“How dare you!” the Iron king bellowed, shaking his fist at his son as his eyes flared with anger. “Are you out of your mind?! You do not hide matters of national security from me! Ever! This is a step away from treason, Arthur! I am your KING!”
“I meant no disrespect-”
“No disrespect?! You deliberately hid crucial information from me! You made a fool of me in front of the entire court of Camelot! What in Watcher’s name were you thinking?!”
Arthur winced, trying to explain himself.
“Making it public knowledge would have caused a panic, and they would have noticed your absence. This was my responsibility. I did the best I could-”
“The best you could?!” Uther spat, cutting him off. “Bayard is lying in the infirmary! Half of his bones are broken or twisted out of their sockets! The King of Mercia is about to declare war on us! Their entire nobility is out for blood – and now I cannot give them the sorcerer that is responsible for putting him in that state! That is on your head! How is that your best?!”
“We told you, it wasn’t a-”
“SILENCE! Are you completely incompetent?!”
Arthur’s expression fell. Morgana and him had discussed this in advance – they knew their father well, and they knew that he would not be able to accept the truth of what had happened. His bias against magic was too strong. His hatred for sorcerers ran too deep. They could explain until they were both blue in the face – but Uther Pendragon would not listen. The Iron King would never accept a reality where he was the one at fault.
That left only one option.
“Would you rather have lost the entire population of Camelot to magic while we came to fetch you, father?”
That gave him pause. Uther frowned at Morgana’s words, his rage subsiding just a little bit as an expression of confusion crossed his face.
“What are you talking about?”
“Gaius told us what kind of magic it was,” Morgana spoke. “He recognized it from research. Arthur sent everyone away and took Bayard on by himself because if he did not, that magic would have corrupted everyone it touched. You, our knights, our nobles – everyone in our alliance, until not a single person was left. Would you have preferred that outcome, father?”
“You made Arthur accountable for the safety of the tournament, and he took that responsibility to heart. You taught him to make hard decisions, and he did. And you should be praising him for it. Your son is a hero. If not for Arthur, we would all be dead.”