Arthur to Mordred
Jessica J. Lee
jei did it

I am watching my hand as I write this letter,
from shameful father to discarded son,
and I'm gripping the quill so my fingertips whiten
and my penmanship trembles the tiniest bit.
Were you as pale and shaky
when you were drawn out from the sea?
An infant you were, I remember, guileless and innocent,
free from all sin, punished unjustly
for one man's ignorance
and a woman's deceit.
I knew you when I saw you.
I could see me in your face.
Yet when chance came to call you mine,
I... I admit I turned away.
Because every time I saw you I saw another where you stood.
Her face. Her eyes. Cold and sharp, cat-green and cruel. Her
mocking laughter and triumphant smile.
I am your father. You are my son.
But you are also hers.
Her blood in your veins, her flesh on your bones...
it turns my stomach to know what you are:
a living reminder of a night of shame,
born and twisted to forge a weapon
designed to be wielded against me
in my weakest and most crucial hour.
They worship you, the young lads of this court, did you know that?
You've befriended Companions, make pretty maids blush,
you fight like a demon (and drink like one, too)...
"Mordred!" they'll call, the boys in the courtyard, eagerness shining
in bright button eyes, "Won't you come play with us now?"
I long to be able to stand up and say
to my knights and my kingdom, "Here is your prince.
Here is my son. Here is Medraut, who is mine."
But that can never be.
The weight of shame and regret lies hard on my shoulders;
for all that I am King, for all the power that I hold,
I cannot be a father to my child.
And that is why, on some nights when I look at the sky,
I let my eyes run with tears
as I quietly count
all the days
that there are
between this
and the end.