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Calendar >  Paladin- Thomas Calabrese

Paladin- Thomas Calabrese

By   /  April 14, 2024  /  6 Comments

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The Divine Spellcaster

Thomas Calabrese – The Twelve Peers were Charlemagne’s Paladins or knights. They included Roland, Olivier, Gerin, Gerier, Berengier, Oton, Samson, Engelier, Ivon, Ivoire, Anseis and Gerard. They were the corps d’elite and Roland was the leader and the best of them all, as well as the king’s nephew. Each Paladin was a formidable warrior and the virtues of courage, honor and compassion were paramount to them. They lived by a strict code called the Tenets of Conduct.  First there was charity, give when you can to those who are at a loss, and personal wealth is to be used to bless others too, not just yourself. Forgiveness, show compassion to those who are repentant of their misdeeds and try to convince wrong-doers of the evil of their ways. Self-Control, be slow to anger, don’t act rashly and be strong when confronted with temptations. Mercy, when possible, spare the life of those you defeat in combat, however, if keeping them alive would bring greater risk to the world, kill them quickly.

A Paladin masters the qualities of respect and tenacity and is also a divine spellcaster who works within the Weave. The Weave works to protect the world from the dangers of unrefined magic while giving the ability to cast spells to magic users. A Paladin doesn’t memorize spells, he just pulls them out of the Weave when he needs them. Clerics, druids, rangers and the evil blackguards also have access to the Weave and sometimes engaged in battle with the Paladins, whom they considered to be their archenemies.

When children of Paladin warriors reached the age of seven, they were placed in an intense educational and fitness program designed to mold them into skilled warriors and moral citizens. Boys and girls were exposed to the same rigorous regimen, but when they became young adults and the strength difference between the sexes becomes evident, chivalry was nurtured in the male Paladins. The girls were told to never ask for mercy, sympathy or compassion, it was up to the boys to see when it was warranted then give it without hesitation. Those who did not have the empathy to behave honorably were dismissed from the program and were assigned other duties.

Paladin girls compensated for the biological strength differences between them and the boys by strengthening their mental acuity, intellectual capabilities and leadership skills. Over the centuries the Paladin Empire expanded its influence from Europe to the entire world and women routinely attained the highest level of authority. The Paladin Empire was the ultimate meritocracy, the best person for the job, regardless.

There were twelve families in the Paladin Empire and all were direct descendants from the original twelve peers. Each family was authorized two representatives at the Supreme Table while the 25th member was voted on by all representatives. Millenia Paladino was the direct descendant of Roland and the current Chief Executive Officer of the Paladin Empire. Her husband was a Paladin warrior and was killed in battle with the blackguards in the South Pacific.  Her two older children, daughter Athena and son Charles were Supreme Table representatives and her youngest son, Roland, ‘Rollie’ was a member of the corps d’elite. These were the men who went into harm’s way to fight the evil forces.

Rollie had the core values of a true Paladin, but with those gifts came an adventurous and competitive spirit that burned inside his heart and could only be quenched by the variety of activities that continuously pushed him to the brink of his own demise. His mother told him, “Your greatest gift is also your greatest weakness, but that is who you are, my son. Don’t deny it, embrace and deal with it. There will come a time however, when you will face a reckoning of conscience.”

            “Just like you’ve always told me, do your best and leave the rest to God,” Rollie flashed a big boyish smile and embraced his mother.

Rollie was 28 years-old with matinee good looks and unrivaled athletic ability that perfectly fit with the image of a young Paladin warrior, but he lacked the experience of the other Paladin warriors. His family sponsored his Formula One car racing and airplane racing teams and his brother Charles who was a mechanical genius was in charge of both teams. His sister Athena was highly skilled in economics and finance and handled the family massive investment portfolio. Millenia’s extensive connections to heads of state and powerful players in the world was invaluable to the success of the Paladino family.

The Paladino family lived on a seven hundred acre estate on the island of Crete. It is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. Crete rests about 160 km south of the Greek mainland, and about 100 km southwest of Anatolia. The family employed one thousand locals and there was a small racetrack and airfield on the property. Charles had a large machine shop and a staff of mechanics that he supervised in the maintenance of the vehicles and airplanes. Rollie knew that that any car or plane that he was in would be operating at maximum efficiency due to his brother’s expertise.

