On the instruction of Fu Xia, Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered the creation of 24,000 terra cotta statues of warriors to be buried around his tomb at Xi'an. He then had 24,000 of his best soldiers ritually sacrificed, binding their souls to the warriors. When the emperor died, he was able to raise 18,000 of these soldiers as his Immortal Guard in the Shadowlands, which he used to establish the Dark Kingdom of Jade.
Appearance and PowersEdit
The Immortal Guard resemble the terracotta statues they were bound to rather that their mortal forms. Even in the normally colorless Underworld, the Immortal Guard are bright reddish-orange in color, ensuring they stand out from other wraiths. Their corpus is extremely hard, giving them a natural armor, but is otherwise flexible, alllowing them to move freely. They are also immune to the normal effects of Moliate.
Guardsmen do not gain Pathos from the living in the usual way, and are immune to Usury. Instead, they obtain Pathos through a ritual in which the Emperor feeds them souls. This ritual is only every performed at Xi'an, and knowledge of the ritual -- or, indeed, that it is even necessary -- is heavily restricted. One soul can sustain a guardsman for several years, but this still puts an enormous strain on the empire's resources. On the other hand, their dependence on the emperor ensures the Guard's total loyalty.
Within the Jade Empire, the Immortal Guard are feared and respected as the implacable agents of the emperor's justice. While they rarely take action against Chinese wraiths, when they do, they are swift and brutal. Any sign of rebellion against the emperor is swiftly put down. In the Conquered Territories, the Immortal Guard are the most visible symble of the occupation, but they are rarely deployed there in force; the emperor prefers to keep his most loyal subjects close to home.
After two thousand years, the Immortal Guard maintains its original organization: soldiers never advance through the ranks except through the destruction of a superior. While the current number of guardsmen is surely less than the original 18,000, their exact strength is a closely guarded secret. They are organized into three regiments, which are further subdivided into eighteen regional commands. Unit commanders oversee groups of 10 to 100 Guardsmen, though the average wraith will only ever encounter a squad of three to five soldiers in day to day life.
The Guard is primarily composed of infantry, althought archers, chariots and horseback cavalry are also represented. They are universally armed with at east one piece of True Jade weaponry, while other weapons are powerful relics or composed of the same rock-hard terracotta as their corpus.