|Third Siege of Hawk's Perch|
|Previous||Second Siege of Hawk's Perch|
|Date||July 10th, 1968|
|Place||Golan Heights, Palestine|
|Result||GLA army broken|
|Order of the Talon||Global Liberation Army|
|Grand Duke Sabastian Vahen||General Adish Harandi|
|• Lady Maria
• The Ironmongery
• Knights Templar
• Priests of Judas
• Knights of the Steel Throne
•Talon Aerial Forces
|• Alliance for Allah|
"And the invaders fell, two by two."
- - Smerv Biscotti, captain of the Ararat
After several years of skirmishing, orating, and bribery, GLA leader Adish Harandi managed to gather enough support in the Global Liberation Army to declare Jihad on the Order of the Talon. Talon attempts to stop the Jihad before it began were thwarted due to the false assumption that this was Black Hand doing. Across the breadth of the Muslim world, men and war machines gathered into bands, then armies, and then into the vast Alliance for Allah that swept into the Kingdom of Jerusalem, headed by Harandi himself. The Talon were slow to respond to this threat, and while the Crawlers were being readied and the armies gathered, the GLA struck. While the GLA came from all sides, with armies coming invading from Gaza and Arabia, the main army attacked Syria itself.
The scant defenders could do little against the waves of tanks, most not having proper anti-armour weaponry. Damascus itself was surrounded, besieged, and quickly taken, its populace forced to convert or be killed. Everywhere they went, the GLA burned and destroyed, as the Talon represented the apex of "infidel" thinking. In Amman a great pile of ancient and rare tomes were put to the torch, including the Koran owned by Saladin. In the port of Eliot the great murals of Christ and Abraham were vandalized with paint and rocks. In Jordan, many of the sacred doves of the Heavenly Grace Cathedral were shot out of spite, while others were shoved in tiny cages as trophies.
The worst desecration, however, was with the fall of the Purgatorio Monastery. The monks and squires fled as the GLA came, piling into whatever vehicles were able to move (mostly civilian cars), sealing the monastery as best they could. They fled back to the Sanctum Majoris, bringing news to the Holy Triumvirate of the GLA's advance. However, all the Crawler cells were off fighting the GLA in the areas occupied in Palestine. Grand Duke Sebastian Vahen saw no choice but to gather up the remaining Talon in Israel and fight the GLA head on as they entered the heartland, if not defeating them then giving time for the rest of the Talon to flee to safer lands. Given the previous history of war in Palestine, he correctly guessed where Harandi would attack next: Hawk's Perch.
Force Composition[edit | edit source]
Talon Forces[edit | edit source]
The Ironmongery had been fortified in the years since it was last attacked, but alone it could not stand. The Army of Jerusalem was gathered to take the fight to the GLA and end their attack on Palestine. At its head was the Lunia, the first of the Eden Superheavy Tracks, flanked by escorts; in this vehicle Vahen commanded. Behind it was every piece of armour the Talon could gather up to meet the giant force of tanks the GLA had, as well as support vehicles. Infantry were typically few in number, but as many of them were mounted in Chargers for a specific objective; getting men into the Hawk's Perch perimeter itself before it fell.
The knightly orders of the Talon responded to Vahen's call to arms in force. The Knights Templar once again gathered to fight their foes at Hawk's Perch. Their comrades in the Priests of Judas also responded in kind. While more accustomed to subtle and shadowy deeds, the Priests of Judas were somewhat shamed in their inability to stop the Alliance forming in the first place, and were determined to redeem themselves (or at least attain their death in battles.).
The Squires who fled the Purgatorio Monastery were refused entry into any of the orders going into battle due to their unreliability. Impotent to affect the war raging around them, they gathered in a square in Jerusalem. Saint Varitan found them before he left with the Raphael to repel GLA invaders from Gaza. Ordering them to kneel, he took out his sword and knighted all of them on the spot, proclaiming them the Knights of the Steel Throne, making them take oaths to defend the Talon and to show no fear in the face of the enemy. Renewed, the newly oathed Knights took to their cars and joined the army.
The Sacred Forges of the Brother Gregor had been built near the Ironmongery in the years since the last attack to house the Lazarus Air Dreadnoughts. At the time, only the damaged Ararat was there, but it was being repaired very quickly by all the men of the forges. The forges also served as an airfield for some of the Talon's air forces. While much of the air force there was in action elsewhere in Palestine, The 1st Interceptor Maniple (“The Archangels”) had finished their first sorties and were ready to fly again.
