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The Foundation of Heaven
by David Carter (davidcar1973@yahoo.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review: ****
The Foundation of Heaven is an epic screenplay about the fall of the Aztec Empire, old Mexico. Set in the early 16th century the work shows the collision of cultures that takes place between the old world and the new. Historic figures such as Cortez and Montezuma are brought into focus and their relationship is explored. The characters is this drama bring the story to life, leading the reader through the treacherous turns of the story of Spain's conquest of old Mexico.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


The CHIEF PROSECUTOR, dressed in period clothing, rises from
his bench to question PEREZ SAN FERNANDO.
Describe to me the events that led
to MONTEZUMA'S capture.
Perez pauses a bit, then responds.
Well, let me start by saying the
city of Tenochtitlan was a
magnificent construction...
View of the ancient city.
                       PEREZ (V.O.)
It stood on an island, 7,000 feet
in the air, on the edge of a great
lake, nestled in a wide valley,
surrounded by majestic mountains.
Images of the city continue to show.
                       PEREZ (V.O.)
We compared it to Venice, with
it's long history of construction.
The island it had been built on
was extended with stakes, mud and
rocks. It contained lavish
palaces, well built homes, of
adobe, and a system of commerce.
Like Venice, there were canals
that ran through the city. In the
center was a holy district,
surrounded by walls where several
pyramids stood. On top of them
were temples where the priests
carried out rites. Streets and
canals ran from the district, in
alignment with the compass, and
the Emperor's palace was located


PLAXETOTL stands on a small grassy rise, watching the city
as the sun shines down on it through the clouds. He rises
and heads down the hill to the causeway that bridges the
mainland and the city.

He walks the streets as the people go by, about their daily
business, buying products at the marketplace. He stops,
buys some produce and heads towards his childhood
neighborhood to see his family.
On his way there, he sees a former neighbor of his,
I'm on my way to see my family.
Are they home?
Yes, your mother is there with
your little brother.
Thank you.
He continues on.
He approaches the doorway of his adobe walled home, where he
sees his brother, COATEPEC, standing.
Do I know you?
Plaxetotl gives him a wide-eyed look.
Just kidding. Welcome home.
The two embrace.
Where is ZUATLA?


He is with papa, at a meeting with
the capullec.
A look of concern comes over Plaxetotl's face. Coatepec
It is nothing more than an
accounting clear up.
How are things with you?
Oh, ok. Been working with papa,
and Zuatla. Our output has
increased lately, and the crafts
are still at a high demand.
That's good. Keep it up.
Plaxetotl eyes his mother, resting on a beautifully designed
mat in the dwelling. He approaches her, kneels down and
nudges her slightly.
Mother I'm home.
For how long?
      (luaghing a bit)
Long enough to keep my wits.
Just then, Plaxetotl's father enters the domicile. He
stands to greet him.
Hello father.
His older brother enters behind his father. He holds his
shoulders and looks down upon his face.
Good to see you again.


Good to see you too. How is
Your brother is doing fine.
How are the business affairs?
Things are going well. However,
goods being brought in by the
pochteca are flooding the
marketplace and decreasing the
sale of our goods. We are being
pressured to lower prices...But
we've got things under control and
are looking at ending the strain.
Oaxtepec smiles.
JUAN MIGUEL MARTINEZ steadies his sword, making a straight
line towards his opponent. He holds his left hand in the
air, and glares into the eyes of his adversary, probing for
any signs of weakness.

As he searches, his foe, FRANCISCO DENARDO, lunges forward,
seeking some element of surprise. His thrust is thwarted
with a deflecting block by Juan, who counters with a stab at
his attacker's right shoulder. The parry-and-counter-thrust
ends the contest, leaving the wounded man clutching his
upper body and screaming in agonizing pain.

At this point, Juan chooses not to finish off his opponent,
rather he sheaths his 16th century weapon and walks away.
Every few paces, glancing behind himself to check for any
attempts at revenge.
He joins his buddy, DON EDUARDO HERRERA, and the two mount
their horses.
Don't fool around with my family
or friends again!


The wounded Francisco scowls at him with a menacing look.
The two stare him down as they ride off.
Don't worry. He won't try
Juan and Eduardo drink beer at a table in the establishment.
Its time for a change.
Ever since Columbus' discovery
overseas there has been new
opportunities for men like us.
      (sipping his beer)
I know.
We missed the wars of our fathers'
generation, against the Moors, and
for Granada. Now we have the
opportunity to do something
Ever since you got back from over
there you have talked about
nothing different.
It is as they say my friend. A
whole new world!
Yeah...people have a desire for
freedom from the old obligations.
A man told me he was emigrating by
his faith, to die and leave his
sons in a free and happy land.
Then what's your holdup?


None. I have heard the stories of
Columbus, Ponce de Leon and
others, and wondered what the land
looked like-
what the people looked like, and
how they lived. When you
returned, you brought that all
Good! I know of an expedition
that is heading out of Sanlucar de
Barrameda two weeks from now. We
could head down by the end of the
week and look for passage from
Who's heading it?
Perez San Fernando. My cousin.
Juan smiles.
JULIO ANDRADE MARTINEZ treads down the narrow street,
counting the riches in his well stocked purse and smiling.
As he approaches his carriage he notices someone other than
his driver on a horse that looks familiar.
Juan! How are you doing son.
Fine Papa.
The two embrace.
How was the trip?


Delightful. The North Africans
are always good customers. They
paid a fine price for the slaves I
provided them.
Juan cringes a bit, but tries not to let it show.
I came to tell you that I will be
leaving soon, for Hispaniola, and
I won't be back for a while.
Good, I hope you find what you're
looking for, but you will be
Julio pauses for a while.
Yes. I know of someone who is
planning an expedition from
Sanlucar to there, and hope to be
joining him as soon as possible.
Do I know him?
Yes, he's Perez San Fernando, Don
Eduardo's cousin.
Julio smiles.
I know you'll be needing money for
your expenses.
He reaches into his purse and hands him a lofty sum. The
two embrace again, and Juan mounts his horse to leave.
I told him. We're definitely
going now.


Great! I'll send word to my
I'm going to miss all of the
lovely ladies here.
Don't worry. There will be enough
Spanish women on the island to
quench your thirst. And don't
forget about the natives! I've
heard stories-
No need to convince me friend. I'm
going already.
Juan and Eduardo travel the streets, marveling at the
different people they see: Moorish, African, European and
even some American Indians.

The scene resembles a modern international airport. Everyone
is going to and fro, buying themselves with their affairs.
The scene on the waterside is tremendous: huge ships with
large masts are docked on the bay, with people walking up
and down the planks with cargo.

Don Eduardo eyes his cousin, standing on the stern one such
ship, directing traffic.
There! There he is!
Juan follows the direction of his friend's pointed finger
and recognizes his cousin.
Perez! Perez!
Perez hears him calling, and heads towards the gangplank to
exit the ship.

When he reaches them the two cousins embrace.
Hey cousin! Hello Juan.


We're here to join you.
How much will we have to pay?
Don't worry about it.
You will just need to provide for
your storage and weapons, if you
don't have any, in case there is
any danger. But I wouldn't worry
about that too much. Your room
and board are covered.
Eduardo and Juan look at each other excitedly. They follow
Perez up the gangplank with their horses.
Hannibal Matienzo stands on the beach and watches the
horizon for incoming ships.

He sees three tall masts of Perez San Fernando's expedition.
He turns to the workers on the dock.
Ships coming in!
The local officials, nearby, of Santo Domingo turn their
heads from their duties.

Juan and Eduardo look over the bow of the lead ship,
watching the exotic island appear as the morning fog lifts
off into the air.


Plaxetotl sits with the fellowship of "divines" he belongs
on a hill outside of the city where they gather and listens
to what they have to say.
The stories are true! The reports
have come out of the trading
outpost at Xicallanco. There have
been seen bearded white travelers
on the shores!
The fellowship listens in awe.
I also found out about a
mysterious trunk found on the
shore that was brought to
Montezuma. Inside of it several
suits, jewels and a sword were
A group of guards from the Emperor approach the divines'
                       HEAD GUARD
Where is Matlaluege?
A member of the fellowship finds Matlaluege and brings him
to the guards.
                       HEAD GUARD
The Emperor needs to see you and
your people right away!
Matlaluege gathers Plaxetolt, Yopi, ZOZOLLAN, and TEHAULLA.
They follow the procession of guards into the city.

They approach the large, finely constructed walls of the
holy district, and near Montezuma's palace. As they enter,
the great rooms and courts create an air of royalty. They
are covered with awnings of cotton, and the walls shine with
lime, decorated with stonework and paintings.

Montezuma's throne room is filled with priests and
councilors, as the guards lead the fellowship in. They all
turn and stare at the philosophers, and Montezuma walks
forward to greet them. A mysterious bird that was found
lies dead in the center of the throne room floor. It is
surrounded by the priests, who are searching for some sort
of meaning in its lifeless body.


I have brought you here because of
the strange incidents that have
been occurring throughout the
Empire as of late. As you know
there have been signs indicating
difficult times on the horizon:
The tongue of fire seen in the sky
for nearly a year, the fire on top
of the great pyramid in the temple
of Huitzilopochtli that would not
subside, the noiseless thunderbolt
that destroyed the temple of
Xiuhtecuhtli, god of fire, and the
comet that fell from the sky
dividing into three, causing the
lake to foam and flood. Then
there is the woman who cries on
nights, "O my beloved sons, we are
all going to die" and "O my
beloved sons, where shall I hide
you?" The reports of strange
two-headed people who were taken
to my zoo, then vanished, and this
bird like a crane whom the
fishermen found and brought to me.
I saw a mirror on its head and
saw the heavens and stars and men
riding on deer coming for war.
What do you make of all this? Can
you help me?
We'll try our best.
Matlaluege approaches the strange body that lay on the
floor. He motions for the rest of the group to join him.
They don't know what they're
The heavens and the stars that you
saw represent that this vision
comes from the gods, and that the
men riding on deer are the wrath
of the gods in the form of
something alien to the entire


                       MATLALUEGE (cont'd)
The divines glance around the room, noting the startled
faces of all their critics.
Who is this enemy?
I don't know. It could be a city
we have not conquered or-
These mysterious peoples on the
Is there any truth to what he is
Yes. These people represent the
most alien presence I can think
The room goes silent. The Emperor turns, walks to his
chair, sits down, and rests his chin on his hand.
Thank you for your insight. You
may go now.
Hannibal finishes his inspection of Perez's cargo. He
smiles with satisfaction and shows Perez to the shore
official for further processing.

Juan notices a troubled look on Hannibal's face as a few
slaves onboard are brought ashore. The greedy slave
merchants quickly gather together their merchandise for
preparation of their expected sale to the local lords of the
many encomiendas.
Juan, Eduardo, Perez and Fr. Hernandez eat dinner and
discuss the affairs of the colony.


                       FR. HERNANDEZ
Columbus believed that God led him
to his discoveries. It is even
suggested that he was searching
for Jerusalem not China, from the
Even the most ruthless
conquistador fears God Father.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
Yes, the conquest of Cuba was seen
as a religious triumph. Thus it
is logical that these islands are
run by four Jeronymite priors, who
are not royal governors, but
gatherers of information.
Yes, but on the question of the
natives there seems to be
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
That is true. We were led by Fr.
Pedro de Cordoba who turned the
natives away from their primitive
But Fr. Montesinos evangelized are
the natives not men? Don't they
have rational souls? Are we not
supposed to love them as we do
ourselves? What authority do we
have to wage a war on them?
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
Yes, but Martiaz de Paz later
argued that Christian princes
should not wage war on infidels
for domination or wealth-only the
spreading of faith could justify
Rubios did argue that the New
World was given to Spain by the


                       FR. HERNANDEZ
Yes, and that the natives were so
barbaric that they had to be
natural slaves.
However, Italian philosopher, Pico
della Mirandola wrote in a
dialogue that "he who looks
closely will see that the
barbarians have intelligence-not
on the tongue, but in the heart."
Don Eduardo and Juan, sharing a room, talk about the night's
conversation. Eduardo rises up in his bed.
Why didn't you say anything
I...I don't know.
I know how you feel about the
issue. At least when it comes to
I know. I just didn't want to
wear out my welcome.
Well don't worry about that. Like
I told you before, everything is
all right.
Morning on the exotic island sees a rebirth of the sun,
whose rays pierce the tiny windows of the Spanish villa.
Juan slowly wakes and rises to prepare himself for the day.
Eduardo likes to sleep late so he doesn't bother his travel
weary friend.

Once dressed in the contemporary European style, he goes
outside on the verandah to gaze at the sunrise on the
island. With a distant view of the ocean, the sight is
magnificent. All types of exotic birds, he's never seen
before, float above his immediate horizon. The palm trees
are gorgeous, and the vegetation of the island mixes with
them to form a cornucopia of abundance. It is everything he
expected and more.


Beautiful isn't it?
Juan glances back at his friend who surprises him with his
early rising.
I had never seen anything like it
'till I came. Back at home, they
are content with their
surroundings. Everything is
monotonous, and they don't bother
to break out of it.
Well, we did.
Yeah, that's right. We did.
Perez joins the two on the verandah.
Its time for breakfast.
                       JUAN AND EDUARDO
They head to the dining room, where Fr. Hernandez's servants
have prepared another wonderful meal. They sit to eat.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
I have suffered many battles with
the colonists over the treatment
of the Indians, at the behest of
Montesinos, Las Casas and those
like them. I mean well, but do
believe that the condition of the
Indians is largely up to them, if
they truly denounce their former
Yes, but you have several of them
working for you.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
This coming from the son of a
slave trader?


Fr. Hernandez pauses.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
I'm sorry. For years I have tried
to temper the colonists' attitude
toward the Tianos. But there is a
lot more involved to it than that.
I did not mean to offend you.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
What would you propose I do?
I don't know, but I have heard the
arguments of Bartolome de Las
Casas and Father Montesinos, and I
think they have some merit.
Well, as you can see I have
brought you politicians and not
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
No, the young man has a point.
Juan, Eduardo and Perez take a tour of the city, led by Fr.
Hernandez. While watching the natives perform some menial
tasks, Juan eyes a beautiful young Tiano named MAPECHA. He
catches her eye and the two share a brief moment. Later he
approaches her.
What is your name?
You're beautiful. Are you mixed?
My father is Spanish. My mother,
And your father's surname?



--Juan and Mapecha walking along beach.
--Juan and Mapecha kissing.
--Juan and Mapecha at the altar-Eduardo by their side.

Hannibal is enjoying a decent lunch of island foods. He
can't keep his eyes off of the swirling marketplace, hosting
a slave auction.

Nearby, a priest gives the sign of the cross over a group of
slaves siting down near the market square. He approaches
the slaves after the priest leaves, and makes conversation
with one of them, HECTOR ESPERANZA.
How can you take this?
It is the way it is. You should
know that.
I do, but my God demands more of
Who is your God?
The one and only, Allah!
Hector's master, VINCENZO ESERANZA returns from the auction
block. Hannibal exits.

Juan marvels at the riches of Santo Domingo's wealthy
inhabitants, as he carries out his duties as a tax
collector. A voice from behind distracts him.
Second house on the left!
His boss, Panvel Ribera, points at the house he is referring
to and Juan, humbly, knocks on the door. A MAN answers


Your taxes are due.
Juan hands him a manifest.
Don Eduardo carries out his duties as a stable hand. He
sees some conquistadors and overhears their conversation.
                       CONQUISTADOR 1
Francisco de Garay became
restless. He tried to discover
the secret of the island of
Guadalupe, but was repelled by the
Caribs. He then traded pearls.
They named him Governor of Jamaica
                       CONQUISTADORS 2 AND 3
                       CONQUISTADOR 1
Ponce de Leon was the first
conquistador, however. He came
here with Columbus and searched
for gold in Florida. But if you
want to secure financing for your
own expedition, DIEGO VELAZQUEZ is
the man you need to know.
Plaxetotl smokes a pipe of peyote. He is in deep thought,
and, after a while, gets up, grabs his walking stick and
heads out of the hills he is on for the countryside.
Tetzuahtl lunges forward with his maceuauhuitl, and strikes
the feather covered, wooden shield on the arm of his
sparring partner. The blow from the obsidian bladed weapon
cracks the center of the defensive object, as his partner
reels backwards from the force of it.
Good strike.


