|The Heart's Yule
Author: Storyteller Knight PM
A collection of stories centering around Yuletide in Camelot. Nimue gathers her friends together for their first Yuletide, and manages to keep them together through the years.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Spiritual - Chapters: 2 - Words: 12,179 - Reviews: 4 - Updated: 12-22-07 - Published: 12-09-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2065766
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Happy Holidays everyone! I just thought it would be fun to do a holiday one-shot in Camelot. This takes place between chapters seven and eight. For fans of Heart who think that I've been slacking, putting this up instead of the next chapter, please don't worry. I've finished writing Chapter Nine, but I promised myself I wouldn't type it up or post it until I'm done with finals. So look for it not next week, but the week after.
If they did show up though, it would be something useful. Nimue could feel it. She couldn't see the future like Merlin could, but she depended heavily upon her instincts to guide her. Instincts that had never been wrong before. Especially with a little help from the otherworld.
Yule is a time for family, Nimue thought glumly, staring into a fire. It is not a time to deal with rivalries that will probably always be around. Even if it will save Camelot in the long run.
Nimue was so satisfied with her moping that she nearly missed the pounding on the door. She only noticed it after her cat, Priam, jumped onto her lap, thoroughly startling her back into reality.
"Coming!" Nimue cried, pushing Priam aside. The cat let out a hiss as Nim jumped out of her chair and racing to the door. Mordred stood at the door, a large log in his arms. Nimue quickly stood aside, allowing him to pull the log in, revealing Percival on the other end with Yvain, Galahad and Arey behind them. All of them were covered in snow, which wasn't surprising since it had been falling all evening. Percival and Mordred brought the log far enough into the room so that it wasn't in the way of the door before dropping it.
"You actually came?" Nimue said, baffled as ever.
"Of course we did," Mordred said, wiping the frost off his face before blowing into his hands. "What else do you think we would do?"
"Perhaps spending it with your families," Nimue replied. That was what normal people did anyways.
"Right, like any of us even wanted to attempt the trip back to our home territories in this weather," Yvain said, shaking the snow out of his hair. "This is the coldest winter we've had in years. Even Orkney boy is cold."
"Living the high life has softened him," Percival snickered, although he was visibly shivering.
"Nimue, didn't you p-p-promise warm drinks?" Galahad asked.
"Oh, yes of course!" Nimue said, offering out her arms. "Here, give me your cloaks before the snow soaks through."
Everyone gratefully pulled off their cloaks and handed them off to Nimue before they edged closer to the fire.
"Hey Nim, have you seen Loholt and his friends yet?" Mordred asked as she disappeared through her door into a dark room.
"They're coming?" she asked.
"We saw them as we left Camelot," Yvain explained as Nimue stepped back out into the common room, shut the door and opened it again before stepping into the kitchen.
"The said that they were going to pick up some dried holy and oak," Arey added.
"You all know that I could just snap my fingers and make this stuff appear, right?" Nimue asked as she returned to the common room with a tray of steaming hot cider.
"Yeah, but it's more fun to gather it by yourself," Yvain said.
"Speak for yourself," Percival muttered as Nimue offered him a cup of cider right as there was a knock on the door.
"Do you mind?" Nimue asked, holding out the tray to him. Percival scowled but took the tray from her, allowing Nimue the hands she needed to get the door. "Loholt, what a pleasure!"
"Lady Nimue," Loholt said, politely kissing her hand. "Ah... Happy Yuletide."
"Watch it Loholt, you may just turn pagan," Yvain commented as Loholt made his way into Nimue's house with his friends, Tristan, Dinadan, Erec, Griflet and Galeshin.
"Because I wish to be polite?" Loholt asked. "You all are going to have to put up me with though, I've never been to a Yule log burning before."
"It's pretty easy to catch on," Tristan promised.
"Here, I'll take your cloaks," Nimue said, holding out her hand. Once again she disappeared into the dark room, exited, closed the door and reopened it before disappearing into the kitchen for more hot cider.
When Nimue returned with the cider for everyone else, Mordred and his friends had finished thawing and were looking over the log they had brought in.
"Where do you want it, Nim?" Mordred asked.
"I have a room set up just for this," Nimue said as she waved to her door.
"Do you need help?" Tristan asked as Mordred and Percival picked up the giant log and followed Nimue into another room with it. Percival and Mordred shook their heads to Tristan's question. Hours before, when both groups decided to attend Nimue's party, they had called a truce for the Yule celebration. They had decided not to argue with each other at all during the night, but they held no promises for the next morning.
