Jade Falcon Lore .. continued

The Founders

The Clans pay homage to their founding members with yearly memorials. This praise is not distributed equally, however. Each Clan considers only a handful of original members to be of particular importance to the Clan, and deserving of the title, Founder. The Founders importance springs from many sources, but most often for their role during the Exodus Civil War, their support for Nicholas Kerensky as he created his new society, or for the honor that the particular Founders genetic heritage has brought the Clan over time.

Clan Jade Falcon recognizes four Founders. They are Lisa Buhallin, Daniel Mattlov, Carl Icaza, and Elizabeth Hazen. Of the four, Elizabeth Hazen is the most prominent in the hearts and minds of all Jade Falcon warriors.

+ Elizabeth Hazen
   The Legend of Turkina
+ Daniel Mattlov
+ Carl Icaza
+ Lisa Buhallin

Elizabeth Hazen

But all hail might Elizabeth Hazen and Turkina
As first among equals,
For she was the first Khan
And Turkina her winged soul,
From them came our spirit and destiny.

From the Jade Falcon Invocation

Clan Jade Falcon history truly begins with the birth of Elizabeth Cynthia Hazen April 5, 2741, in the city of Alexandria, the state of Virginia, North American continent, Terra. Upon reaching her legal majority, Elizabeth joined the Star League Defense Forces, immediately beginning to demonstrate great prowess as a Mechwarrior and leader. Though only twenty-five years old at the time of the Amaris coup, Hazen was already commander of a company of the Royal Black Watch Regiment, the elite honor guard of the Cameron family.

Captain Hazen was not with her company the day the Usurper assassinated Richard Cameron and had his troops destroy the Black Watch. She was with her brother Lionel, an aerospace pilot with the Black Watch who had crashed his fighter the day before. When Amaris troopers stormed the hospital where Hazens brother was being treated, they herded everyone out into the parking lots, leaving behind those patients who could not walk (including Lionel Hazen). Elizabeth Hazen realized something was very wrong. In an act of brutality so typical of Amaris, he ordered the hospital bombed before the eyes of the terrified onlookers.

Elizabeth Hazen and several others managed to escape from their captors in the ensuing confusion. In the months, the years, that followed, Elizabeth gathered together other soldiers and civilians eager to fight back. They formed the Ghosts of the Black Watch (GBW), a guerilla force that haunted the mountains and forests of the Olympic Peninsula, striking strategic Amaris interests with great skill and fury.

A decade after the coup, General Kerenskys forces liberated Terra from Amaris rule in 2779. Elizabeth Hazen and her followers emerged from hiding, looking, in the words of General Kerensky, "like a band of starving wolves." The Star League awarded Elizabeth Hazen the Star League Medal of Honor and inducted her into the Order of the Sword as a reward for her constant loyalty. She was the last to be awarded such honors.

The Ghosts of the Black Watch suffered great physical and emotional hardships during the decade of resistance, and Elizabeth Hazen may have suffered most. When General Kerensky offered her a position on his command staff, she requested release from the SLDF instead. For a year Hazen wandered across Terra, sometimes teaching English to support herself, and finally settling as a language tutor in Budapest. The brothers of a Catholic monastery high in the hills above the city introduced Elizabeth to falconry.

After Kerenskys defeat of Stefan Amaris, he waited patiently another three years for the leaders of the five Great Houses to elect a new First Lord of the Star League. When the Council Lords failed to elect a new First Lord and instead disbanded the Star League because each wanted the highest power for him or herself, General Kerensky gave his troops the exodus order rather than face what he saw as the coming Armageddon. Somehow, Elizabeth Hazen learned of what was happening; many Jade Falcon poets and loremasters believe that General DeChavilier traveled to Budapest to inform her, an opinion unconfirmed by our historians. This version of events would also support the unconfirmed belief that Elizabeth Hazen and Aaron DeChavilier shared more than a passing friendship.

The fact remains that Elizabeth Hazen joined the Exodus, recommissioned by General Kerensky himself to the rank of major and given a position in General DeChaviliers command staff.

Recorded history reveals little about Major Hazens role in the Exodus. Most likely, she had little to occupy her time until the Prinz Eugen mutiny. When nine warships in the Exodus fleet rebelled against Kerenskys authority, and decided to return to Terra, Kerensky sent a large force, including Major Hazen, to capture the fleeing mutineers. When the pursuing force returned with the nine renegade ships, General Kerensky ordered the leaders executed, and put Hazen in command of one of the firing squads.

The Legend of Turkina

Then Warrior Hazen grew cold
Watching noble DeChavilier die.
She heard her mind whisper
Urging her to fly,
To forget her duty.
But with a defiant cry
Proud Turkina dove
From the realm of death
To seize Hazen's heart
And shake it free of fear
Leaving pure her soul
And her duty clear.

The Remembrance (Clan Jade Falcon), Passage 8, Verse 36, Lines 58-66

In the course of their travels away from Terra, General Kerensky and his followers came upon a cluster of marginally habitable star systems, less than a jump apart. His soldiers, and the civilians who shared his vision enough to accompany him so far from Terra, colonized five of these worlds, naming them Arcadia, Circe, Dagda, Eden, and Babylon.

For several years peace reigned among the Generals followers, though life was not without danger as the colonists fought and struggled to tame their hostile new homeworlds. To carry out the work, Kerensky realized that he must demilitarize his followers, reducing his forces by 75% through a series of severe tests that only the most skilled warriors could pass. Elizabeth Hazen passed easily, retaining her commission and taking command of the Dagda military garrison, where she became involved in the fledgling civilian government.

These peaceful years marked the Exodus scientists first major breakthroughs in genetic engineering. Their earliest efforts produced predators designed to hunt down native life forms that posed a particular threat to the colonists. Perhaps the most beautiful of these man-made creations are the jade falcons. The jade falcon hunts the Eden serpent, a large, venomous, winged reptile native to the planet Eden. The jade falcon was soon exported to Dagda to deal with a similar menace on that world. There the jade falcons prey was a creature the colonists named the dagadar, a large quasi-avian that attacked the colonists livestock.

According to Clan lore, Elizabeth Hazen was the first (and only person) to completely tame and train a jade falcon. She named her prize Turkina, after the particularly powerful wife of one of the ancient Mongol khans on Terra. The sight of Hazen and Turkina became a familiar one throughout the Pentagon. Some stories even claim that Turkina read her mistress mind.

In one such story, Elizabeth happened to challenge the developer of a piece of land whose price she believed to be ridiculously high. When she confronted the man with her suspicions, he threatened her with a convenient "accident"; she was alone, and no one would ever know what happened. Hazen replied that she had all the protection she needed, and pointed up at a tiny speck circling in the cloudless sky. At that instant, Turkina gave a screech of defiance, folded her wings, and plummeted straight at the terrified developer, only to pull out of the dive with her talons just centimeters from his face.

Major Hazen and Turkina became unwilling celebrities for a time, but their fame was quickly forgotten as tensions over scarce food and other essentials erupted on Dagda and the other Pentagon worlds. This fed old hatreds over cultural differences, which escalated so quickly and violently that Kerensky, once again titled Protector of the Star League, prepared to mount a diplomatic military mission to try to defuse the situation and avoid civil war. He began by ordering General DeChavilier, with Major Hazen as his second in command, to disarm a Liao separatist faction that had refused all peaceful overtures on the southern continent of Eden.

The order found Elizabeth Hazen caring for an ailing Turkina, who had been stricken by a virus. Two hours before Hazen shipped for Eden, the fabled Turkina died. The loss of her falcon companion devastated Elizabeth, and she left for Eden with a heavy heart.

Ten days later, DeChavilier and Elizabeth Hazen used their Mechs to lead a force of infantrymen through the dense Pokill jungle. Under the reddish midday sun, the force entered a clearing and met an ambush.

Elizabeth Hazens Mech, a Black Knight fell first when it stepped into a concealed, oil-filled pit. Elizabeth ejected clear as her Mech pitched forward and sank chest-deep into the black liquid, then exploded in flames an instant later. The Majors relief at avoiding a fiery death was short lived. As she floated down toward solid ground, a bullet hit her helmet, knocking her unconscious.

Hazen woke to the site of a desperate battle. DeChaviliers Mech, its mangled right leg dragging behind, had also fallen into a concealed pit. Instead of bailing out, however, the general continued firing his weapons in apparent disregard for his perilous position. In an attempt to protect their leader, his soldiers established a perimeter guard around the Mech and began a fierce barrage of weapons fire.

As Elizabeth Hazen struggled out of her harness and stumbled toward the fray, the jungle erupted with the sound of hand-held missiles leaving out of their tubes. Some missed and there targets and set trees aflame. Others fell among the infantry, who lived for a few tortured seconds until the flaming jelly burned the flesh from their bodies.

But most hit DeChaviliers Mech, smearing it with burning petrochemical and setting the pool of oil around it on fire. Elizabeth could imagine the waves of heat building in the Generals Mech, could almost see the heat indicators creep up toward the critical range. She must have whispered a prayer that General DeChavilier would eject.

The hatch on the Mech finally jettisoned, and for a moment, it looked as though Elizabeths prayer had been answered. An instant later, the generals ejection seat lifted him out of the stricken mech on a column of fire, just as another salvo of missiles streaked out from the jungle toward the Mech. One struck the General, creating a fireball of flame, smoke and debris.

A story called The Falcon Vision chronicles the tale of DeChaviliers death and the succeeding events. Said to have been written shortly after Elizabeth Hazens death, the tales ornate language makes it very long, but quite beautiful. All Jade Falcon cadets memorize the story during training and recite it at their graduation ceremony. The Falcon Vision provides the best version of what happened next.

"and our Founder knew fear and despair, for as the glow from the fireball faded, she heard the cheers of the enemy, and the sound stripped away what courage was left in her heart.

"She crawled away from the battle until she reached a small green clearing that was cool and quiet. She wondered what to do. Her heart told her she had suffered enough these past few days; first at the death of Turkina, and now the violent death of her best friend. Could anyone suffer such sorrow and not think of running away, or worse?

"One small part of her argued against this urge to flee. Yes the universe had struck terrible blows against her, but she still lived and should continue the struggle.

"But that thought grew fainter and fainter, until it was little more than the droning of a mosquito against the sirens call to throw off her uniform and slip into the jungle, where she could wait for oblivion.

"A familiar cry pierced the air and cut short her reverie. Before her mind had registered its astonishment, our Founder watched great Turkina land on a perch in front of her. The birds emerald eyes looked sternly upon the battered form of her mistress.

"Turkina opened her beak; not to scream, but to speak with contempt.

"Weakness," Turkina said, Weakness from my mistress? It is not possible!

When our stunned Founder made no reply, Turkina ruffled her feathers angrily and spoke again.

"Why do you sit here like a frightened pigeon, hiding from the fight?" she asked. You should be out there, talons ripping, beak dripping with the blood of your foes, not crouched here waiting to die a cowards death!

At that, the pride of our Founder rose like bile.

"I decide what I do, and will not let some hallucination tell me to die a meaningless death!"

"Hallucination! Let this be the doings of a hallucination then!"

Turkina bent down and slashed the back of our Founders left hand with her beak, drawing blood and pain.

Elizabeth Hazen accepted that it was indeed Turkina perched before her, impossible as it seemed. In a voice full of self-pity, Hazen confessed her fear and despair. Turkina replied that every death held meaning, as long as that life was given for the common good. The specter falcon chastised her former companion, claiming that a warrior who turned from a fight was worse than a coward, and acted against nature. "Some are born to till the fields, some are destined to create. You trained from birth to be a warrior, just as I trained at your fist when I had barely escaped the shards of my shell. To turn your back on your destiny because you are frightened or sick of the hunt is an abomination against nature."

Elizabeth rose, swearing to be true to her nature and reenter the fight. Turkina rejoined, "If this is true emotion, then swear upon the love we shared when you were my mistress to give all that you have and are to protect and advance the virtues you hold dear. Fight so that your children may look back upon what you have done and say, "Praised be the name of Elizabeth Hazen, for she was what a warrior should be."

Our Founder, her voice choked with pride and honor, swore upon all that was holy to fulfill Turkinas vow.

Our Founder turned to rejoin the fight, only to discover that she no longer wore her sidearm.

"I have no weapon. How will I avenge the death of DeChavilier?" she asked.

"Have you not yet learned that a warriors weapon is his body and that swords and lasers and Mechs are but extensions of that weapon?" Turkina said. With a cry that sounded like a laugh of triumph, Turkina launched into the air, and like a ray of light, disappeared into the sky.

Fearing that she had lost the blessing of her wondrous vision, Elizabeth Hazen set out toward the clearing, determined to use her hands, feet, and mind to continue the struggle. When she heard Turkinas clear cry once more, she looked into the sun, and suddenly Turkina reappeared, her talons gripping a battered katana.

Turkina dropped the sword and the Founder caught it, overwhelmed by a flood of memories.

"Yes, loved one, that is the sword you gave Aaron DeChavilier long ago. I pried it from his lifeless hands for you-even in death he gripped his weapon, as should every warrior in the last moments of his life. Cherish it and his memory, and use it to draw the blood of any who would dare stand in the way of destiny."

With tears in her eyes, Elizabeth turned again to enter the battle, but paused once more to hear Turkinas parting words.

"Before you leave, pull five feathers from my wings, and take back this leather cord," the jade falcon told her." As I wore your jesses in life as a token of my devotion, now you and those who will follow you must swear my devotion to me and the ways of my falcon kindred. You are now warriors of the wing."

The tale concludes with Elizabeth Hazen returning to the battle and killing many enemy soldiers in a particularly violent and gory fashion, then leading what remained of her troops in a successful attack against the separatist stronghold.

While the riots and rebellions continued elsewhere, all-out civil war broke out on Eden. Perhaps it was the death of his old comrade DeChavilier, perhaps it was the despair at facing yet another civil war, but it was not so long after that General Alexandr Kerensky died. Nicholas, his son and heir, realized that he could not stop the rising violence, and decided to let the fire erupt and burn itself out quickly, rather than continue the fight.

Gathering together his followers, Nicholas led those loyal to his vision in another Exodus, this time to Strana Mechty, a nearby globular cluster of worlds. When his personal warship left the Pentagon, Elizabeth Hazen stood by his side.

Of course, the idea that the falcon Turkina broke the bounds of death, distance, and nature to visit her former mistress is ludicrous, but Jade Falcon members say the story is supported, however slenderly, by certain relics, including five dusty wing feathers from a jade falcon, a leather thong, and a battered katana bearing scratches along its blade that Jade Falcon warriors swear were made by Turkinas talons when she gripped the sword.

Elizabeth Hazen in the fury of battle.

Daniel Mattlov

I really dont care if the Star League is ever reestablished. Im more concerned with today. And today it is obvious that without the wisdom of Alexsandr Kerensky and the leadership of General Nicholas, we are little more than dirt-hugging, back-stabbing, barbarians. The vision of the two Kerenskys is the reason we have survived until now, and as long as I can still pilot a Mech, pick up a pistol, or even spit in someones eye, I will defend it.

