|Paradox needs you!
This article (Characters of the Order), is unfinished in many areas so that anyone can come in and fill the missing information!
Due to the nature of this page, it requires many smaller sections done separately, instead of one arcing vision. Themes, writing styles, and different viewpoints can all be had here. Let your imagination run wild!
Over its long history, the Order of the Talon has seen the rise and fall of many prominent individuals within its ranks. Many died in battle, while others simply found themselves too old or too badly injured to contribute. By its very nature, the Talon is perhaps the most diverse major power on Earth - Talon operatives have come from every walk of life and every nation imaginable, united first and foremost by the drive to eradicate the Cult. Beyond this, it's hard to generalize the Talon's leaders today. Former Allied officers rub shoulders with Soviet refugees, Imperial defectors, and even an Atomic Chinese renegade or two. Some are wild-eyed fanatics, others are kind and soft-spoken idealists, more than a few are filled with righteous fervor. It is ironic, then, that the larger world would deem them all misguided zealots... if the larger world had any inkling of just how far the Talon reaches.
Past Influential FiguresEdit
La Hire Edit
Aperta Scriptum Edit
|Birthplace||Sealed to the Triumvirate|
|Rank||Supreme Forgemaster (honourary)|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
To the Talon, he is their patron. He is the man, almost a saint, who gifted them with the weapons they needed to gain a great edge of the forces of the Cult. To the Cult, he is a monster. He sought to prevent the return of the Messiah, and gave the Enemy the machines to do so.
To himself, he was merely a creator.
Aperta Scriptum, as he is known, is a mystery even among the higher-ups in the order. Only a few know of his true origins, and only the triumvirate knows what his true Christian name was (or even if he had one).
In the 1820s, the Cult burned down a small village in Canada, killing all of its inhabitants before the Order could do anything. All of its inhabitants, that is, except one: a baby boy.
The knights who sifted through the wreckage of the village found him, almost dead from the cold and smoke, but still clinging to life. They took him in, and he was raised as in the Talon, knights and monks his only family
He grew to be a curious youth. His lungs, ravaged by smoke as an infant, prevented him from becoming a knight or engaging in physical activity. While others played and trained, he constantly created sketches of mechanical contraptions in his spare time. One Talon engineer said that his creativity was that of "God on the week of Creation". Desperate to protect their leading engineer, the Triumvirate ordered their best rogues to destroy any records of his origins. Aperta Scriptum became his only name, creation his stock and trade. Whether he chafed at this or was simply too focused on his creations no one knows, because by then the Triumvirate had so heavily isolated their creator that by his passing, the lower ranked of the Talon knew him as a near mythical figure.
Aperta Scriptum lived until 1917, by then a very old man. He had long ago lost the ability to walk without special clockwork mechanisms he had designed himself, and the cough that had plagued him all his life became nearly unbearable. On the day when the Michael, the first Master Crawler, was finished, it is said that he laid his hand on the side, said only "At last, it is complete", and died.
Not only did Aperta Scriptum create the crawler, he devised the massive walls of defenses surrounding Jerusalem. He created the concept of the Crawler cell. He revolutionized the Order with his designs for the walkers that now make the backbone of the Crusaders and their order. A single stained glass window remains in the Aperta Scriptum forges of their patron, shining the light of inspiration down upon the labourers who feverishly work to supply the Talon.
Current Influential FiguresEdit
Main article: Lady Maria
|Born||May 8, 1935|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
|Occupation||Commander of the Michael Crawler Cell|
"Standing aside and hoping for a better world will do nothing. The world will not change until you force it to."
