|Force(s):|| Liu Biao's Forces|
Han Xuan's Forces
182 cm (6'0")
|Weapon Type:|| Double-bladed voulge (3~5, 7~9)|
|Playable Debut:||Dynasty Warriors 3|
|Real name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
|Style name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
文長 - 文长
Cheng Du (WO1)
Saika Territory (WO2)
|Personal Item:|| |
|Sacred Treasure:|| |
Wei Yan (onyomi: Gi En) is one of the generals who served Liu Bei since the start of his military career. He swore complete fealty to Liu Bei and continued to serve Shu after his lord's death. Although he was initially trusted by the Prime Minister, he became infamous for earning Zhuge Liang's ire and was killed by Ma Dai due to arguably false charges of defection. Even after his death, his defense plans of Hanzhong were still implemented, and were successful in driving out Wei many times. Romance of the Three Kingdoms instead portrays him as an outright villainous character with a violent betrayal streak, most likely out of Zhuge Liang's historical bias towards him.
Dynasty Warriors fans voted him to fifty-first place in Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 7 character popularity poll and sixty-first in the Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends poll. The latest poll for the eighth installment puts him in seventy-second. The character poll for overseas fans puts him in twelfth place for the Shu division.
The English localization of the first Romance of the Three Kingdoms game misspells his name as Wei Yang.
His character's height in Kessen II is 185 cm (6'1").
Role in Games
- "I sense the rebellious spirit in you too."
- ~~Motochika; Warriors Orochi 2
Wei Yan sincerely supports his master, Liu Bei, and seeks to prove his merit as a beast in battle. Since he does not favor words and disobeys instructions, Zhuge Liang keeps a wary eye on him. He commonly causes some form of disobedience during the Battle of Wu Zhang Plains. In Dynasty Warriors 4, he may defect to Wei during their final battle with Shu at Cheng Du.
His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends takes place during the conflict at Wu Zhang Plains. Disobeying the Prime Minister's orders, Wei Yan attacks the nearby castle to demolish the enemies inside. If he takes too long, Sima Yi will see Zhuge Liang's unease and use it to his advantage. He makes the Wei troops pose as Wei Yan's allies, making it seem like the general has defected. Zhuge Liang falls for the ploy and orders the Shu generals to surround the innocent Wei Yan. He is then forced to slay his former comrades in self-defense. However, if he destroys certain Wei officers quickly, Zhuge Liang will instead see that Wei Yan has given them the advantage and orders the rest of the army to assist.
In Dynasty Warriors 5, he is mentioned as a former officer of Liu Biao who went on to serve Han Xuan. When Liu Bei attacked Han Xuan, his master accused Huang Zhong of having ties with Liu Bei and ordered the veteran's execution. Knowing that no such ties existed, Wei Yan slays his master and surrenders to Liu Bei with Huang Zhong. While Liu Bei trusts him, Zhuge Liang fears that Wei Yan would one day betray his new master. Wei Yan's first battle for Shu is Mt. Ding Jun where he is positioned to the southeast of Mt. Tian Dang and works his way around to Mt. Dung Jun. Even though they claim the mountain position from Wei, Liu Bei dies soon after.
Regardless of Zhuge Liang's new leadership, Wei Yan continues to fight for Shu to realize his departed lord's dream. During their long Northern Campaign, he notices that the troops are beginning to tire and desires to hurry their progress by using brute force. Though his bravery gains results, he never fully gains Zhuge Liang's trust and they momentarily disagree with one another when he tries to strike down the then Wei soldier, Jiang Wei. At the battle of Chen Cang Castle, Wei Yan battles his way through the eastern mountain path along with the rams in an attempt to break through the castles defenses. At the battle of Wu Zhang Plains, Wei Yan battles for the Shu forces and will battle his way through the center of the map towards the Wei camp. On the Shu version of the stage, Wei Yan, along with Guan Xing, will only advance to the front lines after receiving supplies from the wood oxen. After the land is united under Shu and Zhuge Liang passes away, Wei Yan is satisfied to achieve Liu Bei's dream and departs from Shu.
He shares two Legend Modes in the Xtreme Legends expansion. One he shares with Zhuge Liang and Zhang Fei at the Battle of Jia Meng Gate. In order to carry out the Three Kingdoms plan, Liu Bei must conquer the lands of his relative, Liu Zhang. To counter the Shu offensive, Liu Zhang sends Zhang Lu. During the battle, Wei Yan takes the western path and encounters Zhang Wei's rockslide. His other Legend Mode has him, Zhuge Liang and Jiang Wei at the Battle of Mt. Qi. In the midst of Shu's Northern Campaign, the Prime Minister surprisingly orders a retreat from the mountain, which conflicts with Wei Yan's desire to simply smash the enemy. Even so, his version of the stage plays in a similar manner as Jiang Wei's paths.
Wei Yan's ending scene in Dynasty Warriors: Online shows him and the player surrounded by enemy corpses on a rainy battlefield. With their fight over, he invites his ally to join him and expresses his joy upon being accepted.
