Paladin is assaulted in his room at the Hotel Carlton. In a furious fight, he beats down his attacker, Roderick Jefferson. The young man, it turns out, had gambling debts he couldn't repay;...
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Paladin is assaulted in his room at the Hotel Carlton. In a furious fight, he beats down his attacker, Roderick Jefferson. The young man, it turns out, had gambling debts he couldn't repay; the holder of his gambling IOUs wanted Jefferson to kill Paladin. This spurs Paladin to tell Jefferson of a similar occurrence -- involving himself 10 years earlier. As that story unfolds, we learn that Paladin (whose real name we're never told) owed $15,000 to Norge. Paladin's only way out was to go to a valley, entirely owned by Norge, to challenge the mysterious Smoke to a duel. Smoke, a dying gunman, had been nursed to health by the residents of Norge's valley. Paladin is to challenge Smoke to a duel. Smoke's dress is familiar: all black with a symbol of a knight's chess piece on the holster. In short, we're told how Paladin became Paladin. Written by
The title comes from the first book of the Bible, which describes the creation of the earth, or it can apply to the beginning of any process or system. See more »
Mr. Jefferson, if men have a common factor, it seems to me it's their ability to err. If a man's mistakes determine what he was, then what he does about those mistakes should determine what he is.
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While the French word paladin was used specifically from the late 1500s onward to indicate "one of the 12 knights in attendance on Charlemagne", its meaning eventually grew to include any chivalrous or heroic person, and may still be used today to designate an advocate for a worthy cause. (It is only in a different episode that we are told the true significance of the ubiquitous Chess Knight, representing the only piece on the board capable of moving eight different ways and jumping over obstacles.)
This account of how "Paladin" acquires both his name and his famous trademark, privately related to a "young man gone wrong" as a cautionary tale, is fascinating and even moving. Key here is the deep remorse shown by the subject of the original story once he has completed his grim "assignment" -- the only thing that makes his determination to carry on a very curious legacy plausible.
We never learn how or where our "Paladin" finally meets his fate, but I rather like to think it will mirror (pun intended) more or less the way he arrived on the scene -- mentoring the young man who eventually will claim for himself the mantle of "Dragonslayer"!
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