Dramatis Personæ

Main Character:

Jiang Zhe (江哲) – the protagonist, a young scholar with preternatural senses, possessing intelligence and remarkable literary talent; hailing originally from Jiaxing (嘉兴) Prefecture; at the beginning of the story he has just finished observing the rites after the passing of his father and serves as the family tutor for Marquis Lu


Jiang Zhe’s Subordinates:

Xiaoshunzi (小顺子) – real name Li Shun (李顺). A eunuch who Jiang Zhe befriends; becomes a powerful martial artist and Jiang Zhe’s closest attendant; learns the infamous martial art called the "Sunflower Manual" (葵花宝典)

Chen Zhen (陈稹) – a former assassin from Shu who becomes the leader of Jiang Zhe’s Secret Camp

Han Wuji (寒无计) – a former assassin from Shu who becomes the manager of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets

Chiji (赤骥), Daoli (盗骊), Baiyi (白义), Yulun (逾轮), Shanzi (山子), Quhuang (渠黄), Hualiu (骅骝), Lü’er (绿耳) – the eight elite operatives of the Secret Camp, named after the eight horses who pulled the chariot of King Mu of Zhou when he dreamed of traveling to heavenly paradise and tasting the peaches of immortality

Xia Jinyi (夏金逸) – originally named Xia Quan (夏全); nicknamed the Dissolute Wastrel (风流浪子), a former disciple of the Kongtong Sect; becomes a spy for Jiang Zhe in the service of Crown Prince Li An


Great Yong (大雍):

Li Yuan (李援) – the Emperor of Great Yong

Empress Dou (窦皇后) – the Empress of Great Yong and mother to Crown Prince Li An

Li Xian (李显) – the Prince of Qi (齐王), the sixth son of Li Yuan

Princess Changle (长乐公主), Li Zhen (李贞) – daughter of Li Yuan, Crown Princess of Southern Chu, later Queen; in love with Jiang Zhe

Li Kang (李康) – the Prince of Qing (庆王), third son of Li Yuan; holds a grudge against the Fengyi Sect for the death of his mother, Concubine Yi (宜嫔)

Noble Consort Zhangsun (长孙贵妃) – Princess Changle’s mother

Wei Guan (韦观) – Prime Minister and Director of the Imperial Secretariat

Wei Ying (韦膺) – fourth son of Wei Guan, Gentleman of the Ministry of Personnel (吏部郎中)

Cheng Shu (程殊) – the Duke of Wei (魏国公)

Qin Yi (秦彝) – Grand General Who Suppresses Distant Lands (抚远大将军)

Qin Qing (秦青) – Qin Yi’s second son, General of Tiger Might (虎威将军)

Qin Yong (秦勇) – Qin Yi's distant nephew and most trusted subordinate

Pei Yun (裴云) – Commander of the Northern Barracks of the Imperial Guard (禁军北营统领), a layman disciple of the Shaolin Temple

Pei Jing (裴敬) – Pei Yun’s father, Vice Minister of the Imperial Secretariat (中书侍郎)

Crown Prince Faction (太子党):

Li An (李安) – the Crown Prince of Great Yong, eldest son of Li Yuan

Lady Cui (崔氏) – the Crown Princess, Li An’s principal wife and the mother to Li An’s heir

Lu Jingzhong (鲁敬忠) – the Crown Prince’s Junior Mentor (太子少傅)

Xiahou Yuanfeng (夏侯沅峰) – second-rank Imperial Bodyguard (御前二品带刀侍卫) and Vice Supervisor of the Palace Guard (大内副总管)

Xiahou Lan (夏侯阑) – Xiahou Yuanfeng’s father, the Minister of Rites (礼部尚书)

Liang Jinqian (梁谨潜) – the Minister of Revenue (户部尚书)

Cui Yang (崔央) – Li An’s brother-in-law; Vice Minister of Revenue (户部侍郎)