In Dynasty Warriors 6, Sima Yi uses Wei Yan's thin trust for Zhuge Liang to his advantage at the Wu Zhang Plains. If certain tasks are completed, Wei Yan will defect to the forces of Wei. When he runs into Liu Bei, however, he eventually is convinced to return to the Shu forces. During Shu's version of the stage, Zhuge Liang feigns distrust for Wei Yan to catch the Wei army off guard. The ruse allows Wei Yan to lead a small attack force towards Wei's main camp. In Special, Wei Yan also appears as reinforcements during the Battle of Jie Ting and joins Sima Yi's rebellion during Cao Pi's story mode; Yue Ying leads him and the other remnants of Shu to avenge their kingdom and end Wei.
In Dynasty Warriors 7, in Wu's story, Wei Yan and Huang Zhong are first serving under Liu Biao in Jing against Sun Jian. When he is introduced in Shu's story, Wei Yan and Huang Zhong served under Han Xuan in southern Jing following Liu Biao's death. They would soon rebel and Wei Yan personally kills Han Xuan. When Guan Yu comes to prepare for an attack, they immediately surrender for the people's safety and plead to spare them while he does whatever he wants with them two. But Guan Yu does not hurt anybody and tells them that Liu Bei will treat everyone with mercy. Therefore, Liu Bei gains Wei Yan and Huang Zhong as new generals and southern Jing as new territory. From that point on, Wei Yan fights for Shu even up to the Battle of the Wuzhang Plains.
Wei Yan's first Legendary Battle is the Battle of Changsha where he and Huang Zhong protect Han Xuan's bases from Liu Bei's forces. His second Legendary Battle is the conquest of Yi Province, where Wei Yan aids Liu Bei in defeating Liu Zhang and taking control of the land.
The Xtreme Legends expansion adds a Hero Scenario detailing Wei Yan's participation at Mt. Qi. Sima Yi's attendance to the mountain castle disturbs the safety of ally communications, so Zhuge Liang orders it to be captured by using a fire attack. Wei Yan assists Ma Dai and Wu Yi for the plot by defeating enemy troops in their path. The plot succeeds if Sima Shi is defeated, leading to a rise in ally morale. Even with the enemy troops forcing their advance into ally front lines, the Shu army is invigorated enough to claim victory.
Wei Yan wants to continue pursuing the defeated Sima Yi, but Ma Dai has orders from their commander to return back to the ally camp. Wei Yan broods over his desires to grant the departed Liu Bei his dream, thinking that Zhuge Liang is the one capable of making it a reality. Ma Dai gregariously states to not rush their progress and cheers the crestfallen warrior up with his optimism.
Dynasty Warriors Next has Wei Yan serve under Han Xuan in the seventh chapter until the fall of Jiangling. He and Huang Zhong pledge their allegiance to Liu Bei after the former kills their lord in retaliation for calling the latter a traitor. A heated conversation between Huang Zhong and Liu Xun reveals that Wei Yan felt guilty over murdering Han Xuan. In Wei's final chapter, he aids Jiang Wei in the defense of their main camp during the Battle of Wuzhang Plains.
In Dynasty Warriors 8, Wei Yan reprises his role from the previous installment. In Shu's hypothetical route, Wei Yan makes a proposal to Zhuge Liang that they battle against Nanzhong to draw Wei's attention. This will enable them to attack Chang'an when Wei least expects it. Zhuge Liang accepts the idea and has Wei Yan lead the charge. During the fight, Wei Yan and the others convince Jiang Wei to defect to Shu.
During Shu's story in Warriors Orochi, Wei Yan leads a small force stationed in Cheng Du castle, defending against the combined forces of Yuan Shao and Yukimura. The two were confused into attacking them by the devious plot of Orochi's strategist, Da Ji. She placed false messengers on the battlefield to spread an enchantment and false information among them, letting them think that the coalition army are phantoms resurrected by magic. Yuan Shao was driven off and Yukimura and Wei Yan joined the Zhao Yun-led coalition.
In one of the Gaiden levels, one of Wei Yan's most treasured gifts, given to him by Liu Bei, is stolen by the rogue ninja and master thief Goemon. Infuriated, Wei Yan, aided by Xing Cai, chases the portly thief around Chi Bi, encountering Okuni, Musashi, and, even to his own surprise, Kotarō.
Warriors Orochi 2 has Wei Yan appear as reinforcements to the Coalition, along with Zhao Yun, to defeat and persuade Masamune to join them. With Keiji controlling the center garrison, Wei Yan initiates a fire attack to lower their morale. When Wei Yan is attacked, Hanzō comes to his aid. At the Battle of Jia Meng Gate, Wei Yan is one of the officers fighting Kiyomori with Guan Yu. He is the western most officer and gets hampered by phantom soldiers until Zhang Liao's arrival.