The room Nimue had set up for the Yule log burning was huge, almost as big as Camelot's dining hall. Nimue had set up a prior for the log at the center of the room, so that the log could burn for the full twelve days without contaminating her house. Torches lined the wall so they would be able to see what they were doing before they lit the Yule log. Mordred and Percival positioned the log on the prior before dropping back to survey their work with the others.
"I like it," Erec said. "Beats freezing our tails off outside."
"It's missing something though," Arey said. "Part of Yule is having the snow in your hair and the endless sky above you."
"Very well," Nimue said, waving her hand around. The ceiling about them disappeared, showing only an explosion of stars and snow flakes above them. Nimue waved her hand one last time, a smile of satisfaction on her face. "I put up a layer of heat at the top so the cold and snow doesn't get in, but it won't ruin the view as glass would."
"That's amazing," Tristan breathed, despite the cross he made across his chest.
"Shall we begin?" Nimue asked waving her hand. Flour, ale, various greenery and the sprigs that Loholt and his companions had brought appeared on the ground.
"What type of tree is this?" Galeshin asked, nodding at the log.
"Willow," Mordred said. Each type of tree held symbolism and ideas for the coming year. The tree that had been chosen called upon the Goddess to aid them in the coming year. "I hope you don't mind, we just figured that..."
"Her will is all encompassing and therefore the best symbol to go with?" Galeshin finished. "It seems fitting."
"I have sprigs from other trees to tie on if you hope for other things," Nimue explained, motioning to the pile of stuff.
The next few hours were spent decorating the Yule log and telling stories of past Yule celebrations. Nimue spoke of Avalon, and how they decorated the temple for Yule. Even the Christian members were captivated on the magic used during the priestesses' Yuletide ceremony.
"... and then the Lady Vivian would call out a word of power and the smoke from the Yule log would begin to change color. Some of Priestess could predict what would happen in the upcoming year from the color of the smoke," Nimue finished.
"Really?" Tristan asked.
"I've seen it done," Nimue said, tossing her curls aside. The flour she was spreading on the log covered every inch of her hands, and was beginning to move up her arms.
"And I bet that everything the Priestess predicted came true, correct?" Tristan continued, despite the elbow that Loholt jammed into his side.
"I noticed a few things, but I only paid attention to what the spirits said would concern me," Nimue said with a shrug.
"I've seen that ritual as well," Percival said, looking up at Tristan. Percival was working on dousing the log with ale before the flour could be placed upon it. "Two years into my service as a page, Sir Morholt took me out to Avalon for a Yuletide ceremony. I watched for the things the Priestess was talking about. They happened."
"Superstition," Erec said.
"It's always just a superstition until you believe in it," Mordred pointed out. He was tying greenery onto the log with Arey's help. Actually, she was more of a distraction than actual help. Her fingers kept getting tangled with his, and she would smile coyly every time that happened.
"Do you always have to do that?" Yvain asked, glaring at Mordred over the log.
"Logic things out like that," Yvain explained. "You ruin the best part about faith, the unknown."
"No matter how much a person knows, there will always be an element unknown," Mordred promised. "I'm merely stating that you can't force belief, it has to come on its own time."
"Wise words," Nimue agreed.
"Yeah, and it's the wise man's turn to tell a story," Percival said. "You've been way to quiet."
"That's because Orkney has nothing," Mordred said. "And all I ever saw during Yuletide was drunkards. No Mummer Plays, no Morris Dances, no Nothing."
"Come now cousin, you have the largest family out of all of us," Yvain said. "You must have some interesting stories."
"The best one I have is from when I was seven and sick," Mordred said.
Arey raised an eyebrow. "Your best Yule memory is from when you were sick?"
Mordred shrugged. "Everyone thought I was going to die, so they all were acting overly sweet to me... which actually kinda made it worse... Hey!" he cried when Arey gave him a shove. "You behave or else I won't tell you about how Agravain tried to perform a Morris Dance with Gareth and Gaheris' help."
"Agravain?" Percival snorted as the others smiled at the thought of the big man trying to perform a Morris Dance. The technique was speed, something that Agravain didn't have much of.
"Whatever you're picturing, it was ten times worse," Mordred said. "I promise."
