|Force(s):||Zhang Miao's Forces|
Cao Cao's Forces
192 cm (6'3½")
|Weapon Type:||Yue and armored gauntlet (1)|
Yue (2~5, 7~9)
Ball and chain (6)
|Playable Debut:||Dynasty Warriors|
典韋 - 典韦
|His style name is allegedly Zimàn (子曼) according to some sources, though this may be the result of fabricated information or a translation error.|
Banner of the Coming Evil
Dian Wei (onyomi: Ten I) is one of Cao Cao's many generals who was renowned for his strength and bravery. He fought in several battles in his lord's honor before he acted as the rear guard for his lord's escape at Wan Castle. Cao Cao is reputed to have grieved his passing. Romance of the Three Kingdoms has Cao Cao praise Dian Wei as a match for E Lai (悪来, onyomi: Aku Rai), the same name of a mighty bureaucrat who once served King Zhou. His death in the novel is largely believed to have inspired Benkei's death in fiction.
Dynasty Warriors fans voted him to fifty-second place in Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 7 character popularity poll; he placed sixty-eighth in the Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends popularity poll. The latest poll for the eighth installment puts him in seventy-third. The character poll for overseas fans puts him in twelfth place for the Wei division. His nickname, E Lai, is often literally translated in the English script as the "Coming Evil" rather than keeping it as a person's name.
In Kessen II, his character's height is 200 cm (6'7").
- 1 Role in Games
- 2 Character Information
- 3 Quotes
- 4 Gameplay
- 5 Weapons
- 6 Historical Information
- 7 Romance of the Three Kingdoms
- 8 Gallery
Role in Games
- "Your coming bodes no evil for me!"
- ~~Yoshihiro; Warriors Orochi
Dian Wei acts as one of Cao Cao's early bodyguards. He earns special recognition from his lord and is either called the "coming evil" or one "who matches the power of the warriors of yore" throughout the series. He is best remembered for sacrificing his all for his lord's escape, stalling Zhang Xiu's army at Wan Castle. Unless players are playing his story mode, he will usually only appear during the early battles of the Three Kingdoms period.
His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends reenacts him defending Cao Cao's escape from Wan Castle. Zhang Xiu had surrendered to Cao Cao and welcomed him within his domain. However, Cao Cao eloped with his uncle's wife, which angered Zhang Xiu. Caught in a surprise attack and the castle in flames, Dian Wei volunteers to guard Cao Cao's escape. He finds an open path for his master but suffers from two grievous arrow wounds. Regardless of his injury, Dian Wei continues to oppose his lord's pursuers and fights any generals -including Zhang Xiu- until Cao Cao escapes.
In Dynasty Warriors 5, he is scouted by Xiahou Dun when he wrestled a tiger with his bare hands and soon recruited under Cao Cao's service. During the Yellow Turban Rebellion, his master spots his ferocity in battle and praises him with his nickname. Dian Wei proudly carries his new name and soon became known throughout the land as Cao Cao's loyal bodyguard. When Cao Cao is betrayed at Wan Castle, Dian Wei rescues his lord and defeats several of Zhang Xiu's troops. Although he couldn't strike down Zhang Xiu, he contributes to Lu Bu's downfall at Xia Pi Castle and chases Liu Bei at Chang Ban. He protects his liege's escape a second time after their army loses at Chi Bi. Undeterred by any who come to attack his lord, he saves Cao Cao a third time from would-be Wu assassins in his ending.
His Legend Mode in the Xtreme Legends expansion begins with Emperor Xian taken prisoner by the remnants of Dong Zhuo's army. He shares the stage with his master, Xiahou Dun and Xu Zhu. Dian Wei starts in the far east and he demonstrates his strength during the conflict. When Lu Bu arrives to try to claim their royal traveler, Cao Cao orders Dian Wei to take down their unexpected rival. Once the emperor reaches safety, he is officially named Cao Cao's protector and is deeply honored with his new position.