- - Arianna Martella
Arianna was born of an impoverished girl in the streets of Mexico City, and was abandoned a few years afterwards, not even having the dignity of a last name. Surviving on what she could steal or scavenge and dodging bullies and criminals, the only real friend she had was a Catholic priest who, unknown to her, was a Talon sympathizer and caretaker of the local armoury for Talon personnel. Unfortunately, the Black Hand knew this too, and killed the old man when Arianna was 8. Though sad, she was a survivor and took the priest's keys to scavenge what she could out of his church. She was quite shocked by the auto-crossbows and tabards in the hidden room in the back, but drawn to an old looking steel blade connected to a rusted hulk that once must have been an electrical generator. Curious now, she stole a car battery and hooked it up to the blade. The blade turned white hot, yet didn't burn Arianna when she picked it up.
The blade was Arianna's pride and joy, and was soon easily disembowelling the men who would do terrible things to her instead of just running. To most people in Mexico City, la Niña de la Hoja Ardiente was an urban legend, but it caught the ears of the Talon, who recognized the stolen blade and discretely sent their agents to find her. Arianna, however, was enjoying her status as terror to the underworld of Mexico City. After all, she didn't kill people who were good and nice, just bad guys. Though they were just going to take the sword and leave fifteen years old Arianna with nothing but a bruised ego, the fire inside her, as well as the deeds of Lady Maria, inspired the Talon to let this girl join the male-dominated Order. Now, she had a lot to prove--and she did.
In the Order her first place was with the Michael Crawler Cell among male Fanatics, being the only female. For this reason others laughed at her, but they soon learned she was stronger than most women, not to mention many men. Her fiery personality and fanatical stance to kill any cultist in her way were great contributions, and it didn't take long before she became Domina (female equivalent of Zealot Dominus), the only woman who has achieved this rank to date. After more skirmishes and crusades, in 1962 Arianna was chosen as the new commander of Michael after the death of the previous commander in a duel with a cultist's leader. Her first action was to slay the cultist leader. As a commander, Arianna searched for her surname and found it a year later in registers in Mexico City and from this point she was known as Arianna Martella.
|Born||April 29, 1935|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
|Occupation||Commander of the Gabriel Crawler Cell|
"Every encounter is going to be much more difficult. The enemy adapts and advances with every passing day, and so must we. Brothers, this is about combat!"
- - Albin Canavan
While young Albin was born to the Canavan family far away from war and strife in Europe, it came to him in another way when he was a young man. As an inhabitant of Belfast, where the Irish family moved to when Albin was but a child, he unfortunately became caught up in the Troubles that flared up due to a variety of reasons related to WWII. Convinced by friends that shooting British would somehow improve the situation, he joined the Irish Republican Army and in due time became one of the more spirited members, whether through assassinations or bombings. Unknown to him or anyone else, the Cult of the Black Hand had taken advantage of the violence and had started taking over cells from the IRA. Albin’s cell was one of these, and was being manipulated to doing a horrific deed.
To Albin’s shock, the IRA cell was given a stockpile of unknown chemicals. Their orders were to detonate a bomb to spread it across all of Victoria Square for reasons the terrorists didn’t know or care about. Albin believed the rhetoric all the way until the truck was parked, but then the police noticed and called out their arrest, prompting a gunfight between the police and Albin’s fellow IRA. After a momentary epiphany, Albin discarded his firearm and crawled through the bullets, going into the back of the truck and disabling the explosion, before fleeing the scene and hiding in an alley. He was found not by police or the IRA, but by an eagle, who had a message attached to its leg.
The message explained how the chemicals were an infernal hallucinogenic, and his actions saved the lives of hundreds and prevented reprisals against Catholics in Ulster that such an action would have brought. He was challenged to take a path where he could truly fight evil, and was told if he wanted to follow it, to take the next plane to Jerusalem. A few days later, the Canavans learned of their son’s death in the Victoria Square Shootout, and of a generous donation from many sources, as well as safe conduct out of the new Satellite City Project where they lived. Albin himself soon became a member of the Talon, despite being the most difficult student the Purgatorio Monastery ever had due to his escape attempts, disdain for the old ways, and the anti-instructor graffiti he scrawled on the statue of Virgil that stood outside. Despite his coarseness, he was a brilliant commander and valiant fighter, and soon reached the rank of Banneret in his knight order.