Excerpt from a letter written by Daniel Mattlov to Elizabeth Hazen

Daniel Mattlov, a soldier know as much for his loyalty to the Kerenskys as his considerable abilities as a fighter pilot, joined Nicholas Kerensky in the second Exodus.

Born on the Hegemony world of Caph as the second son of the Duke of Caph, Daniel Mattlov was a member of the Terran Hegemonys richest and most influential families. He grew up unwilling to fulfill his familys expectation that he devote his life either to business or politics, and rebelled by enlisting in the SLDF. He trained as a fighter pilot at the Flight Academy of Graham, graduating with honors and then reporting to the elite fighter wing of the Eleventh Royal BattleMech Division (Orion Division).

His military career had been full of contradictions. Though a fighter pilot of exceptional skill and bravery, his haughty, prideful manner and short temper earned him numerous reprimands and cost him and chance of promotion above the rank of lieutenant. Many of these "incidents", 29 in all, put him on report for assaulting someone who insulted the SLDF, his unit, or his commanding officer. His fierce sense of loyalty governed his whole life; perhaps that is why the trait is one prized above all others by Clan Jade Falcon warriors.

Despite his problems, Mattlov proved himself an excellent soldier. He performed brilliantly during General Kerenskys attempt to quell the Periphery Uprising beginning in 2765 and in the struggle to defeat Stefan Amaris after he seized Terra and most of the Hegemony worlds. He made ace 10 times over and suffered injuries on 5 separate occasions, the last when he deliberately crashed his burning fighter into a column of Amaris Mechs on Caph. That crash wounded him so severely that the doctors feared he would never recover.

Daniel did, however, survive his injuries, and stood among the first to offer his support when General Kerensky issued the call to exodus, though at the time he could barely walk. Making the decision to go was not easy. His entire family had died fighting the Amaris invasion of Caph or during the Amaris occupation, leaving Mattlov the title Duke of Caph and the familys wealth.

Loyalty to General Kerensky and the SLDF won out. Daniel left his familys future and fortunes to a distant cousin and joined the Exodus. Daniel Mattlovs activities during the Exodus and colonization of the Pentagon worlds show that he continued to pilot aerospace fighters against the judgment of his doctors, who believed his days as a soldier had ended.

Daniel Mattlov was one of the first to swear loyalty to Nicholas Kerensky when Alexandr died while preparing the campaign to secure the rebellious world of Eden, and he probably met fellow supporter Elizabeth Hazen during the Exodus to Strana Mechty, in the nearby Kerenky Cluster. An easy friendship grew between the two as they recognized a similar devotion to the ideals embodied by Nicholas Kerensky.

When Nicholas released the preliminary rosters of the 20 clans given the honor of ending the civil wars plaguing the Pentagon worlds, Daniel Mattlovs name was missing. Outraged, Daniel confronted Nicholas Kerensky and his command staff and demanded to know the reason for this insult. When he had been passed over because of his medical condition, Mattlov retorted that he might never pilot an aerospace fighter again (his lungs had been permanently weakened by his last crash), he could "damn well pilot a Mech better then any of you fools."

For once, his brashness earned him not a reprimand, but respect. Daniel immersed himself in training as a Mechwarrior, and proved to be as skilled at controlling a Mech as piloting a fighter.

The final rosters for Nicholas 20 Clans must have given Daniel Mattlov great pride: his name was among those warriors who took an active part in the fighting, and his commander in Clan Jade Falcon was his friend, Elizabeth Hazen.

Carl Icaza

How does Icaza take bad news? Let me put it this way. Id rather be covered with paper cuts and then thrown into a vat of lemon juice than tell Icaza something he aint goin to like.

Captain Danielle Marks, aide to Colonel Carl Icaza

Nicholas Kerenskys final roster appointed Carl Icaza commander of the Jade Falcon infantry. While Clan lore is full of stories about Carl Icaza, his early history eluded our researchers.

We eventually realized that our difficulty in tracing Carl Icazas roots lay in the fact that Icaza was not his real name. The discovery that he was born Carl Benno of Skye, in the Lyran Commonwealth, revealed more information, including that Carl served 3 years in prison.

A man of considerable size and strength, Carl Benno nee Icaza staunchly opposed the class system on Skye, a very tradition bound planet. He was expelled twice in his early years at Sanglamore Military Academy for trying to unionize the universitys maintenance staff. But it was a long standing grudge between Icaza and Count Vimmons Donakowski, Lyran dean of the Academy and staunch hater of liberal views, that landed him in jail.

The focus of their almost-constant skirmishes shifted dramatically with the appearance on campus of Geena Drallith, eldest daughter and heir of the Duke of Kochab. An instant and dramatic passion sprang to life between Carl and Geena, who spurned Count Donakowski for her true love. Donakowski decided to devote his considerable political and social influence to making the young couples life miserable.

If that were not enough, Carl later faced charges of treason against the Lyran Commonwealth. The Count, acting as chief prosecutor, accused him of passing confidential information about important students to operatives of the Terran Hegemony, and backed up the accusations with physical proof. At first glance, the charges appeared to have been contrived by the jealous count; however, deeper scrutiny shows no proof to suggest that he framed Carl or faked the evidence.

The time spent in jail turned Carls life around. Geena, shattered by the publicity surrounding the trial, left Carl and Skye for home, and so little remained for Carl in the Lyran Commonwealth. Shortly after earning a parole, Carl Benno left Skye for the Terran Hegemony under the name Carl Icaza. There he joined the SLDF. (That he managed to evade the surveillance the Count placed on him after his release from prison goes a long way toward proving that Carl did indeed hold strong ties to the Hegemony intelligence services.)

Under his new name, Carl became a cadet in the West Point Military of Terra and graduated three years later as an infantry lieutenant. He served with distinction in a variety of units and, by the time of the Amaris coup, commanded the 889th Jump Infantry Regiment with the Seventeenth Jump Infantry Division (the Golden Talons).

The Golden Talons, stationed just outside the Hegemony at the time of the coup, played a vital, but little-remembered, role in the bringing down of the Usurper. They helped evacuate the survivors of SLDF units stationed on nearby Hegemony worlds, then launched a campaign of probing attacks to test the mettle of Amaris forces. These pitched and often-brutal battles were fought at great cost to the SLDF forces, who received only the most rudimentary logistical support from the Cappellan Confederation.

Icazas 889th (The Head Hunters) spearheaded one such doomed attack against the Hegemony world of Epsilon Eridani, with orders to find and evacuate the SLDF soldiers rumored to be hiding in that worlds Diamond Mountains, on the southern continent. The rescue mission turned out to be nothing more then a ruse created by Amaris forces, and the trap cost lives of many SLDF troopers. The ensuing slaughter destroyed the 889th as a fighting unit.

The Amaris troops captured Carl Icaza, and he languished in a stockade for nine years, routinely suffering torture and humiliation until liberated by SLDF forces led by the Golden Talons. Icaza never explained how he survived for so long under such brutal conditions, but perhaps it was sheer stubbornness. It made sense for Icaza to volunteer to join up when Kerenskys Exodus call went out; he had seen mankind at its worst, and probably wanted to put as much space between the Inner Sphere and himself as possible.

When civil war became inevitable on the Pentagon worlds, Icaza, a regiment commander on Dagda, demanded the Protector Aleksandr Kerensky and his son authorize the military to take immediate, harsh action. According to the Clan Wolf and Steel Viper loremasters, Icazas contemporaries began to question the mans mental health about this same time. Excessive use of corporal punishment to discipline his men and punish civilians under his control, as well as reports of other odd behavior led fellow officers to suggest that he be relieved of command. Nicholas flatly denied this request, as he and Icaza had become close friends during the Exodus.

Aleksandrs death and Nicholas call for a new exodus apparently shocked new life into the aging warrior. The 20 years of voluntary exile on Strana Mechty gave him the time and opportunity to free his mind of the demons that had so troubled him. Nicholas had created a strike force of 800 warriors, and put Icaza in charge of training them in their new infantry unit formations and battle tactics. Nicholas meanwhile organized his followers into a new order based on the system of Clans we see today. This new order would purge his people of the flaws that had led to so much civil strife up to this point. It also allowed him to train the force he would need to conquer the embattled worlds of the Pentagon.

When ilKhan Kerensky was finally ready, he assigned Clan Jade Falcon, along with Clans Hells Horses, Wolf, and Smoke Jaguar, to liberate the planet Eden. Elizabeth Hazen saw this as a chance to avenge the death of General DeChavilier; Carl Icaza intended to use his assignment to impose some order and discipline among the populace.

The four Clans paired for the drop, with Jade Falcon teamed with Wolf to take control the planets largest and most important continent. Even before they arrived on Eden, a strong rivalry developed between the two Clans. Nicholas Kerensky encouraged the competition because he though it good for moral.

Several weeks later, rivalry in the name of morale gave way to open feuding when Carl Icazas infantry points discovered a contingent of enemy infantry at nearly the same instant as a Star of Wolf Mechs. Properly declaring their right to battle, Carl and his troops moved to engage the opposition, but the Wolf Mechs waded past them into the enemy formation, killing most and scattering the rest. Infuriated, Carl Icaza attacked the Wolf leader, Star Commander Franklin Ward, as soon as the warrior dismounted his Mech. This move signaled the start of a free-for-all, and the five Wolf Mechwarriors got the worst of it.

The fight ended with the arrival of Khan Hazen and Khan Fetladrel of Clan Wolf. When they discovered the reason for the fight, the Khans ordered the Mechwarriors whipped for violating the combat rights of Icazas soldiers.

Lisa Buhallin

"Lisa Buhallin is the least known of all our Founders, even though her books tell us about the first days of Clan Jade Falcon. We honor her privacy".

Angeline Mattlov, Loremaster, Clan Jade Falcon

The ill feeling between Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf festered despite the punishment meted out to the Wolf Mechwarriors. Throughout the campaign to take Eden, the two Clans repeatedly contested the rights to assault key targets. When discussion proved futile in resolving these disputes, the Clan Khans created a strictly administered series of rules for resolving disagreements as the only way to prevent devastating fighting between the two Clans. Some of these rules were later incorporated and ritualized into the Clan Trials.

Clan Jade Falcon subdued the larger share of Eden, mainly because of Khan Hazens relentless desire to avenge the death of General DeChavilier by anyone who might have raised a hand against him and Nicholas Kerensky. When Eden lay conquered, Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf went to Dagda to help subdue that particularly rebellious world.

When Nicholas Kerensky formed the Clans, he stressed the honor of wining glory by fighting against the odds. But IlKhan Kerensky made an announcement near the end of the reconquest of the Pentagon that diminished that goal. He would choose the Clan that performed best in overall campaign as his Clan. This was a prize beyond price; the Clan the ilKhan commanded would be the foremost Clan, and the rights to Kerenskys blood heritage would virtually guarantee that Clans generations of warriors blest with the same skills and genius as Nicholas and his father, General Kerensky.

Clan Jade Falcon felt justifiably confident of being chosen. They had fought numerous battles and gained great glory; five times the ilKhan commanded them personally; all five times those warriors won decisive victories. Only Clan Wolf fought as well.

The battle known as the Siege of the Black Brian seemed to tip the scales in favor of Clan Jade Falcon. the Black Brian was a fortification similar in size and construction to the Castle Brians used by the Terran Hegemony. Situated on the eastern continent of Dagda, it dominated the only pass through the Thorin Mountains. A strong, well-trained force of warriors claiming allegiance to the ways of the Lyran Commonweatlh overran the fort during the first days of the Exodus Civil Wars. Though the fort got its name from the way its walls got blackened during various battles of the civil wars, the Black Brians defenders still represented formidable opposition. The Clans needed to destroy that pocket of resistance in order to reassert their control over that part of the planet, and so the ilKhan himself assumed command of the Jade Falcon troops, setting the stage for a particularly bloody and fateful battle.

The record of this battle also marks the first mention of Lisa Buhallin in the annals of Jade Falcon. Though she commanded an assault star in the siege of the Black Brian, her name does not appear on the rosters of those who joined the Exodus or served the SLDF.

Our archivists spent many hours researching the name, and finally discovered someone they believe is the Lisa Buhallin who helped create Clan Jade Falcon, a woman born into a poor farming family on the Kurita world of Trondheim.

Upon graduating from a college prep school, Lisa accepted a scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University, a respected liberal arts college just kilometers from Unity City. This part of her background makes her role in the Clans somewhat surprising; before her induction into the Clan, Lisa Buhallin apparently showed no interest in the military profession. At university, Lisa followed her first love and became well-liked member of the creative writing program.

No one knows how Lisa survived the years of the Amaris reign, or how she came to join Kerensky and the Regular Army. Circumstantial evidence suggests that she either belonged to Hazens Ghosts of the Black Watch, or had a relationship with a member of that guerilla force. Even her status as a member of the Ghosts, however, does not explain how someone with her lack of military and practical skills managed to join the Exodus when General Kerensky left behind others possessing greater military and civilian expertise.

How she managed to become an elite warrior of one of Nicholas Kerenskys Clans, and a Mechwarrior, at that, also remains a mystery. Even Falcon Loremasters cannot find a satisfactory explanation for her appearance. Clan archives might have answered out questions, but Nicholas deliberately destroyed many of the records relating to the members of the Exodus, as part of his effort to create a new society, free from the tainted past.

Our few insights come from Lisa herself, who wrote one of the few accounts of the Clans creation outside the Remembrance. The True and Faithful Account of the First Days of Clan Jade Falcon is required reading for anyone interested in an in-depth account of the Clans early days. But even this book contains only a few references to its author.

In one of the rare passages revealing anything personal, Lisa Buhallin remembers her first battle as, "the most uplifting, liberating minutes of my life. Where once I could only be myself at the keyboard of a word processor or with pen and paper, I was suddenly shouting for joy and piloting my Atlas as if I were a giddy schoolgirl in a field of spring flowers. Nor did it matter one damn bit that I was killing people as I did so."

It is unlikely that she felt much joy when she led her Mechs against the Black Brian fortifications on Dagda. ilKhan Kerensky ordered her to neutralize one of the large weapons turrets, assigned her minimal support, and then watched the assault. Her Star accomplished its objective, but Lisa Buhallin paid a high price for the victory. A grievous wound ended her short, but notable Jade Falcon military career.

Lisa Buhallin recovered, and earned the position of the Clans second Khan and first Loremaster. She spent her last years writing her history of the Clans and composing passages for The Remembrance. She also became a trusted councilor to ilKhan Kerensky helping him turn his vision of Clan society into laws and regulations.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce which Clan shall become home to my heart and the hearts of those Kerenskys who will follow. The Clan I have chosen possesses a collective intelligence I admire, the burning passion of true hunters that I desire, and, above all, is blessed with the spirit which will serve as a beacon to all the rest. I choose to mingle my blood legacy with Clan Wolf."

---- ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky

Clan Jade Falcons hopes for ultimate glory died when Nicholas Kerensky chose to tie his destiny to Clan Wolf. Publicly, the Clan reacted to the announcement by swearing anew their undying loyalty to the ilKhan and his new command. Privately, they related with shock and outrage.

Nicholas Kerensky delivered a second announcement at the same time, revealing that the Pentagon worlds were now divided into Clan-ruled spheres of control, known as enclaves. Clan Jade Falcon received large portions of Dagda and Eden to rebuild and shape in keeping with Nicholas Kerenskys dream. The ilKhan provided a few general orders for the reconstruction of the worlds, then returned to Strana Mechty.

The warriors of Clan Jade Falcon harbored a deep resentment toward Nicholas Kerensky for passing them over for the Clans greatest honor, and a common refrain ran through the rank and file, " Did we not fight more often and with greater skill that the Wolves; have we not given our very lives to prove our worth?" Discontent spread, and some warriors went beyond questioning the ilKhans decision to also question the validity of his dreams of a caste-driven society. More than a year passed, during which Khans Hazen and Buhallin made little effort to stop the growing discontent, perhaps a sign of their personal misgivings. The malcontents, emboldened by lack of punishments, carried their argument to its logical conclusion and declared that if the ilKhan failed to see the superiority of Clan Jade Falcon, then perhaps they should strike out on their own.

Within days of that statement, the ilKhan sent a message to Eden announcing his arrival to meet with the leaders of Clan Jade Falcon. The Khans indecision finally ended in furious action.

The Khans and high officers of Clan Jade Falcon fell upon the rank and file in what came to be called "The Culling," referring to the falconry practice of casting out immature falcons too small or frail to be trained. Those who questioned Clan Jade Falcons role in Kerenskys society were subjected to severe physical punishment or were sent to explore marginally habitable worlds in the Kerensky Cluster. The ringleaders of the Insurrection, two officers and ten enlisted personnel, were executed and their bodies put on display.

By the time the ilKhan arrived on Eden, to be ceremoniously greeted by the Khans and command staff of Clan Jade Falcon, the Culling was over. No Clan record hazards even a guess at whether Nicholas Kerensky knew of the growing unrest and announced his trip to galvanize the Clans leaders into action (easy to believe, considering the timing of his visit) or whether those events were coincidental.

Whatever the intent, the effect of the ilKhans visit to Clan Jade Falcon was clear then, and is still visible today. Of all the Clans, Jade Falcon considers itself the most loyal to the ways of the two great Kerenskys. Conservative in action and in word, the post-Culling voice of Clan Jade Falcon consistently demands that all Clans remain in line with what the Kerenskys intended. Of course, they also claim to be the only Clan that understands exactly what the Kerenskys had in mind. So narrow is their interpretation of the Clans destiny and the Kerenskys intentions that anyone who raises the least question concerning either is punished with a severity that shocks even other conservative Clans.

"I do not begrudge out Brother Wolves their wealth. Nor do I begrudge them their successful exploration. However, I question whether or not they remember Nicholas Kerenskys admonition to those who would strive to rise above others: Know that the nail that sticks out from the rest asks to be pounded."

--- Khan Natalie Buhallin, in a speech before the Grand Council

A new era among the Clans began when Nicholas Kerensky died at the hands of Clan Widowmaker during the latters Trial of Refusal. Clan Wolf avenged his death by obliterating Widowmaker and erasing that Clan from the records of Clan society, but Kerenskys death also stripped the Clans of the only leadership they had ever known.

Clan Wolf destroyed what it could of Clan Widowmakers assets and took the rest as isorla, spoils of war, which vastly increased the Wolves material wealth. This prompted yet another clash with Clan Jade Falcon, whose Khans opposed Clan Wolf gaining all Widowmakers wealth. Though the Falcons applauded the Wolves ferocity in avenging the death of their beloved leader, they claimed that clan Widowmakerss assets should be divided equally among the Clans.

Their objection did not spring from an overdeveloped sense of fairness. The Falcons feared their rivals growing even more economically powerful and their wealth giving them new importance in the Grand Council. If the Wolves became too powerful, other Clans might begin throwing their support to Clan Wolfs dangerous liberal sentiments.

But Clan Jade Falcon was fighting a losing battle in asking the Grand Council to flout Nicholas Kerenskys tenet that the spoils of battle belong to the victor. The Grand Council roundly rejected the Falcons petition to divide Widowmankers assets among all the Clans, and the Falcons worst fears were realized.

Clan Wolf rose to prominence as the most powerful Clan, dominating the Grand Council with Clan Widowmakers assets. Many conservative Clans began looking to the Wolves and their Kerensky blood for guidance, and the most conservative Clans, including Jade Falcon, Smoke Jaguar, and Star Adder, could not stem the tide.

Though the Clans had lost their great leader, they have come to call the decades following Nicholas death the Golden Century, for those years saw the new societys greatest expansion and development. Tremendous leaps forward in science and technology continued to reshape the Clan.

One of the most important developments were the artificial wombs that allowed scientists to routinely produce healthy human babies. This invention led to the sibko system, whereby "sibling companies" of twenty children each were born from sperm and egg donated by heroic, but anonymous warriors. Sibko training ensuring that only the best became warriors, and the Clans warrior caste increased by leaps and bounds.

The civilian sector of Clan society expanded as science and technology unfolded. Exploration and commerce became the twin obsessions of the non-warrior castes, giving them a means to escape their strictly structured lives. A steadily increasing flow of raw materials from newly settled colonies in the Kerensky Cluster boosted industry and raised the standard of living of every civilian.

The resulting surge of civilian well-being had repercussions, however, particularly in Clan Jade Falcon. The Falcons followed other Clans examples at first, founding major colonies in the Kerensky Cluster and stepping up production of transport JumpShips to supply the colonies and bring back raw materials for the new and existing Falcon factories. Clan Jade Falcon leaders believed that this ambitious plan would help them keep up with the growing wealth and prestige of Clan Wolf.

But Clan Jade Falcon failed to recognize the colonists desire for fewer caste restrictions in order to better function as a pioneering community. To begin with, Clan Jade Falcon considered greater freedom for the lower castes a blasphemous idea, even though other Clans were temporarily easing the caste laws. Disputes between the warriors and the other castes swept the Falcon colonies, and neither the caste councils, nor the Grand Council could resolve them. One colony finally acted, requesting permission from the Grand Council to leave the Jade Falcons and merge with another Clan, preferably Clan Wolf.

The Jade Falcon leaders once again accused Clan Wolf of attempting to steal Jade Falcon property. In an immediate, and typical, response, Clan Jade Falcon sent warriors to every Falcon colony but the military bases and disbanded them, killing those colonists who openly rebelled against the caste system. They sent the rest back to Falcon enclaves in the Pentagon and on the more developed cluster worlds, and scrapped or sold most of the Falcon civilian fleet to the other Clans. During the Invasion of the Inner Sphere a century later, this lack of a civilian fleet seriously hampered Clan Jade Falcons supply lines.

The upheaval over the colonists occurred early in the Golden Century. Other Clans believed that the Falcons had unnecessarily cut themselves off from a source of great wealth and would be forced to sit by and watch the other Clans bring in shiploads of profit for their colonies, but several far-sighted members of the Falcons merchant class proved them wrong. They entered the then-insignificant market of inter-caste commerce as middlemen and bankers, becoming a pivot of the Clans economic boom. "Sharp as that talons of a Falcon banker." became a popular expression as Falcon merchants revealed great skill and cunning in their chosen field of endeavor.

Instead of being hopelessly poor, Clan Jade Falcon held great economic power by the end of the Golden Century. Other Clans acknowledged that power by paying more serious attention to the Falcons conservative political views.

"Suggesting that the Clans will not one day return to Terra is akin to a man suggesting that the sun will not shine tomorrow or that Clan Jade Falcon has forgotten the words of the Great Kerenskys."

--- Khan Vandervahn Chitsu in a speech before the Grand Council

The decades of expansion and growth changed the Clans attitude toward the Inner Sphere. Those who had followed General Kerensky from the Inner Sphere firmly believed that they did so voluntarily. They may have dreamed of returning, but the harsh reality of the Pentagon worlds made it clear that that day would never come. Generations later, the common citizen lived in a society very different from those of the Inner Sphere, a social system bound him, his children, and his childrens children to a certain role in life. Perhaps it was in response to an unspoken feeling of discontent, especially among the lower castes, that Clan Loremasters created elaborate tales promising that future generations, made pure by Clan society, would form an army of Prometheans to bring back the light of civilization to the essentially good, but backward, people of the Inner Sphere.

That view eroded during the latter years of the Golden Century. Pity for their unenlightened Inner Sphere brethren gave way to contempt and anger. Generations of Clansmen now believed that the leaders of the five Great Houses had forced General Kerensky to flee the Inner Sphere. Aleksandr Kerenskys decision to leave was no longer completely selfless act; they believed he and his followers were suffering involuntary exile.

This attitude spread throughout the Clans. Even the lower castes began to consider the people of the Inner Sphere as cruel barbarians who deserved to be conquered by an obviously superior society.

Interestingly enough, as the Clans lost respect for their counterparts in the Inner Sphere, they began to believe that the worlds they had left behind were virtual paradises, especially Terra and the worlds that made up the old Terran Hegemony. Their lore made every planet into an Eden, an extraordinary combination of nature, climate, and resources. (Hah!) The Clans began to question the justice of a universe in which they, the truly civilized, lived in exile on barely habitable planets. One Jade Falcon warrior summed up the Clans general feeling: "God showed us the door out of Eden, and held it open to let the Devil and his followers in."

All these gradual changes led the Clans to believe that the time to retake what was rightfully theirs had come. Advocates for immediate action called themselves "Crusaders," and their ranks grew quickly as they rallied to support council and caste board members who believed as they did. They protested the Grand Councils refusal to open the question to debate.

The Grand Council remained officially neutral on the question, preferring to believe it was only a phase of public opinion. The Khans of Clan Wolf and Clan Coyote traditionally dominated the Grand Council, and the other Khans held too little power to force the issue against their united front. Together, those four Khans represented the core of the Crusader's opposition, calling themselves "Wardens" after a passage in Nicholas Kerenskys diary saying it was the Clans role "to ward the Inner Sphere from all outside forces until that time when the Star League is reborn."

The Wardens held sway in the Grand Council for many years, but as the moderate Clans fell under the sway of growing public hysteria about returning to the Inner Sphere, that balance changed. The number of Trials of Grievance fought over the question increased steadily, the number of resulting deaths alarming the Khans of all Clans. By 2980, when Clan Jade Falcon successfully introduced the issue to the Grand Council for discussion, the question had become too pressing to be ignored.

Winds of Change

"Because we adhere strictly to the words of Kerensky, all caste members, from the least-skilled laborer, to the best warrior, hold only one opinion on the Crusader question."

--- Khan Yvonne Hazen in a speech before the Grand Council

Clan Jade Falcon never doubted that the Crusader view was right. Their strict, conservative adherence to Kerenskys word led them to conclude that now was the time to return to the Inner Sphere, and the Jade Falcon Khans demanded that the Grand Council open the issue for discussion.

They argued eloquently that the Kerenskys intended the Clans to grow and prosper until they reached a size and strength sufficient to successfully reestablish the Star League among the uncivilized masses of the Inner Sphere; a point the Crusaders felt the Clans had reached long ago. They supported their argument by reading long passages from the Kerenskys words with an almost evangelical fervor.

Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Smoke Jaguar quickly took the lead in the Crusader movement. Spokespersons toured the Pentagon worlds, speaking to enthusiastic audiences. They spread their gospel of Clan destiny to larger and larger crowds, and their fiery orations brought rallies to the brink of rioting. Though the Clans of these speakers disavowed any intention to promote violence, Clans Wolf and Coyote seemed particularly hard-hit by these huge, unruly gatherings.

In addition to the popular quasi-religious reasons for invading the Inner Sphere, Clan Jade Falcon had strong economic reasons. Their banking prowess continued to grow, and the Falcon Khans knew it was in their Clans best interest to open new markets. The number of worlds in the Kerensky Cluster was sizeble, but ultimately limited. Clan Jade Falcon saw the worlds of the Inner Sphere, most of which had never been exploited to their full potential, as a financial motherlode.

The Compromise

"I do not trust the Wolves, for they have proven themselves creatures of opportunity, of individualism, of lax morals, and of unforgivable disregard for our origin. Yet I respect them, for they are warriors, bred true in accordance with our tradition. But to send the Wolves freeborn bastards to the Inner Sphere is folly heaped on folly! Fellow Khans, I swear upon my oath to Turkina herself that once these lowborns are free of Clan obedience, they will never willingly return!"

--- Khan Yvonne Hazen in a speech to the Grand Council during the Wolfs Dragoons debates

In an attempt to slow the Crusader juggernaut, the Warden faction agreed to a series of expeditions to the Inner Sphere, each more ambitious than the last that would gather information about the current state of the Inner Sphere militaries and governments. Of these missions, the last was by far the most controversial.

In the year 3000, Khan Kerlin Ward of Clan Wolf presented a stunning plan to the Grand Council. He proposed that a force of warriors disguised as mercenaries infiltrate the Inner Sphere to gain first-hand information about each Successor States military. In the debate that followed, the Crusaders made it plain that they were already prepared to invade the Inner Sphere based on the information available. Khan Yvonne Hazen, the senior Khan of Jade Falcon, grumbled that at the rate the Clans were moving, the Star League would be reborn just in time for the collapse of the universe.

But the plan proved too logical for even the Crusaders to defeat, and the Grand Council voted to implement it. Khan Nadia Winson, chairperson of the Grand Council and a moderate Warden, awarded Clan Wolf the right to draw up plans for the force, and three weeks later Clan Wolf returned to the Grand Council with Wolfs Dragoons, a force of freeborn warriors from the Clans police clusters to be commanded by two freeborn brothers.

The idea of freeborn warriors carrying out such an important mission infuriated Khan Hazen, who accused Clan Wolfs Khan Ward of deliberately designing a force likely to fail and or send back an inaccurate picture of the Inner Spheres strength. Khan Ward argued that even freeborn warriors must be superior to Inner Sphere soldiers, and pointed out that it made more sense to risk freeborns on this mission than trueborns, who would be needed for the actual invasion. Unconvinced, Khan Hazen and the Khans of Clan Smoke Jaguar also questioned the freeborns loyalty, making dire predictions of their eventual defecation to the Successor States, when they would inform the five Houses of the Clans existance. This prediction, of course, would eventually prove true.

The determined support of Khan Winson, the Warden faction, and key neutral Clans pushed the Dragoons proposal through the Grand Council over the strenuous objections of Clans Jade Falcon and Smoke Jaguar.

Ristar Elias Crichell

"In Clan politics, success has more to do with speed, persistence, and aggressiveness than with less important qualities such as intelligence, morality, and soul."

