Lady Wen Cho, persona grata of the Solar Court although not a member of its reincarnating central core, poet, philosopher with unpopular ideas, and occasional Imperial investigator was entertaining in the parlour of her private rooms in the Imperial Palace. In deference to the rank of her guest she was wearing her three tiered robes and the jade pendant that was the sign of the rank that the Solar Emperor had bestowed on her. She poured tea for the Red Marshal, named Rau Kun in his current incarnation. “I miss being married, you know,” she said as an opening to their conversation.
“And he misses you,” replied the Khem quietly. “He cries himself to sleep at night sometimes, still, sobbing your name. I’ve had to explain to his mother who you are.”
“And going to see him would only make things worse,” she said, handing him the tea. “He’s only a baby, not even three yet, and it’s my husband I miss.”
“His mother appreciates your restraint,” answered Rau Kun, carefully sipping his tea, “and the words to that song he likes. New incarnations can be difficult in that period before the brain forms enough to really settle into the new personality – I’m sure that within six months he’ll be very robustly Tao Ku and Justice Minister Lord Wen Chu will be what he should be, a memory.”
Lord Wen Chu’s widow sighed. “I know he should be only a memory but-“
“You miss him, and that is only right,” Rau Kun told her gently. “But you also miss being married. Obviously, you should marry again.”
“Obviously?” She raised her eyebrows as she poured her own tea.
“I have exercised my mind on the possible candidates, because you don’t need a husband to think for you, or to support you, or to give you entry to the highest circles, because you have all that yourself.” He gestured widely, “So what you need is either someone interesting or someone who needs you.”
She murmured, “Thank you, I think.”
“I have a widowed friend, well twice widowed, who has a good income and an important position, who needs someone to take care of him, argue with him a little, and stop him doing stupid things like standing under a waterfall for three hours trying to string a bow.” Rau Kun drank some more tea.
Lady Wen Cho followed suit and then asked, “Do I know this gentleman?”
“I think so, and he certainly speaks well of you. Vehemently on occasion,” admitted Rau Kun, “but well.”
“So, who is he?” She sipped her tea again.
“His personal name is Gao Jian,” Rau Kun replied carefully.
Lady Wen Cho froze in surprise. “You want me to marry the Solar Emperor? I’m not-, he doesn’t-. We argue,” she finally spluttered.
“He needs someone to take care of him and to make sure that he takes care of himself. You would do that supremely well. Besides,” added Rau Kun, “He likes arguing with you. Haven’t you noticed?”