Dian Wei's ending scene in Dynasty Warriors: Online has him launch a surprise attack on the unsuspecting player who blocks the strike with ease. Delighted with their apprentice's vigilance, he considers them ready to protect their master from potential assassins.
Dian Wei is implied to be a man of unfavorable origin in Dynasty Warriors 6. Cao Cao employs him regardless of his reputation and trusts his new vassal to be his shield. Although his master is pleased with his performance, Dian Wei is additionally given other responsibilities to complete, such as leading his own army and instructing troops. Though he makes a name for himself as a magnificent general, Dian Wei isn't interested in politics or philosophies and only works to protect Cao Cao. When Wei defeats Wu at He Fei Castle, Cao Cao entrusts the safety of the new land to his vassals. Hearing from Xiahou Dun that their lord has departed, Dian Wei abandons his duties and catches up to Cao Cao. Simply explaining that he only desires to do what he does best, Dian Wei vows to forever be Cao Cao's shield and they leave together.
Dian Wei starts off on his own at Yan Province in the following title and challenges Xiahou Dun to a duel. But after he is defeated, Xiahou Dun brings him to Cao Cao to become a bodyguard. In battle, Dian Wei fights Xu Zhu, who joins Cao Cao's army soon afterwards, and the two of them develop a deep friendship. They protect their lord as he fights Tao Qian at Xu Province and shelters the Emperor from rival warlords. At Wan Castle, Dian Wei and Cao Cao find themselves in a trap and are attacked by Zhang Xiu's forces. As they rush to escape and reunite with Cao Cao's army, Jia Xu has an army of archers shoot arrows at Cao Cao. Dian Wei pushes his lord away and gets himself pierced by several arrows. After seeing Cao Cao successfully escape, Dian Wei dies, telling Xu Zhu that they will tend to his fields another time.
Dian Wei's first Legendary Battle revolves around his participation in the Battle of Puyang against Lu Bu's forces. His second sees his final struggle to ensure his lord's safety as Cao Cao tries to escape Wan Castle.
He is already recruited by Cao Cao at the start of Dynasty Warriors Next and is in the focus at the start of chapter four. He is instrumental in recruiting Xu Zhu after he pacifies the giant over his crops. Later on, Dian Wei and Cao Cao are invited to a banquet by Jia Xu. Dian Wei stalls the enemy ambush long enough for Cao Cao to make his escape from Wan Castle and continues to block the way outside the castle walls. He perishes when a group of archers shoot him from behind, entrusting Xu Zhu to guard their lord. His death results in Jia Xu's allegiance to Cao Cao.
In Dynasty Warriors 8, he makes his first appearance fighting Lu Bu at Hulao Gate. Cao Cao personally takes note of his strength and recruits him afterwards. If the player achieves certain conditions, Dian Wei will survive Wan Castle and appear at Guandu and Chibi. If the historical route is taken despite Dian Wei's survival, he still participates in the battle and joins Zhang Liao and Xu Zhu in escorting Cao Cao to safety after Wei is defeated. On the hypothetical route, Dian Wei instead helps secure the front lines in preparation for Wei successfully countering Wu's fire attack. He later participates in the campaign against Wu at Jianye before joining his lord in the final offensive against Shu.
Encountered as an adversary during the Xuzhou scenario in Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed, Dian Wei's bond story explores the time he spent as Zhang Miao's vassal. Having gained notoriety for killing a man who dishonored his friend, he is recommended by Zhao Chong while looking for work, though the rough treatment he receives causes him to reconsider his choice in lords.
Upon meeting Cao Cao's entourage, he finds himself enjoying their camaraderie enough to change allegiance. His sheer might enables him to bravely resist Lu Bu's archers in just 5 paces and lift a 95 pound banner that Li Dian and Yue Jin had trouble with for their competition. Dian Wei's last stand against Zhang Xiu's men is reprised, though the event ends on a cliffhanger, leaving his fate ambiguous.