--- Khan Elias Crichell, in conversation

Khan Yvonne Hazen considered the Wolfs Dragoons compromise promise a galling and bitter snub to common sense that demanded a response. She immediately decided to challenge Khan Ward to a Trial of Refusal.

Before she could deliver the challenge, however, Galaxy Commander Elias Crichell, her newest and most trusted advisor, diverted her anger. The aging, ill Khan (she suffered arthritis from her many battle wounds) trusted the young ristar officer above all others. She saw and appreciated his many qualities, including "a voice like the cry of a proud falcon, eyes that can see the patterns beneath the brush, and a mind possessing a hurricane of possibilities."

Elias was born and raised on Gatekeeper in the Red Fist Communal Birth Facility, a second-rate sibko installation using parent gene combinations considered unlikely to produce warriors of any importance. Indeed, the scientist caste viewed the Crichells line as a particularly "muddy gene pool," and the Clans condescending attitude toward any blood heritage, but that of the five founders affected the young warriors personality.

Of his sibko, only Elias survived military training on Ironhold to become a MechWarrior; the rest died or suffered crippling injuries. Rumors, admittedly from Wolf officers, suggest that Elias victory over two sibkin in his Trial of Position was such that the judges spent several hours debating his worth as a warrior.

Assigned to Peregrine Galaxy, Elias quickly demonstrated his capability in several duels and skirmishes with other Clans. He exhibited particular skill at criticizing and antagonizing Clan Wolf, which he considered, " a collection of fat, pompous merchants who call themselves warriors." He won honor for his victory over a Bloodnamed Wolf warrior in a trial that settled a border dispute between the two Clans.

As admirable as were his battlefield skills, they paled in comparison to his political and oratory skills. From the very beginning of his career in the Falcon touman, Elias showed his political ambitions by currying favor with the Clans elite. He became Clan Jade Falcons most fervent Crusader.

When the Crusader cause became more popular in other Clans, Star Captain Elias gained notice as one of the movements most sought-after speakers. He toured the Clan worlds and spoke at every enclave, even those of the staunchest Warden Clans. His orations appealed to the crowds sense of history and destiny, and laid the blame at the feet of his Clans opponents with a style that put the most proficient muckracking, two-faced Inner Sphere politician to shame.

Khan Hazen approved of Elias barnstorming. Her advanced age and disabilities forced her to reflect on her successor as senior Khan, and though she approved of Khan Sejanus Buhallin, her equal in everything but seniority, she considered him too politically nave to take the lead in the Crusader movement.

Elias was eminently capable of pursuing Hazens dreams for the Crusaders triumph, but several serious obstacles stood in the way of his succession; his age, rank, lack of a Bloodname, and his lack of any ties with the Bloodlines of the Jade Falcon founders. Khan Hazen could not change his age, but she awarded him the rank of Star Colonel in 3020. She then resigned her command of the Turkina Keshik, placing the new Star Colonel in command of the elite unit, a posting traditionally assigned to the Clans eventual leader. A year later, the new Star Colonel won his Crichell Bloodname.

The appointment of so young a man to so prestigious a post created immediate tensions between Elias Crichell and Khan Sejanus Buhallin, who was equally ambitious. Soon the Clan split into two factions, each bent on discrediting the leader of the other. Khan Hazen recognized the tension between the two camps, but asserted that competition in all things was healthy.

Wolfs Dragoons finally tipped the scale in favor of the more conservative Falcons. Before the split, most Falcons agreed with Khan Hazen and Star Colonel Elias opinion that the Dragoons freeborn warriors would eventually betray the Clans. Only Sejanus Buhallin and a handful of his supporters dared suggest that the information the Dragoons relayed to the Grand Council be considered seriously.

As the Third Succession War ground to a halt in the Inner Sphere, so did the reports from the Dragoons. While many Clans reserved judgement on the scouting party, Elias Crichell and his faction within the Falcons launched a series of scathing attacks discrediting the Dragoons. They accused the freeborns of going native, blamed Clan Wolf for their part in organizing the traitor unit, and condemning Khan Sejanus Buhallin for trusting the Dragoons.

The attack weakened Khan Sejanus Buhallins position, Sensing an opportunity to advance his own cause, Elias issued a stream of accusations through the spokespersons of his faction, accusing Sejanus of closest Warden sentiments and liberal attitudes toward freeborns. Sejanus was forced to challenge Elias to duels, challenges that Elias alternately ignored or referred to Khan Hazen for advisement. Khan Hazen eventually interceded to end the feud, but in doing cast blame for the entire situation on Sejanus, stripping him of any remaining credibility and choosing Elias Crichell as her successor to lead Clan Jade Falcon.

Several months later Sejanus Buhallin died in a Mech explosion. The official investigation blamed a freak ammunition-feeder jam, but many believe that Sejanus allowed the accident to end his shame. Others believed Elias Crichell supporters staged the "accident" to rid their leader of his rival.

The Go Vote

"This day, fellow Khans, will be remembered years from now as the dawning of mankinds rebirth. No longer must these barbarian hordes suffer through the dark, violent night of their own folly. We are returning; we are the sun of righteousness that will illuminate those who dream of peace, and burn to ashes the demons and devils responsible for the darkness."

--- Khan Elias Crichell in a speech before the Grand Council, November, 3048

Despite the shame of the Dragoons apparent defection, Clan Wolf and the other Warden Clans held enough influence to stall debate on returning to the Inner Sphere until the opening actions of the Fourth Succession War, which allowed the Wardens to again postpone the invasion decision until the war ended and the Clans could analyze the consequences.

The Grand Council records seem to imply that the Wardens used the Fourth Succession War, and the War of 3039 that followed, as arguments against invasion. They reasoned that the two wars proved that the Inner Sphere was not ready for a restored Star League. Invasion now, with the Inner Sphere still so decisively split among the Succesor States, would force the Clans to occupy the entire Inner Sphere, something they had neither the numbers nor the inclination to undertake. Clans Jade Falcon and Smoke Jaguar countered by declaring their preparedness to conquer the entire Inner Sphere and force their will upon the vanquished. The majority of the council still felt deep reservations, however, and agreed to postpone the invasion issue.

When Clan Smoke Jaguar captured our ROM exploration vessel, Outbound Light, the invasion debate took a dramatic and final turn. Smoke Jaguar and Jade Falcon interrogators extracted a new and potentially threatening picture of the Inner Sphere from the minds of the ships crew. The news of greatest importance was the alliance between the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns. This nearly complete merger placed more than half the Inner Sphere under one apparently stable government. Though threats existed against the Steiner and Davion families, the rulers of the newly united realm, these efforts remained relatively disorganized, their leaders inclined to bicker among themselves. Clan experts deduced, and rightly so, that the only way the new Federated Commonwealth could fail to become the Inner Spheres preeminent power was if its leaders committed some grievous error, a possibility experience told them was very unlikely. In addition, the Inner Sphere had recently acquired the memory cores of several Star League-era computers, giving the entire region access to technology only slightly less advanced than that of the Clans.

These revelations shocked the Grand Council. The Inner Spheres apparent position on the verge of disintegration was a lie. Far from being weak and simply waiting for the Clans to step in and assume control, the Inner Sphere seemed on the verge of uniting and resurrecting the Star League without the Clans assistance. Incontrovertible evidence that the Inner Sphere could find its way to the Clan homeworlds, together with the possibility of facing a united Inner Sphere equipped with Star League technology forced many Khans to reconsider their views.

The arguments of Clan Wolf and Clan Coyote were dismissed in light of this new information. Born upon a tidal wave of apprehension, the Crusaders once again petitioned that Grand Council to debate the invasion of the Inner Sphere, and this time they won. The Khans of Clan Smoke Jaguar and Khan Hazen and Khan Crichell (recently installed as junior Khan) of Clan Jade Falcon played on the fears growing in the minds of many neutral Khans. Their dire predictions, coupled with promises of great glory, proved no match for the Wardens, who tried but failed to allay the Grand Councils concerns.

The Crusaders won by a landslide. Every Clan except Clan Wolf voted to invade the Inner Sphere and pave the way for the Star Leagues rebirth.

Clan Wolf, though divided internally between the Warden and Crusader factions, stood united to demand that the Grand Council grant them a Trial of Refusal. The fierce bidding among the Clans for the honor of representing the Grand Council against Clan Wolf substantially reduced the odds, and the final trial pitted the Third Wolf Battle Cluster against Clusters from four other Clans. The Jade Falcons fielded the Gyrfalcon Guards. The Trial took place on Mars Field on Strana Mechty and was a much closer contest than the odds suggested. However, the sheer number and ferocity of the Grand Council forces, particularly that of the Falcons assault Cluster, carried the day, and they decimated the Wolf Cluster, much to the pleasure of Khan Elias Crichell and his aides.

Clans Smoke Jaguar and Jade Falcon, riding high on their victory and new-found influence, persuaded the Grand Council to elect Khan Leo Showers of Clan Smoke Jaguar as ilKhan. This decision met with some resistance among Jade Falcon warriors who believed Khan Hazen deserved the honor. Khan Hazen herself put an end to their objections by announcing her "retirement" from the post of senior Khan.

The new ilKhan, eager to demonstrate his disdain for Clan Wolf, issued a recall order to Wolfs Dragoons, confident that few, if any, of the freeborn forces would heed the recall and return to the Clan worlds.

Khan Elias Crichell

"Success will depend on our devotion to the words of the Great Kerenskys, and how we manage the bid against the other Clans for what little glory will be won in the Inner Sphere."

---- Khan Elias Crichell in an address to Peregrine Galaxy

Khan Elias Crichells official installation as leader of Clan Jade Falcon took place in a three-day ceremony that began with a night long vigil at the altar of the Hazen Cathedral, and ended when Khan Hazen laid the Jade Falcon cloak upon his shoulders, as oaths of fealty from the caste leaders and every warrior rang in his ears.

Khan Hazens retirement did not last long. Just two weeks after Khan Crichell assumed control of Clan Jade Falcon, his mentor died in the cockpit of her Mech, apparently of a self-induced drug overdose.

Freed from any rivals to his command, Khan Crichell began to assert his authority. His first move was to promote Galaxy Commander Timur Malthus to the position of junior Khan and give him command of the prestigious Jade Falcon Galaxies and their Trinaries, promoting those he knew were loyal to him and demoting those whose loyalty he doubted. While these staffing moves secures his position, they would later prove costly to Clan Jade Falcons military effectiveness.

Khan Crichell next began to strengthen the relationship between Clan Jade Falcon and the Clan of the new ilKhan, Smoke Jaguar. They exchanged lavish gifts of lands, material, and genetic materials. Khan Crichells machinations were so obvious that observers wondered sarcastically if the two leaders planned to merge their Clans and perhaps name it "Smoked Falcon."

On internal issues, the Jade Falcons new leader proved even more conservative that his predecessor. For example, he revoked most of the powers granted to the Inter-Caste Councils responsible for arbitrating disputes between castes. When a subcaste of steelworkers objected to the loss of autonomy and staged a strike, he sent in police Trinaries to hunt down and shoot the leaders. One explanation for Elias Crichells ruthless conservatism claimed he was at heart ashamed of his mediocre Bloodheritage and overcompensated for fear he would be accused of not deserving his high rank.

Perhaps to justify his ruthless action in the strike, Khan Crichell reinstated the Grace of Preeminence Clause for his Clan. Written by Nicholas Kerensky in collaboration with Founder Lias Buhallin, the rule gave all warriors legal power to act without the need to consult authorities, and to inflict punishment for offense (real or imagined) including death sentences, with almost no restraints. Most other Clans recognized the Grace Clause as a tool used only to ensure that the last vestiges of the rebellion that caused the Exodus Civil War were eliminated from Clan society. That goal achieved, the clause was largely abandoned until Elias Crichell resurrected it to enforce Clan Jade Falcons control of the lower castes.

"Our forces will use Operation Revival to attack in much the same way an unseen falcon strikes at a fat, flying pigeon; with paralyzing surprise, undeniable momentum, and unstoppable force. We will leave behind only a haze of blood and a flurry of feathers."

---- Khan Elias Crichell, in a speech to his commanding officers

Khan Crichell became the new ilKhans most trusted advisor because they shared a vision of the invasion. Together they crafted "Operation Revival," a plan that would carve a deep gash through the Inner Sphere and seize Terra as its prize. Though the details changed slightly as the Grand Kurultai (war council) discussed Operation Revival, the plan survived virtually untouched. The operations strategic objective was to conquer enough Inner Sphere star systems to provide a secure base of operations from which to launch further assaults against the Successor States.

But even this goal appeared insignificant when the Khans agreed to a proposal put forth by Khan Elias Crichell. Basing his suggestion on passages from the Kerensky archives, Crichell proposed that the Clan that conquered Terra become the ilClan and that the ilClans senior Khan would automatically become the ilKhan. He further proposed, in accordance with those same writings, that the ilClan assume control of the Free Guilds, which are the merchants, techs, scientists, and other lower castes whose affiliation is to Clan society and not to one Clan. Every Clan eagerly accepted this challenge.

In what they felt was their coup de grace, Crusader leaders decided that the most fitting punishment for Clan Wolfs persistent opposition to the Clan dream of returning to the Inner Sphere was to include them in the invasion.

The simple invasion plan reflected the Clan expectation that they would encounter minimal organized opposition in the Inner Sphere. Four Clans would assault four separate corridors along a route that would slice through the Free Rasalhague Republic, the Federated Commonwealth, and the Draconis Combine. All four corridors ended on Terra, the final and most important invasion objective. Every Clan participated in the trials to determine which would be allowed to join the invasion. Special rules limited the trial forces to three Trinaries per Clan to prevent excessive bloodshed, ensuring that no Clan would risk so much to win a position in the invasion that it would have insufficient forces to fight effectively.

Because Clan Wolf was required to participate, it officiated at the trials to choose the remaining three. To no ones surprise, both Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Smoke Jaguar won positions. Ghost Bear, another strong Crusader Clan won the final main position.

A second set of trials determined which Clan would use which corridor. Alpha and Delta corridors lay through the Federated Commonwealth and the Draconis Combine, the two most powerful militaries in the Inner Sphere, and afforded the greatest opportunity for glory. The ilKhan assigned Clan Wolf to Beta Corridor, another not-so-subtle insult to their Warden sensibilities.

Clan Jade Falcon won the honor of Alpha Corridor, prompting Khan Crichell to order a week-long festival of celebration in all Falcon enclaves.

That the festival took place just two short weeks before the invasion force assembled to jump for the Inner Sphere indicates just how little concern the Clan felt about what lay ahead. While Clan Wolf doggedly prepared for the worst, struggling to rebuild its decimated Third Battalion, the Jade Falcons assumed that their Inner Sphere enemies would offer only uncoordinated resistance, simply ignoring what might happen beyond the first wave of the invasion.

