|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Unit Type||Flying Animal Scout|
Lifts enemy infantry, making them helpless
|Veterancy Upgrade(s)||• Bomb on death (vet)|
• Attack stuns infantry (elt)
• Pilot-kills vehicles (her)
|Country of Origin||Australia|
|Trained at||The Black Isle|
|Key Features|| » Talon Steel claws and beak|
» Sharp eye (x2)
» Black cloth w/ Order's emblem
» Groomed feathers
» Wingspan (huge)
- - Hawk when attacking
Tactical Analysis Edit
- Eye in the sky: The Hawk is the Talon's answer to the animal scouts employed by other factions, and this one, obviously, flies. It is fast, inexpensive, and spots for the Order's artillery while detecting stealthy units.
- Up you go: Hawks can also seize enemy infantry and lift them into the sky. This doesn't inflict damage, but does take the enemy out of the action.
- Clawing your way to victory: Armed with talons sheathed in Talon Steel, hawks can damage even robotic fliers like Imperial Burst Drones. Don't count on them to even annoy heavier units, however.
- Use a scarecrow: At the end of the day, hawks are still just birds. A farmer with a shotgun could deter one, much less modern anti-aircraft weapons.
"GET IT ORFF OF ME!"
- - A rather unlucky engineer
The original Order of the Talon, a genuinely innocuous enough crusading order of knights, took its name and insignia from the numerous falconers among its ranks. Falconry was a popular sport and a mark of nobility in medieval Europe, but the first knights of the Order of the Talon took it a step further. Most falconers used their birds only to hunt game, but the Order of the Talon learned to teach its birds to spot and cry in alarm if they spotted enemy soldiers, the source of the original Order's reputation for hunting down enemies in the most difficult terrain, which in turn led to the Order's deployment to Anatolia in the 11th century. Although the Order failed at that task, falconry endured both as a sport and vital tactic for the Order.
Over time, the Order tried numerous breeds of hawk, falcon, and eagle as allies in their hunt. Eagles, they found, were ideal for military purposes. They had much greater endurance than their smaller brethren, and could seriously injure a man with their talons. Until the late 18th century, golden eagles were the bird of choice for military use, being the largest and heartiest bird of prey the Order could find. Falconry with smaller birds for non-military use persists to this day as a popular sport among the Order, whose members dominate falconry exhibitions and competitions throughout the world, but for the past century, a species that the rest of the world doesn't realize exists has taken over the golden eagle's mantle as the Order's frontline combat bird.
The isolated environments of Australia and New Zealand have given rise to animal species like nothing else on the planet. However, there is one island in the region that doesn't appear on any maps or charts, and in fact mariners in the region know not to enter the area due to shallow, rocky waters and extremely dangerous tides. The truth, of course, is less mundane. The Black Isle, as the Order calls it for being erased from public knowledge, is home to an ecosystem unremarkable save for one very unique species of bird known as the Great Harrier.
Lacking any ornithologists in the Order, the name is inaccurate - the Great Harrier has no relation to that subfamily of hawks, and is most likely a uniquely gigantic offshoot of the already formidable Philippine Eagle. If the Great Harrier was known to the world scientific community, it would shatter all existing records for the largest bird of prey in the world, with an enormous fourteen-foot wingspan and a weight of over two hundred pounds, putting it within striking range of the largest bird in the world, period: the ostrich. Great Harriers require a substantial amount of food to maintain that weight, and feed on virtually anything they can take - even small sharks, and wide-ranging Great Harriers are the true reason why sheep in southern New Zealand tend to go missing on occasion.
Under the protection and cultivation of the Order of the Talon, the Great Harriers have been thriving despite their use - and frequent deaths - on the battlefield by the Order. Large enough to drag an armoured soldier screaming into the skies and clever enough to spot disguised Spies for the fakes they are, Great Harriers have fought in battles around the world since their discovery by the Order. Outside of active military use, villagers throughout the Middle East have begun to develop a superstitious dread of these enormous birds, often called rocs after the giant mythological eagles.