Citation
Mexica : a screenplay

Material Information

Title:
Mexica : a screenplay
Creator:
Ratzer, Jane Alexander ( author )
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (69 pages) + : ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
History -- Drama -- Mexico -- Conquest, 1519-1540 ( lcsh )
Civilization -- Drama -- Mexico ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
The primary objectives of this thesis are to research the Conquest of Mexico and to integrate research to expand upon Mexica , a 125 page historical fiction screenplay that was started in 2008 about the 16th century invasion of Mexico by Hernan Cortes. Through quantifying and writing commentary on the revisions to reflect the integration of new research, the enhanced work is accompanied by a critical introduction essay that simultaneously serves as a literature review to determine how sources contributed to the dramatization. The critical introduction is in Spanish, the research was conducted in Spanish and English, and Mexica is in English, to better reach the target, mainstream American audience. The essay addresses schools of thought and theoretical frameworks on the conquest and how they have been accepted, rejected, dramatized and/or incorporated in the screenplay. By analyzing chronicles, literature, film and television relevant to the conquest, narrating experiences and creative license are demonstrated. The essay exhibits a historiographical review by examining myths, misconceptions and consensus on several themes relevant to this era of initial contact in the New World. The critical introduction of Mexica explains how the enhanced script better integrates the indigenous perspective through analysis of a variety of sources, with a non Euro-centric emphasis, to reflect compelling and multidimensional characters in the historical fiction genre.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references.
System Details:
System requirements: Adobe Reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jane Alexander Ratzer.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
910632387 ( OCLC )
ocn910632387

Downloads

This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

MEXICA by Jane Alexander Ratzer Jane Alexander Ratzer 19286 Fox Den Way Morrison, CO 80465 303-921-1142 jratzer@wispertel.net Based on the true story

PAGE 2

1.* "MEXICA" FADE IN: EXT. TEMPLO MAYOR (MAIN TEMPLE COMPLEX), MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -AFTERNOON * TITLE OVER: "Montezuma II's Palace and Royal Complex, Tenochtitlan, Mexico 1510." (SEE THE CODEX MENDOZA, "CASAS NUEVAS DE MOCTEZUMA" IMAGE OF HIS PALACE & COMPLEX) Montezuma's palace is inside an impressive, massive complex containing several temples and many buildings. The twin, enormous, main temple pyramid (Templo Mayor) are at the far end. Lake Texcoco borders one side where canoes pull up to the immaculate, royal grounds with flowering bushes. The palace is two stories with external stairs leading to Montezuma's chambers and various other rooms. INT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -CONTINUOUS * A group of MEXICA NOBLES and ELITE ADVISORS are assembled in a large, sunny chamber. Some are dressed in colorful cotton garments, some with shell patches and others with bone or feather ones and limited jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and lip plugs. Others wear waist length capes with feather or precious stone embellishment with loincloths and some are bare chested. TENTLIL leads the discussion. Tentlil is about 25 and dark skinned with a tight black ponytail that spews over a band on the top of his head. He wears a gold lip plug and a copper and shell necklace covers his chest. MONTEZUMA II enters the council room. He is in his early 30's, tall, well proportioned and lean. His skin is light brown and his dark hair falls just over his ears. His face is long with warm brown eyes. He wears an elaborate green headdress, a feather, gold and precious stone collar/necklace and a gold lip plug in the shape of the sun. The men bow and avert their eyes as Montezuma joins them. Montezuma gestures to a servant girl. She pours xocolatl (cocoa) from elaborate ceramic vessels into mugs after the council members get seated at a large wooden table. Montezuma sits in a decorated wooden chair, at the far end of the table. (NOTE: ALL MAYAN AND NAHUATL DIALOGUE WILL BE IN NATIVE DIALECT AS INDICATED BY TRIBE. ENGLISH SUBTITLES WILL BE USED.)

PAGE 3

2.* MONTEZUMA What says your hearts, men? Thank you for meeting with me. My heart is worried. Our wise men and women of the dark arts have seen omens and signs, telling me that our world is going to change. TENTLIL My lord, some of us have seen the flying star that spread it's fire. But what are the other predictions? MONTEZUMA My sorcerers have found many. But in a special mirror, I saw the heavens, the stars and my best warriors riding on the backs of deer. But the wise men did not see it. ADVISOR #1 Many have claimed to hear a woman crying when there no one is there. MONTEZUMA I have been praying and thinking. What do you suggest? ADVISOR #1 I will meet with the sorcerers to verify the dates and omens of the calendar. TENTLIL More tribute to Quetzalcoatl may help. MONTEZUMA Agreed. Tentlil, you will lead a holy mission to obtain hearts and comestibles for our warriors. Our splendid empire depends on more tribute that will also diminish these omens. TENTLIL Yes. I will organize a group to leave immediately. The commoners will be asked for additional tribute but also for the celebration of Xipe Totec, who gives us vegetation and renewal. MONTEZUMA I will leave you now. (MORE)

PAGE 4

3.* MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) I must pray for stability for our great territory and to prepare for the celebration of Xipe Totec to bless of our crops. * EXT. VILLAGE NEAR PUEBLA, MEXICO -AFTERNOON * TITLE OVER: "Village near Puebla, Mexico a week later, 1510" NATIVE VILLAGE WOMEN wearing simple, dyed agave dresses or long skirts and blouses are gathered near a fire, making maize cakes (corn tortillas). The maidens have long, straight, shiny dark hair and the women wear long braids. Some have feathers or precious gemstones woven into their garments and wear gold jewelry including in their hair, while others wear none. Some use thick, stone pestles and mortars and others use stone tablets and rollers. A beautiful TEENAGE DAUGHTER and her MOTHER sit cross legged in the group, laughing and talking while they shuck and sort maize. Below them more WOMEN fill jugs of water and rinse out clothing in a slow moving river. CHILDREN splash and play while VILLAGE MEN in loincloths fish with nets further down river. Other men work in the fields alongside the river. The mother's eleven year old YOUNG SON charges into the village center, shouting and frantically BLOWING a BIRD BONE WHISTLE tied around his neck. The women stop their work and rush inside their homes, grabbing their children and shouting. Then men drop their nets and field tools, running toward their adobe and volcanic rock homes. LOUD DRUMS and CONCH SHELLS suddenly overtake the quiet woods. A few moments later, several hundred Mexica WARRIORS emerge out of the trees, into the village. Most of the warriors wear simple feather headdresses and loincloths with cotton cloaks. Many have lip and ear plugs. They carry spears, clubs and obsidian tipped knives. The smaller troops of elite JAGUAR WARRIORS wear jaguar fur skins as fitted capes and hoods and the EAGLE WARRIORS wear feathered shields and helmets. Many wear light but fitted chest plates. Tentlil leads the warriors. He BLOWS A CONCH shell loudly, quieting the village. The village men start quickly bringing lumber poles, rolls of dyed cotton cloth and baskets of maize to the village center. A few older women shovel dried salt into maguey bags and pile fruits and vegetables into baskets.

PAGE 5

4.* Five Mexica warriors surround an adobe home. The MOTHER and TEENAGE DAUGHTER are dragged out, screaming by their hair. The YOUNG SON with the whistle follows them, shouting and grabs onto his mothers' leg. A warrior kicks him in the head and his arms fall away as he curls in a ball in the dirt. The mother shouts and the warrior slaps her hard across the face. The villagers cease all activity and are silent. They kneel and avert their eyes as the Mexica warriors and Tentlil assemble. TENTLIL (in Nahuatl) Our great lord and emperor, Montezuma, demands your tributes and hearts for Tenochtitlan to be blessed and thrive. I'm sure your prayers have started for the season of rebirth and fertility so we may all be blessed by Xipe Totec for bountiful crops. Your additional tributes will add to our favor from the gods. Remember that you are priveleged to glorify our gods through your tributes. Your taxes gain your protection by the emperor and his warriors. The villagers are quiet and keep their eyes down. Tentlil gestures to two WARRIORS who rush off. They survey the villagers and grab the prettiest, youngest women by the hair. The MOTHER and TEENAGE DAUGHTER are holding hands when a warrior yanks the daughter away by the arm. Ten young women are lined up and some cry quietly as their hands are roped together behind their backs. The MOTHER looks the opposite direction and stifles tears upon seeing her YOUNG SON, blood dripping from the wound on his head, being herded by warriors. Six village men are attached to a wooden pole by tight rope collars. Mexica warriors hold each end of the pole. The villagers keep their eyes on the ground. The MOTHER shudders, having met eyes with her TEENAGE DAUGHTER, her face strained. She searches the chaos desperately for her YOUNG SON. The warriors efficiently grab men while others prepare the poles and collars. A procession of village men attached to the poles are led out of the village by strong, muscular PORTERS.

PAGE 6

5.* Many more porters follow behind, carrying litters, loaded with tribute of animal pelts, cages with live turkeys, parrots and colorful birds, bound rolls of dyed maguey cloth and bolts of cotton. The MOTHER covers her mouth, seeing her YOUNG SON craning his neck to find her. He is at the front of the long rope with boys and young women tied by their wrists. Her DAUGHTER is second to the last of the same rope, her head down as they leave the village. She turns to the woman beside her, puts her head on her shoulder for support. EXT. TEMPLO MAYOR (MAIN TEMPLE COMPLEX), MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -THE NEXT MORNING * Montezuma begins slowly climbing the steep stone temple/ pyramid stairs on a clear dawn with pink and orange skies. The pyramid is enormous with hundreds of stairs. Four Mexica CACIQUES (chiefs) dressed in colorful capes, jewelry and lip and ear plugs walk several stairs behind. Montezuma's lips move quietly, as he prays. At the top are two enclosed shrines with space in between. A CHACMOOL STATUE (a ghoulish man holding an urn in his hands) already drips with blood, near the clean sacrificial stone altar. A PRIEST with long, black, hair, matted from dried blood, wears a neck to feet black cotton gown that is smudged with blood. He gives the YOUNG SON from the village sips from a cup. YOUNG SON (in Nahuatl) Sir, no more. I feel sick. PRIEST Drink. Your duty is almost fulfilled and you will be more comfortable. The YOUNG SON grimaces but drinks. He stumbles, struggling to walk and looks up timidly as he is led by the priest. Four priests of similar appearance seize an arm and leg to splay the YOUNG SON over the stone. He is drunk and passive. A PRIEST holds the sacrificial knife over the boys heart. He prays loudly and Montezuma approaches. With a nod from Montezuma, the priest cuts open the boys lower chest and expertly removes the heart, through the diaphram. The YOUNG SON's head falls back. His body seizes then stiffens. The PRIEST holds the dripping, still beating heart to the sky. MONTEZUMA In celebration of Xipe Totec, our priests wear the skins of these boys, (MORE)

PAGE 7

6.* MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) to absorb the gift of rebirth, like our crops and trees at this season. We honor Huitzilpotchtli, with these hearts, to feed the rising sun, giving all of us life. With our blood, we return what is yours. The priest places the beating heart in the chacmool. The priests lay the dead YOUNG SON on the ground. With obsidian knives, they expertly flay the boy, the skin removed in neat strips. The head priest clamps his gown sleeves to his shoulders with elaborate gold and silver pins at the shoulders. The dripping strips are placed on the head priest's lower and upper arms. Feathers and ornaments are attached to the skin. The body of the young son is thrown down the pyramid stairs by two of the priests. At the base of the pyramid a crowd of men and women is assembled. COSTUMED DANCERS perform among HYMNS, WHISTLES and DRUMS. As the body falls, they bloodlet their own fingers and pierce their ear lobes and tongues, savoring the presence of the blood. Montezuma, the priests and the caciques also perform auto sacrifice and blood drips from their fingers, ear lobes and tongues. MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) Xipe Totec and Tlaloc, god of rain, you have been generous in your blessings for over 200 years. As we give more gifts to you, I humbly ask you bless us with more riches, power and fertile crops. Let the omens disappear as we glorify you. The group chants and the priest peels off the strips of skin, placing them in a pottery container. To the far left, another priest unties one of the five boys tied to a rope. The boys are listless and groggy as they are passed the cup. * INT. CHAPEL IN SANTO DOMINGO, HISPANIOLA -MORNING * TITLE OVER "Santo Domingo, Hispaniola 1510" HERNAN CORTES, age 25, is tall and muscular with broad shoulders, dark brown wavy hair and gleaming brown eyes. He kneels in the front row of a small Catholic church, alone. His eyes look upon a dominant CRUCIFIX with a statue of Jesus, with the BLEEDING WRISTS, LEFT RIBCAGE, HANDS and FEET. He makes the sign of the cross on himself before approaching the LARGE STATUE of the VIRGIN MARY and kisses her feet, on the left side of the crucifix.

PAGE 8

7.* He does the same to the STATUE of ST. JOSEPH on the right side of the crucifix. He then returns to the MARY STATUE and lights two candles. He sits in a pew, gazing out a small window with a view of palm trees blowing in the wind. FLASHBACK TO: EXT. PORT OF SEVILLA, GUADALQUIVIL RIVER, SPAIN -MORNING * TITLE OVER: "Sevilla, Spain, 1503" Cortes, age 19, is slender and walks briskly toward a large ship docked on the Guadalquivil River, bordered by palm trees, with a canvas bag slung over one shoulder. He purposefully pushes through the crowded dock, which bustles with TOWNSPEOPLE, VENDORS and the SHIP CREW. CATALINA PIZARRO ALTAMIRANO, his mother and MARTN CORTES, his father wait close to the large merchant ship. They search the crowd. His mother tugs on his father's sleeve and points at Cortes as he approaches the ship. He looks surprised as their eyes meet. CORTES Mother, what are you doing here? MOTHER To beg you one last time, please don't go. What if you get sick again? You're too weak for the trip. Cortes rolls his eyes and shakes his head in dissent. CORTES Mother, I haven't been sick since I was a boy. Please, stop worrying. I'm a grown man, ready to make a name for myself in the New World. MOTHER But you've barely recovered from your fall. He smiles at her. CORTES I'm fine. I'll send you riches as soon as I'm able. His father, by her side, is scowling. He takes Cortes by the arm and turns his back to his wife. FATHER Son, you can't just run away from your problems.

PAGE 9

8.* CORTES What problems? FATHER Your shameful affair with an older woman. And dropping out of law school. CORTES Father, I must take control of my own destiny. Not the one you want for me. FATHER I wish you would be more respectful of your family and our standing. CORTES But our standing is part of why I must leave. I'm tired of struggling. Father, the ship is boarding. Wish me well. Cortes hugs his mother and his father watches stoically as Cortes boards the ship. He leans against a rail, looking at the river, opposite the dock, smiling. JUAN JARAMILLO, a young man with light brown hair and green eyes tentatively approaches. They start talking and Cortes gently pats the young man on the back. * EXT. MID ATLANTIC PASSAGE ON SHIP -SUNSET * Hernan and Juan are tying ropes, from a basket, seated on the outdoor upper deck of the ship. SHIPMATES are doing chores around them. JUAN JARAMILLO I'm finally getting my appetite back. This voyage has been more difficult than I expected. CORTES Agreed, my friend. We only have a few more weeks on board. JUAN JARAMILLO Aren't you nervous about finding somewhere to stay or a job? CORTES Not at all. A man can easily make his mark in the New World and opportunities are boundless. And Governor Ovando will help me.

PAGE 10

9.* JUAN JARAMILLO I'm going to miss my family and my girlfriend. CORTES I might miss my mother but my father thinks of me as a disappointment. His picture of my life is one of misery as a dutiful soldier for the King's holy wars or cornered into the boring existence of a commoner in a small village, struggling to survive. He won't admit to our financial problems, because of his pride. And title. JUAN JARAMILLO But isn't your family noble? CORTES Yes, hidalgo. But without income or options to earn one. JUAN JARAMILLO Much of my family is traveling to the Americas and some have already met with success. Sorry your father isn't supportive. CORTES It is fine. I will no longer have to worry about pleasing him and can focus on my own goals. Someday he will hear about what I've accomplished and change his opinion. Is your family running from something because they aren't Christian? JUAN JARAMILLO Not exactly. But we don't support the Inquisition. CORTES What are you? Infidels? JUAN JARAMILLO Of course not. Are we done? Maybe a bit of supper will be left for us. (pushes a rope into a large basket) CORTES You go on. I want to impress the captain.