At the forefront of the army was Lady Maria, hoping once again to prove herself to the Talon.
GLA Forces[edit | edit source]
The Alliance for Allah was composed of many different bands and cells of the Global Liberation Army, coming from all across the Muslim world, from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa to the Hindu Kush. Though the Alliance attacked from all directions, the main army under Harandi was the one which attacked Hawk's Perch. This army itself was also made up of several independent cells, the Sand Scorpions, Christ Punchers, the 40 Thieves, Black Bombers, Guardians of Islam, and Aisha's Angels being but a few. They all contributed men and tanks to the army as a whole, and under Harandi's leadership, there was no infighting. Also joining was a force of aircraft; the Mecca Tengus, which consisted of a few old Rascal Dive Bombers.
Harandi dipped into his own fortune to add more tactical options for the Alliance. From International Inc he bought a number of Skysweepers to protect his army from Talon air forces. He was able to buy enough to strategically effect the field due to a referral discount due to the number of customers the GLA had brought International Inc. To easily move between armies, Harandi had bribed a Soviet officer and procured a Twinblade straight off the factory line, needing nothing more than a coat of tan paint. He took to often flying above his armies to show the men who was truly in charge. He also took delight in attacking helpless targets on the ground.
The Whore of Babylon[edit | edit source]
The Army of Jerusalem arrived and formed a battle line to await the coming of the GLA. At the very front were the most modified and elite Clerics, scattered in arrow formations along a 12 kilometre perimeter, supported by other vehicles, anchored by Hawk's Perch itself. The Lunia itself stood slightly behind the lines, but its mighty guns still able to fire a great distance. To the south, where the Heights became a maze of gullies, both the Priests of Judas and the Knights Templar were advancing through, hoping to use the cover to get behind the GLA. However, they were too late.
In a massive wave of vehicles, men, and ululation, the Alliance for Allah crested over the hills of the eastern Golan Heights. Unlike the Talon, they had no set strategy and simply came in numbers too high to count. The Ironmongery turned its turrets towards them and fired, taking out several tanks with each blast. At the same a section of Samaels lifted from the Sacred Forges, but as soon as they approached they were all shot down by the GLA Skysweepers, prompting the rest of the maniple to stay landed or be destroyed for no gain.
The softening measures proved woefully ineffective at stopping the GLA, and Vahen ordered the general advance to counterattack the GLA, before they were enveloped. The tracks of the Talon clanked ahead as one, as the GLA eagerly increased speed, gibbering in excitement. As soon as they were in range, the two lines fired, the front tanks of both sides destroyed in seconds, and still the two sides pressed on, still firing at each other. In some places the tanks literally rammed each other. Soon the Golan Heights became a chaotic whirlpool of armour hunting and blasting each other, with so much dust kicked up that it could be seen from Nazareth.
The Talon had the initial advantage. While any GLA tank damaged was usually out of action soon after, the Talon could repair their tanks thanks to the repair automatons of the Sanctuary Carts. Unlike the GLA, the Talon also had mobile artillery, and support in the form of Consecrators. The Knights Templar were extremely effective, outflanking the enemy forces with their jump jets and blowing apart the GLA forces from the rear. However, the sheer number of GLA forces was taking its toll, and the Alliance for Allah had a few cards of its own to play.
Allah Akbar[edit | edit source]
Satisfied the Talon was suitably occupied, General Harandi played his trump card. The Mecca Tengus were scrambled, and save for some machine gun fire, were more or less free to hunt across the battlefield. They strafed infantry fighting in rough terrain, and bombed tanks as they found them, returning to the landing strip in Damascus to rearm. They took a heavy toll throughout the battle, and not one was downed by ground fire.
Worse still for the Talon was that Hawk's Perch was completely surrounded. However, the GLA didn't attack, and only kept a distance. The reason soon became clear as the V-2 launchers creaked into range. Using unusually sophisticated (for the GLA) firing plans, they placed their rockets at three different locations, piercing two holes in the outer wall and one in the inner. GLA infantry dismounted from their Gun Trucks and rushed in, screaming their defiance to the "oppressors", with men strapped with explosives rushing at the turrets, blowing them and themselves apart.
