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Royal Procession
Fire Lord's Onyx Guard
General information



Fire Nation Royal Palace


Protection of the Imperial Family and senior government officials

The Fire Lord's Onyx Guard, also known as the Onyx Guards or Onyx Firebenders, were elite Firebenders that served the Fire Lord as bodyguards. Providing security to the Fire Nation Royal Family was their primary job, though they were known to guard other important government officials and were known to work jointly with the Fire Nation special forces for field assignments of importance within the country's borders. Onyx Guards were also seen working as the Fire Nation Capital police force, along with the Domestic Forces. They were widely considered as one of the best military units on Earth.

The Onyx Guard was formed in the months following the Hundred Year War's end. Zuko deemed the current Royal Procession unfit for providing effective security, and ordered the creation of a more highly trained unit. He appointed a captain of the Fire Nation Army named Kiriyama, whom he knew from childhood, to oversee the training of the unit. Kiriyama, naming it the Onyx Guard, made the best of the old royal guard undergo an intense and brutal new training regimen that molded the Onyx Guards into highly skilled, highly disciplined, and highly effective soldiers. The first unit of fifty men was ready eight months after Zuko made the order.



Fire Lord Zuko

The newly crowned Fire Lord Zuko recognized the Royal Procession was in decay.

Days after the Hundred Year War ended, Zuko returned to the Fire Nation to be crowned as the next Fire Lord, replacing the defeated, self-proclaimed Phoenix King Ozai. During the War, Zuko and Team Avatar faced off against Imperial Firebenders on many occasions, including the Battle at Wulong Forest. They were easily defeated, which showed they were not fit to be the Royal Family's bodyguards. Zuko recognized this, especially after his return to the Fire Nation. Several rebels infiltrated the Fire Nation Capital, not to mention the Royal Palace, taking down many guards in the process. Though the rebels were eradicated due to the timely arrival of the Yuyan Archers and Domestic Forces backup, Zuko did not want these kind of people responsible for his security.

He authorized the disbandment of the Royal Procession, and the creation of a new, more elite and effective unit. His security would be handled jointly by the Yuyan and the Kyoshi Warriors for the time being. Meanwhile, an old friend of Zuko named Kiriyama, who was at the time a captain in the Fire Nation Army, was appointed as the overseer of the project. On the remote Hing Wa Island, a training base was set up by the military. Equipped with the military's best training equipment, the first Onyx Guard candidates (the best members of the old royal guard) began training. After eight grueling months of combat training, the first fifty guardsmen were ready.

Attempted Coup

Many of the military's senior officers, such as High General Bujing, did not approve of the way the War turned out. Many were appointed by Ozai because of how much they believed in his cause. Working for Zuko drastically changed their operations. The entire military had a mass reform. About half of the Army's soldiers were discharged (much to their joy) and sent home. The remainder were mainly used for security of the country. They stayed at their bases and did nothing other than train and drill most of the time. Zuko had half of the Navy's warships scrapped for metal and some were sold to the Earth Kingdom, who began designing their own warships based on the Fire Navy design. The Air Force began building seven new airships, including the Royal Airship, but no more than that. On the contrary, Ozai promised the Supreme Marshal that the fleet of seventeen would have been bolstered by twenty more after the War's end. Bujing and several other officers, including Grand Admiral Chan and Supreme Marshal Nishimura, decided to rebel.


General Bujing was a strong follower of Ozai and did not like Zuko.

Being leaders of their own military branches, that is where they recruited. The entire 14th, 21st, and 36th Infantry Divisions, 29th Cavalry Division, 38th and 43rd Armored Divisions, and the Kumakura Fleet decided to join the rebellion against the Fire Lord. The only thing the rebels lacked were contacts in the Domestic Forces and special operations. On the day of the coup, roughly a year after the defeat of Ozai, ordered the 21st and 14th Infantry Divisions to storm the Royal Palace. Meanwhile, the 36th Infantry set up a defensive perimeter along with the armored and cavalry divisions around the Caldera Royal City. Meanwhile at sea, the Kumakura Fleet engaged the vessels of the Home Fleet in combat, supported by four airships.

The infantry divisions had little challenge getting passed the lightly armed and unsuspecting Domestic Forces guard battalions in the outer city blocks. However, they took considerable casualties after engaging the 45th Firebender Division near the palace, but they got through by outnumbering them. At the time, there were seventy Onyx Guards, all being at the Palace. When the infantry divisions attacked, the Onyx Firebenders were surprised but quickly retaliated against the infantry. They fought them at the front of the palace, killing a lot of them. The 14th Division took heavy casualties, but they pushed back the Onyx Guards, killing only ten of them. By the time they entered the actual palace, they came under heavy attack. The entire 14th was wiped out, and half of the 21st was lost. They immediately signaled the other units for help.

Bujing and Shinu

Bujing and one of his officers.

