This is a serialized story, Part 1 can be found here
The Grand Duchess of the Valley of the Sun had a golden goblet in the keeping of the Palace of the Emperor, for her use when she visited. The Duchess had a golden laugh released with effervescent delight while in the Palace of the Emperor, used only when she visited. The Lady of the Sun smiled over her golden goblet, threw her golden laugh over the noisy banquet, and spoke in turn to her brothers. How are the refurbishments progressing dear brother?, she considerately inquired of The Steward, who suddenly felt ill-prepared for the next phase of construction. How has the winter treated your soldiers encamped?, she perceptively asked the High Commander, and suspicions of mutiny suddenly played at the corners of his mind. And how does your newest tribute rank against the other flowers in your garden?, she playfully enjoined to The Emperor. I would not know, he quipped with shrug, this is the first I have seen her, as she has been recovering from her long journey. Oh I see, returned the Lady of Gold and Light, what a pity. And The Emperor rather quietly yet swiftly felt a measure of his omnipotence lacking.