PAGE 11

10.* EXT. PORT OF SANTO DOMINGO, HISPANIOLA -MORNING * TITLE OVER: "Port of Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, Six Weeks Later" Cortes and Juan Jaramillo are the first to wobble off the ship. Palm trees sway in the wind on a cloudless sunny day. They walk unsteadily up the cobblestone road alongside a few horses and carriages. CORTES Adventure awaits, Juan. JUAN JARAMILLO At last, dry land. Thanks be to God. Hernan, join me at my brother's estate. He'll give you a job. Cortes affectionately grabs Juan's shoulder. CORTES No thanks, my friend. JUAN JARAMILLO Just for a few days, so you can earn some money? CORTES I have all that I need. Cortes pulls out a small black leather coin purse from his vest pocket. He shows it to Juan and smiles. JUAN JARAMILLO Well, good luck. You know where to find me if you need help. CORTES God will bless me. I won't need your help. They embrace. Cortes hurriedly walks to the town center. INT. GOVERNOR OVANDO'S OFFICE, SANTO DOMINGO -MOMENTS LATER Cortes boldly opens the door to the only formal building in the town center. The SECRETARY startles, a formally dressed older man seated behind a large wood desk. SECRETARY (irritated) May I help you?

PAGE 12

11.* CORTES Greetings from Spain. I've come to see Seor Ovando. Tell him Hernan Cortes of Medellin is here. SECRETARY He knows you? CORTES Yes. A family friend. I trust he has received my letter. The secretary walks down the hall. He returns and gestures for Cortes to follow him to GOVERNOR OVANDO'S office. The Governor is portly and finely dressed with a partly balding gray hairline. He smiles as he stands to greet Cortes and they embrace. GOVERNOR OVANDO Hernan! How are you? And your family? CORTES Well but I'm glad to leave the problems at home behind. I'm hoping to find gold. Governor Ovando laughs and claps his hands together. GOVERNOR OVANDO Hernan, my boy! I fancy myself the next Midas too. (laughs) A more realistic approach is to farm and raise livestock. CORTES I respectfully disagree. How fares the New World? GOVERNOR OVANDO Since Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand appointed me Governor of the Indies and Hispaniola, very well indeed. When I received your letter, I appreciated your thirst for opportunity here. You remind me of my younger self. Cortes bows with flourish. CORTES Congratulations, Governor. GOVERNOR OVANDO I miss your parents. (MORE)

PAGE 13

12.* GOVERNOR OVANDO (CONT'D) They are dear friends. Your mother wrote to me that you remain sickly. But you look well to me? CORTES You know my Mother. A Pizarro and always worrying. I'm fine. GOVERNOR OVANDO After asking him repeatedly, your father hinted that your family's reduced circumstances have not improved. But such is the plight of many hidalgo families, like yours. Trapped by their name. CORTES My father begged me to go back to law school but I won't. Insufferably tedious, but what I did learn about law might be useful. GOVERNOR OVANDO Your father wants only the best for you. CORTES Which is why I'm here. Where one can make his own name. GOVERNOR OVANDO As Governor and in honor of your fine family, I'll give you a parcel of land and natives to work it. In return, you will help me if the natives rebel. You are good with a sword? CORTES Yes, of course. I accept your offer, Governor. Cortes kisses his hand, bows and leaves. EXT. CORTES PLANTATION, AGUA -DAY * TITLE OVER: "Agua, Hispaniola, Six Years Later, 1510" Cortes works on his plantation, leading a horse and small wagon. His face is pink, drips with sweat and his white cotton shirt is soaked. He squints and stops working, listening to galloping hooves approaching on the dirt road. NATIVE, TAINO SLAVES hoe a large field.

PAGE 14

13.* Governor Ovando sweats in his formal clothes and waves his arm before stopping abruptly in front of Cortes. CORTES To what do I owe this honor? GOVERNOR OVANDO The natives refuse to work. We could lose the harvest. CORTES You'll have your harvest. I'll get my sword. Gather the men and meet at the plaza. GOVERNOR OVANDO Agreed. Hurry! Governor Ovando kicks his horse and gallops away. INT. GOVERNOR OVANDO'S HOUSE -DAY * Governor Ovando and Cortes are finely dressed. They sip from silver goblets on a terrace bordered by flowering bushes and vines overlooking the sea. GOVERNOR OVANDO You've proven yourself a leader and single handedly saved the harvest. Take this small token of my appreciation. Governor Ovando smiles at Cortes and gives him a gold medallion of St. George fighting the dragon. CORTES I am honored. Although St. George's dragon was a more formidable opponent than mine. He reaches into his vest and pulls out the black leather coin purse. He fondles his two small silver coins before dropping the gold medallion inside. GOVERNOR OVANDO I'd like you to go to Cuba for me. I need a man like you to control the natives. CORTES (smiling) Intriguing. That I can do. Cortes uncurls his fingers to look at his coin purse, still in his palm.

PAGE 15

14.* GOVERNOR OVANDO I'm sure you want to know if Cuba has gold. Or silver. Cortes smiles. CORTES You know that answer. GOVERNOR OVANDO Indeed, the first expedition found gold. CORTES Yes, I accept. GOVERNOR OVANDO (laughing) Excellent. CORTES Will I be in command? GOVERNOR OVANDO Secretary Velasquez is the captain and you'll depart in a week. Make your arrangements. BACK TO PRESENT: Juan Jaramillo, now a man in his mid-20's enters the chapel. Cortes turns his head to the sound. JUAN JARAMILLO You must be asking for blessings for your trip to Cuba? CORTES Yes. I hope to see you there soon. If Secretary Velasquez would just step aside, you would be joining me tomorrow. If I had reached Governor Ovando sooner, I could have led this expedition. JUAN JARAMILLO Velasquez is very obedient to the crown. I'm sure I will meet you there, in good time. St. James be with you both, my friend. * EXT. THE CARIBBEAN SEA -DAY * It is a sunny, warm, breezy afternoon at sea as Cortes, DIEGO VELASQUEZ and their shipmates sail toward Cuba. Diego Velasquez is in his late 30's, rigid and formal.

PAGE 16

15. He and Cortes stand at the bow of the ship, gazing to the west. CORTES Seor Velasquez, land ahead! Cuba is so close! Diego Velasquez rolls his eyes and smirks. DIEGO VELASQUEZ Yes, Hernan. You are so easily excited. Like my dog. CORTES Of course I'm excited! This is uncharted territory for Spain. Diego Velasquez polishes his looking glass then holds it to his eye. DIEGO VELASQUEZ I'll get excited once I am governor and Cuba has made me rich. Velasquez turns his back on Cortes and walks away just as Cortes begins to speak. EXT. XUAREZ ESTATE, CUBA -AFTERNOON TITLE OVER: "Cuba, Four Years Later, 1514" An impressive stone home on a large plantation is at the end of a long, tree lined dirt road. Four young ladies, the XUAREZ SISTERS, sit on wooden benches on the front porch. They have dark hair and are well dressed. Two of the sisters sew and two read. Hearing a visitor approach, pretty CATALINA drops her sewing onto her lap to keenly watch. Cortes, now 28, has a groomed beard, broader shoulders and engaging dark eyes. He ties up his horse then locks eyes mischievously with Catalina while coming up the porch stairs. CORTES (bows) Good day, Seoritas. They giggle. He slowly looks each sister in the eye, smiles then kisses each of their hands. He greets Catalina last and after kissing her hand, holds it. She blushes. He stares into her eyes and presents her with a red handkerchief with a blackwork embroidery border from his pocket. She bows to him exaggeratedly, waving the handkerchief near his face then laughs with her sisters.

PAGE 17

16.* She tucks it into the bodice of her dress. Cortes pulls a SCROLL tied with ribbon from his shoulder bag and gives it to Catalina. CORTES (CONT'D) Give this to your father. I'll return to visit you soon. He holds eye contact with Catalina and smiles warmly at her. He bows then rides away. The sisters giggle and talk. Catalina leaves her sisters and leans on the farthest edge of the porch railing. She pulls the red handkerchief from her dress and strokes it, straining to watch him ride away until he is a speck in the distance. * EXT. CHURCH, TOWN CENTER, ST. JAGO, CUBA -EVENING Cortes enters a small, stone church wearing a faded red jacket and black pants. The heavy wooden door is propped open by an altar boy. Catalina and her three sisters arrive in a covered carriage. Catalina wears a white wedding gown with lace embroidery and a simple lace veil that covers her face. Her dark hair is pulled back tightly underneath. Her sisters giggle and hold up her long dress so it doesn't drag on the ground. At the church door, Catalina stops to pull the red handkerchief from her chest and kisses it. She puts it back and makes the sign of the cross. They enter the church and the altar boy shuts the door. * INT. RESIDENCE OF DIEGO VELASQUEZ, HAVANA, CUBA -AFTERNOON * TITLE OVER: "Havana, Cuba, 1518" Diego Velasquez and Cortes are seated in a living room. A black SERVANT GIRL serves beverages. DIEGO VELASQUEZ Hernan, I'm very busy. What do you want? CORTES Congratulations on the success of the Juan de Grijalva expedition to the land to the west of us. I have heard many tales of natives with gold there.

PAGE 18

17.* DIEGO VELASQUEZ Correct. And how does this matter concern you? CORTES As the governor, you have the authority to appoint me as the leader of the next voyage. DIEGO VELASQUEZ I suggest that you tend to your own affairs rather than meddle in mine. I will select and designate the captain. A formal request has already been sent to King Carlos V and I'm awaiting his timely response. CORTES But you are the governor. Why not take action? The parchment will arrive in due time. DIEGO VELASQUEZ Hernan, your over eagerness is exactly why I'm reluctant to consider you as captain for the next expedition. One must obey protocol. CORTES If I fund and obtain more ships, would you reconsider? DIEGO VELASQUEZ All in good time. Now please take your leave. * EXT. TOWN CENTER, ST. JAGO, CUBA -DAY * Street MERCHANTS and TOWNSPEOPLE gather in the main plaza with Cortes in the center. CORTES You've all heard about our brothers that just returned from a land to the west on the Grijalva voyage. They say the riches there defy imagination, yet they barely touched the mainland. We must hurry. Join me to seize our share! BEARDED MAN You have the King's permission? CORTES Await parchment from the Old World? Hah! Destiny calls.

PAGE 19

18. PEDRO DE ALVARADO is the same age as Cortes with strawberry blond hair, blue eyes and fair, freckled skin. He moves closer. PEDRO DE ALVARADO (loudly) I just returned from the Grijalva trip and he speaks the truth. The natives traded with gold. BEARDED MAN (indignant) You'll go to jail for treason! PEDRO DE ALVARADO The risk is worthy. I'll join you. CORTES We'll fill chests with gold before Velasquez knows we're gone. Come. Eight MEN along with Pedro de Alvarado follow Cortes. Juan Jaramillo, now a handsome man in his late 20's, joins them. They sit closely on wooden barrels in a corner of the plaza. The bearded man is unmoved, frowning at them, his arms crossed on his chest. EXT. MAIN PLAZA, HAVANA, CUBA -DAY TITLE OVER: "Havana, Cuba 1519" Cortes animatedly makes rounds through the village, approaching MEN OF ALL AGES, talking to them. The MEN engage, nodding and talking among themselves. * INT. CORTES ESTATE, ST. JAGO, CUBA -MORNING Dawn's light slowly enters through the window of Cortes' and Catalina's bedroom. Cortes wakes and Catalina is deeply asleep when a naked Cortes pulls her close to him. She groggily looks at him and smiles. He kisses her neck greedily. He unties the bow at the neck of her sleeping gown. He yanks it open and pulls out the red and black handkerchief. He tickles her bare chest with it. CORTES I want you to remember our last moments together. Catalina rubs her eyes, still waking. She leans up on her elbow.

PAGE 20

19. CATALINA I'm worried you'll be caught. CORTES Great things are achieved only by great deeds, my dear. I need to make my parents proud. She smiles and kisses him. CATALINA And me too. When will I see you again? CORTES I'll send for you as soon as I'm able. He covers her face with the handkerchief and she playfully moves it away then kisses him. * EXT. HARBOR OF CAPE SAN ANTONIO, CUBA -LATER THAT MORNING * TITLE OVER: "Cape San Antonio, Cuba, February 18, 1519. 11 Spanish galleons containing 650 Spaniards, 200 natives, 16 horses, 15 mastiffs and 10 greyhounds depart at daybreak, with the Spanish and Cortes' flags flying. Cortes' flag has white and blue flames with a red cross in the center which reads in Latin "Friends, let us follow the cross, since if we have faith, by this sign we will conquer (in English subtitles)." Governor Velasquez has a furrowed brow as he speed walks down the main cobblestone street to the harbor in his sleeping gown. He stops at the dock entrance to shade his eyes from the blaring sun. He sees the last three ships, barely visible on the horizon. Running onto the dock, gasping for breath and red-faced, he waves his fist and shouts. GOVERNOR VELASQUEZ No!! You are not authorized!! Not authorized! EXT. COZUMEL -AFTERNOON TITLE OVER: "Cozumel" The ships are moored and the Spaniards and Cuban natives are gathered on the beach. Cortes BLOWS A BONE WHISTLE and a large circle forms around him. CORTES Men, I commend your strength. (MORE)

PAGE 21

20. CORTES (CONT'D) I hold out to you a glorious prize, but it is to be won by incessant toil. Great things are achieved only by great exertions and glory was never the ward of sloth. You are few in number, but strong in resolution. If this does not falter, the Almighty, who has never deserted the Spaniard in his contest with the infidel, will shield you. Our cause is just and you are to fight under the banner of the Cross. Go forward then, to the lands of New Spain! Use caution; the natives may be savage. Return to camp by dusk. God be with us. The group says "Amen" and they rapidly enter the jungle in small groups. Cortes mutters to quietly to Juan, CORTES (CONT'D) And most of all, let us make the rules in this new land. Juan smiles at Cortes. CORTES (CONT'D) Men, follow me. Cortes' group, including Juan, stumbles upon a small pyramid. After climbing the stairs, they find an incense urn burning at the entrance. CORTES (CONT'D) Reminds me of a mosque. Pedro gestures to the entrance and they enter. The enclosed shrine is dark. The walls, floors and idols are COATED WITH BLOOD, hardened and fresh. The men cover their noses and mouths with handkerchiefs. Cortes and some of the men gag as they rush outside, squinting in the bright light. They startle at the sight of three MAYANS in loincloths, staring at them with stoic faces. Cortes bows and his men do the same. The Mayans continue staring. The Spaniards depart down the stairs and disappear into the dense jungle. The MAYANS watch them acutely, unmoved atop the pyramid. They focus on the SPANISH SHIPS, anchored away from the shore.

PAGE 22

21.* MAYAN 1: (in Mayan with English subtitles) These must be the men from the floating towers, from across the immense sea. MAYAN 2: I thought they were hills on the sea but they now look like towers. They have pale skin and thick beards, like the ones before. MAYAN 1: In shining metal suits, but still barbarians. We need to report back immediately. * EXT. SPANISH CAMP, COZUMEL -DUSK * Cortes and Pedro stand at the waters edge on the beach, watching three figures approach in a hollowed tree canoe. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR, a tattered, thin white man with long, salt and pepper, matted hair and a snarled gray beard, is with two MAYANS. They land the canoe with help from Cortes and Pedro. CORTES I am Captain General, Hernando Cortes. This is my chief lieutenant, Pedro de Alvarado. Who are you? Jeronimo speaks slowly and carefully with hand gestures. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Jeronimo de Aguilar. I heard villagers talk of water houses on the sea. I came quickly. CORTES How did you arrive, brother? JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Here eight years. I was in shipwreck from Hispaniola. Storm. Only a few survive. I slave to Mayas. Jeronimo hugs Cortes, almost collapsing into his arms. Cortes looks at Pedro, surprised. CORTES Mayas. You speak their tongue? JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Yes, of Maya. Spanish difficult. (MORE)

PAGE 23

22. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR (CONT'D) I was friar in Spain and worked not to forget in past eight years. (smiles weakly) CORTES (smiling) Your Spanish is fine. I hereby liberate you from Maya slavery. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Thank you, Sir Cortes. I am happy see ships. Maya try to make me convert but I refuse. I stay with you now? CORTES Yes, Jeronimo. You will be a valued guide and interpreter. Tell me more about this land. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Maya very smart. Study stars and math. Strange religion and customs. Other tribe far from sea. Important warriors. More power. Name Tenochcas. Or Mexicas. Or Aztecs. They come to Maya village and steal. CORTES Do they have armies? JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Yes. But Mexica most powerful. CORTES Very helpful, Jeronimo. Welcome home. Cortes laughs and slaps Jeronimo on the back. Jeronimo startles. CORTES (CONT'D) You are safe now. Make yourself comfortable. Cortes and Pedro walk off together as Jeronimo worriedly surveys the beach and Spanish camp. * EXT. CARIBBEAN SEA -AFTERNOON * The 11 ships sail away from Cozumel in a straight formation, hugging the coast. Juan Jaramillo hangs over the rail with some other SOLDIERS on the first ship.

