Paladin is hired to escort a Rani and her party across 150 miles of desert to a safe haven.The Rani is from a country fighting a civil war and she is to be the new leader if her side is ...
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Paladin is hired to escort a Rani and her party across 150 miles of desert to a safe haven.The Rani is from a country fighting a civil war and she is to be the new leader if her side is victorious.On the journey it is noticed that they are being followed and treachery from within may be the cause of more worry. Written by
East is East and West is West, and despite Rudyard Kipling's observations, the two intersect in this curious episode.
Travelling by night to avoid 110 degree heat Paladin finds himself guiding a "train" of two waggons containing an opulently-dressed Indian Ranee and her entourage across 150 miles of open desert so she may take refuge in a community of supporters while civil war ravages her distant State. (Paladin still bears a grudge against the late Rajah but the appearance of an exotic beauty delivered Cleopatra-style in a rolled carpet, bearing a gem the size of a Persian walnut, convinced him to let bygones be bygones.)
Paladin's gun is insurance against any attempts on the Ranee's life, as enemies of the royal family are everywhere and are determined to wipe it out.The trek's in trouble from the outset; water reserves are mysteriously drained and the Ranee's burly lieutenant (a man who picks up live coals with his bare hands) reports that a dark-skinned fellow is trailing them. At least Paladin gets solaced (spiritually and otherwise) by the lady who arrived in the rug.
The waggons are attacked, Paladin gets off a tricky shot, and the attacker, along with two members of the entourage, are dead -- one of the that pair clearly a traitor. Paladin makes a very rare miscalculation here, and a woman proves herself much cleverer than he was!
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