Press forward! Always press
He does mean business.
Tetzuahtl presses harder, crashing his sword into
Iltextuan's shield, once again, who falls to the ground this
That's even better!
Looking up from the attention of his downed partner,
Tetzuahtl notices the familiar strides of his brother, with
walking stick, nearing the edge of the training grounds. He
approaches Huapitoaltet.
Permission to break?
Permission granted.
Tetzuahtl heads over to meet his brother, who comes forward
to greet him also.
Good to see you again.
Same here.
The two embrace.
What brings you here?
Well, I had a vision. In it a
representation of danger to Ayalca
was given-
The girl you've been seeing.


Yes. She was surrounded by palace
guards, and Montezuma held her
neck by a yoke. I thought of
going to see her, but thought I
should see you first, seeing how
you are close with some at the
I saw her recently when dining
there, but saw no signs of danger.
Did she speak to you?
No, but there were many officials
around, and I think she did not
want to arouse any suspicion.
Good. How are you doing?
It looks as if you're training
more extensively.
We are. But we have no official
orders...I heard you went home.
I did. And I found things well.
However there was this one thing
about the capullec-
Tetzuahtl! Time to get back to
your training.
I have to go.
I know. Go ahead.
We'll talk later.


Tetzuahtl returns to the field and resumes his activities.
Plaxetolt turns and walks away for the divines' campsite.
Juan sits in a chair outside of his small village home and
watches the natives go about the business of their daily
Come inside.
Juan looks back, then gets up and goes to her. The two
begin to kiss. He removes the few threads of clothing on her
scarcely clothed body, and holds her close, falling down
gently on the blanket covered grassy mattress they use for a


Don Eduardo stops by to see his friend. Mapecha quietly
leaves as the two discuss things.
Perez is heading out to Cuba soon
to get financing for an expedition
from Diego Velazquez.
How soon?
About a month from now.
Eduardo notices Juan's lack of excitement.
We aren't getting any richer here.
I know, but things are changing. I
hope this trip leaves on time or-
Or what?
Jesus, I might have a family.


Hannibal reviews the manifest of upcoming departures from
the island. He smiles as he sees the name of one
conquistador heading an expedition to explore islands to the

INSERT - MANIFEST: "Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba."
Juan and Eduardo have a conversation with Perez.
It seems that Cordoba has found
new land to the west, and named
the point Cape Catoche. He found
natives there also that wear
cotton shirts, loincloth and
                       JUAN AND EDUARDO
They have organized cities,
priests, a religion, and many
gods. They have writing that is
the most elaborate of any seen
amongst the natives. However, the
people are greatly divided. Wars
are constant, and there is no
imperial center.
The expedition was invited to
land, and were received well. They
named the place Yucatan. They
moved inland next. The vegetation
there seemed more lush than in
Cuba. They were later attacked,
and 15 conquistadors were lost,
but they put the attackers in
The expedition moved on and found
a fortified town on the river
bank. Inside of it were "houses
with towers, magnificent temples,
regular streets and marketplaces."
Stone buildings were built my the


                       PEREZ (cont'd)
naturales and they had pyramids!
There is a knock at the door of the villa. And Hannibal is
shown the way in.
Is Perez San Fernando in?
Si, I will take you to him.
The native servant takes Hannibal into the room where Perez,
Juan and Eduardo are conversating.
Sir, Someone to see you.
Hannibal extends his hand to greet Perez, who extends and
grasps it in return.
Hannibal Matienzo.
Yes, I know you from the docks.
He shakes Juan and Eduardo's hands as well. Who introduce
I was just telling my cousin and
friend here about the findings in
Yucatan, by Cordoba.
Yes, I have heard of it.
I have also heard that you are in
line to head an expedition there,
and am interested in joining.
Well, then you might want to hear
this...While guests there, the
expedition saw several crosses.
The Maya, the natives' name,


                       PEREZ (cont'd)
worship rain goddesses.
Could Christians have been there
The answer to that question has
yet to be found. The Mayans later
attacked Cordoba's group, and they
left, but they brought two
interpreters with them who told of
gold mines in the land. Some
conquistadors told Velazquez that
they "discovered a new land and it
was very rich". And showed him
some gold they'd received and said
that "better lands had never been
Juan and Eduardo are flabbergasted. Hannibal is astounded.
Now, in answer to the question I'm
sure you all have, yes I am in
line to head there soon, but need
to secure the financing from
Velazquez. As soon as this is
done I will let you know.
                       JUAN, EDUARDO AND HANNIBAL
Juan and Eduardo head for Juan's home, leaving the Villa.
My God, we could be rich!
Calm down buddy. It may not be a
sure thing. Perez is going to
have to do some serious
He's good at that.
I hope so.


Plaxetotl walks to Ayalca's house in the city. Reaching it,
he calls out to her in a low pitched whistle, similar to a
bird call.
Ayalca comes outside to greet him. Plaxetotl reaches out
and gently raises her outstretched arm, kissing her on the
wrist. Ayalca smiles and blushes.
I had to see you.
What is the trouble?
I hope it is nothing grave. I
don't want to worry you any...but,
since our welcome into the
Emperor's chambers, there seems to
be a growing mistrust of our
fellowship, and I want to make
sure you're safe. I had a vision-
Its okay. I'm sure I'll be
protected whatever it is.
Plaxetotl smiles wryly.
When will your father be
I don't know. But you know how
his business trips are. It could
be any time.
Until next time.
He kisses her on the cheek. She smiles.


Matlaluege sits on top of a hill and notices Plaxetotl
approaching him.
What's going on?
Nothing much. I just returned
from Cueopan.
That girl.
Correct. You talked with
Montezuma further?
Yes, he told me some things about
the matter that were very
interesting. I believe he is
going to send his emissary to the
coast to investigate further.
Does he believe these visitors
come from Quetzalcoatl?
He did not say, but there is a
large suspicion around the palace
walls that this is the case.
Matlaluege places some peyote in a pipe, and lights it. He
passes it to Plaxetotl, who partakes also.
I dearly love Quetzalcoatl. But I
think we have underserved him in
some capacity.
Yes, I know you do. I often
meditate on Ometeotl, the male-
female supreme force for guidance.
I hope Ayalca is not in any


Why would she be?
I had a vision from the Gods that
suggested this may be the case.
That's why I went to see her.
I know you're well aware of the
danger that your relationship is
in, being that she is pocheta and
close to the Emperor.
I know. We are often seen as
"bums" and looked down upon by the
ruling class, but in times of
trouble they look to us for
Yes. Nezahualpilli, King of
Texcoco, told Montezuma that the
signs seen of late were of great
calamity. They had a series of
games to decide who was being told
the truth. Montezuma lost two to
three. Nezahualpilli also
predicted the Triple Alliance
would not win another battle of
the flowers. He said the Mexica
would be ruled by strangers.
Montezuma sits on his throne. He summons magicians.
Send in the magicians.
The magicians timidly enter the throne room.
Have you seen strange omens in the
sky? Or on the earth? In the
caves under the earth or in the
deep lakes?
No we haven't lord.


Are we going to be struck down by
sickness, by hunger, by locusts,
by storms on the lake, or by
droughts? Will it rain
torrentially . Tell me if we are
menaced by war, or if we must
expect sudden death, or deaths
caused by wild beasts. You must
not hide the facts from me. Tell
me if you have heard the voice of
the earth goddess Cihuacoatl for,
if something unpleasant is going
to happen, she is the first to
predict it.
We know nothing.
Montezuma extends his hand in the direction of the prison.
Take away these scoundrels and
lock them up in Cuauclhco prison.
The guards arrest the magicians and lead them out of the
throne room. When heading to prison some of the magicians
                       MAGICIAN 1
What can we say? The future is
already determined. What has to
come will come.
                       MAGICIAN 2
A great mystery will come to pass.
It will come quickly. If this is
what our lord Montezuma wants to
know from us, so be it. Since it
is bound to happen, he can only
                       MAGICIAN 3
I saw men with beards coming to
this land!

Montezuma summons his MAJORDOMO.
Bring me my Majordomo.


The majordomo enters and bows.
Ask whence the danger will come,
whatever it is, from the sky or
the land, from what direction,
what place and when.
The majordomo bows his head.
The majordomo approaches the cell, led by the guards, who
point at the empty room and show no one is there. The
majordomo returns to the throne room.
The majordomo bows timidly before the Emperor.
My lord, command that I be cut to
pieces or whatever else you wish,
for you should know that, when I
reached the prison, there was no
one there. Yet I had special
guards at the prison, trustworthy
men, whom I have known for years.
None of them heard the magicians
escape. I believe they flew away,
for they know how to make
themselves invisible. They do
that every night and can fly to
the ends of the earth.
The divines sit by a camp fire and listen to the stories of
the happenings in the city.
Montezuma imprisoned the
magicians, who escaped. He also
imprisoned commoners who had
simple dreams and has starved
them, and killed the holy family
of the lord of Cuitlahuac for
disagreeing to build a new shrine
to Huitzilopochtli! We must leave
the outskirts of the city or we


                       YOPI (cont'd)
could be next!
Yes, but where could we go that is
I have an old friend, a mentor of
mine, who lives near the city of
Tacuba. We could go there.
Sounds good.
Mezopan greets Plaxetolt and the following.
Quetzalcoatl has brought you to
Quetzalcoatl has allowed
Tetzcatlipoca to reign free!
This is not true. What you, your
fellowship and I as well are
experiencing are the effects of
change. Everyone has to go
through it.
Mezopan and the fellowship sit down and conversate.
We are experiencing what we, our
ancestors and yes, the calendars
have all forewarned of. Even the
Maya, to the south, saw their
eventual destruction.
I know this, but we are being
drawn into this and will have to
react in some way. I'm just
afraid of what that reaction will


They pull out their pipes and start to smoke peyote.
A common laborer enters Montezuma's court.
My lord, I have seen a range of
mountains, or some big hills
floating on the sea.
Take this man and imprison him,
pending further investigation, and
send me the TLILLANCALQUI.
The guards remove the man. The tlillancalqui enters, and
Head to the coast and see what
this matter is about. Then report
back to me.
The tlillancalqui and his envoy check the coast and see what
the laborer has seen: two towers moving back in forth in the
sea. He also sees men coming to the shore to fish, using
hooks and a net. They hear unrecognizable talk. They see
the men returning to the floating towers, and leave the
coast to hurriedly tell the Emperor.
The tlillancalqui returns and bows before Montezuma.
It is true that there have come to
the shore I do not know what kind
of people. Some of them were
fishing there with rods; others,
with a net. Until very late they
were fishing. They got into a
canoe and went back to the thing
on the sea with the two towers,
and went into it. There must have
been about fifteen of them, some
with red bags, some blue, others
grey and green... and some of them
had red handkerchiefs on their


                       TLILLANCALQUI (cont'd)
heads and others, scarlet hats,
some which were very big and
round, in the style of little
frying pans, against the sun. The
skins of these people are white,
much more so than our skins are.
All of them have long beards and
hair down to their ears.
The court is astounded.
Craftsmen, prepare gifts for the
strange visitors. Guards, free
the laborer from prison. I want a
watch on the coast.
Montezuma looks at the tlillancalqui.
I want you to return as well. Give
the visitors the gifts.
Yes, my lord.
The EMISSARIES row out to the ships. An INTERPRETER calls
      (In Nahuatl, with
Who are you? Where is your home?
Where have you come from?
We have come from Mexico.
If in truth you are Mexican, what
is the name of your ruler?
Our lord's name is Montezuma.


The emissaries return.
O our lord..., mayest thou destroy
us! for behold this we have seen,
behold, this we have done, there,
where thy grandfathers stand guard
for thee before the ocean. We
went to see our lords...in the
midst of the water. All thy
mantles we went to give them. And
behold they gave us of their noble
You have suffered fatigue. You
are exhausted, rest. No one shall
speak anything of this, no one
will spread the news, you will
keep it to yourself.
Matlaluege and Plaxetotl take a walk into the city.
If everyone did not see the signs
from the heavens, could it mean
that some may not experience this
great change to come?
The signs mean that those who saw
them need to be ready for it. Even
before we came to the 'Cradle of
the Gods' those before us
perished. They must have seen
similar things before they met
their demise.
I know. But what can we do to
prevent the same thing happening
to us?
Of course we must remain vigilant.
But also we must continue to
intercourse with one another,
sharing our thoughts and feelings,
only by doing this can we


                       MATLALUEGE (cont'd)
strengthen ourselves for the
The two stop at a local merchants shop and buy supplies for
their stay: blankets, pipes and robes. After purchasing the
goods they leave, heading for the exit of the city. They
notice armed soldiers maintaining order. Matlaluege looks
them in the eyes.
The authority they have rests in
physical properties. Not
They continue to head out of the city, and keep their
Perez San Fernando heads up the small walkway that leads to
the estate of the Cuban Caudillo.
The heavy set Cuban leader sits at the head of his dinning
table, finishing off what is left of this morning meal.
San Fernando! Welcome. How are
things on the Guadalquivir?
Well sir...I came to give you a
manifest of my desired crew, in
reference to a possible journey to
Perez pulls from out of his vest the manifest.
I heard-
I know what you heard. The fact
of the matter is there is no
expedition. Nothing has been
approved. Cordoba did not start a
colony there, and neither did my
nephew Grijalva. What I need from


                       VELAZQUEZ (cont'd)
you, young sir, are your eyes and
ears. What is the mood down there
in Santo Domingo? Maybe you can
help me.
      (taken aback a bit)
There are many who want to go sir.
No, my friend. How willing are
the priors to permit such a
Perez heads down the walkway looking somewhat dejected. He
looks up at Cuba's beautiful horizon, as dusk settles in,
and sighs.
Juan Miguel gently caresses his wife's warm body.
You know I will be leaving soon.
Her eyes begin to tear, and she points to her belly. Juan
winces and gets up from the bed. He pauses to gather his
I'll be back.
I know.
Are you sure you're pregnant?
She smiles and nods her head.
Then I'll definitely return.


Don Eduardo strides towards the stable master, and extends
an upturned hand.
I'll take my pay now.
The stable master places his earnings in his hand, cynically
Eduardo notices.
I won't be here long.
                       STABLE MASTER
You're such a good worker, I just
hate to see you leave.
Ha! You're right.
Hannibal takes stock of the belongings on his floor. He
peers out of his small window, gazing at the village street.
Colonists are heading back and forth, busying themselves
with their daily chores. Several natives are bartering for
food from a local merchant.
Fr. Hernandez and Perez are talking in the living area of
the villa.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
Velazquez has decided on a captain
for his next expedition. You may
have heard of him. Hernan Cortes.
Yes, but why didn't he tap someone
in his family?
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
Don't know. It may be that he was
so fed up with Grijalva that he
looked elsewhere. Anyway, you and
your friends will be able to go


                       FR. HERNANDEZ (cont'd)
along. I have secured that.
Thank you Father.
                       FR. HERNANDEZ
No need to thank me, I need
someone I can trust on that voyage
to watch over matters, and report
back to me. You're just the man
for the job.
Juan and Eduardo cautiously walk up to the door and knock.
      (hesitating a bit)
Are you sure this is the place?
                       JUAN AND EDUARDO
We're here to take you to the
Good, I've been expecting you.
Juan, Eduardo and Hannibal walk through the crowd of men
arriving to board Perez's and others' ships for Cuba.
Hannibal spots the slave, Hector, whom he'd met before, his
Master Vincenzo Esperanza and another slave, RONALDO.

Juan admires his long steel sword, as it reflects the dim
light of the sun, hidden behind the clouds of the overcast
day, and prepares to stow it away in his trunk for now.
Eduardo passes him, smiling, carrying his own trunk, over
which lies the shinny steel of the conquistador's helmet and


The tall ships bob on the surface of high tide, as the
conquistadors load their supplies. Then Perez gives the
orders to set sail.
Arriving at Santiago the voyagers are astonished to see the
progress Cortes has made. Perez reports to the Admiral and
gives him a firm handshake.
Hello Senor Cortes.
Hi my friend.
I have brought you more ships.
More will be needed. Thank you.
From the deck of Perez's ship, Juan and Eduardo watch the
scene of the busy port.
Word around the ship is that
Velazquez and Cortes aren't on
that good of terms.
Well then, its best we depart as
soon as possible. Before he
changes his mind about the
Perez boards his ship and the expedition casts off.
Juan and Eduardo continue to conversate.
I'm glad we departed, but the
timing of things has me worried
about the surety of the journey.