PAGE 24

23. JUAN JARAMILLO Do you see that? In the water there? SOLDIER No. Where? JUAN JARAMILLO (pointing) Look-it's a greyhound! The little devil must be swimming from the beach. Greyhounds aren't native here? SOLDIER My God! We lost a few greyhounds on the Grijalva trip. He must recognize us. Come boy, come here boy! The dog swims over quickly and the men reach down to lift him onto the ship. The wet, gray dog licks Juan's face excitedly. JUAN JARAMILLO You're a good omen. You'll be our mascot. The men laugh and fuss over the wet dog. EXT. MOUTHS OF THE RIO DE GRIJALVA AND USUMACINTA RIVERS, TABASCO -DAY Cortes talks to Juan Jaramillo and Pedro de Alvarado on the deck of a ship. CORTES We need fresh water. We're going to have to try to get some here. As the ships sail closer to the beach, thousands of CHONTAL MAYAS cover the beach and swamp like ants. They are armed with slings, spears, knives, clubs and bows and arrows. More CHONTAL MAYAS hide behind trees and the inlet of the rivers. A large hollowed tree canoe with five native CHIEFS approaches Cortes' ship. CHIEF TABASCO, the cacique of Cintla speaks first. He wears an elaborate loincloth, a colorful robe and green feather headdress. His earlobes are stretched by large circular earrings. A layered metal necklace with jade and turquoise stones hangs to the middle of his chest. Jeronimo de Aguilar translates. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR He asks why are you here?

PAGE 25

24. CORTES We've come to be your brothers. We have gifts for you. CHIEF TABASCO We'll kill you if you enter our village. We are hated by neighbor tribes for speaking to your brothers who came before you. CORTES Can we get some food and water, in exchange for our goods? CHIEF TABASCO Come past the palms and we'll kill you. Chief Tabasco points to the mouth of the river. The beach and river are barely visible through the swarm of natives in canoes and on land, spears and slingshots ready. The canoe turns away and returns to shore. Cortes turns to Pedro de Alvarado. CORTES We attack in the morning. * EXT. CINTLA, TABASCO -THE NEXT MORNING TITLE OVER: "Cintla, Tabasco" The Spaniards pray on their knees during mass on the ships. After, they sharpen the blades of their swords and clean their harquebuses. The horses are saddled and ready. The mastiffs tug on their leads. The men congregate on deck, sweating in their upper body armor and helmets. CORTES Men, we are ready. St. James is with us! SOLDIERS (shouting and yelping) Yes!! The ships anchor at the river mouth. Down river, DRUMS beat loudly. Conches blare. The native WAR CRIES and INSTRUMENTS are uncomfortably loud. Still on board, two young Spanish soldiers, ALFONSO and JAIME, both 17, look at each other, covering their ears.

PAGE 26

25.* ALFONSO My God, there are so many! Some are darker than the Moors. I can only see the whites of their eyes. JAIME God, please let me survive today. He reaches under his armor and kisses his small gold cross necklace. Some of the Spaniards leave their ships in small boats with crossbowmen, harquebusiers and canons. The boats follow one another down the river. Another group is dropped off at the shore. The Spaniards are attacked by hundreds of ARROWS and DARTS, the natives barely visible. They struggle to get ashore. Several Spaniards scream and gush blood from darts and arrows lodged deeply in appendages. ALFONSO I can't walk! The mud is too deep! A dart hits his thigh. ALFONSO (CONT'D) Damnit! In agony, he removes it and throws it into the water. His pants drip blood out of the rip in his pants. They struggle with their bulky, dripping metal armor and chain mail, on unstable footing. Their long swords drag in the water. Alfonso lifts his sword above his head, only to stumble and fall in the water. JAIME That mud is like quicksand. Keep moving. You can make it! Jaime and Alfonso gasp for breath and crawl onto the shore amidst many Spanish soldiers. They struggle, walking in the sand with their water logged sandals. Amidst lush trees, over 12,000 native Cintlan warriors with black and white painted faces battle against the Spaniards. Slowly, the Spaniards harquebuses and cannons dominate the natives' darts and arrows. One Spanish soldier drops his bulky harquebus, unable to support it against his wet and slippery shoulder. Another Spanish soldier is frustrated, trying to reload the bulky firearm. Yet the air becomes smoky from harquebus and cannon shots. The battlefield and beach becomes cluttered with dead Cintlans, some bodies slashed by swords and others by large pieces of cannon shrapnel and gun shot. The Cintlans, slowly retreat inland. Most of the men are dying and struggle to walk, arms around each others'

PAGE 27

26. shoulders. Behind tree barricades and in large underground holes, thousands of men seep blood from wounds, their black and white paint dripping, mixed with blood. EXT. TEMPLE AND COURTYARD, CINTLA, TABASCO -THAT AFTERNOON The Spaniards follow a path inland to a quiet, empty village center. At the center of a magnificent courtyard is a tall pyramid with surrounding chambers and halls. A small group climbs the stairs to the pyramid apex where they find two shrines and investigate stealthily. Cortes assembles his men in the courtyard and stands next to a huge tree. He dramatically draws his sword. With his back turned, he cuts into the tree. He spins around and displays the engraved symbol of the cross then picks up his shield. CORTES (shouting) This land is hereby claimed as property of Emperor Carlos V of Spain. Should anyone object, I'll defend the king's right with sword and shield! The soldiers raise their swords and shout in celebration. SOLDIERS Amen! Victory! EXT. TEMPLE AND COURTYARD, CINTLA, TABASCO -LATER Chief Tabasco and about 30 MAYA NOBLES approach the Spaniards camp at mid-day, finely dressed in loincloths, colorful cloaks and feather headdresses. The procession of caciques is a spectacle with conches and drums blaring. They carry loads of gifts. They greet Cortes and perfume the Spaniards with incense. Jeronimo de Aguilar translates. CORTES We tried to befriend you, yet you declared war. You are hereby subjects of King Carlos V and myself, Captain General Hernan Cortes. Some of the Spanish soldiers exchange skeptical looks. Cortes scratches the back of his neck and a cannon fires. Cortes' horse, tied to a nearby tree, kicks and whinnies. The caciques and natives huddle together, frightened. They look up at the sky quizzically and shelter their heads. Native women bring numerous baskets of food, fowl, fruit, and fish. Pedro nudges Cortes.

PAGE 28

27. PEDRO DE ALVARADO (smiling) Hernan, their women are certainly pleasing. Behold. Beautiful twin women with resplendent long dark hair line up pottery bowls and mugs. Cortes smiles back and pats Pedro's shoulder. CORTES They can teach us their ways tonight. Cortes picks up a pineapple from the basket and walks up to Jeronimo de Aguilar. CORTES (CONT'D) What is this? JERONIMO DE AGUILAR It's from here. Sweet and delicious. CORTES This porcupine? JERONIMO DE AGUILAR (smiling) My lord, you eat only the inside. They have wonderful foods we don't have back home. CORTES And their women? They are wonderful too? Distracted, Jeronimo de Aguilar looks past Cortes. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Chief Tabasco is ready to talk. Cortes turns around and nods his head to Chief Tabasco. Chief Tabasco touches the ground with his hand and carries it to his head. CHIEF TABASCO Now we are brothers. These gifts honor our friendship. Jeronimo translates. Cortes is presented with four heavy gold disks embossed in the image of the sun of varying sizes. He is given gold lizards, dogs, ducks, earrings and golden soles for sandals. Cortes beams as he fondles the gifts. He passes a gold duck to a smiling Pedro. Juan admires the gifts with the greyhound at his feet and a group of captains. Chief Tabasco gestures toward 20 WOMEN, including the twins, standing aside. Most wear colored stone jewelry and some have tattooed legs.

PAGE 29

28. CHIEF TABASCO (CONT'D) They are also gifts for you. PEDRO DE ALVARADO We are humbled by your generosity. CORTES We accept your gift, but these women must be baptized. They were born with original sin. CHIEF TABASCO They are yours. Do what you want. Cortes bows. CORTES To truly be brothers, you must abandon your idols and human sacrifices. In place of your bloody shrine, you will pray at our altar to mother Mary in heaven and Jesus, the one true God's only son who lived on earth. CHIEF TABASCO (sighs) I do not understand your words. May I ask you a question? CORTES Certainly. CHIEF TABASCO Your mounted four legged creatures. (points to a horse with a rider) Are they one being? CORTES (laughs) Centaurs? No. So it is true. You've never seen a horse? CHIEF TABASCO (pointing to horse and rider) Never. CORTES Spaniards are the most skilled riders in the world, which is why they appear joined.

PAGE 30

29. CHIEF TABASCO How do you capture the lightning and thunder that comes out of your killing tool? CORTES (smiling) They are human inventions. Now I have an important question. Where do you get the gold for these amazing ornaments? CHIEF TABASCO (points to the west) Mxico. CORTES Can you help me make friends in Mxico? CHIEF TABASCO No. They are enemies. The Mexicas steal from us, our studies and writings. They demand constant tribute. CORTES Are Mexicas the Aztecs? CHIEF TABASCO Yes. Different names but same vile people. EXT. TEMPLE AND COURTYARD, CINTLA, TABASCO -MORNING The Spaniards, asleep in their armor and sandals, their weapons within arms reach, slowly awake. They build a wooden altar in front of the temple. Jeronimo de Aguilar leads mass. He blesses an urn of river water and baptizes the native women in front of the altar. One of the women commands attention as she gently wipes away the baptismal water trickling down her face. MALINTZIN is about 20, has a beautiful face with brown skin, long black hair and dark eyes. She wears a sleeveless pale cotton shirt and a long skirt. She stands tall and her chin is lifted, proudly. Cortes, Pedro and Juan stare at her while she speaks with Jeronimo de Aguilar. Cortes interrupts them. CORTES Who is this?

PAGE 31

30. JERONIMO DE AGUILAR Malintzin. She speaks Maya and Nahuatl, the tongue of the Mexica. Cortes points to his lips and Jeronimo nods, understanding. Cortes turns to Malintzin, beaming. CORTES Enchanted. You're worthy of a Christian name to match your beauty. I bless you Doa Marina. Jeronimo de Aguilar translates. Cortes kisses her hand then holds it while staring into her eyes. She shyly smiles at him. Cortes lingers, holding her hand. Cortes returns to Pedro and Juan, the greyhound at his side, who are still admiring Marina. CORTES (CONT'D) Men, tomorrow we go west to Mexico to find gold. Once a load is sent to Spain, I can stop worrying about Diego Velasquez... JUAN JARAMILLO Excuse me. Juan walks up to Marina and bows slightly, smiling broadly at her. She smiles and points at the greyhound. Still smiling, he pets its head and gestures for her to do the same. She strokes its head and giggles when it licks her fingers. She smiles warmly. Cortes bustles between them and shoves his hand near the dog's mouth. It snarls, then moves away, behind Juan's legs. CORTES Stupid dog. Marina and Jeronimo, we need to practice how we are to communicate in three languages. Come, now. * EXT. VILLA RICA DE LA VERA CRUZ -DAY TITLE OVER: "Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz" From the ships, there is a gorgeous view of snow capped mountains and several river mouths. The ships anchor close to shore. Within minutes, two large canoes with MEXICA NATIVES in each approach the ships. They are directed to Cortes' ship.

PAGE 32

31.* Tentlil begins talking to Cortes. Marina translates Nahuatl to Mayan, Jeronimo de Aguilar then translates to Spanish for Cortes. Marina listens intently. TENTLIL I am a priest and governor, sent by Montezuma, Emperor of Mexico. He demands to know, who are you? What do you want? CORTES We have crossed many seas to meet your people. We come on a holy mission to teach about God and be your friends and trade. We must meet Montezuma immediately. TENTLIL No. We have our own gods. Montezuma sent gifts for you. Take them and return to your home. CORTES What are the gifts? Tentlil and the other Mexica emissaries board the Spanish ship. Mexica porters help unload the large baskets filled with maize cakes, fruit, baked fish, and turkeys and small birds. More baskets contain small gold figures and bells, jewels, a turquoise mask with quetzal feathers, a gold helmet in the shape of a snail, white cotton cloth and colorful feathers. TENTIL says a few words before showing them to Cortes. CORTES (CONT'D) These are magnificent. Now I have something for your king. Cortes gestures to Juan who quickly returns with a WOODEN BOX. Cortes gives the box to Tentlil. Tentlil opens it and then opens a silk bag. He slowly fondles the silk then pulls out the glass beads inside. Jeronimo and Marina translate. TENTLIL What is this? Rubbed stone? CORTES No, glass. It is made by man and is very useful. And valuable. We are glad to trade more glass for gold. Tentlil rubs them between his fingers. TENTLIL Our Lord sends us to greet you. Nothing more.

PAGE 33

32.* CORTES Deliver these gifts to Montezuma and require our meeting. TENTLIL I will give him your gifts. But no one gives orders to Montezuma. Cortes shrugs. He gives Tentlil an ornately carved wooden chair and opens a glass bottle of musk for Tentlil to sniff. Tentlil jerks back at the strong odor and they laugh. Cortes removes his coin purse from his inside pocket and gives Tentlil the gold medallion with St. George on horseback slaying a dragon. Tentlil nods and places it in the silk bag. TENTLIL (CONT'D) Montezuma wants your portrait. CORTES Make it so. We will meet you on the beach shortly. Cortes assembles their artillery, cannons, Marina, Jeronimo de Aguilar, a few horses, some soldiers in armor and mastiffs on the beach. Laughing, Cortes places his helmet on the head of a gift, a gold statue of the plumed serpent Huitzilopochtli, god of war. CORTES (CONT'D) We're ready. Proceed. Be sure to get the ships in the background. A few men gallop by on horses. CORTES (CONT'D) (shouting) Fire so Montezuma will learn of our power! The explosions are loud and smoke fills the air. The Mexicas look at the sky then at each other, looking worried. Tentlil talks to the painter who quickly finishes and packs his supplies. TENTLIL Do they capture lightning? MARINA Truly, I do not know. But it is likely. Tentlil touches Cortes' chest gently, a good-bye greeting. Cortes bows to Tentlil.

PAGE 34

33.* CORTES Take this to Montezuma. Cortes gives Tentlil the Spanish helmet from the portrait sitting. * INT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -THE NEXT DAY * Montezuma, looking pensive and serious, sits alone in the council chamber. He is now in his 40's, is lean and healthy. He wears a turquoise lip plug and gold ear pendants. Tentlil walks into the chamber. TENTLIL My Lord. I have the portrait of the strangers. They sent gifts. MONTEZUMA Tentlil, please give me favorable news. The messengers come back and forth, informing me of the progress of the strangers. But I can't sleep or eat. Are they gods? Or men? TENTLIL I cannot say. MONTEZUMA I've met with the wizards, high priests and my council. I've begged my ancestors and even the gods to answer this question. Yet no confirmation. Are the deer without horns enchanted? How do they make their weapons explode? TENTLIL I believe they use machines, not sacred forces. But those machines cause smoke and fire and put holes in the ground. They look different and are dressed in iron. They have huge dogs with yellow eyes that snarl and attack at their bidding. But they seem most pleased by gold. And they insist on meeting you. MONTEZUMA Show me the portrait. Tentlil opens a cloth sack and takes out the contents, one object at a time. He unrolls the cloth portrait and holds it up.

