Disclaimer: I own no one except the Viera aide.
NOTE: I don't know if Bhujerba has a ruling family like Archadia's House Solidor and Dalmasca's... well... House Dalmasca so I'm just going to say it does, the House Ondore. Also, there's a reference to an upcoming oneshot somewhere in here.
Ondore, miraculously, was sitting up in his bed, topless except for the bandages going around his torso up to his chest. His head was bowed, signaling he was thinking of something. On the right side of the bed was his Viera aide with a bowel of water and a towel for if he gained a fever, which was expected. The doctor had just walked out, leaving him to take in the news of his condition. The former Marquis had told the man to let him take the responsibility of telling Ashe, who walked in at that moment, inturrupting his thoughts.
"Uncle Halim," she began, "are you OK?"
There was a silence. A soft smile graced Ondore's lips.
"Ashelia," he said and patted the edge of the bed by his legs. "Sit down." The future queen did as told. Ondore looked at his aide. "Kjn, you may go. I will call if needed." Kjn nodded and left.
"The doctor said you wanted to talk to me," Ashe said.
"Yes. Ashelia, there's something I need to tell you."
"There was poison on the sword, right?" Ondore blinked, stunned.
How had she known that?
"Yes," he said. "How did you guess?"
"I thought it glinted weird." Ashe closed her eyes and hung her head, trying to suppress crying. "What kind of poison was it?"
"Malboro poison. From the Feywood. And they said it would take too long to get an antidote as the Bhujerban markets and all the surrounding markets are all out."
Ashe began to sob. Ondore would be the second person she'd lost to Feywood Malboro poison, the first being her eldest brother Ramina.
"Why, Uncle Halim?!" she suddenly shouted, suprising Ondore. "Why did you have to protect me?!"
"I said it before, Ashelia, I couldn't let Dalmasca lose its princess again."
"AND YET YOU'D LET BHUJERBA LOSE ITS MARQUIS?!"
Another silence. Ondore sighed.
"I have lived and ruled long enough," he replied, his voice strong despite his weak strength. "I believe I have made my imprint on its society llike the rest of my family before me."
"Bhujerba has no heir! You are the last of House Ondore!"
"And you are the last heir of King Raminas. Which do you think I'm more worried about?! I figured you'd be thankful, not prissy!"
Ondore's harsh tone silenced Ashe.
"It's not that I'm not thankful you risked yourself, because I am," she finally spoke up. "I was just upset."
"I know," Ondore replied. "I'm sorry I got harsh with you." Ashe suddenly smiled.
"It's just like when we first met. Remember? When you convinced me to go back to my father even though he'd forgotten what that day was."
Blue eyes met grey-blue and both smiled, remembering. The day in question was the one-year anniversary of the death of Ashe's brother Ramina. It'd taken some serious talking to in order to get her to go back to Raminas, mainly because daughter was as stubborn as father. But Ondore managed.
The Marquis suddenly lurched forward, coughing and hacking.
"Uncle Halim?" Ashe inquired, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Uncle Halim, what's wrong?"
"K-Kjn," Ondore struggled out. "Get Kjn."
Ashe did as he had asked and even got the medical attendant who had stayed in case he was needed. The sight that awaited them, however, made the Viera push the princess out into the hallway. When Kjn reemerged from the room around fifteen minutes later, she had a grim look on her face.
"He is no longer conscious," she said.
"What?" Ashe replied, shocked. Was Kjn joking?
"I'm afraid it's true. The doctor confirmed it-he's slipped ino a coma." Kjn placed a reassuring hand on Ashe's shoulder. "I am so sorry, Queen Ashelia."
The next few days were painful. There were moments of hope when it seemed Ondore would awaken, perfectly fine, but there were moments where it seemed like he had been gone a long time and no one noticed.
Eventually, Balthier and Fran took Ashe back to Dalmasca so as not to worry her people. ut one day, a message came in from Kjn and the princess's worst fear had been realized...