Don't worry. If things don't go
well between the Admiral and
Velazquez, its not our throats
that will be cut.
Yeah, but it could ruin our
chances of going on this
Perez has a conversation on the pier with the other captains
of the expedition.
The magistrate was ordered to
delay the armada by Velazquez. He
wants to replace Cortes.
I don't understand what the
problem is between the two, but we
can't keep on making stops on the
island if Cortes wants to remain
Cortes has a conversation with Ordaz in his quarters.
I have heard of Velazquez's
intentions towards me, and know
that you are related to him.
Ordaz has a wide eyed look of fear.
I want you to join me. There are
rich lands to the west, and
monarchs as great as our kings!


Ordaz's vessel seizes a vessel carrying chicken, bread and
bacon. Ordaz talks to the CAPTAIN.
If you will join us the riches of
the land will be ours.
Ordaz just seized a vessel of food
headed to Darien!
We're not conquistadors. We're
From Trinidad Cortes sails to San Cristobal la Habana. He
gets caught up in the archipelago of Los Jardines de la
Reina, and his flagship runs aground. PEDRO DE ALVARADO and
his brothers make their way to Havana. Captains, FRANSISCO
them. Perez's ship stays behind, and the crew works to free
the Admiral.
Once freed, Cortes meets his other captains.
This town is loyal to Velazquez. I
wonder why the Admiral is stopping
Juan and Eduardo notice the malcontent on the faces of the
settlers there. Cortes stays at a friends house, and
displays his banner outside of it.
Here ye, here ye! His majesty's
servant, the Cuadillo, Hernan
Cortes has need of crewmen for an
expedition to the new islands of


                       CRIER (cont'd)
Yucatan! All who are interested
please report here for employment
in service of the King Charles V,
Diego Velazquez and the Cuadillo
Hernan Cortes!
The momentum of Cortes' movement begins to sweep the town
soon. Four more adventurers report to the house.
                       CONQUISTADOR 2
I wish to travel with Cortes.
I do not know what Cortes'
intentions really are towards me,
but they must be bad, because he
has spent everything he had and is
in debt. He has taken my
officials into his service as if
he were one of the lords of Spain.
In spite of that, I wish you
would go with him. It is not
fifteen days since he left this
port, and you can soon catch up to
him. I will help you and one or
two others who also want to go
with him.
SUPER: "FEBRUARY 18, 1519"
From the docks, Cortes stands in front of his captains, and
some crewmembers of the fleet. Perez stands in front with
the rest of the captains, and Juan and Eduardo stand behind.
Gentlemen, today we stand on the
verge of a great enterprise! To
the west lie large lands rich in
gold, and kingdoms that are
greater than those we know! There
will be great rewards wrapped
around hardships! But we will
succeed in our venture!
Cortes points towards the banner on his ship.


Friends, let us follow the cross
and, if we have faith, let us
conquer under this banner!
When they land, like Grijalva, they find that the natives
have gone to the interior. Alvarado begins to behave
terribly, and seizes the local people's turkeys, men, women,
and objects from the temple.
Alvarado! That is no way to
pacify the country.
Cortes imprisons Alvarado's pilot, Camacho, briefly. Perez,
Juan and Eduardo marvel at the temple to the goddess Ix
Chel, in its magnificent, multi-stepped pyramid form. There
is also curious honey, new fruits and vegetables, and sea

They find "beds of native cotton called hammocks". And also
find "most Holy Father books."

As they probe the remnants of the deserted village, Juan and
Eduardo come across a woman, with children and servants.
They report to Cortes.
Senor Cortes, we found this woman
and children and servants and
thought you should know.
Cortes gives the woman clothes, the children toys and the
servants scissors and mirrors. He turns to a conquistador
Bring me my interpreter.
The conquistador returns with the interpreter, and Cortes
begins to speak to the natives through him.
Tell her that we wish to see the
village chief and others.
      (in Nahuatl)
We wish to see the village chief
and others.


Tell her we have great things to
tell them, and will treat them
      (in Nahuatl)
We have great things to tell them,
and will treat them well.
Ask her will she bring them to us.
      (In Nahuatl)
Will you bring them to us?
      (In Nahuatl)
Melchor turns to Cortes.
She says yes.
The woman goes to get the chieftain and villagers. They
return and Cortes makes Alvarado return all of their stolen
goods. The Chief gives the Spanish fish, bread and honey in

Cortes addresses the Mayans.
Your human sacrifices are
unnatural. They should stop.
To whom should we submit to then.
The one and only God.
Cortes arranges for a mass next. He orders some of the men
to cast the natives' idols down the temple steps. A hollow
idol is left. He also builds a Christian altar and puts the
Virgin Mary's image on it. He dresses the Virgin in native
clothes. Two carpenters build a cross, and place it on top
of the main pyramid. The MAYANS also put the Virgin's image
on their boats.

The Mayans approach Cortes.


In the next door land known as
Yucatan, there were two Christians
who had been carried there a long
time ago in a boat, and a lord of
that land had held them as
Where are they. Show me.
We cannot. For if we go my men
will be eaten.

As the expedition prepares to leave, they are visited by
natives from Yucatan, travelling by canoe. Their hair is
tied as a woman's hair is, and they carry bows and arrows.
They make a sign that the Castilians should not be afraid
and reach the shore. One of them approaches the Spanish.
Gentlemen, are you Christians?
Whose subjects are you?
We are Castilians. Subjects of
the King of Castile.
Please give thanks to God! I am
Geronimo de Aguilar, and Spanish!
My God!
The Spaniards take the men to Cortes.
We had been shipwrecked and
captured by the Mayans. Five of
us had been sacrificed and eaten.
I had been put in a cage, with
others, to be fattened. We
escaped and were received by
Xamanzana, a Mayan chief of
another tribe. He gave us shelter
but kept us as slaves.


I survived by my faith. I
resisted temptations to fornicate
with the native women offered to
me, counted the days, and kept my
focus. The other captive Gonzalo
Guerroro chose a different path,
and remained with the Mayas. He
has a Mayan wife.
Cortes orders the fleet off. Before he boards his ship, he
turns to the natives.
Remember your need for salvation!
The Castilians finish destroying their idols.
The Spaniards board the ships and head to the river
Grijalva. Cortes takes smaller boats up it with a large
company of men. As they travel up the river, they notice
many Indians watching them from it's banks. They find a
settlement with many houses built of adobe. Natives in
canoes approach them before they reach the town.
                       MAYAN 1
What do you want?
We want food, and are willing to
pay for it. I am a brother of
Grijalva's whom you know.
                       MAYAN 1
Come back tomorrow.
Over the night, the Mayans evacuate their women and
children. The Castilians take more men off of their ships.

Juan and Eduardo, carrying their swords and lances, travel
silently up the Grijalva river. They join the rest of the
detachment on the river bank and wait until morning.


The Mayas bring turkey and maize to the Castilians. They
also bring a golden mask and jewels. Cortes accepts the
                       MAYAN 1
You must leave now.
No. Give us more gold.
Juan grips his sword handle more tightly.
                       MAYAN 1
We do not want to trade nor war.
We have no more gold. If you do
not leave you will be killed.
Cortes brings more men from the fleet. He sends Pedro de
Alvarado and Alonso de Avila, with fifty men each, up river
to cross beyond the town. Ordaz, on a scouting trip comes
across 30,000 Indians, he reads them the Requerimiento.
      (on horseback)
On behalf of the King, Don
Fernando, and of Dona Juana I, his
daughter, Queen of Castile and
Leon, subduers of the barbarous
nations, we their servants notify
and make known to you, as best we
can, that the Lord our God, Living
and Eternal, created the Heaven
and the Earth, and one man and one
woman, of whom you and we, all the
men of the world at the time, were
and are descendants, and all those
who came after and before us. But,
on account of the multitude which
has sprung from this man and woman
in the five thousand years since
the world was created, it was
necessary that some men should go
one way and some another, and that
they should be divided into many
kingdoms and provinces, for in one
alone they could not be sustained.
The next day, the Indians bring more turkey and maize.


I want to see the town. And can
you bring more food?
                       MAYAN 1
We will think about it.
That night, the Indians evacuate their families and property
from the town, and bring in soldiers.

Some of the Castilians try to find provisions in the town,
and are surrounded. Cortes addresses his men.
If you are afraid head back to the
ships! The rest prepare for war!
Cortes addresses the Natives.
It is inhuman to let us die of
hunger. If you would let us into
the town, we would grant you good
                       MAYAN 1
If only you would listen, you
would prosper. I need to see the
town for myself, so I can describe
it to my lord, the King of
Castile, the greatest in the
                       MAYAN 1
Leave, and stop trying to bully
I will come into the town tonight.
The Mayans laugh.
Cortes has a statement read, demanding that the natives
accept the authority of the King of Spain.
On behalf of the King, Don
Fernando, and of Dona Juana I his
daughter, Queen of Castile and
Leon, subduers of the barbarous


                       CRIER (cont'd)
The Mayans attack. The natives walk into the river,
flinging stones from their slings. Cortes puts his cannon
ashore and fires at them. The Indians are frightened, but
rally back. They fire their bows and arrows, and fling
spears. The conquistadors meet them with their steel
weapons. Juan pierces forward with his lance, felling an
attacker with a stab to the belly. Eduardo holds off some
more with his lance, thrusting at the natives in knee-deep
water; the natives fighting back with obsidian bladed
swords. Twenty Castilians are wounded, however they are
helped by Alvarado and Avila's men who find a back way into
town through the marshes. They occupy the town next, and
sleep by the main temple.
Juan gazes up at the stars, reflecting on the day's action.
I killed a man. Several of them.
Natives of a land where few have
gone before. What could be the
reason for this? And just why are
we here?
I killed some men too. We were
defending ourselves. Those
natives know where the gold is and
we're going to find it.
Cortes gathers the prisoners together, and addresses them.
What happened yesterday was your
fault. I wish to talk to your
Cortes lets the prisoners go.

The Maya prepare to attack again. Juan and others are sent
out to reconnoiter for them around the town. They bring
back many prisoners. Cortes addresses them.


You will be treated as brothers if
you lay down your arms.
Twenty Indian chiefs approach the Castilians. They touch
the ground with their hands, and kiss them - a greeting.
They address Cortes.
                       CHIEF 1
Please do not burn down the town.
We will bring you more food.
We intend to do good, and know the
truth behind great mysteries that
you will want to hear.
The next day, the Mayans bring fruit, and nothing more. They
address Cortes.
                       MAYAN 1
We are sorry for not bringing
more, but we have nothing else.
The populace is scattered, and
hiding. May we have some of your
beads and bells for presents. Our
lord has gone away.
I will seize the food.
Cortes sends three companies out to search the cornfields
for maize. They are to offer to pay for what they want.
Juan and Eduardo join the parties and head for the
countryside. They find many fields near a village called
Centla, but they are guarded. The conquistadors approach
the natives.
                       CONQUISTADOR 4
We want some maize. We will pay
for what is needed.
                       MAYAN 2
You may not have any.
The two parties begin to fight. The size of the native
force is massive, and the Castilians are outnumbered. Juan
and Eduardo fight well, but they are forced to retreat.

Cortes comes to their aid, with the help of the other


companies. Brandishing his sword, the head conquistador,
battles past the ranks of Mayans, who dodge in and out of
the fields, using the high vegetation for cover. Near the
forest they retreat to, Juan, Eduardo and the rest of the
conquistadors thrust forward with lances and swords, pushing
back their stingy attackers.
The following day, more fighting occurs. Cortes sends the
wounded back to the ships, and orders the rest of his army
from them, and the horses too. Perez San Fernando, on
horseback, leads a detachment out, with Hannibal Matienzo
and Vincenzo Esperanza. His slaves help attend to the
wounded, with other slaves. The Castilians meet the Mayans,
again, in the fields. There are five large squadrons of
them. The crops get bloodied by the human carnage, and
Hannibal charges forward, with his sword, cutting down man
upon man. Perez, mounted on his steed, stabs down with his
lance, on the crowds of natives. Arrows sally forth,
arching through the mid-day sky, finding unwilling targets
in the ranks of Castilians advancing through the vital
crops. The irrigation ditches make it difficult to fight.
The crossbowmen and arquebusiers find it hard to make out
targets. Thus, more pressure is put on the hand-to-hand
fighters, like Juan, Eduardo and Hannibal, who are now
immersed in the thick of the fighting, cutting and stabbing
at every copper-toned assailant.

Cortes has the cannon brought up, but to no avail. The
Indians have conquered their fear of it. However, the
horses provide a breakthrough, and the natives are
psychologically effected by them. They think they are
dragons, and they might as well have been. It is the first
time they are used in battle in the Americas.

Conquistador FRANSISCO DE MORLA gives inspiration to the
embattled Spaniards, and battles with such ferocity that the
Mayans think he is a centaur. The Castilians think he is
the knight Santiago who had fought against the Moors. He
provides an excellent omen.

The Indians withdraw, giving victory to the Castilians. No
one has been killed, although sixty are wounded. Some of
the Spaniards become ill because of the heat, and bad water
they drink from one of the streams.

The natives have lost hundreds.


Thirty Indians, "in good cloaks", bring food. They speak to


                       MAYAN 2
May we bury the dead.
I will allow it, upon seeing your
Their lord comes, and brings more food and offerings. He
also brings twenty women to cook for them. Thinking the
conquistadors have none. Cortes divides the women among his
captains. Cortes arranges for a horse to be placed next to
a mare to cause it to behave wildly. The Maya become scared
and offer it turkeys and flowers.
The apostles are angry that we
were attacked.
The natives become more afraid. Cortes then fires a cannon.
Where are the gold and silver
mines? Why did you accept
Grijalva and rejected me? And why
did you flee from so few
                       MAYAN 2
We have no mines. We are not
interested in gold. But the
Mexicans are. Grijalva had
smaller ships and fewer men. And
your swords dazzled us. Although
we did not understand what you
said of the Christian God, we want
to learn more.
They accept the destruction of their idols and the authority
of the King of Castile.
Far from the coast of Yucatan, Plaxetolt, and the fellowship
of divines, gather around Mezopan, in a circle, and listen
to his words of the Maya, unaware of what was happening to
them that very moment.
They were a very resolute people,
the Maya of the past. I spent day
and night there, learning of their
gods and culture.


The group share peyote, passing the pipe to one another
around the small fire, in the middle of the circle, in front
of Mezopan.
No one can say how and why their
civilization decayed, but this is
certain. It did. If we can learn
anything from them, it is that all
things come to an end. So will
He's right.
Maybe not. Maybe these
experiences we've been sharing
with one another, all our lives,
and what we've learned from the
Mayans are telling us that there
can be something more...maybe a
Good. Quetzalcoatl is the very
nature of rebirth. He was a son,
one of four suns, who was reborn
into the one sun of our
But what of Tlaloc?
What of him?
He comes and goes as he pleases,
and returns with storms and
Ah, yes. Tlaloc is descendant of
another god. One who was sung
about by the poet-king of Texcoco.
A one and only God.
The group is wide-eyed and astounded.
The Totonacs came from
Teotihuacan, bringing this idea
with them. It was only through


                       MEZOPAN (cont'd)
Tlaloc that this could be
translated to our people. It is
the reason for our separation from
them now.
Cortes gives a speech to the natives.
You will be allowed to return to
the city if you abandon human
sacrifices and demons, and
henceforth lift up your souls to
Jesus Christ. God is the master
of all things. He rewards those
who do good, and punishes those
who do bad. I am under the King
of Spain's command, and sent by
him as God's vicar.
The Spaniards then smash the remaining idols, and put up an
altar and cross.
The fleet anchored next off San Juan de Ulua, where Grijalva
had been very well received. ALONZO HERNANDEZ PORTOCARRERO
looks at the shore.
It seems to me that those of us
who have been twice already to
this land are saying to you:
Behold France Montesinos, Behold
Paris the city! Behold the waters
of the Douro which flow down to
the sea. I say that you are
looking at rich lands and may you
know how to govern them well.
Let God give us that good fortune
which he gave to the paladin
Roland. After all, with you, and
these other gentlemen, as leaders,
I will easily learn how to manage
Some Indians in canoes visit the Castilians.


