This is a serialized story, Part 1 can be found here
Back in the City of Legend, in the Palace of the Emperor, Court officials had gathered from far and wide to offer their support to the Emperor and gauge his current state of mind. The situation was unprecedented, and each Earl, Count, Knight, and vassal of the Empire did his utmost to strike a unique chord in his reaction and thereby successfully harmonize with the as yet unknown melody of the Emperor’s mood. The wandering brother, who could at the least always offer pleasant distraction, was sent for by The Steward. He arrived like a breath of spring to the Court, carried on a magnificent white charger, robed in deep tranquil blues, leading a cavalcade exotic princes and road-hardened attendants. He wore a heavy circlet of guilt across his brow; for as he had proposed the conquest of the Far Eastern Isle, so he felt responsible for the disobedience of their tribute. Wisely, he waited to approach his brother about the topic until they were secluded from the prying and speculating eyes of the Court. My Brother, he began humbly, I am so sorry for this turn of affairs. How may I help to make it right again? Do not bother! snapped The Emperor, I care as little for a woman as I do for a turd; some are more easily rid of than others! And at the darkening of his countenance, the wandering brother knew The Emperor would speak no further on the subject. But he decided what he must do for his own conscience, and discarding his fine clothing and emblematic charger, he set out in search of the fugitive tributes.