Percival howled with laughter as the others chuckled of the image playing over in their mind of a sixteen year old Agravain trying to perform a Morris Dance with the thirteen year old twins.
"Why were you dying?" Loholt asked when the laughter died down.
"Bad luck!" Galeshin hissed, sloshing the ale at Loholt, causing the elding to yelp.
"That's cold!" Loholt snapped.
"Serves you right, asking of death during Yuletide," Galeshin scolded.
"Mordred brought it up first!" Loholt said, grabbing a handful of flour and tossing it at his brother.
"Doesn't count when it's about me!" Mordred yelled, batting the flour away from his face.
"Fine, then if should be okay for you to tell us..."
"No. Just because you threw flour at me."
"Look what y-you've done now," Galahad scolded a sputtering Loholt.
"Who else has a story?" Erec asked.
"Arey does," Mordred announced.
"Mama took me out one year to the stones," Arey said. "Druids had placed their Yule log in the center and Mama and I stayed out all night watching the fertility rights as the druids spread ashes across the ground and young girls jumped over it before going of with their men and an armful of mistletoe. In the morning, it was considered a good omen if the sun struck the log in the center after it passed over the sun stone."
"Did it?" Tristan asked.
"Not that year," Arey said, her warm eyes glancing away.
"What...?" Loholt started to ask, but Galeshin moved the ale closer, stopping the older prince.
"I have a story," Yvain said. "My mother came home one year..." Yvain stopped as Percival and Galahad started to clap.
"Marvelous story," Percival said, putting a hand over his heart as Yvain glared at him. "It touched me, right here."
"Very funny," Yvain scoffed. "Anyways, that year she brought with her a lion cub that had been given to her by one of the priestesses who had just returned from a visit to Africa. That had to have been the best Yuletide gift I ever received."
"You have a lion cub?" Griflet asked, clearly startled by this news, along with the elding of Britain and his friends. Mordred, Percival and Galahad weren't to concerned about it.
"Where do you think his banner comes from?" Percival asked with a snort. "Having that as your device is no small feat, and Yvain's earned it."
"And it's hardly a cub," Yvain said. "That happened years ago, it's most certainly full grown now."
"I don't believe you," Erec snorted.
"You question my honor, sir?" Yvain asked.
"I think all of us would like to know why we've never seen your beast," Dinadan said diplomatically.
"Bring a lion to Camelot?" Yvain asked. "You must be daft! Ask the members of the Fifth Command if you don't believe me, I've taken the beast out with me to fight the Saxon's."
"I've seen it," Percival said as Mordred and Galahad nodded in agreement. "A pretty beast. Who's next?"
"Tristan?" Loholt asked, glancing at his close friend.
"Very well," Tristan sighed. "I was visiting Cerniw last year during Yuletide. My uncle is King Mark of Cerniw, and I have always been welcome in his home. It was during that celebration, I had my heart stolen by the fairest maiden in the land."
"Oh?" Erec asked, for he firmly believed that his own lady, Enide, was the fairest in the land. "And who is this mysterious lady that I have never heard you speak of before?"
"Princess Isolde the Fair of Ireland," Tristan sighed as he gazed up at the stars. "Our eyes met and it was like I was seeing god's heaven open up before me. I am probably the only man who would claim that she is a great beauty, although she is pretty enough. There is something deeper about my Isolde, a light that shines forth from her. She is so brilliant that even the hardest of hearts would be blinded by her. The first words I said to her were a marriage proposal, much to my foolishness, but she accepted. Our parents are just smoothing out the details, but soon the day when Isolde will stand by my side will be upon me. I rejoice at such a thought."
"May I be the first to offer my congratulations, my friend," Loholt asked, holding out his hand. "I am surprised that I haven't heard you speak of her before."
"I did not want to bring ill luck to the betrothal agreement," Tristan admitted. "There have been... complications. I have received good news from my parents though, and I am hopeful on this Yule night."
"I think that we are ready to begin," Nimue announced as she looked over the log.
"Carvings," Arey said, picking small knives up off the ground and passing one out to everyone. The hall was strangely silent as they carefully carved a small symbol into the log. Their own personal hope for the coming year.
"Are we ready now?" Nimue asked, taking down one of the torches from the wall and taking her place in the circle that had been formed around the prior. Arey and Galahad passed out holy and oak sprigs to everyone as Nimue waved her hand and all of the other torches blew out.
"Go ahead, Nim," Mordred said.
