The Talon was a covert arm for military campaigns created by Dancer, so named because of the demon's talons gripping the globe in the sigil of the empire.[1] The Talon and the Claw initially had different assignments, the Talon performed external covert military operations, while the Claw was created for assassinations within the Malazan Empire itself, eliminating threats from the inside.[2]

They also wore a talon, or kept one with their possessions, such as the one that Cotillion found in Hawl's possession, which was a yellow stained talon.[3]

The Talon differed from the Claw in that when they moved as a hand, they moved at seven paces apart, two more than the Claw.[4]

In House of Chains Edit

A number of different individuals attempted to track down a supposed new "Master of the Talon", including Cutter, Apsalar and Lostara Yil, who were each tasked by Cotillion.[5][6] Lostara and Pearl were also having a brush with the Talon as a result of their investigation into Felisin Paran's disappearance from the Otataral mines.[7] Korbolo Dom claimed the title of "Master of the Talon", with Kalam recognising the difference in their formation to that of a Claw hand, though Cotillion (Dancer) had no input in this new group of Talons[8] Korbolo was captured and had his Talon organisation destroyed by Kalam and Quick Ben.[9]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Talon.

In The Crippled God Edit

Tavore quietly showed Lostara Yil that she was a Talon.[10]

"Reaching inside, she drew out a necklace — a simple leather string and an eagle’s talon of brass or gold.
Then she turned to the captain. ‘Would you tie this for me, please?’
She looked up, met Tavore’s eyes.
The Adjunct sighed. ‘I am a child of the Emperor — what more is there for you to understand, Lostara Yil?’
―Tavore revealing her allegiance[src]
Significant plot details end here.


The Talons were responsible for the destruction of the Cult of the Nameless Ones within the Empire, the sort of job that fell under their jurisdiction.[11]

When Surly assassinated Emperor Kellanved and Dancer, she tasked the Claw with the elimination of the Talon, who were presumed loyal to Dancer.[12] The betrayal began subtly as a string of disastrous botched missions, but broke into open war when the Claw's objective was revealed by its own carelessness.[13] The Talon were thought to have been entirely wiped out,[14][15] but occasional survivors kept appearing from time to time, disproving this assumption (see book sections above and the section on Notable Members below for reference). Baudin claimed most original Talon were now "either old or drooling or both." Newer members of the Talon were often descendants of previous members, who were passed down the secret knowledge of what actually happened the night of Kellanved and Dancer's murders.[16]

Notable members Edit

Notes and referencesEdit

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