Paladin (short story)
|First published||27 November 2005|
|Era||Star League era (Age of War)|
|Timeline||12 August 2528|
|“||Long before Kai Allard-Liao made hyphenated names the new Capellan rage, mad Capellan Chancellor Kalvin Liao set his eyes on an Allard. Jason Schmetzer tells the tale of one man versus madness as the Capellan Confederation invades Andurien to secure a bride.||”|
 Plot summary
The Age of War isn’t looking good for the Duke of Andurien. The psychotic Kalvin Liao now reigns as Capellan Chancellor, and he’s taken a fancy to Mesillia Allard, the Duke’s daughter. Since she wouldn’t come to Sian of her own accord, he’s sent his forces to collect her, and has been blasting a path through the Defenders of Andurien – which are now fighting a desperate holding action on worlds across the Duchy.
The 2nd Defenders of Andurien were battling the Capellans on Sadurni, but its Bravo Company, under Captain Neal Haddon, has been recalled to guard the fair Mesillia. Prior to the Capellan assault on Jojoken, the CCAF commander, Colonel Liu, makes a final demand that Mesillia be turned over, and then presents evidence that the 2nd Defenders were wiped out on Sadurni. Meanwhile, Duke Allard confirms that the 1st Defenders are falling back across Andurien in the face of two Capellan ‘Mech regiments, and that the world will likely fall within two weeks. However, unless the Capellan artillery now bombarding Jojoken is stopped soon, the palace and capital will be flattened much earlier.
Mesillia tells Neal that she brought him to Andurien in the hopes that her father would consent to let them wed, but Neal informs her that Duke Allard plans to ransom her to the Capellans in exchange for his departure from Andurien. Shocked, she asks Neal to flee offworld with her and just be husband and wife, rather than the Duchess and the Captain, but he insists on doing his duty. He leads Bravo Company into battle and smashes the Capellan artillery, ensuring that Mesillia escapes aboard a merchantman DropShip, before his company is destroyed by the CCAF hordes.
 Featured characters
- Duke Allard (no first name given)
- Duchess Mesilla Allard
- Flag Captain Neal Haddon
- Colonel Dennis Liu
- General Bayerlein (mentioned)
- Kalvin Liao (mentioned)