The Dark Covenant Nahualli are a small group of Jaguar Ferals and Skin-Changers living in Mexico. The Aztecs once held them in high esteem as powerful sorcerers and shapeshifters, though the Nahualli Covenant dates back before the Aztecs. In fact, the Nahualli claim to be the oldest Dark Covenant in existence, though there is no proof that they existed as an Association any earlier than the 15th century.
A rather small Covenant, the Nahualli’s members are rarely encountered outside of Central America, though it is not unknown to see a Nahualli Feral roaming the streets of America. This Dark Covenant often involves itself in drug smuggling, so its agents can be found in the United States’ inner cities from time to time.
According to Nahualli tradition, the society of werejaguars were founded during the time of the Olmecs, in 955 BCE, which is also the first year of an era the Aztecs called the Sun of the Jaguar. According to Nahualli legend, this Golden Age lasted for 676 years, ending in 279 BCE, when the Jaguar People ate all the other people on Earth. This, of course, does not explain why there are still human beings on the planet, or why there are no records of a human extinction in the 3rd century BCE, but nobody really expects the Dark Covenant’s religious beliefs to make much sense.
Though Jaguar Ferals and Shamans have existed in the Americas for as long as humans have, they were not organized into any coherent group. The real history of the Nahualli as they exist in modern times did not begin until the Aztec Empire. Montezuma I founded the Nahualli Covenant in 1450 CE, when he gathered together sixty sorcerers and sent them to search for the lost city of Aztlan, which they believed to be the original home of the Aztecs.
The Sixty summoned spirits to guide them in their search and the spirits led them to the Pacific Coast, near the Grande de Santiago River. There they found an ancient Gateway to the Otherworld. When the sorcerers opened it and went through, they found themselves in the middle of the Jaguar Totem Nation. The sorcerers met with spirits of the Oceotl Clan of the Jaguar Nation. The Jaguar Spirits claimed to be the descendants of the Jaguar People who ruled the world during the Sun of the Jaguar Age. The Oceotl Clan wanted to use the Sixty as instruments to bring back this Golden Age. A Jaguar Spirit possessed each sorcerer, imposing the Feral Curse. In turn, the Jaguar Spirits promised the sorcerers access to hidden knowledge, as long as they continued to keep the Gateway’s location secret. The Nahualli were to continue what the Oceotl Clan claimed to have started. The Jaguar Ferals would become a powerful nation on Malkuth and would rule from Tenochtitlan, the Aztec Empire’s capital.
The Sixty returned to their emperor with an allegorical story about finding Aztlan but being denied entry because the Aztec people had become too lazy and indulgent. Because of this slough, they revealed that it had been prophesied that a greater power would conquer the Aztecs. The Jaguar Spirits of the First World told them this prophecy and the Sixty assumed the Nahualli would be the greater power of which they spoke.
Thinking this to be the case, the original sixty Nahualli began breeding, producing numerous Inborn Feral children. Within five generations, they expected to have the makings of a mighty Feral army, which they would use to overthrow Tenochtitlan and use the city as a base from which to systematically conquer the rest of the Americas. If Spanish ships had not arrived off the coast of Mexico in 1519, the Nahualli might have succeeded.
Over the next ten years, the Spanish crushed the Aztec Empire, killing most of the Sixty. The Nahualli should have been able to decimate the Spanish, and in the beginning they managed to terrorize a few conquistadors, but for some reason, the Nahualli’s powers failed to work during many battles. Without Invocations or Feral Abilities, the Nahualli could not withstand the Spanish onslaught.
After the fall, the Covenant went underground. While they still dreamed of conquest, they never regained the power they had controlled at their height. In modern times, the Covenant is very small and larger Dark Covenants, like the Cult of Pain and the Red Path, use them to do their bidding.
The Nahualli worship the Aztec deity Tezcatlipoca of the Smoking Mirror, whom they consider to be the patron of the Jaguar Ferals. Tezcatlipoca has different forms, but the one the Nahualli most revere is Xipe Totec, the Flayed Lord. The Nahualli believe themselves to be blessed by the Gods. They hold that they will one day rule the Americas.
As a part of this destiny, they desire to build a new Sun of the Jaguar Age. With this in mind, the Nahualli monitor the original Sixty’s remaining bloodlines. These bloodlines often produce Inborn Ferals, which the cult holds in high esteem, or Gifted, which the Nahualli teach Invocations and the art of Skin-Changing. They consider any child not born a Feral or Gifted defective and they either cast these children out or hold them for later to sacrifice. In Mexico the Nahualli have several enclaves in which they keep these Mundane children in pens like cattle.
