|Second Siege of Hawk's Perch|
|Previous||First Siege of Hawk’s Perch|
|Next||Third Siege of Hawk's Perch|
|Date||April 26th, 1946|
|Place||Golan Heights, Palestine|
|Result||Syndicate expedition destroyed before leaving Palestine|
|Order of the Talon||Mediterranean Syndicate|
|• Templar Lord Adrien Moreau
||• Hofmann von Silber †|
• Centurion Principio Trentino †
|Knights Templar||Kanasani Expedition
• 7 “Archeologists”
|• 6 workers|
Minutes after Flight Air Adriatic 7 took off from the port of Istanbul, the flying boat airliner was seen to explode by many horrified witnesses. Unfortunately, the methods and technology of the day was not up to the task of investigating it, but it was widely rumoured to have been destroyed by a bomb. Among other wealthy fliers, there was the brother of oil baron Muayid Kanasani, returning to Riyadh. Kanasani would not let his brother's death rest, using his company's resources to instigate his own private investigation. After an exhaustive search, he found the guilty party: the Order of the Talon.
Unknown to Kanasani, one of his brother's fellow passengers was a high ranking Black Cult member, and a few rich executives who probably oppressed the poor anyways was seen as a small price to pay for his death. Unfortunately, the Talon's own secretive methods worked against them, and Kanasani learned only of the evils they had done, and not the greater evil they were fighting. Obsessed with ending this threat and avenging his brother's death, he contacted one of his brother's business partners, an eccentric Italian man named Romulus, who in turn presented his own private "security guard" company Legion Security.
Kanasani forwarded all the money needed to hire and outfit an expedition of Legionnaires to attack the Talon's home itself in Palestine. As part of the deal, several archaeologists with ties to Romulus's Syndicate would join to document the history of the world and perhaps bring back some native artefacts. If Kanasani minded, he made no mention of it. Soon the Kanasani Expedition had embarked on a chartered ship from Cairo into the completely unknown land of Palestine. Unfortunately for the expedition, the ship was shot at by an unknown vessel and wrecked upon the beach of southern Palestine. Most of the men were able to swim to the shore, and the sailors that survived were drafted into the expedition.
Over the next few months the expedition explored many ancient sites, looted many treasures, and documented many increasingly bizarre elements. Skirmishes with Talon soldiers and encounters with steam-driven machines convinced the leaders of the expedition that they had stumbled across something dangerous and significant, and that their current force was insufficient to overcome this lost kingdom. While they could easily get away from every caper due to their motor vehicles (Talon vehicles were usually too slow, and horses tired out eventually), they would eventually run out of petrol and be hunted down. Searching around for some method of communication, they learned that a nearby fort had a wireless telegraph, located in the Golan Heights: Hawk's Perch.
Force Composition[edit | edit source]
Talon Forces[edit | edit source]
The men and vehicles searching for the Syndicate expedition were many and varied, but most significantly were the Knights Templar. In charge of all Templars in the operation was Brother Adrien Moreau, one of the fabled Templar Lords. The Templar usually took to the field in large armies to smash the foe, and provide shields for their less protected allies. Here, however, they had to reduce themselves to a small, hand picked group that coordinated its tactics to cover for their small numbers. The Templars hadn't changed their equipment in decades, and haven't changed them since, though this is best described elsewhere.
Syndicate Forces[edit | edit source]
The Kanasani Expedition's numbers had dwindled, but this meant the remaining men were only more tough and experienced. The changes were shocking. When they left Cairo, they were clean shaven soldiers in khaki fatigues and pith helmets, but now they were a group of filthy, rugged group of men, many of whom wore what they scavenged. Many men who lost their pith helmets replaced them with fedoras and headscarves. Regardless, they were still soldiers, and were no less disciplined in battle. They were armed with an assortment of weapons, from M91 Carcano rifles to shotguns to submachine guns. Leading all the military men was Centurion Principio Trentino.
However, the Legionnaires were only the guards for the archaeologists. Though on paper they were scholarly men who simply wanted to document the past, in truth they were little more than tomb robbers. This did mean, though, that they were much more capable in all regards in the field than some stuffy professor with his nose in a book. Thanks to their quick wits, strong arms, and ruthless nature, they had avoided being casualties from the many attacks and stream-driven traps that they had come across in their adventures in Palestine. Their activities alone could fill an rather exciting dime store novel. Leading the whole expedition was a famed and ruthless German man named Hofmann von Silber. Though he outranked Trentino, they both knew what needed to be done, and arguments between the two were very rare.
The Expedition had brought along a generous motor pool of cars, trucks, and motorcycles to transport all the men and looted items the Expedition would ever have, all specified for desert travel. Also with the expedition were many local workers, who were given money to do all the dirty deeds. They were paid well (by their standards), but their true loyalty was unknown.