The 36th Infantry Division made it but the rest were caught up by the loyalist 5th Army and the Domestic Force Home Guard. The cavalry and armored divisions were destroyed, and Bujing himself was killed. However, the others decided to go ahead with the plan. The infantry attacked the palace once again, realizing they underestimated Zuko's guardsmen. The infantry did slaughter a lot of servants, but they were quickly stopped by the Onyx Guards. During the combat, the Onyx Guards preformed well against the infantry. Being more skilled than them, for each guardsman that went down, twenty infantry men were lost. They close quarters combat aided the Guards, who used Firebending to take out large infantry units in seconds. Most of the infantry were killed, the rest fled to find their officers were killed. A total of 21 guards were lost out of the 70.

At sea, the Kumakura fleet was entirely destroyed by the Empire-class battleships of the Home Fleet. The airships were taken down by catapult fire from the ships and coastal batteries. Zuko liked the way his guards preformed, though Kiriyama, promoted to High General, pointed out several flaws in their tactics and mended the training program to work in solving them.

Earth Civil War

Around seven months after the attempted coup, the same thing happened in the Earth Kingdom. General Fong of the Earth Kingdom Army decided he didn't like the rule of Earth King Kuei and wanted to be the King, thinking he was more worthy of the title. But his key objective was actually to take full control of the Military of the Earth Kingdom as the King, and use it to attack the Fire Nation.

The coup was going to be carried out by the Dai Li. They continued working for the Kingdom after the War, but were lead by Tyro, and all corrupt members were dishonorably discharged. However, a sect of the organization supported Fong and decided to act against Tyro. Arrangements were made to overthrow Tyro at the same time as Kuei.

The coup was quick and was successful. The Royal Earthbender Guards had no reforms since the War like the Royal Procession did, and were still relatively easy opponents. They were easily defeated by the Dai Li and the Earth Kingdom Army units, under Fong, that aided them. However, after the coup became public, the Kingdom turned to chaos. Various regions and cities declared independence from the corrupt King Fong. Omashu, becoming the Kingdom of Omashu, was first to declare it's independence. Then Gaoling followed, starting the Gaoling Republic. Kyoshi Island declared independence, and so did the Sandbender Tribes of the Si Wong Desert, which became a khanate. Fong ordered the military loyal to him to attack the recently independent nations, but some were loyal to Kuei (who was imprisoned) and others deserted the military.

Royal Earthbender Guards fighting stance

Royal Guards attempting to defend the Earth King's palace during the coup.

Zuko decided to answer the call of the King of Omashu and sent in the Military of the Fire Nation to aid Omashu and other friendly states in retaking Ba Sing Se from Fong and restoring Kuei as King. While the Fire Army, Navy, and Air Force carried out the offensive alongside Omashu Guard troops, the Onyx Guard was sent in to carry out special operations. During the civil war, they assassinated several of Fong's officials and even planted spies in Ba Sing Se. The Onyx Firebenders were also responsible for liberating the massive port city of Kongpore, in the southern Earth Kingdom, from Fong's Earth Kingdom Army. The Onyx Guard also drilled Army troops to be more elite soldiers.

The Onyx Firebenders took part in an operation assassinating an usurper known as Chin The Conqueror II, in Chin Village. After his death, the Chin Empire, controlling half of the northern and western Earth Kingdom, collapsed. Most of the land was claimed by Fong's forces, though parts remained unaffiliated. Zuko ordered the Onyx Guard to fight with the Fire Nation Military and the Omashu Guard in a massive attack on the Fong Kingdom capitol. The assault was successful, with Onyx Guards easily defeating Royal Earthbender Guards when taking the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace.

Afterwards, Fong refused to surrender and was killed alongside his generals and admirals. The Earth King got his throne back, and the Independent regions soon began to rejoin the Earth Kingdom. Zuko granted Kuei's request to have some Onyx Guards train the Steel Sentinels, the new force that he had replace the Earthbender Royal Guards. As Firebenders, the Onyx Guard instructors gave limited training, but taught Earthbender drill sergeants good instructing methods.



The Onyx Guard was mainly one organization, having only one small division. The units used included:

  • Squadron (4 men)
  • Platoon (16 men)
  • Company (32 men)
  • Battalion (54 men)
  • Division (70 men)
  • Brigade (100 men)
Qin Lee

A regular Onyx Firebender.

Ranks of the Onyx Guard were Army ones, with some exceptions. The ranks did not go past Captain, which was the equivalent of High General.

  • Recruit
  • Basic Guardsman
  • Senior Guardsman
  • Specialist
  • Lance Corporal
  • Corporal
  • Staff Corporal
  • Junior Sergeant
  • Sergeant
  • Senior Sergeant
  • First Sergeant
  • Color Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Master Sergeant
  • Command Sergeant
  • Junior Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant
  • First Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant Captain
  • Captain of the Guard

Onyx Immortals

Imperial Firebenders of the Phoenix King

Immortals, the best of the best, wore black armor for more intimidation.

The Immortals were the elite within the elite. Because the Onyx Guard was already highly trained itself, many found the concept unimaginable. The best of the Onyx Guard were offered the legendary title of Immortal. Also called the Onyx Champions, they preformed special operations for the Fire Lord both domestically and abroad, including assassination, espionage, sabotage, intelligence, and counterinsurgency. To distinguish Immortals from regular guardsmen, they wore black colored variants of the standard armor, for intimidation and stealth.

Notable Onyx Guards

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