|Season 2, Episode 15|
|Air date||October 23rd, 2017|
The Lost Spirit
Merlin’s Story is the fifteenth episode of the second season of Sudrian Stories.
There are many quirky characters on the island of Sodor, but they aren’t just there, engines on the Mainland can be peculiar as well, notably a tender engine at Bridlington Steelworks named Merlin.
Merlin has some strange... habits. He was a stealth engine built for World War II, known for his distinct three funnels. With this strange design has also brought an interesting trait, Merlin believes he can turn invisible. No, I’m not kidding.
The engines at the Steelworks don’t have the metal hearts to tell Merlin that he can’t turn invisible, but not many knew why he believed it. However, one remembered well, his old driver, but while he has since passed, he told Lexi, a fellow engine at the Steelworks.
One afternoon, Frankie and Lexi were being cleaned up, the two were undergoing some maintenance, and as they witnessed Merlin being... Merlin, Frankie asked a question. “Lexi, you’ve worked with Merlin longer, why is he like this?” She asked.
Lexi knew they were in for a long story. “Well, it’s a bit lengthy, is that fine?”
“Sure, I’m not going anywhere.”
“Alright, then. Well, it all started in 1944...”
In the year of 1944, a military base was set up in an unknown location in the United Kingdom, it was set to be used to surround the Axis Powers during World War II. Many soldiers and gunpowder needed to be transported, thus a few engines were bought to help with the workload. Among one, a large tender engine was bought, named Merlin.
The King Arthur Class number 783 of the Southern Railway, Merlin was much larger than the other engines, who were mostly tank engines. The other five were small tank engines. None of them really had much time to talk, so Merlin really didn’t know any of the five.
As a stealth engine, the Axis planes often had trouble finding Merlin, his three funnels made his steam disperse, this made him popular among the base. “It’s almost like you’re invisible!” His driver would laugh.
“Yeah!” Merlin replied. “I’ll be famous when I get back home.”
For a minute, Merlin forgot that he was in a war, and instead thought about his home, pulling express trains, at this point, he wouldn’t even mind pulling goods trains! A bit on the cocky side, Merlin was always thinking of the future, and never thinking of what was going on. “Pay attention to the rails.” His driver advised.
“I’ll be fine.” He chuckled.
The next day, it was not a thrilling time at the base, no soldiers had to be transported, and the one goods train that was going to be pulled was already gone. “This is boring.” Sighed one of the tank engines.
“Aye.” Agreed another. “Just a wee bit of work would be fine.”
As the four remaining tank engines all grumbled, Merlin came up with an idea. “What if we all properly introduce ourselves?”
None of the other tank engines had a problem with Merlin’s suggestion, and agreed.
“I guess I’ll start.” Called the largest of the tank engines, he was a 2-6-2 engine with a hooked nose and a thin mouth. “I’m Stanier, named after my designer.”
The next tank engine spoke up, he was much smaller and older, he only had four wheels and spoke in Scottish accent. “Me name is Glen.”
The third tank engine looked a bit shy, he was smaller than Stanier, but larger than Glen. He was a side tank with a 0-6-2 wheel arrangement. “My... my name is...” He started, but he was a bit timid still. “B... Brighton, after where I... I.. work.”
It was obvious that the last tank engine wanted to speak, so Merlin let him go first. He had a stuck-up face with a bulbous nose. He appeared to be a pannier tank with a 0-4-0 wheel arrangement. “Charles of the Great Western Railway, I’m named after my designer as well!”
“I think that other tank engine’s a Great Westerner too.” Remarked Stanier. “You two seem pretty similar, maybe you’ll get along.”
Before Charles could reply, however, Merlin spoke up. “My name is Merlin, I’m an experimental stealth engine.” He said, then covering himself in a smokescreen, impressing the others, sans Charles.
“I’m impressed.” Stanier said.
“Aye.” Agreed Glen.
Charles just rolled his eyes, however. He was quite proud of his heritage, and like most Great Western engines, he would easily talk about it all day. ‘’They should all be paying attention to me, not that experimental jerk.’’ He thought.
