The History/Religion

 

In the beginning the 4 Long (also sometimes referred to as Ryu, both seem to mean dragon which is the word used from now on) families ruled the universe.  However evil creatures known as the Qin came and tried to take the spheres from the dragons.  They were a mighty foe, and the dragons were steadily beaten back.  However the dragons devised a plan to save themselves from the evil.  They came to the 25 Worlds, and cast them off from the rest of the universe.  The universe without the dragons soon became uninhabitable, and the Qin were angered.  They tried to follow the dragons, but they had hidden the paths to these worlds so their enemies could not follow.  The four families were powerful, but had need of servants better suited to building and keeping livestock.  Yu-Huang-Shang-Ti found some yellow clay (NB this is not a racist comment but an actual Chinese legend) and began to fashion man from the clay.  However it was taking a long time, so he set about dipping a rope into the clay and pulling it out.  The drips from the rope became men, but they were not as good as the men fashioned by hand.  Those fashioned by hand could walk the spheres, and the others could not.  Other the centuries these two types of man have interbred, and their children either become Spherewalkers or not  Only a pure line is certain to have Spherewalking children, otherwise it is now difficult to tell who will be of which type before they travel the realms.

 

                                                                                                           

 

The Han Family, were the dragons of the East, and the Water.  It had been their skills in travelling that had allowed the families to come to the 25 Worlds, and shut them off from the Qin, and the rest of the universe.  At that time they were ruled by Yu-Huang-Shang-Ti, an old and wise dragon.  He started on the Sphere of Shambhala a great rule of the 25 Worlds.  On the world of Ch’ang-an he took human form and guided the human servants with benevolence, teaching them how to better themselves through worshipping the dragon families, and how to defend themselves in case the agents of the Qin ever arrived in the Worlds.  These human defenders were known as the Wu-huan, and were led by Lui Bang, ruling all the humans from the Jade Throne.  He was at times treated as equal to the dragons, for he was the greatest of men.  Eventually Lui Bang died, and all in the 25 worlds mourned his loss.  Wu Ti, another man picked by Yu-Huang-Shang-Ti, took his place as spiritual leader of the worlds.  This process continued for many years to come.

                                                                                                        

After Yu-Huang-Shang-Ti took human form to guide the humans the other families began to do the same.  The first to do so was Chu Jung, the first dragon born on the 25 Worlds.  He was part of the Wei family, the dragons of the South and Fire.  His birth was a symbol of the dragon’s victory over the Qin, and he quickly became leader of the Wei.  Although it was not known at that time he had taken a human mate, P'an-Chin-Lien who after receiving his seed became long lived, and created a son, the immortal Cao Cao, which the humans of Wei were instructed to treat as a god amongst men.  So it was that the humans of Wei began to worship another than the Han leader.

                                                                                                        

Next to take human form was Lei Kun of the Shu family, dragons of the West and the Air.  He took a move that the other families thought shameful, becoming the advisor to a human he raised to immortality, Zhuge Liang.  Zhuge Liang did not take power over the Shu humans himself, but instead elevated a human he named Lui Bei.  This name was used for all human leaders of the Shu from this point on.  The Wei familiy were particularly disgusted with a dragon being a servant to a servant, and this created the first rift between the families, though it was purely verbal at this time.

                                                                                                

The final family was that of the Wu, the dragons of the North and of the Earth.  Ch’eng-Huang was the head of that family.  He never took another form, and ruled the humans of the Wu directly, though it was known that he frequently bestowed gifts on favourite servants, and that these were treated like a status symbol amongst the Wu humans.  In particular in the period where events take place Sun Quan was favoured of Ch’eng-Huang, and the leader of the Wu humans.  It is said that he was given the shed skin of Ch’eng-Huang to wear as armour, a great gift indeed.

 

In general there was peace throughout the 25 worlds.  After Shambhala the home of the dragons, the four principle spheres were those of Ch'ang-an (sphere name and capital realm), where the Jade Throne was, Wu (capital realm of Jianye), Shu (capital Chengdu) and Wei (capital Xuchang).  The remaining 20 spheres were all divided equally between the families.  The Qin never arrived, and over time humans forgot about the paths leading from the 25 worlds, and it is believed only the dragons themselves still remember where they are.  Instead much civilisation was brought about, with entire spheres sometimes being made into farmland and hunting ground.  The dragons ruled, in general benevolently, helping the humans, who in turn helped the dragons.  This utopia could not last however, and it was Cao Cao himself that brought about it’s end.

 

Emperor Xian had taken over the Jade Throne 6 years previously.  However it was clear he was not as successful a ruler as Wu Ti, Lu Bang and the others had been.  He tried to elevate the position of the humans in the Han Dynasty, something that the Wei could not condone.  Cao Cao broke from the Empire, and declared Wei it’s own kingdom.  His first act was to take control of Dunhuang, an entire sphere, from the Han by force.

                                                                                

The Han had preached tolerance for many years, and Xian did not know what to do.  He watched as the remaining Han spheres were taken over by Cao Cao and his armies, his forces unwilling to fight against their own.  Only Ch’ang-an remained under Han control, and it’s foodstuffs were severely over-taxed.  It was the intervention of Sun Quan and the present Lui Bei that saved the Han, they joined forces and attacked the realm of Xuchang, Cao Cao’s home.  Whilst they didn’t manage to claim it, it did force Cao Cao to return home, and saved the Han.  However soon after Lui Bei and Sun Quan made a bid for independence, seeing that the tide had shifted against the Han, and that Emperorship was up for grabs.

 

The battles raged for a hundred years, with no side gaining enough of an advantage, since when one became strong the other 2 would unite long enough to weaken them.  The dragons themselves did not interfere, retiring to Shambhala for the course of the conflict, though there are claims that Cao Cao was assisted by his father in a less obvious way.  The only constant was the Han staying in control of only the 1 world.  Finally the fighting stopped, all sides seeking time to regroup.  The Wei and Shu controlled 8 spheres now, and the Wu had 7.  Tentative trading began again between the worlds, and it is in this climate that the game takes place.

 

Discrepancies

 

The history presented above is the general accepted history at present.  There are differences between the 4 families as one would expect, especially in their role in the exodus and creation of the realms.  However there are older records that hint at a past different to the one presented.

 

Exodus – In some records, the dragons were beaten by the Qin, and forced to leave the rest of the universe.  However they set themselves up as rulers, which was forbidden by the Qin, hence their preparations for war.

 

Humans – An ancient Shu tablet shows humans arriving on the realms with the dragon families, not created in the realms at all.

 

The Fortune Deck – The deck of cards is frowned upon by the dragons, indeed it is banned on Wei worlds.  There is no record of it in the creation, but many humans have a deck and some know how to use it.

 

The Dragon Families – Early records show at least 6 dragon families arriving in the worlds, yet later versions only have the established 4.

 

The Jade Throne – It is said that Yu-Huang-Shang-Ti found a large block of Jade, and shaped it into a cube to be used as a seat of power.  The cube itself resists all attempts to move or alter it. However it is mentioned in some writings found in Xuchang that the cube was left there by a giant, uttering the words “It’s not ready yet.” before disappearing.  If not true why didn’t Yu-Huang-Shang-Ti make it into a throne, rather than a cube if he made it?

 

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