End of Series 4. Merlin creates a wreath of candles to signify Christmas.

The Quest 2.1: Xmas at the Castle

By Keith McDonald

Ever wondered what Christmas is like in the Powers That Be household? Now's your chance to find out...

Last year everyone down at the Castle had a great time of it over the festive season. Everyone gathered on Christmas morning to open their presents and meet up with old friends. There was Sir Hugh de Witless, Gwendoline the Greenwarden, Hordriss the Confuser, his daughter Sidriss, Elita, Motley, Brother Mace and Pickle and Treguard of course, and a few other friends too.

Motley was having a good time playing tricks on everyone as usual, and Sidriss was clutching a rather limp piece of mistletoe, in case a handsome Prince should happen to drop by.

"Hey Sidriss", shouted Motley. "Come over here and I'll show you my special recipe for Christmas pudding." Perhaps he was thinking that the way to a sorceress' heart is through her stomach.

"Oh don't be ridiculous," huffed Sidriss. "I don't need your silly recipes, my cooking's quite good enough thank you". Poor Motley.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Brother Mace was busy preparing the dinner. "Who's doing the pudding?" asked Pickle "I know Elita did it last year - it was yummy". It was tradition at the Castle to take it in turns preparing the pudding, and this year was no exception.

"Motley." answered Brother Mace, "And all I can say is I hope his cooking is better than his jokes".

Back in the main hall, everyone was having fun opening presents and singing carols. Suddenly, a cry went up, and everyone turned to see Elita stuck on top of the Christmas tree!

"Get me down" she squeaked angrily. "Get me down right now, Face-ache!!"

"He He He" laughed Motley,- he had borrowed one of Sidriss' spells to turn the elf maiden into the Christmas fairy. "Ha ha - now exactly whose jokes were you saying weren't funny? I think this one's hilarious!"

"Yes Motley, but that's half the problem" said Gwendoline the Greenwarden. "You thought it was extremely funny to put holly in my Christmas stocking last year".

"...and it took hours to get rid of those reindeer antlers you tied to poor old Neddy" cried Sir Hugh " I don't think he'll ever get that red paint off his nose". But Motley just laughed even harder at the protests from his friends.

"Dinner is served" boomed Brother Mace appearing from the great dining hall in rather fetching red apron.

Soon the crackers had been pulled and everyone was wearing their silly hats and tucking into huge plates full of Turkey and all the trimmings. "I can't say I was impressed with them," said Sidriss, examining one of the used crackers. "They look as if they have been written by hand very tacky".

"Tacky indeed!" retorted Pickle. "I'll have you know I spent all last month's pocket money on them. I even went all the way to Harrolds to get them: the big place in the centre of the forest."

"I'm sorry Pickle, but I have to agree," said Treguard. "The novelties left a bit to be desired too - I got a lucky charm but it looks more like an acorn with a bit of paint on it."

"Yes, I thought mine was a ring but on closer inspection it turned out to be a rusty buckle," said Gundrada, sounding rather dismayed. Gradually, everyone realised that Motley was laughing uncontrollably again.

"Do you know anything about this Motley?" asked Hordriss slowly.

"Ha Ha Ha Ha!" was just about all that Motley could say, but it was enough for the others to know exactly who was behind the tomfoolery.

"Oh dear Motley" sighed Treguard "What are we going to do with you." "Leave it to me Master" whispered Pickle "I think I have the very thing".

When everyone had eaten their fill, it was time for Motley's prize-winning pudding.

"Here it is" exclaimed Motley proudly, "probably the best thing about your Christmas - my special pudding!!". And with that, he drew a match to light the brandy flame on top. As he did so, there was a huge Pooof!!, lots of black smoke, and a very peculiar smell. Slowly, the smoke cleared to reveal Motley still proudly holding his prized pudding, but all that remained was a blackened lump in the middle of the plate.

Sidriss was the first to laugh. "Hoo hoo boo" she giggled. Soon she was joined by Gwendoline and Brother Mace, then Sir Hugh, until eventually the whole dining room was in uproar at the sight of Motley and his burnt offering!

"I emptied the whole bottle of brandy onto it when he wasn't looking" gasped Pickle, when he finally managed to speak.

"Well done!!" boomed Treguard, still laughing, "You got something right for once".

"It looks as if Smirkenorff has been at it", chuckled Hordriss the Confuser, "Motley was right though this is the best thing that's happened this Christmas, definitely!!".

Win tickets to Treguard's 'Wicked' pantomime

Hugo "Treguard" Myatt is once again taking to the stage this Christmas in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon. He plays the Giant's evil Henchman 'Igor' and he did admit to me that he is quite looking forward to being a bit nasty for a change. (If you look at the front cover you will see that he used to look slightly mean during the first series!)

The show is running from December 16th to January 16th and ticket prices range from £5.00 to £8.50, but you can win one absolutely free!! You will need to make your own way there but we will arrange the tickets and an opportunity to meet Hugo as Igor. Just write to us before December 16th telling us why you think Hugo will make a good Igor in no less than 12 words.

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