While they fought with the Talon inside, Harandi himself arrived in his Twinblade. Darting around the fort, he used his PKX machine guns to mow down the Talon inside, and used his rocket pods to blow off the turrets off the Iromongery, leaving it defenceless. The GLA on the ground burst into the Cataphract, killing all inside and smashing many of the pipes and bulkheads inside. Even the contemplative garden inside had its plants ripped from the soil.
Elsewhere, a large portion of the gun trucks of the Alliance broke from the lines and sped directly for the Lunia. The Eden's Ambiaric cannons destroyed many by the score, and its escorting tanks destroyed many as they got close. However, one truck, driven by a cell leader by the name of Rodall Juhziz, dodged all the attacks. Instead of a gunner, the rear of the truck was piled with explosives. The one-armed Juhziz rammed the right track of the Lunia, detonating all the explosives and ripping the track right off. The Lunia was immobilised and dangerously vulnerable. Though its escorts could still defend it, it is military truth that a stationary target draws fire like moths to a flame.
In the gullies and hills surrounding the Golan Heights, the battle was no less fierce, as Priests fought Rebel. The Knights Templar found they were more useful in the tank battle, taking out straggling tanks, but the Priests of Judas would have none of it. For the first time, the GLA found a foe more zealous and fatalistic than they, and they were pushed back again and again. The GLA attempted to break the spirits of the Talon by sending men strapped with explosives to explode themselves and take the foe with them. This was thwarted when far more Priests of Judas did the same to the GLA. In terror they fled, leaving the Preists of Judas in control of the rough areas of the battlefield.
Santa Maria[edit | edit source]
Vahen knew he was in a very vulnerable position, but refused to call his reserves to protect the Lunia. If the GLA were allowed to hold Hawk's Perch longer, they would destroy everything and Palestine would be defenceless for years. More urgent was the fact that Harandi had landed his Twinblade there, and killing him would decapitate the snake that was the Alliance. Grabbing every weapon that was available and arming the crew of the Lunia with them, he prepared for the attack, and ordered the Chargers to retake Hawk's Perch.
The mighty train engines whistled as they roared toward the fort, shrugging off fire from the GLA as they did so. Unfortunately, the Alliance saw this coming from a distance, and while any attempt to stop them were subsequently turned two dimensional by the heavy Chargers, the men inside stopped their vandalism and fortified themselves within the fort to meet the Talon head on. The Chargers smashed through the curtain wall, but did not open at once.
Only the lead one did, and as soon as it did, every GLA man there opened fire into it, the bullets ricocheting off something metal inside. As soon as they emptied their magazines, Lady Maria emerged from behind her shield and leapt forward. The GLA started to reload, but in the time it took them to do that, Lady Maria twirled from group to group with utmost grace and speed, quickly relieving them of their lives. Only one managed to fire, but before he pulled the pointed the gun at Lady Maria's back and pulled the trigger, she guarded her back with her shield, before jumping to the side and throwing her sword at the man.
Lady Maria retrieved her sword as her fellow Talon began to emerge from the Chargers. However, from behind the Ironmongery, the Twinblade took off and immediately destroyed several of the Chargers with its rockets, the men still inside scalded by the exploding boilers. The men outside were strafed by the Twinblade's guns, though Lady Maria protected herself with her shield. The remaining Charger engineers signalled the retreat with a whistle, but a cry of outrage from Lady Maria stopped them in their tracks. She issued her challenge to Harandi and the Twinblade.
Harandi was unimpressed, and again opened up his guns on the armoured woman. Lady Maria darted from one point to another, as her shield alone could not stand against the machine guns for long. Every few seconds yet another rebel would bravely and foolishly approach her to attack, only to be slain in turn. Eventually, Lady Maria climbed atop the Ironmongery itself and leapt onto the Twinblade. She drove her blade through the cockpit glass and killed the gunner, but Harandi smashed open his own canopy and shot at her with his pistol. Lady Maria quickly ducked below his sight, but Harandi jinked his helicopter, shaking her off. Lady Maria was thrown down the length of the helicopter, desperately trying to brace herself on something with her sword or shield. She managed to jam her sword in the tail before she was sucked into the tail rotor and killed.
Knowing how a modern helicopter operated, she took her shield and thrust it into the tail rotor, causing it to jam. The Twinblade started into a quick tailspin. Lady Maria gave a silent prayer, and leapt from the tail, managing to stay in air long enough for her to hit the cockpit. With both hands she thrust her sword into Harandi. His dead corpse fell on the control stick, pushing it forward. Lady Maria managed to jump off, and stood in triumph as the Twinblade crashed into the wall and onto the ground, deploying her wings in a sign of gratitude to the Father above. Doves captured from the Heavenly Grace Cathedral were freed from the smashed helicopter's cargo hold, and flew into the air behind Lady Maria.