PAGE 35

34.* MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) Unbelievable. Huitzilopochtli is wearing the helmet. Like in paintings from our ancestors! Another sign of the prophesy. Tentlil passes the Spanish helmet to Montezuma. TENTLIL They plan to come to Tenochtitlan to meet you. Perhaps you should hide? MONTEZUMA I've considered it but will not abandon my people. We cannot offend, if indeed they are sacred. I will meet again with my advisors and pray. Thank you, Tentlil. I don't feel well. * INT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, MEETING ROOM -AFTERNOON Montezuma talks with FOUR ADVISORS, all finely dressed. Montezuma's elaborate, colorful feather cape and headpiece reflect his rank. Montezuma leads a heated conversation while pointing intently at the portrait and Spanish gifts displayed on a table. ADVISOR #1 Our prayers for Quetzalcoatl to come back from the underworld may be answered. MONTEZUMA (pointing to Cortes in the portrait) Is he Quetzalcoatl? ADVISOR #2 Resurrected at last? The calendar is in agreement. He points to large, CIRCULAR, STONE CALENDAR. ADVISOR #2 (CONT'D) As are many of the prophecies and omens of the last ten years. ADVISOR #1 And the exact location of their arrival. What about their iron, shining suits?

PAGE 36

35.* MONTEZUMA I must find a solution. Should I declare war, if they are mere men, hoping to steal our wealth? Perhaps the gods would guide us, with more prayers and sacrifices. EXT./INT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -MORNING Montezuma and Tentlil walk the palace grounds. To the right of a tall row of thick, flowering bushes, they go down a steep, stone stairwell into a dark chamber with over 100 men and boys hunched into individual wooden cages. Their ATTENDANT, seated on a cushion, smoking, drops his pipe and rushes over to Montezuma. Montezuma dismisses the attendant and leisurely surveys the cages with Tentlil at his side. He taps certain cages with a dark wooden stick decorated with precious stones and a silver handle. MONTEZUMA These 12 should do for this morning. But the rest will only satisfy the next two days. Send out the Eagle knights immediately. The gods need more hearts. Prayers are critical to guide my decisions about these invaders, with the help of my council. TENTLIL Yes, my Lord. * EXT. CEMPOALA -DAY * TITLE OVER: "Cempoala" Several hundred Spaniards, with 15 on horseback, approach the village of Cempoala, inland from the sea. It is very lush and verdant. They wait a few miles outside of town and are met by 20 CEMPOALAN DIGNITARIES. They wear gold lip rings and rich red cloaks. Bright blue stones in the shape of small bones are in their ears and nostrils. Jeronimo de Aguilar and Marina translate. CEMPOALAN DIGNITARY Welcome. Our Chief awaits you. CORTES (smiling) Show us the way. A SPANISH SOLDIER comes galloping back and stops next to Cortes, breathing heavily.

PAGE 37

36. SPANISH SOLDIER They've shown us our quarters and the walls are lined with silver! Cortes raises his eyebrows and they smile at each other. Cempoalan men and women stand in the streets, bowing and smiling. The road leads to a great square courtyard with shining white walls in the largest village yet with many tall, white buildings. Still on horseback, Cortes pulls over to touch the side of a white building. He joins Pedro on the road to show him his white finger. CORTES White from burnished lime. If only they were pure silver! The FAT CACIQUE, XICOMECOATL meets them on the road, being carried on a litter by four men. He is middle age, very large and fat. His dark hair is long in the back but short over his forehead. He wears a loincloth with a feather robe covering his shoulders. Upon lowering the litter, he slowly and awkwardly exits the litter, with help. He bows deeply then perfumes Cortes from an incense brazier. They walk together to the great courtyard with a temple pyramid in the center, surrounded by thick vines and flowering bushes. Marina is beside Cortes. MARINA Flowers are sacred to our people, meaning life and death. Smell these. Cortes does so and the Fat Cacique smiles. The Fat Cacique raises a hand then women bring baskets of maize cakes and plums. The Spaniards eat greedily, sitting on the ground. Jeronimo de Aguilar and Marina translate. FAT CACIQUE-XICOMECOATL Welcome. He gives Cortes bolts of cloth, several pieces of gold jewelry and a few shining wood idols. Cortes gives the Fat Cacique some green glass beads. They smile at each other. CORTES We are going to the Mexica capital and require some time to rest and gather supplies.

PAGE 38

37.* FAT CACIQUE-XICOMECOATL Of course. I will also give you women to cook and 400 men. CORTES You are very generous. FAT CACIQUE-XICOMECOATL Within limits. We are subjects of Montezuma II, since we lost a battle against his people many years ago. His hunger for tribute depletes our resources, every few months. They live in opulence because of us and our neighbors. We are gravely outnumbered and they have expert warriors with elite forces. His tax collectors steal from us. They take our best men to sacrifice. They rape and steal our women. CORTES Well, I have the power to free your people. FAT CACIQUE-XICOMECOATL We shall see if you are able to accomplish what you claim. The Fat Cacique gestures and servants come with his litter, as he laboriously walks away from the Spaniards. * EXT. RIO ACTOPAN, NEAR CEMPOALA -NIGHT * It is rainy and damp at dusk. Cortes notices Marina walking away from camp on a path. He follows on horseback. Cortes rides quietly and sees Marina, splashing her feet in a flowing stream. She lifts her face to the sky, smiling as the rain drops fall. She hears Cortes' horse whinny and turns to the sound. Cortes slowly rides forward, to the edge of the pool. He dismounts and lightly holds the reins. CORTES Marina, you are lovely. Are you alone? MARINA (shyly) Yes. She uses her hands to show rain falling down.

PAGE 39

38. MARINA (CONT'D) Gift from rain god, Tlaloc. CORTES (smiling) Will you stay here all night? MARINA No. I go temascal. CORTES Temascal? She uses her hands to make the shape of a square as she speaks slowly and carefully. MARINA House? She picks a smooth stone from the ground. MARINA (CONT'D) This hot. Body water come out. Healthy after. She strokes her arms and face as her fingers trickle imaginary sweat. CORTES Oh. I think it is a sweat or steam bath. MARINA Sweet bath? CORTES (laughs) You are sweet. He tenderly brushes her wet hair away from her face and stares in her eyes. She looks down. CORTES (CONT'D) Sweat. You say it. MARINA Swayat. CORTES Well done. May I join you in the temascal? Did I say it correctly? MARINA (smiling) Yes. Temascal, no clothes.

PAGE 40

39. CORTES Fine. My horse will take us. Cortes' horse drinks from the cenote. Marina pets the horse's nose and gently touches the mane. Cortes takes her hands and strokes his cheeks with them. He kisses her. He starts to stroke her shoulders and arms. She responds warmly, kissing him and leans her body into his. He nuzzles her neck. She leans her head back and moans. CORTES (CONT'D) (throatily) You are beautiful. Where can we get comfortable? It's so damn muddy. MARINA Temascal. CORTES Yes, let's go. Cortes cups his hands for her to mount the horse then reaches into his jacket. CORTES (CONT'D) I have a gift for you. From my home. He pulls out an identical handkerchief to the one he gave Catalina. He opens the front of her dress, placing it between her breasts. He laughs. She looks down and gently traces the blackwork border and smiles. She passes it back and points at him. MARINA Dry? CORTES Of course. Cortes tucks it back in his jacket. Thunder booms and rain starts coming down heavily. Marina shakes the rain through her hair, looks up and laughs. Cortes brusquely wipes the rain from his forehead and eyes. She points to the forest. He helps her get on the back of the horse then mounts. He kicks his horse and they gallop into the forest. EXT. SPANISH CAMP, VILLA RICA DE LA VERA CRUZ -MORNING All of the Spaniards gather by the newly built, limestone fortress that has a tall lookout tower overlooking the sea.

PAGE 41

40. A new Spanish ship is docked. A few horses, TEN SOLDIERS and a portly, older FRIAR in a brown robe are on deck. MANUEL, lanky and purposeful exits the ship and walks up to Cortes who is with Pedro de Alvarado. MANUEL Sir Cortes, I am sent by Governor Velasquez of Cuba. He has approval from Emperor Carlos to trade and establish settlements in New Spain. You and your men are ordered to return to Cuba to join forces. CORTES Thanks be to God! Pedro, did you hear? PEDRO DE ALVARADO Yes. But we have no need for a joint force. CORTES We cannot go to Cuba. We have native allies and will soon meet the king. MANUEL I merely deliver Governor Velasquez's orders. CORTES You and your men should join us. There is a fortune to be made. And gold for you immediately. MANUEL How much? And for my men too? CORTES Come with me, my boy. Cortes puts his arm around Manuel's shoulders and leads him toward the fortress. INT. FORTRESS, VILLA RICA DE LA VERA CRUZ -NIGHT Cortes, Pedro and Juan meet in a stone room at the end of a fortress corridor. Cortes looks around the silent hallway and closes the heavy wooden door then bolts it. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Hernan, our men are scared and talk of going home. Others complain they want their share of the gold. Cortes abruptly turns his back on the men. His eyes are fiery when he turns around.

PAGE 42

41. CORTES Don't they realize I have nothing to give! I just paid off Velasquez's men and must reserve the little remaining for the royal fifth for the King. JUAN JARAMILLO We know. But Pedro and I think you should address the troops. We've overheard their plans to steal a ship. CORTES Those morons do not realize the risks I've taken. And my debts they could not repay in three lifetimes! JUAN JARAMILLO Morons they are not. Mutineers maybe. CORTES Juan, don't defend those cowards. JUAN JARAMILLO They just need some form of compensation. Glory to the cross and crown does not satisfy constant hunger, exhaustion and discomfort. Cortes looks out a gated window, at the sea. CORTES I know how to prevent them from sailing away. Gather the men after mass tomorrow. Cortes unbolts the door dramatically then storms out. Pedro and Juan talk quietly and calmly as they leave together. EXT. SPANISH CAMP, VILLA RICA DE LA VERA CRUZ -MORNING About 500 Spaniards sweat restlessly on the beach in front of the fortress in the blazing sun. Cortes addresses them with Marina, Pedro and Juan by his side. CORTES We stand before New Spain's first fortress. Well done, men. Today's orders are to bring ashore all ship supplies. We need the anchors, cables and sails. JOSE, a young, unkempt, surly soldier is seated at the front of the crowd.

PAGE 43

42. JOSE Why? CORTES One ship is going to Spain with tribute for our king but the rest will be destroyed. When you are done, you will all receive gold. JOSE Are you mad? How will we leave this wicked place? CORTES What is your name, boy? JOSE Jose, sir. CORTES Jose, come here. Jose approaches. Cortes, red faced, grabs Jose by the collar and faces the group. CORTES (CONT'D) (shouting) Of course I'm not mad! You must be mad to think I'd waste the strength of 200 men to play in the sand, guarding our ships. I am your Captain General. Obey my orders. JOSE (timidly) Yes, sir. CORTES (scowling) Men, you will be rewarded once we reach the great capital. Now get to work! Juan, scuttle the first ship. Cortes releases Jose and shoves him forward. Jose rushes into the crowd to disappear. The men walk away shaking their heads, looking troubled. EXT. SPANISH CAMP -NIGHT * Alfonso and Jaime sit close together, talking quietly on the beach at sunset, staring at the sea as the sky turns a brilliant pink and orange. They watch the end of a ship spew water as it slowly sinks. Alfonso bites his lip and his voice waivers.

PAGE 44

43. ALFONSO How we will ever get home? JAIME We'll be fine, you'll see. ALFONSO I may never see my father again. I promised him I'd have a better life in the New World. Jaime puts his arm around Alfonso's shoulder. EXT./INT. COFRE DE PEROTE, 14,048 FOOT MOUNTAIN PASS -EVENING The group climbs a high mountain pass with an active volcano. As they climb, rain becomes hail. It is windy and snow blows off the mountains. They shiver in armor and chainmail over light clothing and many wear sandals. They spend the night huddled around walls of a small temple with firewood stacked on the side and build a large fire. Cortes and Marina enter the temple with a torch. Juan stares as he strokes the greyhound at his feet. Inside, Cortes places the torch between some rocks and they sit on the ground. CORTES Marina, do you understand me? MARINA Yes. I try learn. She smiles at him and stares into his eyes, admiringly. He smiles back and tenderly strokes her cheek. CORTES What were you like as a child? Marina uses her hands demonstrably as she speaks slowly. MARINA I daughter of prince, born near fort in Vera Cruz. Father die when I girl. Mother marry other prince. New baby son. She give me away. CORTES How sad. The value of human life is very different here than in my country. Although we have almost constant war also.

PAGE 45

44.* MARINA I sad. No see mother or grandmother again. I slave to cacique in Tabasco. She points to her lips. MARINA (CONT'D) Learn talk Mexica there. Border of Mexica kingdom. CORTES I've come to rely on you very much, Marina. You have a gift for language. MARINA (smiling) Like talk. You come here for your God? Or gold? He laughs and grabs her hand. CORTES Why both, my dear. Although to our king in Spain, gold is precious so I must make him happy. MARINA Gods more important here. CORTES Have you been to Tenochtitlan? Or seen Montezuma? MARINA No. My people hate them. CORTES Then you are being very kind, to help me speak with him. She looks at the ground, grinning. Cortes moves closer and lifts her chin. He reaches around her neck and gently removes the loosely tied red and black embroidered handkerchief. He kisses her lips then neck. As he lifts her dress up above her knees, his hand travels up her thighs. EXT. FIELDS NEAR TLASCALA -DAY * The group descends the mountain and continue west. They pass a temple, where over 100,000 skulls are neatly arranged in rows. Thousands of thigh bones are stacked in piles. Pedro and Juan talk as they ride. PEDRO DE ALVARADO How many have died? It is the devil's work.

PAGE 46

45.* JUAN JARAMILLO Although thousands at home are being murdered or displaced for their religious beliefs, at the hands of the Inquisition. PEDRO DE ALVARADO That is completely different! Infidels must be erradicated. Just like these barbarians. Juan shrugs his shoulders and kicks his horse. He trots ahead to join Cortes with Marina seated behind him, her arms around his waist. The terrain becomes flat with maize fields, meandering streams and rivers with trees alongside. MARINA Hernan, there is a huge rock boundary marking the Tlascala alliance region. This tribe is vicious. The three of them soon approach the 15 foot tall large ROCK WALL, with the entourage behind. MARINA (CONT'D) They may have spies watching us already. This is Tlascala boundary. CORTES Do they have gold? Are they friends of Montezuma or enemies, like your people? MARINA Yes, have gold. Worst enemy of Montezuma and not friend of other tribes. They very strong but alone. Do not trade, no salt. CORTES Juan, tell the cacique that we come as brothers. Take Marina to translate. JUAN JARAMILLO Yes, sir. Juan helps Marina onto his horse. Within minutes, Pedro and Marina return to the group. JUAN JARAMILLO (CONT'D) A warrior on the road yelled "We're going to kill you, those who some think are gods and eat their flesh!"

PAGE 47

46. Cortes turns to address the group that has now caught up. CORTES (shouting) Friends, raise your swords! We are few so we must always be ready to fight. Good fortune will befriend us. In God lies our strength! Marina translates for the natives. Cortes raises his sword above his head. The troops cheer. They advance. TLASCALAN LOOKOUTS are noticed, ahead on the road. They carry two handed swords made of flint, feathered shields and lances. They attack the Spaniards on horseback first. The Spaniards quickly kill five Tlascalans. Thousands of Tlascalans ambush the Spaniards with a shower of arrows, charging from behind trees. A SPANIARD receives two arrows; one in his thigh and another in the shoulder. The one in his thigh squirts blood as he struggles to remove it. SPANISH SOLDIER Aaahhh! The arrow wiggles but will not dislodge. He sits on the ground, head in hands as he tries to loosen the one in his shoulder, at the border of his armor. FADE IN: ANOTHER SOLDIER FALLS NEAR HIM, TRYING TO REMOVE A BLOODY DART FROM HIS BICEP AND CRIES OUT. The Spaniards bunch together and retaliate with swords, harquebuses and crossbows. The Tlascalans choke and cough in the smoky air. The onslaught slowly causes the Tlascalans retreat. EXT. STREAM SIDE CAMP -NIGHT The Spaniards make camp by a stream. The local homes and a nearby temple are abandoned. Fat from a dead Tlascalan is boiled and used to dress the wounds of the injured. A few small dogs are roasted over a fire. EXT. BATTLEFIELD -MORNING The Spaniards hear loud SHOUTING, DRUMS AND TRUMPETS as they approach the village of Tlascala. They are met on the road by two armies of thousands of warriors, shooting arrows and darts at them. The darts are flung from a wooden handle. Tlascalan banners, red with a large white bird with outstretched wings in the center, blow in the wind.