What is the purpose of your visit?
We want to see your Governor.
He gives the natives some beads and wine.
May we have some for our governor?
Cortes gives them more for their Governor.
The next day, Cortes receives no reply from the Indians
about seeing the Governor. He sets off for the coast with
about two hundred men. Juan and Eduardo (now on horseback)
and Hannibal join the venture. Artillery, servants and a
few dogs are taken also. Hector and Ronaldo Esperanza come
with their master, Vincenzo as well.

The Totonacs receive them at the shore. The Castilians are
welcomed with "signs of love". The Totonacs remember that
Grijalva was benign, like the Mayans of Potonchan. They
give Cortes plenty of food, cloaks and copper and silver
                       TOTONAC 1
      (presenting the
Even a god has to don his proper
Thank you.
                       TOTONAC 1
Where are Grijalva's men? We
enjoyed our time with them.
Most didn't come this time. A few
however, are on the ship.
Cortes gives their Chiefs some fancy Castilian clothes, some
being red, which was the color Quetzalcoatl painted his
Watching the exchange, Eduardo turns to Juan.


Something grand could come out of
this journey!
Grijalva must have truly made a
good impression on these people.
The following day, Easter Sunday, one of Montezuma's
emissaries comes, with servants. It is a slave
CUITLALPITOC. He brings food and more jewels. Cortes has a
table set up to receive such items now and trade.

The steward, Teudile, visits next. He brings many men with
him, unarmed, but finely dressed in feathers and embroidered
I come representing Montezuma, who
has heard of your arrival, and of
the battle at Pontonchan.
He gives Cortes several jewels and feathers. He also offers
incense and straws with his blood on them. He and his
entourage eat dirt to show respect. Cortes gives Teudile a
silk coat, glass beads and other trinklets. Teudile has his
men build huts for the visitors, and gives Cortes two
thousand servants.

Cortes orders a mass, and has a cross put up on the sand.
Teudile looks on in interest, as they humble themselves
before pieces of wood. A dinner is held later.
I am the subject of Don Carlos of
Austria, the King of Spain, who
rules most of the world. The
King, having heard of Mexico, sent
me and my men to tell Teudile's
King many interesting things.
Where is Montezuma? And when can
I see him?
Montezuma is no less than the King
of Spain. He is also a great lord
who is served by lesser lords. I
will find out what he wants.
I want you to set up in your city,
in where you keep the idols you
believe to be gods, a


                       CORTES (cont'd)
cross...and...an image of Our Lady
with precious son in her arms,
which will cause you to prosper.
What is Montezuma's age and
He is a mature man, not fat but
spare, small and thin.
Juan, Eduardo and Hannibal are called up with other men from
the expedition to put on a military show for Teudile
afterwards. They parade in military fashion, and Alvarado
leads some horsemen, including Juan and Eduardo along the
beach in a gallop. The cannon fires several times, and
Teudile admires the show, but falls to the ground, along
with his entourage, when they are detonated.
Does Montezuma have gold. I know
that it helps a bad heart.
Teudile's report reaches Montezuma within two days. It is
carried by messengers, rather than relay, the normal
practice. He receives it with alarm. Locusts are swirling
around Tenochtitlan, monsters of the twilight, and their
circle is tightening.

The Emperor almost dies of fright. He is filled with dread,
as if swooning. His soul is sickened, his heart anguished.
At first he doesn't want to hear the message. He cant dream
nor eat. No one can console him either. He sighs often.
Nothing gives him pleasure.
What will happen to us?
Montezuma weeps.
Montezuma sacrifices two captives, and sprinkles their blood
on the messengers.


                       MESSENGER 1
The strangers' food is like human
food. From this, we know they are
the same we met a year ago. They
cover their bodies with clothes.
Their faces are white. Their eyes
are chalk colored. And their hair
is often fair. Most of them wear
long beards. They have iron
weapons, and cloth themselves in
it for war. Their heads are
covered with iron. They have a
device which shoots fire and loud
thunderbolts. They also ride on
deer that are as high as rooftops.
They had animals with them that
were large and spotted, with
blazing yellow eyes and flanks
with ribs showing. Their lord
also asked of you. Your age and
appearance and if you had any
Might they be coming to
                       MESSENGER 1
I don't know.
Should I hide?
                       PRIEST 1
An Emperor has to keep his post.
The fellowship decides to return from Mezopan's. When they
reach the outskirts of Tenochtitlan, a great cloud hangs
over the city.
We must go see the Emperor.
This will be difficult. I hear he
wishes to see no one outside of
his close circle of advisors.


No doubt he is questioning who
these visitors come from and what
their intentions are.
The Totonacs believe they are sent
from heaven and are immortal. They
believe they are new gods, not old
Mexican ones.
I am told the Spaniards conduct
themselves gaily, however, Gods
are not saints.
True. Even Quetzalcoatl was
expelled once for seducing his
sister. Huitzilopochtli stole our
people's clothes once.
Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca are
constantly arguing. And they are
not all powerful.
There is also the possibility that
the newcomers are returning gods:
the bloodthirsty Huitzilopochtli,
the humane Quetzalcoatl or the
mischievous Tezcatlipoca.
                       PRIEST 1
These intruders might be
representatives of Quetzalcoatl,
who was once the Toltecs' king.
                       PRIEST 2
In Tollan, Quetzalcoatl represents
learning and culture and is
opposed to human sacrifices. Many
times...certain sorcerers
attempted to shame him into making
human offerings...But he would
not. He was expelled from Tollan.
He wandered and vanished into the
eastern sea.


The divines continue their discussion.
This year, I-Reed, is
Quetzalcoatl's year. He was born
on this year and died on it. It
is also a bad year for
kings...According to the sings, if
he comes on I-Crocodile, he
strikes the old men and women; if
on I-Jaguar, I-Deer, I-Flower, he
strikes at children; if on I-Reed,
he strikes at kings.
We do not believe in anything
happening by chance.
Right...The years of the Reed come
from the east, where the newcomers
come, where Quetzalcoatl vanished.
They say they were dressed in
black, this is one of
Quetzalcoatl's favorite colors.
And their leader criticized the
human sacrifices. Quetzalcoatl
was against them too.
Has Quetzalcoatl, white hero of
the day, returned?
                       PRIEST 1
This is possible my lord.
He has appeared! He has come
back! He will come here to the
place of his throne and canopy,
for that is what he pronounced
when he departed.


We all know that Quetzalcoatl
prophesied that the miss-treatment
of him would cause strangers in
multicolored clothing to come from
the east and destroy us.
The strangers could be lead by
Tezcatlipoca, "Smoking Mirror, the
omnipotent god who tricked
Quetzalcoatl, dispossessed people,
the god of "affliction and
anguish", who brings all things
down and mocks and ridicules
men...he quickens vice and sin.
Wherever he is, he causes
confusion. He is arbitrary, but
also stands for total power. He
brings wealth, heroism, valor,
dignity, and rulership. He is
capricious...He likes to be
coaxed...He mocks us...As he
wishes, so he wills,...It is as he
may want it: he puts us in the
palm of his hand...We roll about
like pebbles...
This Cortes and his group are
nothing but criminals brother.
Yes dear cousin, you are only
procrastinating by thinking they
are gods. Mexican legends before
Cortes' arrival do not mention
returning lords.
                       PRIEST 2
However and old proverb runs:
Another time it will be like this,
another time things will be the
same, some time, some place. What
happened a long time ago, and
which no longer happens, will be
again, it will be done again as it
was in far-off times: those who
now live, will live again, they


                       PRIEST 2 (cont'd)
will live again..
We will appease the visitors. They
are to be given all they want.
Teoctlamacazqui, my tillancalqui,
Keeper of the House of Darkness,
lead them once more and give the
strangers more presents. All of
us will die at the hands of the
new gods and those who survive
will be their slaves and vassals.
They are the ones to reign now,
and I shall be the last ruler of
this land. Even if some of our
relations and descendants survive,
they will be subordinates, like
tax gatherers. Go, do not delay.
Make reverence to our lord...Tell
him that his lieutenant Montezuma
has sent you here. Here is what
he gives you in honour of your
arrival in your home in Mexico.
Teoctlamacazqui asks for Cortes. MARINA and AGUILAR
translate for the Castilians.
May we see Cortes?
                       MARINA AND AGUILAR
Who are you/ Where do you come
We come from Mexico.
You may or you may not come from
there. Perhaps you are teasing
Teoctlamacazqui shows her and the Castilians the presents he
brought: gold jewels, quetzal plumes, obsidian, and
We bring these gifts.


You may come aboard.
The emissaries board the vessel, and address Cortes.
Pray that the god will hear us.
Your lieutenant Montezuma comes to
give homage to you. He has the
city of Mexico in his charge.
They then dress Cortes like a Mexican deity. They put a
golden dragons head on him. They put a rich cloak of
feathers on him also, and lay ornaments at his feet: an
obsidian mirror, a tray of gold, a golden jar, and a
mother-of-pearl shield.
Are there any other lords?
The Castilians point out fair haired Pedro de Alvarado,
Cortes' chief captain. He is dressed as well.
We will call you Tonatiuh, a name
for the sun in the daytime...Will
you be going to Tenochtitlan?
Senor Cortes highly respects
Montezuma, and will be going to
enjoy his presence. He hopes you
will guide him.
When hearing this, the Mexicans cut themselves, and offered
their blood to Cortes. The Admiral becomes angry and
strikes them with broadside of his sword.
Could these be all your presents?
This is all we came with, O lord.
Cortes then has them shackled in irons, and fires a canon,
which frightens them.
Listen, I have known and heard
that you Mexica are very strong,
exceedingly brave; tremendous
people. It has been said that one
Mexica can pursue, drive on,
overcome, turn back even ten or


                       CORTES (cont'd)
twenty of his enemies. I wish to
test you to see how strong you
are, how powerful.
He gives them swords and shields.
Early in the morning a dawn we
shall fight and try our strengths.
We shall joust in pairs and see
who falls.
But this is not what your
lieutenant Montezuma commanded us
to do. We have only come to
salute our lord. We cannot do
what the lord asks of us. If we
were to do such a thing, we would
annoy Montezuma and he would
punish us.
No. It must be as I say. I wish
to marvel at your prowess. For it
is known in Castile that you are
very powerful and valiant. Now
let us eat, and, in the morning,
we shall fight.
The natives leave on their canoes for shore, paddling fast.
Once there they head straight for Tenochtitlan.
O lord. We gave the strangers our
presents and they said they would
be coming here to see you. When
we offered blood to them, they
bade us fight them.
Montezuma calls on his supreme council. They meet in the
House of the Eagle Knights. Cacama, King of Texcoco, and
Totoquihuatzin, poet-king of Tacuba are present.
If these men are Quetzalcoatl or
his sons, they will come here to
dispossess us. Therefore, we
should do anything we can to stop
them. On the other hand, if they


                       MONTEZUMA (cont'd)
are ambassadors of a great lord,
they should be heard. We will
fight gods, but receive humans.
My advice is not to allow into
your house someone who will put
you out of it.
My advice is that, if you do not
admit the embassy of a great lord
such as the King of Spain appears
to be, it is a low thing, since
princes have the duty to hear the
ambassadors of others. If they
come dishonestly, you have in your
court brave captains who can
defend us.
The majority decides it will be best to prevent Cortes'
coming to Tenochtitlan. They will openly offer help, but
insist that it will be difficult for him to meet Montezuma.
The road is long, and full of Mexican enemies. They also
arrange for the magicians to use all their knowledge and
power to harm, impede and frighten off the Castilians in
order that they will not dare to come to Mexico.
Plaxetotl grabs his walking stick and heads towards the
Iztapalapa Causeway that links the southern portion of the
city with the southwestern coast of the lake of Texcoco,
while viewing the beautiful southern skyline of the city.
The clouds are beginning to break, and small rays of
sunshine are finding their way to the center of it,
highlighting the Temple Precinct. Almost as if telling him
where to go.

He walks through the guards at the palace with no difficulty
and heads to Montezuma's chambers.
The Emperor sits in a large chair, studying some of the
presents he plans to send to Cortes. He looks up and sees


How did you get in? Who let you
It is of no matter. I am here to
tell you of the extreme and
certain consequences that
confronts your empire if you do
not cease the human sacrifices,
which oppress your people.
Montezuma is taken aback. A look of great confusion covers
his face, which changes to submission at the heaviness of
the divines' words.
It is too late. I have already
sent men to coast to deal with
this threat.
No it is not. You still have a
chance to change the domestic
practices of our people. If you
do not then all you have done and
plan to do will fall apart before
your eyes.
Who sent you? In who's name have
you come? Huitzilopochtli?
No, I have come in the name of
With that he exits the palace.
Wait, come back!
Teudile returns bringing the presents with him: cotton, gold
and featherwork, jewelry, and two gold and silver disks,
begun for Grijalva.

Teudile also brings food: turkeys, eggs and tortillas, which
disgust the Spaniards.


Montezuma is happy to hear of the
King of Castile. He hopes the
King will send more of these
unusual, good, strange and
never-before-seen men. You are
free to have the gold to cure the
strange sickness your men have. If
you wish to send things back to
the King you should only ask for
them. As for meeting with
Montezuma, however, that is
impossible. He cannot travel to
the sea. He has to attend the
forthcoming ceremony of the
flowers. You will not be able to
travel to Tenochtitlan, because
the route is impassable.
Cortes gives Teudile some clothes.
I need to see Montezuma. If I
can't my King will be displeased.
He sends Montezuma a glass cup, of Florentine ware, and
three Holland shirts.
Twenty Totonacs visit.
                       TOTONAC 1
We are from Cempollan. We
represent our lord, who is
independent of Montezuma. We pay
little tribute to the Mexicans.

Teudile returns to the Castilian's camp with cotton goods,
featherworks and pieces of jade.
You should leave because you will
not be able to see Montezuma.
The emissary becomes irritated and leaves with the two
thousand Indians who had been attending to them.
Believing the Mexica are preparing for war, Cortes has the
supplies put back on the ships. Juan and Eduardo are sent


out under Alvarado, along with 100 soldiers to look for
maize. They make a magnificent discovery inland. A
deserted village is found, on a river. In the middle of it
is a large house decorated with gold. Scouting inside, Juan
and Eduardo discover a temple, with evidence of a recent
human sacrifice inside.
Don't touch anything but the food.
Alvarado begins to behave badly again, and the men become
rampant. Juan and Eduardo witness the kidnapping of two
Indian women.
Cortes talks with some of his captains.
Your actions have given those who
want to leave more cause now.
If some town was burned or another
was robbed, I did not see it, nor
did I know of it, much less did I
The human sacrifices are deeply
troubling to me. The natives of
Hispaniola and Cuba did not
practice this.
                       VELAZQUEZ DE LEON
If we get captured by the Mexicans
we could be next. To my manner of
thinking, there is no other
kingdom on earth where such an
offence and disservice has been
rendered to Our Lord, nor where
the devil has been so honored.
We should push further. You have
seen the crosses of Yucatan, freed
the Castilian captive, and gotten
more gold. We should settle the


I have no power to establish a
colony. Velazquez told me to look
for Grijalva. We should leave. I
order an embarkation.
In the name of God and the King
found a colony. The Mexica
probably will not allow us to land
again, any settlers to a new
colony will demand to stay here.
Those who want to leave can do so.
You should cease trading for
gold, since the country will be
ruined if you continue, and only
you and Diego Velazquez will
profit from it.
Perez, you go with 50 men to find
a good place to settle the land.
Ordaz you take 50 men and look
also. Velazquez de Leon you go
into interior with another group
of men. I will cease trading for
gold, and found a city called
Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. The
expedition will be its population.
It is obvious that the Mexicans
are civilized, intelligent and
reasonable. They also have a vast
territory. We should build
fortifications. When this is done
we can send the ships back to
Cuba. We can trade with the
Indians hostile to Mexico. Each
member of the expedition will be a
citizen, with voting rights.
The Totonacs of Cempoallan give the conquistadors more
turkey and tortillas. The expedition passes by rows of
maize fields. A hundred Totonacs bring even more turkeys.
                       TOTONAC 1
Our lord did not come because is
too fat to move.


The conquistadors move on, seeing gardens and orchards.
Cortes enters the city to sounds of trumpets. The chief,
                       TOTONAC CHIEF
Please, stay.
We will.
The Castilians are housed in a palace, and given mats to
sleep on.
This place is remarkable.
Yes, very.
Cortes fears a trick. He places guns at the entrance, and
has it guarded all night. Tlacochcalcatl came the next day,
bringing more food and the usual presents.
Please, have dinner with us.
Cortes takes fifty men with him, and cotton goods as
We are irritated at having to pay
tribute to Mexico. They are
taking everything. They came in
the name of religion, then seized
our arms, and enslaved many
people. Before we had lived in
peace, quietness, and liberty.
Tenochtitlan is very strong. Being
built on water, it is impregnable.
However, we the Tlaxcalans and
Huexotzincans hate the Mexica.
Ixtilxochitl, rival for the thone
of Texcoco, also hates them, and
might help you. If you ally with
those mentioned, you can beat
I have come also to calm disputes
and reduce tyrannies.
Checking out the city, Juan and Eduardo come across another
harrowing discovery, as a temple pyramid is found with a


ceramic skull rack in front of it. Cortes sees five slaves
destined to be sacrificed, and releases them.
You will ruin me and all this
kingdom if you rob me of those
slaves. Our infuriated gods will
send locusts to devour our
harvests, hail to beat down,
drought to burn them, and
torrential rain to swamp them if
we offer no more sacrifices.
Cortes returns them in friendship.

The expedition moves out to Quiahutztlan. The chief of
Cempoallan gives them four-hundred porters. They carry most
of the Castilians' equipment.

Juan and Eduardo ride with other horsemen up a steep hill
that leads to the town. The natives there have been alerted
by the chief of Cempoallan, and they receive the men well.
They enter the town square, and the natives marvel at their
beards. The lord sits down with Cortes and explains their
                       LORD OF QUIAHUIZTLAN
My people too have been driven mad
by the Mexicans' demands. They
have even sacrificed some of our
sons and daughters, and took some
for servants.
As they talk, a Mexican delegation arrives, expecting
tribute. They wear embroidered clothes, and their hair is
shining and drawn back. They enter the square, with crooked
sticks, carrying flowers and smelling them. They completely
ignore the Castilians, as the townspeople quake with fear.

Juan and Eduardo are fascinated by the entourage. The lord
is less enthused. He starts to carry out the normal paying
of tribute, but Cortes stops him.
Seize the emissaries instead, and
imprison them.
This he does.


Cortes orders two of them released and pretends not to know
who they are.
                       PRISONER 1
We are Mexican stewards. Why are
we being treated this way? Did
you put the people of Quiahuiztlan
up to it?
You have been freed because I
can't stand this sort of treatment
being given to agents of
Montezuma. Tell Montezuma I am his
friend. In the meantime I will
prevent the other stewards'
The lord of Quiahuiztlan becomes angry when he finds that
the two have escaped. He wants the rest put to death, but
Cortes intervenes.
The men were probably obeying
superior orders, and thus acted on
natural law. I can imprison them
on my ship, instead.
                       LORD OF QUIAHUIZTLAN
The people will be happy to assist
you in a rebellion against
I haven't officially made up my
mind on the matter yet, however I
will command and defend you
because I value your friendship.
How much men can you provide?
                       LORD OF QUIAHUIZTLAN
One hundred thousand.
More of Montezuma's ambassadors arrive, lead by MOTELCHIUH.
Two of Montezuma's nephews are with him also. They
represent Cacama, King of Texcoco and Montezuma. They
return the helmet given to Teudile, and it contains gold
dust, as Cortes wished.


                       NEPHEW 1
The Emperor is pleased that you
saved his tribute collectors, and
will overlook your staying with
the evil Cempoallans. He is sick,
and too busy with wars and
negotiations to meet with you.
However, we are sure in the end
you will meet.
Cortes receives the men well, and gives them good lodging.
They are astonished at the determination of the Spanish to
settle there. Cortes gives them some presents, and has
Alvarado perform another military display.

Cortes then privately requests the lord of Quiahuitzlan.
You should not look on Montezuma
as your lord anymore. May I have
your blessing on releasing the
rest of the Mexican prisoners?
                       LORD OF QUIAHUIZTLAN
Soon the chief of Cempoallan calls Cortes on his commitment
to them. Twenty miles to the south there is a Mexican
garrison stationed at Tizpancingo. Although the tributary
collectors have fled from there, the Mexican army is being
positioned to suppress the Totonac rebellion.

Cortes leaves immediately for the town. Juan and the others
are called for battle. The don their appropriate attire.
The Totonacs from Quiahuiztlan join also. The Mexica come
out to meet them, in battle array, as well, but flee at the
site of the conquistadors, and their beards and horses.
Cortes cuts them off however. The horses, unable to follow
the Mexicans up a steep rock where the town is, are left
behind, and their riders dismount. They force their way
into the town, and capture the remaining Mexicans and give
the town over to the chief of Cempoallan.

The Totonacs are impressed, and the rebellion extends.
Cortes' confidence grows as well. He finds out the Mexicans
have no special military skills, weapons or discipline.

Passing through Cempoallan, Cortes now removes the idols in
the temple. When the chiefs and the people see their idols
broken and lying on the ground, they set up a miserable
howl, cover their faces and beg forgiveness of the idols
that they are unable to protect them. The chief's
lieutenants begin to attack the Spaniards. He intervenes. A


frenzy takes over the Castilians as they destroy the graven
images. They all become disugusted at how foreign the
natives' culture is, and do not know, or understand its

They put up an image of the Virgin and cross in the temple.
FR. OLMEDO holds a mass. Four Indian priests' hair is cut,
by Cortes, and they are put in charge of the Christian

The Cempoallans absorb Christianity. Eight girls are given
away, as well, and baptized. They are given to the
captains. Perez San Fernando is pleased he receives a
prettier one than the chief's niece, CATALINA.

Returning to Villa Rica, Cortes finds sixty reinforcements
of men, and several horses from Cuba. They are under the
command of FRANCISCO DE SAUCEDO, el pulido, the neat.
                       FRANCISCO DE SUACEDO
Diego Velazquez has received, a
license to seek, at his own cost,
islands and mainland territory
which has up till now not been
Cortes drafts a letter to the King and Queen of Spain.
                       CORTES (V.O.)
Your Majesties, Seeing that
Hernandez de Cordoba and
Grijalva's journeys to Yucatan
were not fruitful, I was obliged
to create a council here, and am
asking for confirmation of their
positions. I also would like an
official inquiry into Diego
Velazquez's activities. The land
here is vast and lush and their
are many riches within. However,
the natives have a disturbing
practice of human sacrifices. The
Totonacs are highly evolved
politically and rationally. The
devotion, trust and hope they have
for their religions should be able
to be changed to serve the true
God. If they could serve Jesus
Christ with the same faith, fervor
and diligence, they would work
many miracles...Your servant,


                       CORTES (cont'd)
Hernan Cortes.
Perez enters Cortes' lodging.
Sir, I have been informed by one
of my men that there is a plot led
by the priest JUAN DIAZ to seize
one of your vessels.
Thank you. It is obvious I can't
rely on some of the men in the
expedition any more. I must
destroy the fleet, without the
army knowing.
Several of the ships are not even
seaworthy anymore.
If it be so, we must make the best
of it! Heavens will be done!
Cortes meets with his men to explain the situation.
Gentlemen, I know some of you are
distraught at the loss of the
fleet, but most of the ships were
unseaworthy. Mine is the greatest
loss, as they were all my
property. We will have one
hundred more recruits now that
they are no longer needed to man
the ships, and we will not need
the vessels if we succeed in
reaching Tenochtitlan. If we fail
we will be too far inland to
benefit from them anyway. Focus
on successfully reaching the
Mexican capital. That is what a
brave soul would do. We have
already started, so why give up.
As for me, I have chosen my part.
I will remain here, while there is
one to bear me company. If there
be any so crave, as to shrink from
sharing the dangers of our
glorious enterprise, let them go
home, in God's name. There is
still one vessel left. Let them


                       CORTES (cont'd)
take that and return to Cuba. They
can tell there how they deserted
their commander and their
comrades, and patiently wait till
we return with the spoil of the
To Mexico! To Mexico!
Get your head together! It is
obvious to all, that Quetzalcoatl
has returned! Either he, or this
one God we've been told about!
When will you all wake up?
Divine will bends towards all who
respect it. No matter who this
person is, if we honor the gods,
then we will be spared.
The gods are bowing down to him!
As the expedition reaches Cempeollan, a messenger brings
word that Spanish vessels are off the coast of Villa Rica.
Four vessels commanded by ALONSO ALVAREZ DE PINEDA have come
from FRANCISCO DE GARAY, Governor of Jamaica. They bring
documents for Cortes, requiring him to share Mexico. Cortes
returns, with 100 men, inviting them to leave. When they do
not, he has them arrested. They soon join his army. More
land, and are tricked to surrender. The rest depart.
The expedition stops in the town of Zautla next. OLINTECLE,
the chief, receives them warmly. He is a tributary of
Mexico. The Castilians sleep under roofs, for the first
time since Villa Rica. Juan and Eduardo enjoy this comfort
thoroughly, resting their tired legs from the long walk
there. However, they are shocked by the racks of human
skulls in front of the temples. Cortes talks to Olintecle.


Are you a steward of Montezuma?
I cannot conceive of anyone who
I have some things to tell you
about another belief, and another
lord greater than Montezuma. It
is imperative that you stop your
human sacrifices, and cannibalism.
Montezuma will soon be a subject
of Charles V. You should submit
to the throne, and provide gold as
a sign of your commitment.
I cannot give you any gold unless
Montezuma allows it.
I will have Montezuma order it
Montezuma has thirty major
vassals, with 100,000 men, and
sacrifices 20,000 a year. He
lives in a palace that is the best
defended and most beautiful in the
While there, a dog barks all night.
                       NATIVE 2
Is it a lion or tiger?
                       CEMPEOLLAN 1
The Castilians take dogs to kill
anyone they dislike.
                       NATIVE 2
What about the horses?
                       CEMPEOLLAN 1
They can catch anyone they want.
                       NATIVE 2
And the guns?


                       NATIVE 2
They can kill from a distance
anyone the Castilians desire.
Well, they must be gods then.
The chief offers Cortes presents, as do some chiefs from
nearby towns. Cortes sends four Cempoallan chiefs ahead to
Tlaxcala, warning of his arrival. They take with them
tokens of peace.

During their stay in Zautla, Juan, Eduardo, Hannibal and
others witness a bloody sacrifice of 50 men. Some of the
expedition are carried around in hammocks during the
What type of butchers are these
None like I've seen before.
The expedition waits at Izqaquimaxtitlan for the messengers.
When they don't come, they set off for Tlaxcala with over
1,000 soldiers. Heading down the valley, they run into a
large stone wall runs for several miles. It is a barrier
between the people of Iztaquimaxtitlan and Tlaxcala. Passing
through it, Cortes repeats his earlier slogan.
Gentlemen: let us follow the
banner, the sign of the Holy
Cross, and by this we shall
Cortes moves on, in front of the army, with a few horsemen.
They are on the slopes of Mt. Matlalcueyatl when fifteen
Tlaxcalan scouts approach them. They flee when they see the
horses, but Cortes chases them to negotiate. They call out
to the rest of their army, lower down the valley. Two
horses are felled by their obsidian-bladed swords. Three
others are wounded.

A large force of Tlaxcalans come up with painted faces that
give them a terrible look. They let out war cries and leap
in the air. The Castilians become frightened by this, and
their large number. Alvarado and Avila come up on
horseback, with the rest of the horsemen. They kill close


to 50 of them, and the rest fall back.

The wounded tend to themselves with fat from a dead Indian.
They continue on. They sleep in the open that night. They
are short on food, and Juan and the others dine off baby
dogs from a nearby town.

When the Cempoallan messengers arrive in Tlaxcala they are
taken before a council of leaders. The Tlaxcalan chiefs
discuss the matter of the Castilians.
I am in favor of peace. They
might be gods.
                       MERCHANT 1
We agree with you.
We should fight them.
I propose a compromise. We should
accept the newcomers formally, and
secretly prepare an army, mainly
made up of Otomis. If we win, we
can sacrifice the prisoners. If
we loose, we will blame the
Resting near a stream, Juan and the rest of the
conquistadors awake to preparations of warfare with the
Looks as if we have some rough
weather ahead.
The expedition soon came across two of the other Cempoallans
that had been sent to Tlaxcala. They were in tears.
                       CEMPOALLAN 2
We had been tied up to be
sacrificed, but escaped.


A little while later they come upon another force of
Indians. The Otomi attack. They shoot arrows and fling
spears. The Castilians advance forward. Arrows nestle in
and bounce off of Juan's cotton armor, but do him no harm.
The others fair similarly. Hannibal cuts down several
opponents with his sword, the obsidian blades failing to
break through his armor to find flesh. Eduardo uses his
lance to fend off assailants, as spears launched by atlatls
fly around his body and over his head.

They fight for hours, the Castilians matching their
state-of-the-art technology against the less formidable
weapons of the Otomi. Juan deflects spears with his sword,
and lunges forward with it, hacking and stabbing at the
natives' penetrable cotton armor. Eduardo, after impaling
many attackers with his lance, looses it, and replaces it
with his sword, which comes in very handy as he decapitates
a native opponent, captivated for a second by his head
sailing through the air onto another Otomi locked in combat.

The Spanish, and their allies force the attackers back.
However, pursuing them, they run into an ambush. A larger
number of Otomi man both sides of a ravine which the
conquistadors enter. Cortes estimates them at 100,000.
Somewhat resembling an American western, the natives rush
down the sides of the hills, firing arrows, once again, and
launching their spears. At this point, Juan wishes for his
steel armor, as his cotton padding has taken a severe
beating. However he, and the others, continue their
resilient struggle. His bloody sword, once more, finds more
native flesh to disassemble. He reels back from the blow of
an obsidian sword to his helmet, but a large body of
conquistadors push back in the opposite direction, stabbing
his assailant, and others' with their lances.

The Otomi make several attempts to capture a horse, and are
finally successful. Noticing their desire to rob him of
his, Vincenzo Esperanza stabs determinably at the desperate
foot soldiers, finding his lance dividing their skulls and
intersecting their shoulder bones. Perez San Fernando is
bleeding from the leg, as he has been wounded by a spear,
the back of which he breaks off with his sword. However, he
still has the weapon's head in his leg, and ignores his pain
to deal with the seemingly infinite threat of more of them.
Lance in one hand, sword in the other, at one point, he
stops on the horse and battles, in a still position, the
attackers that swarm beneath it's bridle.

The captured horse is later sacrificed by the Tlaxcalans.
Diego de Ordaz is the first to make it through the ravine on
his horse. The Totonac allies provide a marked effect on
the battle, assisting the Castilians. The guns, crossbowmen


and arquebusiers provide significant help as well, felling
many Otomi leaders at the start of the engagement. When
this happens, many of the Otomi regulars leave the
battlefield. When the rest of the conquistadors make it
through they rest on the hilltop called Tzompachtepetl. A
small temple there will be christened Victory.

Juan and Eduardo, both extremely exhausted, tend to their
minor wounds, as do a large number of conquistadors.

The next day, there is no fighting. Cortes offers peace.
But leaves Ordaz behind, and takes 200 Spanish troops and
several hundred Indians, and pillages the countryside. He
cuts off the noses, ears, arms, and feet of the natives he
can find. Hannibal, a part of the terrible force, finds
himself committing atrocities he never would have carried
out in Hispaniola. By now, he is fed up with the trickery
of the native populace, and uses this as an excuse to assist
his leader in this horrible form of payback.

When he returns, Cortes is given a reply to his earlier
offer of peace.
                       TLAXCALAN 1
We will give you our full answer
That night Juan and Eduardo sleep with their armor on. Their
swords are kept next to them, in anticipation of a Tlaxcalan
attack. The rest of the conquistadors do likewise, ready
for another engagement. However, it does not come. The
next morning the Tlaxcalans surprise the camp with offerings
of food: 300 turkeys, and 200 baskets of maize cakes. This
is not charity.
Once they are filled up with food,
let us attack and then we shall
eat them and, in that way, they
will pay us for the turkeys and
cakes. We shall learn why it is
that they came here. If Montezuma
is responsible for sending them,
let him set them free. If they
have come out of their own
foolhardiness, let them pay...


