|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Unit Type||Heavy Infantry|
|Secondary Ability||Plant/Take up banner|
|Country of Origin||Russian SFSR|
|Trained at||Fort Absolution|
|Key Features|| » "Gryphon" hand mortar w/ incendiary rounds|
» Heraldic Banner (hand-woven)
» Reinforced plate mail with chrome finish
» Hooded tabard displaying heraldry
» Armour polish (lots)
"Invaders, you shall GO NO FURTHER!"
- - Chevalier Svetlana Lebedjev
Tactical Analysis Edit
- Into The Breach: Chevaliers are heavily armoured infantry even by the Crusaders' standards, capable of taking severe punishment while suppressing enemy infantry with incendiary hand mortars.
- The Colour of Cowardice: Chevaliers disdain notions of stealth as cowardly and charge into battle in brightly polished armour while carrying elaborate heraldic banners. They can be seen from ten miles away, which makes them easy targets, and they carry radio emitters that attract incoming missiles: their ability to distract incoming fire from nearby Talon forces is quite deliberate.
- Your Mother Was A Hamster: Chevaliers can plant their banners and begin exhorting Talon soldiers to even greater feats while mocking the lineage, vigour, and potency of the enemy. Enemies may find this a childish display, but Talon forces find it inspiring and/or amusing enough that their combat performance is greatly increased.
Lady Maria looked over the recruits with pride. Young women from around the world, all of them with no place else to go when the Order found them. Orphans. Widows. Refugees. The great war had caused so much death, so much damage, that any realistic accounting of losses would be impossible for years to come. Others had lost everything in other conflicts. A pair of Vietnamese women, sisters whose village had been wiped off the map by an ARVN airstrike. An Italian courtesan, fallen out of favour with her Syndicate patron. A Chinese university student, fortunate to be in Australia when China died in atomic fire. They had come to this lonely outpost in Russia with nothing but promises of purpose and a better way of life. Now they were Maria's first graduating class of students.
Convincing the Grand Council to accept them had been difficult. Lady Maria and other headstrong women in the Order had succeeded in forcing some degree of equality down the Council's throat, but it was never easy. Here, however, Maria had enjoyed what someone who believed in luck might have called a stroke of good fortune. The Teutonic Knights had also been folded into the Order centuries ago, but had largely died out. Until, that is, the Grand Master of half a dozen men met Maria with an idea: take these young women the Order had found, and train them as a new generation of the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem. Well, Order of Sisters, now. That was why all of the women standing before Maria wore hooded white tabards marked with the black cross.
Chevaliers, she decided. A French name, though one also used by the Belgians. These women came from all over the world, and had been trained in Russia. Not, then, an accurate name in several senses. Especially considering that "chevalier" was only a French form of "cavalier," another term for traditionally male knights. Still, you never got far in the Order if you relied upon such petty things as facts and literal meanings. The symbolism was what mattered. A new generation of knights, heir to a legacy centuries old. A legacy with a justly mixed reputation in much of the world. The Teutonic Knights of old left behind them a legacy of aggression and, in some cases, brutality. That perilous National Socialism movement in Germany, which thankfully had collapsed without its leader and his dangerous powers of demagoguery, had often invoked the imagery of the Teutonic Knights.
It would be up to these women to determine how the Teutonic Knights, and perhaps the Order of the Talon, would be remembered in the future. A sobering thought. Lady Maria wondered if this was how all teachers felt when their students at last were ready to move on. Had she taught them well enough? Had she taught them what they needed to survive? Many, inevitably, would die. Maria had never had any illusions about that, and she had in turn dispelled those illusions in her students. The Order's duty was as perilous as it was necessary. Still, many of these women would survive. Might they in turn each new students years down the road? Would they find women with no hope in their eyes, no spark in their soul, and reignite their spirit of courage and faith? Would they teach those women swordsmanship, tactics, chivalry, and oratory? Or would they perhaps offer different teachings? Maybe better, maybe worse, maybe just different. What Maria had begun would outlast her. Outlive her. For once, Lady Maria had genuinely created something. Perhaps this was what it felt like to be a parent.
And yet... and yet... when Lady Maria blinked as she gave her speech to the new knights of the Order, she saw death. Women, bodies twisted and broken by war. This was nothing new. Lady Maria had known for years that a storm was coming. She didn't need the increasingly pessimistic reports of the Chambers Unseen and Epistolary to know that. Danger to herself, Maria had always accepted. Now, though... now others, trained by her hand, would be the ones to face the flames. And that, she realized, was another test entirely. A test she wasn't certain she could pass.
So Maria continued to talk and preach with a smile on her face, even as she thought about asking her friends about good drinks. Even as she saw the deaths of so many of the women before her.