Charles personally rebuilt and modified the vertical landing Harrier jet for his brother. The changes included a much more powerful and energy efficient engine that made it possible for the the plane to fly longer, higher and go further distances in a shorter amount of time. This type of aircraft allowed Rollie to respond to any problem in the world without worrying about finding an airfield to land. He had just won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Dubai and returned to Crete with his brother to do some testing of a new suspension system. The two men were in the garage area when they received a call from their mother over the intercom, “I need to see both of you in my office immediately.”

            “The blackguards are in Nigeria, they’ve killed a large number of the villagers and have taken over an area rich with lithium,” Millenia said.

            “Do we know who?” Charles asked.

Millenia replied, “Xander Quill.”

Charles protested, “He’s the most dangerous of the all the blackguards. Rollie isn’t ready for him yet.”

            “Well Rollie, are you ready or not? Be honest, if you can’t do it, I’ll notify the other families that we’re standing down.” Millenia stated matter of factly.

            “I don’t know if I’m up to the task, but I would like to try.”

            “If you want to be the best, you’re going to have to face and beat the best,” Millenia said, “Get your gear ready, I want you airborne in 30 minutes.”

            “Yes Ma’am,” Rollie said and was gone in a split second.

Charlie turned to his mother to protest, but she interrupted, “Go do your job and let your brother do his.”

            “Yes Ma’am,” Charlie left the room.

Once Rollie was airborne, Charlie called him on the radio, “I’ve programmed the coordinates into your navigation system, you might as well relax. I’ll let you know when you’re close.”

            “How far?” Rollie asked.

            “A little over 2,000 miles, you’ve got a little tailwind, I’m estimating 2 hours and 3 minutes,” Charlie said.

            “Roger that,” Rollie said and closed his eyes.

The harrier jet landed outside Lagos, Nigeria. Rollie got out and opened a compartment and took out an assault rifle, a dozen magazines and a large sword with a golden handle. It was Charlemagne’s sword and possessed magical powers. Rollie pressed a button on a remote that he had in his pocket and an invisibility cloak covered the aircraft. He looked at his phone screen and it gave him the direction that he needed to go.

Xander Quill and his legion of evil warriors had some villagers lined up and were about to execute them, but first, Xander wanted to give an exhibition of his power to instill fear in the other villagers. He boasted “You cannot defeat me! Bend to my will or die!” He levitated a truck with a motion of his left hand and crashed it into a building then raised his right hand to the sky and a torrential downpour washed several villagers away. Xander ordered, “Kill them.”

Rollie stepped into view with his assault rifle before they could fire. Xander smiled maliciously and commented, “Rollie Paladino…the up and coming star of the Paladins. Welcome to my world, this must be my lucky day.”

Xander Quill was fearsome looking, hybrid monster and man. He stood six foot eleven inches tall and weighed 400 pounds and all of it was hardened muscle. His eyes burned with hate and his soul was pure evil.  When Xander saw Rollie’s sword, he sneered, “That looks like Charlemagne’s sword.” and pulled out a large blade that was three times the length and width and when he waved it through the air, it made an eerie and frightening sound. Xander moved forward and commented, “You’re about ready to meet your father… make sure to give him my regards.”

When their swords clashed, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed. Rollie was knocked backward five feet by Xander’s mighty swing.  It was obvious that the young Paladin was no match for his powerful adversary, Xander kicked Rollie so hard that he was propelled backwards and slammed against a tree. Rollie struggled to get to his feet as Xander taunted him with insults, “You’re weak and a disgrace to the Paladins,” then picked Rollie up and threw him against the side of truck causing a big dent in the door. “Enough of this, I’m bored, I expected more of a fight from you.” Xander raised his sword to cut Rollie’s head off, but at that moment, five other Paladins arrived. They reached into the Weave and pulled out a spell that placed a protective shield around Rollie that Xander’s sword could not penetrate.

