There Must Always be a Zorro
I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Mask of Zorro. They are owned by Joss Whedon and Martin Campbell respectively. I think... :p
~~Sunnydale Memorial Hospital
April 22nd 1981
Diego Murrieta stared long and hard at the squalling infant in his arms. Diego’s son, Antonio, had handed the child off to Diego with little more then a sniff of disdain. As if Antonio was in a position to scoff at his father. Diego had paid Antonio ten thousand American dollars to give up the newest member of the Murrieta family. Antonio had thought it a wonderful deal for him. Now Antonio.. nay, it was Anthony these days, and his wife Jessica could drink their troubles away for another year or two, depending on how rapidly they spent what Diego had given them.
Diego, on the other hand, had gained a new heir this day. He would do the job right, this time. This child would not turn into the drunken slob that Antonio Murrieta had become. Diego smiled as he soothed the infants cries away. “You will be my heir, little one. You shall learn the old ways as Antonio should have. You shall bring great honour back to the family name. Henceforward, you shall be Alejandro Murrieta II. Take heart little one, for you shall one day bear the same great honour that our family has secretly held for generations, the protection of California…”
July 17th 1989
Twin rapiers connected in a flash of sparks as aging Diego Murrieta dueled fiercely with his young heir, Alejandro. At the age of eight, Alejandro was not yet able to match Diego’s strength or skill but made up for it by compensating with his far greater speed and agility. The duel was fierce and lengthy, spanning much of the Murrieta Estate. Diego had been carefully homeschooling Alejandro in the arts that would serve him so very well as Zorro.
As a minor Spanish noble of a long, distinguished and, most important in the more capitalistic days of late twentieth century, wealthy family line, Alejandro was schooled in the proper behaviours for a person of his station, even as he was schooled in how to interact with those less fortunate then he and, most importantly, schooled in the arts that would aid him when he donned the mask.
Among his many lessons were English, Spanish, mathematics, science, swordplay, marksmanship, horsemanship, concealment, manners, whip work and many other tools of the trade that had been passed down the Murrieta line. Finally, drawing blood from Alejandro’s arm with his blade, Diego called a halt to the day’s duel. “You are improving well, Alejandro. There will soon come a time when I deem you ready to don the mask.”
Alejandro sighed. “The darkness encroaches worse then ever before, Grandfather. Why do you train me when you could be fighting it?”
“Alejandro, I am getting old. I am too old to live the double life of Zorro. I had to choose between defending the people now or defending them in the future. If I train no successor then when I die there will no longer be a Zorro. I cannot let that happen. If I had raised your father better then perhaps he could wear the mask while I train you, but we both know that Antonio has lost his way and will not find it again.”
Alejandro nodded solemnly. “I understand, Grandfather. But it still makes me sad.”
“I as well, young Murrieta, but if you study hard and fight harder then one day it will be time for Zorro to return again.”
Alejandro smiled. “And then let the creatures of the night once again know great fear, as Z’s are once more carved into doors.”
Diego matched his smile. “It will be a glorious day indeed, Alejandro…”
April 22nd 1996
“This is your fifteenth birthday Alejandro. The time has come to take up your mask.”
Alejandro smiled at the aging Diego. At sixty-two, many might have said he was too young to retire, but most jobs were not so tasking as the double-life of Zorro. “I am honoured to uphold our family’s long tradition.”
Diego matched Alejandro’s smile. “And I am very proud of you, Alejandro.” With that, Diego opened the sealed vault area which contained the mask, Spanish cape, Andalusian-style hat, and the legendary rapier and whip that had been passed down through the family for generations. “Tonight, Alejandro, you will be going to a party. It is time to meet your enemy. As with all Zorros since the founding of this town, there is one man who you must remember, for it is he that is the cause of much of the darkness into this town.”
Alejandro nodded in response. “And you yourself?”
“I will remain here, Alejandro. This, you must do on your own.”
April 22nd 1996
Alejandro walked up to the doorway of the Wilkins Estate, dressed in a fine suit, carrying only a long ornamental cane and a beautiful, hand-written invitation from Mayor Wilkins.
He swept to Wilkins swiftly, a benign smile painted on his face. “Alcalde Wilkins. I am Don Alejandro Murrieta. I thank you for your invitation. I only wish that my grandfather could be here himself, but alas, his health is not as it once was.”
Richard Wilkins III matched the benign smile with a serpentine grin. “Well gosh, you’re little Alejandro? I haven’t seen you since you were just a little bit. You make sure that you give your grandfather my best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
Alejandro’s smile did not waver for a second. “I will be sure to pass on your message, Mr. Mayor. My grandfather and I have always been very interested in your wonderful works in this town. I wish you luck with your reelection campaign.” With that, Alejandro executed a perfect half-bow and walked smoothly into the party itself.
Wilkins grinned in response, nudging Allan Finch. “Did you see that, Allan? It’s nice to see that at least some parents are working hard to teach their kids some manners. Old Diego never did a finer thing when he kept young Alejandro out of Anthony’s hands.”
Allan nodded. “As you say, Mr. Mayor. By the way, I have the latest information on Zorro.”
Richard’s smile redoubled. “Really, Allan? That’s wonderful. How is the old boy doing.”
Finch finally allowed a smile of his own to cross his face. “Alas, sir, it appears he may really have died properly back in ‘84. Not one hide nor hair of the fox has been seen in California or out of it since Old Man Haggerty died. I think we were right. Zorro is dead.”
Wilkins sighed. “A sad day indeed. Now all the people will have is that slayer if I can swing her into town.”
“If I may, sir, why do you want her here?”
“She cuts down on the unaffiliated types. Slayers are easily controlled and directed. You just need to know how. Besides, you know the old saying. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It’s a shame that Zorro is gone, but I must say it’s a relief. He always had a nasty way of getting to the heart of the matter and stabbing his rapier through it.”
“Quite right, sir. If I may, sir? The Chases are arriving.”
“Are they? Well golly gee, where has the time gone? David, Elizabeth, how are you? And who is this vision of beauty? That can’t be Cordelia, she’s much to grown up…”