Zhào Yún, appellation Zǐlóng, was a Chángshān Zhēndìng man. He originally served Gōngsūn Zàn. Zàn sent Xiān-zhǔ [Liú Bèi] to follow Tián Kǎi in resisting Yuán Shào. Yún then followed them and became commander of Xiān-zhǔ‘s cavalry. (1)
- (1) Yún Biézhuàn states:
- Yún was eight chǐ [1.84 meters] tall, with beautiful face and majestic appearance. He was nominated for office by his home prefecture, and led his local officials and soldiers to join Gōngsūn Zàn. At the time Yuán Shào had become Governor of Jìzhōu. Zàn was very concerned that the people of the province would all follow Shào, and was pleased that Yún had come to join him. He mocked Yún and said: “I have heard that your esteemed province’s people all wish to join Yuán. Why do you alone sir have a different heart, and know to mend your wrong way?” Yún replied: “The realm is in confusion, and cannot yet know who is right. The people are in danger of being overturned. In our rustic province we discussed matters and decided to go where ever there was benevolent government. It is not that we are estranged from Lord Yuán or partial to you, wise General.” Thereafter he followed Zàn on campaign.
- At the time Xiān-zhǔ had also joined Zàn, and always was with Yún, and Yún became deeply favored and trusted. Due to mourning for his elder brother, Yún resigned his position under Zàn to temporarily return home. Xiān-zhǔ knew he would not return, so he grabbed his hand and would not part with him. Yún resignedly said: “To the end I will not turn my back on virtue.” When Xiān-zhǔ fled to Yuán Shào, Yún met him at Yè. Xiān-zhǔ and Yún slept together on the same bed, and he sent Yún to secretly recruit several hundred men, who all called themselves General of the Left Liú’s personal regiment, and Shào was completely unaware. He then followed Xiān-zhǔ to Jīngzhōu.
When Xiān-zhǔ was pursued by Lord Cáo at Chángbǎn in Dāngyáng , he abandoned his wives and children and fled south. Yún personally carried the infant son, who became Hòu-zhǔ [Liú Shàn], and protected the lady Gān, who was the mother of Hòu-zhǔ, and so they all escaped trouble. He was promoted to General of the Ivory Gate. When Xiān-zhǔ entered Shǔ, Yún remained in Jīngzhōu. (2)
- (2) Yún Biézhuàn states:
- Previously, when Xiān-zhǔ was defeated, there was someone who said Yún had fled north. Xiān-zhǔ grabbed a hand axe and threw it at him, saying: “Zǐlóng would never abandon me!” Shortly after this, Yún arrived. He followed in the pacification of the south of the Jiāng, was appointed Vice General and Administrator of Guìyáng, replacing Zhào Fàn. Fàn’s elder brother’s widow was lady Fán, and had beauty to ruin states, and Fàn wished to wed her to Yún. Yún declined and said: “We have the same surname. Your elder brother is like my elder brother.” He firmly refused and would not permit it. At the time there were people who advised Yún to wed her, and Yún said: “Fàn was only forced to surrender, and his intentions cannot yet be trusted. And women are not rare in this world.” And so he would not accept. Fàn indeed fled and defected, and Yún was not implicated.
- Before this, he had fought with Xiàhóu Dūn at Bówàng, and captured Xiàhóu Lán alive. Lán was from the same hometown as Yún, and from youth they had known each other. Yún advised Xiān-zhǔ to spare him, recommending Lán as a Military Rectifier because he was learned in law. Yún did not personally employ him close. His cautious and prudent nature was like this.
- When Xiān-zhǔ entered Yìzhōu , Yún was left in command as camp Major. At the time Xiān-zhǔ‘s wife lady Sūn, who was Quán’s younger sister, acted arrogantly and commanded many Wú officials and troops, going about violating laws. Xiān-zhǔ believed Yún was strict and certainly able to maintain order, and so specially appointed him to command the inner household [harem] affairs. When [Sūn] Quán heard that [Liú] Bèi had gone west on campaign, he sent a great fleet to bring back his younger sister. The lady secretly wished to bring Hòu-zhǔ back with her to Wú. Yún and Zhāng Fēi led troops to intercept them on the river, and so brought Hòu-zhǔ back.
Xiān-zhǔ from Jiāméng returned to attack Liú Zhāng , and summoned Zhūgě Liàng. Liàng led Yún and Zhāng Fēi and others together to go up the Jiāng west, pacifying the prefectures and counties. They arrived at Jiāngzhōu, and Yún was sent separately to follow the Wài river up to Jiāngyáng, rejoining with Liàng at Chéngdū. When Chéngdū was settled, Yún was appointed General Assisting the Army. (1)
- (1) Yún Biézhuàn states:
- When Yìzhōu was settled, at the time some suggested that the houses in Chéngdū and the mulberry and farm fields outside the city should be distributed to the officers. Yún opposed this and said: “Huò Qùbìng, because the Xiōngnú were not yet destroyed, had no use for a household. Not only are the rebels to the state like the Xiōngnú, we have not yet achieved peace. Only when the realm is completely settled and all can return to their fields and homes and plow their home soil, would this be appropriate and that is all. This is the first time that the common people of Yìzhōu have suffered from warfare, and all the fields and homes should be returned to them. Now they should be settled and return to work, and only then can they be conscripted to service, and so obtain popular support.” Xiān-zhǔ agreed and followed this.
