Title: The King of Camelot
Character/s: Uther, Arthur, Merlin
Summary: It had been a bloody ascension. There had been no easy inheritance for him, the throne stolen from his newly-crowned older brother when Uther was still a child.
Word Count: 741
Prompt: 150 - Uther Pendragon
Author's Notes: This also fills the 'jock dad, nerd son' square of my Trope Bingo round 4 card (well, I think it does, it's an odd prompt) - that's 12/25 done.
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
Here on A03
The King of Camelot
It was Uther Pendragon’s twenty-fifth year on the throne. Sometimes now, he wondered how many years he had left. How many years before his son would be king in his stead? And what kind of king would Arthur be?
Uther’s time had passed quickly, it only seemed like a few years at most since he had knelt in the great hall and accepted the crown, arising to acknowledge the cheers of his new subjects.
It had been a bloody ascension. There had been no easy inheritance for him, the throne stolen from his newly-crowned older brother when Uther was still a child. It was all a blur of blood and screams and the sound of metal crunching against bone. Even then, his survival instinct had been strong and he had run. It was the last time that Uther had run from anything.
Growing up in another kingdom, he never forgot his destiny, his rightful place. By the time he had become an adult his claim was mostly forgotten by the world. Even when he began to build armies his threat was underestimated, and that had been his enemies’ downfall. Uther was never someone to underestimate.
Uther had always known his place was on the throne of Camelot. He had taken up a sword and trained throughout his remaining boyhood, all through his teenage years to become the greatest warrior in any of the kingdoms. Long before the age of one and twenty, his name was spoken with respect and fear.
Uther had fought his way to the crown when he was not much older than Arthur was now. There had been so many battles, so much bloodshed. He regretted nothing, none of it. Having won the throne was so much more satisfying than having it handed to him on a plate, as it might have been had fate taken a different turn. Or perhaps it might not ever have been his. He could not imagine now what his life might have been like serving under an older brother, never able to take command. Unthinkable. Fortune favoured the brave and strong, and he had no particular recollection of his brother being either. The man was a faded, distant memory now. Perhaps Uther would have stood against him eventually, unable to bear the weak rule. Or perhaps he would have become a loyal and trusted right hand man, always there to support the king because he knew nothing else. It was a repulsive thought. But that was the fate of a younger son.
His own son had no brother, nobody to step in should Arthur fall, nobody to threaten his rule. There was Morgana, of course, but nobody could know of her true parentage. No, Arthur alone would carry the Pendragon name. Whether he would carry it well was yet to be seen.
Uther watched his son down in the courtyard, laughing with his knights at some joke. Perhaps there had been laughter in Uther’s youth but he didn’t recall it. Arthur knew nothing of struggling to survive. He fought well, that was true, but it was more a competitive thing than as a warrior. Perhaps that would change as he grew older, had to lead their army into battle. Or perhaps Uther had favoured him too much, let the resemblance to his beloved late wife stop him being the tough mentor that Arthur needed if he was to be a strong king.
That bumbling manservant was down there in the courtyard too, tripping over his own feet in his hurry to get to the prince and instead of reprimanding him Arthur just laughed more. Arthur was far too familiar with him. Uther could guess at their relationship, had seen the secret glances and hidden touches. Tumbling a servant was fine sport, but this was turning into something more.
It had to stop. Uther should send the boy back to wherever he came from, increase Arthur’s duties and responsibilities, find him a wife.
But Arthur’s face was so like Ygraine’s when he smiled. Just there, when he turned to look at that oaf of a servant and laughed again, happy. It wrenched at Uther’s heart to see it, despite everything he wanted his son to be. Arthur was still so young, and that boy was very loyal. Perhaps Uther would give them a few more weeks together.
He turned away from the window, back to his desk and the duties of a king.