Marauders of the Lost Cataphract[edit | edit source]
Parking a few kilometres away, the expedition waited for night to fall before marching under cover of darkness. Unit cohesion was kept by pathfinders using white tape stretched on the sand for others to follow. After a few hours of careful marching, they came onto the fort without any of the guards inside realizing it, and surrounded the whole fortification. Hawk's Perch wasn't expecting any sort of attack, especially in the night, as the position was seen as too well defended for the ruffians to attack. Unfortunately, the guards were to about to be proven disastrously wrong.
Using grappling hooks and rope, a few infiltrators scaled the curtain walls at the points furthest from turrets, into the poorly lit courtyard. Sneaking behind crates and other detritus, they avoided the footmen crowded around fires and dispatched a few loners with their knives. Finally, they all reached the gates, and at roughly the same moment, all opened the gates. However, this immediately activated the klaxon alarms, and the guards went into action. The infiltrators and the first few Legionnaires to rush in were all impaled by by crossbow bolts, while the camp fanatics rushed forward to end the rest themselves.
The Expedition weren't pushovers, though. They broke up into small fire teams, with the shotgun and submachine gun armed men shooting any fanatic that came close while the rifles gave them cover fire. They kept moving and firing, taking advantage of the slow rate of fire of the Footmen's crossbows. Meanwhile, men rushed each turret and disabled them before they could be used against the expedition forces, though the controls were too complex for any of them to use. They also quickly killed a Talon operator trying to send a message for help while he was in mid-sentence.
The advantage in this type of fight clearly went to the Expedition, and within minutes they had cleared the whole fort save for one craftsman. However, that one craftsman would undo everything. Breaking free of the men holding him down, he ran to the entrance of the Ironmongery itself and sealed it completely with a cipher too complex for the even the brightest of the archaeologists to figure out in time. This meant they wouldn't be able to hold the fort until help arrived. Before the Talon arrived, they sent men to retrieve the vehicles to make their getaway, while someone wired Cairo for flying boats to retrieve them.
In the Sanctum Majoris, many technicians were wondering what in the world Hawk's Perch meant when they sent the letter "E", but they also picked up the same message the Syndicate were sending out. They quickly figured out that Hawk's Perch was occupied, and sent word to their superiors, who in turn dispatched a large force to take it back.
Kingdom of the Iron Men[edit | edit source]
Moving quickly for the Talon, a force composed of several different groups of soldiers arrived at Hawk's Perch. However, the expedition had time to prepare. While the Ironmongery and the turrets were beyond their repair, they had manned the curtain wall, making firing steps at all points using materials they found in the fort. They also created smaller fortified points within the perimeter itself using sandbags and their vehicles. Hawks flying overhead saw the layout of the fort and reported back to the Talon, using pecks and squawks to correct intelligence officers as they drew maps for the commanders as the men dug a trench system around the fort.
While the Talon had ample artillery that could pulverize the Syndicate within minutes, this would undoubtedly damage or even destroy the irreplaceable Ironmongery, a risk the Talon would not take. Instead, the Knights Templar, seeking to atone for their lack of action in the last siege, volunteered to retake the fort by themselves. They were given the task by the assembled commanders, and gathered around the fort in the trench system, wearing their heavy robes to conceal their armour and weapons.
At the tolling of a mighty bell, the Templars as one cast off their robes and ignited their jumpjets. In moments all of them were inside Hawk's Perch and were attacking the expedition. Their Martini-Henry rifles made short work of Legionnaires, to say nothing of the weapons of the more senior Brothers. However, the Templars weren't invincible and several fell to enemy action. Brother Gadbois landed on the ground only to be met by a shotgun barrel in his face and was shot. Brother Pinneau landed amongst a group of workers; ignoring them and turning to face other foes, he was hit in the back of the head with a wrench, and died instantly. Brother Quiron was killed when someone shot into his jumpjet until it exploded. Brother Arsenault was caught by a rope wielded by a quick thinking von Silber and pulled to the ground, where he was beat to death by several Legionnaires using rifle butts.
Everywhere else, though, the Templars were ripping through the expedition until only a handful of Legionnaires and all the archaeologists were left. Thinking fast, they all ran to their vehicles. There were so few left that all they took was a Ranger (where Trentino and von Silber sat), and two trucks filled with loot, as well as a single motorcycle. The remaining workers opened a gate as the remains of the expedition sped off, hitting Saint Varitan in the process (who required a long stay at St. Rita's Hospital to recover.) The vehicles drove as best they could over (and sometimes in) the trenches outside, exchanging fire with any Talon troops they saw. Breaking free of the cordon, they made for the Dead Sea.
The Final Crusade[edit | edit source]
One Ranger was left, however, but very few people in Palestine knew how to drive one. One recently converted Footman, however, spoke up that he knew how to operate it, and he and another footman jumped in the front seats, while Brother Charest and a Fanatic jumped on the back and held on for dear life. While passing, Templar Lord Moreau threw his Leonardo cannon to Charest, saying he would need it. The car drove carefully through the trenches to avoid crashing, but by the time they cleared it, the Syndicate were too far away to catch up to even at full speed. Charest, thinking fast, told his companions to tie him down as best they could, and strap in themselves. Gripping the roll bar as best he could, and with his feet fastened to the car with various straps of the Talon's uniforms, Charest bent down and activated his jumpjet. The car shot off into the desert, the front wheels lifting off the ground.
