The sight of wildflowers homed in a crystal vase on Morgana’s vanity table was enough to make the day’s stress, the expectations placed upon her, anything of a pressing matter fade away until it was little more than a weak ebb in the back of Morgana’s mind.
Flowers had always been their unique way of expressing their affection.
While it would be Morgana’s greatest joy to adorn Gwen with lavish jewellery that brought out the colour of her beautiful brown eyes, and spoil her with silk of the finest kind fashioned, it was too conspicuous. Her father, her brother…everyone in the citadel would know of her affections towards her handmaiden if she was to do so. Too much was at stake for her to make an error, even a tiny one. No one could know of their secret courtship. For one, Gwen would be lucky to keep her life let alone her job as a handmaiden if it was discovered the extent to which she adored her mistress. And Uther would likely disown Morgana, perhaps even make her leave Camelot altogether, unable to handle the shame associated with such practices. She was not his daughter, he could do anything with her he liked. Uther’s promise to her father could easily broken by a scandal such as this.
And so the feelings they shared had to be kept secret, for both of their sakes, but more importantly for Gwen’s. She would do anything, even send her far away if it eventuated in her safety. For now, fortunately, they could indulge in whatever behaviour they pleased, as long as it occurred in the shadows, far from anyone’s prying eyes. Hence the flowers were a reminder of what they could not say in public, a declaration in broad daylight only apparent to the two of them. Whenever they felt a particular surge of affection to the other, or felt the loss of each other’s absence, the flowers would appear, either in Gwen’s cottage in the lower town or on Morgana’s vanity table.
She gathered them up in her hands and lifted their blue petals to her nose, inhaling their pleasant scent. They were lovely, almost as lovely as the person who had procured them. She wondered how long they had been there for as she had been attending court all day under her father’s request and had no knowledge of when exactly Gwen had gone out to pick them, or when she had tidied her room. Then again, she cared little for when they had arrived, only that Gwen had thought to place them there them to begin with.
The sound of footsteps sent her sliding the flowers back into the vase with haste, terrified someone had seen her and would make the connections, although very distant, that would betray them. She felt her whole body sag in relief when she realised it was Gwen who had entered the room, her brown eyes stunning as they focused on her. A smile of its own accord surfaced on Morgana’s face and she asked, “back so late?”
“My duties may be done for the day, but I had a feeling my lady still desired my assistance.” Her voice was light, but Morgana knew the sincerity behind her words.
“That she does,” Morgana said seriously. “The flowers are beautiful, but they are not you.”
Gwen’s cheeks pinkened. “So you liked my choice today? I know you are partial to the colour blue.”
Morgana walked up to her, and took her warm hands in hers. “You know I do. As I have the others you have gifted me with in the past. May I express my gratitude?”
Gwen nodded, a smile blossoming across her face. Hand leaving hers to rest lightly across the curve of her cheek, Morgana kissed her softly, pouring every bit of affection she felt for the woman in front of her into the gesture.
“One day, we won’t have to hide,” she whispered as she rested her forehead against Gwen’s after their lips had parted. “I promise.”
Gwen’s voice was soft, genuine. “Even if we do not, this is enough.”
With a start, Morgana realised it was.