His dream stage has him team up with Taishi Ci and Kojirō to help Liu Bei fight Sun Ce in a friendly training battle. Interested only on improving themselves, the trio fight without malice or anger. He is entrusted with protecting their lord from danger. If he repels all of the attackers from his lord, Zhuge Liang will graciously congratulate his progress.
Wei Yan stayed with Liu Bei's army after Orochi's second defeat, but they were separated when Hydra appeared. As he searched for his lord, the masked general was injured at Nanzhong. Meng Huo found him and the Nanman tended to his wounds. To repay their kindness, Wei Yan helps them protect their homeland for years against the serpent forces. He follows the Nanman king and queen as they join the coalition and later supports their second defense of their homeland, a battle which eventually leads to Kojirō's recruitment.
He is an optional general introduced to Liu Bei by Zhuge Liang after the battle of Fan Zheng in Kessen II. He serves as a secondary general and will have decent war stats and morale boosting abilities. He remains completely faithful to Shu and Zhuge Liang does not display any noticeable distrust towards him.
The most notable characteristic in Wei Yan is his speech impairment, which is highlighted with katakana particles in the place of hiragana in the Japanese script. He is only able to grunt the most simple of words into phrases. Though seemingly a barbaric, wild beast, he has a kind heart and simply desires to prove his worth. However, he isn't the brightest figure in the army and may neglect to consider the consequences of his sometimes rash behavior.
Since his lord sincerely believes in him, he stays loyal to Liu Bei. Though on the flip-side, he is shown to be in an antagonistic relationship with Zhuge Liang at times, and is not very fond of the strategist's continuous doubts over his loyalty. Regardless of his relationship with Zhuge Liang, Wei Yan is still generally willing to take orders from the strategist, as he believes Zhuge Liang is the one who can make their late lord's wishes come true. Wei Yan's relationship with Shu's other strategists is often more harmonious than that with Zhuge Liang as they also believe in the general's sincere loyalty. His relationship with Ma Dai portrays the silent general as a sympathetic person. At times, Ma Dai is unable to understand Wei Yan's sudden actions, but Wei Yan feels more reassured thanks to Ma Dai's trust.
In the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, Wei Yan is given the nickname of "Murder in the Battlefield" while the English version changes it to "The Beast of Destruction". As a dominant ruler in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, he calls his five greatest warriors the "Five Great Warriors".
The Asian name for his Level 11 weapon is directly named after yinyang, a common aspect of Chinese philosophy. When the world began, it was filled with chaos. Within this chaos, a light energy radiated to form the heavens (yin) and a dark energy drifted downward to form the earth (yang). Yin is associated with passiveness and femininity; yang carries tones of harshness and masculinity. Coexisting yet independent forces, yinyang mutually cancel one another and work together to explain the natural phenomenons around us -such as light (yang) and shadows (yin), north (yin) and south (yang), etc.
His third and forth weapons reference the two polar stars, the North and South Star. In Taoism, there are two gods reigning over these sections of the universe named Běidǒu xīngjūn (north) and Nándǒu xīngjūn (south) respectively, each stationed within the Big Dipper and Dipper constellations -whose stars are stressed as important story concepts within the Fist of the North Star series. Beidou is a god who administers the lifespan of a person before sending them to hell, a type of death god. He has been depicted as either an elderly man or an entity wrapped within flames. Nandou is a god who rules over life as the opposite of Beidou. Compared to his stricter counterpart, he has a fair visage and is a mild-mannered being often paired with water. A youth, who learned from a hermit that he had little time left to live, once met both gods in a dream and quietly ate the oxen meat and wine presented to him. Appreciating the youth's bold character, Nandou defied Beidou's judgment and extended the man's life.
Wei Yan's Strength weapon in Dynasty Warriors 6 is originally named Kyōkotsu, a supernatural creature mentioned within the Konjaku Hyakki Shūi. Kyōkotsu are white haired, emaciated, skeleton-like beings who dwell within pitchers for water wells. When a person scoops them from their home, kyōkotsu lift themselves high into the air like a ghost and have long sleeve-like arms. Aside from the description of carrying a fearsome grudge, not much more is written about them. Its grudge has been said to span from a person killed by being thrown down a well or due to a corpse forcefully crammed within the well by their killers. It has also been argued that the spirit was made as a play on a person's tolerance to necrophobia, specifically focusing on the skeletal remains.
The ploy submitted by Wei Yan during Shu's hypothetical route in Dynasty Warriors 8 was the same one he presented to Zhuge Liang in actual history. The main plan outlined having the Shu forces split into two, and have Wei Yan lead an attack on Chang'an through the Ziwu Valley to scare the defending Xiahou Mao into deserting the city. He would then rendezvous with the second detachment led by Zhuge Liang. Though the plan was deemed too dangerous and wasn't accepted by Zhuge Liang, it was enough for Cao Rui to sack Xiahou Mao.
