I was not afflicted. I could see you there as a stripling of sixteen years. Now you are strong! You’re a man!

Arthur and Kai are now free. Kai rubs his wrists.

Arthur: My companion is Kai, the adopted son of Llud.

King Athel: Llud? It is enough that you’re the son of Llud, to be welcome at my hearth. Heh … heah … Morcant! Can my hands and ears see more than your eyes, Morcant?

Morcant: It would appear so, Sire. I pray forgiveness for so grave an error.

Kai catches sight of a beautiful woman – Goda – among the onlookers.

Arthur: Then we must forgive the error, must we not, Kai?

Kai: [distracted] Hmm? Huh, yeah …

Arthur smiles at Goda; she drops her gaze.

King Athel: [patting Tarn’s shoulder] This lad is my only remaining relative. He is my grandson, Tarn.

Tarn and Arthur shake hands.

King Athel: Now I must show you some hospitality. You shall be my honoured guests. Come!

Kai is once more gazing at Goda.

Inside King Athel’s longhouse, a feast is in progress. Goda, singing, and accompanied by a Minstrel, walks slowly towards the top table, where Morcant, King Athel, Arthur, Tarn and Kai are sitting.

Goda: [sings]
Tragic magic is your spell
And in your breath I drown …

Arthur: [to King Athel: over Goda’s singing] Who is it that sings so beautifully?

King Athel: Goda … daughter of Hywel.

Goda: [sings]
I thirst for water from your well
To lie within your ground …Kai watches, spellbound. Arthur looks at each of them in turn.

Goda: [sings]
I will walk, I will run, I will have my fun.
I will stay, I will pray, for you,
You are my only one.

All cheer and slap the tables in appreciation. Goda drops a deep curtsey. Kai gets to his feet, clapping conspicuously. Goda leaves the longhouse. Kai follows her out. Arthur watches him go.

Kai follows Goda through the village to a meadow by a river, where he catches up with her.

Kai: Was there ever such a beautiful voice that sung such a sad song?

Goda: I remember such sweet words before … sweet gentle words that still ring in my ears. Sweet, gentle words that spoke of love … [she turns to look up at Kai, smiling sweetly] You pig!

She walks away. Kai laughs, and follows her onto a bridge, where he blocks her way. She tries to get past, but he moves to block her again.

Goda: Let me pass!

Kai: Not until you hear me out.

She tries again to get past, but he traps her.

Kai: I did come back.

Goda: With such haste you must have used up ten horses in your eagerness to return. [she sighs] … waited for days and days. You knew I was moving on.

Kai: But not where you were going.

Goda: You left me behind. How could I know you’d ever come back?

Kai: But I did.

Goda: You should have taken me with you in the first place.

Kai: To war? Would you have carried my spears for me, into battle? You should be pleased that I have found you again. Not scowling at me, as if I were some marauding bear.

Goda: I’m cursing my fate. Whatever there was between us can never be again.

Kai: You’ve taken a husband?

Goda shakes her head.

Kai: Then you are free.

Again, Goda shakes her head.

Kai: You are betrothed.

Goda: To Morcant.

Kai: Morcant? That weasel? [shakes his head] I think there is something you should learn. [Kai takes Goda by the throat, trying to turn her face towards him] How to welcome a man who has sought you for three out of the four seasons.

Goda: No, Kai, I cannot …

They kiss.

King Athel’s longhouse. Revellers call for more wine.

King Athel: Where is Kai? I do not hear his voice. I trust he is not sick?

Arthur: He has a sickness – one that reoccurs every time he sees a pretty face.

King Athel: Huh?

They laugh – King Athel much more heartily than Arthur.

Back in the meadow. Kai and Goda walk hand in hand. Both seem happy. Kai is chewing on a grass stalk.

Kai: You will need a fresh horse – well fed and watered for the long journey ahead.

Goda: Journey? I’m not going on a journey.

Kai looks at the sky.

Kai: As of this moment, as that cloud passes before the sun, so you are betrothed to me.