"Today we are here to mourn a very tragic death," Nimue announced. "One of the greatest leaders in our land passed on today. The Holly King has ruled over the land since Litha. He was a wise and just king, and we mourn his passing with great sorrow. The Oak King came into the Holly King's castle today and challenged him for the throne. Our Holly King lost, and we grieve as he leaves us, along with the death of the past year."
At this, Nimue leaned forward and rested the torch against the Yule log, setting the prior a blaze.
"Farewell to isolation," Nimue said, tossing the holy sprig into the fire.
"Farewell to anger," Percival said, tossing in his own sprig.
"Farewell to war," Erec said.
"Farewell to losing," Galeshin said.
"Farewell to the Saxons," Griflet said, which earned a murmur of agreement from everyone else.
"Farewell to distance," Dinadan said.
"Farewell to fears," said Tristan.
"Farewell to solitude," Loholt murmered, tossing the spring into the fire rather clumsly. It was only his first Yule celebration, and he was rather at a loss.
"Farewell to regret," Yvain said.
"Farewell t-t-to silence," Galahad added.
"Farewell mother," Mordred said softly.
"Farewell to memories," Arey sighed.
"Today we are here to celebrate the coronation of our new king," Nimue announced. "The Oak King has returned from the death he faced during Litha, and has returned to his throne. He boldly strode into his castle today and challenged the Holly King for the throne that is rightfully his. Our Oak King won, and we celebrate his victory, along with the birth of the new year."
"To guide!" Arey yelled, tossing the oak sprig into the fire.
"To dream," Mordred yelled.
"To believe," Galahad yelled.
"To tell," Yvain yelled.
"To love," Loholt tried to yell, but it only got caught up in his throat, making him sound rather horse.
"To build," Tristan yelled.
"To settle," Dinadan yelled.
"To defeat," Griftlet yelled.
"The win,' Galeshin yelled.
"To calm," Erec boomed.
"To care," Percival said, his voice not quite at a yell.
"To remember!" Nimue cried.
"May the log burn, may the wheel turn, may evil spurn, may the sun return!"
Morgain le Fay glanced up from the fire place and tried to give Merlin a warm smile. He stood at the doorway to her room at the temple of Avalon. Although he was clearly freezing from his boat ride over from the mainland, his blue eyes were as warm as ever.
"Morgain my dear, do you happen to know where Vivian is?" Merlin asked.
"I think she's in herbal room," Morgain replied, looking around him for Nimue. "Where's your student?"
"Still at Camelot," Merlin sighed. "She wanted to hold a Yuletide party for the younger generation of knights at Camelot. A foolish idea, but she was dead set on it."
"I hope someone joined her," Morgain murmered. "No one deserves to be alone tonight."
Merlin raised an eyebrow as Morgain wrapped her arms tightly around herself and stared back into the fire. "Why are you still here tonight Morgain? I thought that you had plans to go to Rheged."
"One thing led to another, and before I knew it..." Morgain shrugged. "Yuletide was here, and it was too late to return home."
"Still, I imagine that the Priestess of Avalon are holding a Yule log burning. Why have you buried yourself in here?"
"There's... there's someone I need to say goodbye to," Morgain said, her voice breaking ever so slightly. "And I'm not really up to doing that in public."
Merlin pressed his lips together and nodded. "I miss her too, I miss both of them."
"Does it bother you?" Morgain asked. "Everyone you started with is gone."
"You're still here, aren't you, Morgain?" Merlin asked. "As is Arthur."
"But Morgause, Jenal, Sir Erec, Sir Morholt..." Morgain trailed off and looked back into the fire. "We couldn't have done it without them, and now they're all gone."
"And we have some very fine youngsters stepping up into their place," Merlin said, a twinkle in his eyes. "I think Tristan surprised all of us when he mastered the Fourth Command three years ago. Loholt is a fine boy, a little naive and idealistic, but a fine boy none the less. Your own son, Yvain, is intellegent, he will become an advisor one day, I am certain of that. And then we have Areria, the spitting image of her mother. Last is Mordred." Merlin shook his head. "I am just as honored to work beside this generation as I was to work with yours."
"I suppose loss is different to you," Morgain sighed.
"No, loss is the same to me, Morgain," Merlin said. "I miss all of them, so very much. But I have to move on, and continue with my chosen course. I have to find hope in this new generation, or else I won't be able to continue on. Do you understand?"
