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Kindling St. Elmo's Fire?
cougarannie19 January 2016
St. Elmo, a 4th century Christian Bishop, was tortured repeated and finally killed for speaking out against the excesses of the Roman Emperors. Legend has it he continued to preach during a violent storm even though a thunderbolt struck the ground beside him. For this reason he is still venerated as the special protector of those who occupations place them in mortal danger.

Paladin is hired by Colonel Draco, a bitter man who wants Paladin to dispose permanently of the men who challenged him by drilling a well and re-distributing water from a stream crossing Draco's property. He has another reason: a bullet from the group's leader has crippled Draco, who had attempted to shoot him for showing interest in Draco's long-suffering sister.

Draco, who lives in seclusion with that sister and a body servant, clearly intends Paladin to be "judge, jury and execution", dispensing what Draco considers "Delayed Justice".

But he's drawn the wrong conclusions about Paladin, who arrives in town on the night before the Feast Day of St. Elmo, a night when people gather in the local church to offer money or treasure to the Saint in the hope of being granted a miracle. Paladin's "gift" is the surrender, during the service, of his own Colt 45 along with his two-shot Derringer -- prompting all the other men to disarm themselves as well.

When Draco -- who's also chosen to make an appearance at the church -- sees this, he decides to give the townsfolk their "miracle" by dragging himself out of his wheelchair, staggering to the front of the church, and seizing the Colt, attempts to shoot Paladin point-blank for failing to deliver everything Draco had expected.

But St. Elmo (or was it St. Elmo?) intervenes -- with results that stun everyone.

Two things stand out about this episode: First, Paladin is referred to as "The Man in Black" -- and second, one can't help but reflect on his mentor's final words, about "there always being another Dragon"!
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