The Silver Empress of South Qyo is dead. Long live the Ruby Empress.
Two years into Her Imperial Ruby Majesty's regime, she's gained a rival.
Her name is Zrôdi, and she's claiming to be the chosen holy vessel of God. She has imperial tattoos down her limbs and on her forehead, sacred and arcane designs reserved through the centuries for the Empress alone -- well, for God's vessel in the physical realm, which is what the Empress is -- she can sing the hymns of the Inner Temple, and dance their received rites with the fury of a solar flare, and she usually speaks in tongues unknown to man but when her words are comprehensible they're all in Church Qyokhi --
Destruction follows wherever she goes. This one has an easy explanation; Qyo is full of underground groups looking to blow something up. Freedom fighters, anarchists, stupid kids playing at territory wars. The political climate's improved some in the years since the Silver Empress took the throne, and under her current high priest nearly every city has seen a boost in its overall wealth, but the empire's been falling apart for a century and everybody knows it. Obviously someone making a grab for the throne might be backed by a terrorist ring.
Alternatively: the chosen vessel of God would most definitely have her own army.
People say her ruby hair doesn't just fade through orange into a golden sunrise -- it burns, like an imperishable flame.People say she holds herself in impossible positions, communing with the planetary noblewomen far above. People say her eyes can pierce through souls. People say her skin can't be pierced by knives. People say -- people say a lot of things.
Here is what Zrôdi says: the age of dynasties is at an end. The imperial family has lost God's blessing and its Ruby Empress is an opportunistic fraud. The Qyokhi Empire crumbles. In its dust, something wild shall rise.
Oppression shall fall -- in its place, freedom. Ignorance shall fall -- in its place, gluttony.
Order shall fall -- in its place, chaos.
Zrôdi is arrested by the national police the first time she shows her face in the capital. She's three years into her campaign of violence and miracles. They're waiting for her in the main square.
The three officers that manage to grab onto her don't end up making it out alive.
She dies as she lived: in a sudden explosion of flame.
Four more years pass, faster than they maybe should have.
The Ruby Empress of South Qyo is dead. Long live the Ruby Empress.
There are rustlings, just north of the mountains, just past the Qyokhi Empire's current reach. Some mafia leader's claiming to be a lost link in the royal bloodline. The Silver Empress' long-lost little sister.
There are a lot of claims like that going around. A lot of claims like Zrôdi's, too. Short-lived things. Localized. Nothing that could actually usurp the empress.
But some places aren't bothering to worship her anymore.
The Ruby Empress turns 14. (They never used to be this young.)
The Ruby Empress spends 3 weeks in total isolation. (The high priest was poisoned with something nearly lethal -- and of course nobody else is allowed near her.)
The Ruby Empress mourns the death of all her heirs. (They died trapped inside a burning temple. She was there.)
The Ruby Empress will probably be dead soon.
Long live . . . ?