Princess Citrine had very few visitors. The estate outside Kobolgrad had been hers since she came of age but she hadn’t cared much for place so had hardly ever visited, ensuring only that it was kept sound and was running well. Now she was in permanent residence, confined to the house and immediate ground, held incommunicado and under house arrest with a cover story of infirmity. None of her family came near; free of her leash, they were ignoring her.
Having a visitor was a surprise. This visitor was almost a shock.
“Your Highness,” the Ruhtig bowed to her from the doorway.
“Ruhtig Algernon,” Princess Citrine’s acknowledgement and greeting was stiff, “Won’t you please have a seat?”
“Thank you, Your Highness, but I’ll stand,” Algernon Sjeldnar did not smile but he did come closer, just short of being inside her personal space, his skinny height looming on the edge of good manners. He spoke again, quickly, clearly but quietly enough that n-one outside the room would hear him. “I understand you feared I’d take after my father, Your Highness. A reasonable concern -we both know he’d have made a play for control of the throne. But you should have been worried I’d channel my grandfather.” He paused, eyes bright, before going on. “He would have considered what you did to my niece and, through her, the wider family a declaration of war. Fortunately, I think your sister is imposing a fitting punishment.”