Eastern Wu: Realm of the Sun Clan sample (Act I) -- T. P. M. Thorne


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The busy court of Lujiang Prefecture’s Administrator, Liu Xun, had suddenly become a place where the future was completely uncertain. The administrator’s chief adviser, Liu Yè, shook his head and said, “I am at a total loss, my lord, as to where we go from here. We’re both distant relatives of His Majesty, so what we do now makes even less sense to me. We’re independent, but from what…?”
“You’re one of the many people in this room that told me to capture Yuan Shu’s remaining vassals!” Liu Xun retorted. “We’re independent from Yuan Shu’s defunct regime and the web of control that is being weaved by Sun Ce! And we’re also independent of the rest of Yang Province, which is controlled by who right now…?”
The officials exchanged nervous glances as Liu Yè replied, “The government: the Han government in Xuchang. Yuan Shu’s appointed provincial inspector, Hui Qu, is a rebel with nowhere to run, if he is even still alive…”
Liu Xun waved his hand and said, “The Han government has no jurisdiction in Yang Province! The place is lawless! The Qian Hill Bandits, tribes, pirates and Sun Ce control the province now: I cannot hope to survive, and Lujiang cannot hope to remain out of Sun Ce’s grip, if we do not act independently. The court’s choice of governor, Liu Yao, is dead, so I shall act as a ‘governor in waiting’ might do and pacify the region myself. By capturing Yuan Shu’s heir and minions, we prove to the court that we are not their enemy: that leaves us free to attack Jiangdong and start to take the region back - for the Han, of course - from that thief Sun Ce!”
“For the Han, ‘of course’,” Liu Yè snickered. “But will Sun Ce just let you do as you intend…? He also claims to be taking over Jiangdong ‘for the Han’, and he has titles from the court.”
“But Sun Ce is not, as you have pointed out, an imperial relative, as I am,” Liu Xun retorted. “He’ll defer to my newfound might or fall by my sword!”

“…He’s unlikely to ‘defer’, and he defeated us very easily last time, when he had far more distractions,” Liu Yè noted. “We should not be so overconfident.”
“On the contrary, I say to you that you should not underestimate what we can achieve,” Liu Xun said. “Yuan Shu’s army was divided by his last treacherous proclamation, but now that he is dead they seek a new man to follow, one that will not alienate them from the rest of the world. I am that man, Mister Liu Yè: already - just two weeks after Yuan Yao and the rest came into my possession - men have started to come here, turning over wanted Yuan family members and conspirators to us and asking if they can be part of what is to come! Thousands of men are already here, and thousands, maybe many tens of thousands more will follow!”
The officials murmured optimistically.
“…Sun Ce’s actions will dictate the ease with which your plan will work, and the Han court’s opinion is not yet known,” Liu Yè suggested. “Your ‘newfound might’ mainly consists of locals and deserters, and we don’t know if we can control them.”
Liu Xun flicked his baggy sleeve as a sign of the highest contempt and said, “Stop demoralising my court! The Han’s Excellency of Works, Cao Cao, is an old friend, and Sun Ce is an excitable pirate whose days of acting freely are at an end!”

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