A New Beginning
The plaza in the pueblo de Los
Angeles was brimming with peons pushing their carts laden with produce
into the main square. Tio, the innkeeper, busied himself sweeping the
floors of his tavern in preparation for the travelers and patrons that
would visit his establishment. Meanwhile Senor Martinez, the owner of
the dry goods store, lifted heavy bags of grain to be stacked outside
his store and the elder Pinones, the stable master, stood with a hammer
at his anvil. Within hours the small village was flooded with men and
women anxious to fill their baskets with ripe fruit, fresh vegetables
and other necessities as the small children remained nearby playing
Every morning in the cuartel the routine began with
the raising of the Spanish flag and continued through roll call
followed by the duty assignments. On this particular morning once the
daily patrol departed the soldiers left behind were dismissed and
Garcia prepared to check with the commandante for additional orders.
Standing lazily at the main gate on this unusually warm day two
soldiers were at their posts with rifles by their sides. The two
guards, hot and tired, looked forward to being relieved shortly of the
long night's duty. Now as Diego and Bernardo approached the gate the
soldiers came to attention with raised rifles.
"Halt," demanded one of the guards. "What is it that you wish Senors?"
"I wish to speak with Capitan Monastario," answered Diego.
Sergeant Garcia called out to his men when he saw his young friend standing at the gate.
"Allow them to pass."
Diego nodded to the soldiers as Bernardo and he headed toward the portly soldier.
"Gracias Sergeant," Diego said with a wide smile. "You are looking splendid on this rather hot day."
Diego, little one," Garcia said in his characteristic jolly voice. "It
is good to see you both. I hope the Senora is better today. Well, of
course, she must if you are here."
"Anna Maria is resting and
should be up and around in no time," Don Diego responded. "The reason
I am here is to speak to the commandante."
"I am pleased the
Senora's illness is not serious, my friend," Garcia said. "Please give
her my best. I was just on my way to the commandante's office to
collect the daily orders. Come, I will tell Capitan Monastario that
you are waiting."
"Gracias Sergeant," grinned Diego. "Then
afterwards, perhaps if you are not too busy, you may join me for some
refreshment at the tavern?"
"Oh that is a most gracious invitation," Garcia replied as they strolled toward the commandante's office.
returning to the cuartel Capitan Monastario had resumed his duties as
commandante and settled into his original quarters. Sergeant Garcia
sadly had removed his belongings to his previous room in the soldier's
barracks; his hopes of becoming the permanent commandante were gone.
Standing outside the office Garcia paused, sighed deeply, looked at his
friends and climbed the steps to rap on the door.
"Passé," called out Monastario.
"It will be only a momento Don Diego," smiled Garcia as he opened the door.
I am here to collect your orders for the day," Garcia saluted then
continued, "Also Don Diego de la Vega and his servant are waiting to
"Very well Sergeant," Monastario answered. "Your orders are on the desk in front of you."
"Gracias sir," Garcia said. "Will there be anything else?"
"No Sergeant, you may go. Please ask Senor de la Vega to come in."
"Si Capitan," saluted Garcia.
opened the door and waved Don Diego and Bernardo through. Smiling he
closed the door and went on his way. The first thing Garcia did was to
issue the additional assignments the commandante wished completed.
Once the tasks were underway Garcia would be free to meet Don Diego for
a leisurely bit of refreshment in the tavern. Don Diego, what a
friend! What a predicament Garcia found himself in! Could Don Diego be
this masked outlaw Zorro? Garcia believed this to be true yet how was
this possible when everyone knew of Diego's passion for books, music
and the arts? This fancy cabellero was not a man of force:; he never
used violence and could not even fence. There must be an explanation
or Garcia would find himself in the odd position of arresting this man
he called friend.
"Buenos tardes Don Diego," said Monastario standing to welcome his visitors.
"Commandante," Diego returned the greeting. "It is good to see you looking so fit."
"Gracias," replied Monastario. "The senora is also well, I hope."
"Si, she should regain her strength in a few days," smiled Diego. "In the meantime I thought we might have a talk."
"Very well" replied Monastario offering Diego a seat.
was surprised by your hasty departure from the rancho commandante,"
stated Diego with an inquiring look. "Was there something wrong?"
on the contrary," Monastario responded nervously. "I just felt the time
had come for me to return to my duties at the cuartel."
"Then it had nothing to do with Anna Maria falling ill or your feelings for Leonar?" questioned Diego.
la Vega, let us end this," said Monastario jumping to his feet. " I
think you know very well why I left the hacienda. I am responsible for
all the terrible things that took place at the rancho. If I had not
been there…as for Leonar…that is a personal matter. I will not discuss
this with you."
"Leonar is a friend, a good friend," said Diego. "I do not wish to interfere but perhaps help you in some small way."
"Help me," inquired Monastario. "Why would you wish to help me? I am not your friend."
"Perhaps a respected adversary would be more appropriate," smirked Diego. "If you need my help, you need only ask."
opened the door and both men walked from the office leaving the
commandante alone. In the cuartel yard the men spied Sergeant Garcia
eagerly waiting to join them.
"Ah Sergeant, I see you have completed your business. Join me for some refreshment in the tavern?" Diego asked.
Bernardo led the horses behind the two men, he remembered his arrival
for the first time in the pueblo. The small village was under the
control of an evil predator, Capitan Monastario, who preyed on the
innocent for personal reward. Diego with his cunning and strength
found a way to battle the tyranny of the commandante by taking on the
disguise of Zorro, the Fox. Zorro was the hero loved by the people and
feared by those who sought to take advantage of the defenseless.
the past years so many things had changed; the pueblo was now running
smoothly, the people were happy and content yet the need for Zorro
remained, as did the threat to Diego. Bernardo wondered if Monastario
would continue to protect the secret of Zorro's identity as promised or
would a new threat arise and take our hero by surprise. Time would be
the judge and Bernardo hoped the verdict would be in Diego's favor.