Part of the code of the Paladins was to fight fair. Since they outnumbered Xander Quill five to one, they could not attack him. Now, on the other hand if he was to attack them, they could kill him. Xander was not stupid, he knew that he was no match for five Paladins so he smiled and said, “I’m going to be on my way” and spit at Rollie, “It’s a good thing that your fellow Paladins were around to save you,” Xander disappeared into a cloud of smoke.

One of the older Paladins inquired, “You alright?”

            “I’m alive, but I’m not alright,” Rollie responded as he spit out a mouthful of blood.

A week later, Rollie was recovering quickly from his physical injuries at the family compound on Crete, but it was his ego and self-confidence that would take some time to heal. He went to his mother and made a request, “I’d like to speak to the Supreme Table.”

            “If that is what you want, I’ll set it up,” Millenia replied.

When the Supreme Table met at San Marino, a microstate and enclave within Italy on the northeastern side of Apennine Mountains, Rollie humbly addressed the other Paladin representatives. “I deeply apologize for my failure with Xander Quill and my frailties were glaringly evident. I disgraced the Paladin legacy and the fact that I am still alive means that God has a plan for me I hereby pledge before the Supreme Table to re-dedicate myself to the noble mission of the Paladin legacy.”

When he got back to Crete, Rollie and his family developed the hardest and most difficult training regimen that ever existed. It was meant to strengthen Rollie’s physical, mental and magical capabilities. The young Paladin learned how to lower his heart rate into the single digits and withstand the most excruciating pain without wavering in his assigned task. Where he truly excelled was at accessing spells from the Weave.

Millenia and Charles were watching Rollie smash rocks with his hands and lift logs over his head and tosses them into a pile. Milennia exhibited a reasonable amount of maternal concern, “He’s getting stronger and faster every day, but is he good enough to defeat Xander Quill?”

Charles hesitated, “I wish I could give a definitive answer. I do know one thing for sure…”

            “What’s that?”

            “Rollie is willing to die to find out.”

The world was in turmoil, there was a war in Eastern Europe and battles raged throughout the Middle East. The Southern Border of the United States was not secured and criminals and terrorists were entering America in unprecedented numbers. Iran was threatening retaliation against Israel and the United States and the FBI Director testified before Congress that he had never seen the threat level so high., “It is not a matter of if…it is a matter of when. We expect them to hit multiple high value targets in the United States including military bases.”

Thousands of military age males from China and the Middle East were already on American soil and waiting for orders to attack their assigned targets. The Blackguards were working with the llluminati and the Cabal to plunge the United States into chaos. Xander Quill’s assigned target was Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. He was currently staying outside Tijuana with his legion of evildoers and was making final preparation for the assault.

 One of the Paladin families living in Loreto, Mexico received Intel from one of their many sources that Xander Quill was in the Tijuana area. That information was quickly dispersed to the other families and as soon as Rollie got it, he prepared to leave.

“Remember that righteousness is on your side,” Millenia kissed her son.

Rollie took off in his jet and set course for California. While in-flight he received information from his brother Charles, “All Paladins warriors are headed to various locations in America. Attack is imminent.”

            “Keep me apprised of any new developments,” Rollie said.

Xander Quill and his 1000 armed mercenaries boarded transport planes and took off from a secret airfield in Mexico. It was a short flight for the six aircraft as they flew north, staying three miles off the Southern California coastline. When they got even with Camp Pendleton the planes turned inland and spread out. The men parachuted out over their designated areas while Xander Quill and his team focused on the command center of the base. No sooner did the invaders land that the Marines on base engaged them.

Since most of the leathernecks on base don’t walk around with loaded weapons, they were at a distinct disadvantage and many were quickly killed on wounded. Some Marines ran to the nearest armories to get rifles and ammunition while the Military Police did their best to defend the base.

By the time, Rollie reached the coastline, he could see smoke rising from over a dozen locations on base. He radioed to his brother, “I’m at Camp Pendleton, any idea where Quill is?”

            “My best guess is the Command Center. You can land at the parade field, its right across the street,” Charlie said.

Rollie could see the invaders shooting everybody in sight as he touched down. He took out his magical sword and accessed the Weave to get a spell. While running toward the Command Center, his sword sent bolts of lightning toward the armed invaders disintegrating them instantly.

Upon entering the Command Center, Rollie heard yells and gunfire on the second floor. He leaped up the steps five at a time, killing men as he went. He recognized the satanic laugh of Quill coming from down the hallway and ran toward it. He kicked open the door and saw Quill holding two Marine officers by their necks and dangling them off the floor as they struggled to breath. Rollie kicked Xander so hard in the back that he fell to his knees and his grip loosened.  The Marines gulped mouthfuls air as Rollie landed a powerful punch that knocked the evil blackguard on his back.

Xander rose to his feet and glared at Rollie, “You’ll die for that!”

            “Talk is cheap…let’s settle this once and all. Outside, you big tub of rotting garbage!”

Both warriors jumped out the second floor window, landed on the ground and walked over to the large grassy field and faced off. They tested each other’s magical powers by throwing fireballs at one another, but they were both too strong to be affected. Quill dropped his sword on the ground, “Let’s do this the old fashion way.” 

Rollie did the same and they charged at one another. Rollie landed three powerful and strategic blows that rocked Xander to his core who grimaced, “You’ve been practicing.”

            “A little,” Rollie replied.

They engaged again and Rollie went down from a powerful blow as Xander stood over him and taunted, “How does that feel?”

            “Not bad… but is that all you’ve got.”

Xander rushed forward and hit Rollie so hard that he flew backward ten feet. Rollie did a somersault and came to his feet, “That’s a little better, but not much. Now it’s my turn.”

Rollie walked forward, ducked under a punch and repeatedly hit the huge hunk of evil with powerful blows from both his hands and did not stop until Xander’s face was nothing but a bloody pulp. It was time to implement the Paladin version idea of mercy, which was to spare the life of those you defeat in combat unless keeping them alive would bring greater risk to the world, then kill them quickly.  Rollie walked over to where his magical sword was setting, picked it up and decapitated Xander. Both the head and body ignited into flames and quickly burned out.  The ashes floated away in the breeze.

The head of the snake was killed, but there was still work to do on Camp Pendleton. With brave Marines fighting by his side, Rollie Paladino lived up to the tradition of his ancestry. By the time he reached his airplane seven hours later, Camp Pendleton was back under the control of the Marines and the intruders had been vanquished. Just before climbing into the cockpit of his jet and bidding farewell to his fellow warriors, he waved his sword and pulled a spell from the Weave.  Rain fell through the bright sunshine and as Rollie took off and a double rainbow appeared above him. He radioed home, “Mission accomplished, homeward bound.”

            “Good job, little brother, I’ll send you the coordinates for your mid-air refueling,” Charlie said.

            “Make it fast, I’m going to burning some fuel…I suddenly feel the need for speed,” Rollie hit the afterburners and his jet disappeared into the heavens. He saw the image of his ancestor, Roland, one of the original Twelve Peers outside the cockpit smiling at him.

Rollie was a Paladin and a Divine Spellcaster, there’s nothing else to say except to say that legend lives on.

The End

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6 Comments

  1. Clydew says:

    I loved the historical background. I was educated and entertained. Good job.

  2. bob wolf says:

    congrats on your 8th anniversary of publishing entertaining stories.

    I always enjoyed Richard Boone Western paladin have gun will travel. he was the Rollie. Of the west

  3. Robert says:

    Thanks for the story. Enjoyed as always.

  4. Tony says:

    Thank you Mr. Thomas Calabrese for another enlightening story as I have just read in this weeks Sunday Vista Press. I am not sure how you do it each week, writing an interesting story that can and should be read by everyone of all ages. It must be about eight years now that you have writing and I have been reading these entertaining stories that captures my attention and leaves me knowledgeable when I am finished and seeking additional information about a subject. You are a gifted person and thank you for providing a good story for my entire family to read that I do not have to censor first.

  5. Skip says:

    Thanks for the Paladin story. Chivalry and high moral values are always in style when you write! Semper Fidelis

  6. Marty says:

    Looks like the beginning of a movie to me. The characters were all involved in the action and had great names.
    Marty

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