Albin’s new fashioned techniques came to the spotlight when Albin illegally took command of the Crawler Gabriel, and instead of using it merely to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem, took it across the border to destroy the palace and main base of one General Mohmar of the GLA, all the way in Saudi Arabia. The effectiveness of this attack, and the end of Mohmar’s “Death Strikes” against Talon civilians, meant he was not exiled for his crimes and was instead given the Gabriel to command from then on. All is not well for him, though, as he has made more than a few enemies in his rapid rise, as many believe his attempts to reform the Militant Wing will be to the Cult’s advantage.
|Lord Varitan the Thunderer|
|Born||December 14, 1886|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
|Occupation||Commander of the Raphael Crawler Cell|
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
- - Saint Varitan
Before the Allied Nations, before the reign of Stalin, before the Great War, before even the turn of the century, there was Saint Varitan. Born Stanisław Nowakowski, his father was a Templar and his mother a Rogue, meaning from birth he was steeped in the Order of the Talon, and not more than a little rebelliousness. From a very young age, he was trained to be a weapon for the Talon, quickly becoming skilled in swordsmanship, tactics, and theology. When he reached adulthood, however, he rejected his father’s hatred of Europe and his mother’s furtiveness; the best way to fight the Black Hand was to meet it head on. For this young Stanisław was disowned, which he took in stride, taking the name “Varitan”, or Truth.
He still had the armour and sword his parents left him, though, so he embarked on a one-man crusade across the globe uncovering and destroying the Cult of the Black Hand wherever he found them. Soon he was joined by like minded Talon. With their help, he took down cell after cell, putting the obscure plans of the Black Hand back for years. During the Russian-Rising Sun War, he ended the Black Hand’s attempt to loot the gold and platinum on the Admiral Nakhimov while the Battle of Tsushima raged around him, preventing the money from funding Black Hand operations worldwide. In 1909, he stopped the Black Hand from posing as Colombian invaders attacking Panama Canal workers, preventing the project from falling apart due to violence and nationalism. Most notably, he saved Thomas Edison himself from a Black Hand attempt to kidnap the inventor from Fort Meyers. In gratitude, Edison created a sword for Varitan, which when drawn from its technological scabbard sheathed the blade in static electricity. The thunderclap it makes when it strikes a foe gave Varitan his title.
While the Talon on the whole saw him as a valiant but insubordinate knight, their opinion on him changed with the debacle that was World War One, and many thought that perhaps his methods were correct. After his extensive defence of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in its infancy, most notably in gaining allies in the Bedouin tribe that he defeated the warriors of, he was honoured again and again, finally canonized by the Talon and made none other than a Saint (though the Holy See disagreed, despite just canonizing Joan of Arc.) Despite this, Varitan had reached his peak. He recognized that he was a fighter and leader, but not a tactician, and an armoured knight is as useful on the modern battlefield as a person with a rubber chicken.
However, he found new life in Lady Maria. While others doubted the prophecy and mocked the poor girl, Varitan trained her in both the ways of the Talon and swordsmanship. When her and her companions embarked on their new crusades, he felt need to come along and show the youngsters how it was done. Despite being exceptionally old (he may be the most elderly officer in military history), he still has the energy and drive necessary to command the Master Crawler he requested and was given. Though his daily regimen of tossing a medicine ball, calisthenics, and pugilistic boxing with acolytes all in long johns is amusing to younger Talon members, it seems to have worked, because he does not complain of aches or tiredness, and still uses his sword on the occasions it would be appropriate to do so. He does, however, recognize his weaknesses and prefers to support younger, more capable commanders, but that doesn’t stop his men from being the most valiant of soldiers in the world; after all, they’re commanded by a living Saint.
