We shared a bond that was something more than a promise: a blood tie, an unbreakable vow. But in truth the connection between us had been made the first moment our eyes had met; everything that followed was only what must follow. It had mattered so much, being granted my freedom, and yet in some ways it changed nothing. We stood shoulder to shoulder together at last as free men, as equals. And yet I knew that I was as much Thormod's slave now as ever I had been and would be still, always, until the moment death parted us.