Back to the Beginning

Parte Uno

Christina Smith

Felipe sat in the carriage and thought about the past few months and what lay ahead of him. He still could not believe he was going to Madrid to attend the university. He silently thanked Diego for everything he did for him. He recalled the night before he had boarded the ship.

"Thank you," Felipe said.

"You've said that before, many times before," Diego said, laughing good-naturedly. "Besides, you deserve it. You've always wanted to be a lawyer. Now is your chance."

"Father," Felipe said. "It feels so strange to call you 'father.' You've done so much for me. Took me in after you found me, raised me, took care of me - adopted me. I can't tell how much you mean to me."

"You mean a lot to me, Felipe, my son. You are right, it does sound strange. But I wouldn't trade any of it for the world."

"I'll miss everyone, including you - and Zorro."

"We will miss you, too, but now that de Soto has left, things should be fairly quiet. Perhaps Zorro can concentrate on other things."

"Like Victoria?" Felipe grinned.

"We'll see." Diego returned the smile.

"Just don't do anything without me."

"I wouldn't dream of it."

That was several months ago and now Felipe was entering the capital of Spain. The city rose in front of him and he could not believe his eyes. Diego had told him Madrid was very different from Los Angeles, but Felipe still wasn't prepared for the spectacle which spread out before him.

Buildings towered above the carriage and there appeared to be thousands of people roaming the streets. Felipe quickly became lost in the sea of people. Finally, the carriage pulled up to the university. An hour later, Felipe had settled in his room and decided to explore the city. Diego had given him a list of places to visit and he thought he would tour the city to orient himself with his new surroundings.

Felipe was walking through the streets of Spain. The sights and sounds overwhelmed him. A stranger in cloak and hood bumped into him and Felipe noticed the stranger dropped something. Felipe picked it up and tried to find the stranger only to see the figure head down an alley. Felipe rushed after the cloaked figure. He finally caught up to the figure and the figure pulled back the hood to reveal its owner.

"Yes it's me," the stranger said. "Sir Edmund Kendall."

"We thought you were dead," Felipe said.

"You can speak!"

"Yes, I regained my ability to speak a few years ago."

Sir Edmund nodded. "Amazing."

"You're alive. How is this possible?"

"Yes, I'm alive. I know the world thinks I'm dead and by all rights, I should be. But that's another story, but not here."

Sir Edmund looked around then pulled Felipe into a small apartment.

"Ah yes, you want to about my 'death.'" Sir Edmund told Felipe once they were settled. "Here's what happened. I had actually fainted, not died. Later, I came to and I was in a strange place. Being prepared for burial, I think. I knew had to get out of there. I staggered through out the door and fainted again. When I awoke, I was in a small hut and a person was taking care of me. He was Indian, a shaman I think, because he knew quite a bit about medicine. After a few months, I was as good as new. I thanked him, but I am not sure he understood. After I was well, I knew I had to leave."

"Why did you not look for us?" Felipe asked.

"I wanted to, but I didn't want to jeopardize Diego and Zorro. Besides, Diego was fighting the way I had taught him; he didn't need me anymore. Anyway, it was best to let the world think I was dead.

"After I left the Indian, I returned to Spain. But I could no longer go as Sir Edmund Kendall. I disguised myself as Luis Ortiz, a peasant. When I returned, it was quite different and much worse than before. Felipe, the king of Spain is in trouble. His opposers for the crown have gained more power since I left and I knew I had to take action, but quietly. If anyone knew I was alive, I surely would have been dead. I searched for some of my students, the few that I trusted, and found an underground organization. Together we have been fighting against the King's opposers and their injustice, much like Zorro in California." Sir Edmund laughed. "I guess it's never too late for a master to learn, is it?"

"Can I join?" Felipe asked.

"You want to join, hm?" Sir Edmund thought about it a moment. "It's far too dangerous. Not only that, I would have to teach you how to fence."

Felipe looked around and picked up a sword. "My father taught me."

"Your father? I thought you were an orphan."

"Diego adopted me."

"You're very fortunate, my boy. But I don't think Diego would like it if I led you into danger while you are here in Madrid."

Sir Edmund was about to say more but a knock at the door silenced him. He went over to the wall and appeared to be looking at something. Once he was satisified, he reached for the latch.

"Come in. Hurry," Sir Edmund said.

Another cloaked figure walked in. The hood turned in Felipe's direction, then back to Sir Edmund.

"Oh, this is Felipe. Remember the lad I was telling you about?"

"I remember," a voice said.

Then the hood fell back, revealing a woman.

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