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The Gozoku was originally a political alliance of the Scorpion, Crane, and Phoenix Clans during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. The triad essentially controlled the workings of the Empire for over 40 years, until their power was broken by the ascension of Hantei Yugozohime to the Imperial Throne.
In the 12th century, Bayushi Atsuki, returned through Oblivion's Gate, attempted to form a second Gozoku. They gained a fair amount of power for some time, but were broken after only a few years of operation.
The First Gozoku Edit
Beginning of the Gozoku Edit
The Gozoku was the brainchild of the Crane Clan Champion Doji Raigu, the Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Atsuki, and Imperial Scribe Shiba Gaijushiko. They believed the Empire could not be left in the hands of a single ruler. Gaijushiko wanted to ensure peace throughout the Empire, Raigu believed he was saving the Empire from an incompetent ruler, and Atsuki sought power for its own sake. 
Gozoku Coup Edit
In 391, the heir of Hantei Fujiwa, Hantei Kusada, was kidnapped by the Gozoku, who held the heir until the Emperor granted their leaders concessions in the form of political power. Shortly afterward, Fujiwa fell ill and died. Otomo Tohojatsu, the uncle of Fujiwa, acted as regent until Kusada could claim the throne. While acting as regent, Tohojatsu gave the Gozoku so much more power that when Kusada finally became Emperor he was nothing more than a figurehead.
Gozoku consolidation Edit
Life was not all bad under the rule of the Gozoku. The triad developed a detailed system of roads as a new way of conducting trade. Under their rulership art and culture flourished. Unfortunately, so did crime and corruption.  The alliance expanded his base with minor courtiers and bureaucrats that dealt with the day to day work. 
Gozoku Domination Edit
The name “Gozoku Alliance” became public, referring to the political alliance between the Crane, Scorpion, and Phoenix Clans. However, the true depth of the Gozoku Alliance's power was not immediately apparent. After the next years more and more samurai realized the Gozoku had actually completely subverted the Emperor's supremacy, but still no clan acted openly against them. The three sons of the Emperor were fostered to each of the Gozoku's clans, actually making them hostages to the conspiracy. 
Division of the Alliance Edit
In 415 during winter court at Kyuden Asako a minor courtier publicy discussed the Gozoku's activities. It created a stir among their leaders, which had differents views on how the Gozoku would act. Atsuki blamed Raigu, who still believed in the Emperor’s ultimate supremacy. A split formed within the conspiracy, leading to occasional assassinations and other dirty tactics. 
Dragon Clan Edit
The Emperor and the Brotherhood Edit
Beginning in 428, Kusada spent a great deal of effort and funds to increase the influence of religion in Rokugan, creating over 24 temples in places where either Shinsei himself had walked or some holy act had been performed. It was during this time that Kusada hit on the thought of using the Brotherhood of Shinsei as spies and agents, as no one would suspect a monk. The Brotherhood had no choice but to obey their Emperor. 
The plan failed miserably when the emperor's monk spies were discovered by the Gozoku. Four Anshin monks were apprehended while spying on the Crane Champion.  Three monasteries were burned by Gozoku agents, and on the 16th day of the first month of 429 the Gozoku decided to make an example of the monks and executed them as traitors. While this weakened what little power Kusada had remaining, it also adversely affected the Gozoku as well. The average citizen of Rokugan -- samurai and peasant alike -- was not extremely versed in politics, but was fairly knowledgable in religion. Seeing the Gozoku publicly executing a group of monks struck a serious blow to the triad's reputation. Many point to this act as the turning point of the Gozoku's power and the beginning of their downfall. 
Emperor's daughter Edit
In 432 the Kami Togashi in the persona of the Dragon Clan Champion Togashi Hikaru decided to act against the Gozoku, and Kusada was subtly influenced by Dragon diplomats to foster his daughter, Hantei Yugozohime, to the Lion Clan for instruction. The Lion trained and educated Yugozohime in the principles of Hantei supremacy, sowing the seeds of the Gozoku's doom. 
Fall of the Gozoku Edit
In 435, Emperor Kusada died of old age. His eldest son, who had been fostered to the Phoenix Clan, was brought to the courts to be coronated. Unfortunately for the Gozoku, Kusada's daughter, Hantei Yugozohime, who had been fostered to the Lion Clan, came to Otosan Uchi and challenged her brother to a duel for the throne. She easily defeated him, and with the support of the Lion and Dragon armies, she swiftly shattered the strength of the Gozoku. 
Raigu was executed, as well as Atsuki and his daughter and current Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Minoko, who attempted to disobey the Imperial orders. To save himself, Shiba Gaijushiko decided to assist Yugozohime in dismantling the Gozoku in return for a pardon for his actions. 
In the aftermath, the Otomo family was given much of the authority formerly held by the Gozoku. The family was tasked to use it to ensure that anyone trying to diminish the power of the Emperor would meet only failure. In addition, the family was secretly tasked to sow discord between the Great Clans, attempting to make their alliances shaky enough that another similar power block could never again form. 
The Second Gozoku Edit
During the reign of Toturi III in 1165, the Gozoku conspiracy was revived by the returned spirit of one of the original Gozoku leaders, Bayushi Atsuki. The new organization begin to undermine the authority of the Emperor, and with the rise of Iuchiban and the War of the Rich Frog, they were initially very successful.  Even Shogun Kaneka reluctantly agreed to ally with them, as he was unsure wether his half-brother would be able to hold the throne. 
Toturi III found his powers in the courts severely reduced, and all he could do was call upon those loyal to him. Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Sunetra stepped down from her position to secretly become Naseru's personal spy and saboteur, assigned to persecute the Gozoku. Her first successful mission was the murdering of Bayushi Kamnan at Mantis hands, and his replacement by a disguised spirit, Bayushi Baku, who retained Kamnan's memories and worked as insider spy. 
Kaneka decided that the Gozoku was as much a threat to him as they were to the Emperor. The Shogun decided to attack the organization's strongholds as well. This campaign resulted in the death of many Gozoku members and leaders, including Bayushi Atsuki and Seppun Toshiaki. 
See the list of members of the Gozoku for a listing of notable members of the conspiracy.
- ↑ Imperial Histories, p. 42
- ↑ Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 11
- ↑ Imperial Histories, p. 45
- ↑ Imperial Histories, pp. 45-46
- ↑ Imperial Histories, p. 46
- ↑ Imperial Histories, p. 53
- ↑ Imperial Histories, p. 47
- ↑ Way of the Shadowlands, p. 43
- ↑ Imperial Histories, pp. 47-48
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Imperial Histories, p. 48
- ↑ Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 12
- ↑ Four Winds, p. 111
- ↑ The Forgotten Son, by Rich Wulf
- ↑ The Underhand, by Rich Wulf
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Fires of Toshi Ranbo, Part One, by Rich Wulf
- ↑ Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 26
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