CHAPTER THIRTY- SEVEN
Diego hurriedly began getting into Zorro’s black
silks, pausing before pulling on his headscarf and mask to express his
fury regarding Glorioso’s ill treatment of Selena.
“Bernardo ... Selena is carrying my baby. Here I am,
El Zorro, the Dark Knight, the Masked Avenger and I was unable to
prevent Glorioso from brutalizing her!” The Fox clenched his fists and
slammed them on the heavy wooden table in the cave. “Dios mi, mi
preciosa, Selena!“ he shouted, startling Tornado in his stall.
Alarmed at the depth of Diego’s rage, Bernardo began
to sign his thoughts. My master, you are obviously dealing with a
lunatic. You have to tread very carefully. With Selena in his custody,
Glorioso may lose control and kill her to spite you. This is something
you must consider when dealing with someone of questionable mental
Diego’s hands still gripped the table as if the piece
of furniture were his only lifeline to sanity. "Of course,” he
said after a lengthy silence, “you are right as usual, Bernardo. But I
must take some sort of action. Today, I barely averted a riot in
the Pueblo led by the péons and the shopkeepers. Fortunately, cooler
heads prevailed when Alcalde Baltazar appeared on the scene and
supported me in persuading the crowd not to attack the cuartel. And the
alcalde and several of the other regidores made certain that the
péons would postpone antagonizing the Vizconde, albeit temporarily,
until Gobernador de Sola’s arrival. That raton Glorioso will
shoot anyone who approaches the Cuartel."
Bernardo continued signing. Glorioso believes that he
has the right to arbitrarily decide who should live and who should die.
Since the Señora is in his jail, he has total control of the situation.
Worse, he realizes how much Selena means to you. I repeat, he will do
everything he can to hurt you even if it means killing her.
His mozo retrieved a rapier from the rack of
practice weapons in the cave. Bernardo checked the feel and balance of
the sword in his right hand. Master, you are extremely angry and
anger clouds your judgment and we both know poor judgment will...
Diego wiped his eyes, which had become blurry again with
unshed tears at the thought that Selena might lose their child while in
Glorioso’s custody. There was both wisdom and loving concern in
Bernardo’s thoughts, he
Bernardo held up another rapier and threw it across the
cave to him. You need to loosen up, his manservant insisted. En
Diego‘s somber mood vanished at Bernardo‘s
challenge. “Ah, well, if you insist, señor!” Diego poured his
entire being into the mock duel, as he tossed aside the mask and deftly
seized the rapier with genuine revolve. The hidalgo flexed his
strong trapezeius muscles as he executed a compound attack with his
rapier to work off the tension that had built up during his frustrating
meeting with Glorioso. As Bernardo started to press his master’s blade
again and again with his own sword to create an opening for his own
spirited offense, the caballero responded with a series of rapid
parries. Although the mute successfully blocked his master’s
movements, Diego suddenly counterattacked by twisting his blade along
Bernardo’s weapon several times. His mozo fell for Diego’s
clever ploys of misdirection as the young hidalgo thrust his
rapier forward and the manservant unexpectedly found himself disarmed.
Bernardo bowed in gracious defeat and then applauded Diego’s bravura
Bernardo’s master heaved a sigh of relief. “’Tis
all in the wrist, my friend. Gracias for the fencing idea.
Now,“ he added while splashing cool water on his face, “it is time
to really apply pressure on the Vizconde. But first, I have to set some
other things in motion,” Diego said as he scribbled a note and handed
it to Bernardo.
“I do not have time to deliver this to my father,”
The Fox said as he donned his mask. “What is the matter, Bernardo?”
Zorro said as he saw his mozo’s shocked glance at his
“Tis barely eleven o’clock in the morning ... Bernardo
sighed as he waved his hands in the air and again pointed at his watch.
“Si, I know what time it is, but I dare not waste time
because Selena ..” The Fox’s burned with rage and then he took
several large deep breaths to relax. Finally he said, “Put on your
black clothes. You shall briefly impersonate El Zorro after I have left
for the pueblo!”
My master you do know how to fulfill my fantasies! Bernardo
grinned at him.
The Fox pulled Bernardo’s black Zorro’s hat over his
manservant’s face. “Very funny! Wish me luck!“ The Man in Black
called out before plunging into the darkness outside.
As he admiringly watched horse and rider leave the
secret cave, Bernardo was vastly relieved that he managed to temporarily
dampen some of Diego’s impulsiveness.
Don Alejandro sat in his patio incessantly stirring his hot
chocolate, brooding over his beloved daughter-in-law languishing in
Glorioso’s demonic clutches.
“BY ALL THE SAINTS!” Don Alejandro nearly scalded
himself as he jumped up at the sound of a rock landing on the tiled
patio ground. “A note addressed to me!” He ran to open the
gate and saw a familiar rider in black on a dark horse waving from the
road leading back to Los Angeles. Alejandro shook his head in amusement
and returned the salute. “My son, you were always the dramatic
one, even in childhood,“ he mumbled to himself.