Kai turns her towards him.

Goda: No word to my father? No formalities?

Kai: No, none! As the hawk drops from the sky, from this moment you are mine.

They walk on.

Goda: Your prey?

Kai: Aye, and my woman.

Goda stops him.

Goda: No, Kai. I cannot go with you.

Kai: I shall be waiting for you at daybreak.

He walks away.

Goda: Kai! It’s too late now.

The next morning. Arthur and Kai approach their horses. Arthur mounts up. Kai stands leaning on his saddle, looking disconsolate.

Arthur: [testily] Are you coming?

Kai: [grumpily] Yes …

Arthur: Well, come then. Stop behaving like a lovesick goat!

Kai: [vehement] What would you know of such things?

Arthur: God’s teeth, you deserted the girl last time you met her. Now you spend an hour with her and expect her to come running when you whistle. You –

Arthur turns and sees Goda coming towards them with a leather bag – her belongings.

Kai: I knew she’d come!

Kai runs towards Goda and embraces her. Arthur looks exceedingly put out. Kai helps Goda mount his horse.

Arthur: Kai …have you taken leave of your senses?

Kai: Yes, I have.

Kai throws Goda’s bag to Arthur to carry. Arthur rides off with the bag.

Arthur: Heaven help us.

Kai and Goda, riding the same horse, follow Arthur.

In King Athel’s longhouse. Morcant is pacing, while King Athel sits on his throne. Tarn sits beside him, looking worried. The Warrior stands in the background.

Morcant: And from the far north, too, comes the sound of axes. As these Saxons fell our trees … steal our land.

King Athel: I know this! It was ever so. What … would you have me deaf as well as blind?

Morcant: Do you think that Arthur alone can keep these wolves from our door? He cannot work miracles.

King Athel: [to Tarn] Here, give me a hand, Boy, give me a hand.

Tarn helps him up, and he begins walking.

King Athel: That you seek my place, Morcant, this is clear. That you shall be Regent when I am dead, until Tarn comes of age, this I have sworn, but at this time, Arthur –

Morcant: Arthur needs our help. Alone, he is not strong enough, together we can be more powerful.

King Athel: Hmmm … you’re right. I’ll sanction your plan. Leave Hywel in command of our camp. Take fifteen men. Swear your allegiance to Arthur until such times as you feel our land is not directly threatened by the Saxons, eh? Hmm.

Tarn leads King Athel out, leaving Morcant with the Warrior.

Warrior: Fifteen men?

Morcant: It will be enough.

Warrior: Against Arthur? We will need a hundred.

Morcant: If we had to surround his village, yes. But with the advantage of surprise, fifteen men will suffice.

Warrior: But he has this system of warnings … of defence. He’s renowned for it. How are we going to surprise it?

Morcant sits down on King Athel’s throne.

Morcant: Supposing there were someone who would tell us the secret of that defence? We could attack a sleeping village.

Warrior: You know of someone who would turn traitor?

Morcant: I know of one.

Arthur and Kai and Goda ride on to Arthur’s village.



In Arthur’s village. Llud comes down from the longhouse, and along the path by the lakeside, to meet Arthur, Kai, and Goda, as they ride into the village.

Llud: [to Kai] I thought it was wild boar you went hunting!

Kai smiles. All three dismount – Kai assists Goda and one of the villagers helps Arthur from his horse. Kai leads Goda up the longhouse ramp, and stops near the top.

Kai: My friends!

The villagers start to gather round.

Kai: You see before you the happiest man in the world! And today is the finest day that ever was!

Villager: It looks like rain!

Villagers laugh.

Kai: Let it rain! It’s still the finest day! Because I have come home with Goda, daughter of Hywel, of the tribe of King Athel, who is to be my bride!

Villagers cheer.

Kai: We’ll have none less than Felix, Abbot of Gloucester, to marry us! The wedding will take place on the morrow!

Villager: It’ll take a day and a half to ride to Glevum, and a day and a half back.

