Three Kingdoms The Myth Of Lu Bu
To pursue Lu Bu(呂布) is to welcome death. Fabled is the strongest of his time. Lu was a notorious warlord who thrived during the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China.
He is the warrior whose might no one could match; the lover who slew his master; the general who often betrayed his allies: the brute who served himself; And, in death, the legend who became a gaming icon.
Life of Lu Bu.
He is most famous for his starring role in the video game series Dynasty Warriors, and more recently in total war: Three Kingdoms.
In Warriors, Lu is the toughest there is, but all that might come with an ego to match. Legend has it he was an almost invulnerable warrior who switched sides on a whim... but history tells a different story.
Chapter One, The early days.
Poetry by the 8th-century writer Li He describes Lu Bu as a green-eyed general, as well as the "hero of our time" and the "will of heaven." But Li wrote of the warrior centuries after his death.
Lu lived 2000 years ago during the second century. He came from Jingyuan which is the present-day city of Baotou in inner Mongolia China. He was said to be a master archer and horseman.
Legend has it that his mare was a powerful 赤兔馬, a red hair, with the ability to leap over moats and travel over 300 miles per day. As a young man, Lu Bu was impressive. So much so, the minor warlord, Ding Yuan recruited Lu Bu and kept him close as a trusted aide. But that was a grave mistake.
Chapter Two Meeting Dong Zhuo.
In the year 189, the Emperor passed and a power struggle broke out between the different groups of the Imperial court in the old Chinese capital of Luoyang(洛陽). Ding Yuan, accompanied by Lu Bu brought his army to the city on a mission to assist General He Jing in eliminating the influential eunuch faction of the imperial court. But he wound up being killed by the eunuch after the veteran warlord Dong Zhuo used his army to occupy Luoyang.
Dong wanted to kill Ding and take control of his troops. To accomplish this, he persuaded Lu Bu to betray Ding and join him. Lu decapitated Ding and presented his head to Dong Zhuo as tribute. Dong was impressed.
He appointed Lu Bu as Calvary commandant and felt great affection and trust for the man and made him his foster son.
Chapter Three Like Father, Like Son.
Once in control of Luoyang, Dong Zhuo put a child on the throne, a puppet emperor named Xian(獻). Concern at this sparked others to form a coalition against him and his cohorts. And in the year 190, the warlord Yuan Shao led the alliance against Dong Zhuo into battle. Lu Bu fought many battles against Yuan's forces to defend Dong Zhuo and keep his master safe.
But Dong was a despot, and a rude and ignorant one to boot. He was also a coward. Dong was paranoid of assassination and, kept Lu closeby as his personal bodyguard. And like Lu Bu, he had a very short fuse.
One day he became so angry that he threw a blade at his foster son. Lu dodged this and Dong calmed down. But the damage was done and Lu now held a grudge.
The warrior became increasingly unhappy in his role as Dong's personal protector and, in the Three Kingdoms story, began a love affair with one of his master's maidens.
Her name was Diaochan(貂蟬). Lu worried how Dong would react to this, so he kept their relationship secret. While Diaochan is not real, she is forever connected to Lu Bu Because of the Three Kingdoms story.
This ancient beauty was sent by her foster father to turn Dong Zhuo and Lu Bu against each other. She was given to Dong as a concubine but was also betrothed by Lu Bu.
This led to a love triangle of hate, jealousy, and betrayal. One night Lu slipped into Dong's quarters to see Diaochan. She acts distraught and feigns a suicide attempt. She tells Lu she's ashamed of herself after being violated by their master.
Lu is mad and this is what leads to him killing Dong in the story. Depending on the lore, Diaochan's story differs. Some claim she was killed by Dong Zhuo loyalists, others say she roamed the land with Lu Bu.
In one story Diaochina's captured at the Battle of Xiapi and Cao Cao presents her as a gift to Guan Yu in the hope of winning the War God's loyalty.
But Guan Yu suspects trickery from Diaochan due to her previous treachery and kills her. In another tale, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei all want to marry Diaochan. They get into a heated argument and Guan Yu then kills her to put an end to it.
But now let's get back to the history. Later, some of Dong's officials pitched Lu Bu a plan to eliminate their master. Lu hesitated. Despite his distaste for the man, Dong was his adoptive father.
Nonetheless, he was persuaded that Dong was not his blood and cared little for him. So, Lu Bu saw the matter personally.
Chapter Four The Death of Dong Zhuo
One morning Lu greeted his master at the palace gates with a band of men led by Li Su(李肅). All appeared normal until Li stabbed Dong.