“The time has come to begin our move against Vizconde
de Estrada. You, Don Alfredo and Don Cornelio must gather your vaqueros
and commence your plans to isolate the Pueblo de Los Angeles from
the outside world for at least the next couple of days. I am riding this
afternoon to speak with Alcalde Baltazar and the regidores so
they can keep the populace calm until the dons have taken control of all
the access to the pueblo. As usual, Don Alejandro, please destroy this
note after you have read this.”
Don Alejandro smiled to himself as he called a servant
for his rapier and his horse. Well, well, it did not take long for
Diego to make his decision. Make haste, Alejandro, for every minute
Selena spends in Glorioso’s cuartel is a hellish eternity for her!
Selena thanked God once again that her father, like the
descendants of most of the original thirty families that comprised the
core of the Grandee class of Spain was a strict military
disciplinarian. Don Martino de Rojas had always drilled his pair of
female offspring in the importance of observing people. Humans’ body
language revealed far more than their conversations and this knowledge
had served her well at the Spanish Court. From her vantage point in her
cell, Señora de la Vega had a full of view of the Cuartel and its
surroundings, especially of the lancers’ barracks. Several times since
her arrival this morning she overheard odd bits and pieces of the
soldiers’ conversations. She learned that all was not well in the
capitan’s personal and professional fiefdoms, the Cuartel and his
house of ill repute. The lancers were growing tired of Glorioso’s
brutality, and Teresa de Soto’s sarcastic attitude toward Glorioso
further proved that things were not running smoothly for the Commandante
Glorioso finally permitted her to leave his office and
Selena looked hungrily at the food laying on the tray before her.
Sergeant Garcia brought Señora de la Vega some soup and tortillas
Teresa Soto had managed to cook from La Casa de Hospitalidad just
for Selena to eat. She had only one tortilla and a large cup of
Amontildar’s special herb tea early in the day and was ravenous.
Corporal Reyes found a small bottle of wine and proudly offered it to
her. Señora de la Vega’s eyes glistened with tears. Reyes was
heartbroken and his face fell. Selena dried her eyes and noticed both
men walking away and begged them to stay with her. Reyes, of course, was
delighted with her change in mood.
“Señores, please be careful. If the capitán
discovers that you are treating me so well, he shall have your hides!”
Selena cautioned Diego’s friends.
Reyes shook his head. “For once Señora, I must
disagree. I do not care what Glorioso does to me. That one is muy
loco and cruel.”
Garcia gaped at Reyes in total shock. Twice in the past
month, Reyes was actually making sense! Who would have thought he
used his head for something other than a hat rack? The sergeant
“S-si, Señora de la Vega.” the sergeant dropped his
voice to a whisper. “There is talk among the soldiers that they should
no longer obey Glorioso’s orders. We are quite upset over the
Commandante’s... ah ...disrespect for such an important man as Don
Diego,” he added sotto voce.
Ah, I guessed correctly, then. The soldiers’ resentment
of the Vizconde’s ruthless authority became firmly entrenched by the
Commandante’s public flogging of my husband. The lancers hold Diego in
such high esteem they considered Glorioso’s actions to be almost
Interesting. Selena lifted up her head to comment on Garcia’s
remark as she finished eating the last of the tortillas. Mon Dieu,
non! Glorioso is coming!
“Atencion, peligro!” Selena cautioned. “Ah,
Capitán Glorioso thank you for the food. It was simply delicious!”
She said in a loud voice.
Garcia and Reyes’ faces became expressionless masks
before the capitán reached her cell to ostensibly determine if Selena
had everything she needed for her first night in the Cuartel. But the
Commandante was not fooled by her bravado.
“You are most welcome, Señora de la Vega.” he
replied politely mostly for the benefit of Garcia and Reyes. Glorioso
turned his back to her and muttered under his breath that they had
better return to their posts en seguida! Although ordered to
leave their posts pronto, the lancers deliberately walked slowly and
reluctantly away from her cell.
As soon as Garcia and Reyes were out of sight, Glorioso
leaned closer to her cell and grabbed one of her wrists. Selena cried
out, for his touch reopened
some of the rope cuts. Soon, Señora de la Vega, he
whispered to her I shall remove a lady of your charm and social class
from this cesspool,” and he added lasciviously, “you shall
discover what inestimable pleasure it is to become my woman and mine
alone!“ Without uttering another word, he stalked back into his
office loudly slamming the heavy wooden door behind him.
A half-hour later, Corporal Peldar, Lancers Gomez and
Esteves came to take her into the Commandante’s office.
“Put her in my quarters and stretch out her arms
against the mattress and tie them to the bedpost, Peldar,“ Glorioso
ordered nonchalantly, “but not too tightly. After all, the prisoner is
the wife of a don!” The lancers carried out his orders and treated her
as roughly as they did before.