- Yasunori Masutani - Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Chen Zongyue - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Chinese)
- An Jang Hyeok - Dynasty Warriors 3~5 (Korean)
- Bob Papenbrook - Dynasty Warriors 4~5 (English-uncredited)
- Alan Shearman - Dynasty Warriors 6~8, Warriors Orochi 1~2 (English-uncredited)
- Brian Brathwaite - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
- Bao Mu - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
- Bang Seong Joon - Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed (Korean)
- Richard Cansino - Kessen II (English-uncredited)
- Koji Haramaki - Kessen II (Japanese)
- Kang Guhan - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
- Ryōichi Tanaka - Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
- Takeshi Kusao - Sangokushi Koumeiden
- Itaru Yamamoto - Sangokushi Legion
- See also: Wei Yan/Quotes
- "Me... Liu Bei's shield... Zhuge Liang... Trust me?"
- "Ah, it's the man of few words, and even fewer brains!"
- ~~Wei Yan and Sima Yi; Dynasty Warriors 5
- "I can sense the turbulence within you. I hope you do not cause us trouble in the future."
- "Me... loyal..."
- ~~Zhuge Liang and Wei Yan; Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires
- "Come to think of it, you've helped me out a number of times. I'm only here thanks to you..."
- "Must help you. Or else... you mad."
- "Oh, is that why? Well, in any case, you have my thanks."
- ~~Huang Zhong and Wei Yan; Dynasty Warriors 7
- "I have a question..."
- "What is underneath that mask?"
- "It's... a secret...!"
- ~~Zhou Tai and Wei Yan; Dynasty Warriors 8
- "People... you... like... I... jealous..."
- "Kyaah! T-Thank you! D-did you want s-something?"
- "You... scared...? When I... talk... Everyone... shocked..."
- "N-Not at all! I just didn't hear your footsteps, so you startled me a little. I'm sorry about that."
- "Shouldn't... get close... quickly... Next time... more careful... Speak... more softly..."
- "T-That's a great idea. Although I think it will be just as shocking to turn around and suddenly see you standing there..."
- "The enemy must be quaking at the mere sight of you!"
- "I... no... monster..."
- "I mean it as a compliment, my misshapen friend."
- ~~Ginchiyo and Wei Yan; Warriors Orochi
- "Is that really the extent of your vocabulary?"
- ~~Wei Yan, Hanzō, and Masamune; Warriors Orochi 2
- "You're strong, yet cannot be trusted. Loyal, yet ostracized. You really are a pitiful soul. Aren't you in pain? Why do you keep on living?"
- ~~Kojirō and Wei Yan; Warriors Orochi 3
- "You appear to be one with a rebellious soul."
- "Not rebellious... loyal to Liu Bei... don't decide... on my appearance!"
- "So you fight back, Wei Yan! Against this world that seeks to judge you based on your appearance!"
- "No.... wrong too!"
- "Not at all! Your rebellion has moved my soul! I think we can ride a big wave together, Wei Yan! Let's keep the passion burning hot!"
- "No idea... what you mean... but very well."
- ~~Motochika and Wei Yan; Warriors Orochi 4
- See also: Wei Yan/Movesets
Dynasty Warriors 9
|Keys:||Flow Attack •||Reactive Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
Wei Yan is affiliated with the double voulge in this appearance.
- Unique Flow Attack:
- Unique Trigger Attack ( R1 + ):
- Special Technique (R1 + ):
- Musou ():
- Aerial Musou ( + ):
- See also: Wei Yan/Weapons
Dynasty Warriors 8
Wei Yan still uses the double voulge as his default weapon in this title.
Wei Yan originated from Yiyang. He followed Liu Bei into Yi province, and after Liu Bei proclaimed himself King of Hanzhong, many thought that Zhang Fei would become the governor of Hanzhong, but instead Liu Bei chose Wei Yan and appointed him General Who Maintains Distant Lands in Peace and General Who Suppresses the North, with the government ministers voicing their agreement.
Around the year 227, after Liu Bei's death, Zhuge Liang selected Wei Yan to join the campaign against Wei and appointed him Major of the Prime Minister and Inspector of Liang province. In 230, he was sent to act as an ambassador to the Qiang tribesmen and also greatly defeated the armies of Fei Yao and Guo Huai. During one of the northern expeditions, Wei Yan proposed a bold plan and Zhuge Liang rejected it, sure that in any attempt it would fail. For this, Wei Yan would often say that Zhuge Liang was faint-of-heart, and Wei Yan was not used to his fullest. In the year 234 AD, on the Wuzhangyuan campaign, Zhuge Liang died and Yang Yi was appointed as the commander for the army's retreat. Meanwhile, Wei Yan wanted to lead the army to continue the attack on Wei. Before Yang Yi departed with the main army, Wei Yan and his troops set out and burnt the plank roads leading back to Shu. He and Yang Yi both sent memorials depicting the other rebelling, with the trust of Jiang Wan and Dong Yun going to Yang Yi. The latter was able to sneak behind Wei Yan, and Wang Ping admonished him for his actions. Wei Yan's troops scattered and he fled towards Hanzhong before being cut down by Ma Dai. Yang Yi stomped on Wei Yan's head, saying, "You slave! Can you do your wicked deeds anymore?" The clan of Wei Yan was executed.