In Dynasty Warriors 9, Dian Wei's story begins as one of the new recruits that answer Cao Cao's call-to-arms against Dong Zhuo. Despite his low position, Dian Wei is immediately recommended by Xiahou Dun to act as the warlord's personal bodyguard, which Cao Cao accepts. After the conflict with Dong Zhuo, Dian Wei accompanies his lord to Yan Province where they must eliminate the remaining Yellow Turbans in order to establish their first base.
Upon doing so, however, Cao Cao's father, Cao Song, is killed by Tao Qian's men, and Dian Wei is among the forces ordered to march for the punitive campaign. Their success is put to a grinding halt when Chen Gong betrays them and invites Lu Bu to take their home base. Thanks to their swift return, Lu Bu and the defectors are forced to flee.
With their base secure once again, Cao Cao's forces move to rescue Emperor Xian from the remnants of Dong Zhuo's forces and any other warlord seeking to house the emperor. Dian Wei helps take the emperor under custody, thus delivering his lord a major political edge over his rivals.
Thanks to the suppression of multiple forces, some of the neighboring warlords soon begin submitting to Cao Cao. Among these is Zhang Xiu, who offers for the warlord to stay at Wan Castle after his long march. As part of the terms of his visit, however, Zhang Xiu forbids all of Cao Cao's men from accompanying him. Dian Wei was originally stationed away from Wan Castle when his lord accepts Zhang Xiu's surrender, but he chooses to disobey orders when he senses danger and rushes at Cao Cao's side. Defending his lord's escape, Dian Wei remains at Wan Castle to fight off pursuers to his last. After Cao Cao successfully escapes, he scrambles his men to launch a rescue for Dian Wei, who is still engaged with Jia Xu and Huche'er. He eventually succumbs to his wounds by the end of his own rescue.
When Zhang Xiu and Jia Xu surrender for real, Cao Cao holds a celebratory banquet but also fondly toasts with Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan and Xu Zhu of the loss of Dian Wei. Xiahou Dun looks back at finding Dian Wei after rumors of him frightening tigers were spread around the area, while Xiahou Yuan remarks of Dian Wei's quick rise to becoming one of their lord's most trusted retainers. Xu Zhu offers a somber compliment to Dian Wei's dedication to his role. Finally, Cao Cao provides a toast to his late-bodyguard, calling him his matchless shield, and still remembering Dian Wei's unwavering conviction even after being riddled with arrows.
During Orochi's scenario, Dian Wei is one of the many generals who stood alongside his lord at Yi Ling. However, the heavy bombardment caused by the cannons of Orochi's army forces him to retreat. After the battle's climax, he carries his wounded lord to safety and helps him hide from the public eye. As Cao Cao returns to his forces during the main events in Warriors Orochi, Dian Wei dutifully accompanies him.
He continues to faithfully serve and follow his master in the sequel. When Cao Pi and the men under his command struggle against Kiyomori, Dian Wei reports the incident to Cao Cao and he joins the rescue team at Komaki-Nagakute. He collaborates with Ranmaru and Zhou Tai for their dream mode to rescue their respective lords from Liu Bei's army.
Pacifying the land for Wei, Dian Wei became the protector for villages within the central plains in Warriors Orochi 3. During the original timeline, he was last seen at Guangzong fighting bandits and was among the Wei officers that disappeared after the Hydra's emergence.
When the Coalition arrive from the future and engage the Shu-Oda alliance at Changban, Dian Wei arrives into the battlefield to aid a neutral village, only to find that it had been destroyed. Enraged beyond reasoning, he is defeated by the Coalition and withdraws before Jia Xu can speak to him. Shingen and Kenshin later recall seeing him at Guangzong, and travel back to their past with Jia Xu to help Dian Wei reach Changban sooner. With the threat weakened, they then return to an alternate future at Changban, where Dian Wei is able to protect the village from the nearby soldiers. After receiving the Coalition's help for the second time, the warrior thanks them and gladly joins them in gratitude.
