Reminder for writing project:
The Emperor's messenger must deliver his bidding in foreign lands. Essentially, each trip is like a suicide mission that he must talk himself out of. Blackly comical short stories, sometimes intertwining. I'm thinking something from Roald Dahl. It would be funny to introduce the emperor late in the stories, and make him half insane, or otherwise the most dangerous audience for our protagonist.
Got the idea from the guy who gets kicked down the well in the beginning of 300. I didn't watch much more past that scene yet, but that guy's story seems more interesting than the meat head who did the kicking.