Wei Yan was brave and good to his soldiers, but at the same time was both prideful and arrogant. At the battle of Wuzhangyuan, the Records of Three Kingdoms states that Wei Yan harbored no malicious intention towards Shu, and only wished to defeat Yang Yi and his opposition in hopes to become Zhuge Liang's successor. Despite this, Zhuge Liang had a very negative bias for him that may have paved way for his villainous portrayals in most Romance of the Three Kingdoms media.
It was also noted that Wei Yan's most prized book to read was the I Ching/Yijing (the Book of Changes), which was stated to be the inspiration for his successful defensive fortifications at Hanzhong that lasted for a fairly long time.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
A Drifting General
In the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Wei Yan was first registered under Liu Biao. In Xiangyang, Wei Yan sees, and allows Liu Bei to come in safely into the city. However, Wen Ping, a fellow officer, decided against it, and fought with him. Wei Yan, displeased, joined Governor Han Xuan in Changsha.
Wei Yan met dissatisfaction once again, as his new leader treated him horribly. However, soon after joining, he found that Han Xuan was about to execute future Shu general Huang Zhong, for his poor performance against Liu Bei's sworn brother, Guan Yu. Wei Yan rushed in, and saved Huang Zhong from a sure fate. He said, "Huang Zhong is our bulwark! To destroy him is to destroy the people of Changsha. This Governor is too fierce and cruel, too lightly values good people, and is too arrogant toward his officers. We ought rather to kill him, and those who will, let them follow me." Wei Yan's followers came with him to Han Xuan's castle, and beheaded him. Wei Yan rode out to Guan Yu with Han Xuan's head, followed by the Shu general coming with him to the city to restore confidence to the citizens. He and Huang Zhong were then made Shu generals under Liu Bei.
Rivalry with the old Veteran
- "The General is too old to go on such an expedition. I am of poor ability, but I wish to take his place."
- "I already have my commission. Why should you wish to supplant me?"
- ―Wei Yan and Huang Zhong, arguing over who would get to be sent out for battle.
Under his time during Shu, Wei Yan developed a friendly rivalry with Huang Zhong, whom he was paired with, usually. The pair acted as Pang Tong's bodyguards during his campaigns. During the Battle of Chengdu, Huang Zhong and Wei Yan quarreled in front of Liu Bei on who should attack the enemy's force. Wei Yan commented on Huang Zhong's age hindering his war capabilities, which offended the general, so he requested a duel. After Huang Zhong called someone to fetch his sword, Liu Bei stopped the quarrel. Pang Tong, intervening, sent both generals to attack, as there were two camps to raid, but set an incentive ― The general who gained his assigned camp first would receive the bigger reward and merit. Huang Zhong was assigned to defeat the camp headed by Ling Bao, while Wei Yan was assigned to attack Deng Xiang.
That night, Huang Zhong ordered a morning meal to be made for an early march. Wei Yan beat his rival to the punch, and went out to complete his objective before the old veteran did. Wei Yan diverged from his own line and marched toward the camp defended by Ling Bao. Wei Yan halted his troops, and bade them prepare the drums and ensigns, as well as their weapons. Early as it was, the camp commander was cautious and on the alert, as an advancing force had been seen by his scouts. At the first sign of an attack, the defenders of the camp poured out in full force. Wei Yan had made his way, galloping up on his horse, straight for Ling Bao. A duel continued for around twenty bouts, but the troops of the Riverland came and joined in the battle. The troops under Wei Yan, that had went out so early, were fatigued and didn't have the energy to supply the attack. The troops fell back, while Wei Yan, confused, heard the sounds of hooves behind him, and gave up all ideas of finishing his encounter with Ling Bao. He turned his horse and fled. The troops of the West River Land kept up the pursuit, and the troops under Wei Yan were retired and defeated.
After a good two miles, another army, led by Wei Yan's original target, Deng Xiang, appeared behind nearby hills. Deng Xiang asked Wei Yan to surrender, but the latter continued to retreat until his horse tripped and fell, on its knees, throwing its rider to the ground. Deng Xiang got ready for the killing bow, until a bowstring being plucked was heard. Deng Xiang fell dead. Ling Bao, who had kept pursuit, came to the rescue when a horse came charging down a hill. Its rider shouted, "General Huang Zhong is here!". Huang Zhong charged after Ling Bao, who retreated. Huang Zhong pursued, and Deng Xiang's army became confused. Huang Zhong had slain Deng Xiang, though rescued Wei Yan. He then forced his way up to the gate of the camp. Ling Bao once again came and engaged Huang Zhong. The two engaged in combat and fought for ten bouts, until another body of soldiers appeared. There, Ling Bao fled, and made it for another camp, retiring from his own to the troops of Deng Xiang. When Ling Bao got back to his camp, he saw it under completely different flags, accompanied by a man in it. The man was Liu Bei, who took the opportunity to take the camps while the two officers were away from them. Liu Feng and Guan Xing were beside him, forcing Ling Bao to start riding to Luocheng. He was ambushed and taken prisoner by Wei Yan after some three miles. Liu Bei raised the flag of forgiveness and amnesty for Ling Bao. Afterwards, having made his camp, Huang Zhong came to Liu Bei, and said, "Wei Yan should be put to death for disobedience!".
