[ you know you’re too invested in your character when you start crying about their dead lovers… ]
Headcanon:: Memory of his wives
Yao has been married a total of four times [ wow unlucky much? // shot ] And he does not remember his second or fourth wife. He knows they existed, but he does not remember their names, their faces, their personality, or anything else. But here’s a list of his official love life:
祝英台 Zhu Yingtai: Fiancee, died before marriage, noblewoman during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, died at age 17.
- Yao is physically about 16.
- He actually never saw her, he has no idea what she looked like.
- He was a “rich man”, affiliated with the royal court, and was called upon to assist this family, and he was a bit surprised when it required him to ask for a girl’s hand in marriage.
- But he did so anyway, since he was asked to by one of the princes, and simply waited for the marriage to occur. He was pretty nervous, since he had never actually been in such a relationship before.
- He was not told anything about her, until he heard that she had died on the way to meet him for the marriage. He hurried to where she had died and realised that she was already in love with someone else. (Since she died in her lover’s grave.)
- He feels terrible about this, so he often tells the legend of the Butterfly Lovers to remind others and himself of their story.
李丽花 Li Lihua: First wife, princess at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, married at 16, born 660, died 722.
- Yao is physically about 18.
- Daughter of the only Empress Regnant of Imperial China – Empress Consort Wu. Her father was a rather weak emperor, the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty – Emperor Gaozong.
- Yao really did not want to be engaged again, but he had no choice but to marry Lihua.
- The princess had actually fallen in love with another man, a soldier. Her father forbid the relationship and arranged her marriage to Yao immediately, and sent the soldier off to war in the front lines.
- Well, of course Yao feels terrible – it was like a repeat of his last engagement, so after feeling super frustrated at her lack of cooperation, he decides that he will try his best to comfort her in whatever manner he could.
- They eventually became great friends – she was rather energetic and slightly self-absorbed, but very intelligent as well. She didn’t get along well with children, which was just as well because Yao was terrified at the idea of having half-human children. (He had watched what happened to his nieces and nephews.)
Because her grandfather was such a strong emperor and she notices the flaws in her father’s reign, and sees her mother taking care of so many political affairs, she sometimes makes fun of her father, which Yao often scolded her for.
- After her mother was overthrown, she participated in a coup against the Empress Consort Wei, the wife of one of her brothers that also had a separate lover Wu Sansi, an official that also held quite a bit of power.
- She and Yao had terrible arguments regarding the proper succession, as her various brother were being dismissed by her mother. Eventually both of them got tired of both the chaos in the court and their arguments, so were both relieved when when her nephew Emperor Xuanzong finally succeeded the throne.
- She eventually died of illness and old age during the golden age of the Tang Dynasty.
Unknown: Second wife, beginning of the Yuan Dynasty
- Yao is physically about 23.
- He literally remembers nothing about her.
- He knows that he was married to as a way for Mongol the court to keep an eye on him, to make sure he did not leave the palace and cause an insurrection.
林小燕 Lin Xiaoyan: Third wife, a peasant girl, at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, married at 13, born 1356, died 1407.
- Yao is physically about 24.
- A daughter of a man who died during the Red Turban Rebellion
- Since Yao had helped lead the Red Turban Rebellion, he did feel a certain level of responsibility.
- She was actually one of his best friends after the rebellion ended, and had watched him from when she was young. She had a quiet disposition, but had a spirit of rebellion, inherited from her father.
- By the end of the rebellion, she and her younger brother were left as orphans, and were essentially starving, especially since the riots and flooding had taken all their possible sources of food as well.
- It was her younger brother, actually, that suggested that she ask Yao for help – and knowing that he was most likely going to be called upon the Emperor to serve in the court, he decided the best decision was to marry her and them into the court to be cared for.
- He really just cared for her as a younger sister until she was older and demanded that he treat her as his wife.
- During the Jingnan rebellion (When she was about 43 years old), Yao was extremely sick, and on days after battles, he would sometimes scare his wife by coughing blood, but he assured her that it was normal. He was technically affiliated with the Weaker emperor, and was tasked with keeping the boy alive, but he didn’t think the boy deserved the Mandate of Heaven.
- Because she had no connection to the royal family, and she had much more experience on the streets and in the country, Yao would trust her to engage in spying missions during the Jingnan rebellion, as the court was in absolute uproar.
- He also wanted to send her on lengthier missions with several loyal servants away from the court, to reduce the risk of her being caught in crossfire, but she refused these proposals. Her brother, however, decided he would take on these missions, and was eventually killed during one of them.
- During the purges of the following emperor, he would extreme memory problems, and could barely remember what had happened the past three years of the struggle, and his wife had to care for him extensively during this period as well.
- She eventually died of sickness and her compromised health due to her starvation in her childhood.
Unknown: End of the Ming Dynasty, most likely a princess
- Yao is physically about 24.
- He does not remember her name, but vaguely remembers her face.
- He remembers losing all memory of her during the literary inquisition of the Qianlong Emperor.
- What he does know is simply from a fan that she had given him and he had incidentally kept with him when when was killed by her father, one that he keeps to this very day.
- The only real memory he has of her is giving her a kiss before leaving to fight against the invading Manchu forces.
[ NOTE: I made up every single one of these women except for Zhu Yingtai, which is part of the Butterfly Lover’s legend ]