The despot cried out for Lu to save him, but his foster son delivered the killing blow. and so an order was made that, anyone who tried to move the remains of Dong Zhuo did so on the bane of death.
The corpse remained outside with a burning wick placed on Dong's fat belly. The flame shone like the sun and lasted for days. But even though Dong was dead, his influence remained. Some of his followers banded together and attacked Lu's forces at Changan(長安) after they were refused amnesty.
That's when their general and Dong Zhuo loyalist, Guo Si(郭汜) came across Lu Bu. The two fought in a one-on-one duel, but Guo was quickly defeated and injured. His men pushed Lu Bu back and saved their master.
The hot-headed warrior could not beat them all, so he abandoned Changan and fled. He tied Dong Zhuo's head to the saddle of his red mare and rode with his men to join the warlord Yuan Shu(袁術). What happened next isn't clear.
Either Yuan welcomed Lu into his ranks, then Lu acted arrogantly and felt underappreciated. Or do you expect it to be welcomed into Yuan's army for killing Dong Zhuo, but Yun despised him for his treachery.
Either way, Louie was soon wandering the land again seeking a place to carve out for his own.
Chapter Five Daggers In The Dark
Lu Bu next traveled to see Yuan Shao, the former leader of the alliance against Dong Zhuo. Lu was impressed, but his arrogance took center stage. He believed he had done his new host a favor by eliminating Dong Zhuo and Yuan didn't like this one bit. So rather than kill him outright, he played pretend and recommended Lu worked for him.
But Lu sensed something was afoot and journeyed back to Luoyang. Yuan had 30 of his best men escort Lu along the way. And one night while at rest, one of them snuck into Lu's tent and stabbed the man sleeping with a knife.
Except Lu wasn't there and never was. He left the night before and had one of his men take his place. And with that, the warrior with no place to call his own set out on the path once again.
Chapter Six Little Brother Liu
After a time, Lu wound up joining Liu Bei in Xu Province. This was a warlord and man be held deep respect and admiration for. He even went as far as to call him little brother. Yuan Su Soon found out that Lu Bu was in Xu and wrote him a letter.
He persuaded him to dispatch Lu's forces. Lu agreed and went to face them in Xiapi(下邳) city. Lu squashed Liu's forces and captured his family and the families of his allies.
Liu, meanwhile, was far away fighting a losing battle against Yan Shu. He escaped and later surrendered to Lu. Wen Shu promised Lu Bu supplies for his actions, but they never arrived. Lu was irate. So, instead of taking Liu Bei prisoner, he welcomed him and had his work for him. Lu makes himself governor of Xu province. Liu would later leave and work for Cao Cao.
It is said that Lu would even use his might to resolve disputes. Legend has it during him he once prevented a battle between Liu Bei and Yuan Shu forces with a single arrow.
Lu proposed that if he hit the lower part of a bladed weapon then both sides must withdraw. If he missed, they could fight. Lu hit his mark and bloodshed was avoided.
Chapter Seven, How The Mighty Fall?
Yuan declared himself emperor despite their history. This was treason and war would come. He sought Lu Bu as his ally, so he proposed his son marry Lu's daughter. Lu agreed, then disagreed after recalling how Yuan refused to help them in the past. The two however soon agreed on an uneasy alliance.
Once again, Lu was facing Liu Bei's forces, but this time they were bolstered by reinforcements from Cao Cao. Lu's men won the day but had angered Cao Cao. And the hero of chaos would see to Lu Bu's downfall personally.
Yuan Shu was reluctant to send reinforcements. Lu thought this because he didn't give over his daughter for marriage. So he wrote out with her in an attempt to break the siege but he couldn't make it past Cao Cao's men.
The siege lasted almost three months and all and Yuan Shu reinforcements never showed. And despite his weary forces Cao Cao soon found Lu Bu's men committing betrayal against their master and delivering him the warlord's key personnel.
Not long after Lu Bu too soon found himself surrounded and captured. It is said he asked his own men to behead him, but they refused. Lu Bu was bonded and brought before Cao Cao. He complained that the rope was too tight. Cao Cao told him tigers required tight restraints.
Lu sought forgiveness and offered to help Cao Cao. The warlord considered Lu's pledge of service, but Liu Bei reminded him of what Lu had done with his previous masters. And so, Lu Bu and his allies were executed by hanging.
Their corpses were decapitated and had been sent to the capital of Xu. and with that, the life of Lu Bu was over.