Gorgeous costumes, fabulous production values, compelling stories, and bold characters don't fully describe the stunning visuals and passion you'll experience in the new fantasy adventure drama Tribes and Empires: The Storm of Prophecy, starring Huang XuanShawn DouZhou Yiwei, and Xu Lu. Here's my first impression of the highly-anticipated series.

(Spoilers!) - I watched ten episodes before writing this article.

In the Great Duan Empire, all is not well after 300 years of rule. There are signs of a crumbling dynasty despite its power and luxuriant palaces. The worries are hidden just under the surface, as there has been a terrifying prophesy about a half-human prince whose ascension to the throne will send the empire into chaos and destruction, while another secret prophesy says a new emperor will rise from a general's son, who has been missing for years.

(Enclosed in parentheses are the young actors who play the younger versions of the leading characters.)

Before we learn more about the prophesies, however, anyone who whispers about the prophesy is silenced by the Duan army. That's what happened to young Shofeng He Ye (Zheng Hao)'s nomadic tribe, as the youngster witnessed the massacre that also killed his parents. He was then enslaved by the army to ultimately become a fighter who fights in an arena at the pleasure of the rich and powerful.

He meets two other teenagers who are trapped in similarly twisted fates: Muyun Sheng (Zheng Wei) is the neglected and isolated prince who was born to the Emperor and a beautiful Charmer. He is also feared by everyone who knows about his prophesied future. The other is Muru Han Jiang (Shi Yunpeng), who is the son abandoned by his own father, a great general from the famously loyal Muru military family. When he finally learns about the truth of his cursed destiny, his father attempts to kill him for the greater good. 

By accident or coincidence, when the three teenagers meet and finally share their stories, they realize their intertwined fates marks them for a lifetime of unavoidable conflicts. Whatever hardships they already endured, they will meet more heartache.

In a world ruled by an extreme belief in divine predictions, does anyone have free will? 

Whatever you do, are you motivated by your own decision, or, are you driven by destiny's whip regardless of what you do?

A beautiful girl, Su Yu Ning (Eleanor Lee), will also be faced with an ironic fate because she is destined to be the future empress. When her birth chart was first deciphered, it seemed like a Cinderella moment that a young and lowly prospective lady-in-waiting was singled out for a great future. But what if she falls in love with someone who is not a royal, or even worse, a perceived enemy?

Fate or choice? Are you who you are because of fate, or maybe your own choices influence the outcome to match what is destined?

These are questions that the unfolding intrigue will shed a light on, or perhaps fulfill the coming darkness. In our modern world, we sometimes grapple with the same questions when we see tragedies and wonder if fate played a role.

Kudos to the three young actors whose performances are tremendously convincing. They even resemble their grown-up versions.

It's with fondness and appreciation for their talents that we say goodbye to the young actors and the initial episodes.

And, it'll be with high anticipation that we meet the charismatic leading men who play the grown-up characters when the story leaps to four years later. They start appearing from episode 9. I know I am already glued to the storm of prophecy. How about you?

COMING SOON

Tribes and Empires: The Storm of Prophecy - 九州·海上牧云记

Starring Huang Xuan and Shawn Dou

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The sprawling epic is supported by a huge ensemble cast. Read more about them HERE. I mainly focused on the top leading characters here, while there are many other fascinating roles including the villains.

Which character and subplots interest you the most?

~ Find me at NancyZdramaland for more update

(Image credit as referenced or tagged)