Oh, my arms ... by morning I shall be in a fine state. she
thought darkly. Then Selena remembered the predatory, hungry desire in
Glorioso’s eyes last night before he shoved a gag into her mouth. She
trembled in terror as she realized suddenly what the Commandante’s
planned to do to her. Diego! Where are you my beloved? I want to be
away from this couchon so badly and I miss you terribly. But be
very careful, my love, the Commandante is a man who has nothing to lose!
Selena mentally prayed her rosary, praying not for herself, but for
the deliverance of the citizens of Los Angeles from the evil tyranny of
Capitán Glorioso. But she saved her most special prayers for her
dearest husband. Mon Renard, whatever decision you have made
regarding this raton of a commandante, I only hope that you will be very
cautious. When she finished her rosary she added a special petition
for the safety of the horseman known as Zorro.
Glorioso ate an early dinner of arroz con pollo
and then strolled into his office in the Cuartel to check on his
prisoner, Señora de la Vega. Her body jerked up at the sound of the
door creaking. How I wish it were El Zorro...
“Ah, buenos tardes, Señora, I have returned to make
you feel better, he added sarcastically, eyeing her obvious discomfort
at having her hands tied above her head for several hours. “But I
think that now you have learned your lesson that it is futile to resist
Selena did her best to ignore his verbal darts and
turned her head away from him. A single tear crept from her left eye and
slowly meandered down her cheek.
“Your concern for me is touching, Señora. You will
have no time for such sadness when I bed you, my dear. Then you will
finally know what it is like to be touched by a real man!” He
continued speaking as he untied her arms and gently rubbed them to help
circulate the blood in them. “Better?”
Selena shook her head in agreement. “Sí.”
“Bueno. Teresa Soto is coming in a little while so you
can have help with your toilette. And a change of clothes.” She gasped
when Glorioso pulled Selena up by her wrists, which caused sharp pain to
radiate up through her shoulders.
“If you promise not to scream I shall remove the
Selena again nodded her assent.
“Very well.” No sooner had he removed the disgusting
bit of cloth than he forced her head back and crushed his lips against
“NO!” She tried to wriggle free but it was useless.
“I have decided now is the proper time for us to get
better acquainted, Selena. With very little effort her pushed her back
down on the bed.
Selena shuddered. Blessed Virgin help me! What can I
do? I can hardly feel my arms. Wrists are aching. Head throbs. I have
but one chance. Then she kicked him hard in one of his shins. The
capitán merely laughed at her.
“Excellente. I adore it when my prey struggles. It
only adds excitement to the hunt!” Glorioso again pinned her arms
above her head and proceeded to attack her. Selena’s last rational
thought was of Diego and the love that bound them together for eternity.
“Señora de la Vega, it is Teresa. Por favor, wake up!
You are all right. He has gone for now,“ Teresa Soto whispered to her
as Selena managed to sit up.
“He ... he...” Selena started crying but stopped
abruptly because it could have been much worse. She remembered the
brutal and feral look in his eyes while he ravished her.
“Believe me, Señora I know how you feel. Come, I will
help you get cleaned up and I brought a change of clothes. Do not worry,
Señora de la Vega. El Zorro will come to your rescue, Señora Selena,
he is such a clever handsome rogue!"
Selena nodded wordlessly, but inwardly recoiling over
the horror she endured at Glorioso’s hands. She continued to bathe
herself and then Teresa helped her into fresh lingerie, a riding outfit,
and combed her hair.
"Could you possible leave me alone for a few
minutes Señora?" Selena politely asked after Señora Soto finished
Teresa gave her an empathetic look and closed the door
behind her as she left Capitán Glorioso's personal quarters.
Selena finally permitted herself to break down
completely. How will I ever be able to inform Diego that the
commandante has taken advantage of me? Would he understand?
She had always heard tales of women who had been ravished and, when they
told the nearest male relative, they were usually regarded thereafter
with suspicion and/or shunned by polite society. Or so she had heard. Please
forgive me Diego. I tried to fight him to the best of my ability. I have
prayed to the Blessed Virgin to give you the understanding to forgive
Teresa knocked loudly on the Commandante’s bedroom
door. "Señora de la Vega, Glorioso is returning to his office and
I am coming into the bedroom to help you finish dressing."
Selena hastily wiped away her tears and smiled warmly at
“Gracias for all of your help Teresa. I promise you
that I will leave any further heroics to the Fox! But, mon amie, I
cannot help but think that you will get into trouble ...."
Teresa dismissed Selena’s concern with a wave of her
hand. "Pah!" Both women suddenly froze they heard Capitán
Glorioso bellowing for Teresa in his office.
"Soto! What are you doing here?"
"I am here by your command, capitán. You sent for
me to attend to Señora de la Vega."
"Sí. I had forgotten my request.” Glorioso
replied quietly but his eyes followed Teresa’s every move.
"I am finished now. May I go, commandante? I have
business to attend to!" Teresa flippantly said.
The commandante narrowed his eyes. "Puta,
remember your place." He said evenly. His large hands fingered the
whip that he always carried. "Or do you want another taste of my
little companion?" Glorioso warned.
END OF CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN