Talanah's family has traditionally had members in the Carja Hunters Lodge, including her brother and father who were both Hawks. At one point, her father Talavad was Sunhawk of the Lodge.
When Sun-King Jiran instituted the Red Raids and human sacrifices in the Sun-Ring, many Hawks, including Talavad and her brother Brativin, vigorously voiced opposition. Jiran reacted by having all of these Hawks, including Talavad and Brativin, thrown into the Sun-Ring. However they did not die easily under the feet of the machines loosed upon them. Being very experienced hunters, they survived every wave of machines, until two Behemoths were consecutively let loose, finally killing them. Even so, the Hawks managed to kill them both before they were all overcome. Moreover, they protected the spectators that had gathered to cheer their deaths, killing the Behemoths when they broke through into the crowd.
Suspecting that Jiran would also target Talanah, Talavad saved her life by telling her to go outside Meridian and wait for him, pretending that they were leaving the city. Talanah did so, waiting for hours while Talavad and Brativin fought and met their ends in the Sun Ring. Eventually a messenger arrived and gave her an urgent message from Talavad to leave Meridian immediately, which she did.
Presumably Talanah did not return to Meridian until after Avad’s Liberation. Only upon her return was she told the tale of what had happened. Meanwhile, in her absence, Hawk Ahsis had become Sunhawk. Ahsis was a product of Carja culture as it was before the reforms introduced by Avad, the new Sun-King; a culture of disdain toward non-Carja and a strong patriarchy. He ran the Lodge accordingly. When Avad ordered the Lodge to change its rules to allow non-Carja and women to join, Ahsis was disgusted. Thus when Talanah herself joined the Lodge, sponsored by Hawk Tarkas, a close friend of her father, she met a strongly scornful reaction from Ahsis. His attitude caused her to view him with equal contempt. But when she discovered that he had forbidden all mention of the sacrifice made by her father and the other Hawks, this contempt morphed into loathing. She resolved to supplant him as Sunhawk, and formulated a plan by which she would do so.
Talanah’s plan utilized the Bylaws of the Lodge. The Lodge’s rule regarding the selection of a Sunhawk is simple: the Hawk who kills the deadliest machine becomes Sunhawk. Ahsis became Sunhawk by virtue of being the first Hawk to kill a Thunderjaw, inarguably the deadliest machine at that time. To supplant him, Talanah had to top this achievement. The only way to do this was to kill one specific Thunderjaw that was considered by the entire Lodge to be the deadliest machine in the Lodge’s history: a Thunderjaw dubbed Redmaw. This Thunderjaw was legendary in its ferocity and the number of Hawks it had killed. Talanah’s sponsor, Hawk Tarkas, had himself been killed by it when he went after it himself without waiting for Talanah to accompany and assist him, or so Talanah believed. Talanah intended to kill Redmaw and thus supplant Ahsis. However Ahsis, aware of Talanah’s intention, was not above using any means necessary to prevent it.
The Nora huntress Aloy, upon fulfilling the requirement of earning three Half-Suns at one of the Lodge’s five Hunting Grounds, visited the Lodge during her time in Meridian, seeking to join. Since the Nora were viewed by Carja such as Ahsis as savages, he treated her with even more contempt than he treated other non-Carja, scornfully suggesting that she seek Talanah as a sponsor for membership. Talanah, sensing a kindred spirit in Aloy, gave her a series of tests in order to evaluate Aloy’s worthiness of her sponsorship. First, she instructed Aloy to bring in trophies from three Sawtooths, two Ravagers and a Stalker and present the trophies to Ahsis. Aloy did so, with Ahsis grudgingly accepting them. Talanah then had Aloy meet her to respond to a petition from a Carja villager named Ilsadi. The petition involved freeing Ilsadi’s home, the settlement Lone Light, from incessant attacks by Glinthawks. Talanah went to Lone Light with Ilsadi and, when Aloy arrived, both fought alongside the Carja guard stationed in the area to kill the Glinthawks. Talanah then instructed Aloy to find and neutralize the source of the Glinthawk attacks, which Aloy did.
Impressed with Aloy’s skill, Talanah instructed her to meet her back at the Lodge when she returned. Upon Aloy’s return, Talanah accompanied her before Ahsis, and formally declared her sponsorship of Aloy for membership. Ahsis was disgusted. But he had no choice, as by Sun-King Avad’s edict, he could not refuse, and Aloy had met the membership requirement of securing a sponsor. He therefore grudgingly assigned her to Talanah as her Thrush. The two had subsequent conversations about their lives, Ahsis, and Talanah’s reasons for wanting to supplant him. On Talanah’s advice, Aloy spoke to Ligan, a retired Hawk, for further information. It was in this conversation with Ligan that Aloy learned crucial information unknown to Talanah about the death of Talanah’s sponsor, Hawk Tarkas.
Talanah next instructed Aloy to elevate her reputation in the Lodge by bringing in a trophy from a Stormbird and a Thunderjaw. However while Aloy was away, word came of Redmaw’s location. Unable to wait for Aloy’s return for fear of Ahsis getting to Redmaw first, she went after it, leaving word for Aloy. On her way through The Jewel to Redmaw’s reported location, Talanah was pinned down by mercenaries, who were paid by Ahsis to kill her. But Aloy, having hurried after her, located her and came to her aid, killing the mercenaries. Correctly deducing that Ahsis had attempted to have her murdered, she hurried to Redmaw’s location with Aloy. She lost the trail, but Aloy used her Focus-enhanced tracking skills to re-acquire it. As they followed it, Aloy informed her about what she had learned about Tarkas’ death. Talanah had believed that Tarkas had gone after Redmaw without waiting for her out of pride. The truth was that he had left word with Ahsis to give to Talanah that she would follow. However, Ahsis had deliberately neglected to do so, and thus Tarkas faced Redmaw alone and was killed. This revelation did not surprise her, but it did increase her loathing of Ahsis, and further steeled her already unshakable resolve to supplant him.
The two women finally arrived at a clearing where they found Ahsis engaging Redmaw. At first, Ahsis held his own, but then he was caught by a deadly swipe from the machine’s tail. Despite their contempt and loathing for him, they could not help but cringe as they watched. However, this was their chance. They both immediately engaged the Thunderjaw, and succeeded in killing it. They then found the mortally wounded Ahsis lying nearby. Unrepentant to the last, he delivered a few last petty insults to them before expiring.
Deeply grateful to Aloy, Talanah returned to the Lodge with the trophy from Redmaw, and became Sunhawk. Her first act was to have a memorial set up to honor the sacrifice by her father and the other Hawks. When Aloy arrived, she again conveyed her heartfelt gratitude. After Aloy took leave of her, she set about ensuring that the patriarchal, bigoted policy that had been adhered to by Ahsis was firmly relegated to history. She herself also became part of the history of both the Lodge and the Carja, as the Lodge’s first female Sunhawk.
The Battle for Meridian
When she got word of the impending attack by the Eclipse against Meridian and the alliance of tribes that Aloy had forged in defense of the city, Talanah immediately joined the effort. Meeting Aloy on the path up to the Alight, she told Aloy that she would fight alongside her not only because of her gratitude to her, but because it was her duty to do so as her Hawk. In the final engagement in the Alight’s courtyard, she indeed fought alongside Aloy and the other defenders present, in an ultimately successful battle.
While she is friendly to strangers, Talanah is not gregarious; rather, she has a calm, friendly personality. She maintains this calmness under pressure, an attribute necessary for a hunter. She is an experienced and skilled hunter, though not as much as Aloy. She does not outwardly show anger, instead choosing to decisively act upon a situation rather than show anger about it. Above all, she has an unshakable sense of right and wrong, and is a firm believer in skill and nothing else determining one’s level of advancement and status as a hunter. In this, she is not unlike the Banuk.
- If Redmaw (side quest) is completed, Talanah will join Aloy during the final battle, taking the place of Sona.
- Talanah's outfit serves as the basis for the Carja Blazon Master outfit.
- While not confirmed, Talanah is believed to be the first female member of the Lodge.
- For a time after killing Redmaw, Talanah will remain in Aloy’s vicinity if Aloy heads in the direction of Meridian. If Aloy engages any machines on the way, Talanah will assist her.