Not all Jade Falcons shared that attitude. Commander Jessica Buhallin of Iota Galaxy and Logistics Overseer Tanner Calbot considered the amount of supplies Khan Crichell requested for the Falcon Touman inadequate, and shook their heads at the Khans proposed disposition of supplies and projected rate of use. They realized that the Khan and his advisors saw the coming invasion as little more than a series of trial-like encounters, and planned few or no reserves to supply the Galaxies, should the enemy offer more than token resistance. Buhallin and Talbot also recognized that the falcons stubborn neglect of exploration meant that the Clan would not have enough military and commercial transports to move even the meager scheduled amount of supplies in a timely fashion.

Khan Crichell brushed these concerns aside, simply refusing to transport material he was convinced that it would never be used. "It would make better sense to bring empty transports along to ferry our winnings back to our enclaves." He acknowledged their worries only so far as to order Falcon bankers to contract a few extra transports from the Free Guilds, in return for that Falcons long-standing disdain for their caste, charged that Clan extraordinarily high fees for each ship, while giving the other invasion Clans a far more reasonable rate.

The rank and file warriors shared Khan Crichells attitude toward the invasion; most expected to see little more than a glimpse of the enemys backside as they rank away. General anticipation flourished among Clan Jade Falcons lower castes, and many dreamed of soon traveling to the Inner Sphere among the first settlers.

In the June of 3049, the ships of the Clan invasion made their first jump toward the Inner Sphere. The Clans exile was nearly over, and they looked forward to returning home bearing the riches and wonders of the Inner Sphere.

Periphery Action

By Kerenskys heart, the computers in first-level Mech simulators are worthier opponents then these barbarians!

Comment of a Jade Falcon warrior after action on the Periphery world of Last Chance

The first inhabited worlds the Clans encountered on their sweep toward the Inner Sphere were small colonies on the dim outskirts of the Periphery that rings the Inner Sphere. These worlds and their tiny populations offered little or no opposition to the Clan forces that suddenly appeared on their soil. Their only defense were errants, individual warriors hired to protect the inhabitants in the same way the lawmen of the North American West and master swordsmen in the ancient Orient protected communities. While some errants were skilled fighters, the overall condition of their weaponry was so poor that the outcome of most of their duels against Clan warriors were a foregone conclusion.

One exception for Clan Jade Falcon came on a lonely hunk of grassed-over rock called Twilight, two jumps outside the Oberon Confederation. Jade Falcon forces approached the planet using what they refer to as an indoctrination sweep, sending forces from the Gryfalcon Galaxy to provide a show of force. Stars of Mechs and Elementals paraded through the center of every village, using bullhorns to announce the planets absorption into the Clan Jade Falcon "Sphere of Clan Prosperity." The terror resulting from such sweeps usually served to quell any opposition.

The Falcon light Mech Star that strode through the clustered buildings of a small Buddhist monastery on Twilight received a shock. That monkish community counted among its members Sarah "Cat" Kattrin, a highly admired battalion commander in one of the Draconis Combines elite Sword of Light regiments and an honored Mech instructor. Her wish to find inner peace following her retirement from active duty and the Combine military took Kattrin to many worlds and an equal number of monasteries. She always traveled with Self-Deception, the Mech awarded her by the grateful Kurita family. I was honored to meet her during her days of wandering, and was impressed by her skills and good humor.

The warriors of Gyrfalcon Galaxy, puzzled because the monks did not run in terror at their approach, and showed even less emotion at the destruction of their temple, resorted to torturing the monasterys abbot in an effort to provoke a reaction. At this outrage, the fifty-nine-year-old Sarah threw off her robes, strode up to the Star Commanders Mech, and delivered a personal challenge in the time-honored Combine tradition, her gray hair trailing behind her in the wind and smoke. Star Commander Briggan of the Second Falcon Striker Cluster laughed, but accepted her challenge.

As I watched the tapes of the fight between Briggan in his Uller-A and Kattrin in her Phoenix-Hawk, I understood why it raised some Falcon warrior eyebrows. Kattrin, though long out of practice, managed to stay out of danger long enough to regain her confidence. Briggan, momentarily surprised by his opponents skill, approached her more cautiously than was wise, giving Kattrin even more time to reorient herself.

Kattrin warmed up in mid-battle, using a flurry of attacks and ripostes to search for a weakness in the Ullers armor and armament. She found precious few, and was almost defeated when Briggan counterattacked with several volleys from hid Gauss rifle cannon that forced Kattrin to shift quickly to avoid a direct hit. Despite her considerable skill, she lost whole sections of armor, ran up her Mechs heat, and, most damning, lost all her lasers. But she was not unarmed. Kattrin still managed to disable her opponents let leg by rushing in and leveling a wicked kick at the outside of the Ullers knee, causing it to buckle immediately and freeze.

Kattrin, rapidly running out of options and with her Mech barely hanging together, ended the battle with a flair typical of her entire career. She jetted her Phoenix Hawk above the Uller and crashed down, targeting the Hawks legs at the Ullers cockpit. A panicked twist of the Ullers shoulders saved Star Commander Briggan, and Kattrins Phoenix Hawk crashed to the ground, its legs useless.

The former battalion commander gave no quarter, and asked none. Star Commander Briggan lived up to her expectations, quickly hobbling over to his opponent and repeatedly firing his left-arm lasers into the Phoenix Hawks cockpit. This sickening moment seemed worse because few Clan warriors appeared disturbed at the sight of Briggan reaching into the cockpit, ripping out the corpse of Sarah Kattrin, and holding it triumphantly aloft.

When I discussed the tapes and the Falcon warriors reactions with several warriors from Clan Wolf, I was startled to learn that they had often seen such macabre celebrations. One warrior even admitted to behaving in a similar fashion. She described a battle against a member of the bandit caste who, after being defeated by the Clan warrior, taunted her by announcing with his dying breath that she had almost been undone by an old freeborn, an insult that apparently deserved a similar bloody demonstration of Clan warrior superiority.

The Barony of Strang

"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans."

--- Baron Stepan Von Strang, in reply to the Jade Falcon challenge

Because the Periphery worlds on the Clan invasion path did not lie within the four assault corridors, each Khan could bid for the honor of invading any of those worlds. Von Strangs World prompted the fiercest bidding of all, for two reasons. The Clans looked upon this world as their first challenge, a regiment of Mechs defended the planet, and an extensive network of defensive positions rounded Amaris City, the planets capital and only major city.

History provides a second reason for their intense interest. The Von Strang name is infamous to the Clans, and indeed, any student of the Amaris Coup. The tall, gaunt, and thoroughly evil Colonel Gunthar Von Strang (reviled as "Vampire Von Strang") commanded the despised Eighteenth Amaris Chasseurs, known as the Deaths Head Regiment. Stefan Amaris gave Von Strang and his sadistic soldiers administrative control over the northern section of the North American continents, to hold and exploit as Von Strang saw fit. The relish with which with Von Strang and his troops stripped the cities of goods, killed countless citizens for perverted thrills, and deprived the survivors of even the most basic rights quickly made them the most hated of all Amaris units. General Von Strang and the Eighteenth met a bitter, violent end during the last days of the fight to liberate Terra when units from Kerenskys 146th Royal Battlemech Division (George S. Patton Division) crushed the Eighteenth as it attempted to flee Terra through the La Guardia Spaceport.

When the Clans discovered a world apparently named for Vampire Von Strang, every Khan wanted revenge on the Vampires descendants.

Clan Jade Falcon won the bidding, and Khan Elias Crichell immediately announced that he would lead the Turkina Keshik personally on the assault to "rid humanity of that accursed name."

Their faint hope of actually facing a descendant of Vampire Von Strang became reality when Khan Crichell issued his batchall, the traditional demand for information about a planets defending forces. Stepan Von Strang, the planets young leader and direct inheritor of the Von Strang name, replied with threats and curses.

The young Periphery Lord recognized the threat to his domain. Like his father and his grandfather, he grew up despising the Star League and the way it had roughshod over the Periphery. When he saw the warships arrayed around his planet, his instinctive hatred of anything associated with the Star League prompted an amazing leap of intuition; he knew he was facing the children of Kerenskys Exodus.

Once Von Strang made it clear that he would recognize no rules, the Turkina Keshik Dropships began burning into the atmosphere toward a landing zone on the Plain of the Rim Worlds Republic, north of Amaris City. Von Strangs determined aerospace fighters met them above the planet, ignoring the escorting Clan fighters to attack the DropShips in an attempt to disable them. But Von Strangs force was outclassed, and Clan firepower slapped them from the skies.

Once on the ground, the Turkina Keshik encountered more formidable opposition. The approaches to Amaris City boasted heavy fortifications, a system of bristling turrets interconnected by tunnels. Though less effective that Star League-era fortifications, they served to slow the Keshiks advance. Only after to points of Elementals found access to the tunnels and began a brutal corridor-to-corridor sweep did the gun turrets grow silent.

Then the Mechs and tanks of Von Strangs Guard Division began a series of attempted ambushes in the valleys cul-de-sacs. Though they seldom caused more than minor damage to the Clan forces, they, too, slowed the Falcons advance.

The Clan Warriors emerged through the pass to a twilight view of Amaris City entrenchments, a view quickly obscured by a fierce storm filled with furious lightning strikes. It was becoming harder to by the minute to see Khan Crichells target.

Khan Crichell ordered the Keshik ahead at flank speed as planned, but sent a flight of fighters loaded with IR, electrical, and other sensing devices to scout the terrain.

This proved to be a wise decision. Von Strang hid the bulk of the Guard Division in a complex of underground garages, hoping that the Clans faith in their superior equipment would lead them to risk a nighttime assault. The Clans took the bait. They fought their way through the ring of entrenchments and fortifications, depending on Elemental engineers to scout ahead, and entered the heart of the city. As the Clan warriors reached Von Strangs palace, the Guard Mechs moved out to attack from the rear.

The Falcon forces were unaware of their danger until a Clan fighter, just seconds from returning for refueling, spotted the Guards and sounded the alarm. Khan Crichell wheeled his forces to face the threat, and the two sides collided, fighting fiercely for an hour in the raging thunderstorm. Von Strangs forces, though determined and reasonably skilled, found themselves outclassed by the Turkina Keshiks superior technology. Even though the odds favored the Periphery forces, they could not find any weaknesses in the Clans tactics and weaponry to exploit. Von Strangs forces hesitated for a moment when they realized that the Clans were apparently invulnerable, and the Elementals took advantage of that moment to swarm over the Guard Mechs like piranhas on a drowning cow.

Baron Von Strangs Battlemaster finally fell to Khan Crichells Thor, and the Khan paraded around the palace with the Barons body in the fist of his Mech. Von Strangs few remaining forces attempted to break contact and slip away in the night, but the Falcons hunted them down and killed them. They also killed those who surrendered and begging for mercy.

The Keshik crushed the few remaining pockets of resistance by dawn, and Khan Crichell officially renamed Amaris City as "Unity City" in honor of the former capital of the Star League. As an added reminder of who was in charge, the Khan ordered the body of Baron Stepan Von Strang hoisted up the flagpole to dangle, just below the banners of the Star League and of Clan Jade Falcon, until it putrefied and fell to the ground.

Legend says that the body fell on the day ComStar won Tukkayid, and that as it fell, people heard Stepan Von Strangs howling laughter in the wind.

Conquest of the Periphery

"It was an aberration. A quirk, the exception that proves the rule and nothing more, I assure you."
---Star Captain Jinn Buhallin, in her report to the kurultai concerning the battle for Von Strangs World

The fight on Von Strangs World gave Khan Crichell a rude awakening, even though the Falcons suffered minimal losses. The defenders fierce resistance and devious tactics contradicted their previous Periphery experience, but if this caused the Falcons any concern about-facing the much stronger Federated Commonwealth in the upcoming campaign, they submerged those concerns beneath their typical arrogance. Khan Crichell dismissed the fierce intensity of the battle as a factor of the thunderstorm, which degraded everyones ability to find the enemy, rather than acknowledge the skill of Von Strangs warriors. His Keshik fully supported his view, chalking up the fight to a fluke. The Khan and his advisors nonetheless suppressed the particulars of the battle, especially just how near the Keshik came to be taken unaware, restricting the most revealing records and providing only general information to the other Clans.

Twice more Clan Jade Falcon battled substantial enemy Mech forces, facing the Second and Third Mech Battalions of Redjack Ryans regiment on the worlds of Last Chance and Gotterdammerung.

The Jade Falcons first met Ryans forces in an encounter on Last Chance during the first week of September. Alpha and Bravo Trinaries of the Third Assault Cluster hardly defeated Ryans Second Battalion. When the Periphery units attempted to retreat off world, Falcon fighters prevented their escape, and they surrendered. Clan warriors bonded most of those captured, imprisoned some, and executed the rest.

On Gotterdammerung, the Falcons faced Ryans Third Battalion. This time, the defenders put up a better fight; it took two Trinaries of Gyrfalcon Galaxy to corner and destroy the battalion on the rock-strewn floor of the Mishup Crater.

Both these victories took place after Clan Wolfs encounter with the remainder of Redjack Ryans forces and units from the Kell Hounds on the steroid called The Rock. Their opponents skill impressed Clan Wolf, especially that of the Kell Hounds, who were in the area hunting for Ryans forces. Wolf Clans Khan Ulric Kerensky distributed tapes of the skirmishes to the other Clans, pointing to them as proof that the coming fight with the Inner Sphere could be more challenging than anticipated, but the ease with which the Falcons destroyed the rest of Ryans regiment contradicted Ulrics assessment. The Falcon and Smoke Jaguar Khans brushed aside Khan Ulrics warnings and renewed their charges against him of persistent doom saying and reluctance to carry out the Grand Councils wishes.

The last Periphery world fell to the Clans near the end of 3049, and the invaders spent the last two months of that year to consolidating their holdings by ferrying in a minimal civilian force to establish basic services and to stockpile supplies. Khan Crichell ordered most Falcon supplies unloaded on the planet Lackhove to free up as much space on his JumpShips as possible for the coming wave of attacks against the Federated Commonwealth.

IlKhan Leo Showers convened a Grand Kurultai on 18 February 3050 aboard the Dire Wolf, the Wolf Clan flagship. His opening speech to the gathered Khans and their command staffs praised their efforts and predicted a bright future for the invasion, especially if the battles fought thus far were any indication of the Inner Spheres strength. We can only guess at whether or not Khan Crichell and his staff grew uneasy at the ilKhans words, considering just how hard they had fought on Von Strangs World. We know for a fact, however, that the Falcons used the results of this meeting to review and slightly revise the first invasion plan.

The Clans also discussed ComStar during the kurultai. During the previous month, our Blessed Order made its first official contact with the Clans. Seeing an opportunity to spread our message (and gain greater influence in the Inner Sphere), Primus Waterly allied our order with the Clans. According to the final terms of the alliance, ComStar agreed to provide to the Clans detailed information about worlds they planned to invade. In return, ComStar would receive at least nominal control over the populations of the conquered worlds.

