There are many stories about the girl who became a hero. Most are embellished, the events polished to a legendary sheen. They say that Hua Mulan was blessed, that her bow and blade were gifts of the gods. That she was wise beyond measure, and stronger than a hundred warriors, for her heart was pure. That she became the sworn sister of the king's daughter. That she returned home and married a prince, or perhaps a farmer. That she died.
But every story, no matter how outlandish, has a grain of truth to it. And this is the truth of Hua Mulan. China was invaded and a man from every family was called to serve in the army. But her father was old and her brother a child, and so for love's sake, she set aside her loom and went to war in their place. She disguised herself as a young man, and no one was the wiser, for her father had trained her in the ways of the bow and the blade, making her the equal of any man in the army.
For twelve years, she maintained the pretence. She fought well against the enemies of China, attaining rank and the loyalty of her fellow soldiers. She led men into battle more than once, setting herself where the fighting was thickest so that those who followed her might see her and take heart. At the end of that twelve years, she was offered a high rank, but turned it down. Instead, having grown tired of war, she asked only that she might return home to her family. And so she did, her duty complete.
But some stories do not end when the hero returns home. For some stories, that is only the beginning. For now, a new danger stirs, and Hua Mulan must once more take up her weapons in defense of her homeland...