A distant descendent of the Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bei lost his father at a young age, and had to support himself and his mother by making and selling shoes and straw mats. After the outbreak of the Yellow Turban Rebellion in 184 A.D., Liu Bei raised a militia of volunteers from nearby villages, and, with help from his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, led the volunteers to win several decisive victories against the rebels. For his accomplishments against the Yellow Turbans he was appointed Prefect and Captain of Gaotang.
Guan Yu was born in Xie County to a family of scholars. At the age of 23 he was forced to flee his hometown after killing a local bully. 5 years later he joined the volunteer army led by Liu Bei. Guan Yu wielded the legendary Green Dragon Saber (also called the Cold Beauty), and was both a fierce warrior and a diligent scholar.
Zhang Fei was originally a wealthy butcher from the Zhuo Commandery. When he learned of Liu Bei’s attempt to recruit volunteers to battle the Yellow Turban rebels, Zhang Fei not only joined this new militia, he also donated a large portion of his wealth to finance the effort. Known for his fiery temper and love of wine, Zhang Fei was to become one of the most feared warriors of his time.