Though Clan Jade Falcon trusted the ilKhan to further the Clans cause with any negotiations he undertook, many within that Clan felt uncomfortable with the arrangement with ComStar. This faction included Khan Crichell, who questioned the wisdom of trusting an Inner Sphere organization on so little information and no guarantee of its intentions. The Falcons hesitated even when reminded of the "unexpected allies" prophesied by the Great Kerenskys. Privately, Khan Crichell considered our Blessed Order just another perverted barbarian organization undeserving of an iota of trust.

I believe I must shoulder some of the blame for this ill will. I met Khan Crichell during my initial contact with the Clans, and though the man and his senior officers impressed me, I disliked him. I still do not fully understand my unreasoned wariness of Khan Crichell, but he and his officers obviously sensed it and responded in kind, even though we exchanged easy pleasantries.

Khan Crichells feelings toward ComStar and myself spread throughout his Clan, and severely strained the already tense relations between our representatives and the Clans. On worlds in the JFOZ (Jade Falcon Occupation Zone) particularly, members of our military suffered close scrutiny. Harassment of our troops, whether ordered by Falcon commanders or spontaneous, became commonplace and sometimes led to tragedy. This general distrust prompted the Falcon hierarchy to station extra forces on their conquered worlds just to keep an eye on ComStar, a policy that proved to be a poor use for troops that they would need later in their assault.

First Wave: Falcon in Flight

Upon our gutted towers
The Falcon feasts upon our future
Devouring all that we could have been.

--- Excerpt from The Clan Anthology: Poetry in Time of Crisis, edited by Virginia Davenport

Clan Jade Falcon began their invasion of the Inner Sphere on 20 March 3050 by launching simultaneous attacks against ten Federated Commonwealth worlds. Clan leaders intended to accomplish two goals in the first wave; to win and to completely demoralize the Successor States with their skill, ferocity, and appearance.

The Falcons went to great lengths to make their appearance as fearsome as possible. They painted their Mech exteriors in a wild variety of schemes, ranging from amazing camouflage patterns to almost psychedelic combinations of colors and designs. Elemental armor also received special attention, the Galaxys falcon emblem appearing on the helmet, shoulders, and back of most. Some commanders even attached synthetic feathers to their armor.

All the worlds attacked during the first wave of the invasion experienced as almost identical chronology of events. Clan naval vessels, remarkably adept at evading the Inner Spheres electronic trip-wire systems, usually managed to approach standard Clan orbit (.75 ID standard) unchallenged, then the Clan commander would issue the batchall, or challenge, to the oblivious defenders below.

Each Clan begins its batchall with a sentence unique to the Clan. The Wolves declare, "The Wolves of Kerensky have claimed this world for their own. What tame dogs defend it?" The Smoke Jaguar batchall begins, "The Smoke Jaguar claims this world. Identify the forces that defend it so that we from the mists of space may know on whom we pounce." The Ghost Bears use a more businesslike opening, "We are Clan Ghost Bear. This world is ours. Those who dispute our claim must identify the size and location of their forces for immediate disposal."

Clan Jade Falcon opens its challenge with, "What forces dare defend this world from the steel talons of the Jade Falcon?" Many worlds invaded by the Falcons during the first and subsequent waves, however, did not receive this courteous warning of their looming demise. Though technically a breach of Clan etiquette, many Falcon commanders refused to issue the batchall to "barbarians," and many defenders learned they were being invaded only by the sudden appearance of entry trails on their radar.

As the defenders scrambled for their vehicles, they discovered the Clans devastating ability to drop Mechs and DropShips into landing zones too rugged and demanding for all but the most elite Inner Sphere units. Clan units usually chose drop zones well within their enemys defensive perimeters, and the Falcons often landed so close to enemy positions that they opened fire on the defenders before hitting the ground.

Most Clan attacks also succeeded because they were direct. Current Inner Sphere military tactics strike at a combination of targets using anything but a frontal assault. The Clans, particularly the more conservative such as Jade Falcon, attack with the exact opposite strategy. They reject any other tactics as freeborn "deviousness." Their battle philosophy of dueling, even in large engagements, dictates a series of devastating direct attacks known as the nathaculor, "the strike of the unswervable sword."

In keeping with Nicholas Kerenskys goal of minimal loss of life and property in combat, the Clans initial objective in each attack was to identify and cripple or destroy the defenders command, communication, and control positions. Failing that, they simply took on the largest concentration of enemy forces, using the rationale that," If we cant cut off the enemys head, we cut off his arms instead."

For the Jade Falcon touman, the first wave brought unexpected glory and a few surprises. Though they possessed a fair amount of information about their opposition, based in large part on the reports of Wolfs Dragoons and other independent operatives, some information was simply unavailable. The Falcons knew that AFFC regimental combat teams protected certain worlds, including Barcelona, Here, and Trell 1, and would offer stiff resistance. Falcon commanders prepared for these worlds by setting the cutdown bid at a minimum of two Clusters and by assigning elite units, such as the Turkina Keshik and the Jade Falcon Guards, to either spearhead the initial assaults or act as a ready reserve.

Even the worlds classified as lightly defended required more effort than expected to conquer because of the Clans, particularly the Crusaders, consistently underestimating the skill and determination of local militias. They largely dismissed reports provided by Wolfs Dragoons as the lies of traitors, and ignored their own intelligence service operatives. These low estimates proved accurate in the Free Rasalhague Republic, but disastrous in the Federated Commonwealth and Draconis Combine.

The core of the Federated Commonwealth militia are Mech companies, which the commanders divide into lances and attach to infantry and armor battalions. The lances serve as the cornerstones of the defensive positions. Instead of rushing to meet the approaching Mech Stars, they waited for the mechanized units to slow the enemy advance. This tactic thoroughly confused the Falcons, who expected Mechs to be at the forefront of every battle.

The militias took advantage of the Falcons uncertainty to create a strategy they used to good effect during the first and most of the second waves of the invasion. Conventional militia forces led by tanks and hovercraft contacted the advancing Clan units. The Falcons would wade into the militia force, causing heavy damage, but before they could completely destroy the defenders lance of Mechs would appear and challenge the Clan pilots to a duel. Clan honor required that they break off their attack against the ground units and observe the rules of the batchall (the Clan rites of honorable combat). The Falcons strict adherence to Clan law, which included determining a Circle of Equals for a duel, gave the militia forces time to retreat. Once the conventional forces were safely away, the Mechs retreated, after loosing a single volley of firepower. Needless to say, the Falcons viewed this tactic with considerable disgust and anger. While the tactic, called "Falcon Foolin," never prevented the Falcons from taking what they wanted, many soldiers survived that would otherwise have died.

The Jade Falcon Khans soon abandoned the batchall entirely, allowing Falcon warriors to ignore any challenge issued by Inner Sphere warrior. They also gave their warriors permission to punish anyone who took advantage of their strict adherence to the code of honor.

Trell 1

"The loss of my son, albeit a tragedy for me, would not mean one jot more or less then the loss of any highly trained soldier of the Federated Commonwealth. The life of every man or woman serving the AFFC is precious, but forfeit to protect what we are. Most important, they themselves believe it is our right to exist free from outside tyranny."

--- From a private communiqu authored by First Prince Hanse Davion and Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion during the height of the Trell 1 invasion

The planet Trell 1 consists mainly of marshes, mountain ranges, and spectacular cave systems that served as a haven for pirates and smugglers during the early days of the Lyran Commonwealth. Yesterdays pirate gradually became todays businessman, transforming Trell 1 into an important economic and administrative center. For that reason alone Trell 1 was placed high on the Falcon commanders lists of primary worlds to conquer. But the presence of a young battalion commander in the planets defending Twelfth Donegal Guards, Victor Steiner-Davion, heir to the Federated Commonwealth, turned Trell 1 into a prize beyond all price.

The Twelfth Donegal Guards RCT adopted and adapted the military doctrine of the new Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth when other Lyran units resisted, quickly molding themselves into a swift-moving unit able to work in concert with other regiments to deliver a fearsome combination of firepower and speed. This was a marked contrast to the reputation of Lyran Mech units as plodding metal that spurned any assistance from conventional units.

Credit for much of the units success belongs to Leftenant General Jeremy Hawksworth, one of the first Lyran officers to receive special training at the New Avalon Military Academy. Under his skilled leadership, the Twelfth Donegal RCT served with distinction in the Third Succession War and the War of 3039, where they earned the nickname the "Foxy Crocodiles" because the RCT maneuvered and fought in a manner similar to that fearsome, cunning reptile.

Following the War of 3039, the Crocs went to Trell for rest and refit, and received a permanent assignment to that world as the parent unit of the CoOpFor (Commonwealth Opposition Force), a battalion-sized unit, commonly known as the Red Brigade. Trell 1 served as a training ground for Federated Commonwealth forces, and the Red Brigade regularly scheduled a month-long series of battles designed to simulate the tactics favored by the Draconis Combine and the Free Worlds League. Though the Red Brigade enjoyed a fierce reputation throughout the Commonwealth, Clan intelligence somehow overlooked it, ultimately allowing it to play an important role in the battle for Trell 1.

The Jade Falcons considered Trell such an important prize that Khan Crichell declined all bids for that planet and instead assigned three Clusters, led by the elite Jade Falcon Guards, to seize it. The Guards and the First and Fifth Falcon Striker Clusters attacked using standard Falcon tactics, following a simple, direct plan created by Star Colonel Adler Malthus of the Guards.

The Foxy Crocodiles suffered horrible losses in the first thirty minutes of the attack. The rugged terrain favored the defenders, but caused communication difficulties that left small pockets of soldiers to fight and die without relief. Company Bravo of First Battalion made one of the most heroic stands of the encounter, holding the Pirate Chasm Bridge on the raging Drebbin River for forty minutes against two Stars of Falcon Mechs and Elementals while Donegal combat engineers tried desperately to rig the bridge with explosives. They succeeded, but only a handful of the soldiers survived.

Leftenant General Hawksworth quickly realized that the invaders were not interested in seizing Pirates Paradise. They wanted his forces, specifically the commander of the Second Battalion od his Mech regiment, Victor Steiner-Davion. A recent graduate with honors from the Nagelring Military Academy, Prince Victor had no combat experience, and General Hawksworth must have shuddered at the implications of his death or capture by the Falcons. (Well, duh)

The future leader of the Federated Commonwealth began his career as a miltary commander by fighting a lost cause. His battalion was in position on the far side of the castle mountains in the Chrysall Pass, on schedule to meet the Red Brigade in an exercise. When the battalions outriders picked up unidentified hostile traces on their monitors, they assumed the Red Briagade had arrived to begin the exercise, and those scouts died for their assumption. They did manage to warn Kommandant Steiner-Davion, who put his battalion on full alert.

The onrushing elements of the Jade Falcon Guards seemed unstoppable. Their Mechs crashed into the battalions defensive positions, all but ignoring the "kill zones" of crossfire. What the Falcon Mechs did not immediately knock down or destroy, they left to the tender mercies of their Elemental Stars.

Kommandant Davion quickly ordered the remains of his command back through Chrysall Pass, hoping to reach Smugglers Valley, but that plan failed. They arrived at the pass to be strafed by Falcon fighters and attacked by a Binary of Falcon Mechs and Elementals. Kommandant Davion rallied his forces and retreated again, losing more of his troops in the process.

They moved toward Smugglers Mouth, intending to seek refuge in the immense network of caverns that honeycombs the Castle Mountains. As his forces rushed toward the Mouth, Kommandant Davion realized that the rest of the Jade Falcon Guards could easily intercept their flight to safety, and the Falcons from the Chrysall Pass had positioned on them from the rear.

History turned on this moment in the battle. The Princes capture would have devastated First Prince Hanse Davion and Archon Melissa Steiner, likely demoralizing the entire Federated Commonwealth. That nation looked upon the young Prince as the reality of the often tentative union between the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns. The Death or capture of Victor Steiner-Davion would deal the Federated Commonwealth a tremendous blow.

As the Prince and his command staff prepared to make a final stand, the Red Brigade came to the rescue. As part of the scheduled training exercise, the Brigade had taken up shielded positions and waited to ambush the Second Battalion. The Falcons failed to detect the Brigade unit as they passed, realized what was happening almost immediately and began a forced march in pursuit of the Falcons. His forces arrived just in time to attack the Falcon Guards rear echelon.

This rear assault forced the Jade Falcon Guards to turn and deal with the new threat, giving Kommandant Davion and what remained of his battalion the opportunity to slip into the maze of caverns. Only a handful of Mechs and soldiers from the Red Brigade made it into the caverns with the Prince.

The fight within the caverns deserves far more attention than I have space to describe it. The battalions survivors, under the daring leadership of the Prince, managed to escape into Smugglers Valley with few additional losses, leaving their pursuers behind in the caverns.

The sacrifice of the Red Brigade and the Princes escape slowed the Falcons attempt to encircle Smugglers Paradise. Leftenant General Hawksworth, his command of an entire RCT reduced to a handful of Mechs and a few regiments of lesser forces, used his one remaining advantage to send the Prince to safety: his aerospace fighters still controlled the sky directly above the valley.

As he watched the DropShip carry the unwilling Prince and his aide away from the planet, Leftenant General Hawksworth was heard to mumble, "There goes the last, best chance of the Federated Commonwealth. Hell give the hard road were about to walk down some meaning."

The remnants of the Donegal Guards, led by Hawksworth, and the surviving detachments of the Red Brigade abandoned Smugglers Valley by traveling back through Smugglers Maze. Many soldiers fled into the heavily forested areas in the valleys beyond, while others remained in the caverns beneath the mountain. These forces fought a long and desperate guerilla campaign that ended only when the last soldier was dead or captured, many months later.

First Wave Conclusions

Success, fellow warriors! And with it undreamed-of riches and wonders. We are truly blessed to have lived to see this day!

Comment by an anonymous Jade Falcon warrior
For Clan Jade Falcon, the first wave of the invasion produced unhoped for rewards. Each world they conquered yielded a unique bounty of natural resources that far surpassed the most avaricious dreams of Falcon merchants.

While the Falcon warriors appreciated the economic potential their conquests represented, most fell victim to a condition their scientists named "conquerors euphoria." For most, the euphoria manifested in an almost childlike gawking and reverence for what they had been destroying just hours before in pursuit of victory. The euphoria made others far from reverential, and they took gross liberties with the conquered people and property.

Conquerors euphoria so consumed the Jade Falcon warriors that most forgot the real difficulties of the conquest. The Inner Sphere defenders, from the frontline Mech regiments to the rear-echelon soldiers, fought with more skill and courage than any Clan expected. And their resistance continued past the destruction of the last Mech. The inhabitants of the occupied worlds simply ended one phase of defiance and began another. Militia unit commanders realized just how far the Falcons outmatched their forces in open combat and compensated with non-conventional actions. "If we cant push the damned invaders off our rock, well sure as hell make life damned miserable for the SOBs," neatly summed up the defenders new strategy. Federated Commonwealth militias abandoned organized resistance and melted into the untamed wilderness, leaving Falcon officers crowing in victory. Only a few, more thoughtful Falcon commanders were uneasy at this sudden capitulation.

