015: The Empire in a Glass

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"The Empress does not understand wine," the Royal Sommelier said. "She drinks what she likes, and her court calls it good."

The farmer silently took his payment and bowed. She developed a taste for Southern in her years in the field as a commander. This angered the powerful winemaking houses of the North. But she had saved his village.

The farmer didn't understand politics. But he could see how she had crushed her opposition, then, with a steady hand and infinite patience, crafted it to her will.

The Empress may not have understood wine, but he knew she understood winemaking.

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