In Ultimate, he returns to his post as Cao Cao's bodyguard and joins his lord in investigating Mt. Niutou after hearing that Pang Tong was being attacked by demons. Although the Wei forces rescue Pang Tong, he is revealed to be a fake, and he spreads chaos by misdirecting Shu forces into attacking the Wei forces. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up by Shennong, Dian Wei accompanies the mystic to various battlefields to mitigate the chaos made by Tamamo.
Returning to the parallel world, Dian Wei commandeers Zuo Ci's Cyclops unit at Nanzhong, when they attempt to use the magical beasts against the army gathered by Ares. Receiving the aid from the other mystics, they are able to triumph against the beasts brought in by the enemy. After the battle, Dian Wei, and the rest of Zuo Ci's armies join the Coalition.
Upon hearing of a village being attacked by demons at Hanzhong, Dian Wei departs to drive the demons away. To his surprise, he sees both Motonari Mōri and Takakage Kobayakawa already fighting with the demons. Lending his strength to their strategies, the group are able to defeat the demon army, and both Motonari and Takage join the Coalition.
Dian Wei appears during the later stages in Kessen II. Once he saw Wei's might on the battlefield, he approaches Cao Cao and offers his services. He then appoints himself as Cao Cao's bodyguard. While his intentions to guard his liege are pure, he isn't a rational thinker and is known to get caught in his zest for battle. During the siege of Fan Castle, he may be lured out by Guan Yu's taunts, thus leaving the southern gate open and defenseless. He is a strong War oriented general yet is very weak against magic.
When asked why Dian Wei is bald in the series, the producer said the development team did so to "make him look strong and unique". Their decision was based on aesthetic preferences only, the producer stating that there was no folklore involved with their choice.
Dian Wei is a determined and straightforward man who is devoted in his mission to protect Cao Cao. He often bellows for a worthy opponent, challenging for anyone to stop him. He doesn't like overthinking the details and just wants to get the job done. Fierce on the battlefield, he turns into a simple and humble man in his lord's presence or around the common folk, and is one to consider being friends with anyone at any given time if he's not forced to fight with them. Dian Wei will likely be the vassal in Wei who frets the most over Cao Cao's well-being. Dian Wei proudly calls his lord "Prime Minister" or "my lord" and is very proud of the nickname that his lord gave him.
Dian Wei greatly respects Xiahou Dun and calls him "my lord" or "Lord Xiahou" whilst referring to him. In the Japanese script, he addresses him as the respectful yet colloquial "danna" (旦那). He is good friends with Xu Zhu. Both men can rely on the other to follow their duty to Cao Cao.
In games where Dian Wei survives Wan Castle he dislikes Jia Xu for his personality and his attempt to take Cao Cao's life. At times, he will be frustrated with the strategist's flippant behavior and his own inability to tell if Jia Xu intends to play another trick. In terms of his attitude towards the peasants, Dian Wei is quick enough to fly into a rage if they are hurt and is apologetic enough when he's forced to steal from them. In terms of the former case, it can be difficult to rationalize with Dian Wei if he gets angry over most things.
In his Warriors Orochi incarnation, Dian Wei is openly surprised by the strength and savagery of many of the Samurai Warriors' cast's female members, most notably Okuni and Oichi as well as the less bulkier members such as Mitsunari and Nagamasa. During the third installment, he provides a budding respect towards Katsuie's reputation as the Devil Shibata as well as their similar choice of weaponry. In the fourth game, he bonds with Benkei over their respective relationships with their lords, but Dian Wei is mystified with the monk's obsession with collecting weapons. Though his dedication to his lord from his humble beginnings is respected by Takatora, the younger man advises Dian Wei to show his commitment by staying alive for his lord rather than sacrifice himself needlessly.
Unlike other officers in the Japanese Script, Dian Wei does not say "Tekishou, uchitotta!", but a different line instead.
In the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, Dian Wei is given the nickname of "The Loyal Bodyguard" while the English version changes it to "The Loyal Blade". As a dominant ruler in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, he calls his five greatest warriors the "Dian Five".
