Title: On the Hunt
Summary: S4, Uther is haunted by both the present and the past.
Word Count: 322
Prompt: #211, "elusive"
Ghosts flitter amongst the shadows on the ground below, or at least, that’s what Uther tells himself. He sees them dance back and forth, taunting him with their presence as assuredly as his regular visitors, but unlike Arthur and that serving girl, these mean him malice. He knows this. He would wish the same if he were in their incorporeal shoes.
He doesn’t search for them. His gaze out the window hunts for the present, not the past. His errors now have form, and he can’t help but look for them.
The knights are strangers to him, the voices that rise above the clash of their swords coarse and common, but for all their skill, they do not see the specters that so thoroughly torture him. Would they battle them even if they could? Uther doubts it. Their enemy is tangible, and if she eludes their grasps as easily as she does his, it is because Uther taught her well.
It’s too late to wish she’d learned different lessons. He almost believes it’s too late for anything.
But then Arthur will come to sit with him, and he will talk of responsibilities he’s shouldered in Uther’s absence. In those moments, Uther can forget about his failings and the memories that refuse to be banished. Arthur is the only evidence he needs to cling to the hope that not everything he created is an abomination. Victories abound, though they are not the wins Arthur yearns for, and pride fills Uther’s heart at the tales.
He only wishes it would remain after Arthur takes his leave. But his mistakes are stronger than his son’s achievements. He will watch for them, no matter how long they need to return, and when they finally do breach his—Camelot’s—walls, he’ll take up the necessary arms to beat them back.
For the ghosts he cannot appease.
For the failures he can no longer evade.