- After Xiàhóu Yuān was defeated , Lord Cáo fought for the territory of Hànzhōng, and transported grain through the northern mountains amounting to millions of sacks. Huáng Zhōng believed these could be captured. Yún’s troops followed Zhōng to capture the grain. Zhōng was gone for very long and did not return, so Yún led several tens of light riders past the camp fortification lines to search for Zhōng and the others. It happened that Lord Cáo had also sent out a large force of soldiers. Yún encountered its vanguard and was attacked, fought, but then the main force arrived and pressed hard, so he charged ahead and struck at their lines, advancing and then withdrawing. The Lord’s army was defeated but then surrounded him, but Yún broke through and returned to his camp lines. The officer Zhāng Zhù was wounded, so Yún went back and galloped hard and rescued Zhù back to the camp. The Lord’s army pursued them to the fortifications. At the time the Chief of Miǎnyáng Zhāng Yì was in Yún’s camp. Yì wanted to close the gates to defend, but Yún entered the camp and instead opened wide the gates, lowered the flags and quieted the drums. The Lord’s army suspected Yún had troops hidden in ambush, so they withdrew. Yún then beat the drums and thundered to the heavens and had the crossbows fire into the rear of the Lord’s army. The Lord’s army panicked, and trampled over each other, and many fell into the Hàn river and died. The next morning Xiān-zhǔ arrived at Yún’s camp to inspect the battlefield, and said: “Zǐlóng is all guts!” They feasted and made merry until dusk. In the army they called Yún the General with Tiger Might.
- When Sūn Quán attacked Jīngzhōu, Xiān-zhǔ was furious and wished to attack Quán. Yún remonstrated him: “The traitor to the state is Cáo Cāo, not Sūn Quán, and once we first destroy Wèi, then Wú will surrender itself. Though Cāo has died, his son Pī has usurped and stolen power. We should follow the common will to quickly seize the land within the Passes and occupy the upper [Yellow] and Wèi rivers to attack the rebels. East of the passes righteous soldiers must rise up to welcome the rightful ruler. You should not set aside Wèi and instead first fight with Wú. Once the war begins, it will not be easy to stop.” Xiān-zhǔ did not listen and then led a campaign east, leaving Yún to command Jiāngzhōu. When Xiān-zhǔ was defeated at Zǐguī, Yún led his army to Yǒng’ān, but the Wú army had already retreated.
Jiànxīng first year  he was appointed Central Protector of the Army and General Attacking the South and given fief as Marquis of Yǒngchāng precinct, promoted to General Defending the East. Fifth year  he followed Zhūgě Liàng in garrisoning Hànzhōng. The next year Liàng led the army off, announcing he would follow the Xié valley road. Cáo Zhēn sent a great army there. Liàng ordered Yún and Dèng Zhī to go resist them while he personally went to attack Qí mountain. The troops of Yún and Zhī were weak while the enemy was strong, and were defeated at Jīgǔ, but they collected the troops and defended, and so did not suffer a great disaster. The army retreated, and he was demoted to General Defending the Army. (2)
- (2) Yún Biézhuàn states: Liàng said: “When the army at Jiētíng retreated, the soldiers and officers all became confused and mixed together. When the army at Jīgǔ retreated, the soldiers and officers did not become lost. Why was this?” Zhī answered: “Yún personally settled the rear, so that none of the military materials were abandoned, and the soldiers and officers had no opportunity to become lost.” Yún’s military supplies had remaining fabric, and Liàng wished to distribute it to the officers and soldiers, but Yún said: “In battle we were unsuccessful. Why give rewards? These should enter the government treasury, and in the tenth moon distributed as winter supplies.” Liàng greatly praised him.
Seventh year he died, and was given posthumous title as Shùn-Píng-hóu “Obedient and Just Marquis.”
Previously in the time of Xiān-zhǔ only Fǎ Zhèng received posthumous title. In the time of Hòu-zhǔ, Zhūgě Liàng’s achievements and virtue were unrivaled, Jiǎng Wǎn and Fèi Yī bore the responsibilities for the state, and so also received posthumous title. Chén Zhī was a favored attendant and received many special rewards and honors, and Xiàhóu Bà came from afar to join the state, so they also obtained posthumous names. As a result Guān Yǔ, Zhāng Fēi, Mǎ Chāo, Páng Tǒng, Huáng Zhōng, and Yún were therefore given posthumous title, and at the time this was said to be an honor. (1)
- (1) Yún Biézhuàn records Hòu-zhǔ‘s edict: “Yún in the past followed the former Emperor, and his achievements accumulated to renown. We when an infant passed through great danger, depended on his loyalty and obedience, and so escaped from danger. As posthumous names are used to commemorate past great men, suggestions were made for an appropriate posthumous name for Yún. General-in-Chief Jiāng Wéi and others commented, believing: Yún in the past followed the former Emperor, his labors and merits accumulated to renown, he managed the realm in faithful accordance to law, and his achievements can be remembered. His service at Dāngyáng is engraved upon metal and stone. His loyalty defended those above, and the lord remembers this reward. His courtesy was generous to those below, and the servants forget this death. The dead are aware and remain. The living give thanks and depart. According to the Shìfǎ ‘Method of Posthumous Names’: Gentle Worthiness and Compassionate Kindness is called Obedient. Performing duties with teams is called Just. Overcoming and settling calamity and chaos is called Just. Therefore the posthumous name of Yún is Shùn-Píng-hóu “Obedient and Just Marquis.”
Yún’s son Tǒng succeeded, his office reached Gentleman of the Palace Tiger Guard, and his command Acting Supervisor of the Army. The next son Guǎng was Officer of the Ivory Gate and followed Jiāng Wéi to Tàzhōng and died in battle.