His third, fourth and fifth weapons in the Dynasty Warriors series are literally named "Ox Head" in the Asian script, which has several possible interpretations. One of the possible meanings could be tied to one of the guardians of Hell in Chinese mythology, Ox Head. Working together with Horse Face, they are demons who guard the Underworld and judge the recently deceased spirits. Unlike Horse Face the jailer, Ox Head is depicted as an outright enemy to human souls who hardly thinks to spare them mercy. Another mention in Buddhism depicts an ox demon who had the power to slay anyone before him in three steps. It could also be a reference to Chihyu, which has ties to Xu Zhu in the series. A not-as-likely-but-interesting possibility for the "Ox Head" may be Gozutennō, a god of worship that arose during the Meiji era of Japanese history. He doesn't have a literal head of an ox like Ox Head and others, despite the Han characters used in his name. In a famous tale, Gozutennō disguised himself as an old man and stayed at a random hut for the night. Treated with kindness during his stay and impressed by the brotherly bonds he witnessed, Gozutennō warned the family of a plague that would soon decimate the nearby village and asked for their immediate departure. Since they followed the god's advice, the family became survivors of a disease that otherwise spared no one.
Dian Wei's 11 Level weapon on the other hand, deviates from this, as it is literally named "Black Blaze"; it is likely another parallel to Xu Zhu's 11 Level weapon that also nods to a flame-based figure, the Flame Emperor.
Dian Wei's weapons in Dynasty Warriors 6 are originally named after destructive actions made to his foes. His weapons could either instantly shatter them (Standard), blow them apart to smithereens (Skill), or mash them into a pulp (Strength). The lion engraved into his Strength weapon echoes the beast and Dian Wei's role as a guardian. Sculptures of lions within East Asian are positioned south -or the side opposing a ruler- so as to spot danger before it comes.
Dian Wei's original outfit for Dynasty Warriors 7 is a wrestling uniform. According to the characters printed on it, he wrestles for "Huang University". Huang is likely an abbreviation for fenghuang, a legendary bird found within Chinese mythology often used to symbolize Wei throughout the series.
The original name for Dian Wei's personal item in Warriors Orochi is "Headquarters' Banner". The same banner alludes to the historical incident in which he waved a heavy banner single handedly and led to his quick promotion as a vassal under Xiahou Dun.
- Kazuya Nakai - Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Bill Sullivan - Dynasty Warriors 2 (English)
- Jang Hobi - Dynasty Warriors 2 (Korean)
- Lin Guzhen - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Chinese)
- Sa Seong Wung - Dynasty Warriors 3~5 (Korean)
- Beau Billingslea - Dynasty Warriors 4~8, Warriors Orochi 1~2, Dynasty Tactics 2 (English-uncredited)
- Jarred Kjack - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
- Zhankun Zhang - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
- Jeong Seong-hoon - Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed (Korean)
- Takahiro Yoshimizu - Dynasty Tactics (Japanese)
- Peter Doyle - Kessen II (English-uncredited)
- Shō Hayami - Kessen II (Japanese)
- Jeong Seonghun - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
- Fumihiko Tachiki - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series (Japanese)
- Teruyuki Tanzawa - Sangokushi Legion (Japanese)
- Robert Waterman - Shin Sangokushi (Japanese)
- See also: Dian Wei/Quotes
- "Did you see that, Zhang Xiu?! We have smashed your evil ways. As long as Dian Wei is here, you shall not lay a finger on my lord!"
- "That'll be enough of that. Someday I'll be facing you on the battlefield as well. Making friends with you will make it harder."
- "Now I see. Beneath your warrior's manner, you are actually a simple and gentle man."
- ~~Dian Wei and Lu Xun; Dynasty Warriors 6
- "Are you free? How about helping me with the cows?"
- "Oh! That's right, I promised, didn't I? All right, lemme at 'em!"
- "Calm down a bit. You'll frighten the cows. You have to treat them gently."