Kai: Then the wedding will take place in three days. Selvira!

Kai gestures to a female villager passing by and goes to speak to her.

Kai: Will you do me the honour of taking Goda into your house until the wedding?

Selvira nods, and leads Goda away.

Kai: And in three days’ time, you’ll be invited – nay! Commanded! – to attend the wedding feast. It’ll be a day of celebration and rejoicing!

The villagers laugh and cheer. Llud smiles. Arthur looks tense.

Goda is taking a walk on the outskirts of the village, apparently looking for something. She steps on some ropes lying across the path, but doesn’t notice. Then she sees smoke rising a short distance away, and runs to investigate. She suddenly meets the Villager, who is holding a blade. She gasps in surprise, and then laughs nervously.

Goda: I … er … I saw some smoke … over there.

Villager: [nodding] You touched a signal.

Goda: Signal?

The Villager shows Goda an intricate arrangement of ropes and wooden rods, in the middle of which a basket of rocks is suspended. He tugs on a rope, the basket shakes, and the rocks make a rumbling noise.

Villager: Just loud enough to warn of danger.

Goda: But soft enough for the sound not to carry to your enemies …

Villager: Not through the natural rustlings of the forest. [with pride] The system covers every approach to the village!

Goda: And just by treading on those ropes – you’re warned.

Villager: And we send up smoke, which is seen in the village. And if it should be night – there’s the horn.

He shows it to her.

Goda: How clever it all is ...

Goda is walking back along the path.

Warrior: Goda!

She looks around and sees the Warrior hiding in undergrowth near the path.

Goda: [excited] I’ve discovered their system! You must relay my message very carefully to Morcant now. Oh, and tell him also, that I keep my faith.

The Warrior nods.

Goda: There’s a defence system of ropes surrounding the village. Now, if anyone treads on them, they set off the alarm.

Goda walks carefully back, not stepping on the ropes.

We see the Villager manning the warning system, taking a drink from a bottle.

Goda is making her way back through the village, towards Selvira’s hut. Kai comes out of the longhouse, which is behind her.

Kai: Goda!

Startled, Goda flinches, then she relaxes. Kai runs towards her. They kiss, then Goda breaks it off.

Kai: Where have you been?

Goda: For a walk.

Kai: Come with me.

Goda: No ...oh … Kai …

Kai: We can walk through the forest –

Goda: I must help Selvira prepare the supper.

Kai: You work too hard. You deserve some –

Goda: I deserve … you.

She walks away and goes to Selvira’s hut, with a last look at Kai before she goes in.

Next morning. Kai is lying in his own bed, looking pensive.

Morcant and the Warrior have brought a war band to the outskirts of Arthur’s village. All the men are careful not to tread on any ropes. The villager manning the warnings system is asleep. One of Morcant’s men sneaks up on him and stabs him in the back.

Kai is still in bed. He sighs.

Kai: [to himself] The abbot could be delayed … He might be sick and not come at all … And she did say she deserved me …

He sits up on the edge of his bed.

Kai: And it would be discourteous to keep a lady waiting … so she shall have what she deserves …

He gets up, pulls a cloak around him, and goes to the hut where Goda is supposed to be sleeping. He stands outside the leather curtain covering the doorway.

Kai: Goda … [more urgently] Goda!

He goes inside.

Morcant leads his war party to within sight of the village. He points to a slope above and behind the village.

Morcant: We attack – from there.

He draws his sword and they set off.

Arthur and Llud are asleep in their hut. Kai pulls Arthur’s sheepskin blanket off him. Arthur wakes and gets to his feet, knife in hand. Kai removes Llud’s sheepskin, with a similar result.

Kai: She’s gone!

Arthur throws down his knife, and looks at Kai as though he is an idiot.

Arthur: Goda? Perhaps she went down to the lake, to bathe.

Kai: Taking all her belongings with her? She’s left the village – gone!

Kai angrily throws Llud’s sheepskin down.

