I am starting on the whole Valermore thread (you should really link these subs via hypertext). This is excellent start, the queen is described simply in terms of her motivations and her actions. There some roughly written parts, such as the teaser...who is in the veil? It is princess, but you start the teaser by discussing the Queen's appearance and then you go to pronouns in the last sentence. The obvious choice for antecedent is the Queen and not the princess.
I also really like that you gave the NPC as a whole character arch, distinguishing between her nature at different points in her life.
Ah yes the fabled sword of dragon slaying. It might be interesting to place in your game world a magic sword of absurd but finite power and then apply all the sword stories on strolen's citadel to it. A sword that had some many different yet similar tales would indeed be ancient and enigmatic.
The text was a little disjointed, and it brings nothing new to the magic sword genre, but I like that you came back four years later to update it.
the name is a bit cliche, but is easy to remeber and clearly presents the character as righteous and angry and thus is successful. Indeed the whole character is nothing new, but as a example of an archetype this is good and the details are fairly unique. I also enjoyed the prose.
There is spark here, something to build on but nothing to play with
Maybe if the Paladin was fully fleshed out character, maybe if there was some character that could give voice to the significance of the statue then perhaps the need to intervine would pop more. If there was both a Paladin that had worth while traits and an advocate for the statues return that had worth while traits then maybe we would have something to play with.
Then there is the Volcano, I like the idea fo the PCs taking all these risk, betraying their Paladin to commander and traveling miles only to return the statue to a town and culture that is about to be wiped out. That is nice, really nice situation actually. you should really punch that up.