They then assemble their army in front to the conquistadors.
Their number is "large enough to eclipse the sun". They
are not only Otomi. They dress in feathers and war paint:
in wooden, leather and cotton armor. They carry the usual
obsidian-bladed swords, with bows and arrows and lances and
slings. They are arranged in squadrons. The conquistadors
cannot hear Cortes's orders. As the attack proceeds, Juan
and Eduardo stand close to one another in the rank and file
of the Castilian line. The horsemen stand out in front with
lances held short, to poke the Indians' eyes out. The
swordsmen are told to aim for the enemy's bowels.

Once again, Juan finds himself in the thick of combat,
slicing down native upon native. As they advance forward in
their tight ranks, dismembering them seems an almost
assembly-line task, as the conquistadors stab through their
padded armor and successfully find 'soft spots'. Cannon
balls are fired at the Indian squadrons, landing in their
centers, causing much havoc. The crossbowmen and musketeers
fire steadily, but slowly, hoping to save ammunition.

Perez San Fernando, upper leg wrapped in cloth, and Vincenzo
Esperanza aim for the heads of their adversaries, as
instructed, along with the rest of the horsemen. Attacker
after attacker is defiantly pushed back, sometimes headless.
By battle's end the Tlaxcalans retire from the battlefield,
and the conquistadors, breathe a great sigh of relief. Only
a few of them are killed, however, sixty are wounded, and
all of the horses. They sleep by the temple on the hill
again, and tend to their wounds with the fat of dead
Indians, once more.

The day after, Cortes punishes the countryside another time.
He burns ten towns, and kills many. Juan accompanies on
this stint, and momentarily looses his humanity in the
butchering that commences. When they return the Tlaxcalans
are attacking the camp, yet again, and he speeds from one
method to another.

The Tlaxcalans repeatedly push for the perimeter, but
Eduardo and the others hold the line firm. Once again,
their steel making the difference for them, cutting down the
assaulting waves. Arrows from the crossbowmen further make
matters worse for the Tlaxcalans, finding homes beneath
their soft armor, once more. However, "Only the simple use
of steel swords" saves the Castilians, and the Tlaxcalans
soon leave the field, unsuccessful still.

After this encounter with the Tlaxcalans, Cortes receives
emissaries from Montezuma.


                       EMASSARY 1
The Emperor is happy you have won,
and he is delighted you are so
near his city.
They give the Castilians 1,000 castellanos of gold, cotton
clothes and good featherwork pieces.
                       EMASSARY 1
He also sends word that he will
happily be a vassal of Charles V.
He wants to know how much tribute
he will have to pay. However, he
still does not want you to come to
Mexico. The road is bad, rough
land is ahead and the city is
lacking in provisions...You should
not trust the Tlaxcalans, for they
will kill you.
I am going to Tlaxcala anyway. I
am glad you are at odds with them.
Every kingdom divided against
itself will be brought to
The Tlaxcalans hold another council. The generals dispute
with one another over their losses, and the priests are
                       PRIEST 3
The Castilians are men. They eat
turkeys, dogs and bread. Their
guns do not shoot lightning, and
the dogs are not dragons.
The Cempoallans believe they are
however, and have told us their
power wanes after dark. We will
attack at night.
Fifty men are sent to study the Castilians' camp.
                       TLAXCALAN 1
We are here to negotiate a peace.


They offer Cortes four old women to sacrifice. Cortes
We have come on behalf of Christ
and the King of Spain to entreat
you to stop such behavior. Me and
my men are of flesh and not gods,
thus we should be taken seriously.
The Cempoallan Teuch realizes the men are spies. Cortes
does as well noticing their "spying manner and want of
frankness". He questions one of them. The man breaks.
Who are you really? Why were you
sent here?
                       TLAXCALAN 1
A night attack has been planned.
Cortes seizes them and cuts off their hands, ears and noses.
He sends them back to Tlaxcala with a message.
Tell your chiefs that it is
unworthy of brave soldiers and
upright citizens to stoop to such
odious stratagems...we are ready
to receive you in battle at any
hour...by night or by day.
The Tlaxcalans seem undisturbed by this act, and continue to
prepare for their night attack. The Castilians attack
before night falls. The horses and cannon have their usual
psychological effects. Cortes places bells on the horses to
improve them. Perez San Fernando and the rest of the
horsemen charge forward, bells ringing, lances steady.
Cortes commands their movements. The Tlaxcalans flee from
the battlefield, back to their city.

Afterwards, Cortes falls ill, as do many of the men.
However, he is temporarily cured by another Indian attack
three days later. The Castilians fight all day, and the
sickness lifts.

That night the massacres continue. 100 soldiers and all of
the horsemen, and some Indian allies, maraud the
countryside, yet again. However, before they can do much
damage, Cortes' horse falls. Then five others' do as well.
They all refuse to go further.


                       CONQUISTADOR 2
We should go back, for this is an
evil omen.
No, we shall continue.
Before dawn, they attack two towns. At dawn he reaches a
bigger town, where many Otomi warriors are sleeping.
I mean no harm. We only want some
They return to camp, to the relief of those there. 45
Castilians die of wounds sustained in combat, or disease.

ALONSO DE GRADO, a senior member, argues eloquently the
benefits of leaving Mexico.
                       ALONSO DE GRADO
We should build a ship and go to
Cuba for help. Caesar did not
face odds like ours. May God take
me to Castile!
I am confident the Tlaxcalan war
has ended. If we return to Cuba,
the Totonacs might turn on us. So,
gentlemen, if one way is bad, the
other is worse.
A discussion is held on whether to continue the war. Two
soothsayers are sacrificed to calm the leaders' minds.
We must seek peace with the
invaders. They have decimated our
Yes, in no time, in but the
flutter of an eyelid they
destroyed them. We should look
for peace.


The Tlaxcalans go to the Castilian camp, asking forgiveness.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
Be not astonished that we have
never desired an emperor, have
never obeyed anybody, and dearly
love liberty, for we and our
ancestors have endured great
evils, such as no salt and no
cotton clothes, rather than accept
the yoke of Montezuma and the
Mexica...but we now promise to
obey your commands, if you admit
us to your alliance.
Food arrives, with feathers, incense and slaves.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
If you are those gods who eat
flesh and blood, eat these slaves,
and we shall bring you some more;
if you are benevolent gods, see
this incense and these plumes; if
you are men, take these turkeys,
cherries and berries. You have
tired yourselves, you have
labored, O lords. But you have
come and reached your poor home.
You are to blame for your
difficulties. I came thinking you
were friends. The Cempeollans
told us this. I sent messages
that I wanted peace, but you
attacked me. However, I pardon
you. I am a man, not a god. I
want our peace to be long lasting.
Tenochtitlan prepares for a ceremony known as the "sweeping
of the roads". It celebrates the coming winter rains, and
approaching season of war. Plaxetotl, Matlaluege, and the
other divines visit the city and enjoy the festivities. They
drink pulque (beer), and feast on tortillas and other
delicious foods. The people dance for four days, before the
House of Song. A female slave is circled around. She
represents Teteo Innan, "the mother of the saved". She is
teased, adorned and sacrificed. After she is sacrificed,


her skin is worn by a priest, who chases the warriors before
inaugurating the season of war. Plaxetotl chooses not to
participate in this event, as do most of the divines. His
brother, Tetzuahtl, and the rest of the Jaguar and Eagle
knights, wear quetzal plumes and are presented with insignia
from the Emperor, who runs with them. Instead, the
philosopher takes advantage of the festivities to talk to
Ayalca, who is attending with her friends.

She wears a long, brown tunic, adorned with a beaded
necklace. They eat and drink together, choosing to
participate in the lighter aspects of the ceremony.
When Cortes enters Tlaxcala, he is warmly received. The
priests come out to greet the Spaniards, with baskets of
live coals. They make their usual disgusting impression on
the Castilians - with their long matted hair, clotted with

The Spaniards are lodged in "very pretty houses and palaces"
near the main temple. They and the Totonacs are given food.
As well as the dogs and horses.
Perez continues to answer the prosecutor's question.
Had it not been for the Totonacs
we shouldn't have won.
About Montezuma.
Let me continue. The stay in
Tlaxcala lasted twenty days...
Juan, Eduardo and the rest of the conquistadors get much
needed rest.

Walking the streets of the city Juan and Eduardo notice how


clean they are and how well dressed the inhabitants are,
irregardless of the restrictions on cloth from the Mexicans.
They wear maguey fiber cloaks, with a knot on the right
shoulder, like the Romans. Underneath is a hip-cloth, tied
at the side. The women wear tunics, as a rule, with maguey
fiber skirts underneath. Which Eduardo notices right off
hand, as he exercises some of his playboy instincts on the

Cortes is told about the route to Tenochtitlan. They are
well over halfway there. However, they have to cross the
next mountain chain.
Where is Mexico? What manner of
place is it? Is it distant?
                       TLAXCALAN 2
It is not far distant, it can be
reached in three...days, it is a
very good place, the Mexica are
very powerful, they have very
brave warriors who go conquering
A lasting alliance is formed between the two parties during
the conquistadors' stay.

Because of the trade blockade, they could only give the
Castilians food and girls as presents. These they accept
thankfully. They are given "three hundred beautiful and
well-adorned slave girls.

Among the women, the captains take the nobles. However,
Cortes wants the girls to work for Marina, and the nobles to
remain with their parents.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
Why do you wish to return your
The King of Castile wants you to
discard your idols and stop human
sacrifices. If you want us to
accept your daughters they should
worship the Christian God.
How can we abandon our gods? What
would the populace say?
FR. BARTOLOME DE OLMEDO pulls Cortes aside and advises him.


                       FR. OLMEDO
I would not like you to make
Christians by force. Wait till
they gradually feel the weight of
our admonitions.
Gradually, the Tlaxcalans agree to accept the religion, but
they want to see more of Spanish customs first. One temple
is cleared of idols, however, and Christian images and a
cross replace them.
Montezuma's ambassadors stay with Cortes during this time.
I want to reach Tenochtitlan
without fighting.
                       AMBASSADOR 1
You should leave Tlaxcala and go
to Cholula, friendly to the

Cortes talks with the Tlaxcalans.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
You should avoid Cholula, and head
to Huexotzinco, where we have
Cortes takes the Mexicans' advice and decides to go to
Cholula. He takes new bearers and warriors from Tlaxcala
with him. He sends two men to look at Tenochtitlan: Pedro
de Alvarado and BERNARDINO VAZQUEZ DE TAPIA. Also, if they
can, they are to speak to the "great Montezuma".

They travel 60 miles to the city, on foot. Mexican guides
accompany them. They go to Cholula, then to Texcoco. They
meet a delegation from Tenochtitlan.
Montezuma is ill, so you cannot go
Meanwhile, Cortes begins his expedition to Cholula. He
sends messengers ahead.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
There are certain plots against
you in Cholula. The streets there
are already blocked so that you
can be captured once inside.


Cortes has the plot's leader strangled. He also sends out a
reconnaissance party. They return with some Cholulan lords.
Why didn't you come out to welcome
                       CHOLULAN LORD 1
We had been too ill.
Come back within three days, with
more senior lords, worthy of a
representative of the King of
Castile, or I will look on you as
in open rebellion.
Some senior lords come to visit.
                       SENIOR CHOLULAN LORD 1
We did not come earlier for fear
of Tlaxcalan treachery.
They take an oath of vassalship.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
If you meet the Mexica in battle,
you will have to kill them all,
leaving no one alive; neither the
young, lest they bear arms again;
nor the old, lest they give good
They sleep in the open, the first night after leaving. They
are met by several Cholulan leaders the next day. They come
with a large escort, bringing maize and turkeys.
                       CHOLULAN LEADER 1
We have come out of fear that you
have been told terrible things
about us. You should not believe
Priests fumigate the Admiral and his captains with incense.
They are dressed in sleeveless cotton robes.
We have come to entreat you to
stop worshiping your idols, cease
your human sacrifices and accept
the Christian God.


                       CHOLULAN LEADER 1
We can't be expected to give up
our gods at this moment.
The expedition enters Cholula and are given lodging and
food. The Tlaxcalans and Totonacs stay outside of the city,
however, 5,000 are permitted to enter, to carry the
Castilians' equipment.

Juan marvels at the statue to Quetzalcoatl there. He turns
to Eduardo.
I am reminded of a verse from the
Bible, Revelation, 22:16, It is I
Jesus, who sent my angel to you
with this testimony for the
churches. I am the root and
descendant of David, the bright
morning star. The Cholulans see
Quetzalcoatl as this also.
The Castilians are told of Quetzalcoatl's role in Cholula.
                       CHOLULAN LEADER 1
That principle god was a man who
lived before, and founded the
city. He told the people not to
sacrifice men. He wore white
robes, like a friar's, with a
mantle of red crosses.
Meanwhile, the Mexican ambassadors, again, try to dissuade
the Castilians from heading to Tenochtitlan.
                       AMBASSADOR 1
Montezuma will die of fear if you
come. The roads are impassible,
and you will not find provisions
on the way. The zoo there is full
of dangerous animals and reptiles,
like alligators, which will rip
you to pieces.
Cortes is unimpressed. Alvarado and Vazquez de Tapia

The Cholulans begin to deny the Castilians food. On their
third day there, the citizens only bring them wood and


I would liked to see TLAQUIACH,
the temporal lord.
                       CHOLULAN LEADER 1
He is too ill to see you.
Juan and Eduardo notice the streets being blocked. The
Cholulans pile stones on the roofs of the houses. Some
Tlaxcalans and Cempeollans inform the Admiral.
                       TLAXCALAN 2
The Cholulans are conspiring with
the Mexica, and some of your Cuban
servants to kill you.
                       CEMPEOLLAN 1
They plan to ambush you when you
leave Cholula.
A noblewoman told me the Mexican
army is close by.
Cortes sends for two priests.
Why are the people so nervous?
They don't answer.
I would like to see Tlaquiach,
He comes.
Why are the people so nervous?
Montezuma ordered them to deny you
Cortes sends for the two priest, again. He gives them jade
gifts, then tortures them.
                       PRIEST 3
The people are nervous because of
Montezuma. He knows you are on
your way there. He can't make up
his mind, to peacefully receive
you, or kill you. 20,000 warriors
have been assembled on the road to


                       PRIEST 3 (cont'd)
Mexico. The Mexica plan to ambush
you on your way to the mountains.
Cortes has a discussion with his captains.
Maybe we should retreat to
Maybe we should replan our route
to Tenochtitlan through
We should launch a pre-emptive
I agree.
I agree also. We will ask the
Indians to place a flower in their
headdresses so they will be
Cortes has the Cholulan lords assemble at the temple of
Quetzalcoatl, so he can say goodbye to them, before leaving
for Mexico. Over 100 of them come, unarmed. The Spaniards
close the doors of the courtyard there.
Why have you planned to kill me?
All we have done is warn against
idols and human sacrifices. I
know of the plot against me and my
men, outside of the city.
                       CHOLULAN LORD 1
Montezuma ordered it.
This goes against Spanish law, and
is treasonous. I order your
An arquebus fires, to give a signal, and the Castilians fall
upon the lords, with their swords, and kill them. They
don't stop there, killing the people who have gathered
outside the gates also. The town is sacked next. The main
houses and pyramids are burned. The temple of


Huitzilopochtli burns for two days. Priests jump from the
temple's summit to avoid capture and death by the
Tlaxcalans. Juan and the others become one with revenge, or
justice, depending on the point of view. Two days later
Cortes calls off the sack. The Tlaxcalans take many
Cholulans back to their city to sacrifice them. Cortes then
orders the remaining priest to set up crosses and icons in
the temples. And has all the idols destroyed.

Next, Cortes sees the Mexican ambassadors who are "half dead
with fear".
The Cholulan chiefs told us
Montezuma was responsible for the
plots against us, therefore we
will not enter Tenochtitlan in
                       AMBASSADOR 1
We did not know of any such plans
by our Emperor. May we send a
messenger back to him to discover
the truth?
You may.
Learning of the massacre at Cholula, Montezuma becomes
panicked again, as do the people.

When the messengers return from Tenochtitlan, they bring ten
plates of gold, clothes and food.
                       AMBASSADOR 1
Montezuma apologizes for the
alleged rebellion. He says he had
nothing to do with it. He says
the army leaders are to blame. He
also says that he will give you
anything, if you do not come to
SUPER: "November 1, 1519"

The Totonacs return home, with lots of presents from Cortes.
The Tlaxcalans remain; 1,000 of them. They assist the
conquistadors with the cannons, and prepare tortillas. The
Mexican ambassadors stay as well.


