The series, spanning over 70 years, romanticises the life of Kublai Khan and the events leading to the founding of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in China.
Kublai was born in 1215 as a son of Tolui, the fourth son of Genghis Khan. At the time, Töregene, the wife of Ögedei (Genghis Khan's third son), sees Tolui as a potential threat. As Tolui gains more glory for his victories in battle, Töregene becomes worried about whether her husband will be selected by his father as his successor. She also feels uneasy because the young Kublai is highly favoured by his grandfather.
Ögedei eventually succeeds his father as the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. After Tolui is poisoned to death by Töregene, his sons, under the leadership of their eldest brother Möngke, want to avenge their father. Töregene plans to accuse Möngke and his brothers of plotting a rebellion if they seek to avenge their father, and hopes to use the opportunity to eliminate Tolui's family. At this critical moment, Kublai and his mother, Sorghaghtani, manage to calm down his brothers and get them to stay low while secretly building up their forces.
Following Ögedei Khan's death, Töregene becomes the Regent of the Mongol Empire for some years until her son, Güyük, is elected as the new Great Khan. When Güyük dies in a conflict against his cousin Batu, his wife Qaimish takes over as the Regent for a brief period of time until Möngke becomes the new Great Khan.
A few years later, after Möngke dies in a battle against the Song Empire at Diaoyu Fortress, Kublai and his younger brother Ariq Böke engage in a power struggle to seize the succession. Kublai eventually overcomes his brother and secures his position as the Great Khan after defeating all his rivals. He conquers China and establishes the Yuan dynasty with him as its first emperor.