Zhang Jinxiong (张锦雄) – Xia Jinyi’s eldest apprentice brother, a twenty-seventh generation disciple of the Kongtong Sect, slated to succeed as sect master; Supervisor of the Crown Prince’s Imperial Bodyguards (侍卫总管) and a fourth-ranked blade-carrying imperial bodyguard (四品带刀侍卫)

Xing Song (邢嵩) – Vice Supervisor of the Crown Prince’s Imperial Bodyguards (侍卫副总管)

Prince of Yong Faction (雍王党):

Li Zhi (李贽) – the Prince of Yong, second son of Li Yuan; masqueraded as Li Tianxiang (李天翔), a merchant from the Kingdom of Shu; after capturing Jianye and capturing Zhao Jia, Li Zhi was promoted to become the Marshal of Heavenly Strategies (天策元帅)

Lady Gao (高氏) – the Princess of Yong, Li Zhi’s principal wife and mother to Li Jun

Li Jun (李骏) – Li Zhi’s only son and the heir to his principality

Shi Yu (石彧) – styled Ziyou (子攸), Li Zhi’s closest adviser

Gou Lian (苟廉) – hailing from Yingchuan (颍川), one of Li Zhi’s ranking retainers, an adept envoy with a three-inch limber tongue

Guan Xiu (管休) – hailing from Beihai (北海), one of Li Zhi’s ranking retainers, an adept quartermaster

Dong Zhi (董志) – hailing from Luoyang (洛阳), one of Li Zhi’s ranking retainers, adept at troop movements and tactics

Sima Xiong (司马雄) – Commander of Li Zhi’s personal guards (亲卫统领)

Zhangsun Ji (长孙冀) – nicknamed the Golden Bow Zhangsun (金弓长孙), the best archer in the Yong army

Jing Chi (荆迟) – a fierce and valiant general, forced by Li Zhi to take Jiang Zhe as his teacher

Xuan Song (宣松) – styled Changqing (常青), an adjunct (参军) in the army

Jianghu (江湖):

Sha Qingyuan (沙青元) – leader of the Guanzhong Alliance (关中联)

Duanmu Qiu (端木秋) – nicknamed the Silver Bowed Wastrel (银弓浪子); tried to assassinate Zhao Jue

Qiao Yan’er (乔焰儿) – Duanmu Qiu’s junior apprentice sister; the Red Clothed Luocha (红妆罗刹); tried to assassinate Zhao Jue


Southern Chu (南楚):

Zhao Sheng (赵胜) – King of Southern Chu, posthumously honored as King Ling of Chu (楚灵王)

Zhao Jia (赵嘉) – the Crown Prince of Southern Chu, posthumously honored as King Yang of Chu (楚炀王)

Zhao Jue (赵珏) – the Prince of De (德亲王), a military commander of Southern Chu; later dies from injuries sustained in an assassination attempt

Lu Xin (陆信) – the Marquis Who Suppresses Distant Lands (镇远侯), commander of the Southern Chu defenses at Jiangxia; his family is held hostage in the capital of Jianye

Lu Can (陆灿) – son of Marquis Lu; becomes a capable general

Liu Kui (刘魁) – hailing from Jiangning (江宁) Prefecture, ranked second (榜眼, bangyan) in the imperial examinations

Fu Yulun (伏玉伦) – hailing from Huaiyang (淮阳) Prefecture, ranked third (探花, tanhua) in the imperial examinations

Shang Weijun (尚维钧) – Prime Minister of Southern Chu

Xie Xian (谢贤) – Academy Chancellor of Hanlin Academy (翰林掌院)

Eunuch Wang (王公公) – a eunuch supervising the book repositories

Rong Yuan (容渊) – the most influential retainer in the service of the Prince of De; after the Prince of De’s death, he succeeds the prince as commander of the garrison at Xiangyang (襄阳)

Luo Wenshu (罗文肃) – the Minister Who Remonstrates and Advises (谏议大夫), tries to use his death to admonish Zhao Jia

Vicious Killer (毒手恶心) – an assassin in the service of the Prince of De and later Rong Yuan; attempts to assassinate Jiang Zhe to fulfill the Prince of De's dying command

