The below is a summary of everything that has happened in Arc 2 of the story. Feel free to use it as a refresher! Many details are missing, so if you want to know everything, I’d recommend giving the whole arc a read. If not, this is what you need to know to start at a more recent point!
Apologies for the dry reading – summarising an entire arc into something that’s as short as possible, yet still understandable, is hard 😂
PART 1 – Introductions
PART 2 – Origins
PART 3 – Scarborough
PART 4 – The Tournament
PART 5 – Epilogue
PART 6 – Bonus Chapters
Part 1 – INTRODUCTIONS
Our cast has grown up! Arthur and Morgana have become quite adept at court games, while Gawain has turned into a very capable swordsman. The arc starts with Gawain dealing with an intruder in the castle, while Morgana plays dangerous chess games with Richard of Nemeth, who is both ally and enemy.
We meet Elyan and Lancelot, two knights-in-training under Arthur’s command. Their group’s friendly dynamic is tested, along with Arthur’s beliefs regarding magic, when the group is sent to Murkwood. They end up saving a druid coven from rogue sellswords.
Their leader, Emrys, is in Arthur’s debt. His people have taken the Druidic Oath, a ritual that renders a person incapable of harming another person. Emrys himself is the only one who can, and does, hurt others out of protection. The future King goes against everything his father has taught him and decides to spare the druids. They return home – but not without Arthur’s beliefs being deeply shaken up, and his fear of magic worsening.
PART 2 – ORIGINS
We are (re)introduced to Sarah and Guinevere, Morgana’s maidservants. Guinevere seems to have a crush on Arthur, a fact that the other two relentlessly tease her about.
That Spring, Arthur announces a grand tournament that will be held at the end of summer. The winner will face Camelot’s champion: Arthur himself. Gawain is eager to participate, but as a commoner, he’s not allowed to enter.
One night, while Morgana is asleep, her magic spills out in unexpected ways. It causes the sorceress to transform into a man. She seeks help from Gaius, but the physician has no idea how to fix it. Out of desperation, Morgana sneaks into the secret archives of her uncle again. But this time, Agravaine tries to apprehend the person that snuck in. Morgana knocks him out with magic, but not before Agravaine sees a young man with black hair as the culprit.
Through reading, Morgana learns of the existence of changelings – evil Fae creatures that can shapeshift and take the appearance of humans. They are said to often kidnap human children and replace them with one of their own.
While Arthur learns more about his parents’ love story, Morgana comes to doubt whether she is a Pendragon at all. Her magic lets her change into Ygraine, then herself, before hitting her with a backlash that leaves her unconscious and bleeding out on the floor. The stronger the magic used, and the more it goes against the laws of nature, the more severe the backlash on the body.
While this is happening, Emrys visits the realm of the Fae. We get a first glimpse of Nimueh, the Lady of the Lake. Emrys kneels and asks for her help – though with what, the chapter does not specify.
PART 3 – SCARBOROUGH
After Morgana recovers, she and Arthur are ordered into an arranged marriage. Arthur with Mithian of Nemeth, and Morgana with Richard of Nemeth. Arthur then has an encounter with Guinevere. The girl leaves a lasting impression on him by running away in panicked embarrassment.
The King receives news from Essetir – the King is dead, and has been replaced by a man called “Cenred”. Neither Uther nor Agravaine knows who this is.
They also receive a letter from Cornwall, who they’ve been at war with since he took Ygraine away. Gorlois is proposing a truce. The King wants to enter into formal peace negotiations. Uther agrees with this… but not before sending both of his children away to hide in Scarborough until the event is over. Morgana forces Guinevere to come along, knowing how she feels about Arthur.
Their journey to Scarborough is interrupted by the appearance of a living myth – a dragon, bursting out from the water. Strangely, the creature does not attack them. Morgana persuades Arthur to bow, after which the beast leaves. The sighting fills Arthur with a new sense of doubt.
Legends say that only a Pendragon can defeat a dragon in combat. But if it comes to it… even as a member of the Pendragon line… how is he ever supposed to defeat a dragon?
The three eventually arrive in Scarborough, where they land in the middle of a festival called Scarborough Fair. We meet Morgause and Lincoln. Morgause immediately takes a shine to Morgana, though it is unclear why. The two accompany Morgana at the festival, leaving Guinevere and Arthur to bond more than they thought they would.
Arthur takes Guinevere to watch the sunset, feeling guilty over how much they’ve acted during the festival. He fears that she is only after him for his status. The Crown Prince is halfway through trying to let her down gently when Guinevere ends things herself. She admits to believing that she does not deserve him. That she is already happy. She already received enough. She does not wish for anything more. Her honesty and gentle nature surprise Arthur, making him fall in love with her for real.