Rex Tremendae[edit | edit source]
Despite the loss of their leader, the GLA continued their attack; they all had proclaimed their Jihad, and they were more vast beast than an organized army. And this beast smelled the blood of the Lunia, and closed around it. The Talon closed its ranks in a tight circle around the Lunia, risking the possibility that the GLA would bypass them and ravage Palestine. The GLA were unimpressed and concentrated their attacks, sending wave after wave of tanks, often pushing through the wrecks of their fellow brothers. It was quickly decided that the Talon needed their air support, especially as the Ararat was fully repaired and was only waiting for its gas bags to be filled.
Every Skysweeper was located and targeted, and in order for the GLA army to be fully guarded, they all needed to stay more or less where they were. The Clerics and Lucifers pushed forward, slicing into the GLA's lines and destroying many. However, the losses taken prevented the Clerics from pushing more. A squad of Knights Templar jumped around another and blew it apart, only to die at the hands of GLA rebels. Lady Maria herself braved fire from many tanks and leapt into the hatch of another, killing the crew in the space of three seconds. The remaining Skysweeper, however, were too far behind the enemy lines to reach, but close enough to down anything in the air.
Bursting from the lines, and ignoring orders to the contrary, the Knights of the Steel Throne set out to prove their valour. Their cars were relatively quick compared to the lumbering tracks of the rest of the army, and even then they ignored any destroyed comrades. Showing an almost unnatural coordination, the squires threw Molotov cocktails filled with Consecrator Track oil and ignited them, almost burning a hole through their armour by the effort itself. The remaining Hussars then shot every gun they could before being destroyed, punching them through the red hot metal of the Skysweepers' hulls, disabling them completely. Such brutal actions by the Squires could only be committed by men and women who knew they were not coming back, and the Steel Throne were no different, as the few left were utterly annihilated by the GLA.
Their actions, though, undid whatever protection the Alliance had from the air, as all Talon aircraft finally lifted up from the Sacred Forges of the Brother Gregor and attacked the helpless GLA. The Samaels strafed and rocketed all the GLA ground forces they could find, and shot down all the Mecca Tengus before they fled the airspace. Worse still for the GLA was the arrival of the Ararat to the cry of "Hallelujah" from the entirety of the Talon army. The Ararat's rockets and themobaric cannons destroyed tank after tank faster than the scribes in the Lunia could count, while GLA infantry were mowed down by the Ararat's machine gun turrets and biplanes. Within minutes the Alliance was a fraction of its strength, and their will shattered. In every direction, what was left of the once proud Alliance for Allah fled.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Elsewhere in Palestine, the GLA were shattered. The main army had been smashed, and the remaining forces knew they could not stand against the Talon. The Talon were successful in battle after battle, driving all invaders from Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria. The victorious Army of Jerusalem was allowed to march into Damascus in triumph.
All Talon members evacuated from Palestine were returned to their homes. Most notable were Masoko Okamura and Deirdre Winter, who were the first to be evacuated due to their "sinful" lifestyle ensuring they'd have a horrific end if the GLA captured them.
The Holy Inquisition spent the next few weeks in intense activity, doing everything to cover up evidence of the battle, find out why the attack had happened, and who in the Order were negligent enough to allow the Talon to be so close to destruction. Despite the best efforts of the The Chamber Vigilant, including much personal questioning and searching by the The Grand Inquisitor himself, no links to the Black Hand causing the event were ever found. On the contrary, many prisoners swore that masked men attempting to influence the Alliance were caught and beheaded as infidels.
The Alliance for Allah was so vast, even the scant remnants left of the army were able to regroup. To this day, there are several small warbands across Palestine, still trying to destroy the Talon. Some even managed to escape in Palestine, and have dodged every attempt to exterminate them. They remain a threat to civilians and the peace of the region.
After the battle, one mealy mouthed inquisitor wondered if perhaps Lady Maria should have done more, as her service was, in his eyes, mediocre. He woke up from his coma several days later at St. Rita's Hospital, with several fractures on his face from a heavy blow, the result of having said this in the presence of Saint Varitan.
The Ironmongery still stands, and no force may pass into Palestine without its approval.