Part One, The Fires of Mai Dun
• A monk is writing the history of Arthur. The bishop, who hates Arthur, cannot read the Saxon language, and thinks he is writing about Christ.
• The monk is Derfel, who was a warlord with Arthur. He became a scribe at the monastery after Arthur's death.
• He talks of Lancelot's betrayal and how he was helped by the Christians. He was found with the Lady Guinevere naked in his arms.
• Guinevere was sent to Morgan's shrine to be locked away while Arthur fought the Saxons. His initial success was because of the plague among the Saxons.
• Derfel, his companion, and his two daughters enter Dumnoia at night and witness magic from Merlin. A beautiful and glowing soldier appears.
• A glowing naked girl appears also. She looks like an aparition and disappears. Derfel hopes this means Merlin has real powers and can help...
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