As Merlin wakes up, it’s already noon. His head hurts. When he sits up, he looks into the face of an old man. He frightens. The old man sits opposite to him at a fire. He has long white hair and a long white beard. A large pot hangs over a fire, in which a deliciously smelling soup is cooking. Merlin’s stomach answers immediately. “Sit down beside me. You need to eat something.” Merlin shakes his head and looks around. It is about an hour walk to the camp. “I have no time, but thank you.” “That was not an offer.” And like a command, a bowl of soup flies into his hands. As Merlin looks back to the old man, his eyes just change their color. “Sit down beside me, Emrys. I know what you came for. There is still plenty of time. Now is time to eat and time to listen.” Merlin opens his mouth to reply to something, but then he walks to the old man by the fire and sits down.
While Merlin is eating, the old man starts to talk. “My name is Havgan. I am one of the druids of Albion. And I’m here to warn you. This place is something special. You shouldn’t be here. But now it is too late.” Puzzled, Merlin looks at him. “Why? What’s wrong with me?” The old man smiles. “Emrys. Throughout my life, I read in the stars. My whole life I’ve been watching you. I have accompanied you.” Merlin puts his plate on the floor. “You have accompanied me? But I don’t know you.” “No? Well, did you never asked yourself who taught you to read and write? You grew up in a small village. That’s unusual, isn’t it?” Merlin shakes his head. “My mother taught me that.” The old man smiles. “Really? Rather, I think you can’t remember it. I always knew how to cover my tracks.” Merlin looks at him thoughtfully. “Indeed, I don’t remember you.”
Havgan extends his hand. “Merlin, I’ve lived in your village. I’ve been watching you for many years. Until you went to Camelot to face your destiny. And now we meet again.” He sadly shakes his head. “I tried to prevent it. Surely you have wondered why you’ve never heard of this place or why it doesn’t attract you, like all the other magicians?” Merlin nods. “The answer is simple. I put a spell on you. All these years I tried to keep you away from here. Unfortunately in vain.”
The old druid pauses before he adds. “Merlin, this place is dangerous for Arthur as well as for you.” Merlin finds it strange. “But why? What is so dangerous here? “The old man sighs.” This sacrificial stone in the center of the stone circle is cursed. Mordred knows that if he sacrifices Arthur here, then a big part of the magic passes to him. So far no one has been able to perform the ritual totally. But was it started, it can hardly be stopped. The sacrificial stone lives a life of its own. If you try to stop the ritual, the stone will try everything to stop you.”
Merlin shakes his head. “What?” Havgan continues. “In the moment you enter the stone circle, you’re in range of the stone. It will try to seduce you. It will show you pictures. It will use magic. Your own magic. Mordred has chosen Arthur as the third victim by placing him on the sacrificial stone. If it is necessary, the stone will kill Arthur with your magic. Merlin, the sacrificial stone has access to everything in its catchment area.”
Merlin is shocked. “But why?” The old man breathes through. “A part of the power of the souls will be redirected directly to the Goddess of the Old Religion. Mordred will receive a lot of magic. But the Goddess will claim her part. The stone is in her service. And the Goddess will fight for Arthur’s soul.” Merlin nods. “She will lose this fight.” “Merlin, don’t underrate this! The Old Religion is very powerful in this place. It can make you to do things that you don’t want. I had my reasons to keep you away from here. Merlin, Mordred must not win! You must not enter the stone circle! Don’t you understand that? If you enter the stone circle, you’ve already lost!” Merlin jumps up. “But how can I save Arthur?”
The old man smiles. “We should talk about that. Come here. Sit down next to me. This fight of religions must come to an end today.” Merlin sits next to the old man. “You only have one chance. You have to use your magic to save Arthur. And you have to do it outside of the stone circle. And you have to reveal yourself. You have to reveal your magic. The people need to see that Arthur trusts a magician. Only then, they will let him leave the stone circle.” Merlin nods. “I understand.” The old man smiles. “And Merlin, Arthur must leave the stone circle. Merlin, only when the ritual has ended, you can enter the stone circle. Only when the ritual has ended, the danger is over.” He sighs. “And it doesn’t end until it is completed by Mordred. That must not happen! Or Arthur has left the stone circle or Mordred has canceled the ritual. Merlin, only then you can enter the stone circle. Promise me!” Merlin nods. “I promise.”