Zhao Long (赵陇) – Zhao Jia's third son; grandson of Prime Minister Shang; succeeds to the throne when Zhao Jia is taking captive by Great Yong

Yang Xiu (杨秀) – Lu Can's adviser, serving as an adjunct (参军)


The Fengyi Sect (凤仪门):

Fan Huiyao (梵惠瑶) – the master of the Fengyi Sect, one of the most powerful martial artists of the era

Ji Xia (纪霞) – Fan Huiyao's junior apprentice sister; Noble Consort Ji (纪贵妃), disciple of the Fengyi Sect dispatched to ensure Li Yuan’s safety

Wen Ziyan (闻紫烟) – Fan Huiyao's first disciple

Liang Wan (梁婉) – a disciple of the Fengyi Sect, in love with the Prince of Yong, she is a gifted zither player who becomes the adopted daughter of Zhao Sheng and Princess Mingyue of Southern Chu; has her memories wiped by Jiang Zhe and turned into an infant

Qin Zheng (秦铮) – a woman masquerading as a man, serves as an adviser to Li Xian; a capable martial artist; later becomes Li Xian’s wife

Li Hanyou (李寒幽) – originally named Qiao Cuiyun (乔翠云); Fan Huiyao's last disciple; the Princess of Jingjiang (靖江郡主), attempted to assassinate Jiang Zhe; betrothed to Qin Qing

Xiao Lan (萧兰) – the Crown Prince's Concubine Lan (兰妃)


Kingdom of Shu (蜀国):

Meng Yun (孟昀) – King of Shu, forced to surrender by the combined armies of Yong and Southern Chu; shamed by Jiang Zhe and commits suicide

Yang Can (杨灿) – a scholar of Shu who volunteered to serve as an envoy to the Prince of Yong; later commmits suicide

Long Bu (龙步) – Grand General of Shu tasked with defending Luocheng; falls into a trap and commits suicide rather than surrender

Wei Xian (魏贤) – Grand General of Shu tasked with defending Luocheng; falls into a trap and is killed

Tian Wei (田维) – the Shu general commanding the garrison at Ba Prefecture; commits suicide rather than surrender

Shen Jun (审峻) – Prime Minister of Shu, tasked with defending Jiameng Pass, captured by Li Zhi

Fan Hu (梵虎) and Meng Da (孟靼) – Grand Generals of Shu tasked with defending Jiameng Pass

Han Zhang (韩章) – an operative for Shu, Tian Wei’s son-in-law, biological father of Roulan; dies from wounds sustained while attempting to leave the Embroidered Union

Embroidered Union (锦绣门):

Huo Jicheng (霍纪城) – leader of the Embroidered Union, a member of the ancillary branch of the Li (历) family


Northern Han (北汉):

Long Tingfei (龙庭飞) – the General Who Dominates Distant Lands (威远将军)

Devil Sect (魔门):

Jing Wuji (京无极) – Sovereign of the Devil Sect, State Mentor (国师) of Northern Han



Sang Chen (桑臣) – the Medical Sage, Jiang Zhe’s master in medical arts; treats Jiang Zhe as his own grandson

Jiang Yong (姜永) – Li Yuan’s nephew, son of Li Yuan’s older sister, revolted and became a pirate in the East(ern) Sea

Liu Piaoxiang (柳飘香) – the most famous courtesan of the Qinhuai River, hostess of the Floating Fragrance Pleasure Boat, Jiang Zhe’s fiancée; murdered by Liang Wan after being raped by Li An

Roulan (柔蓝) – Han Zhang’s biological daughter, Jiang Zhe’s adopted daughter

Jing Wuqing (荆舜卿) – Jiang Zhe’s younger cousin, a business genius; helped with an investment of one hundred thousand taels of silver from the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets

Yang Laosheng (杨老生) – a warlord that Li Zhi defeated with the help of Fan Huiyao

Wen Hu (温虎) – a fierce general under Yang Laosheng, killed by Fan Huiyao