While Garou are the wardens of the natural balance, the Nagual are the protectors of people. They aren’t as serious as the Garou, however, preferring to enjoy life while it lasts. They are curious to the point of self-endangerment. They are more feline minded than Gotoku Neko, exhibiting the same propensity to play with their prey and the same distractibility of a cat. Often, they are hedonistic, mercurial, and masochistic, laughing off an offense before throwing the first punch.
ROLE IN LR
Until recently (December 21, 2011) The Mayan Empire was content to stay hidden. On that day, the Nagual high priestess Killed the Owl Messenger had a vision of the earth splitting open and twisted spirits crawling out to consume the magic of the world. The elders of the Nagual and High Council fasted and sought answers. The only information they received was that the world was wounded by humans, or would be soon. The combined elders have decided to reveal their long held secret to the world to try and draw out the source of this wound and amend the problem.
Animagus training is a highly private and honored right. Wizards and witches may only undergo this training from the Akholay after they have endured the Nagual's Shadow Walker Trial. There is no punishment for failure. For a human to succeed is a rare and prized thing. Those who succeed are considered to have gained a Nagual's spirit and will often find themselves being 'checked up on' by Nagual for the rest of their lives. They gain protection and family from the trial, as well as political power by being able to join the High Council.
In Central America during the end of the 15th century AD, famed priestess and Seer Looks Into The Sun's Heart had a disturbing vision of a great dragon coming from the east to swallow her people. Taking the prophecy seriously, the leaders and citizens of the tribal empire sought safety from the coming disaster. Secret cities were prepared and warriors were trained. Witches and wizards began setting up repelling charms and defensive networks all along the new forest cities. By the time the Spaniards arrived in full force, there was little left to do except disappear. The Mayan empire did just that, and in 1530 were completely gone from the annals of history. To European historians, the empire collapsed and the people were subjugated, becoming integrated into the labor force of the Spanish empire. Secretly, however, the Mayan kingdom thrived. In fact, members of the community have been known to go out and observe the developments outside of the empire and bring them back to keep it thriving. They are private, so outsiders are never told the details of the secret that the empire survived.
These people are native jaguar shifters akin to Garou. They are allergic to silver in the same way that Garou are and have a comparable healing factor, but shift on the new moon instead of the full moon. They are stronger than humans, but not as strong as a Garou. Despite that, they are faster and stealthier, so the disadvantage is balanced out.
Instead of Rage, Nagual suffer from the Hunger. It aches and gnaws within a Nagual, enticing him to pounce, kill, and destroy. This is the urge within all cats to 'play with their food' and can be seen from the smallest kitten learning to hunt to a lioness on the Serengeti stalking her prey. Since Nagual begin shifting by the age of six, this is an urge that must be mastered quickly.
In human form, they look almost identical to humans, but have cat like behaviors and mannerisms. In true form, or Shadow Walker form as they refer to it, they are anthromorphic jaguars that stand seven to nine feet tall. They are muscular and have increased hearing, sight, and scent in this form. The shift is painful and pleasurable at the same time, creating masochistic individuals who seek to find that blurred line of hurting-so-good between shifts. These individuals have the hardest time controlling their Hunger and have lower social status because of their lack of self control. Once shifted, a normal individual has a hard time controlling their feline instincts, so a Nagual who already lacks self control is at a great risk of losing themselves all together. Any adult who loses control will be killed, but adolescents and youngsters have more grace since they are still learning.
They are highly curious, can be standoffish to newcomers, but warm to friends. They have almond shaped eyes and dusky skin tones that they decorate with jaguar spot tattoos upon reaching adulthood. The average lifespan is near 130 years, but that can be cut short by fights and hard living.
Nagual are not named as children. They are instead referred to with affectionate nicknames. Upon reaching 16, a Nagual adolescent is forcefully run out of their community to live in the jungle with their wits and magic, if they have that ability. They aren't allowed back into the community for a moon's cycle, after which they are greeted as adults and welcomed back with honor. This trial, referred to as the Trial of the Shadow Walkers or the Shadow Walker Trials or more simply the Trials, is to open the young Nagual's eyes to the spirit world. They receive their name from a vision or encounter with an ancestral spirit out in the jungle. Any Nagual who does not receive this vision is considered cursed and will typically end their own life. Young Nagual eagerly anticipate this 'adventure', but most come back sobered by the things they've seen and had to endure. Afterwards, they join the priesthood, are allowed to get the jaguar spot tattoos, permitted to marry, and continue their training.
Nagual families do not have surnames, but will often affiliate with the pureblood families, congregating at the enclaves of these clans. They work in parallel with these families and view them often as spiritual kin.
The empire functions on a caste system based off of species/magical ability.
The priests are the spiritual leaders of the community. They have the final say because they communicate with the ancestors and spirits of the world. Priests are 100% of the time adult Nagual (nah-wool, explained in a second post). Priests are ranked by age, experience, and ability to communicate with the ancestors. They all serve under a High Priest who is either melanistic and specially trained, or elected from the elder members of the caste.
Councillors are elected from adult humans who have the ability to use magic. It is expected that every adult serves on the council at least once in their life time. Lifetime members aren't the majority, but they are a high percentage of the High Council, composed of adults who have taken the Trial and who are animagi. The Low Council has representatives from all the families. Traditionally, members served a three year term before returning home.
Citizens are folk not involved in government, not magical, or under-aged in the case of Nagual. They are the common people, busy with the day to day of their lives. They train children, construct things, produce food, and live. They have as much destiny and potential as they want.
Magical education is done differently in the empire than it is in most of the magical world. The families that form the core of the community (analogous to the purebloods in Britain) each specialize in a different branch of magic and have regional governance over certain countries. Half blood families and muggleborns typically find themselves under the patronage of whichever family runs their region and are represented by that family in the council.
Akholay: Transfiguration --Mexico
Matze: History of Magic--Guatemala through Panama
Kanxoc: Dark Arts-- Falkland Islands
Zima: Defense against the Dark Arts--Ecuador
Batan: Ancient Runes--Uruguay
Zulu: Magizoology--Argentina and Chile
(special thanks to:  for the surname list. feel free to use this list to add authenticity to your character's last name)
These families are spread out from Arizona to Chile with the Kanxoc living on the Falkland Islands. When a student comes of age and is presented with a wand at the age of ten, they may then travel through the empire at their leisure to learn from the different families. While most typically cease traveling after reaching adulthood at 18, studies can continue a lifetime since lore goes back generations. Typically, students learn from their own families growing up and then spend a year with seven to eight other families in order to get a broad idea of theory and basic knowledge. Some students spend all eight years with only one or two families gaining expertise. This system allows students to learn what they want, see the width and breadth of the empire, and forge alliances with other families. Wands are made by a cabal of elders from the Zulu and Uluac families since they supply the majority of the ingredients and knowledge. Wands may also be passed down as they sometimes are in Britain. Muggle and Nagual children may join their magical friends on these journeys to see their empire, find their future spouse, or taste adventure.