Harold G. MooreEdit
|Sir Harold G. Moore|
|Born||February 13, 1922|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
|Occupation||Commander of the Sariel Crawler Cell, former Footman|
"What will you do when you find yourself facing judgment? Cower in fear? Tremble in your unworthiness? I intend to face judgment unbowed and unafraid."
- - Crusader Harold Moore
Perhaps the only Footman to rise to such heights, Harold "Hal" Moore was known for his surprising switch of factions, from Allied to Order in such a short period of time. Even more surprising was his rapid rise through the ranks, but that goes to his personal credit. A talented Allied commander, Harold Moore graduated from West Point in time for World War II. Proving his worth as a infantry commander, he rose rapidly through the ranks of the Allied military, and was soon up for the promotion to Commander. But during the Red Scare he was soon used as a scapegoat for various military defeats in Vietnam. Betrayed by his country, he sought any form of repentance and found it in the Order. With the lack of new recruits, he was quickly accepted and promoted at a rapid pace, and soon became the commander of the newest Crawler, ready to fight the new "robot army" that killed many of his comrades.
|Born||March 14, 1932|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
|Occupation||Commander of the Metatron Crawler Cell, Templar Guardian|
"I am a Templar, and I am proud of it, and so if my lady orders me, I will do anything for her."
- - Claude Lalande
Claude Lalande was born on March 14, 1932 to a French family of the Order of the Temple, which served the Order of the Talon. Lalande was taken to be trained as a Templar at two years of age, and like his parents Lalande was taught to be Catholic, which ended in his unshakable faith in the God and undying loyalty to the Order. At age of ten, Lalande was brought into the Temple Mount to be trained to become a full Templar. His prowess in swordsmanship was impressive, but the older Templars believed, perhaps unfairly, that he wasn't much of a scholar. In 1946 the Talon deployed the "Gabriel" Crawler Cell into Serbia for another crusade against the Cult. Lalande was dispatched with "Gabriel". This crusade was to be Lalande's first experience in battle, and like all the other Templars he was prepared to fulfil his duty.
When "Gabriel" deployed, the Templars split up into small groups, and Lalande went with his mentor to engage the cultists head-on. Unlike the others, Lalande, as a Squire (aspirant to become a Templar), didn't have a jumpjet, and his only weapon was a superheated sword. Their group clashed with the cultists and Lalande quickly joined the fight, killing anyone who came too close to the edge of his sword. Even at fifteen, Lalande quickly found out their group had come into a trap set by the heretics, as the cultists attacked them with black tanks with candles on them. Lalande jumped onto one of the tanks and pierced his sword into the place where the gunner of the tank sat. His sword killed him, and so he moved to the driver and through the armour, killing him too. The tank rammed into the cultists and Lalande quickly jumped from the uncontrolled tank. During the battle, Lalande witnessed the death of his mentor, covered by cultists, with his sword in his hand and many slain foes on the ground.
Lalande was enraged and ran into the cultists surrounding his mentor, killing anyone who stood in his path. The cultists weren't prepared for the attack of a youngling, and soon most of them lay on the ground, as the rest ran for their lives. Lalande dropped on one knee to look on his mentor, but it was too late. Full of anger and hatred, Lalande picked up the sword of his mentor, ready to kill all cultists in the area alone, but he found out he was surrounded by twenty cultists, all armed with swords and knives. Lalande wasn't afraid, despite being outnumbered, tired, and alone. The slaughter began. After few minutes Lalande was kneeling on the ground, in the middle of a field full of corpses. When another group of Templars found him, they were amazed that such a young man could cause that much suffering, and the Templars brought Lalande back to Gabriel to return to Jerusalem.
