The Jaguar Guard are the elite warriors who safeguard the Emperor of Aztlan. There are only ever thirteen warriors in total. When one dies a new will be selected from among a pool of the most impressive soldiers in Atlan’s armies who have distinguished them in the field and yearly competitions. The process of selection involves the top ten candidate competing to prove their superiority in a series of tests of endurance, patience, loyalty, and finally martial prowess. Becoming a member of the Jaguar Guard is an immense honor that brings great fame and fortune to one’s family. It also comes with it substantial economic benefits that allow even commoner families to be elevated to the status of lesser nobility wholly because one of their sons were chosen for the position. It does, however, have a significant downside. The name Jaguar Guard is not just for intimidation purposes. Those who pass the trials will undergo a transforming ritual that changes them from a mundane man into a half-man half-jaguar creature with immense speed, strength, and resilience. The transformation is nearly irreversible save by the hand of the mages who performed it in the first place and those who have been transformed find the bestial nature of their new form a danger to friends and family, making it a significant social sacrifice. The power given to the Jaguar Guard is immense however. They are nearly four times stronger than a normal human and three times as fast when running on all fours. Their thick hides and musculature make them immune to small arms fire as well, and their eyes can see perfectly in the dark as well as perceive the Astral Realm as if they had a third eye, which allows them to react to even supernatural threats. Because of the Law of Dry Ink they cannot be transmuted by enemies mages which in turn makes them incredibly capable of hunting and taking down even potent sorcerers who seek to do the emperor harm. Unlike the creations of the College of Biogenesis the Jaguar Guard were once human and thus retain their human intelligence. As such they can use tools and are equipped with powerful magical weapons and armor to enhance their already considerable abilities. Their primary weapon is a gold and obsidian macuahuitl that carries a potent enchantment that makes it near indestructible, but the real power is in the enchantment carried by the obsidian blades. When they cut a foe it ceases all bodily functions as if freezing the target in time. This both paralyzes them and makes them unable to die from their injuries for up to an hour, giving ample time to capture them for questioning. They also carry feathered gold shields that project an astral field that stops attacks passing through astral space and a golden band over their right arm that launches a mentally paralyzing astral bolt at far away targets. Their armor too, made from padded cloth with golden plates over the chest, is designed to resist physical and magical attack while also reducing weight. All in all the Jaguar Guard are considered some of the most elite warriors on the planet. Very few, even among trained battle-mages, can compete with them in combat.
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