Malinda Lo’s 2011 secondary-world fantasy Huntress shares a setting with the author’s 2009 Ash.
The seasons are out of balance and the economy is suffering. Several of the Kingdom’s provinces are on the verge of rebellion. Keeping rebellious lords in line requires all the king’s attention. When the queen of the Xi (fairies) requests that he visit and confer, the king declines to go.
He sends an embassy in his place. The personnel: Kaede (the daughter of the king’s closest advisor), Taisin (a young sage), Con (the king’s son), and a host of expendable extras.
Don’t get too attached to the extras.