Status within the Nahualli is based on martial prowess and kills. Those in the lowest caste do not have formal names. They are just regarded as Commoners and they serve the Nahualli. Most of them do not even know they are working for a Dark Covenant. There are no prerequisites for being a Commoner.
A Captor is the first real membership level. To be a Captor, one must have killed at least one person in service to the Nahualli. To gain membership in the higher ranks, one must be Gifted or Feral. A Mundane may only rise as high as Captor in the Covenant, no matter how many people he kills. Those Mundanes chosen as Captors come from the Commoners’ ranks, as no Mundane child descended from one of the Sixty’s bloodlines lives to join the Captors.
Any member with the proper prerequisites who has killed at least four victims for the Nahualli may rise to the Pipiltin rank. Inborn Ferals are considered Pilli rank at birth, as it is assumed that they will kill four rather quickly.
The Otontin are considered the Nahualli’s elite fighters, but being an Otontin is really more of a question of rank then ability. Some Pilli Ferals are better warriors, but they are just too lazy to take the steps needed to become Otontin, never learning more than the basics of Aztec Mythology or Spoken Nahual. As long as they get to kill someone once in a while, they are happy. To rise from Pilli to Otomitl the warrior must kill an important adversary of the Nahualli. Sacrificing one hundred villagers to Xipe Totec does not help one become Otomitl, but killing the Mayor of Mazatlán because he had discovered the Nahualli’s Gateway to the Otherworld does.
The Quachic, the highest-ranking Nahualli caste, are considered the Dark Covenant’s nobles. Only Ferals and Skin-Changers can rise to this rank.
There is rumored to be a Nahualli Emperor who rules from among the Ocelotl Clan of the Jaguar Nation in the otherworld in the Sephiroth of Hod. The Nahualli aspire to overthrow the Mexican government and re-establish the Aztec Empire, which the Nahualli Emperor will rule, growing the Empire beyond Mexico’s border to include all the Americas.
This goal remains in the back of the Covenant members’ minds, even though most do not believe it will happen in their lifetime. Most Nahualli see the present as a time for delights and mayhem; the New Sun of the Jaguar Age will rise tomorrow.
The Nahualli deal with the Cult of Pain because of their mutual regard for the Xipe Totec, the Flayed Lord of the Aztecs. After the Spanish invasion, the Nahualli were amazed to find Europeans who understood about feeding the Gods and who even showed the Flayed Lord proper respect. The Cult of Pain considers the Nahualli to be a minor yet helpful ally. They have been known to use them as foot soldiers.
As a Mexican-based Covenant, the Nahualli have allied with the Caribbean Dark Covenant of the Red Path, as they share similar beliefs, attitudes, and geography. Like the Cult of Blood, the Red Path considers the Nahualli a minor yet useful ally, a nice big jaguar-spotted gun to point at their enemies.
Allying with these cults makes enemies of the Templars, the Rosicrucians, and the Brotherhood of Legba. Of course, most of these Covenants have never actually heard of the Nahualli. Those that have consider them to be the lackeys of other Dark Covenants in the Western Hemisphere. No one considers them a serious threat, not more serious than any other cult anyway.
Of the other Covenants, only the Nomads and the Apoanu Apyabaiba give them any thought at all. The Nomads want to see the Dark Covenant destroyed because they are Ferals gone bad. The Apoanu Apyabaiba fight against the Nahualli for many reasons. They find themselves caught in the middle of a Clan War between the Balam Jaguar Spirits and the Ocelotl Jaguar Spirits in the Otherworld in Hod. The Nahualli deeply hate both Associations and they kill any member they encounter.
Skills and Abilities
A Pilli must have a skill in Melee (usually with Knife or Macuatl Sword) 3. A Pilli is also supposed to have skill in Ritual Magic, Aztec Myth and Legend, and know the Nahual Language. Ferals are expected to know at least two abilities. Magicians are expected to know at least three Invocations, including Spirit Mastery (Jaguar Spirits). If the Magicians are not yet Skin-Changers, they are expected to become so.
An Otomitl must also have Melee (Knife or Macuatl Sword) 4, the Ritual, Myth, and language skills like the Pilli. He must also either have at least three Feral abilities or at least four Invocations, including the Skin-Changer Quality.
A Quachic must have Melee (Knife or Macuatl Sword) 5, and the other requirements of earlier tanks. The Ferals must have at least four abilities and the Skin Changers are expected to know at least five Invocations.