Cortes leaves Cholula and sends ten scouts out, with Diego
de Ordaz, to get a look at the volcano Popocatepetl, which
is smoking dangerously. He scales the mountains of it, and
gets a look at the lake and Valley of Mexico. He reports
back to Cortes.
Sir, I saw another new world of
great cities and towers and a sea
and, in the middle of it, a very
great city.
The Castilians head to the city stirring up the dust. Their
iron lances, their iron halberds, glisten from afar, and
their iron swords move in a wavy line as if they were a
water course. Their iron is gleaming, hence they cause
astonishment. And their dogs go ahead in the lead, panting.

The expedition reaches Calpan the first day. They are
visited by several lords.
                       LORD 1
You should not go to Tenochtitlan.
It is too powerful. However, if
you do go, take the road that is
blocked, and not open. For an
ambush might be prepared for you
on the other one.
The conquistadors march ten miles the next day. They climb
thousands of feet up the mountains. They reach a ridge that
sits between the volcanoes.

The expedition reaches the fork in the road.
Why is one road blocked?
                       AMBASSADOR 1
The blocked road is windy,
indirect and bad.
Cortes orders the Tlaxcalans to remove the obstacles, and
they travel down that path. It begins to snow.

Making camp, Cortes is visited by some local Indians. He
addresses them.
You should know that those who are
with me never sleep at night; and,
if they do sleep at all, they do
so a little during the day. At


                       CORTES (cont'd)
night they are in arms and,
whoever they see walking about or
entering the camp, they kill; and
there is nothing that can prevent
this. Make this known, therefore,
to your people ensure that, after
sundown, nobody comes to where we
are since, if they do, they will
die. And it would distress me if
people died.
Still, the locals want a peek, and are killed as Cortes had

The next day, the weather clears up, and Juan and the others
can see, magnificently, all the way to Tenochtitlan. It is
beautiful. The lake shimmers in the sunlight, and the other
cities around it can be seen as well. Juan turns to Eduardo
and Hannibal.
It is as if we have been through a
sort of purgatory, since our
departure from the coast. Spain
and Hispaniola was hell, and
heaven awaits.
I've come a long way. I've been
through things I could not have
even imagined before. This place
had better be worth it.
Eduardo addresses Juan.
I may have understated my opinion
of the New World to you.
The Castilians are met by another delegation from Montezuma.
It is led by a nobleman named TZIUACPOPOCATZIN. He is
dressed as the Emperor. Some of the magicians accompany
them. They bring presents of gold, and quetzal feathers.
The Spaniards smile and rejoice exceedingly. They seize
upon the gold, and are satisfied, sated and gladdened. They
move the golden streamer back and forth, and show it to one


another all the while babbling. What they say is gibberish.

Perez turns to Cortes.
I think that Tziuacpopocatzin is
Cortes turns to the Tlaxcalans. And points out
Is that Montezuma?
                       TLAXCALAN 2
Cortes then asks Tziuacpopocatzin.
Are you Montezuma?
The Castilians laugh.
Go back to where you came. We are
determined to see Montezuma.
The magicians fail to work a spell that would stop the
Spaniards from advancing. On returning from the Castilian
camp they find a drunken man, who is bound up with ropes.
What have you come here to do?
What do you want? What would you
still like Montezuma to do? Has
he perhaps come to his senses? Is
he now filled with a great fear?
For he committed a great fault. He
abandoned the common people. He
destroyed men...
They attempt to help the man.
Why do you stand wanly there?
There will be a Tenochtitlan no
longer. It is gone forever. Turn
about, look what is going to
befall the Mexica.


They turn, and see the temples, palaces and houses burning.
They turn back to ask the man more questions, but the man
has vanished.
The returning entourage addresses the Emperor.
My lord, we came across a man, who
must have been the mischievous god
Tezcatlipoca. For he showed us a
vision of the city burning, and
predicted our demise.
What can we do?...We are
finished...Perhaps we shall climb
up the mountains, perhaps we shall
flee...Unlucky are the poor old
men and the old women. And the
children, who have no
understanding, where may they be
taken? Where in truth can one go?
For now we have taken the
Montezuma meets with his council again. His brother,
Cuitlahuac, and nephew, Cacama are there. They further
discuss if they should receive the Castilians. They also
discuss how to receive them, if they do.
I am still against accepting the
As am I.
We must fight them every step of
they way.
We must not hide nor flee nor show
cowardice, and let us not imagine
that the Mexican glory is going to
perish here. We are now resolved
to die in defense of Tenochtitlan.


As the festivals of late October conclude, Plaxetotl
retreats to the camp to recuperate from all the celebration.

Matlaluege and some of the others return as well.
Zozollan and I were successful in
preventing the sacrifice of a
young woman during the
celebrations. Tetzuahtl, your
brother, noticed the disruption,
but did not try to prevent our
Plaxetotl smiles.
The Castilians continue their movement towards Tenochtitlan.
Juan notices the beautiful valley scenery, as they march
across the Mexican countryside. He sees the Mexican
mountain shrines that cover the mountainsides, the oak
forests, the lilac, and the whitetail deer. The mid-day sun
seems, for a while, to threaten them with desert-like
conditions, but the cooler temperatures of Autumn prevail.
The path bottoms out at the town of Amecameca. There they
receive the usual presents of gold and food, and are given
forty slave girls.
We are constantly robbed by
I hope to relieve you of that
                       CHIEF 2
The Mexica certainly plan to kill
you after you arrive.
I am going to go anyhow, to
explain what God commanded.
They reach Chalco the next day. Into the night, canoes come
to the shore, to get a look at the Castilians. Juan and
Eduardo stand near the shore area, at dusk. They look
across the marshes, and reeds, at the small crafts that line


the water's edge. The moonlight shines on the small ripples
of water that reach the marshy area in front of them.
Montezuma holds yet another council at this time. The Kings
of Texcoco and Tacuba are present. They are concerned about
the Spanish presence in Chalco, previously rebellious to
O mighty lords, it is fitting that
we the three of us should be here
to receive the gods and,
therefore, I wish to find solace
with you and also to bid you
farewell. How little did we enjoy
the realms which were bequeathed
to us by our ancestors! They,
mighty kings and lords as they
were, left this world in peace and
harmony. But woe is coming to us!
How do we deserve this fate? How
did we offend the gods? Who are
these men who have come? Whence
have they really come? Who showed
them the way? There is only one
remedy: we must make our hearts
strong to bear what is about to
happen for they are at our gates.
Several lords weep. Montezuma then heads out into the city
and weeps in public.
Oh, gods: Huitzilopochtli,
Tezcatlipolca, Quetzalcoatl have
pity on the poor, the orphans, the
aged, and those who would surely
be widows.
He then draws blood from his ears, arms and shins, and
offers it to them.
More and more citizens visit the camp, looking for guidance.


                       CITIZEN 1
The Emperor wept in the street and
gave an offering to the gods
outside of the palace.
He surely feels the weight of the
gods' admonishment now.
Montezuma sends Cortes another delegation. It is headed by
four chiefs, who bring more gold and cloth.
                       CHIEF 3
Montezuma could not come because
he is ill. However, we are at
your disposal. Montezuma is
concerned of your hardships on the
journey. Montezuma has provided
much for you and your gods, and
begs you not to come to
Tenochtitlan. The people are
protesting of your arrival, and,
if you return, Montezuma will pay
you regular tributes of gold.
Cortes offers the emissaries his usual presents of glass and
Montezuma is inconsistent. Now
that we are so near to
Tenochtitlan, why should we
return. I am determined to see
Montezuma because the King of
Castile demanded it.
The expedition reaches Ayotzingo the next day. They leave
the following morning, and are approached by Cacama, King of
Malinche, master of Marina, here
we have come to place ourselves at
your service and to give you all
that you may need for yourself and
for your companions, and to
arrange for you to settle in your
home, which is our city. For so
the great Montezuma, our prince,
has ordered, and he asks your
pardon once more that he has not


                       CACAMA (cont'd)
come in person, it is on account
of ill-health, and not because of
They travel with Cacama, and pass the little town of
Mixquic, capital of Mixquica. Juan and the others marvel at
the sight of it, all the while remembering to keep their
eyes forward, as more things are being revealed.

A causeway lies ahead. It is as wide as a lance. It leads
to an island that houses the city of Cuitlahauc. The
Castilians note the pyramids along the way.

They head across the main causeway to the capital. Four
horsemen, wearing traditional European armor, ride in front,
followed by the standard bearer. Behind them is the
infantry, with swords drawn. Juan, Eduardo and Hannibal are
among them; their steel weapons held high in the air,
announcing their entry. They are trailed by more horsemen,
in cotton armor, wielding lances. Perez San Fernando and
Vincenzo Esperanza rides with them. Next are the
crossbowmen, quivers at their sides, wearing cotton armor
also. They wear helmets with plumes on top. Following them
are the last horsemen, and the arquebusiers. Cortes rides
in the rear, surrounded by several other horsemen, and more
standard bearers. Their Indian allies come next, dressed
and painted for war, carrying supplies, and the guns.

The final leg of their crossing finds them on the broad
causeway that is twice as wide as the former. People on the
causeway and water stop to get a look at the strangers as
they near the city. Plaxetotl and the divines join those on
the causeway to get a look at the visitors. They wear long
cloaks, with hoods that cover their heads. Peering out of
them, their eyes gaze upon the travelers, for the first

The horses make large gestures, pawing the ground, when they
halt, jingling ad sweating. They neigh loudly, and their
riders are attentive to everything around them. The dogs
run ahead, sniffing and panting. The standard-bearer walks
alone, waving the banner back and forth. The Indian allies
make war noises, shrieking and patting their mouths with
their hands. They wear half red and half white cloaks.

Plaxetotl turns to Matlaluege
Strangers in multicolored clothing
to enslave us.


A mile and a half from the main gate they reach Acachinanco,
where the houses begin, and the causeway stops. A fort
stands there, with two towers, surrounded by thick walls.
Some richly dressed noblemen come out to greet them, kissing
their hands, which are placed on the ground. Matlaluege,
Plaxetotl and the others follow the parade of visitors,
along with the many onlookers, up the causeway, closer to
the city's gates.

The noblemen don't look at the Castilians while they make
their greeting. Cortes waits for them to do so, then they
head together for the city.

Montezuma arrives on a throne with a canopy of green
feathers. It is embroidered with gold and silver, and
fitted with jade. He is carried by noblemen. More of them
sweep the ground in front of him. A man carries a stick
ahead of him, signaling his authority. Montezuma wears an
embroidered cloak, green feathered headdress and gold
sandals on his feet. He brings presents with him.

He descends from his throne. Cortes dismounts to greet him.
He moves to hug him, but is stopped by his attendants.
Cortes shakes his hand instead. Aguilar and Marina
translate for them.
Art thou not he? Art thou
Yes, I am he.
Cortes places his pearl necklace around the Emperor's neck.
Montezuma has a servant give Cortes two necklaces of red
snails' shells, adorned with gold shrimps.
Montezuma turns to Cuitlahuac.
Stay with me while I lead them
into the city.
The noblemen follow. The roofs of the adobe houses are
filled with the people of the city, who show their

The divines watch the procession head into the city, with
the rest of the citizens, astounded by what they see.


The conquistadors go to a palace. The arquebusiers fire a
shot in the air, signaling the end of their journey. The
artillery fires in triumph. The volleys astound the Mexica.
Montezuma leads Cortes to a large throne, and proposes he
sit there.
Malinche, you are in your own
house. So are your brothers.
They are given food.
Our lord, you must be tired, you
have experienced fatigue, but you
have arrived at your city...So be
assured that we will obey you and
hold you as our lord, in the stead
of that great lord. In that there
will be no mistake or deception of
any kind. And in all the land
which I hold in my power you can
command as you will, for you will
be obeyed. And since you are in
your native country and in your
own house, enjoy yourself and rest
from the labour of your journey
and your battles.
Have confidence, Montezuma, fear
nothing. We love you greatly. Our
heart is today well satisfied. We
see you face to face, we hear you.
We have wished for a long time to
see you, to hear you speak in
The divines return to the lakeshore.
They arrived in year I-Reed. Today
is I-Wind. All of these are dates
of Quetzacoatl.


The whole city is now quiet.

Plaxetotl stands in front of his fellow divines and tries to
reassure them that they would be okay.
It is our faith in the gods that
has sustained us thus far, and
will continue to provide us with
blessings. In our darkest hour,
coming from dry lands and the
mountains, they gave us our home,
Tenochtitlan. We have nothing to
If the serpent god helped give us
all of this,
He motions to the city beside them.
then why is he allowing our
apparent destruction with these
strange men?
You know. You among all of us, as
well as ourselves, have neglected
him for too long. We have
accepted the barbarism and wars
that intoxicated our people, and
glorified our empire with material
things. We have only ourselves to
blame for what is befalling us.
                       DIVINE 1
What of this one and only God
spoken of by Nezahualcoyotl, King
of Texcoco and told to us by
Mezopan? If we have overlooked
him then what can we do to remedy
Of these things I am not certain,
but I have come to believe that he
is the same as Quetzalcoatl. He
is the representation of
Quetzalcoatl's former preeminence
in our society.
Many of the divines raise their eyebrows.


How could we have overlooked this?
We have succumbed to the barbarous
habits of our people. We have not
done our job...How is it your
devotion to the supreme natural
force has lead you so far? How
can you justify the continuance of
this belief?
The natural force resides in
me...in us all. It resides in
these newcomers...In the
Emperor...in we divines.
Remarkable. All of this time we
have recognized and often upheld
the gods, but you ally yourself
with this force. How do you
justify this?
Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, female
and male deities, are
representations of this force. You
know this.
He looks at Plaxetotl.
So what have you to say now...in
light of our current situation? We
are seeing what is likely an
incarnation of the forgotten
Do you support these people? Do
you condone their behavior across
the countryside?
It is not a matter of justifying
the actions of the newcomers, but
recognizing the effects of their
presence in the land, and
realizing what power has given
them such authority.


Juan and Eduardo are dumfounded by the beauty of the
architecture that makes up their current environment.
I never thought I'd see such

Eduardo smiles knowingly.
It is as if we've entered another
We have.
Juan admires one of the wood carved chairs of the Mexicans,
rubbing his hand across the surface of its arms, trying to
sense the pride that went into its crafting.

The large expedition is housed in several of the rooms of
the palace - one large and two smaller. Their belongings
are stashed in the corners of them, and some are nestled
along side the men who brought them. Their Tlaxcalan allies
are mainly housed in one of the smaller rooms, but some are
interspersed among the Castilians in the other two.

Juan observes them.
I wonder why they would help us
against those whom they neighbor
so closely?
Help us do what?
Let's not mince words. We're
certainly not here as friends of
the Mexica.
That, my friend, is the decision
of the Admiral.
Eduardo motions his finger in the direction of the Caudillo,
Cortes, who is standing near the center of the largest room,


talking with some captains.

At that moment, Perez San Fernando approaches them.
Gentlemen, don't look so glum. We
have arrived. Is it what you
Hannibal walks over to Hector and offers him a cigar. The
two smoke and conversate.
Remarkable place.
Yes sir.
You don't have to call me that.
I'm no one's master.
I know that sir, but you seem to
have mastered yourself.
Hannibal smiles. They smoke some more, gazing at the
magnificent designs on the walls of the Mexican palace.
Where in Africa are you from?
The west coast. Ghana.
So what you see here cannot be
surprising you too much.
No, not too much. Some of ours
have been here before. The
pyramids we see were learned from
Khamit. It is a sign of the
universal trinity. Three points
of the triangle that harness the
energy of their environment. These
people are not going to lay down
and accept any domination. If the
Caudillo means to suppress them


                       HECTOR (cont'd)
then he his in for a shock.
Hannibal nods in agreement, and finishes his cigar. He
rises to return to the others, all the more aware that the
grandest of larceny was about to be committed.