The ilKhans call for an accurate exchange of information at the end of the first wave was forgotten. Balloon reports (flexible facts stretched around a lot of hot air) replaced battle reports, and in the end, on Clan Wolf and Clan Ghost Bear produced truthful accounts of their conquests.

Second Wave: The Falcon Strikes

Some say we should be more cautious in our advance, that the warriors of the Inner Sphere are valiant and dangerous opponents. But we are the Clans. We shall triumph in the name of the Star Laegue. Caution? Let us throw caution to the Wolves..

Star Admiral Adrian Malthus

Though the skills and determination of many Federated Commonwealth defenders shocked the Clan Jade Falcon Cluster commanders, Khans Timur Malthus and Elias Crichell, along with most of the Falcon high command, credited the Inner Spheres performance to luck.

Even so, the Falcons created a few contingency plans to cover emergencies. They formed the best freeborn Clusters into a rapid-deployment reserve force that would respond ruthlessly to continued resistance or guerilla activity on conquered worlds. They set up a system of convoys between the Inner Sphere and Clan space to ensure an uninterrupted flow of supplies and material (though far less extensive system than Clan Wolfs). Finally, the Emerald Talon Naval Assault Star waited in reserve to deliver the ultimate retaliation of planetary destruction if needed.

The second wave of the invasion began on schedule in May 3050. This time the Falcons targeted twelve worlds, more than the number Clans Wolf and Ghost Bear planned to assault, but fewer than what Clan Smoke Jaguar intended to conquer.

The minimal opposition Clan Jade Falcon met in the second wave of attacks put to rest its commanders fears of unexpected resistance. Most defending units in the second wave consisted of mixed militia troops or the remnants of units disrupted resistance by the first wave of the invasion. The Falcons encountered determined resistance only on the planet Apollo, former capital of the hated Rim Worlds Republic.


Only Kentares IV exceeds the world of Apollo in the annals of infamy: Apollo once served as the capital of the Rim Worlds Republic and the homeworld of House Amaris. Clan Jade Falcon eagerly anticipated taking this planet for the reborn Star League.

The Turkina Keshik and the Jade Falcon Galaxy, escorted by three Stars of aerospace fighters, landed on Apollo halfway through the planets monsoon season. The weather prevented the Jade Falcon OmniFighters from effectively supporting the ground forces. Both Falcon forces met with heavy resistance from the Apollo militia and the Second Grave Walkers, a mercenary unit of some repute. The Jade Falcon Galaxy made quick, initial progress, but the fierce resistance put up by the Second Grave Walkers was compounded by the bad weather.

Superior Clan technology and skills finally prevailed, and the Clans forced the defenders to retreat to two massive fortifications. These installations, built by Stefan Amaris shortly before the civil war he began by usurping First Lord Richard Cameron, were patterned on the Castles Brian in the Terran Hegemony. Several Stars of Elementals managed to take one fort by entering through a forgotten secret bolt hole they discovered on building plans stored in their pre-Exodus records. The other fortress proved more difficult to penetrate. The defenders repelled reapeated assaults; even aerospace fighter attacks failed to inflict much damage, blocked by the weather and the massive concrete emplacements protecting the forts weapons. Khans Malthus and Crichell saw their chances of success diminishing with each passing day, and Khan Malthus finally ordered the 305th Assault Cluster outfit their OmniMechs with Arrow-4 missile artillery units and reduce the fortress to rubble. The 305th Assault launched a series of massive missile strikes that split bunkers and pillboxes open like ripe fruit, silencing the forts big guns and opening access for the OmniMechs and Elementals to the underground of the fortress. The Khans ordered their forces to use homing missiles in the assault, and so civilian areas near the fort remained untouched. Two hours after the second fort surrendered, the rest of Apollos defenders also surrendered unconditionally.

Resistance during the second wave was light for the Falcons because Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner-Davion had reluctantly decided not to reinforce the defenses of those worlds under attack. Even though this decision pained them, they realized that sending men in force against the Clans before learning how to match their strength was no better than asking their soldiers to commit suicide. They held back their strongest units and waited for intelligence-gathering to determine the most effective method of resistance. Meanwhile, the government actively supported guerilla activity on many captured worlds.

Third Wave: Wings of Lightning

"If the rest of the Inner Sphere offers us only as much resistance as the defenders we have just faced, we will soon stand on the sacred ground of Terra."

--- Khan Elias Crichell

Logistical problems with its supply line back to Clan space allowed Clan Jade Falcon to target only five worlds in the third wave. Adding to their embarrassment was the fact that Clan Wolf managed to its supply line brilliantly, avoiding even the hint of a slowdown. Insurrections on several Falcon-conquered worlds forced the Jade Falcon Khans to bring Provisional Garrison Clusters forward from the Clan homeworlds. Though the Falcons hit their five worlds on schedule, meeting serious resistance only on Hot Springs, they had clearly lost their momentum, even when the planet Malibu surrendered after the initial engagement with Peregrine Galaxy.

Toward the end of the third wave, rumors claimed that Clan Steel Viper would take a more active role in the invasions next wave. Khans Malthus and Crichell dismissed this rumor publicly, but sources close to the Khans say they showed concern in private.

Hot Springs

Clan Jade Falcon targeted the world of Hot Springs, noted for the rich mineral water that had made it a well-known tourist attraction across the Inner Sphere. For a reason only recently made known, the founder of the Von Jankmon Bloodname was also born on that planet. Many members of that Bloodname held powerful positions in the Clan touman and convinced Khan Crichell to add Hot Springs to the invasion list. The green troops of Hot Springs TMM sent their entire aerospace company to oppose the Jade Falcon landing. This proved the militias undoing, as the Von Jankmon line historically produced almost as many fearsome fighter pilots as the Malthus line. The militia pilots managed to shoot down only one Jade Falcon fighter at the cost of their entire force. OmniMechs of Turkina Keshik advanced steadily from the spaceport, swatting aside the few conventional fighters and VTOLs that attempted to block their progress.

The militia made its stand at the planetary capital, choosing the only position that could give them an advantage: the Falcons were reluctant to launch an all-out attack, because their orders were to take the city with Minimum damage. Elementals formed the frontline force and made their way slowly through the streets, destroying tanks and pillboxes, routing the militia infantry, and eventually forcing the Hot Springs TMM Mech units from their prepared positions. The Jade Falcons allowed the militia to break out of the city, but stopped the defenders from reaching the worlds wilderness areas, where they could organize guerilla operations. The First Falcon Jaegers were in position to trap the militia as they escaped from the capital, and less than thirty minutes later, the last of the Hot Springs TMM fell to the overwhelming firepower of Clan Jade Falcon

Fourth Wave: The Falcon Falters

The fourth wave of the invasion called for Clan Jade Falcon to hit fifteen worlds. The Clan had solved its supply problem, and it seemed nothing would stop the Falcons from reaching Terra first. A rapid succession of disasters, however, managed to slow the Falcons down.

Initially, the Falcon attacks came off as scheduled, their troops mauling so many AFFC units so badly that they had to be disbanded. The Falcons first major setback came on the planet Twycross. The Falcon Guards, their departure from that world delayed by bad weather, discovered a Federated Commonwealth counterattack in progress. The Tenth Lyran Guards RCT, the Ninth Federated Commonwealth RCT, and both regiments of the Kell Hounds landed on Twycross and immediately came under pressure from the Falcon Guards and elements of the Jade Eyrie Cluster. The Clans advantage was short-lived, and ended when Kai Allard-Liao led the Falcon Guards into a trap. Most of the Falcon Guards died in the resulting devastation, including their commander, Star Colonel Adler Malthus; the few survivors managed to withdraw.

The battles aftermath devastated Clan Jade Falcon even further. When one Bloodright of a given Bloodname is disgraced, other Bloodrights of the same Bloodname usually suffer no repercussions. In this case, however, the shame of the defeat on Tycross affected the entire Malthus Bloodname. The lost honor did not significantly affect the codexes of the other Bloodnamed warriors, but rivals of the Malthus Bloodheritage created such a severe political backlash in the Clan council that Khan Timur Malthus was forced to resign. The same political maneuvering sent most of the Malthus Bloodnamed warriors back to Clan space with strict orders to avoid causing any further disgrace to their Clan. ( Of course, members of the Malthus Bloodheritage viewed this dismissal as nothing more than an opportunity for their rivals to garner more glory.) Khan Elias Crichell chose Vandervahn Chistu as junior Khan.

Soon after his resignation as Khan, rumors began circulating about the fate of Timur Malthus. Many Clansmen believe he died in an accident or took his own life. One unconfirmed report claims that he returned to Clan space aboard the Emerald Talon. Our latest information indicates that Timur Malthus and Star Admiral Adrian Malthus currently command a special force designed to counter potential aggression from Clan Steel Viper.

One final misfortune awaited Clan Jade Falcon. The Crusaders strongest spokesperson, ilKhan Leo Showers, died in a kamikaze attack by a Rasalhague pilot who flew her crippled fighter through the bridge of the Wolf Clan flagship Dire Wolf, where the leaders of all the Clans were gathered in a Grand Kurultai. The loss of their leader forced the Clans to withdraw their Bloodnamed frontline troops to the Clan homeworlds in order to elect a new ilKhan. Unfortunately for Clan Jade Falcon, the Clans elected Khan Ulric Kerensky, leader of their most hated enemy, as their new leader.

Year of Peace: The Falcon Rests

Following ilKhan Leo Showers death aboard the Dire Wolf, the Bloodnamed warriors in the frontline units returned to Strana Mechty to convene the Grand Council and elect a new ilKhan. But before the main business of the Council could begin, Khan Lincoln Osis of Clan Smoke Jaguar introduced a motion to strip Khan Ulric Kerensky of his rank, because he blamed Khan Ulric for Leo Showers death. Clans Jade Falcon, Ghost Bear, and Star Adder threw their support behind the motion, and Clans Wolf, Steel Viper, and Coyote opposed it. Clan Snow Raven, a mdoerate Warden Clan, remained neutral in the debate, withholding support from both sides for a purely political reason. Clan Steel Viper supported Khan Ulric, and though Clan Snow Raven may have felt the same way, the Vipers and Snow Ravens still nursed a bitter feud over a world Clan Snow Raven had lost to the Steel Vipers more than a century earlier.

The Wardens defeated the motion to unseat Khan Ulric, but the Crusaders struck an excellent reposte. Loremaster Conal Ward, one of Clan Wolfs most vocal Crusaders, nominated Khan Ulric Kerensky as ilKhan, and the Crusader Clans recognized their chance to teach Clan Wolf humility. The position of ilKhan made Ulric Kerensky the supreme war leader of all the Clans, but, as ilKhan, he would be bound by the decisions of the Grand Council. The Khans of the Crusader Clans were confident that their votes and political power were sufficient to carry the invasion agenda past all Warden resistance.

Battles took place in more than one arena while the Grand Council was in session. Clan Steel Viper challenged Clan Jade Falcon to a Trial of Possession for the genetic material of Khan Elias Crichell, to be held on the Jade Falcon world of Huntress. Khan Elias Crichell, considered semi-retired because of his age, handled the Trial bidding brilliantly. Khan Crichell bid three of the four Clusters of Omega Galaxy, which had been bid away for the invasion, versus the whole of Clan Steel Vipers Gamma Galaxy. Khan Crichell proved that he still possessed military genius as well as political savvy by leading Omega Galaxy into battle. The Vipers got off to a bad start when Alpha Fighter Trinary of Omega Galaxy savaged one of their aerospace Stars. As the Falcon OmniMechs and Elementals landed, the Fourth Viper Guards Cluster launched a furious counterattack, pinning the Jade Falcons only a short distance from their DropShips. Khan Crichell personally led the Omega Keshik in an orbital drop almost on top of the Steel Viper positions that trapped them between the Omega Keshik and the Fifth Falcons Assault Cluster, and proceeded to smash the Viper forces. The landing zone safely cleared, the Falcon Clusters swept up the remainder of the Viper forces, covering them with a constant bombardment until the Clan Steel Viper admitted defeat.

Shortly after Khan Crichell returned victorious from the Trial of Possession, the Grand Council voted to install Ulric Kerensky as ilKhan. IlKhan Kerenskys first act as Khan was to make Clans Steel Viper and Nova Cat full partners in the invasion, to be teamed with Clans Jade Falcon and Smoke Jaguar. In a show of "fairness" that further infuriated the Falcons and Jaguars, ilKhan Ulric and the Council decided that the Steel Vipers and Nova Cats had the right to bid against Clans Jade Falcon and Jaguar in Trials of Possession for invaded worlds that still held rebel activity. As Clan Jade Falcon had just fought a Trial of Possession for the Clan world of Hellgate against Clan Steel Viper, Khans Elias Crichell believed that the ilKhan added the Vipers and Nova Cats to the invasion mainly to slow Clans Jade Falcon and Smoke Jaguar by forcing them to bid for each planet, thus wasting valuable time. Only Clans Wolf and Ghost Bear benefited from this decision. The Jade Falcons felt that the Grand Council deliberately insulting them by assigning them to work with Clan Steel Viper.

Khans Crichell and Chistsu of Clan Jade Falcon used the hiatus from the invasion to re-form the Falcon Guards. The Khans needed a Falcon Guards Cluster in the Clan touman, but the dishonor Adler Malthus brought the Guards at Twycross now made that unit the least desirable assignment in the whole Clan. Khan Vandervahn Chitsu solved the problem by assigning command of the Cluster to Star Colonel Aidan Pryde, whose tainted history made him the perfect choice to lead a unit made up of the most troublesome warriors in the Clan, including some freebirths. Morale in the Falcon Guards hit an all-time low, and general opinion gave the once proud unit all the honor due a glorified PGC. Star Colonel Aidan Pryde surprised his many enemies on the Jade Falcon Council by whipping the Falcon Guards into shape, and the unit became even more feared than before Twycross.

The Jade Falcon Khans took advantage of the break in the invasion to make arrangements regarding other matters of concern. Aware that they would soon share their Inner Sphere conquests with Clan Steel Viper, Khan Crichell assigned the Emerald Talon Naval Assault Star to perform what amounted to patrol duty in Clan space. Attached two Galaxies, the combined units, known as "Turkinas Talons," provided a rapid-deployment force designed to counter any Viper aggression against wholly- or jointly Falcon-held worlds. Khan Crichell believed the two uncommitted frontline Galaxies would give the Falcons an edge in Trials of Possession against Clan Steel Viper. As an added precaution, he made friendly overtures of territory and genetic material to Khan Lynn McKenna of Clan Snow Raven. Prior to ilKhan Ulrics decision to include the Vipers as full partners in the invasion, Clan Snow Raven supported the Warden faction; afterward, the Khans of Snow Raven became more sympathetic to the Crusader cause. Khan Crichell saw and seized the opportunity to try to sway Clan Snow Raven to active status as a Crusader Clan. Their full support would increase the Crusaders power in the Grand Council and gain Clan Jade Falcon a powerful ally against Clan Steel Viper. As of this writing, we do not know how Khan Lynn McKenna replied to Clan Jade Falcons offer.

