The Talons of Aetora
The Talons of Aetora are the elite military force of the clans of Motu . Their name refers to Aetora the Motu Spirit of the Sky and Seeker of Lost Souls. The Talons specialise in arial-based guerrilla raids mounted on the back of their Giant vultures of Tokaru. Each Talon member is trained from a young age, indoctrinated into the fierce code of loyalty and self-sacrifice that drives the Talons in defence of their people.
The Talons have a decentralised governance, each unit completely self-governed. Each unit must answer to the Mothers of Motu when called to defend the people, or answer for their actions. This independence is a growing source of frustration for the Mothers, as the members of the Talons increasingly resort to more aggressive raids against the forces at Omberstad and Badenton.
The Talons are a devout order of holy warriors, who sacrifice their worldy connections to kin in order to defend their people. Members are identified early in life by the Mothers Of Motu, and it is a seen as a great honour to have a family member chosen for this sacred duty - although not without some sorrow and trepidation for those that must forsake all ties to family. Not all who try succeed in become fully-fledged Talons. Some die during training, and especially during the Rite of the Hatching. Others are deemed to be unfit either due to physical limitations or a lack of the mental and ethical fortitude required. Except in rare cases of disgrace, this is not seen as a shameful moment, and while thee may be disappointment of failure, those who leave the Talons are welcomed back into the clans. Within the Talons, the separate Eyries act as their own familial units, looking our for each other as trusted siblings and keeping each other accountable for their honourable following of the Talon's code. A key rite in the training of all Talons is the Rite of the Hatching to steal an egg from The Eyries of Aetora and then successfully raise it themselves through its hatching and maturity.
The Talons were originally a holy order of monks who kept and trained the Giant vultures of Tokaru as a way to travel between the islands of Uferbrech - as messengers and diplomats. They were the connectors of the disparate tribes and keeper of knowledge and oral history across the islands. When the Protectorates invaded, the Talons were the primary method by which news of the invasion was communicated across the island chain. Many were too late to prevent the dispossession at Tokaru, and saw it as their deepest failing. As the struggles continued, the order slowly militarised. When the Mothers of Motu were formed, they tasked the Talons with the defence of their people, and the reclamation of their lost homes.
Relations between the various Wings of the Talons of Aetora and the Mothers of Motu are generally positive and aligned. However, some tensions are emerging between them. Some members of the Mothers believe that the prolonged conflict between the Protectorates and the Motu is no longer in their best interest. They chafe at the dogmatic way the Talons cling to aggression, and fear it will bring greater retribution down upon their people. Some more aggressive sections of the Talons long for all out war, and are impatient to liberate their homelands. Dissent is growing, but outright disobedience or mutinee is not yet on the cards.