Title: The Price
Pairing: None really
Characters: Uther, Nimueh (Mention of Gorlois, Gaius, deceased Igraine, baby Arthur-none have dialogue)
Summary: Uther gets his heir, but the price is heavy, driving his mind to madness and revenge.
Warnings: Death and Violence (non explicit)
Word Count: 985
Author's Notes: This is cannon but set in the time before the series start: the eve of the purge. Camelot Drabble thanks SO much for making writing drabbles fun and a great challenge! It’s been so great being part of this.
Told to surrender her to the abyss, to deliver her to heaven’s arms, he can’t do it. Maybe their marriage did not start out with love, but now his heart swells with it. So as Gaius tells him that it is over and they need to clean her attire before they lay her to rest, he refuses to listen.
She lays so fragile upon the bed. Her face, pale in normal time, now is like the white of the moon, almost transparent. He can feel his hands shaking like the earth during those frightening tremors that sometimes rock the land in hostile fashion. He can hear a babe screaming for attention, littered with blotches of scarlet. He knows he should comfort it, for the crying babe is his son, the one he was promised.
His heir to the throne. He needed a son. Igraine was unable to give child naturally, barren. So he took care of the issue secretly, planned it without her knowing.
But if he had known that it would lead to this hell, to blood stained sheets, to vigils being held outside the window for Camelot’s beloved queen, and to her face more wane than he had ever seen it…
He wants to take it back. “Igraine?” He questions, holding her limp yielding waist, feeling how her bones no longer give bolster. Grief sinks into his flesh, gripping his skin and tearing it apart. Gaius calls to him, saying that maybe if he holds his now cleaned son he can comfort the babe, but he doesn’t listen, just presses against his wife. Dead. Soaked with scarlet. “No.” His cheek falls against hers. “No.”
Her parents set up their marriage, a unification of political advantage. She at first wanted another. He was not one for committing, caring more about his new conquest, the land of Camelot. But then came the sometimes harsh lonely nights of winter. They cuddled together. She gave him council. They gave into the makings of love. And he realized she was the perfect wife. The one meant for him.
“No.” His hoarse voice ekes out again. Gorlois reaches for his shoulder, but he pulls away, yells to be left alone. Her body has never felt so cold. He must warm her up. He must clean away all the blood. She is his Igraine. She is his queen. His queen of Camelot. And he will not let her die.
He will not.
His hand soaks with it. He presses it without thought, wipes it across her cheek. They try to get him away, tell him enough, it’s done, but no one can get him to let go. He will not surrender her body to that other world. He will not let her spirit be taken.
She’s not dead, she’s not dead, she’s not-
Who will tie his tunic laces in the morning to keep them from knotting later? Who will find him the right crown? Who will he dance with at celebrations? Who will keep him warm at night?
The babe continues to scream, his son he had to have. This is his fault. If he hadn’t gone to the sorceress-
She’s standing on the other side of the room, cheeks wet. But it’s all a lie. He need not blame himself. She is the one that tricked him! Fooled him into this!
Through the blur of his tears he looks down at the body he’s holding. Nothing more than a corpse. His wife is gone. And it’s HER fault.
“You. You did this.” He points accusingly, madly.
She shakes her head, counters. “I warned you Uther there would be a price. A life for a life.”
“You never told me HER!”
The tears course down her cheeks; the king is sure they are fake.
“I did not know. She was my friend. You are. I would never want her death. You must believe me.”
That’s not an answer. Tenderly, Uther lays down his wife’s lifeless body. He gets up from the stained bed and stops in front, fixing the sorceress with his steel blue eyes. He advances forward, a gleam of hatred in his face. Gaius and Gorlois try to pull Uther back, but he is incensed, wanting revenge.
No. He doesn’t just want it. He NEEDS it. He brings out his fingers, like talons. They enclose the sorceress’s throat. Squeeze.
She fights back with her magic, gaping as she manages to pull away.
Nimueh. The LIAR. It’s all Uther thinks about as his head pounds with violent thoughts.
A small pink bruise lines Nimueh’s throat, evidence he tried to choke her before she used magical defense. Still slightly gasping for air, she faces Uther with furious shock. “We are FRIENDS Uther! You blame me, but you’re the one who wanted a son. Well you have it! You never told her the truth! It is as much your fault as it is mine!”
A cold chuckle ekes out of his mouth that makes them all shiver. His expression is frightening to them, but the coming days will be even more-so.
A plan forms in his grief stricken mind, knocking out sense and compassion. He will take everything from her she has ever loved. Magic is the true evil. He will wipe it away from Camelot. Every dragon will be slaughtered, every Dragonlord brought to the executioner. Every sorcerer and sorceress will be tied to the stake and burned in public view. And every child born of magic…
He will eradicate sorcery entirely. End the pain. Never give up until every threat of magic has bled itself out like his wife bled to death.
Only then can he find peace.
It is madness. It is the dawn of the purge.
And yet he should know, it will change his son’s life and fate…
The son he so terribly wanted that his wife had to be