Soon, and to the expeditions complete surprise, the Talon caught up to the convoy just as Charest's fuel ran out. Trentino cursed his bad luck and gestured to the Legionnaire on the motorcycle. The motorcycle cut speed and fell back to the Talon's hijacked Ranger. Just as he drew his pistol, the Fanatic leapt at him, knocking him off his motorcycle and onto the ground. The fanatic ignored his broken bones from the collision and ended the Legionnaire's life quickly. The Fanatic took the dinged but still humming motorcycle and, figuring he could learn how to operate it as he went along, mounted it, and after falling over a few times, managed to speed ahead, using the bike's quick acceleration to full effect.
Meanwhile, the Ranger had caught up to the rear truck and started exchanging fire with the Legionnaires inside. Charest ordered the footman to drive directly in front of the truck. While the truck repeatedly rammed the Ranger, Charest carefully inched from the Ranger onto the hood of the truck, careful in order to not let his great weight knock him off. As soon as he was in position, though, he intentionally let go of his hand mortar, which crashed into the cab of the truck and shot off its stun grenade directly into the driver. As the truck slowed down, Charest threw his nearly-empty Leonardo to the Footmen, who sped off. Charest then jumped off the car himself and dispatched the rest of the dazed legionnaires with his Talon steel short sword.
As the Ranger sped back up, the fanatic roared past them towards the leading truck. With little regard to his own safety, he leapt into the back, but was met with a punch to the face and fell out the back. He managed to catch the floor with his sword, however, and with it stuck in there, he hanged on as he was dragged behind the truck. The Legionnaires inside attempted to fire at him, but the bumpy road and the Fanatic's constant thrashing made accuracy difficult. The Fanatic used the sword to pull himself up into the truck again, throwing the Legionnaire off for good measure. However, the Fanatic was shot by another Legionnaire, but with his dying breath, the Fanatic thrust his superheated sword through the floor and the rear axle. The axle fell apart, and the truck dragged for a few meters before crashing completely.
By this time the Footmen had left the truck in the Fanatic's capable hands, and caught up to the Syndicate Ranger. The occupants in the Syndicate vehicle fired at the Talon Ranger. Meanwhile, the Footman in the passenger seat lined up a shot with the Leonardo, but a rough bump at the wrong moment botched the shot, destroying an unfortunately placed bush. He shot again, but the Leonardo was out of detonators and only created a thermobaric cloud that dissipated quickly. The Syndicate car veered towards the Talon vehicle and rammed it, as Von Silber lassoed the Talon Ranger with his rope, wrapping it around the roll bar. The desperate footman emptied the Leonardo completely into the Syndicate Ranger, to no effect. However, as soon as Von Silber shot his revolver, it ignited the fuel cloud, creating a huge fireball that incinerated the remaining Syndicate in Palestine.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
The Talon acted quickly to cover up the wrecks of the Syndicate vehicles near the Dead Sea before the flying boats got there. When the planes did get there, they only found empty desert, and on the shores of the dead sea, a Bedouin shepherd boy who claimed that neither he nor anyone he knew ever saw any Syndicate in the area. The Legionnaires in the flying boats, after investigating and finding nothing, left before whatever fate fell to them also took their lives. The secret of the Talon was safe.
For decades afterwards, much speculation was made on what happened to the Kanasani Expedition, with very subtle encouragement by Talon agents towards more fantastic or likely ideas. The Syndicate itself wrote off the expedition as becoming lost in the desert and running out of supplies, its final resting place erased by the sands, and concluded anything further would be a waste of men and resources.
This hasn't stopped pulp magazines and movies from fantasizing what they might have encountered, from a heroic running battle against Bedouin tribes to a climatic battle in a lost valley with dinosaurs. One Hollywood studio that released a movie about the expedition finding the descendants of the original Crusaders had its facilities mysteriously burnt down soon afterwards.
All the stolen machines were recovered, repaired, and blessed, and put back into service. The Ironmongery was reopened, and the fortress repaired. In fact, over the years it would be built upon, adding more turrets, adding further artillery to the Ironmongery itself, as well as a second, reinforced curtain wall.
Years afterwards, the battle was being taught in the Purgatorio Monastery. The instructor was detailing the complex information dragnet that was needed to find out who funded the expedition. A troublesome student named Albin Canavan asked why they simply didn't find out the name of the expedition and figure it out. The instructor was silent for a few moments before sending him to the Limbo Solitary Confinement Rooms for the third time that week.
Despite the needless effort, Muayid Kanasani was traced, and was killed in his home. His daughter, however, was taken to be the Talon's own, and would play a vital part in the next siege.