In the years following the collapse of the Han Dynasty, chaos and anarchy spread throughout the country. Regional warlords had amassed considerable power in the wake of the Yellow Turban Rebellion and there no longer existed a strong central government. Out of this period, emerged Cao Cao, who swiftly rose to prominence and unified all of northern China under his banner. The territory he seized would form the foundation of what would become to the empire of Wei.
Before acquiring a title and land of his own, Liu Bei recruited an army to help defend the Han against the Yellow Turban Rebellion. Among the many warriors that swore allegiance to him were Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. The three would vow a pact of brotherhood, one that would forever be recorded in history as the “Oath of the Peach Garden.” Following the death of Dong Zhuo and the advent of Cao Cao, Liu Bei and his oath brothers formed the kingdom of Shu, seeking to restore the splintered empire to its former glory.
The territory that would form the seat of the Wu family’s power was originally held by provincial governors that could not muster enough strength to vanquish one another. Sun Jian, a warlord who had earned considerable fame during the wars against the Yellow Turbans and Dong Zhuo, moved his armies into this area with the intention of merging the rival provinces. After his untimely death in battle, Sun Jian’s children, namely Sun Ce and Sun Quan, took up his cause and eventually established the empire of Wu.
The chaos of war has given rise to all manner of heroes and villains. The Three Kingdoms is comprised of numerous important figures that defy simple classification in one faction or another.