Wei Yan was summoned and came with Ling Bao. Liu Bei bade him to thank Huang Zhong for the reinforcement. Wei Yan bowed and confessed, while Huang Zhong was rewarded handsomely. Ling Bao asked Liu Bei if he could bring his companions, Liu Gui and Zhang Ren, to him. As a result of kindness, Liu Bei would get the possession of Luocheng, which he happily accepted. Wei Yan opposed it, saying, "Do not let him go. If you do, you will never see him again."
Liu Bei replied, "If I treat humans with kindness and justice, they will not betray my trust." So, Ling Bao was set free.
The breach of trust and support of Greed
On one stormy night, Ling Bao ventured out with a party of five thousand along the river back to seek a suitable place for the breach. A sudden shouting near the rear told him that the army of Jingzhou, Deng Xiang's, were on the alert, and he at once retired. Wei Yan came in pursuit, and, as he pressed nearer, Ling Bao's soldiers hurried forward, trampling over each other in confusion and haste. Suddenly, Ling Bao and Wei Yan ran against each other, and engaged in battle. Wei Yan took him prisoner, fending off both Wu Lan and Lei Tong. Wei Yan reached the pass, and Liu Bei saw Ling Bao and had him executed. Wei Yan was given a reward. Afterwards, Wei Yan would help Pang Tong and Huang Zhong capture Zhang Ren.
The Nanman Campaign
- "See to it: We have got into the inmost recesses of your country and have taken all your defensive positions. Yet you are foolish enough to hold on. Next time you are caught, you will be quite destroyed. There will be no more pardons."
- ―Wei Yan, after capturing Meng Huo for the third time.
In the year 225 AD, Zhuge Liang proposed an attack on the Nanman tribes, with Wei Yan and Zhao Yun acting as the commanders. The two opposing forces of Shu and the Nanman drew up for an oncoming battle, and, when the arrays were complete, Wei Yan rode out, belittling the tribesmen, saying, "O malcontent! Be quick to surrender!". Instead, the enemy general E Huan galloped out and fought with Wei Yan. After a few bouts, Wei Yan seemed to bested, and fled. But, these acts were only a ruse. E Huan pursued, and gongs clanged. Zhang Yi and Wang Ping came from the left and right, and Wei Yan and the two generals captured E Huan. Zhuge Liang released him, acting as another ruse to get Gao Ding to surrender. Another Nanman general, Yong Kai, heard that Shu as asking for battle, so he took the challenge, but fled during the encounter. Yan pursued him for about seven miles, but went back as Yong Kai was too far.
The next day, Yong Kai issued a challenge against the Shu troops, but they refused to fight. Yong Kai and Gao Ding attempted a double pincer attack, but were both ambushed. Some few nights later, Zhao Yun and Wei Yan were rejected for battle and were ashamed for being passed up for battle as they didn't know the territory. The two then surveyed the country, capturing a few natives, and got them to mention the locations of the camps of Jinhuan Sanjie, Dongtuna, and Ahuinan. Zhao Yun and Wei Yan took five thousand troops to Jinhuan Sanjie's camp, where he was killed in battle by Zhao Yun. Wei Yan charged towards Dongtuna's camp. The Nanman were defeated, but Dongtuna escaped. He and Ahuinan were captured, and Wei Yan found out that Zhuge Liang told them not to go because of their lack of terrain purposely in order to increase their morale. Zhao Yun and Wei Yan took another five thousand troops to Meng Huo's base. Meng Huo retreated from Zhao Yun, and stumbled upon Wei Yan, who captured him for the first time, and assisted in capturing him a second and third time. After releasing him for the third time, Wei Yan said, "See to it: We have got into the inmost recesses of your country and have taken all your defensive positions. Yet you are foolish enough to hold on. Next time you are caught, you will be quite destroyed. There will be no more pardons."
Wei Yan captured Meng Huo the fourth and sixth times, not helping in the fifth. Zhao Yun and Yan even fought Lady Zhurong in between the captures. Zhuge Liang made a plan for Wei Yan to retreat fifteen times while losing seven camps, which he obeyed. By the end of a month-and-a-half, Wei Yan led Wutugu into a fire attack, which led to Meng Huo's surrender of the army.
Shu, Wei, and the putting down of a Rebellion
- "The man has courage to spare, but he is not altogether reliable and will cause trouble when Kongming is gone, though Kongming must know that."
- ―Sun Quan, after learning of Wei Yan's losses in battle.