Merlin soon became a celebrity at the military base, with Stanier, Glen, and Brighton all looking up to the express engine. However, Charles and his other Great Western comrade didn’t. “My dear Gull, why would they look a Southern Railway engine of all things as their hero?” The former scoffed.
“My name isn’t-“ Charles’ ‘friend’ began to say, but was cut off.
“There has to be a way to make me popular!” Charles whined. “Maybe I can sabotage his reputation, then he’s just some random stealth engine.”
The other Great Western engine just rolled his eyes and left. “Whatever.”
After the meeting, Merlin was a celebrity among the military base, mostly since he was strong, fast, and in the eyes of the enemies, ‘invisible’.
It got to the point that the British government bragged that they owned an invisible locomotive. The Axis Powers were furious, and tried their hardest to find Merlin, but he wasn’t scared. “Ha! They won’t find me!” He bragged.
“I...I wouldn’t be so.. c..cocky.” Advised Brighton. “You may just be... debris if you... b-brag.”
Merlin laughed heartily. “Brighton, my friend, that won’t happen.”
“Are ye sure?” Remarked Glen as he passed with some empty wagons.
“Of course!” He chuckled.
With Merlin being aware by the enemies, however, they were becoming more vigilant, and were watching for the stealth engine.
One plane was soaring over the countryside, mostly undetected. The ruling came out that they were to bomb any train they saw. Lines near the base were slowly dying down, and eventually were only being used by the military. Eventually, the plane encountered Merlin, and then knew what he would do, bomb the engine.
A bomb fell from the sky, and Merlin heard it falling. “What’s that noise, driver?” He asked. “It sounds like something’s falling.”
His driver tensed. “IT’S A BOMB!” He boomed as he looked up to the object nearing the ground. “MORE COAL, NOW!”
Both the driver and firemen were close to overflowing Merlin’s firebox with coal so he could speed up. “Move, move, move!” Demanded the driver as Merlin pounded the rails with every ounce of steam he had.
But, it was too late. Merlin felt the trucks getting obliterated behind him, and was shoved off the rails. His driver was able to jump out in time, but his fireman wasn’t so lucky, he was quite injured. “I’m invisible...” He whispered, before passing out.
Merlin didn’t regain consciousness for another three days, he sat in the yards with soldiers and engines looking in concern, wondering if their friend was alright. When he finally woke up, Merlin had barely any memories of what happened. “Where am I?” He asked. “All I remember was me feeling a force pushing me and passing out.”
Stanier, Glen, and Brighton all looked at each other in concern, even Charles’ fellow Great Westerner expressed concern for him. “You had quite the nasty accident, it’s a miracle your fireman survived.” Stanier remarked as he shunted Merlin’s train.
“I’m afraid I don’t remember.” Merlin sighed.
“It’s a traumatic experience, your mind is probably keeping it out.”
However, there was something up with Merlin, he wasn’t the same. He was easily distracted, and his intelligence could suddenly be compared to a rock. Pronouncing words wrong, forgetting jobs, it was slowly becoming a bigger and bigger issue. But, one thing really crossed the line, what made Merlin the engine he is today.
“Guys!” Exclaimed Merlin as he entered the base. “I learned something!”
“What?” Asked the Great Western engine.
“I can turn invisible! Watch!”
“We know.” Sighed the engines in unison.
Charles decided to continue. “No need to brag.” He whined.
Suddenly, Merlin raised his voice. “Invisibility, on!” He boomed as he released a bunch of steam around him. As it dispersed, his eyes were shut. “Can you see me? I’m over here!”
This confused nearly everyone, and it caught the attention of the general. “Dale, your engine’s mental state is unacceptable. We will not be having him if he’s not acting.” He said to Merlin’s driver.
“Oh, I’m sure he is.” His driver chuckled.
“No I’m not! I really can turn invisible!” Merlin exclaimed. The general glared at the engine and the driver, then left.
Everything seemed fine, until a few days later, a new engine came in. It had ten drive wheels and a set of leading bogies. “Who are you?” He spat in a gruff voice.