PAGE 48

47.* The Spaniards retaliate with harquebuses, swords and cannons. The air is smoky and the Tlascalans cough. The fighting leads to a dry, open field surrounded on three sides by tall trees. XICOTENCATL, a young Tlascalan prince, is tall, broad shouldered and muscular. He has a long, pockmarked face and carries himself proudly. He wears a loincloth with a red and white cloak tied at his neck over elaborate chest and neck jewelry. He commands hundreds of warriors, wearing red and white face paint. The warriors close in behind the Spaniards. A CONCH BLARES at Xicotencatl's lips and THOUSANDS more warriors charge out of the woods, shouting and fighting. The Spaniards fight back forcibly. The Tlascalans remove dead or injured warriors from the battlefield immediately, making them easy targets for the Spaniards. The Spaniards overpower the Tlascalans who retreat into the woods and others disappear into underground caves. * EXT. ABANDONED TEMPLE -NIGHT At dusk, a howling, cold wind carries snow from the mountains as a large group of exhausted, bloody Spaniards and Cempoalan allies straggle back to a new camp at an abandoned temple. Marina rushes up to Cortes who is seated on a rock, next to a fire, rubbing his forehead. MARINA Hernan, Xicotencatl send food. His people cook it. CORTES Finally, a kind gesture! Tell him we accept. Four TLASCALAN WOMEN, arrive with baskets of corn, stone mortars and rolling pins. They quickly build a fire from wood they carried and begin to make maize cakes. Marina begins talking to them and helps. The other TABASCAN AND CEMPOALAN WOMEN that were gifts to the Spaniards also help. MARINA (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) Thank you for helping us. It is difficult to feed so many, while on the march and always hungry. TLASCALAN WOMAN We merely do what our master orders. She smiles shyly at Marina.

PAGE 49

48.* MARINA Do you think we are safe here now? TLASCALAN WOMAN I do not know matters like these. But our masters never give up easily. You know they refuse to surrender to the Mexica. MARINA You are fortunate that Montezuma excludes you from his reign of terror. TLASCALAN WOMAN But the isolation is hard and famine is always a concern. Please tell me, what are these barbarians like? She looks over to the Spaniards, greedily awaiting the food being prepared. MARINA Some are cruel but others are kind. As a girl, I was given away by my family to become a slave. To survive, I trust that being my position with their leader will bring me success. TLASCALAN WOMAN Are they magic or gods? They have many mysterious ways. MARINA I believe they are not. TLASCALAN WOMAN Do they make you or the other women lay with them? MARINA No more so than our countrymen, for women of our position. Thank you again for your generosity. Marina gives the Tlascalan woman some glass beads from a silk pouch in a pocket of her skirt. TLASCALAN WOMAN Beautiful! I will help you, how I can. Three TLASCALAN MEN bring about 30 birds, including turkeys and ducks, as well as rabbits and small dogs in baskets and prepare them for dinner. Cortes and Juan Jaramillo approach Marina.

PAGE 50

49.* CORTES Marina, what is that large bird with the ugly neck? He points to a large basket with a few turkeys in it. MARINA Guajalote. We have many and delicious to eat. Not in your country? JUAN JARAMILLO No. It appears to have a lot of meat. The Tlascalan men defeather and grill the birds over fires. The Spaniards devour the food and sleep around the fires. EXT. COURTYARD OF ABANDONED TEMPLE -NEXT DAY Cortes is polishing the handle of his sword when Marina briskly approaches. MARINA A woman I met while cooking last night told me their men at the camp were spies. They will attack us at night. CORTES Spies? Help me talk to them. Cortes puts his sword in its sheath then gathers the Tlascalan men and women. He grabs a Tlascalan man then holds a sword to his neck. Marina translates. CORTES (CONT'D) Are you spies? If you deceive me, you die. TLASCALAN MAN We were sent by Xicotencatl. CORTES Does he plan to attack us? TLASCALAN MAN Tonight. Cortes takes his helmet off and throws it on the ground. CORTES Damnit! Cortes whispers to Pedro while the Tlascalan trembles, the sword still at his neck.

PAGE 51

50. Cortes yanks the man by the arm and places his hand on a tree stump. Cortes cuts off the man's left hand and ignores his SCREAMS. Cortes grabs the second Tlascalan man and cuts off the fingers and thumbs of both hands. CORTES (CONT'D) I should cut off your heads instead of little fingers! Marina kneels on the ground in front of the first Tlascalan and quietly wraps his bleeding arm with cloth. She looks worried and talks to him quietly, soothingly. Cortes collects the hand, the fingers and thumb. He shoves them in a cloth lined basket that quickly turns red. He hides them and forces the basket into the second Tlascalan's bleeding hand. CORTES (CONT'D) Take this to Xicotencatl with my message. We share the same goal. Together, we must conquer the Mexica. EXT. ABANDONED TEMPLE -MORNING Just after daybreak, four CACIQUES including Xicotencatl visit the camp. They wear fine robes and large gold ear pendants and lip plugs. Cortes greets them with a stern face. Xicotencatl picks up a handful of dirt then touches Cortes' chest. Marina whispers to Cortes. MARINA That is formal greeting. Cortes bows slightly. The caciques bow and kiss the earth, then burn coal in urns. XICOTENCATL We come in peace and friendship. As chiefs of Tlascala, we beg your forgiveness. We thought you to be friends of Montezuma and the Mexicas, our ancient enemy. Marina translates. Cortes smiles and bows to the caciques. Cortes gives them green glass beads. Tlascalans appear with fowls, baskets of bread, corn and maize cakes. The Spaniards line up for food and devour it. EXT. POPCATEPETL VOLCANO -MORNING DIEGO DE ORDAZ, 37, well dressed and distinguished, goes with two Spanish soldiers and a few native porters to climb the 17,887 foot active volcano.

PAGE 52

51. As they scale the steep rocks near the summit, the NATIVES stop walking. They point up and shake their heads. Diego de Ordaz talks to his men. DIEGO DE ORDAZ Marina told me they are afraid. They think the volcano is alive. The Spaniards climb a bit farther when burnt stones fly toward them and ash spews from the top. They climb to the edge of the round crater which is about a mile and a half across. From the summit, the Spaniards see the city of Tenochtitlan, Lake Texcoco and all of the towns on its shore. The towers and white washed buildings glimmer in the sun. The view is dazzling. They look at the view and each other excitedly. DIEGO DE ORDAZ (CONT'D) My God. That city is three times larger than Sevilla! And enchanting. We must hurry. That is a city of dreams. INT. CACIQUES RESIDENCE, TLASCALA -AFTERNOON Cortes and Marina sip frothy cocoa drinks from pottery mugs inside the Cacique's impressive residence seated across from Xicotencatl and MAXIXCATL, the other main Tlascalan chief. He is about 35 with dark skin and a flat face. Black hair pours out of the top of his tall fabric head wrap and his lower legs are wrapped in feathered bands. Marina translates. CORTES My heart is happy that we are now brothers. We've erected a cross in honor of Jesus, God's son. A statue of Mary, the virgin mother, is now in your temple. MAXIXCATL I am confused. You told us not to honor idols. But you've put your own in our temple. CORTES (face turns red) Jesus' cross and Mary's likeness are not idolatry! You must stop human sacrifices immediately or there will be consequences. MAXIXCATL You don't understand. Without sacrifices, we'll suffer famine and plague. Even war. We do not ask you to stop your prayers.

PAGE 53

52.* The FRIAR gently tugs on Cortes' sleeve and leans in close. FRIAR Hernan, we must show them God's love. Give them time. CORTES Friar, you are willing to allow idolatry and human sacrifice? FRIAR Jesus wouldn't condone violence in his name. Cortes sighs loudly and turns back to Maxixcatl, rolling his eyes. CORTES Mary and Jesus in the temple are part of our mass. Their statues are not idols but reminders. XICOTENCATL Our statues are reminders too. They share the same meaning. CORTES No, they don't. Your worship of a pantheon of gods is a sin, among others. XICOTENCATL What is "sin?" CORTES Breaking a rule of our true God. XICOTENCATL For us to give up sacrifices and take down statues would be a "sin." Cortes puts his hand on his forehead then forcibly smooths back his hair. CORTES Let's discuss this later. We go to Mexico tomorrow. Tell me about Montezuma. MAXIXCATL We despise him and his hideous tribe. But Montezuma is wealthy and lives in a beautiful palace. Tenochtitlan is a blessed city, encircled by lakes full of fish and floating gardens with crops.

PAGE 54

53.* CORTES Food is plentiful? MAXIXCATL Abundant. They hunt pigs and deer. They have plenty of captive turkeys and ducks and massive stores of maize. CORTES It sounds like a paradise. MAXIXCATL But you need more men to attempt to defeat them. The Mexica are terrifying and well practiced warriors. We will give you a few thousand of our best soldiers. And some women to cook. We live in isolation, unable to trade, like our neighbors. CORTES I promise, I will free you from their domination. MAXIXCATL We will conquer them together, but you will compensate us for our support. CORTES But of course. We will work out the terms later. The Spaniards exit and Cortes and Marina walk together, closely. MARINA Do you see now? How much they hate the Mexica? More than any other tribe. CORTES You are delightful, Marina. He smiles at her and slips his arm around her waist, pulling her closer. * EXT. ABANDONED TEMPLE -NIGHT * A small group of Spaniards stand around the camp fire, talking and listening to one of the men play guitar. CORTES We leave at dawn to see the riches of Tenochtitlan.

PAGE 55

54. JAIME Sir, we need more men to seize such a huge city. Let us wait in Vera Cruz until we have more men and horses. And gun powder. CORTES Retreat is not an option. God's blessed us in every village, with very few lives lost. I need each of you. You will reap great rewards. St. James and a few thousand Tlascalans will help us. Cortes smiles and walks into the darkness. The soldiers talk quietly. ALFONSO Great rewards? We haven't seen those yet. JOSE He stranded us without ships and again, delivers us to the savages for slaughter. JAIME We're trapped. Rodrigo, play us a happy tune in case we die tomorrow. The guitar plays louder and they warm their hands over the fire. EXT. CHOLULA -DAY TITLE OVER: "Cholula" The land is rolling with corn and vegetable crops as the group approaches Cholula, the second largest city. There are over 400 stone temples and thousands of buildings with flat roofs. There is a massive stone pyramid temple in the city that is 1,000 square feet wide. The top is grown over with grass at the end of a huge, browning lawn. The Spanish and native entourage are stopped by a few CHOLULANS. Marina translates from the horse she rides with Cortes. IN ENGLISH SUBTITLES: CHOLULAN MESSENGER Those dirty Tlascalans cannot enter our city.

PAGE 56

55. CORTES As you wish. The Cempoalans are permitted? CHOLULAN MESSENGER If they must. Cortes and Marina ride to the back to separate the 400 Cempoalans. A Cempoalan steps forward and speaks to Marina in Nahuatl. CEMPOALAN MAN We won't enter Cholula. They are friends of Montezuma. We must go home to Cempoala. Marina translates for Cortes. CORTES You're leaving us now ? We need you. CEMPOALAN MAN We will protect your fortress and inform your men you are close to Tenochtitlan. CORTES I'll give you some of Montezuma's feathers or cloth to stay. CEMPOALAN MAN No. Cortes sighs loudly and turns to Pedro who rides at his side. PEDRO DE ALVARADO The Tlascalans are enough. Look around. I feel like royalty. Cortes and Pedro smile and wave to the swarms of curious natives, on the road and rooftops. EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS, CHOLULA TEMPLE -AFTERNOON The Spaniards are shown to large rooms in the outbuildings of the enormous temple courtyard by their Cholulan guides. They are given poultry, maize cakes, fruit and water. Marina visits Cortes in his room and sits next to him on his reed mat with pillows on top. MARINA Want to remind you that this chief is a good friend of Montezuma. Be careful to trust his polite and nice way of talking.

PAGE 57

56. Cortes kisses her on the lips and smiles warmly at her. The CACIQUE OF CHOLULA and his entourage of finely dressed CHIEFS visit the Spaniards quarters. The Cacique wears golden sandals and his long dark hair is held back by a gold headband, covering his forehead. Marina translates. CACIQUE OF CHOLULA Welcome friends. Is your lodging comfortable? And food? I hope the women I gave you are better than you expected. Marina and Cortes lock eyes then she looks back to the Cacique. CORTES Yes. We are glad to be here. But to be your true friends, you must abandon your idols and human sacrifice. We expect you to honor our one true God. CACIQUE OF CHOLULA Join us for a meal. We can discuss our interests then. CORTES How kind. Cortes nods, then bows to the cacique and smiles. EXT. TEMPLE COURTYARD -NIGHT Marina walks quietly. She sees small groups of women and children silently sneaking out of the city. She hears the scurry of feet above and notices activity on the ROOFS. Almost to the Spanish quarters, she collides with a CHOLULAN WOMAN and her YOUNG DAUGHTER in the darkness. They all whisper together quietly and Marina places her mother of pearl necklace around the CHOLULAN WOMAN'S neck. * INT. SPANISH QUARTERS -MORNING * Cortes is seated at a table, writing. Marina quietly enters. He looks up. CORTES (irritated) Yes? What do you need?

PAGE 58

57.* MARINA A Cholulan woman told me Montezuma has 20,000 men in hiding, ready to ambush in our sleep. Cortes reflects. MARINA (CONT'D) What will we do? CORTES Let me think! Marina bows and leaves. * EXT. TEMPLE COURTYARD -DAY * It is a warm, glorious afternoon when 8,000 CHOLULANS and the Spaniards gather. The Spaniards are in formation surrounding Cortes among the mounted soldiers. Their flags and banners blow in the wind. CORTES You are here today as a reminder of your promises to me. You will give up sacrifices and idolatry. You are to honor our one true God. SERIES OF SHOTS CHOLULA MASSACRE 1. Cortes gives a hand signal and a harquebus fires. 2. The Cholulans look up and scream. 3. 1,000 Tlascalan warriors with red and white painted faces charge the courtyard. They shout WAR CRIES and DRUMS BEAT. 4. The Spaniards mainly attack with swords and knives. 5. Some Spaniards unleash the war trained mastiffs that charge and attack the Cholulans, with frothing mouths. 6. The Cholulans scream, cry and try to escape. 7. The Tlascalans block the courtyard exits. 8. Cannons and harquebuses fire. It is smoky, loud and bloody. 9. About 6,000 Cholulans are dead including women and children. A few dogs and a turkey are the only living remains. 10. The Spaniards and Tlascalans bleed, sweat and gasp for air.