The year of 234 AD, Zhuge Liang once again tried to take Qishan, more commonly known as Mt. Qi. He sent three hundred forty thousand troops to Qishan, and marched in five divisions, with Jiang Wei and Wei Yan in the van. After setting up camp at Qishan, Zhuge Liang sent Wei Yan and Ma Dai to cross the river Wei and attack Beiyuan. The command reached Beiyuan at dusk, before the scouts had informed the Wei defenders, led by Sun Li, and fled. Wei Yan had began to retreat as well. At this point, shouting was heard, and two bodies of the enemy under Sima Yi and Guo Huai attacked both left and right. Wei Yan and Ma Dai fought desperately to break free of the onslaught, but many of their troops fell into the river and drowned. The two officers thought that they were about to die when the ally Wu Yi appeared, saving the Shu forces from destruction, and moved to make camp.
After losing all of the battles, Zhuge Liang asked Fei Yi to deliver a letter to the ruler of Wu, Sun Quan. Fei Yi delivered the letter. Sun Quan asked Fei Yi who lead the battle, to which he replied, "Wei Yan was the chief leader."
Sun Quan smiled and said, "The man has courage to spare, but he is not altogether reliable and will cause trouble when Kongming is gone, though Kongming must know that." Fei Yi returned to Qishan, telling Zhuge Liang that Wu will send troops, and mentioned the comments of Sun Quan.
"Truly a comprehending ruler, but I could not be ignorant of this. However, I value Wei Yan because he is very bold.", Zhuge Liang appreciatively remarked. Fei Yi asked what to do with Wei Yan, and Zhuge Liang told him he had plans for him. Fei Yi returned to Chengdu.
After repelling Guo Huai from destroying Zhuge Liang's wooden oxen along with Jiang Wei and Wang Ping, Zhuge Liang was informed that Wei Yan was insulting Sima Yi and Sima Shi's army, reminding them that he had the helmet of their leader. The soldiers wanted to accept his challenge, but Sima Yi would not move his troops. Wei Yan eventually gave up and returned to camp. Zhuge Liang was going to try to provoke Sima Yi into fighting to lure him into a trap, and told Wei Yan, "Go to the camp of Wei with five hundred troops and provoke them to battle. The important matter is to entice Sima Yi out of his stronghold. You will be unable to obtain a victory, so retreat that he may pursue. You are to make for the signal, the seven star flags by day or the seven lamps at night. Thus you will lead him into the Gourd Valley, where I have a plan prepared for him." The Wei troops attacked Qishan when Shu troops appeared, pretending to reinforce the defenders. The Wei army turned towards Gourd Valley, where Wei Yan was expecting them. Wei Yan galloped up and recognized Sima Yi as the leader. He shouted, "Sima Yi, stay!" Wei Yan flourished his sword, and Sima Yi, his spear. The two exchanged blows when Yan turned his steed and bolted towards the seven star flags, as he was ordered. Sima Yi pursued, more eagerly when he saw the small force accompanying him. Sima Yi's sons, Sima Shi and Sima Zhao, rode with him, and sent scouts into the valley where Yan had entered. Sima Yi assumed it was the stone valley when no troops were occupying it. Sima Yi then noticed kindling wood on the straw huts, and began to feel uneasy. The fire attack then occurred.
Death of Kongming
- "Life and death are foreordained. No prayers can alter them."
- ―Zhuge Liang
Zhuge Liang had become ill. He ordered forty nine guards dressed in black to be placed around his tent. If the master-lamp within his tent remained alight for seven days, then his life would be prolonged for twelve years. If the lamp went out, he was to die. Suddenly shouting was heard outside. Jiang Wei was going to send someone to inquire about it when Wei Yan dashed in, saying, "The Wei soldiers are upon us!" In his haste, Wei Yan knocked over the master-lamp, extinguishing the fire.
Zhuge Liang threw down the sword and sighed, saying, "Life and death are foreordained. No prayers can alter them." Wei Yan fell, stunned, craving forgiveness. Jiang Wei grew angry and drew his sword to slay Wei Yan, however, Zhuge Liang stopped the weapon, saying, "It is my fate - Not his fault." Wei Yan left the tent and led a small party to drive away the troops of Wei, who had come to see if Zhuge Liang was dead. After summoning Jiang Wei and Ma Dai for his final wishes for them, Zhuge Liang called for Yang Yi. When he arrived, Zhuge Liang gave him a silken bag containing secret orders. As he gave it to Yang Yi, he said, "After my death, Wei Yan will turn taitor. When that happens and the army is in danger, you will find herein what to do.".
In 234 AD, Zhuge Liang died. One night after his death, Wei Yan had a dream in which two horns sprouted from his head. He then told fellow Shu general Zhao Zhi about the dream, who then told Fei Yi. Fei Yi said to Zhao Zhi, "The word for horn is composed of two parts, ‘knife’ above and ‘use’ below, and so means that there is a knife upon his head. It is a terrible omen.", and told him to keep it a secret. Fei Yi went to Wei Yan's tent and informed him of the Prime Minister's death and that Wei Yan was to hold the rearguard to escort Zhuge Liang, to which he replied asking who took Zhuge Liang's place, which was Yang Yi. Yang Yi was a counselor whose rank was below Wei Yan's own, and so, Wei Yan believed he should lead the campaign, while the aforementioned should conduct the coffin.