“I’m Merlin, I can turn invisible!” Merlin exclaimed.
“Hey, Merlin. I’m your replacement. Get out.”
Merlin froze. “B-B-B-But I can turn invisible!”
“That’s the problem.” Added Charles as he rolled up. “You think you’re better than anyone else, and now you’ve gone crazy. Okay? Now leave.” He hissed.
Merlin had nothing to say, instead he scampered away. The other pannier tank saw the entire thing, however, and went to confront Charles. “Look at what you’ve done!” He boomed. Charles was too petrified to speak. “I hope you rot in the scrapyard, Charles. I’m going to find Merlin!”
As the tank engine searched the line, he eventually saw a secluded forest line. ‘’Maybe this is where he went.’’ He thought, and he was correct. Along the line, he saw Merlin thinking he was invisible. “What do you want?” The latter sighed.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay.” Replied the tank engine.
Merlin groaned. “What’s the use? I can’t do anything, and it’s true.”
However, the tank engine just smirked. “But you can try.” He replied in a soothing voice, trying to calm Merlin.
Merlin chuckled a little bit. “I like the sound of that.”
“Good. But, where will you go now? Home?”
“No, just wherever the rails take me. My brothers won’t want to see me after all the shame I’ve caused, especially to Merlin.”
“But... you’re Merlin.”
“No I’m not!” Merlin snapped. “My brother didn’t want to go to the military base, so me and him changed nameplates. The real Merlin’s going under my identity.”
“Then what’s your real name?”
Merlin looked a bit shy, he wasn’t sure if he could tell this engine he barely knew, but at this point, he really didn’t care. “Sir Gillemere.”
The tank engine smiled. “I like that name. I guess I should be a gentleman and introduce me as well.” Taking a breath, he began to talk.
“I’m Montague, but most of my friends call me Duck.”
Unable to contain his laughter, Merlin cracked up. “Well, Duck. Good to meet you!”
The two continued to talk, until Duck noticed the time. “I should get going.” He sighed. “I hope we see each other again. Godspeed, Sir Gillemere, godspeed.”
Merlin, or Sir Gillemere, beamed from nonexistent ear to ear. “We should. Goodbye, friend. Invisibility, on!” He then blew steam all over and him, and much to Duck’s surprise, he seemingly disappeared. But in reality, he had reversed around a bend.
After a bit of going around, Merlin encountered a strange building. Then, he saw more. There were workmen walking around, and the noise of making things went through the air. Suddenly, however, a loud bell overtook the noise.
“Hi! Hi! Hi! Hello! Hi! Howdy! Greetings, comrade!” She cheered as she puffed up, using a different voice for each greeting. “Welcome to the Experimental Workshop!”
“Experimental Workshop?” Merlin asked.
“Aye.” The strange engine agreed, she was a tender engine who was her cab facing the front, with the boiler facing backwards. “I’m Lexi, by the way.”
“Merlin.” He said simply. “I’m an experiment too, a stealth engine.”
Lexi beamed. “A stealth engine, how exciting!”
The blue engine just went on and on, then she suddenly had an idea. “You need to meet Theo, you’re both quiet!”
Out of the corner, Merlin saw an engine rushing along the line with logs for wheels. “Is that him?” He asked.
‘’This is my new home.’’ Merlin thought. “Is it alright if I stay here?” He asked.
“Of course you can, no problemo!” She exclaimed.
Over time, Merlin gained more confidence, but seems to have lost all memory prior to what happened. When the military base closed in 1945, Bridlington Steelworks was opened in the same area, it’s ironic that Merlin worked in the same overall area.
After that story, Frankie looked at Lexi, then at Merlin, knowing she would never see her friend the same way again. She simply said one thing, “Wow.”
- Duck’s role was planned to be played by Rosie, but it was changed, as according to Hank's Hero she was built for Sudrian purposes.
- The episode was planned to be much darker, with Merlin being held at gunpoint by many Axis Powers soldiers.
- Merlin being Sir Gillemere is technically true, as the true Sir Gillemere was the Southern Railway’s number 783, and had Merlin’s three funnels.