It was only when he heard the clang of steel on steel that Uther knew he had raised his sword. Instinct rather than purpose had raised it, but purpose was well served. Uther must survive this, little as he wished to live after it. He had made his peace with death once for Arthur's sake, had convinced himself the boy was as ready as he would have to be to reign. But not like this. The kingdom would be destroyed. Arthur would be destroyed. Uther blocked, parried, danced. He very nearly prayed. He could not strike, or all was lost.