- ~~Xu Zhu and Dian Wei; Dynasty Warriors 7
- "Hah! That's what you get for attacking the mighty Dian Wei! Face the Coming Evil and tremble!"
- "The Coming Evil. An ancient hero, correct? You are powerful, Master Dian Wei, but I'm not sure about that name."
- "Why not? He was the left hand of the king! Or was it the right? In either case, a trusted and powerful advisor!"
- "True, but both he and his king are now famous for their cruelty. Is that really who you want to be compared to?"
- "Heh, I don't care about that. Cao Cao gave me that name based on my skills. It's nothing to do with being cruel. I'll be compared to anyone he likes if it makes Cao Cao happy. That's how a good retainer should be."
- "It seems I was wrong, then. It is a fine name, making clear the bond between you and Master Cao Cao."
- "I am Oichi, and I am delighted to make your acquaintance."
- "Er, yes, and er, I am acquainted to make your delightance too!"
- ~~Oichi and Dian Wei; Warriors Orochi
- "Gutter trash! ... You're dreaming if you think I'm gonna let you lay even one finger on Lord Cao Cao."
- "Oh, but surely you won't mind if I touch you?"
- "H-hey! Stop that! I'm serious."
- ~~Dian Wei and Okuni; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Hey! How about we arm wrestle? The winner takes the vanguard."
- "No thanks. There's no way I can compete against someone who can hoist an entire standard with one arm."
- "Come on... How can we entrust you with the vanguard if you're afraid of a little arm wrestling?"
- ~~Dian Wei and Katsuie; Warriors Orochi 3
- "Takatora! You started out with no rank or name, right? Then you're just like me. I was taken in by my lord when he came across me while I was out hunting tigers in the mountains. He was kind enough to hire me as his bodyguard."
- "I see... Both of us have risen from humble beginnings. Then we should be friends. And we must fight together, for the sake of our lords who saw the talent within us."
- "You're right. If my lord gets attacked by some crazy monster, I need to sacrifice myself to save him..."
- "You idiot!"
- "H-Hey, what did I do now...?"
- "And what happens after you die, huh? Who'll protect your lord then? You think that's loyalty?! Find a way to stay alive, and express your loyalty to your lord."
- "Oh, yeah... I guess you're right... I don't know if I can do more than put my body on the line, though... But I do like having someone like you around who'll keep me in line. You make sure to keep letting me know when I can do better, Takatora."
- "I will. And it's always good to have a true man of loyalty like you around."
- ~~Dian Wei and Takatora; Warriors Orochi 4
- See also: Dian Wei/Movesets
Dynasty Warriors 9
|Keys:||Flow Attack •||Reactive Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
Dian Wei is affiliated with the hand axe in this appearance.
- Unique Flow Attack:
- Unique Trigger Attack ( R1 + ):
- Special Technique (R1 + ):
- Musou ():
- Aerial Musou ( + ):
- See also: Dian Wei/Weapons
Dynasty Warriors 8
Dian Wei still uses the axe as his default weapon in this title.
A local of Jiwu (己吾, present day Sui, Henan), Dian Wei's birth-year is unknown. The Records of Three Kingdoms describes Dian Wei as a stalwart man with superhuman strength.
When he was young, Dian Wei once agreed to kill a rival of his fellow townsman. Disguised as a noble, Dian Wei traveled to his enemy's house in Suiyang and entered the gates without challenge. He then slayed his enemy's entire family. As the victim lived near the market, news of his death soon spread and hundreds of men went on pursuit of the murderer. However, none of them dared duel Dian Wei, who headed out of town with the pursuers at his heels. After walking four or five li, Dian Wei met his companions and escaped after a fight.
In 189, regional warlord Zhang Miao was raising an army to join the coalition against Dong Zhuo, who was holding the Emperor hostage in the imperial court. Dian Wei heeded the call. He greatly impressed his superiors when he managed to keep a huge banner swaying in strong wind upright with just one hand, while several other men with their combined efforts could not do so.
