Twas the day before christmas. All the roofs in Camelot were covered with snow. If anyone had taken a moment to sit back and look at the beauty of it all, maybe the world would have been a more peaceful place.

Wishful thinking, Merlin. The warlock thought to himself. It was a joyful time of year but Arthur had commanded Merin to help out with the preparations. Busy, busy, busy, no rest for the wicked. Additional banners were hung on either side of the throne room, Christmas trees on the courtyard, the village square, the throne room and even in the King's private chambers. Of course these trees were not brought to Camelot. No, the servants had to get them from the forest. Four trees and it was quite possible that Arthur was being modest since, in Uther's day, there used to be one in every guest chamber as well.

They went out to the forest, most of the servants along with some willing Knights. The thought that Morgana, or anyone else for that matter, would strike them was unthinkable. It wasn't the time of year. The witch would have more pressing concerns such as food and decent shelter. Initially, Merlin didn't want to partake in cutting down the trees and bringing them back to Camelot. Then Agravaine volunteered to help and so did Merlin. Arthur's blind trust in his uncle was misplaces, such had become painfully clear to the elderly court physician and his manservant.

Merlin kept a wary eye on the traitor and, as they pulled down the last tree, saw Agravaine slip away into the shadow of the forest. The warlock put his hand on Gwaine's shoulder.
"I still need to pick some herbs for Gaius, I'll meet you back at the tavern."
"Alright, don't let those ears freeze off." Merlin smirked at the remark and followed the trail left in the snow.
Time had always been a issue whenever something devious was going on. Simply disappearing was an idea worth considering but might cause Arthur to send out the Knights prematurely and prevent him from getting the information he needed.

The harbinger of disaster had tried to cover his tracks but the warlock already knew where Agravaine was going.
In the vicinity of Morgana's shack, Agravaine no longer made much of an effort to cover his tracks. Merlin moved closer to the hovel and listened to their conversation.

Agravaine's affections for the witch had been known to her for some time but she did not return them. The most disgusting part of it all was that he was Uther's brother-in-law. This time the man had come to her home bearing gifts.
"I don't suppose that bag contains the head of my beloved brother."
"No, milady. Just a few things to help you get through." Agravaine said as he began emptying the bag.
Wine, bread and venison. To call it charity in the spirit of Christmas would have been wishful thinking. It was still Agravaine that gave it to her and he still wished to bed her should the opportunity arise.
"Will that be all?" She asked curtly.
Agravaine moved a bit uneasy but replied nonetheless. "I thought you might enjoy having some company, it is Christmas after all."
Company, that was probably why he had brought wine in the first place.
"No, your presence here is pointless. All I want for Christmas is Arthur's head at my feet, that I would enjoy." She may as well have told him to go plough himself.
Agravaine nodded slightly. She had rejected him so many times before and far more cruel than she had done just now. Still, her spy in Camelot remained loyal to her and left her hovel.

Merlin was surprised that there was no plot to overthrow Camelot. Not one word. Maybe the game was growing old for her and she was running out of ideas.
VERY wishful thinking, Merlin. She's probably just biding her time, waiting for an opportunity, for me to get careless.

A sudden force pushed him against the wall of her hovel and despite the icy breath of winter down his back, he felt the cold steel of a dagger on his neck.
Like now. He reprimanded himself.
The icy voice in his ear was colder than the water beneath the ice but a glimmer of joy was still there, and it said "Merry Christmas."

AN:

Couldn't resist posting this chapter early. Starting Christmas, the spirits will come and haunt or beloved witch. Following chapters will be much longer and I'll be adding two of them on both Christmas days, so be sure to +follow the story.