Morgain nodded and wiped the tears from her eyes. She wanted to move on, but it was so hard. Morgause had been her twin. A level within her subconsious that she had always been aware of, and now it was gone.
"I know you and Morgause shared something special," Merlin said as he walked over to her and kissed her head. "But she has moved on, and now it is time for you to do the same thing."
"That's what Yule is for, isn't it?" Morgain asked. "Enjoy your evening Merlin, I will be alright."
"Good night Morgain, and Happy Yuletide."
"Happy Yuletide to you as well Merlin."
Gawain looked up from polishing his sword and frowned at Agravain. "What?"
"I said 'carrier pigeon'," Agravain said, not moving from his spot by the window in the common room of Gawain's suite.
"We heard what you said," Gaheris said from the other side of the room where he was playing chess with Gareth.
"I think that Gawain actually meant 'what the hell are you talking about,'" Gareth added.
"Mordred," Agravain explained, turning away from the window.
Gawain snorted and turned his attention back to polishing his sword. "Of course Agravain, that explains everything."
"We should get Mordred a carrier pigeon as a Yuletide gift," Agravain continued as he moved across the room and sat down across from Gawain. "That way we'll always know what he's up to."
"May I remind you, dear Agravain," Gawain said slowly, his focus completely upon the sword in his hands, "that our baby brother is no longer a baby. Come May he'll be one and twenty, six years past his majority. He hardly needs us to watch out for him anymore."
"Are you kidding me? This is Mordred we're talking about," Agravain sputtered. "That kid has always been trouble."
"You never used to worry about him this much," Gareth said, turning away from the chess game to look at his older brother. He glanced back just in time to catch Gaheris trying to change a few things on the chess board. "Hey!"
"This is why it's no fun playing chess with you," Gaheris muttered. "You always know what I am going to do."
Gareth snorted, before looking at Agravain again. He didn't say anything, just waited for an answer to his previous question.
"In Orkney he had Mother to watch over him," Agravain snapped. "Now he only has us, and remember what happened last time we were in charge of him!"
"Oh Agravain," Gareth sighed, shaking his head. "We were all so young back then, it could have happened to any of us..."
"But it didn't, it happened to Mordred, the one we were supposed to be watching out for," Agravain interrupted, shaking his head. "How did she expect me to do this?"
"Mother?" Gawain asked, putting his sword aside and leaning closer to his younger brother. Agravain nodded. "Because she always expected the impossible, out of all of us."
"Yeah, remember the time she asked Gaheris to read?" Gareth asked, earning him a punch in the shoulder from his twin.
"Or the time she asked Gareth to hold his tongue," Gaheris retorted.
"Or Gawain to think," both twins added at the same time.
"You two watch it, or I'll box both your ears," Gawain warned. He looked back at Agravain, who still looked frustrated. "Mother was not the easiest woman to please. I always figured that I was a disappointment to her, giving myself up to the sword so early. It was foolish of me to think that, she was our mother. Her love was unconditional, and she was always proud of us, no matter what route we decided to take."
"I know that," Agravain said, leaning back into his chair and running his hands over his face. "I just feel like I was the one always letting her down, the one who was never able to live up to her expectations."
"We all felt that way," Gaheris said. "It was just the way things were with her. She wanted us to be the best we could be, and if we always felt pushed by her, we would always be aspiring to be better. Nothing was good enough for her, and in return, nothing should be good enough for us."
"So does that mean I'll always be worry about this family for no reason, because knowing that you're all supposed to be safe will never be good enough for me?" Agravain asked.
"Yeah, just like a mother hen," Gaheris agreed, nodding solemly. Agravain grabbed one of the pillows off the couch and chucked it at the older twin. It hit the chess board instead, sending the pieces flying. Gawain sighed and shook his head, before standing up.
"Come on, get your cloaks," he ordered.
"You must be joking," Gareth said as he helpped Gaheris pick up the chess pieces. "It's freezing out there, what could we possibly do?"
"Find a Yule log," Gawain said. "And put the past behind us, and promise to make her proud of us in the future."
The twins exchanged a look before going to grab their cloaks.
"Thanks Gawain," Agravain said softly.
Gawain shrugged. "You may have raised this family, but remember who is oldest. Got it?"
Agravain let out a hearty laugh. "Yes sir!"