Dian Wei later served under Xiahou Dun, a trusted general under Cao Cao. During the campaign against Lü Bu in Puyang, Cao Cao and his troops were caught a midst an onrush by the enemy. According to Records of the Three Kingdoms, Dian Wei gathered scores of men around himself. All of them put on two layers of armor, discarded their shields, and charged towards the enemy holding spears and halberds. Another wave of enemy closing in from the west unleashed a barrage of arrows onto Dian Wei and his men. Oblivious to the missiles, Dian Wei told his comrade, "Tell me when the enemies are ten paces away." His comrade did so. Dian Wei said again, "Tell me when it's five paces." His comrade then cried with fear, "The enemies are upon us!"
Spinning around, Dian Wei flung the dozen javelins he was holding at his enemies. With each fling a man fell from his saddle and not a javelin missed its target. The enemies then retreated. Deeply impressed, Cao Cao promoted Dian Wei to the rank of Captain and made him his own personal bodyguard.
Hence-after, Dian Wei was always at the forefront of every battle he participated in. He was also loyal and responsible. He stood guard outside Cao Cao's tent throughout the day and slept somewhere close during the night, and rarely returned to his own quarters. The capable warrior was also an extraordinary eater and drinker. He ate in huge mouthfuls and drank in long gulps. Because of his enormous appetite, several men were required to serve him whenever he sat down for meals.
In 197, Cao Cao waged a war against Zhang Xiu, the governor of Wancheng (宛城), who immediately surrendered to Cao Cao. Cao Cao was very pleased and invited Zhang Xiu and his men to a banquet. Throughout the banquet, Dian Wei stood behind Cao Cao holding a giant axe, the blade of which was one chi long. Zhang Xiu and his man dared not even look up at the pair whenever they toasted to Cao Cao.
About ten days later, Zhang Xiu ate his words and led a force to attack Cao Cao's camp. Cao Cao escaped on horseback. Dian Wei stood guard at the front gate of the camp ground, with a dozen men on his side, and fought fiercely using a long halberd. One swing of the halberd saw more than ten enemy spears broken. As the battle went on, Dian Wei's companions were killed one by one, while Dian Wei was also wounded in many places.
The mighty warrior then grabbed two enemies and used them as weapons. No other enemy dared to approach him. Dian Wei rushed forward and killed a few more enemies before finally dying of blood loss. He was still staring and swearing as he took his last breath. Only after assuring that he was dead did the enemies dare to come forward and severed his head, which was passed around for all to see. When the word spread, all the enemies came to revere Dian Wei's body, not believing anyone could fight so ferociously.
When Cao Cao heard of Dian Wei's death, he broke down in tears. He then ordered his men to steal Dian Wei's corpse back so that the warrior could be buried in his hometown. Thereafter, whenever Cao Cao passed by the tomb, he would stop to mourn Dian Wei. Cao Cao also made Dian Wei's son, Dian Man, a commander major and kept him at his side.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Dian Wei's role during Wancheng is further romanticized in the novelization of events. In this scenario, Zhang Xiu and Jia Xu had Huche'er make plans to deal with the warrior. To do so, Huche'er privately invited Dian Wei to his private quarters to drink together. When Dian was sufficiently drunk and asleep, Hu stealthily took away the two halberds belonging to the warrior.
Once Dian Wei woke up, he was unable to find his weapons but nonetheless returned to his lord's side and resisted the assassins for a significant period of time. After the other bodyguards were overwhelmed, Dian Wei would use the corpses of the dead as clubs to fend off attackers. He would finally meet his end when the rattled assassins fired a volley of arrows and spears at him. Despite this, Dian Wei's resolute stand lasted even after death, and many of Zhang Xiu's men were too shocked to approach Dian's body as he had died standing.
When Cao Cao escaped Wancheng, he openly wept for Dian Wei. Despite processions also accounting for both Cao Ang and Cao Anmin, Cao Cao famously quoted that he was not shedding tears for his eldest son or favorite nephew, but for his beloved bodyguard.
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