At Morgause’s request, Morgana travels uphill with a strand of wheat, appeasing the Fae in an ancient harvest ritual. She is led away by a small faerie and ends up at a faerie hill. The ritual transports her to another place entirely. Morgana then meets Morgause’s coven. It is a circle of witches that eagerly accepts her into their midst. For the first time in her life, Morgana’s magic is accepted and celebrated.
We meet Monoroe, one of the members of Morgause’s coven. She teaches her the basics of safely casting magic. It is revealed that Millicent, the woman who was burned at the stake in the prologue, refused to teach Morgana anything but healing. Monoroe is surpsised at the enormous well of magic that Morgana possesses.
Meanwhile, Guinevere trusts Arthur with a secret. She used to live in Scarborough, where her mother was arrested and burned for witchcraft. The two go to the cemetery to find her mother. But the gravestone is missing. As Guinevere searches, Arthur’s beliefs about magic are questioned once again.
We are introduced to Glitonea and Tyronoe, the final two members of Morgause’s coven. Glitonea explains why Tyronoe is covered in scars. She is a witch who was betrayed by her town and condemned to die on the pyre. But she would not burn. The resulting fear and outrage caused a mob that damaged her face, body and soul beyond repair.
It is revealed that Lincoln has the ability to gather corrupted spirit from people, taking their pain and trauma onto himself. Morgause forces him to travel to Nimueh, the Lady of the Lake. She is the only one they know who can cleanse Lincoln in turn.
Nimueh is then revealed as being the very dragon that Arthur and his group encountered. A very intelligent Sidhe who is scheming behind the scenes – but what her goal is, the chapter does not reveal. Things do not go as Lincoln expects…
Meanwhile, Uther enters into formal parlay with Gorlois of Cornwall. Negotiations do not go well. Gorlois vows that Uther will burn for eternity for what happened to Ygraine. The army then leaves. Uther is left convinced that the whole thing was a charade, meant as a distraction.
And the Iron King is correct. In the castle of Nemeth, an alliance is made in secret between three countries. Richard, representing Nemeth. An unknown man, representing Essetir… and Morgause, Crown Princess of Cornwall and heir to throne.
PART 4 – THE TOURNAMENT
Arthur, Morgana and Guinevere return to Camelot, where things have taken a turn for the worst. Agravaine, in his search for the black-haired sorcerer, has started arresting people left and right. None of them have made it back from the dungeons, being tortured and worse. Gawain got arrested trying to save a young boy from Agravaine’s soldiers.
It is revealed that Morgana only came back to Camelot to support Arthur. She has no intention of becoming Richard’s Queen. She plans to run right after the festival is over – but Morgana wants to give Arthur his best chance against Richard and Nemeth before she goes.
Nobles from all over Albion begin to arrive for the Tournament. Arthur and Morgana are forced to formalise their engagement with Mithian and Richard of Nemeth. But that night, the celebratory ball is interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected guest. We meet King Cenred of Essetir, a newcomer to court who, before that moment, nobody had heard of. Suspicions are high, and so is mistrust. Morgana decides to start a new game of intrigue with Cenred as her opponent.
She immediately realises that Cenred, like her, knows how to use magic. Not only that, but he is incredibly powerful. She is unable to find out his motivations. The King of Essetir toys with her and ends up offering Morgana – and Morgana specifically – an alliance.
Eventually, the signup for the Grand Tournament begins. Morgana abuses a loophole in the Kingdom’s Laws to have Gawain as her representative, giving him access to the Tournament even though he’s a commoner. To the crowd’s surprise, Gawain wins battle after battle. He quickly becomes a fan-favourite because of it. Especially with the other commoners, gaining the title “the Commoner’s Knight”.
When Arthur, trying to reach out to Guinevere despite the barriers between them, tells Guinevere what happens to the bodies of those accused of sorcery, Guinevere is horrified, but not for the reason that Arthur thinks. She explains to the Prince that bodies have to be treated with respect. They have to be buried. If not, the negativity, pain and trauma that lingers around death will not be purified, and something horrible will happen.
And Guinevere is right. Their horrific treatment of the dead causes one of their victims – the young boy that Gawain tried so hard to save – to come back from the dead, twisted and possessed by corrupted spirit. It infiltrates the Tournament grounds and possesses Bayard, the future King of Mercia.
Things very quickly go from bad to worse. In a race against the clock, Arthur and Morgana need to find a way to identify and deal with this new threat. They find answers with Cenred, who explains the truth. The actions of the people in Camelot are directly responsible for the danger that threatens them now. And it will not stop at Bayard. Its goal is to cause as much death and destruction as possible, starting with the most powerful people. Arthur and his knights.