After they had finished setting the Yule log for it's twelve days of smoldering, the had returned to the common room of Nimue's home and snacked on some treats she had brought out, including Mordred's favorite, oysters. Drinks included hot cider, brought to Nimue by the fae, ale and wine. The had spent hours talking, telling stories, boasting of deeds the would do in the coming year. Finally, late into the evening they had gone of to the guests rooms Nimue had prepared for them.
That was where Mordred was now, standing by the window in his room watching the snow fall. Nimue spared no expense for her guests, and the room was magically heated so it was warmer than anywhere Mordred had been in the past few months. He felt perfectly content clothed only in a robe with his bare feet shifting against the wood floor.
Outside it was still snowing, as it had been all evening. The ground was covered with a couple feet of thick snow. It was lucky that Merlin had finally agreed to lift his wards for Nimue, or else the walk back to Camelot would be a long and miserable one.
Mordred glanced at the other wall and sighed. It was the reason why Nimue needed a hobby. The other wall had a window as well, except this one showed the smoldering Yule log. It was nice to look at, but a little too over the top for Mordred's tastes.
"What are you doing?"
Mordred turned around. Arey lay curled up on the bed, a smile of pure content upon her face. Her blonde hair was out of the bun, and it fell around her shoulders in waves. As always, her brown eyes captured Mordred, and he lost himself in their deep warmth.
Arey gave him a coy grin and slipped out of bed, pulling her robe on as she went and pulling her hair over one shoulder. She made her way over to Mordred and wrapped her arms around his neck. The smile didn't leave her as she left a few kisses on his lips.
"You going to tell me or not?" Arey asked.
"I was thinking about how Nimue needs a hobby," Mordred told her.
Arey laughed and rested her head on his chest. "I understand her reasoning. She wanted to make this special for all of us. I think seeing the rift close between us and Loholt's friends means a lot to her."
"Looks like Nim got what she wanted for Yuletide," Mordred sighed, kissing the top of Arey's head.
"And what about you Prince?" Arey asked. "Are you satisfied this Yuletide?"
Mordred gazed at the window with the smoldering Yule log and thought about her question. 'To dream'. That was what he had called out when it was his turn to through the oak sprig into the fire. The problem was, he didn't know why he had said it. Mordred was sick of dreams. Too often he woke up to find them shattered around him. A part of him was afraid to dream again.
And yet he had resolved to dream in the coming year. He had made a bargain with the Goddess and now he had to live with it. He couldn't run from it now, no matter how much he wanted to.
There was so much in the past that he just wanted to put behind him. The day he had learned Arthur was his father, followed so closely by the day Arthur learned Mordred was his son. Two days that had not only shattered Mordred's dreams but had left a wound that would never fully heal. That was followed closely by his mother's death, the day she had exchanged her life for his dreams. It wasn't, however, until he finally arrived in Camelot that he learned just how fragile dreams were. Everything he had hoped for had been cast aside like it didn't matter as he was forced towards a destiny he didn't want.
At the same time, there was so much in the future he had to look forward to. Eventually he would go to Dumnonia with Arey. Until then, he would have the Fifth Command, along with his friends; Percival, Yvain and Galahad. Merlin had promised to allow Mordred access to his library, so his time during the long winter months wouldn't be spent in idleness. Come spring, Percival had promised to teach him how to joust. Mordred actually hoped that his spring lessons would go better than the fall ones, and that he might become good at the sport.
"No," Mordred said. "I'm not satisfied. I have more questions than answers. Instead of following the path, I stepped off and got lost. I wonder if I'll ever find my way back..."
"Especially since you don't want to," Arey interrupted. Mordred raised an eyebrow at her, causing Arey to laugh. "You enjoy making your life difficult. You like a challenge, and you like to grumble. You don't ever want to be satisfied, because that would mean taking the easy way out. Right?"
Mordred laughed and nodded. "Right, as always."
"I love you," Arey told him. "I always have and I always will. Never doubt that."
"Never," Mordred promised.
Arey smiled and turned towards the window that showed the falling snow. "It's been so long since I've seen snow, I've been too far south."
Mordred ran a hand through her hair. "I bet you would look beautiful with your hair down and snowflakes resting in it."
"Let's test that theory," Arey said, a coy smile on her face as she went to gather her clothes.
"Later," Mordred as he pushed her back towards the bed. Arey's smile grew as their lips locked. Mordred couldn't help but feel satisfied as they slipped off their robes and moved back under the covers. She was the one aspect of his life that he had always been satisfied with.
And always would be.