Fifth Wave: The Falcon and the Viper

When the Clans resumed hostilities against the Inner Sphere in November 3051, Clan Jade Falcon controlled several worlds jointly with Clan Steel Viper. The Steel Vipers bid against Jade Falcon for invasion rights in the fifth wave, and, as a result, Clan Jade Falcon ceded three worlds outright and fought Trials of Possession for the remaining four. The Jade Falcons won only two of these Trials, blaming their defeats on the fierce fighting and heavy casualties the Clan endured in the first year of the invasion, while the Viper Clusters were virtually untouched by the fatigue of fighting the Inner Sphere. The debacle at Twycross deprived the Jade Falcons of some of their best fighter pilots and Mechwarriors, making victory even more difficult to achieve. Clan Jade Falcon only attacked two of the seven worlds it originally targeted for the fifth wave, further fanning the flames for hatred for both Clan Steel Viper and ilKhan Ulric Kerensky.

Fifth Wave Conclusions

Of more immediate concern to the powers of the Inner Sphere than the Clans political infighting are persistent reports of Jade Falcon warriors adapting their techniques to match those of their Inner Sphere opponents. One confirmed report from Alyina describes two Jade Falcon Mechwarriors combining their fire against a BattleMech piloted by Victor Steiner-Davion. Unconfirmed reports relate similar occurences all along the front lines of the Jade Falcon invasion corridor. This news is distressing, as the Falcon behavior directly contradicts the Clan honor rule of on opponent per warrior. Their reluctance to concentrate fire has consistently proved to be the Clans greatest weakness; if Jade Falcon uses these tactics successfully and is not reprimanded by the Grand Council, other Clans may adapt their tactics in similar fashion, and the Inner Sphere would lose its best advantage.

Clan Snord

"Star Colonel Damon was an old fool for treating this freebirth bandit like a true warrior. If he had included my ship in his bid, the matter of "Clan Snord" would have ended that day."

--- Star Captain Christopher Folkner, commander of the Aegis Class cruiser Hawk-Eye

More than any other incident, one single event in the Inner Sphere invasion solidified the Jade Falcon disgust for anything not Clan: a Wolf freebirth warrior named Rhonda Snord announced the formation of Clan Snord. The Falcons hated their forced partnership with the Steel Vipers, but at least that Clan conducted itself according to Clan law. By calling her assortment of misfits and rejects a Clan, Clan Jade Falcon felt that Rhonda Snord insulted every Clansman since Nicholas Kerensky himself.

In August of 3051, Rhondas Irregulars made a deep raid into the Jade Falcon Occupation Zone to the planet Apollo, their goal to recover forgotten Star League data that could reveal the location of a legendary naval base located in the Dark Nebula. The Irregulars obtained the data, defeating a Star of the Dark Wing Cluster in the process, and jumped for the Dark Nebula. Star Colonel Damon of the Dark Wings discovered a crate of data the Irregulars had accidentally left behind, and used those fragments of information to reconstruct the location of the naval base. Star Colonel Damons Cluster boarded their DropShips, attached them to the Hawk-Eye, an Aegis Class cruiser, and jumped into the Dark nebula.

Arriving at the base, known as "Camelot Command," the Dark Wings landed on the huge asteroid station, and challenged the Irregulars to a Trial of Possession. Rhonda Snord bargained for the right of uncontested possession of the base if she won that battle, also claiming the Dark Wings and their DropShips as isorla. Star Colonel Damon accepted the conditions of Rhondas batchall, and the fight began.

The Irregulars carefully planned tactics and clever use of the terrain soon reduced the Dark Wing Cluster to shambles. A last, desperate attempt to destroy the bases main fusion reactor to avoid the shame of failure ended with Star Colonel Damons defeat at the hands of Rhonda Snord, who piloted a Highlander. The captain of the Hawk-Eye, angered because Clan law forbade him to intervene and blast the bandits off the base, jumped back to Apollo and informed Clan Jade Falcon via HPG transmission that the bandit caste now possessed a warship construction facility.

Khan Crichell knew that even with the Federated Commonwealths help, at lest fifteen years would pass before the base began constructing ships. The insult to Clan honor caused him more concern than the loss of the base, which would be the goal of Trials of Possession for years to come. And though the hated Steel Vipers could also bid in those trials, Khan Crichell believed that Clan Jade Falcon would have the final victory.

Battle of Tukayid

Remember those events that brought us these fifteen years of shame. But remember also those who fell to restore the glorious Star League. Above all, remember the blood legacy of Aidan Pryde, child of Kerensky; he made the final sacrifice so that his Clan could continue. For eternity shall we praise him; in fifteen years shall we avenge him.

--- The Remembrance, Passage 417, Verse 29, Lines 74-79

IlKhan Ulric Kerensky accepted ComStar's terms to fight a proxy battle for Terra on Tukayyid, but met some resistance when he presented the plan to the other Khans. Most of the Khans, however, were enthusiastic about what they felt sure would be an easy victory, and when the kurultai convened on the Dire Wolf to bid for Tukayyid, all the Clans bid fiercely. Khan Chistu and Khan Crichell won a good position on the assault schedule, and considered themselves well revenged against Clan Wolf for the ilKhan's many decisions humiliating Clan Jade Falcon. The Falcons were scheduled to assault the cities of Olalla and Humptulips.

The following excerpt is from Jade Falcon Galaxy Commander Mar Helmer's report on the battle for Tukayyid.

"My Khan, this is my report. Gamma, Delta, and Vau Galaxy DropShips entered the atmosphere of Tukayyid without incident and landed unopposed on the Prezno Plain. Star Colonel Aidan Pryde led the Falcon Guards to cover the right flank of our advance, the Second Falcon Jaegers of Delta Galaxy covered the left flank, and the First Falcon Jaegers and Twelfth Falcon Regulars attempted to seize Robyn's Crossing and Plough Bridge, the two vital spans crossing the Prezno River..."

The First Falcon Jaegers encountered a series of heavily fortified positions two kilometers out from Robyn's Crossing. Star Colonel Rard Hoyt sent his Cluster's faster 'Mechs out to enfilade the ComGuard's 403rd Division, while his heavy OmniMechs launched a direct attack on the enemy positions. The battle was long and fierce, but the 403rd held its positions, even in the face of fighter strafing and Arrow IV bombardment. The Falcons' first break came when a Star of Elementals managed to slip behind the ComGuard lines and attack the 403rd's HQ. This "headhunter" attack killed Precentor Robert Maigatter, commander of the 403rd, and destroyed vital supplies and communication equipment. The ComGuard troops broke, allowing the Jade Falcon galaxy to penetrate their lines and annihilate more than 70 percent of the 403rd Division. In a simultaneous attack, the 305th Assault Cluster, backed by the 124th Striker Cluster, smashed through the troops of the 214th Division guarding the approaches to Plough Bridge. The 214th broke and scattered under the heavy Jade Falcon fire.

Meanwhile, Star Colonel Senza Oriega began her assault on the Robyn's Crossing bridge approaches. The ComGuards 388th Division (the White Banshees) dropped back to pick up the remnants of the 403rd Division and occupy preset artillery and heavy concrete emplacements for tanks and infantry, and the Twelfth Falcon Regulars could make no headway against this determined defense. Star Colonel Aidan Pryde of the Falcon Guards broke the stalemate by leading several stars of jump-capable OmniMechs and Elementals on an unexpected flanking attack. The ComGuards, now under fire from multiple directions, fought hard, but to no avail. The Falcon Guards' Star Captain Joanna seemed to take particular pleasure in blasting ComGuard units out of their pillboxes and then ruthlessly destroying them. Twenty minutes after the tide of the battle turned, Clan Jade Falcon controlled Robyn's Crossing. With the 124th Striker Cluster and the 305th Assault Cluster in command of Plough Bridge, Clan Jade Falcon prepared to cross the Prezno River.

Khan Chistu awarded the honor of crossing first to Star Colonel Senza Oriega and the Twelfth Falcon Regulars, a decision the Falcon Guards protested, as it was their assault that allowed the Clan warriors to seize the bridge. Their protests had no effect. The Falcon Guard warriors knew that the Khan's decision added further shame to their unit's tainted history and reflected badly on their unorthodox commander, but there was no time for bidding or Trials of Refusal. Clans Wolf and Ghost Bear were already making rapid advances in their operational areas, and every Falcon warrior wanted to beat the Wolves. Star Colonel Senza Oriega, in her Executioner, led the Twelfth across the bridge. Just as she reached the center of the span, explosions ripped the bridge as hidden ComGuard demolition charges detonated. With a sickening screech of tearing metal, the bridge collapsed into the Prezno River, carrying two full Trinaries of the Twelfth Cluster with it and killing Senza Oriega, among others. Almost immediately, ComGuard fighters and artillery began to pound the Falcon positions, with 'Mechs and tanks from the 111th and 201st ComGuard Divisions taking up positions on the opposite side of the river.

The Fifth and Fourteenth Fighter Trinaries swept the ComGuard fighters from the sky and followed up with ground attacks against the 201st Division artillery positions and ground forces. Meanwhile, the Falcon Guards and Second Falcon Regulars used jump-capable OmniMechs to leap across a narrow part of the swift-moving Prezno, losing eleven 'Mechs and a Star of Elementals in the process. Once across, the units split up, the Falcon Guards moving to secure Robyn's Crossing and the Second Falcon Regulars taking Plough Bridge. The 111th and 201st Divisions fought a brave delaying action, but the damage suffered in the massed fighter attacks combined with the unexpected speed of the two-pronged Falcon attack forced them to retreat toward Olalla. When both sides of the wrecked bridges were secure; engineers brought construction equipment to build pontoon bridges and allow the bulk of the Clan forces to advance across the Prezno.

The Falcon Guards and Second Falcon Regulars, meanwhile, moved closer to Olalla. Weak resistance by the tanks and light 'Mechs of the 77th Division resulted only in ComGuard deaths. Star Colonels Aidan Pryde and Marthe Pryde led their troops into the outskirts of Olalla before realizing that the city did not match intelligence information gathered during the bidding for Tukayyid. Suspecting a trap, Star Colonel Aidan Pryde ordered his units back out of the fake city, but even as he gave the order, the survivors of the 111th and 201st Divisions, along with the main part of the 77th Division, charged from concealed positions and engaged the Falcon forces.

Alpha Trinary's Heavy Star bore the brunt of the fierce fighting, but the ComGuards lost many 'Mechs in the initial skirmish, the Crockett piloted by the commander of the Second Battalion of the ComGuard 201st Division being the first to fall when struck in the head by an ER PPC from Star Commander Jula Huddock's Executioner. The ComGuards retaliated by destroying a Mad Dog with a massed laser barrage, executing the pilot as he ejected. The remainder of Alpha Heavy, now surrounded and cut off from the rest of the Falcon guards, annihilated an entire company of ComGuard 'Mechs before being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of their opponents. Star Commander Huddock's Executioner fell last, toppling to the ground surrounded by the wreckage of ComGuard 'Mechs. Aerospace support allowed the Falcon Guards to break out of the ComGuard trap, in the process wiping out the last of the 201st and 77th Divisions in return for the ruthless executions of the brave warriors of Alpha Heavy.

The 89th and 94th Falcon Clusters and the First Falcon Velites crossed the pontoon bridges as soon as they were completed and joined the Falcon Guards and Second Falcon Regulars. The combined Clan force moved relentlessly though the city of Olalla, driving the ComGuards before them. Just as it seemed that the Falcons controlled the city, the entire uncommitted reserves of the ComGuard Third and Eleventh Armies, six divisions strong, arrived from Humptulips by DropShip. These fresh units immediately assaulted the Falcon advance forces while the ComGuard Fourth Army, reinforced by the remnants of the 388th and 214th Divisions, began an all-out attack on the Falcon bridgeheads. Khan Chistu committed Peregrine Galaxy to support Robyn's Crossing, and Gyrfalcon Galaxy to Plough Bridge, leaving no reinforcements available for Star Colonel Aidan Pryde. With the bulk of the Jade Falcon forces pinned down at the bridges, a second DropShip assault, bringing the forces of the First ComGuard Army led by Precentor Katherine Luarca, began on Olalla. A lucky air strike by ComGuard fighters destroyed the Jade Falcon Galaxy's ammunition depot at Robyn's Crossing, and later analysis showed this to be the turning point of the campaign. The 89th and 94th Falcon Striker Clusters and the Second Falcon Regulars had begun to run low on ammunition, The Falcon Guards barely noticed the loss, as Star Colonel Pryde had outfitted most of the Guard 'Mechs with energy weapons. Khans Crichell and Chistu realized even if they defeated the current assault, their troops carried insufficient ammunition and supplies to take both their objectives. They reluctantly ordered a withdrawal.

Supported by the Fifth Fighter Trinary, the Falcon Guards, Second and Seventh Regulars, and First Falcon Velites began to withdraw towards the bridgeheads. Clan orbital surveillance vessels showed the ComGuard 309th Division in position to cut off the Falcon retreat, and Star Colonel Marthe Pryde moved her Second Falcon Regulars in an intercept course. This battle ranks among the bloodiest on Tukayyid, exceeded only by the ComGuard Seventh Army's annihilation of Clan Nova Cat's Alpha Galaxy. The Second Falcon Regulars suffered nearly 70 percent casualties, but obliterated the 309th Division so completely that it never re-formed. Marthe Pryde alone destroyed nine ComGuard 'Mechs, including the Atlas piloted by Precentor Rennard Thordarson, commander of the 309th. The four withdrawing Jade Falcon Clusters crossed the bridge at Robyn's Crossing, smashing through the ComGuard 90th Division to reach their DropShips, which landed at the Falcon's original LZ. The ComGuards managed to land two Overlord Class DropShips carrying the 104th Division behind Jade Falcon lines, with orders to stop the Falcons from leaving Tukayyid. This operation was timed to coincide with an all-out rear assault on the retreating Falcons. The ComGuards' plan to crush the Jade Falcon between the two forces failed when a Trinary of Jade Falcon Elementals led by Elemental Star Commander Selima attacked the ComGuard landing zone before the Overlords deployed their 'Mechs. Star Commander Selima damaged a ComGuard Highlander in such a way that it fell back into the 'Mech bay of the DropShip and exploded, causing a chain reaction of blasts which reduced the massive ship to a blazing ruin. The Elementals withdrew before the forces in the second DropShip could recover from the shock of this loss, and the Elemental counterstrike, in addition to fighter strafing and massive Arrow-IV missile attacks, allowed most of the Jade Falcons to safely board their DropShips and leave the planet. Star Colonel Aidan Pryde almost single-handedly foiled the final, desperate attempt by ComStar to interdict the evacuation by destroying more than a company of ComGuard 'Mechs before he himself was killed.

Old Mechbay
Initiated 2002 CGS Warhawk Elam

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