With Cenred’s vague help, the group figures out that they need to destroy the source for the corruption to end. Morgana leaves Lancelot, Gawain and Arthur to fight off Bayard while she runs underground, to find the young boy’s body and put an end to it all.
In the crypt, Morgana realises that there is not just one source of twisted, corrupted spirit. There are two. One is the black-haired boy.
The other is the body of her mother. Ygraine.
On instinct, Morgana taps into an ability that she didn’t know she had and begins to draw out the corruption. But the battle is not going well on both sides. Arthur and his knights are losing. Morgana is overwhelmed. Cenred’s strength is draining rapidly. For a moment, it look as if all is lost.
But Arthur and Morgana both summon an inner source of strength, turning the tide of the battle and defeating their opponent. Both of seem see Rupert’s memories as they do so. They learn how horribly he has suffered, and how much the situation is truly of their own making. Morgana also sees horrific memories of her own mother, though she does not realise it at the time.
What is left is the remnant of Rupert’s soul, crying and terrified. Morgana takes responsibility for her own part in his fate and sooths him, promising him he’ll go to Avalon after death. A place of paradise, for the pure and innocent. A place where he’ll never feel pain again.
Rupert passes in peace, finally ending the threat.
PART 5 – EPILOGUE
Peace returns to Camelot. Although Elyan will never walk again, he escaped with his life. In the days that follow, Arthur takes a step as Crown Prince and takes over all investigations regarding magic. He will never allow something like this to happen again. For the first time in his life, Agravaine calls him Your Majesty.
A heartfelt moment between Morgana and Gawain leads to Gawain kneeling before her on the spot and swearing his eternal loyalty. The gesture is bittersweet, as both know Morgana will leave Camelot when the tournament ends.
The final round of the tournament – Arthur versus Gawain – ends in Gawain’s victory. Arthur proudly acknowledges him and stands with him before all of Albion.
During Morgana’s final preparations to leave, Sarah reveals that she’s known what the girl has been doing this whole time. Sarah herself a true ally and mother figure. She vows to help Morgana escape. Guinevere then gives Morgana a gift: a perfect replica of her mother’s clothes. Ecstatic, Morgana rushes through the hallways to show Arthur, so he can finally remember what his mother looked like. But she runs into Uther instead.
For a moment, the Iron King cannot tell his daughter apart from his late wife. And his reaction is not at all what Morgana expected, showing fury instead of sorrow. Morgana returns to her chambers, confused and overcome with memories that are not her own. Not understanding what it all means. But that night, her engagement with Richard of Nemeth officially ends.
PART 6 – BONUS CHAPTERS
It is finally revealed what has been going on behind the scenes. The dragon encounter turned out to have been deliberate, although it did not go according to plan. Emrys, who was once known as Merlin, asked Nimueh to rescue Morgana after one of his druids foresaw her death. The Lady of the Lake refuses – but Morgause, who is present at the scene, calls in a favour to make Nimueh do it anyway. As it turns out, she’s been trying to get to Morgana for many years. Morgause is revealed as the culprit behind the Princess’s near-kidnapping as a child.
After Nimueh leaves, Morgause travels to Cornwall. She makes a deal with her father, Gorlois. She wants to try and reach Morgana again. But Gorlois’s help is not offered freely. In return for him providing a distraction (the parlay sent to Uther), Morgause promises to help him win the war.
But her plan does not work. When meeting the dragon on their way to Scarborough, Morgana refused to leave. Nimueh then abandoned her task, exploiting a loophole in Morgause’s original wording. Morgause loses the dragon’s help. The witch is outraged at this, vowing to do it herself… and revealing a memory from when she was very little.
Of Ygraine… Morgause and Morgana’s shared mother.
Meanwhile, we finally learn what has happened to the disappeared Lincoln. The Lady of the Lake flung Lincoln into Avalon – the paradise of the innocent dead – for his own protection, when an intruder made his way into her lair.
Cenred. Cenred the Dragon.
A short but brutal battle then commences between the two. Both are dragons elevated far above humankind. Cenred used to rule over vast empires in the past. But Nimueh put an end to his reign by trapping him in ice, centuries ago, after which his empires fell into ruin and the Old Ways became feared. Their people were prosecuted. Their priests were butchered, and now only two remain.
The Lord of Stone, having freed himself at some point in the past, is outraged at Nimueh and seeks to restore the Old Ways. Nimueh does not. She wishes to let humans have their own world. The Lady of the Lake intends to trap him again – but her ancient enemy escapes before she can do so.
As Nimueh watches him leave, she knows that history is about to repeat itself.