The Huīfù Dynasty
269 LYE – present : The Huīfù Dynasty
Empress Xiōng Líng is murdered by her husband, the Imperial Consort Song Lanjie.
Song Lanjie assumes the Imperial name Zhànshì Shàngshēng (The Warrior Rises).
The Huīfù (or Restoration) Dynasty begins.
14/8/269 LYE – 11/6/301 LYE : Emperor Zhànshì Shàngshēng – Huīfù Dynasty
The reign of Zhànshì Shàngshēng marks a return to traditional values. He drastically reduces funding for education, restricting access to only those from decent families, and barring women completely. Laws are rigidly enforced, and artists, writers and musicians are monitored closely for any sign of subversion. Many great works of literature and scholarship are banned, many more are heavily censored. Troublesome poets, teachers and community leaders are arrested, tried and executed for the crime of sedition. The population soon learns the value of obedience, and live out their lives in fear.
Emperor Zhànshì Shàngshēng dies of old age. He is succeeded by his son, Song Deyong.
Song Deyong assumes the Imperial name Guǒyuán (Orchard).
12/6/301 LYE – 1/3/314 LYE : Emperor Guǒyuán – Huīfù Dynasty
Guǒyuán is a keen student of history, with a particular interest in the late Wěndìng and early Xìnyǎng Dynasties. He regards his father, the Emperor Zhànshì Shàngshēng, as an ignorant and brutal man who came to power in an act of unspeakable treachery against the rightful ruler, the Empress Xiōng Líng, who he admires for her strong will as much as for her subtlety of mind.
Inspired by the great currents of history, Guǒyuán sets out to discard the repressive policies of his father and return the Empire to what he thinks of as its golden age. For this he is regarded with suspicion by many among the ruling classes, who obstruct his reforms and do all they can to undermine his authority. The result is deadlock, and for the most part the harsh policies of his father continue under his rule.
Emperor Guǒyuán is murdered by his brother, Song Shaowen.
Song Shaowen assumes the Imperial name Dōnglóng (Eastern Dragon).
2/3/314 LYE – 29/10/354 LYE : Emperor Dōnglóng – Huīfù Dynasty
Dōnglóng rules with the full support of the Imperial Court. Unlike his predecessor, he is no scholar; he is rather proud of this fact, and often quotes the ancient saying: ‘The more books you read, the stupider you become.’ Having little interest in politics or government, he relies heavily on his advisors, who easily manipulate him to serve their own selfish interests. Though he thinks of himself as a strong ruler, in truth he is a vain and selfish man who wields little real power.
Throughout his reign, there are jokes made about his alleged impotence. Despite taking three wives, not to mention his many concubines, he remains without an heir until quite late in life, when in 321 LYE, his first wife – herself almost fifty years old – finally gives him a son. The birth of Song Hongzhu is honoured with a public holiday, and official celebrations are held across the Empire. Despite his low opinion of scholarship and the arts, Dōnglóng goes so far as to commission a special poem to commemorate the happy occasion. Absent from these festivities is Hongzhu’s mother, who is rarely seen in public, and is said to be recovering from a difficult birth.
Emperor Dōnglóng dies of old age. He is succeeded by his son, Song Hongzhu, the Crown Prince of Huīfù.
Song Hongzhu assumes the Imperial name Lín Hépíng (Peaceful Forest)
30/10/354 LYE – ? : Emperor Lín Hépíng – Huīfù Dynasty
Lín Hépíng was not fond of his father. Though publicly he goes through the motions of mourning his death, he feels a great weight has been lifted from his heart. His first instinct is to reach out to the people and reassure them that the bad times are over, and from now on they will be treated with dignity and respect. But his mother – whose stirring speech at her husband’s funeral ceremony came as a great surprise to the many who had assumed her dead – urges caution. She tells the young Emperor how Dōnglóng was manipulated into murdering his brother, Guǒyuán, who had similar ideas to those of his nephew. She warns him the Imperial Court has become a nest of vipers; if he is not careful, Lín Hépíng will share his uncle’s fate. Though lasting reform is possible, it will be dangerous; the Emperor must plan his moves with great care.