First of all, this story isn't accurate, since during the Arthur period, Christmas wasn't celebrated with Christmas trees. Hence, they probably didn't celebrate Christmas period, but more things like Beltane. However, the challenge at the MB Merlin 2008 was to write a Christmas story, and this idea quickly formed in my crazy mind.
Morgana sighed. Christmas was only two days away and that was the time of year she missed her father the most. She remembered the Christmas tree he always would get himself from the woods, the decoration her maid would take out of the boxes, so she could place them in the tree. Her father putting the candles in the tree and when they were finished lighting them. And the best part of it all was when the tree was completely decorated, her father would pick her up so she could place the angel her mother had made, on top of the tree. While remembering her Christmas times with her father, Morgana had walked towards a cabinet and taken out a wooden box. She opened the box and carefully pulled out something quite delicate. She unwrapped it from its protection and looked at the angel.
"My Lady, that's beautiful."
Morgana startled at the sound of her maid's voice. She turned around to see Gwen looking at the angel in adoration. She couldn't help myself and told Gwen it was her mother who'd made it and why it meant so much to her. Gwen, noticing her Lady sounded sad, looked up and saw silent tears falling down Morgana's face. She rushed towards her, walked her to a chair to sit her down and kneeled in front of her. Not a word was spoken anymore, Gwen knew exactly where these tears were coming from, she'd shed a few herself as well. Gwen knew Morgana was missing her father terribly and that Uther didn't want anything to do with Christmas. He quietly allowed people to decorate a Christmas tree, but he'd never wanted one inside the castle. Not since his wife had died, Gaius had told her.
Later that day, Gwen walked in town and bumped into Merlin. They chatted for a while, when Merlin suddenly asked how she was feeling. Gwen looked curiously at Merlin and the young warlock explained himself. "You know, with all that happened lately, I would understand you wouldn't want to have anything to do with Christmas."
Gwen shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, I mean, I miss my father everyday, but I still will be putting up my Christmas tree. I'm more concerned for Morgana, though."
This spiked Merlin's interest. "What do you mean?"
"When I walked into her room this morning, to dress her, she was holding this beautiful angel. She told me her mother had made it, just before she died of pneumonia. Ever since then it would stand a top of the Christmas tree, her father would get from the forests near their home. Until she came to Camelot that is. Uther doesn't allow Christmas trees in his castle." Gwen saw a glint in Merlin's eyes and warned him not to do anything stupid. The only answer she got was an I won't and Merlin was out of her sight.
The walk in the garden hadn't refreshed Morgana, she still felt sad, and the thought of her father made her cry again. She quickly walked to her chambers, not wanting to see anyone, nor that anyone saw her. It was when she passed Arthur's chambers, faith decided that she was to see someone, Arthur. He'd opened the door and stepped out, bumping into something quite soft and warm. When he looked down, he saw a heap of dresses on the floor. Noticing the kind of dress it was, he knew he had bumped into Morgana. Time to help her up, he hadn't, for Morgana had stood up quickly, held her face down and this time ran towards her own chambers, leaving Arthur behind bewildered.
Merlin had seen the collision and made his way over to his master. Arthur noticed Merlin standing near him and asked him if he knew why Morgana was acting the way she was. The glint Gwen had seen earlier in Merlin's eyes, was back. "Well, My Lord, from what I've heard, the Lady Morgana misses her father terribly."
Arthur looked at his servant as if he had grown a second head and for an instance Merlin thought Arthur really had never heard this news before. That was until a sarcastic No, really?! was said by his master. "You have to come with something better than that, Merlin. I know she misses her father, she's missing him for 9 years already."
"She also misses Christmas trees, the joy of decorating them. Gwen told me she'd seen this angel in her hands. Morgana told her, her mother had made it, just before she died and ever since then her father and she would put it on top of the Christmas tree, he used to get the family."
During Merlin's speech, Arthur had grown silent. "And when she came here when her father died, it was almost Christmas, and there wasn't a Christmas tree coming into the castle because father forbade it."
"Arthur, where are you going?" Merlin called, when Arthur had turned around all of a sudden and took off.
"Father, I'd wish to have a word with you, if you please."
Uther Pendragon, King of Camelot, looked up to see his son standing in front of him with a determined look on his face. "What is it that you wish to discuss with me, my son."
That single word was enough for Uther to stay alert. "There's nothing wrong with Morgana, I hope?"
"Father, I ask for your permission to get a Christmas tree."
