Brotherhood of the Golden Lion
Colonel Gao had served originally under General Ai. When Emperor Kuang mysteriously perished, General Ai was directing the garrison at Heaven's Pillar. Very quickly thereafter, General Bao seized the capitol and seized most of the Kingdom's assets and attempted to execute other rivals. Gao served his general well for many years until Ai was killed at the battle of Crescents Ridge. With Ai's forces scattered, Gao retreated back from the battle and gathered what forces he could.
Unfortunately for Li, Gao was more accustomed to the patterns of the nearby Heaven's Bridge Hill tribes and fell back to stronghold when the Tribes started their annual summer raids. Li's forces were beaten back, but what little remained of Gao's army had to survive an onslaught that year without their customary strength.
Gao has survived ever since by subduing Ai's other subordinates and finally reuniting Ai's force under his command. The journey has been long and slow, but he's been able to find trading partners and build up a small force. Gao is biding his time hoping the events of the war will weaken Li and when that happens Gao will repay his rival for the humiliation that occurred at Crescents Ridge.