In the flickering light, Nyris slowly opened up the letter that Richard had sent. The contents weren’t meant for him, instead a proclamation that he could show anyone:
‘His Highness Nyris, The Fourth Prince of the late Emperor Philip, shall forever remain an ally to the Archerons. Any imperial, family, or personal decisions affecting his interests will need the approval of our family, or they shall become an enemy for life.
‘Duke Richard Archeron.’
It was a simple statement of protection with no date of expiry, a formalised version of the promise from before. With Richard’s current status in the Sacred Alliance and all of Norland, it was more important than ever.
Nyris stared at it in a daze, a sparkling icy teardrop suddenly splashing on the paper. He sat in his study through the sunset...