After the arrival to Jerusalem, Lalande was hospitalised, as he was exhausted and had taken serious injuries in his battle. Then the Templars who were stationed with Gabriel went to report what happened to Grand Master Jean-Paul Boudreaux. The first thing that Boudreaux did was dub Lalande to a full Templar Knight. The second thing he had done was to discuss Lalande's feats in battle. From these discussions it became apparent that Boudreaux intended for the young Knight to go on to do great things for the Order. Some of the Templars even whispered of the possibility that Lalande might eventually become Grand Master one day.
After his return to service, Lalande still served with the "Gabriel". After two years, Boudreaux informed the Grand Circle that it would be the Templars who would be the main protectors of the found Lady Maria, and revealed that he had chosen Claude Lalande to be her closest bodyguard. As Boudreaux stated, he chose him for his great fighting skills, but also because he was very young and it would be better for her to have someone closer to her age. The Grand Circle wasn't very pleased that the Templars would be the only guardians, but Boudreaux pointed out that they would be only the main guardians, with the entire Order guarding her as well, and this convinced the Grand Circle. From this point on Lalande became Templar Guardian, the closest protector of the Lady Maria.
Other Figures Edit
All told, the Crusaders and their active militant cells form only a small number of the Talon's active personnel. Hiding across the world are Talon forges, stockpiles, and depots. Some, like the Dagda Forge in Ireland that produces many of the Talon's light armour, hide in plain sight, difficult to distinguish from any other factory or facility. Others, like the carefully hidden Port Vigilance, hide from the most sophisticated sensors the world can deploy, often by lurking where none would think to watch. Who would expect an active shipyard and naval testing center in Greenland, after all? So, too, are the lesser-ranked warriors and non-combat personnel of the Talon hidden, across the world with whatever the reigning power is being none the wiser.
Masoko Okamura Edit
|Born||July 4, 1941|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
"For all their differences, the Allies and Empire share the same conceits. They think that by placating the body and occupying the mind, they can grant happiness to anyone. They think that the power of science and technology will build a better world. Yet they overlook one thing: nothing they have wrought can enrich the soul. Science is a tool. Not an idol."
- - Masoko Okamura, Master Shipwright
Masoko Okamura is a rare breed within the Talon: a former Imperial subject who defected to the Order. She was born into a wealthy Imperial family, surrounded by servants both human and robotic who would cater to her every whim and desire, and was expected to do nothing more with her life than to marry well and be a loving wife and mother. Masoko refused that future as soon as she grasped what was expected of her, and dedicated herself to her schooling as a means of escape. Fortunately, Masoko proved to be a gifted thinker with an affinity for technology - always a useful trait in the Empire - and was inducted into the prestigious Shirada Shipworks training program for naval engineers at the earliest possible age. It was here that Masoko's knowledge and expertise grew even more rapidly, and where she learned of the Empire's intentions to dominate the world by conquest.
The idea stunned Masoko. Conquering the world? For all the Empire's technology, could mere valor and science conquer a world? Alluring as the idea was, it was also deeply troubling for the engineer, and her troubles were noted by an old, outlandish-looking man who worked at the Shipworks as a janitor. With his appearance, after all, something more prestigious was out of the question. He told Masoko that there was more to life than science, tradition, and technology, and that for all his skill, the Emperor was only a man, not a god. A troubling notion at first, but a rapport grew between Talon spy and Imperial engineer, a rapport that came to a head when the Empire mobilized for war, including Masoko's father and little brother. Masoko was not afraid of them dying - but she feared that they might die for a doomed, empty victory. Eventually, Masoko confided in her friend that she found the situation intolerable... that the Empire was a decadent, corrupt mess. And when the old man offered Masoko another place where her talents would be welcomed, she took it.