PAGE 59

58.* 10. Cortes is in the center of the group on horseback. He removes his helmet to wipe the dripping sweat from his eyes. Marina stands below him, her gown splattered with blood and her dirty face streaked but stoic. CORTES (CONT'D) Men, victory is ours! Well done. Marina, tell the Tlascalans. She translates. He touches her shoulder then picks her up by the waist and kisses her, beaming. CORTES (CONT'D) Help gather your women friends so the men can have a proper celebration tonight. And you and I will celebrate too. * INT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -EARLY THE NEXT MORNING * Montezuma is in his chambers, surrounded by several CONCUBINES, dressed in colorful cotton gowns with jade, turquoise, shell, precious stone and silver and gold jewelry. One of them brushes Montezuma's hair and another rubs his shoulders and kisses his neck. Montezuma looks tired with dark circles under his eyes, not responding to the women. Tentlil enters. MONTEZUMA Tentlil, I'm exhausted from hoping to avoid disasters and disgrace. Please give me proof that they are only men and they have been captured in our trap in Cholula. I hoped these women could distract me. I have not slept in weeks. TENTLIL I bring terrible news. They trapped the Cholulans and killed over 6,000 of them, before we could attack them. MONTEZUMA How did they learn of our plan? TENTLIL They must have spies too. MONTEZUMA Do our men think they are gods, having seen them in battle? TENTLIL No. (MORE)

PAGE 60

59. TENTLIL (CONT'D) They have special tools and powers but I think it is impossible that they are gods. They bleed and die, just like we do in battle. MONTEZUMA Get these women to leave. I must prepare for their arrival. He puts his hands in his head, eyes downcast at the ground. * EXT. IZTAPALAPA -MORNING * The Spaniards and Tlascalans march toward Tenochtitlan. With Lake Texcoco in the distance, the Tlascalans make camp. As the Spaniards and Cuban natives enter the main causeway at Iztapalapa, the streets become crowded with interested natives. The Spaniards chatter and laugh. The causeway is straight, level and eight yards wide. The Spaniards point at the great towns, temples and stone buildings that rise out of the water. The lake and adjoining canals are crowded with canoes, leading to lush gardens and countless chinampas, square fields of crops and fruit orchards that seem to float. The Spaniards are met by a group of 100 MEXICA CACIQUES, finely dressed in rich, brilliantly colored and decorated cloaks. They all wear ornate gold and feather headpieces. They kneel on the ground and kiss it, at Cortes' feet. They present Cortes with many gold objects. The Spaniards follow the caciques to the next causeway. EXT. TENOCHTITLAN -CONTINUOUS TITLE OVER: "Tenochtitlan, November 8, 1519" As they approach a cluster of towers near the city center, they meet the royal litter holding Montezuma, carried by caciques in their striking capes, feathers and jewelry. Montezuma descends. Cortes focuses on the canopy of green feathers, encrusted with pearls, gold and silver figures held over Montezuma by some caciques. Montezuma is very finely dressed. His sandals are gold and the tops are ornamented with precious stones. The caciques lower the litter and avoid eye contact with Montezuma. They lay their cloaks on the ground before each of his steps. Cortes bows to Montezuma. Marina translates.

PAGE 61

60. CORTES It is an honor to meet you. Cortes pulls out a glass bead necklace and places it around Montezuma's neck. He tries to embrace Montezuma but the caciques prevent it. CORTES (CONT'D) It rejoices my heart to at last see such a great prince. MONTEZUMA Welcome to my city. This a special gift for you. Montezuma presents Cortes with an extravagant, green Quetzal feather headdress. CORTES My Lord, I am touched. MONTEZUMA My nephews will now show you to your quarters. CUAUHTEMOC, Montezuma's nephew, is 25, his build is slender and strong and his skin is lighter than most of his countrymen. He has shining brown eyes and wears large gold earrings and a cape over one shoulder with a colorful, feather embellished collar. His expression is stoic as he gestures to Cortes to follow him and several other well dressed nobles. Montezuma in his litter lead the procession to the bustling center of Tenochtitlan. Simply dressed crowds of common MEXICAS fill the causeway and rooftops, watching intently and lowering their eyes as the nobles pass. * EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS, PALACE OF AXAYCATL -MOMENTS LATER * The Spaniards quarters are on the west end of the Tenochtitlan center. The complex is vast, the buildings constructed of red and black volcanic rock (porous and lightweight)or cedar. A stone wall with towers surrounds the palace. The 380 Spaniards are provided rooms and cotton bedding. Cortes is given a private room with cotton bedding and a canopy. The natives and Cuban servants are given lodging in a separate building. The horses are given hay and water in their own building. There are courtyards, gardens and cotton awnings. Cortes and Marina are escorted to Montezuma's apartment in one of the great halls. It is finely decorated with colorful rugs and wood furniture. Montezuma hangs a gold necklace, clustered with gold crabs on Cortes' neck. Marina translates.

PAGE 62

61. MONTEZUMA This was the home of my father. We pray at his shrines to our gods. Consider this palace your own. I invite you to dine with me tonight. CORTES Wonderful! We are impressed by your city and will be very comfortable here. Cortes and Montezuma smile at each other. INT. DINING HALL, MONTEZUMA'S PALACE -NIGHT Montezuma's palace has a huge dining hall and the Spaniards enjoy the elaborate meal, frothy cocoa drink and wine served by Mexica women in colorful cotton gowns. Montezuma stands. Marina translates. MONTEZUMA Welcome. I will share all that I possess. I know of your bravery from the paintings of your battles. CORTES Indeed. We came from the direction of the sunrise, under orders of our Emperor Carlos. He rules many lands in Europe. We want you to honor our one true God. Montezuma looks confused. He walks over to a small table then gives Cortes some fine gold jewels of various shapes and figures. He is given three loads of cloaks, decorated with feathers. More cloaks are distributed to the Spanish soldiers. Montezuma touches Cortes' chest gently and leaves with most of the Mexicas. Cortes addresses a table of Spaniards. CORTES (CONT'D) Men, we are fortunate. This city is cleaner and better organized than Spain's finest! * EXT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE -MORNING Cortes and Marina meet Montezuma with a few ATTENDANTS in the courtyard of his palace. They smile, greet one another and enter the palace.

PAGE 63

62. MONTEZUMA Let us spend some time, touring my palace grounds. Marina translates for Cortes. * INT. KITCHEN -DAY Montezuma gives Cortes and Marina a tour of his kitchen. It is bustling with many people working. The tables are overflowing with baskets of fruit and vegetables. Cortes grabs an avocado from a basket and takes a bite. MONTEZUMA (laughs) You eat the skin? Marina translates. Cortes shrugs his shoulders and takes another bite. CORTES I've never seen or tried it before. Delicious! Cortes pulls some of the skin out of his mouth and looks at the bright green AVOCADO flesh. MONTEZUMA (laughing) You only eat the inside. My cooks will prepare it for you. INT. WEAPONS ROOM -MOMENTS LATER Montezuma takes Cortes and Marina inside several rooms that are stocked with Mexica weapons, adorned with gold and precious stones. There are large and small shields made of dried puma and jaguar skins embellished with red, green and yellow feathers and dangling beads. Cortes admires the macuahuitls, the Mexica swords made of wood with 6-10 obsidian blades. He slices his finger, sliding it over a flint blade. Marina translates. CORTES Ouch! These cut better than Spanish steel. MONTEZUMA Do you need a doctor? Cortes pulls a cloth from his pocket and ties it over the bleeding finger.

PAGE 64

63.* CORTES I am fine. Cortes points to a collection of lances with five foot blades and obsidian knives on the wall. CORTES (CONT'D) I dare not test those. Montezuma smiles. There are bows and arrows, javelins, sticks, slings and large, round stones shaped by hand. MONTEZUMA I hope you will show me your weapons in due time. Yours are very advanced. CORTES Certainly. * INT. CASA DE LO NEGRO/BLACK ROOM -CONTINUOUS * Montezuma, Cortes and Marina walk down an enclosed hallway. Montezuma gestures for them to stop at a large, dark, entry way and slightly opens the huge door. Marina translates. CORTES We need a torch, it is so dark in there. MONTEZUMA You most certainly are not allowed to enter. I am showing you for you to learn the work of those who can divine the future. This is a sacred place where sorcerers, shaman and healers work. Cortes peers curiously through the entry into a room without windows and painted black. CORTES That is the work of demons. MONTEZUMA They are talented and assist in some of my most difficult decisions. But ordinary men can go no further. Let us go outdoors now. * EXT. TOTOCALCO ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS -CONTINUOUS * Montezuma and his attendants show Cortes and Marina the beautiful, flowering palace gardens. Montezuma shows Cortes which flowers to smell for enjoyment. Canals border the lake with canoes coming in and out.

PAGE 65

64.* Natives rest, play music, dance and sing in the gardens and use the bath houses. Marina translates. CORTES Commoners have access? MONTEZUMA Yes, my ancestors built this for all to enjoy. They see performers, dancers and stiltwalkers practicing. Cortes points to a stiltwalker. CORTES I'm sure you can do that. Montezuma laughs. Marina and Montezuma talk animatedly with Cortes following. They approach an aviary. Montezuma shows Cortes the large and small eagles, parrots, ducks and colorful small birds. It has lush trees and a freshwater pond. Several attendants collect feathers and eggs. Next they approach the royal zoo. Cortes stops at an ANGRY FACED STONE IDOL. Marina translates. CORTES (CONT'D) (pointing) That is ugly. MONTEZUMA It is Huitzilopochtli, our god of war. The fierce animals inside are his companions. CORTES All animals are the creation of our one true God. Worship of your false gods is a sin. Montezuma silently stares at Cortes. MONTEZUMA Why do you think only your god is correct? CORTES Trust me, I know. MONTEZUMA I would not ask you to change your beliefs so I beg you to respect mine. CORTES Do your people not live in fear? Wondering if at any moment they will be used for sacrifice?

PAGE 66

65.* MONTEZUMA As I just said, one should not comment on spiritual beliefs without understanding. Our traditions are from our ancestors. A most sacred animal is inside. Would you like to touch a jaguar? CORTES Of course. As they enter, they see tigers, two types of ocelots, jaguars, wolves, foxes, vipers and poisonous snakes behind gated enclosures. Montezuma speaks with an attendant and moments later a pacing, surly jaguar enters, pulling on the leash. Both men reach down to stroke its resplendent, shining coat. It suddenly turns its head with a growl, baring its dagger like teeth. Cortes and Montezuma jump back, startled. The handler takes the jaguar away and the two men laugh nervously. * INT. LIBRARY -CONTINUOUS Montezuma shows Cortes his large library. Books are made of amal. Codices are written on deer hide or tree bark. There is a huge section of accounting books. CORTES You are a wealthy man. Marina translates. MONTEZUMA In many ways. Did you know all our children go to school? Do yours? CORTES No. Very few receive an education. * EXT. TEMPLO MAYOR, TENOCHTITLAN -DAY * Montezuma, Cortes and a few of each of their men stand at the base of a pyramid. Marina speaks quietly into Cortes' ear. MARINA This is a very sacred place. It is wise to be quiet and respectful. CORTES But they are wrong. Their idea of sacred is appalling.

PAGE 67

66.* The Spaniards heads are down, carefully choosing steps. After climbing the 114 stairs, they gasp for breath and sweat. Cortes gasps upon reaching the seated Montezuma who is stifling a laugh. There is an astonishing view of the city, the three causeways, the lake and the Chapultepec aqueduct. CORTES (CONT'D) (gasping) You don't climb all these stairs to pray. It's for this view! MONTEZUMA I brought you here hoping you will open your mind to see the greatness of our gods and religion. Marina turns to Montezuma. MARINA (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) My lord, do you want me to tell him that? Clearly, he is not persuadable. MONTEZUMA Sadly, I agree. Do not bother. Montezuma opens a thick fabric curtain at the entrance of the shrine. The outside walls are lined with thousands of skulls and thigh bones. Montezuma gestures for them to enter. The Spaniards quickly exit, blinking and covering their noses with handkerchiefs. Montezuma comes out several minutes later and joins Cortes and Marina. MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) Do you have any questions? CORTES I don't care to hear about your disgusting practices. But your city is beautiful. I wish our king could see this. Montezuma turns to Marina. MONTEZUMA (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) He is quite predictable. She nods in agreement. Cortes looks at Marina.

PAGE 68

67. CORTES What is he saying? Montezuma addresses Marina and turns his back to Cortes. MONTEZUMA (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) Tell him that his king is welcome anytime. Maybe the king is not so stubborn. EXT. TLATELOLCO, NEAR TENOCHTITLAN -MORNING * (SEE "THE LARGE CITY TENOCHTITLAN" MURAL FROM THE SERIES "PRECOLONIAL AND COLONIAL MEXICO" BY DIEGO RIVERA") Montezuma in his litter shows a group of Spaniards and Cortes the crafts district of an extensive market with hundreds of vendors and thousands of natives trading. Natives make wares of wood, silver and gold. Weavers and seamstresses work with cotton and make elaborate feather designs. Marina translates. CORTES Your craftsmanship exceeds that of my countrymen. Montezuma smiles. PEDRO DE ALVARADO I've been to the great markets of Constantinople and Rome. This is more impressive. CORTES It is more clean and orderly than the best markets in Spain. But their religion is barbaric. The Spaniards see slaves for sale, attached to long poles with leather collars around their necks. They see cloth, animal hides, pottery, honey, timber, knives and a huge assortment of comestibles. MONTEZUMA Cortes, will you and your men join me for dinner tonight? CORTES We would be honored.

PAGE 69

68.* INT. DINING HALL, MONTEZUMA'S PALACE -NIGHT The Spanish soldiers gradually enter the huge dining hall. Over 30 hot dishes are served in pottery with lids. The feast includes fowl, turkey, pheasant, quail, duck, venison, boar, rabbits and marsh birds. At the end, a frothy cocoa drink and platters of fruit are served on colorful pottery. Singing and dancing follow the meal then the VILLAGE DAUGHTER (now an adult) and another beautiful woman bring Montezuma painted pottery tubes. He smokes herbs and tobacco then passes it to the nobles sitting beside him. They look drowsy. Cortes passes when it is offered to him. Marina translates. CORTES Lord Montezuma, do you smoke for pleasure? MONTEZUMA It may be pleasurable but the purpose is holy, to hopefully divine the future or experience a vision. CORTES Do you always eat like this when you are smoking or is this a special occasion? MONTEZUMA (Laughs) Of course this is a special occasion! But we feed over 1,000 people daily. CORTES Where do you get that much food? MONTEZUMA Our crops are well managed and our gods give us ideal conditions. The constant tribute from our dominions is required too. CORTES Most of them seem to hate you. MONTEZUMA Not my concern. Our gods have blessed the Mexica to be superior. Our priests and I know what is best. CORTES I cannot imagine how a prince as great and wise as your majesty does not realize that your idols are evil. (MORE)

PAGE 70

69. CORTES (CONT'D) Devils in fact. (pause) Grant me a favor. Allow us to erect a cross at the top of the Templo Mayor and an image of Mary. MONTEZUMA Impossible. If I had known you were going to utter these insults, I would not have shown you my gods. Say nothing more against them. CORTES Give us permission to build an altar. Near our quarters? MONTEZUMA Fine. Just stay away from our temple. You have abused my gods. I was wrong to show them to you. I must pray now. Montezuma abruptly exits. EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS, PALACE OF AXAYCATL -MORNING * The Spaniards construct their wooden altar outside their quarters with a large crucifix with a statue of BLEEDING JESUS on top. It is decorated with roses and a PAINTING OF MARY is behind it. During mass, the Mexicas watch the Spaniards kneel before the altar, say the prayers aloud and make the sign of the cross. INT. SPANISH QUARTERS, PALACE OF AXAYCATL -NIGHT * ALONSO YANEZ, a carpenter, shows Cortes and a few of his captains some marks on one of the walls in their quarters. ALONSO YANEZ This was a door that was just plastered and painted. Maybe a few days ago. JUAN JARAMILLO Do you think you can open it then patch it up again? ALONSO YANEZ Yes. Definitely. CORTES Juan, post guards. We'll enter with night's protection.

PAGE 71

70. Alonso Yanez quickly opens the wall. Cortes, Juan and a few more captains enter the chamber first. They are speechless, stunned by the sight of the cache. There is a huge quantity of golden objects; jewels, plates and ingots. There are silver objects, colorful cloaks with feathers and precious stones. The Spaniards quietly take turns, in groups of three or four men, silently viewing the treasure chamber. Cortes gathers his most trusted men outside the chamber entrance and speaks quietly. CORTES (CONT'D) Alonso, patch the wall. Do not tell Montezuma. JUAN JARAMILLO Hernan, we are concerned. Montezuma's affection may be a trick. If he attacks, they can lift the bridges. We are dependent for food and water. Montezuma should be captured. PEDRO DE ALVARADO For our security. CORTES Men, I am not asleep. But to take him captive, in his own palace, surrounded by his warriors and guards? JUAN JARAMILLO Let's discuss our strategy in the morning. CORTES Dream well tonight. The secret treasure will soon be ours. INT. CORTES' ROOM, SPANISH QUARTERS, PALACE OF AXAYCATL -* NIGHT Cortes rests on his bed, relaxed in the candlelight with a glass of brandy on the bedside table. Marina enters quietly. MARINA You called for me? CORTES Come share my bed, my dear. We've found an amazing discovery. She sits down next to him. He reaches under his bed and presents her with an ornate Mexica gold and jade necklace.

