| This article refers to Paragon, the Ludluck Family liveship.|
Paragon, also known as the Mad Ship and the Pariah, is a liveship once sailed by the Ludluck family, but since abandoned on a Bingtown beach for over thirty years. He is infamous for killing multiple crews who sailed him.
Paragon’s original figurehead is an older man with a beard and wild hair. He is described as unsightly due to hatchet damage to his face, which also left him blind. He has a seven-pointed star carved into his chest.
In The Mad Ship, Amber (Ambre) removes the seven-pointed star at Paragon’s request, and in Ship of Destiny, she reshapes his figurehead into an entirely new visage. The new figurehead is described as a young man with a broken nose and long hair bound in a warrior’s tail. He wears an earring identical to Amber’s, as well as a bracelet and a battle harness, from which hangs a battle-axe; later, charging bucks are added to his harness. His new eyes are blue, much to Amber’s displeasure.
Paragon is ill-tempered and capricious, frequently turning irritable or childish. He also has a history of violent behavior. His personality changes can be explained by the fact that he was made from two wizardwood logs and Kennit’s memories, which he holds inside him. The two dragons that would have hatched from the different logs war for dominance in Paragon’s mind, while Kennit’s memories impart some of his own spirit into the ship.
Paragon quickened after two generations of the Ludluck family, the captain Uto and his son Kerr, died in the same storm on his decks. Uto's widow Setre refused to visit Paragon thereafter, leaving him traumatized and with a fragile grasp of sanity.
The creditors of the Ludluck family allowed a cousin to refit and sail the Paragon, but Cable Ludluck and crew mysteriously vanished on the first voyage without explanation. His younger brother Sedge Ludluck claimed the Paragon against the advice of many, sailing the ship as if it were made of regular wood, as Paragon would no longer speak. He made eighteen voyages and the string of bad luck on Paragon was believed broken.
On the last of these voyages, Sedge's son Lucto Ludluck took over from his dead father, married a girl from the Pirate Isles and set up home on Key Island. There he had a son, Kennit, who was Paragon's first playmate, and the one person with whom he felt he could truly be himself.
Some time afterwards, Lucto accepted a proposal from the pirate Igrot to be partners, which went sour when Igrot turned on him and murdered most of the people living on Keyhole Island, carting the others off as slaves. Kennit was taken prisoner aboard Paragon, where he faced repeated beatings and sexual abuse. With Kennit on the ship, Paragon had no choice but to obey Igrot, despite his hatred of the pirate. Paragon was used to capture a large amount of treasure meant for the Satrap and to hide it somewhere up the Rain Wild River. Afterwards, Igrot ordered Kennit to blind Paragon to prevent the ship from leading anyone else to the treasure. Paragon accepted the blinding, as he was unwilling to hurt Kennit to prevent it from happening.
Kennit's suffering increased, and in an attempt to keep him from committing suicide, Paragon agreed to take Kennit's memories from him: both the memories of Igrot's abuse and the happy memories of his childhood. This leaves Kennit with only the resolve to escape and erase all trace of Igrot from the world. When Kennit killed Igrot and his entire crew, Paragon agreed to die as well so that Kennit could live free of his past. Paragon allowed himself to sink to the ocean floor.
However, his wizardwood refused to stay at the bottom of the ocean without immense effort from Paragon, and he was tormented by visiting serpents, which spoke to him. Eventually the two dragons that comprised his hull convinced him to float back to Bingtown. He was ignored in the harbor until he became a shipping hazard, at which point he was hauled onto the beach, chained to a cliff, and abandoned.
Over the next thirty years, Paragon's bad temperament kept most would-be visitors away. The only exceptions were Althea Vestrit, who interacted positively with Paragon for a short time before her father forbid her from visiting the ship; and Brashen Trell, who regularly slept aboard the ship when he was in port at Bingtown.
Paragon is an object of interest to the New Trader Mingsley, who attempts to buy him from the Ludlucks, with Davad Restart facilitating the negotiations. When Amber learns that Mingsley intends to reduce Paragon to wizardwood planks, she places her own bid to buy him, and begins sleeping aboard him to prevent him from being ambushed at night.
Brashen Trell and Amber approach the Vestrit family with a plan to rescue Vivacia from Kennit: they will refit Paragon and sail him themselves. Paragon is upset when he is sold by his family.
Paragon's reputation makes it difficult for Brashen to find men willing to work on the ship, let alone sail on him. Paragon manages to further drive workers away by threatening them during his refurbishment. Despite these setbacks, the work is completed, and Paragon is delighted when he is put upright in the water one more.
When Mother Ludluck returns his logbooks and mumbles the words to him, a great deal of Paragon's memories and sanity is returned.
When Vivacia becomes entangle in a fight with Jamaillian ships, Paragon sails into battle to save Kennit. At one point Paragon is rammed into an enemy ship and attacks it with both his fists and battle axe. Kennit Ludluck dies from his wounds upon his deck and his own personality merges with that of the dragons who unwittingly provided the wizardwood for the ship.
Kennit promised Paragon as a boy that when he grew up and had children, he would name his firstborn son Paragon so that there would be a Paragon Ludluck who was looked after and loved. Paragon eventually discovers that Kennit asked Etta to name their unborn child Paragon shortly before he died.
Amber, concerned about her future plans, confesses a desire to revisit her old friends, which Paragon advises against. That night, however, Paragon rouses Althea from a nightmare of her rape and brings her to his foredeck. He tells Althea that the rape was Kennit's attempt to pass his own pain on to her, and therefore the pain of the memory belongs to him rather than Althea. Paragon extracts the pain from Althea, allowing her to move on. Emboldened by instigating such change, Paragon rescinds his previous advice and gleefully urges Amber to return north.
Paragon continues to sail under Brashen and Althea, now married. Their son, Boy-o, also sails with them; Paragon has a soft spot for him. Though his reputation as the Mad Ship remains, a great deal of trust has been restored between Paragon and his crew. He frequently to sails to Trehaug.
Paragon is hired by Alise Kincarron and Sedric Meldar for passage up the Rain Wild River to Cassarick. He expresses his disappointment with the stunted dragon hatchlings, declaring them no more dragons than he is.
Paragon docks at Trehaug after agreeing to provide transport to Amber, Fitz, and their companions to Bingtown. He is possessive of Amber and immediately irritated by Fitz, whom he views as a rival for Amber's attention. Paragon tricks Fitz into approaching the figurehead before seizing him and informing Fitz not to come between him and Amber.
As they sail down the Rain Wild River, Paragon displays his characteristic moodiness, expressing dismay at the absence of Boy-o, who is aboard the Vivacia. He also spends a great deal of time talking to Amber. The subject of their discussions is revealed to be the possibility of Paragon resuming the form of his two dragons by consuming Silver. Amber gives Paragon liquid Silver from Kelsingra without informing anyone else of her suspicions, and Paragon unexpectedly transforms his figurehead into two colorful dragons. He then announces that he has agreed to aid Amber and Fitz in their quest for vengeance against the Servants by sailing directly to Clerres, much to the outrage of his crew.
Paragon is waylaid by a Tariff ship and is content to dock briefly at Divvytown, where the Vivacia is also in port. He attempts to convince Vivacia to also become a dragon again, though she expresses more hesitation.
At Clerres, Paragon is attacked with fire and consumes more Silver, allowing him to transform into the two dragons whose memories were contained in his wizardwood: a blue male and a green female. The blue speaks to Boy-o, stating that his name is Karrig, and then modifies it, claiming part of Boy-o's name to become Karrigvestrit. The green dragon is less friendly toward the humans and does not share her name. The two dragons are later seen at Kelsingra.