"No! That's out of the question! I don't understand your need for a Christmas tree. You've never seen one in your life!"
"No, I haven't. You took care of that!" Arthur replied angrily, but quickly calmed and continued: "But Morgana has seen Christmas trees and she has decorated them. It has come to my attention, that every year around Christmas time, she becomes immensely sad. As it has come to my attention, that she, of course, misses her father, but also not being able to put the angel her mother made, on top of a Christmas tree."
"My answer is still no." Uther replied, less violently.
"My question was out of respect for you, however, I've still made up my mind, I am getting Morgana a Christmas tree in her room."
"As long as I won't be seeing it," Uther replied softly to only himself, because Arthur had already left.
"Ah, Gwen, just the person I was looking for."
Gwen looked surprised up to the young Prince face, wondering what it was he needed her for. Arthur beckoned her to follow him, and later Merlin joined their party as well. They were standing inside the royal stables, when Arthur asked her to take Morgana to town for at least two hours.
"But My Lord, it's freezing cold outside, why do you want me to take Morgana to town for such a long period of time?"
"To get some Christmas decorations. Merlin and I will find her a Christmas tree."
"We will?" Merlin looked surprised at Arthur, who shot him a look which spoke volumes. "Oh, yes, we will." Gwen smiled and said she would take her Lady out to town for some shopping.
With half an hour, Arthur and Merlin made their way over to forest and were Gwen and Morgana in town. Morgana was shivering, as well were Gwen. "Honestly Gwen, I don't understand why you wanted to town. It's freezing cold."
"Well My Lady, for this," and Gwen held up a lovely small rose, which was made to put into Christmas trees.
"Why would you want to buy that, you already have your Christmas tree decorated."
Gwen wisely kept quiet, otherwise she would have spoiled Arthur's surprise for Morgana. "Please humor me and find some decorations you yourself would like to decorate a tree with, My Lady."
Morgana wasn't really in the mood for this, but she decided to humor her maid and choose different decorations she liked. When she had turned around, because something gotten her attention, Gwen gave the salesman the money she had, and told the man, if it wasn't enough, Prince Arthur personally would bring him the rest in person. The man nodded his okay, and Gwen put the decorations in the bag she had carried with her. Then called her Lady, to ask if she was ready to go home.
Merlin and Arthur found a nice Christmas tree quickly and chopped it down. The easy part was done, now the difficult part, which was getting the tree inside the castle and up to Morgana's chambers. When they arrived back at the castle, they saw Gaius walking at the courtyard. Gaius had seen them too and curiously walked up to the Prince and his servant. Gaius would help his apprentice and his young master to surprise the Lady and would be on the look out to see when they arrived, only to take them on a long tour in the castle.
The two young men, had the tree inside Morgana's chambers more quickly then they'd expected and they'd put it in a pot just in time, for the door opened and Morgana, Gwen and Gaius walked inside. The last two with a knowing smile on their face, the first one completely astonished.
"What, how, who." Morgana wildly looked around, not only seeing the smiling faces of Gaius and Gwen, but also the smiling face of Merlin and an anxious looking Arthur. He'd acted without thinking if Morgana would be happy with this surprise. He'd desperately wanted to erase her pain and bad memories.
The three other people in the room all pointed to Arthur and Morgana's face softened. "You went out in this cold, to get me a Christmas tree? Even though you knew Uther don't want them inside the castle?"
Arthur was starting to feel uncomfortable with all the attention and quickly said: "I couldn't have done it without them. Merlin helped me get the tree from the woods to up here. Gwen took you shopping for decorations, and Gaius took you on a detour, so we were able to get the tree standing."
All proper etiquette vanished and Morgana rushed over to Arthur and flung herself around his neck in thanks. Arthur padded her back and told her it was nothing, but Morgana didn't agree with that. She let go of Arthur, looked around to room and asked them if they wanted to her decorate tree. All four of them replied they happily would and soon they had finished with the decorations. Arthur was about to lit the candles, when Morgana appeared with the angel Merlin had told him about. She tried to put it on top of the tree, but couldn't reach it. Arthur came standing beside her, and one look from her was enough to lift her up. That made her able to put the angel on top of the tree and when she was done, Arthur let her slowly slide down, somehow not really wanting to let her go. When her feet hit the floor, he was about to pull away his hands, when Morgana took his hands and placed them back were they were before. A soft kiss was placed on his lips and a quiet thank you was being said. It was then he knew, he only wanted Morgana to be happy, and that he would make it his duty to make her happy.