PAGE 72

71. CORTES (CONT'D) It is almost as beautiful as you. She strokes it, as he places it around her neck. MARINA Thank you. I will wear it proudly and is a good omen of the defeat of the Mexica. She kisses him warmly and they lean back onto the bed. * INT. SPANISH QUARTERS, PALACE OF AXAYCATL -DAWN * Two Tlascalan's sneak into the Spanish quarters. They silently deliver scrolls to Cortes in his sitting room. Cortes scowls, reading the letters while a few of his captains sip cocoa and eat maize cakes. CORTES Seven of our men were killed by Mexicas in Vera Cruz. And some horses. Now the Cempoalans refuse to feed our men. JUAN JARAMILLO Oh dear God. CORTES I suppose we now have our motive to capture Montezuma. We take him today. JUAN JARAMILLO (stands up) I'll organize the men. INT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE -MOMENTS LATER Cortes and five of his captains gallop to Montezuma's palace. They rush in to find him dining quietly with some beautiful WOMEN. Montezuma smiles at Cortes. Marina translates. CORTES Being a valiant prince and having said you are a friend, I am shocked that you attacked my brothers in Vera Cruz. MONTEZUMA Calm down. I know nothing about an attack.

PAGE 73

72.* CORTES You ordered your warriors to kill my most valuable men at our port. Now we must monitor you at all times. MONTEZUMA Your port? Absurd. I did not give those orders. Montezuma turns away. CORTES You must come with us and will be treated as an honored guest. Your household may accompany you. MONTEZUMA When was it ever heard that a great prince, like myself, voluntarily left his own palace to become a prisoner in the hands of strangers! DIEGO DE ORDAZ Why waste words? Seize him! Cortes glares at Diego de Ordaz. The other captains talk heatedly while Cortes tries to calm them. Montezuma speaks quietly to Marina in Nahuatl. MONTEZUMA Malintzin, what do they say? They seem so angry. MARINA You must go with them. If you refuse, they will kill you. MONTEZUMA Spare me this disgrace. My chiefs will be very angry. CORTES (growling) Marina, order him to come with us. Marina talks to Montezuma quietly. MONTEZUMA (eyes downcast) Get Tentlil to order my royal litter. The nobles carry Montezuma in his ROYAL LITTER to the Spanish quarters, their eyes downcast and somber, through the main temple complex. They are surrounded by Spanish soldiers, some with their swords drawn. The Mexica commoners watch the procession and whisper among themselves.

PAGE 74

73. EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS -LATER * The retinue stops at a large, second floor apartment. Guards watch him constantly. Rapidly, Tentil directs servants to hang up fine cotton tapestries, featherwork and the cocoa pottery. Some finely dressed Mexicas visit. One of the caciques speaks to Marina in the hall outside Montezuma's room. MEXICA CHIEF We are chiefs and nephews of Montezuma. Why is he a prisoner? MARINA Speak to him. Marina nods to the guard who allows them entry. Montezuma stares out the window and quietly talks to the chiefs. The chiefs and nephews bow and leave. INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT -DAY Montezuma's servants, several of his concubines and many chiefs occupy the second floor of the Spanish quarters. His staff delivers an elaborate meal. Cortes and Montezuma talk while Marina translates. MONTEZUMA Tell me about your country and inventions. In paintings, I've seen boats that catch the wind. How? CORTES If you supply wood, I'll build you a ship. I have the other supplies at the coast. MONTEZUMA I will grant you access to the royal forest. My carpenters will help and bring whatever you need. CORTES We'll go sailing in a few weeks, my friend. MONTEZUMA Wonderful. Now a serious matter. CORTES What?

PAGE 75

74. MONTEZUMA My chiefs and nephews are becoming very angry. They want me to declare war against you. CORTES Have you told them you are not a prisoner? MONTEZUMA That is minor. They want you to go home. CORTES Impossible. We will fight. Montezuma sighs and looks out the window. INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT, SPANISH QUARTERS, BEDROOM -* MORNING Cortes and Marina visit with Montezuma while a lovely YOUNG WOMAN brushes and arranges his wet hair. Marina translates. MONTEZUMA You are invited to my family's hunting island today. The ships are ready? CORTES Yes. But you must stop praying to those devil idols. If you disobey, your life is at risk. MONTEZUMA You already had mass and prayed. Why do you deny me? CORTES Because my prayers are right and your's are wrong. Montezuma frowns and looks at the ground. He looks out the window then back at Cortes and squeezes his shoulder. MONTEZUMA That is your opinion but please stop. Today is for enjoyment! EXT. LAKE TEXCOCO -AFTERNOON Two Spanish ships with masts and rigging are docked near the center of Tenochtitlan. Large Spanish and Cortes' flags blow in the wind. Sailors prepare the ships. Many Spaniards get on the ships.

PAGE 76

75.* MONTEZUMA (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) Cuauhtemoc, I trust you will accompany us today. CUAUHTEMOC My lord, I wish you no disrespect but I do not want to join those savages. MONTEZUMA You are only depriving yourself. Montezuma boards a ship with his SON, a group of caciques and is followed by six Spanish guards. Cuauhtemoc watches from the shore as Mexica huntsmen follow in their canoes. Montezuma is delighted to be in the faster of the two sloops. He points to the canoes that are left far behind and laughs. The Spaniards and Mexicas laugh and tease Montezuma about the slow canoes. The regal hunting island is close to the city. The group spends the afternoon hunting and return to the ships with deer and rabbits. The ships sail to Tenochtitlan. Close to shore, Pedro orders the cannon to be fired. Montezuma happily cheers, followed by the shouts of his chiefs and son. As they disembark, Marina translates. CORTES Did you enjoy our ships? MONTEZUMA Yes! It is a great art to combine sails and oars together. We will build one. * INT. CORTES' ROOM -NIGHT Cortes sits by candlelight at a table, writing a letter. Marina knocks at the door then gently opens it. CORTES Good evening, my dear. I am writing to my wife with favorable news. MARINA I have information that is not good. Montezuma's nephew is organizing a rebellion. Troops are mobilizing to free his uncle. (MORE)

PAGE 77

76. MARINA (CONT'D) He's angry that you opened his grandfather's treasure chamber and says you will steal it. Your men are saying that you have already stolen some pieces for yourself. CORTES You are here to assist me, not accuse, woman! MARINA I am assisting. CORTES You are correct. The missing pieces are for King Carlos V, to show him the magnificent work of the craftsmen here and to gain his favor. MARINA Your defense against Montezuma's nephew is urgent. INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT, SPANISH QUARTERS -MORNING * Montezuma's apartment is bright with soft, morning light. Marina translates as Cortes and Montezuma talk at a table while Juan, Pedro and Tentlil listen. CORTES My friend, my companions and I suffer from a disease of the heart which can be cured only with gold. MONTEZUMA My people do not have this heart illness. Our medicines come from plants. We also bathe more often and are healthier because of it. CORTES If you help us find gold, we will be well. MONTEZUMA I will show you on a map where gold is in the rivers and caves. Tuxtepec and Zacatula have gold and silver. CORTES Will you spare some guides to help? MONTEZUMA Of course. (MORE)

PAGE 78

77. MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) I will also send a message to every cacique in my land that our guests require tribute in gold. CORTES (smiling) You are most generous. MONTEZUMA War is coming. I can no longer hold off my men. * INT. CORTES' ROOM -NIGHT * Pedro enters Cortes' room, smiling with a large sack slung over each shoulder. He puts one on the table, opens it and shows Cortes a handful of gold grain. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Hernan, in a few days we've collected 12,000 reales worth of gold grain. CORTES Gold pours in and Montezuma protects it for us. Tomorrow we'll discuss a distribution. PEDRO DE ALVARADO At last. One year ago we left Cuba and now our efforts are being rewarded. The men deserve some gold. CORTES Agreed but don't forget our debts. I have meticulously studied our ledgers and we have many payments to make. * INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT -AFTERNOON Cortes and his captains are assembled in Montezuma's quarters. The floor next to Montezuma's chair and a large table are covered with sacks of gold. Marina translates. MONTEZUMA This gold has been collected from all over my land. Only haste prevents there being more. I hope it will make you healthy and heal your hearts. Cortes smiles at his captains. CORTES We feel better already.

PAGE 79

78. MONTEZUMA I am also giving you the entire treasure I received from my father and grandfather. You have seen it. CORTES I have? MONTEZUMA We know you opened the chamber then sealed it as before. Send these gifts to your Emperor in my name. You now have all the riches in my possession, however few. Montezuma leads them to the chamber and Mexica carpenters open the door. Load upon load is carried into a room in the Spaniards quarters. Cortes and Montezuma inspect the EMPTY DARK CHAMBER by torchlight. Cortes puts his arm around Montezuma's shoulder and squeezes it, smiling brightly while Montezuma looks somber. MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) Now that you have my treasure, I beg you to return to your home. CORTES Gold is helpful but our mission here is far from complete. Cortes removes his arm and approaches Pedro and Juan. Montezuma turns stiffly to one of his guards. MONTEZUMA I pray that I made the right decision. Seal the door. INT. TREASURE ROOM, SPANISH QUARTERS -MORNING Pedro and Cortes survey three tall piles of gold, of various shapes and sizes. Pedro pats Cortes on the back, smiling. Juan sits in a chair as he strokes the greyhound's head. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Unbelievable! We will surely invite the men to view this mountain. CORTES Pedro, the common soldier is not involved. I have taken the most risk and deserve the greatest reward. (MORE)

PAGE 80

79. CORTES (CONT'D) We must first melt it and create gold bars. With our seal, it cannot be reclaimed. JUAN JARAMILLO But consider the challenges the men have endured. We've made it this far because of the common soldiers. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Hernan, at least let the men see it. To boost their morale. CORTES Just tell the men that the Friar and I are first removing the royal fifth. Pedro furrows his brow. Juan looks puzzled. PEDRO DE ALVARADO As you wish. EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS, COURTYARD GARDEN -NIGHT A group of soldiers are drinking, smoking and talking on a moonlit evening. ANTONIO ARCHULETA, with a broad chest, unkempt beard and scowling expression, dominates the conversation. ANTONIO ARCHULETA Five days ago Cortes shut the door on the treasure room. He must think we're stupid. JOSE I don't believe his excuses. ANTONIO ARCHULETA The Friar is probably being bribed. JOSE He needs us more than he needs the gold. I require payment or I'm leaving. The soldiers cheer and agree loudly. INT. SPANISH QUARTERS -DAY The large, bright room is loud with the Spaniards talking. Cortes stands in front of a table with a canvas sack on it. He claps loudly. The group quiets.

PAGE 81

80. CORTES Men, you have been patient. A year ago, we were dreaming in Cuba. Now we are blessed by the bounty of New Spain. This treasure exceeds our expectation. (laughs & smiles) St. James and God are with us. The royal fifth has been removed for Emperor Carlos. I have also removed my portion as your Captain General, a fifth of the proceeds which you promised me at the dunes in Vera Cruz. The Spaniards look at each other and their muttering becomes loud. Cortes does two quick hand claps to regain silence. CORTES (CONT'D) Our debts are considerable. I had many expenses in Cuba for supplies, food and the fleet of ships. I must repay Governor Diego Velasquez since a few of the destroyed ships were his. The Friar and our priest get double shares. As will the families of those who died at the recent attack in Vera Cruz. ANTONIO ARCHULETA How will the shares be sent to the families of the dead since we have no ships? It was your decision to destroy them so the payment to Velasquez should be yours alone. SPANISH SOLDIERS Hear, hear! Cortes opens the canvas bag and pours a small pile of gold onto the table. CORTES Details are not your concern. This is for you soldiers. You should each get at least 800 reales. The soldiers grumble and roll their eyes. ANTONIO ARCHULETA For almost 400 men? Risking our lives means nothing to you. CORTES But alive you are, in a country with limitless wealth! (MORE)

PAGE 82

81. CORTES (CONT'D) Not to worry, there will be plenty more. We have no choice but to pay debtors first. Antonio shakes his head in dissent and crosses his arms across his chest. ANTONIO ARCHULETA I refuse a single piece of gold unless each of my brothers gets an equal share. JOSE Agreed. A few take their share but most just shake their heads and walk away. Some of the men glare at Cortes before exiting the room. Antonio is the last to leave. ANTONIO ARCHULETA Most of your men are honorable and took nothing. JOSE We know where to find gold. We don't need you to be accepted as gods. Or become rich. CORTES Calm down. Trust in me. Our innumerable expenses are not my fault. Antonio abruptly turns his back on Cortes and leaves. The elegant, dignified, grey haired TREASURER GONZALO MEJIA approaches. TREASURER GONZALO MEJIA May I speak with you? In private. CORTES Certainly. They walk down a hall to Cortes' room and the treasurer sits at a table with two chairs. Cortes closes the door and sits down. TREASURER GONZALO MEJIA For our men and the Emperor, I'm obliged to ask. Several pieces are missing. Where are the gold blowpipes. Or the silver birds with mother of pearl talons? You hoped no one would notice but the men estimate that a third of the treasure is gone.

PAGE 83

82. Cortes stands up and his chair goes flying. He lifts his hand, as if to smack the treasurer but stops himself. His eyes blaze with anger. CORTES You insolent, lying fool! We have a treasure only because of my efforts and my organization. Dare not speak of this again or... TREASURER GONZALO MEJIA You threaten an ambassador of Emperor Carlos? CORTES He can't help you here! Cortes has a red, pinched face. The pale treasurer yanks open the door and exits. Cortes smooths his jacket and hair then forcefully slams the door shut. EXT. TEMPLO MAYOR TENOCHTITLAN -MORNING * Atop the temple pyramid, three priests in black robes with long dark hair matted with dried blood squint as they survey the city, walking around all corners. One gestures for the other two to join him. He points down to the Spaniards having mass. He animatedly talks and gestures. INT. SPANISH QUARTERS -THE NEXT NIGHT * The Spaniards are seated at several large tables and Mexica women serve food. After dining, Cortes stands up and waves an arm above his head then loudly double claps. CORTES I've heard some of you are unhappy about your share of gold. Grumbling assent comes from the crowd. CORTES (CONT'D) What I have is yours. I don't want my fifth, only the share that came to me as Captain General. Soon we will be lords of these great cities. And the gold mines and rivers. Several men, including Antonio and Jose approach Cortes and whisper quietly together. *

PAGE 84

83. INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT, SPANISH QUARTERS -AFTERNOON Marina translates while she and Cortes stand before a pacing Montezuma. MONTEZUMA You must remove your altar. Our priests say your idols are dangerously close to Huitzilopochtli. They will kill you for this insult. CORTES Jesus on the cross is not an idol! We built our altar far from your temple, as you instructed. MONTEZUMA Our gods have told the priests that they are angry. You melted and destroyed our sacred gifts. CORTES As gifts, we are free to use them as we wish. MONTEZUMA They were gifts for your Emperor and homeland, not to be ruined by you. CORTES Our Emperor will like your gifts but he would prefer them in the form we've created. MONTEZUMA As your friend, listen to me. Leave at once. War is beginning. CORTES Grant us time to build more ships. I want you to accompany us to Spain to meet our great Emperor. MONTEZUMA Spain? I am not a relic to display. I am lord of this land. Montezuma turns his back to Cortes. MONTEZUMA (CONT'D) Kill me before taking me on your ship to Spain. CORTES Your people must adjust. We belong here.

PAGE 85

84. MONTEZUMA You will never belong here. My warriors will attack within this moon. INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT -THE NEXT DAY Cortes and Marina find Montezuma beaming. Marina translates. CORTES My friend, I am pleased to see you looking so well and happy today. MONTEZUMA Indeed. The gods answered my prayers. I will miss you but am happy there will not be war. CORTES I am confused. MONTEZUMA Your brothers did not tell you? CORTES What? MONTEZUMA My messengers saw 18 ships near the fort you built. I already sent gifts to your brothers there. CORTES I'm sure our King has sent them to help us. MONTEZUMA With so many ships, now you can sail home immediately. Cortes rushes out of the room and Marina follows. His face is pale. CORTES Oh dear God. Either Governor Velasquez or the King himself have come to stop me. EXT./INT. TENOCHTITLAN, SPANISH QUARTERS -DAY The Spaniards quarters are buzzing. A group of soldiers talk excitedly while grooming horses.