Llud: She can’t have gone! Where was the smoke? Where was the warning?

Llud and Arthur both start readying themselves for battle.

Arthur: Does she know about the signals?

Kai: Not from me …

Kai pulls his cloak around him.

Llud: She must have known! And now, who else knows?

Morcant is crouching in the undergrowth with a Messenger.

Morcant: Go back to your horse. Ride to the village, and tell King Athel that Arthur has betrayed us … led us into a trap. But, that we fought gallantly, and victory will be ours this day.

Messenger: But Morcant –

Morcant: Go!

The Messenger departs. Morcant raises his sword, directing the advance. His men negotiate the slope and enter Arthur’s village unopposed.

Morcant: Not one man, woman or child is to remain alive.

He waves his sword once more. His men begin entering the huts; they find every building empty, even the longhouse.

As Morcant stands outside the longhouse, trying to decide what to do, Kai leads a group of horsemen down the path towards him. A large group of foot-soldiers, led by Arthur, springs up, blocking Morcant’s other escape route.

Arthur, in the lead of that group, draws his sword. Morcant looks behind him at his men.

Morcant: Attack!

No one obeys. The mounted party moves in closer.

Morcant: Attack, I say!

Warrior: There’s too many of them.

Arthur and Kai exchange a look. Arthur gives a slight nod. Kai dismounts, and approaches Morcant, readying his axe. Arthur sheathes his sword.

Morcant and Kai fight, sword against axe. Kai traps Morcant’s sword blade against a fence post, and disarms him, then throws both weapons to the ground.

They fight hand-to-hand on the jetty. Morcant grabs a long pole to use as a weapon, but Kai runs at him and pitches them both into the lake, where, after a struggle, Kai succeeds in drowning Morcant.

He swims to the jetty, where Arthur offers him a hand out. Kai eventually accepts his help.

The Messenger, who has waited to see what would happen before going back to King Athel, gallops off.

In King Athel’s village. Arthur enters Athel’s longhouse, and approaches Tarn, his sword drawn. Backing away from him, Tarn ends up sitting down on King Athel’s throne.

Kai flips the leather curtain aside from the doorway of a hut. He goes in, and finds Goda sleeping. He wakes her by touching her neck with his axe. She turns, and looks fearfully at him.

Arthur comes out of King Athel’s longhouse, to find King Athel waiting, with his sword drawn, and a battle helmet on his head.

Arthur: Tarn has explained that –

King Athel: Aaargh! Tarn!

King Athel takes a swing at Arthur with his sword.

King Athel: Where is Tarn?

He takes another swing – Arthur easily avoids him.

Arthur: He’s safe … unharmed. And he has explained that Morcant cheated you.

King Athel grunts and swings at Arthur again. Arthur draws his sword and parries.

Arthur: Hold your sword! We are not enemies!

King Athel: Enemies we are, and enemies we shall be!

King Athel flails wildly at the air with his sword, shouting rather incoherently.

King Athel: Yes! Yes! King!

Arthur: Enemies?

King Athel: I have been brought word, that Kai, your Saxon friend, has killed Morcant!

Arthur: Morcant cheated you, and would have killed me!

King Athel: And you … who has sat at my table, ate my food and drank my wine and clasped my hand in friendship! You came to my village with sword in hand, seeking vengeance. You came, as an enemy! Now you leave, as an enemy! Liar! Li– Huh!

All this time, King Athel has been flailing with his sword, getting nowhere near Arthur, while his subjects look on, in worried and embarrassed silence. Now Arthur walks past King Athel, goes to his horse whose head is being held by one of the villagers, mounts up, and departs, leaving King Athel still blindly casting about for him.

Arthur and Kai meet on the way home from Athel’s village. Their horses’ paths converge. They ride together in silence for a while.

Kai: And what of Athel?

Arthur: Athel knew nothing of the attack. And what of your traitor?

Kai: [grimly] She got what she deserved.

They gallop into the distance.



Arthur of the Britons

August 2015

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