After telling Wei Yan he would attempt to persuade Yang Yi to give the supreme military position to him, Fei Yi went to Yang Yi and told him about the conversation. Yang informed him about Zhuge Liang's foretelling of Wei Yan's betrayal, and so, he just directed Jiang Wei at the rearguard. However, as Wei Yan was informed this by Ma Dai, he accused Yang Yi of playing with him, calling him a "pedantic blockhead", and announcing to Ma Dai that Yang Yi would die for his actions. Wei Yan asked Ma Dai to help him, to which he replied, "I have long hated Yang Yi; certainly I am ready to attack him."
Jiang Wei and Yang Yi slowly marched until they reached Plank Trail. The two then donned mourning garbs and began to wail for their dead. A great blaze caught their attention as they were walking. Yang Yi sent someone to find out who the force that did this belonged to. The scout told him that the cohorts were Shu soldiers under the supervision of Wei Yan. Plank Trail was being burned, and blocked the way. Yang Yi felt that this confirmed Wei Yan's traitorous actions, and Fei Yi planned to explain the truth about him to the Throne and to plan his destruction.
In Chengdu, a mourning Liu Shan had received a letter from Wei Yan. It said:
- "I, thy Minister and General, Wei Yan, General Who Conquers the West and Lord of Nanzheng, humbly and with bowed head write that Yang Yi has assumed command of the army and is in rebellion. He has made off with the coffin of the late Prime Minister and wishes to lead enemies within our borders. As a precaution, and to hinder his progress, I have burned the Plank Trail and now report these matters."
Liu Shan, perplexed, questioned Wei Yan's actions, as he was bold enough to fight Yang Yi's troops. Empress Wu replied with how Liu Bei had always said Zhuge Liang knew Wei Yan had a treacherous heart, and how Yang Yi was a scholar placed in great responsibility by Zhuge Liang, showing a great bond of trust.
Just then, a letter was resented from Yang Yi: "I, Yang Yi, leader of the retreating army, humbly and with trepidation, present this memorial. In his last moments the late Prime Minister made over to me the charge of the great enterprise, and bade me carry out his plan without change. I have respected his charge. I ordered Wei Yan to command the rearguard with Jiang Wei as his second. But Wei Yan refused obedience and led away his own army into Hanzhong. Then he burned the Plank Trail, tried to steal away the body of the late Commander-in-Chief, and behaved altogether unseemly. His rebellion came upon me suddenly and unexpectedly. I send this memorial in haste." The court continued to get letters from Wei Yan and Yang Yi accusing each other of rebellion, even with distaste from Jiang Wei. Fei Yi came in and repeated what had happened at Plank Trail. An officer named He Ping was discovered from a distance with an army of three thousand, sent by Yang Yi. The officer taunted Wei Yan, looking for a "rebel" and "traitor". Wei Yan, raged, mustered his now small force. Wei Yan dueled and seemed to defeat a retreating He Ping. "What if we go over to Wei?" asked a triumphant Wei Yan.
"I think your words unwise," said Ma Dai, "why should we join anyone? A really strong person would try to carve out his own fortune and not be ready to crook the knee to another. You are far more able and brave than any leader in the River Lands. No one would dare to stand up to you. I pledge myself to go with you to the seizure of Hanzhong, and thence we will attack the West River Land." The two went over to Nanzheng, where Jiang Wei was stationed. Despite the small force of Wei Yan, Jiang Wei went to Yang Yi and asked how the pair should be repelled. Yang Yi told Wei about the silken bag Kongming gave him before his passing, and started reading it.
Jiang Wei cruised out of the castle across from Wei Yan, and volleyed waves of abuse towards him, also asking him why he would turn traitor. Wei Yan ignored the questions, and asked for Yang Yi to come out. Yang Yi, finished with the letter, rode out to meet Wei Yan and said, "The Prime Minister foresaw your mutiny and bade me be on my guard. Now if you are able thrice to shout, 'Who dares kill me?', then you will be a real hero, and I will yield to you the whole of Hanzhong."
Wei Yan laughed and shouted in reply, "Listen, you old fool! While Zhuge Liang lived I feared him somewhat. But he is dead and no one dares stand before me. I will not only shout the words thrice, but myriad times. Why not?" Wei Yan raised his sword, shook his bridle, and shouted, "Who dares kill me?" - He never finished. Someone behind him had shouted savagely, "I dare!" and at the same moment Wei Yan fell dead, cut down by Ma Dai. All these actions were from the plot of Zhuge Liang. Wei Yan was to shout those words and slain when he least expected it. Liu Shan issued a decree, saying that Wei Yan payed the price for his treachery. He was buried at the age of fifty-nine, and Ma Dai was given his ranks.