|“||The peach trees in the orchard behind the house are just in full flower. Tomorrow we will institute a sacrifice there and solemnly declare our intention before Heaven and Earth, and we three will swear brotherhood and unity of aims and sentiments: Thus will we enter upon our great task||„|
|~ Zhang Fei, after spending a day with his new acquaintances Liu Bei and Guan Yu.|
|“||I'm still waiting for a real challenge!||„|
|~ Zhang Fei's victory quote.|
Zhang Fei (張飛), style name: Yide (益德), is a Three Kingdoms historical general who was known to served Liu Bei. His bravery and might were praised to be second to Guan Yu, but he was also strict to the point of cruelty and wouldn't hesitate to punish insubordination with beatings or the death penalty. Zhang Fei, Liu Bei, and Guan Yu are not related by birth but became sworn brothers prior to their military service, however all three treat this oath as if they were biologically related.
In the most fictional media, he is usually one of the main protagonists in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel and game as well as a playable character in both the Dynasty Warriors and Knights of Valour video game series. The said novel and adaptations from it would often show Zhang Fei to be an obese man that was possessed powerful strength.
Brothers in Arms
Zhang Fei is the brother of general, and later emperor of Shu, Liu Bei. Liu Bei and his brothers all joined the military at the same time, but to keep close even in times of war Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and their brother Guan Yu would all meet once a year at least at a cherry blossom tree as a form of reunion.
Zhang Fei, Liu Bei, and Guan Yu all enlisted in the army of Yuan Shao, who had organized a massive campaign of warriors to save the kidnapped emperor Xian. Liu Bei and Zhang Fei and Guan Yu all served under directly and Guan Yu under commander Yuan Shao. The three helped put down rebellions, coups and protect the royal city and eventually rose to the ranks of generals each. Eventually Yuan Shao would be seen as a potential traitor by the emperor and so sent another of Yuan Shao's recruits, Cao Cao, to kill him. With his rival destroyed, Cao Cao became high commander of the military and would eventually declare himself as the emperor.
When Emperor Xian is not died, Cao Cao was seen as unceasingly cruel and consumed by war upon killing their former commander, taking Guan Yu as a prisoner of war in the process, but appointing him as general in his army. Liu Bei became so disgusted with the state of the military that he walked away from his service. Cao Cao, not willing to allow military rivals to roam free, began going after his previous allies as military threats.
Zhang Fei left along with Liu Bei and helped protect his brother. Where as Liu Bei had left out of desire simply not to be associated with Cao Cao at first, Zhang Fei had always hoped to get into conflict with the power made general. Guan Yu saw the same madness arise in Cao Cao but refused to abandon his service, taking his vows to the emperor very seriously.
Zhang Fei met Guan Yu on the battle field twice but the three brothers refused to fight each-other, Liu Bei going as far as to turn away rather than be forced to fight his brother, Zhang Fei flead with Liu Bei on the first encounter; During the second encounter, it was just Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, this time with Guan Yu leaving rather than harming his brother, the near-personal-one-on-one-duel convinced Guan Yu to bow out the very second his tour of active duty was over, joining Liu Bei.
The Battle at Changban
During Zhang Fei and Liu Bei's time in exile, they are moved around as nomads with the people of the Shu province in order to avoid Cao Cao's wrath. Although Zhang Fei always disapproved of remaining on the run but like Liu Bei refused to fight their brother while he was still stuck serving Cao Cao, yet would not risk their people's safety by remaining in one place. Zhang Fei would go as far as to shove along the poor or sick just to keep Shu perpetually on the move.
Liu Bei had been declared an enemy of Cao Cao before he even had a chance to retrieve his family and needed to keep on the move, however his family was retrieved by one of the Shu loyal generals, Zhao Yun, who Liu Bei made one of his most decorated generals in gratitude and Zhang Fei found himself serving side-by-side with the young man. When Cao Cao found the Shu convoy at Changban he closed in his attack. Zhang Fei would be among the first to attack the attackers, favoring strong central charges against the troops.
Though this would not harm Cao Cao's Wei army significantly and placed his own unit in great peril, the charges did keep Wei from ever going as far in as to be able to place the commoners in jeopardy. Liu Bei would fail to defeat his attackers but thanks to Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun, Shu was able to hold out long enough for their naval ships to arrive, despite Zhang Fei's desire to fight, Liu Bei instead chose to flee entirely rather than risk the large number of commoners that ultimately made up Shu.
Guan Yu had formally left Cao Cao, not wishing for either his oath of service or oath of brotherhood to come into conflict with each-other. The three brothers united and Liu Bei made both his brother members of his Five Tiger Generals, the highest military position possible. Liu Zhang, governor of the Yi Province, saw Cao Cao was planning to attack and so offered Liu Bei and his convoy Yi as a base of operation if they would protect it, thus did Shu finally become a formal power.
Liu Bei had been visiting wise hermit named Zhuge Liang for advice. Liu Bei had made the perilous journey to see Zhuge Liang no less than three times seeking wisdom, and before he left each time he would extend an invitation to the sage to join Shu, by the third time with the three brothers all making the journey together, Zhuge Liang capitulated and became Liu Bei's personal adviser.
Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, and Zhao Yun as the main commanders, Zhuge Liang as his tactical and political adviser and Yi as a base of operations Liu Bei successfully established Shu.
Battle of the Three Kingdoms
Emperor Xian had died and with no clear successor Cao Cao took up the title, However Liu Bei had never formally be dismissed, was distantly related to the former emperor and claimed to represent the ideals of the Han Dynasty, so under Zhuge Liang's advisement Liu Bei declared himself emperor.
Zhang Fei was the first to address his brother as Emperor and reinforced the idea, going on campaigns across Yi to announce Liu Bei's intent to challenge Cao Cao for the title. Due to Zhang Fei's fervent campaign, Liu Bei was so widely recognized that even members of Wei questioned whether or not their high-commander was indeed Emperor or not.
Zhang Fei's campaign would wash across China and to expand Shu far beyond Yi. Zhang Fei would die just one year later though in his campaign to have his brother recognized as emperor. The warlord Sun Quan, who was previously allied with Liu Bei decided to take advantage of the political flux and make his own play for emperor, attacking Shu territories.
Zhang Fei fought back Sun Quan's forces of Wu but died at the battle of the Jing Province - assassinated by two of his former subordinates, Fan Qiang and Zhang Da, who had switched sides to Wu. Zhang Fei's head was cut off and delivered to Sun Quan. Zhang Fei's son, Zhang Bao should waiting for getting avenge his late father with the Zhang family, the death of Zhang Fei would spur Liu Bei to enact bloody vengeance on Wu and re-enforce his campaign to Wei.
- The Real Life Zhang Fei is famous for his amazing military prowess and a plethora of heinous acts, such as beating up his men for the most trivial reasons (this ultimately ends up getting him killed by them while he was drunk sleeping). There are also various sources or lore claiming he either possibly raped Xiahou Yuan's niece (who later becomes his wife and Xingcai's mother) or merely kidnapped her to marry her when she's still a teenager, and have her sire his daughter later.