Hey, our first comment! Hooray!
Thanks for the kind words. I don't think much familiarity with Enterprise
is required to grasp the full significance, at least it wasn't intended that way. Nothing about the Romulan War was established in ENT, sadly, due to its early cancellation. We just assumed that Archer had played a significant role in the battle of Cheron and the subsequent peace negotiations (after all, he's kinda depicted as one of the Federation's founding fathers in the series, so it follows he'd be involved in diplomacy and politics before that) and thus became the poster child for evil humanity in the Empire.
I also feel sorry for Debure and Shelbeth, I felt like an evil overlord when writing that scene. It's certainly a cruel fate, but this version of the Empire isn't a just and happy place.