You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s ready to answer.
Jaco wanders into the room, chains jangling loudly, and perches on a stool, looking around at the audience. His eyebrows raise: so many women. He turns to me with a little headtilt.
“You said they had questions. You said you picked me?” If he is a little defensive, well, he is no longer used to crowds.
“Onter’s bought into the system too much, and Callum is a bit shy around women, you have to admit.” I shrug, perhaps a bit apologetic myself, and reach over. Protocol dictates I not touch you, but I hand him the cards, and he flips through them.
“Divorce?” He settles on that one first. “What’s that?”
“Well, I suppose that means it doesn’t exist in your world, then.”
“Probably not, but what is it? I mean, maybe we call it something else?” He’s leaning forward now, trying not to look eager.
What can I do but answer? “It’s when a marriage is dissolved legally. Usually there’s some law about how the belongings are split up and who gets custody of the children.”
He leans back a bit and he frowns. “No. Nothing like that. Husbands who survive their wives, well, it can go several ways. If they’re young enough, sometimes they go back home.” He jangles his chains. “Or re-marry. Won’t happen to me.”
He pointedly goes through the cards, considering and discarding several more. “Men don’t marry men. Marriage is all about the Treaties. Sometimes… men-who-don’t-marry, or men whose wives died, they set up house together. Widowers, I think your term is?” He glances at me, and I nod. Close enough. “And no, I mean, women mary for responsibility. Marrying just one man — I mean, sure, some women have a first match that’s for love, and they try to make like he should be their only. But it’s never going to last.”
He puts the cards down on the table and rubs his wrists. “Marriage is a community thing. It’s for the community. That’s what they tell us.”
He glances back at the cards, and then at the audience. “Well? Anything else?”
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*I wave my hand nervously.* Hi. If marriage is for the community, then wh odoesn’t get married and who isn’t allowed to marry?
What are the proportions of men and women in the population? Treaties? Between whom? About what?