Took it, and joined the Order of the Talon. It was an organization like nothing Masoko had ever known: archaic, every bit as byzantine and tradition-bound as the Empire she had left, and nearly as arrogant... yet there was a shared purpose she had never known. A shared faith, and a sense of courage that comes from people who admit defeat is a possibility, yet strive ever forward. Perhaps even more importantly, the Talon welcomed Masoko as a sister, with a warmth and passion that Imperial culture would never have condoned. And so in turn did Masoko continue to defy her homeland: far from the submissive, demure stereotype of a Japanese woman, Masoko was outspoken and aggressive from the moment her apprenticeship as a shipwright began. She proved no less fiery when talking of faith, leading more than one Talon to think she would have made an excellent priest if Rome would have accepted female priests - though it is doubtful whether she would have been content in such a position.
Already a talented engineer before joining the Order, Masoko quickly made a name for herself as a proponent of innovation and change. Tradition had its place, she argued, but the outside world changed swiftly and so the Talon must adjust with the times. It was Masoko who initially designed the Ophan gun platform and insisted that the Metatron gunboat be pressed into service despite a failure to hammer out that design's remaining flaw. She was also an instrumental voice in updating the Apostle bombard ship's cannon with rocket-assisted shells, and has suggested many other projects that the Talon have not yet approved, including a submarine design. In the eyes of the Talon leadership, Masoko Okamura is gifted at what she does and has a worthy vision, but is also impatient and headstrong. Fortunately for the Order, that combination of virtues and vices is rather less dangerous than usual when present in a shipwright rather than a warrior.
Deirdre Winter Edit
|Born||October 30, 1943|
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
"The wars have taken everything from us. Our fathers, our brothers, and for what? All the worldly governments give back is toys and promises of how much better the future will be. The Soviet Union and the Empire are still strong. The Syndicate and Atomic China are menaces upon all the world. No, I do not think the future will be better. But I pray each day that God will prove me wrong."
- - Deirdre Winter, Talon Scribe
Deirdre Winter's mourning for her family is not unusual among the Talon's newest generation of warriors and recruits. This young Scottish woman was only one of many whose family was torn asunder by the global wars - her father died at the helm of a destroyer escorting a convoy, and her older brother was a crewman aboard a Guardian tank lost in the Soviet invasion of Switzerland. Like many Allied citizens who suffered such losses during the war, Dierdre went through the usual reactions - sorrow, anger at the Soviets, anger at the Allies, and so on. Nor was she unusual in a feeling of general disillusionment about the war. Dierdre ultimately turned to God for answers, finding some measure of solace in turning to a nearly ascetic life of prayer and devotion as she slowly came to terms with her losses. Although far from typical, this behaviour happened enough that the Order of the Talon's recruiters went on alert, finding such people to be ripe for recruitment.
In Deirdre's case, she brought with her the skills of a secretary: she was organized, good at organizing the affairs of others, had an eye for detail, and was careful and precise in her work. In truth, her change of job from secretary to a United Armour executive to a scribe of the Order of the Talon changed virtually nothing about what she did on a daily basis. The only real change in Deirdre's life after her recruitment was moving from her native Scotland to Jerusalem to better serve the Order, a fact that she is known to complain about frequently. Usually in good nature. With her skills, Deirdre could have secured nearly any occupation within the Order's headquarters that she desired, and volunteered to serve as an intelligence liaison between the Talon's headquarters and its Crusaders in the field.
By Allied standards, Deirdre is an unremarkable young woman, but by Talon standards, she is exceedingly eccentric. Her fondness for using the possibly heretical and always incomprehensible devices called "computers" has raised more than a few eyebrows among the elders of the order. She insists she can handle it and that it makes her work much easier, but it only contributes further to her reputation within the Order of possibly being a tad unhinged by her personal losses. Fortunately, her organizational and interpersonal skills are sufficiently useful that the Order has decided to overlook her quirks so long as the quality of her work doesn't suffer.
|Affiliation||Order of the Talon|
|Occupation||Brother of the Sacred Heart, Headmaster of Azrael Academy|
While the Order of the Talon is often seen as simply an urban legend in the ordained community, there are many clergymen, Catholic lay workers & members of monastic orders who are well aware of who the Talon are & who do their best to aid them in their crusade.