Day/Theme: Weds Feb. 27 - "What shall I do to shun the snares of death?"
Series: Woxin changdan/The Great Revival
Character/Pairing: Fan Li
Spoilers: ep 30 on
Fan Li had too much imagination to be a king's advisor. He became one because it was his dear mother's dearest wish and because it was the only respectable occupation available to a minor aristocrat like himself. But what made him good at it made the work itself exquisitely painful.
Fan Li's superhuman insight, his prescient sense of future events, was simply his ability to see all available possibilities whole and entire, the way Mozart saw his symphonies. Fan Li realized, at once and intuitively, what individual motive would give rise to what action, what actions would have what consequences, and how each person involved in a situation was likely to feel and thus behave and thus affect all the others.
Fan Li should have been a systems engineer or computer programmer, working with impersonal data bits. Born a few millennia too soon, he found himself instead involved with the fates of kings and queens and warriors and councillors. All of whom- rather to his surprise, actually- mattered to him immensely.
Gou Jian, that charismatic falling star, the foreign king whom Fan Li had confidently expected to dazzle with his own talents, had instead stolen Fan Li's heart from him without his ever knowing quite how it happened. Ya Yu, the beautiful queen to be venerated from a distance, one unlikely to cross the path of the king's advisors, was revealed in the event to be Gou Jian's closest confidante, and quite rightly so: wise and practical and clear-sighted, she could have run the kingdom herself. And there was Wen Zhong, his fellow-countryman from Chu. Disdained by the king of Chu as much as he'd been himself, mulish, sniffy, exasperating and (either in spite or because of those qualities) Fan Li's own very dear friend, Wen Zhong had aligned his fate completely with that of the king and queen of Yue.
And all of them, Fan Li saw, were involved in a process that led inevitably to death. It was as clear as if it were written in a book. Fan Li was a single man facing the ocean's mighty currents and trying to make the waves turn back.
"All I want is for you to stay alive!" Fan Li said to his friends. But his friends seemed determined on running after their deaths.
In the end it was too much for him. The King needed him, the Queen needed him, Wen Zhong needed him, but Fan Li couldn't stay. He took his one chance at happiness- the chance he'd nearly lost in the imperial games of Wu and Yue- and fled.
In later years he was immensely happy, because wine and grain and commodities aren't people. Watching the ups and downs of supply and stock was no different than tracking data bits, that have no hearts to beat and be broken and that have no blood to flow. And what a relief that was.