Vincent Esperanza turns his head from watching the
conversation of his slave and the Spanish moor. He rubs his
brown beard, then sits down to write his father a letter.
                       VINCENZO (V.O.)
Dear father, We have now reached
the grand city of Tenochtitlan,
capital of the Mexican Empire. As
I have written before, the
struggles along the way were
fierce. I have fought like never
before, and at some times did not
know if I would get the chance to
write to you again. Everything
here is marvelous. The Mexica are
remarkably cultivated and know
much about art, beauty and
architecture. Their work would
fit well in Naples and Rome, and
in some instances would put those
cities to shame. There is much
gold and treasure here, and as in
the cities we visited before, we
are offered much of it. The
Admiral has done well to see that
we all get our fair share, and I
will be sending some more back on
the next ship to the islands.
Please give my regards to mother
and tell her I love her and miss
her. I hope to be writing again
soon. Your son, Vincenzo
The Spaniards see the zoo which is nearby the palace. The
different species, that do not exist in the Old World,
confuse the Spaniards. The large number of reptiles and
snakes of great size there shock them. The snakes are kept
in long cages lined with feathers. The larger animals and
birds of prey are housed in apartments large enough to allow
them to move around. Humans, who do not fit the model of
Mexican perfection, are also held there.


When the see the great market, the Spaniards are astonished
by the mass of people that patron it and by its dimensions.
They see traders from all parts of Yucatan, bringing goods
unique to their respective regions.

Cotton is piled up in bales, or made into dresses and
domestic articles, like tapestry and curtains. The
goldsmith quarter contains various ornaments and curious
toys that imitate birds and fishes with scales, feathers and
movable heads and bodies.

They see raw and dressed hides and various leather items in
the booths. They also witness the sale of wild and tame
animals and slaves, with collars placed around their necks
to show they are for sale.

Next to the market place, on the streets, are stone, lime
and timber. Also meats of all kinds: poultry and game from
the mountains, fish, fruits from all the temperate regions,
vegetables and maize find their place in the market square.
Pastry bread, cakes and confectionary occupy a space, along
with cooling or stimulating beverages, such as chocalatl and
pulque. All of these items are stocked in the booths and
stalls, which are decorated with flowers.

What impresses the Spaniards the most is the order that
reigns over the exchanges. Officers patrol the square,
keeping the peace, collecting duties, watching any fraud,
and bringing offenders to justice at once. Twelve judges
sit in one area of the market to decide on matters of

The Spaniards are fascinated by what they see at this great
marketplace. They see the beauty of the union of all the
various Yucatan civilizations gathered together for the
purpose of commerce.

From here the Castilians visit the great teocalli, which
neighbors the palace were they stay. It stands in a vast
area, surrounded by a stone and lime wall, which is
ornamented with serpent figures. The square wall has huge
gateways, which open up to the four main streets. Over each
gate is an arsenal of arms. Barracks join them, garrisoned
by 10,000 soldiers. These men serve as a type of military

The teocalli is a solid pyramid of earth and pebble coated
with hewn stones. It is divided into five stories, each one
receding smaller than the one that preceded it. It
resembles, like most of the pyramids of the Mexica, those of
ancient Egypt. It can be ascended by flight of stairs on
its outside, which leads to a narrow platform on the second
story. The stairs circle around the building to second


stairway that reaches a similar platform on the third.

This series continues so the visitor passes around the
building four times before reaching the top. This has an
imposing effect on religious ceremonies.

Cortes finds two priests and several attendants when he
reaches the pyramid, to help him if fatigued. However, he
declines this service and marches up with his own men. When
they reach the summit, the conquistadors see a vast area
paved with stones. They also see a large block of jasper
that is used as a table for the sacrifices of the Mexica.
The convex shape of it raises the victims' breasts so that
the priest can more easily remove their hearts. At the
opposing end is two towers, three stories high, the lower of
stone and stucco and the upper two of wood. Images of
Mexican gods are carved in the lower division; above it
religious utensils and ashes of Aztec princes are stored. In
front of each altar eternal fires burn. Also a huge
cylindrical drum of serpents' skin stands here.

Montezuma comes forward when Cortes arrives at the top.
You are weary, Malinche, with
climbing up our great temple.
The Spaniards are never weary!
Montezuma then takes his hand and shows him the bird's eye
view of the neighborhoods.

Cortes turns to Fr. Olmedo.
Do you think he will allow us to
place a Christian cross here?
                       FR. OLMEDO
Its too early to make such a
Cortes turns to Montezuma.
May we be allowed to enter the
sanctuaries and view the shrines
to the Mexican gods?
Montezuma confers shortly with the priests. Then turns to


The Spaniards find themselves in a spacious room walled with
stucco containing the sculptures of various figures,
representing the Mexican calendar. At one end of the recess
stands a richly carved roof. Before the altar a colossal
image of Huitzilopotchli stands. His right hand wields a
bow, and left a collection of golden arrows. A huge serpent
circles around his waist, covered with pearls and precious
stones, which also cover his person. His left foot is
decorated with feathers of the humming-bird. What stands
out is a chain of hearts made up of gold and silver. Three
human hearts, smoking and almost beating, are laid out on
the altar in front of him.

Next to it is the sanctuary of Tezcatlipoca. He is
represented as young, in polished black stone, richly
garnished with gold plates. A shield, burnished like a
mirror, stands out on him. Five bleeding hearts are seen
before his altar, in a golden platter.

The walls of both altars are stained with human blood.

The Spaniards gladly leave the sanctuaries to the open air.
Cortes turns to Montezuma.
I do not comprehend how a great
and wise prince, like you, can put
faith in such evil spirits as
these idols, the representatives
of the Devil! If you will but
permit us to erect here the true
Cross, and place the images of the
blessed Virgin and her Son in your
sanctuaries, you will soon see how
your false gods will shrink before
Who have led the Aztecs to victory
since they were a nation, and who
send the seedtime and harvest in
their seasons? Had I thought you
would have offered them this
outrage, I would not have admitted
you into their presence.
My apologies.
Cortes and the Spaniards take their leave.


Montezuma turns to his priests.
I must make a law outlawing such
profanation by the strangers.
Several stewards approach the Emperor.
                       STEWARD 1
My lord, the strangers want to
know if they can build a church in
their quarters.
I will allow it. Supply them with
all the necessary materials.
The Spaniards build the church in two days, and place a holy
cross in front of their rooms.

While assembled in their quarters a soldier, ALONZO YANES,
notices marks on a wall indicating the former presence of a
door. The conquistadors open it. Cortes and some of the
captains go in first and see a large number of jewels, slabs
and plates of gold. Soon the news spreads, and everyone
goes in to have a peek.
At this point four captains took
Cortes aside, along with a dozen
soldiers, and considered the
situation we were in. They talked
about the strength of the city,
the stability of the causeways and
bridges and of the words of the
lords of the towns they'd been
through, who warned them that
Montezuma would kill them. They
told Cortes to consider how
changeable the hearts of the
natives were, and not to trust the
current kindness of their host.
However, they knew that Montezuma
had a large guard in his defense.
How could they (the conquistadors)
attack or defend their position?


                       PEREZ (cont'd)
And how could they depend on more
aid from their allies, the
Tlaxcalans, if the city they were
now in was surrounded by water?
They thought Cortes should think
this over, and, without further
delay, seize Montezuma. They also
reminded him that all the gold
they had seen and all the food
they had been given would soon
mean nothing in light of the
realities that surrounded them,
and, that if he were told
otherwise by any of the other men,
he should see those members as
hypnotized by the treasures they'd
seen, and not capable of realizing
the dire situation we were now
in...Hearing all this the Admiral
Don't you imagine gentlemen, that
I am asleep, or that I am free
from the same anxiety, you must
have felts that it is so with me;
but what possibility is there of
doing a deed of such great daring
as to seize such a great prince in
his own palace, surrounded as he
is by his own guards and warriors,
by what scheme or artifice can we
carry it out, so that he should
not call on his warriors to attack
us at once?
It should be done with smooth
talking. We should coax him out
his halls and to our quarters, and
tell him he must remain our
prisoner. If he makes a
disturbance we should tell him
that he will pay for it with his


                       VELAZQUEZ DE LEON
If you do not want to perform the
task you should allow us to do it.
The stewards are becoming
discourteous in bringing us our
food, and two of the Tlaxcalan
allies said the Mexicans appear to
have ill feelings about us in the
last two days.
Cortes takes five captains: Pedro de Alvarado, Gonzalo de
Sandoval, Juan Velazquez de Leon, Perez San Fernando, and
Alonzo de Avila along with BERNAL DIAZ, Marina and Aguilar
to capture the Emperor.
Upon arrival Cortes addresses the Emperor.
Senor Montezuma, I am very much
astonished that you, who are such
a valiant Prince, after having
declared that you are our friend,
should order your Captains, whom
you have stationed on the coast
near Tuxpan, to take arms against
my Spaniards, and that they should
dare to rob the towns which are in
keeping and under the protection
of our King and master and to
demand of them Indian men and
women for sacrifice, and should
kill a Spaniard, one of my
brothers, and a horse. Being such
a friend of yours I ordered my
Captains to do all that was
possible to help and serve you,
and you have done exactly the
contrary to us. Also in the
affair at Cholula your Captains
and a large force of warriors had
received your own commands to kill
us. I forgave it at the time out
of my great regard for you, but
now again your vassals and
Captains have become insolent, and
hold secret consultations stating
that you wish us to be killed. I
do not wish to begin a war on this
account nor to destroy this city,
I am willing to forgive it all, if
silently and without raising any


                       CORTES (cont'd)
disturbance you will come with us
to our quarters, where you will be
as well served and attended to as
though you were in your own house,
but if you cry out or make any
disturbance you will immediately
be killed by these my Captains,
whom I brought solely for this
      (terrified and
I would never order my people to
war against you, and will order my
Captains here at once so that the
truth would be known. I cannot be
taken prisoner against my will. I
will not go.
Velazquez de Leon turns to Cortes.
                       VELAZQUEZ DE LEON
What is the good of your making so
many words, let us either take him
prisoner, or stab him, tell him
once more that if he cries out or
makes an uproar we will kill him,
for it is better at once to save
our lives or to lose them.
Montezuma looks at Marina
What are they saying?
Senor Montezuma, what I counsel
you, is to go at once to their
quarters without any disturbance
at all, for I know that they will
pay you much honor as a great
Prince such as you are, otherwise
you will remain here a dead man,
but in their quarters you will
learn the truth.
Senor Malinche, if this is what
you desire, I have a son and two
legitimate daughters, take them as
hostages, and do not put this
affront on me, what will my


                       MONTEZUMA (cont'd)
chieftains say if they see me
taken off as a prisoner?
You have no alternative but to
come with us.
Montezuma agrees, the conquistadors pat him on the back, and
beg that he not be annoyed.
Tell your guards that it is your
choice to go, because you
consulted with the god
Huitzilopochtli and your priests
and it is better for your health
and safety that you leave with us.
He brings his attendants along, and the Castilians watch
over him with guards and watchmen.

Cortes and the conquistadors give Montezuma as much
attention and amusements as they can. He is not personally
restrained, and soon all of the principal Mexican lords, and
his nephews come to learn why he was taken away.
Montezuma and Cortes play a game of patolli, a dice game
similar to backgammon, and discuss religion.
It is the nature of God that we
love one another. You really
should stop the practice of human
O Malinche, how can you want us,
the Mexica, to lose the whole
city? Our gods are very annoyed
with us, and I don't know if they
would even stop at your lives were
we to do as you ask.
Where are the gold producing


Most of it comes from Zacatula in
the central south. The Mixtecs,
of that region, are the best in
working the gold.
I want you to summon the leading
lords of the Mexican Empire.

The lords arrive and Montezuma speaks to them.
Legend states that our lands would
one day be subjugated, controlled
and governed by a great lord from
the east. I have become a vassal
of the King of Spain, and ask that
you do the same.
ALONZO DE NAVARRETE, a witness, is now on the stand.
                       ALONSO DE NAVARRETE
All replied to Montezuma...that
they agreed to be vassals and
Flores believed that the
concession was made in the right
form, since Cortes had, as usual,
a notary with him. All replied to
the said Montezuma, and this
witness, did not understand what
they said but that it seemed,
according to the interpreters,
that they accepted and took for
good what Montezuma had asked.
I too have heard of this legend in
the ancient writings, which
predict the subjection of the
Mexica by a great lord from afar.


                       CORTES (cont'd)
I have been sent by that lord.
We do not want to complain. We
are glad to be alive to see the
arrival of the Christians and
learn of the King of Castile. We
will happily accept that monarch
and live under his protection.
Montezuma gives his oath with many tears. Afterwards, he
and the kings and nobles give their brothers, daughters and
children to the Spaniards to guarantee their solidarity.

In the next room, Eduardo listens to the rumors of what is
occurring in the meeting room amongst the captains of the
journey and the lords of Mexico. He glances across their
quarters and sees Juan, sitting on bags of equipment, with a
wide-eyed gaze on his face, looking out of the window of the
rather large room. He walks over to him.
It is done. If I had a glass of
wine this would certainly be time
for a drink.
Juan doesn't respond.
What's the matter?
Well something has to be wrong,
you look as if you've seen a
It's all wrong okay!
He looks around the room to see if anyone is watching them,
but they are all minding their business.
You don't want to draw any
attention do you?


What does it matter? We'll have
enough of it when the courts back
in Spain find out about what we're
doing here, won't we?
Man, that isn't even our concern.
We're getting richer by the hour.
Soon we won't have anything to
worry about...anything.
It has been said that Montezuma
and the rest of the lords have
given fealty to the newcomers.
There is a spiritual dearth. The
people think the gods have failed
them and maybe they have.
Cortes addresses Montezuma and the lords.
We demand to be given more gold.
There are heavy expenses of the
Spanish crown after our wars in
Italy. Therefore, everyone should
pitch in to help, including you.
We will support you.
He sends out a new delegation to insist on special
deliveries of the much coveted material.

The Emperor's men take Cortes friends to the House of Birds,
where more gold is stored. The Caudillo takes the whole
treasure collected there into his own quarters.
FR. BERNARDINO DE SAHAGUN is now on the stand.


The Spaniards demand gold! And
Montezuma led them to the
Totocalli, the treasure house, and
there were brought out all the
brilliant goods, quetzal fans,
shields, golden discs, necklaces,
golden head bands...all the gold
was torn out from these things,
detached...and the Spaniards
melted it into bars...Of the green
stones, chalchihuites, they took
as much as was good for their eyes
and the rest was taken by men of
Tlaxcala...The Spaniards looked
eager and content. They clapped
each other on the back, as if
happy...they scattered everywhere,
bustled everywhere, as if greedy
and covetous, they took goods
which were exclusively
Montezuma's...Most of the tribute
given to the Mexica over the years
was handed thusly to the
Marina, the interpreter, now stands on the rooftop of the
House of Birds and calls out to Mexica.
O Mexica, come here. The
Castilians have suffered great
fatigue. Bring here food, fresh
water, all that is required. For
they are now...tired and
exhausted. They are in need.
No one comes.
Why do not wish to come? It
appears that you are angry.
The Mexica remain silent and inactive. Finally, they do
come and leave some food. They leave it on the ground and
run back.


Conquistador ANDRES DE TAPIA testifies.
                       ANDRES DE TAPIA
While myself, Cortes and some
others were walking in the
courtyard of the Great Temple, we
saw once again, its numerous
towers. It was very large and
numerous sacred buildings
surrounded it. The cell where
child victims of Tlaloc were kept
was one of these as was the larger
one for adults. Also skull racks,
two round stones used for
gladiatorial combat and a rock
garden were there. Cortes
suggested I climb up the steps of
the pyramid to examine the
shrines. I went up followed by
some astonished priests. At the
top I walked through a curtain to
the supreme shrine to Tlaloc. I
saw the goggle-faced stone diety
and a unidentified companion. At
each figures' neck hung skinned
human faces. Cortes followed me
up along with more priests. The
Caudillo asked the priests to put
up effigies of Christ and the
Virgin Mary immediately. The
priests laughed, saying if they
did so the whole Empire would rise
against the Spaniards. Annoyed by
what he heard, he seized a bar
which was there and began to hit
the stone idols. And I promise on
my word as a gentlemen, and I
swear by God that it is true, that
it appeared to me that the Marquis
gave a superhuman leap and
balanced himself taking the bar so
that it hit the eyes of the idol
and so removed the gold mask,
saying: "Something must be done
for the Lord."


Montezuma soon learns of these actions. He asks for Cortes.
Cortes arrives.
May I come to the temple to see
what you have done. And please
stop doing damage to the idols.
Cortes allows him to come to temple.
Montezuma arrives and sees what Cortes has done.