PAGE 86

85. ALFONSO Jaime, angels of mercy have come to free us. JAIME What? ALFONSO 18 ships are at Vera Cruz! Jaime drops to his knees and clasps his hands together in prayer. JAIME Thank you, God! Should we start walking there? Alfonso laughs. Harquebus shots are fired and horsemen ride around, ecstatic. INT. CORTES' ROOM -MOMENTS LATER Cortes is flushed and sweating as he talks with Pedro while shoving supplies in a canvas bag. CORTES How can they celebrate? PEDRO DE ALVARADO They're loyalty is to themselves, not you. CORTES Fools. You must lead while I'm in Vera Cruz. It will be challenging. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Hernan, I can easily control the natives. Your mission is more difficult. Cortes blesses himself with the sign of the cross. CORTES The Tlascalans will help. Despite my own men revolting. He shakes his head, grimacing. He reaches under his bed and opens a sack. He opens it and gold medallions fall through his fingers. He passes the sack to Pedro.

PAGE 87

86.* CORTES (CONT'D) Give a fair share to your men. EXT. CEMPOALA -NIGHT TITLE OVER: "Cempoala" A group of 70 Spaniards, most on horseback and 20 Tlascalans on foot arrive near Cempoala. It is very dark in the midst of a violent thunderstorm. They are blasted by wind and driving rain, among thunder and lighting. CORTES (shouting) Men, I ask much of you. This miserable storm gives us the advantage while they are cozy in their beds. St. James, grant us success! Alfonso and Jaime stand beside each other, dripping wet, shivering and looking miserable. Alfonso shouts to Jaime but he can barely hear. ALFONSO Maybe we can skip the battle and hide in our countrymen's ships. I'm sure they are well stocked with plenty of food and wine. JAIME I would do anything, to not have to suffer this eternal hunger and struggle. ALFONSO With no compensation! I wish we had stayed in Cuba. JAIME Let's talk to some of our men as soon as this is over. I'm ready to risk a new leader. They are the last to follow the group down the muddy path toward the village. The village appears large with many tall torchlit towers and buildings. They encounter two SPANISH GUARDS from the Narvaez troop. Cortes hops off his horse, grabs one of the guards by his armor and holds his sword to the man's neck. CORTES Who am I? NARVAEZ GUARD No idea.

PAGE 88

87.* CORTES I thought everyone in Cuba had heard of my success. I am Hernan Cortes, Captain General of New Spain. Who employs you? NARVAEZ GUARD Sr. Panfilo Narvaez, under orders of Governor Diego Velasquez of Cuba. CORTES Where is he? The guard points to a TALL TOWER WITH ONE LIGHT VISIBLE. Cortes releases him with a shove. The other guard slips away into the darkness. As the horses clomp through the village center, a Narvaez soldier blares a trumpet near the tower. INT. TOWER, CEMPOALA -CONTINUOUS * PANFILO NARVAEZ, 42, slender with dark hair and a thin face, startles awake. He struggles to open his eyes and smooths his rumpled black hair and beard. He shakes his head then rushes out of bed to change from his sleeping gown to his armor. He stumbles and curses. He throws open the door and bursts into the dark hall. Soldiers rush to battle. Cortes' group reaches the exterior of the Narvaez camp. They prepare the cannon and line up along the buildings. Cortes pulls Marina aside. They are both dripping wet. CORTES I don't want you to get hurt in the battle. Find somewhere dry and warm. I'll summon you, once our kinsman are conquered. She rushes away into the dark, following the edge of the building. Narvaez opens fire and his men follow. At such close range, most of the bullets pass over Cortes' soldiers heads and only three of Cortes' men are struck. Narvaez's men charge with swords and lances, impaling a few Spaniards. CORTES (CONT'D) (shouting) Espiritu Santo! Cortes' men drop their firearms. The Tlascalans pass them spears, darts and swords. Narvaez's men are quickly injured.

PAGE 89

88. Narvaez and Cortes battle among their men. The wind howls, thunder booms and lightning bolts sporadically illuminate the sky. Narvaez receives a blow from a spear, striking out his left eye. PANFILO NARVAEZ Santa Maria! My eye! I can't see! Several of Narvaez's men rush over and surround him. His hand covers his eye socket which trickles blood. PANFILO NARVAEZ (CONT'D) Dear God! Cortes raises his sword and his nearby soldiers stop and look at him. CORTES Capture him! Juan quickly puts Narvaez in chains as Cortes' men cheer and raise their swords. Narvaez whimpers with pain. Twelve dead Narvaez troop Spaniards are on the ground as the group retreats toward their quarters. INT. NARVAEZ QUARTERS, CEMPOALA -MOMENTS LATER The Spaniards go inside a great stone hall and the Fat Cacique, Xicomecoatl beams a smile while placing a rich, colorful mantle over Cortes' shoulders. Cortes sits in an elaborately carved wood chair, smugly grinning while each of Narvaez's men add their weapons to a stack on the floor at his feet. Marina stands beside him. Cortes gestures for Juan to lean closer. CORTES (quietly) All I'm missing is my crown. They smile at each other. Juan addresses the group loudly. JUAN JARAMILLO You that were with Narvaez are required to take the oath of obedience to Chief Justice and Captain General of New Spain, Lord Hernando Cortes. From a corner, Narvaez shouts. His left eye is covered with a bloody piece of cloth, tied around his head with thick hemp rope.

PAGE 90

89. PANFILO NARVAEZ By the appointment of whom? Certainly not our Governor or Emperor! Cortes looks directly at Narvaez, calmly. CORTES Another outburst and I'll cut off an ear to match your eye. He turns to the men. CORTES (CONT'D) Raise your right hand to accept the oath. Narvaez's men raise their hands in agreement and bow. CORTES (CONT'D) Welcome. I am friends with the most important leaders of New Spain. You will become rich beyond your dreams here. Accept a small gift for your loyalty to me. The soldiers line up in front of Cortes. They bow as he distributes the gold medallions, with a self satisfied grin. Narvaez and three of his men are brought forward in chains by large Tlascalans. PANFILO NARVAEZ Seor Cortes, you have great reason to thank fortune for so easily giving you victory. CORTES I have much to be thankful for but my victory over you is the least of my achievements! Fortune is not owed thanks but God who prefers my mission to yours. PANFILO NARVAEZ Hah! Ridiculous. Velasquez will free me. Cortes laughs dramatically. CORTES He can't help you here. I am the Governor of New Spain, by conquest if not by royal appointment. PANFILO NARVAEZ Lies!

PAGE 91

90. CORTES Silence. Jail in Vera Cruz is your new home, starting tomorrow. He raises his hand and the Tlascalans lift and drag the four protesting men in chains away. CORTES (CONT'D) My new brothers, get some sleep. My men, I need to speak with you. Cortes' men sit on the floor, wet and tired while Narvaez's troops slowly exit. Cortes points to a BLACK MAN, crumpled in the corner, his face covered with boils and sweating profusely. CORTES (CONT'D) Juan, Narvaez has brought us smallpox. Get some natives to quarantine that man. Take caution. I can't lose any of you. Juan talks to two Tlascalans. They carry the black man out of the room, draped over their shoulders. CORTES (CONT'D) You speak their tongue? JUAN JARAMILLO Yes, I'm trying. Cortes turns to his soldiers. CORTES Men, God is on our side! He blessed us with 900 men, 100 horses and 18 ships! With these reinforcements, we can overtake the Mexicas. We're on the verge of total conquest! The exhausted men are quiet. EXT. TENOCHTITLAN, TEMPLO MAYOR -AFTERNOON TITLE OVER: "May 20, 1520. CELEBRATION OF TOXCATL (NAHUATL FOR MAY)" Pedro and some captains observe a procession of hundreds of FINELY DRESSED NOBLEMEN in gold, silver and jade ornaments. There are also YOUNG, STRONG WARRIORS in their war capes and headpieces. They assemble in the sacred, main courtyard of the temple complex with four entrances that is decorated with colorful flowers. A LARGE STATUE OF HUITZLIPOCHTLI, the hummingbird war god is carried and gently adorned with sparkling hummingbird feathers on its head. Turquoise and precious stones are placed on it's ears and neck.

PAGE 92

91.* Gold fingers and toes are placed on it. The neck is covered with feathers and a cape of eagle and yellow parrot feathers is created. A painted coat with images of dismembered body parts is placed on the figure, with craniums, ears, hearts, intestines, hands and toes. The nobles and warriors watch a few men proceed to the top of the pyramid with a few nobles. Two skulls roll down the pyramid stairs. Dancing and singing begins. Pedro talks with a few captains. A troop of 80 Spaniards, easily block the entrances then quickly attack and decimate the unarmed natives. They behead the native men with swords, lance throats and chests with swords. The cracks of the stone courtyard run with blood. The Spaniards pilfer the corpses and the Huitzlipochtli figure to steal the precious metal and jeweled lip plugs, necklaces, earrings, elaborate capes and sandals. EXT. CEMPOALA -MORNING Two CUBAN MESSENGERS run to Cortes, gasping for air as the Spaniards prepare to depart. The Fat Cacique, Xicomecoatl is placing an ornate jade and shell necklace around Cortes' neck and a CEMPOALAN WOMAN puts a huge basket of fruit and maize cakes at his feet. Marina speaks with her. The messengers pass Cortes a scroll which he promptly reads. CORTES Damnit! He rips up the hemp paper and throws the pieces on the ground. The Spaniards, Tlascalan allies and Xicomecoatl look at him quizzically. CORTES (CONT'D) Our brothers in Tenochtitlan were attacked in their sleep. Mexicas set fire to our quarters and the ships. Thanks be to God for our reinforcements. St. James, help us! EXT. TLASCALA -NIGHT The Spaniards stop in Tlascala at dusk. They eat a large meal, pack supplies and get more Tlascalan warriors. They depart in the dark. EXT. TEXCOCO -MORNING Cortes and Juan lead the group of almost 1,000 Spaniards and a few thousand Tlascalan warriors through Texcoco, on the north end of the lake. The streets are eerily silent and empty.

PAGE 93

92.* EXT. TENOCHTITLAN -THAT AFTERNOON * As they enter Tenochtitlan, the streets are abandoned and silent. They ride through the Templo Mayor and squinch their noses at the terrible smell. The ground stones are brown, thickly coated with dried blood. Cortes and Juan mutter to each other. CORTES (shouting) Men, go to our quarters immediately! Juan leads them at a gallop. EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS -CONTINUOUS * The men arrive at the scorched and smoking Spaniards quarters. As Cortes dismounts, Montezuma approaches and tries to speak to him but is interrupted. MONTEZUMA You should not have... Cortes interrupts him. CORTES (furious) You attacked my men! You destroyed the brigantines I built for you and set our beds afire! MONTEZUMA (loud sigh) Pedro slaughtered our most important leaders during our Toxcatl celebration. The blood of our most important warriors ran like water and the stench of blood still fills the air. Your men stole sacred, ancient ornaments from the dead. My men were forced to retaliate. And they will barely speak to me now. Marina translates. Montezuma dejectedly walks away. Cortes finds Pedro nearby. CORTES Pedro, what the hell happened? PEDRO DE ALVARADO They assembled in the main plaza which appeared to be a rebellion in your absence. They knew we were outnumbered with your group at the coast.

PAGE 94

93.* CORTES I was told it was a May party with flowers and dancing. How did you think it was a rebellion? PEDRO DE ALVARADO There were so many of them! Their "singing" sounded like a war chant and the blaring drums, a battle cry. Without Marina here, I couldn't be sure. CORTES Marina, what is the truth? MARINA Toxcatl is celebration to honor Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war. It is one of the most important in our calendar. Pedro attacked the Mexica nobles and elite warriors. Are you sure this was not planned? You have seen their festivals before and their practices. PEDRO DE ALVARADO We did our best to seal off the plaza and were successful in getting rid of most of them. But there has been chaos ever since. That stench from the plaza is awful. CORTES Did Montezuma order the attack on us? PEDRO DE ALVARADO No. He tried to stop it. CORTES I told Narvaez's men to expect a grand welcome with gifts of gold and beautiful women. Where is the jewelry? PEDRO DE ALVARADO It is safely stored. CORTES Not in your chambers, I hope. Did you plan to tell me about this? PEDRO DE ALVARADO (stammers) I...

PAGE 95

94.* A young SPANISH SOLDIER with bloody cloths tied around his calves bursts in. He is sweaty, dirty and gasps for air. SOLDIER I was a day behind you. The road is crowded with angry warriors! They are removing the bridges. I barely escaped. Cortes' lips tighten and his eyebrows furrow as he stares at the solider. SERIES OF SHOTS: SPANIARDS UNDER ATTACK IN TENOCHTITLAN 1) Cortes leads several hundred Spanish crossbowmen, harquebusiers and horsemen through the streets outside their smoking quarters. 2) They are met by crowds of agitated Mexicas with the roofs covered in warriors. The Mexicas are dressed elaborately for battle, some as Jaguar and Eagle knights. 3) Javelins, stones and arrows fly. The sounds of the massive BOOMING DRUM, WAR CRIES and FEET STOMPING are deafening. 4) The Spaniards are so fiercely attacked, they must retreat to their quarters. Some Spaniards die and many are wounded. They lie bleeding on the ground and one is dragged by his horse, unconscious. 5) The Mexicas follow the Spaniards. The Spaniards cannons, harquebuses and crossbows miss their targets from inside their quarters and at short range. The Spaniards defend themselves with swords but more die. 6) The swarm of Mexicas set the Spaniards' quarters on fire again. The terrified Spaniards throw dirt on the fire and try to barricade the blazing rooms. The air is clouded by smoke and dirt. The courtyard and floor are covered in stones and arrows. Replenishment Mexica troops continually appear. 8) Inside their quarters, the Spaniards cough and sweat. All are injured and many die. 9) The Spaniards awake the next morning to their quarters surrounded by thousands of Mexicas, ready to attack. They peek out the door, close it then internally barricade it. * INT. MONTEZUMA'S APARTMENT, SPANISH QUARTERS -EARLY MORNING A disheveled and soot covered Cortes rushes into Montezuma's quarters with Marina hurriedly following. Montezuma barely looks up from his breakfast and visits with one of his women. Marina translates.

PAGE 96

95. CORTES (jittery) We agree to leave. You were correct. MONTEZUMA You did not listen to me. My people have already chosen another king. You will not leave alive. Cortes kneels down before Montezuma and kisses his hand. CORTES I know you are upset with me. But as your friend, I beg you to help us. MONTEZUMA They will surrender, only when all of you are dead. CORTES My lord, I'm desperate. Please. MONTEZUMA I will speak to them one last time but they will not listen. I am no longer their king. * EXT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, ROOF TERRACE -LATER * Montezuma addresses the crowd from the roof terrace with several Spanish soldiers guarding him. Cortes stands beside him, dodging darts and heavy stones that fly onto the roof. Montezuma speaks very lovingly and loudly. MONTEZUMA My trusted people. Our prayers are answered. The foreigners beg for peace and ask to leave. Stop the attacks so they can go. The flying arrows, stones and darts stop. Moments later, a shower of stones and darts fly again from the right side of the assembly, amid shouting. Montezuma moves to stand in front of Cortes, waving his hands in an attempt to stop the shower but is hit on the head, his arms and legs. Montezuma falls to the ground. Cortes and Pedro rush to him. CORTES No! No! Montezuma is motionless, his eyes closed and blood drips from his forehead. Pedro puts his hand on Montezuma's chest. He looks up at Cortes.

PAGE 97

96.* PEDRO DE ALVARADO I think he's dying. CORTES NO! Cortes covers his face and pounds his fists on the ground. He grasps Montezuma's limp hand and lays his forehead on Montezuma's chest. He looks up, his forehead pinched. CORTES (CONT'D) Those savages will pay. He was our only ally here. Cortes stands and some of the Spaniards drop down to surround Montezuma, genuflect and pray. A MEXICA CACIQUE on the ground waves his hands and shouts up at the Spaniards. Marina leans over the rooftop, straining to hear. MARINA The chief asks where is Montezuma? Cortes blesses Montezuma with the sign of the cross. He pulls a scapular from under his armor and kisses it then rushes to the edge of the rooftop. He shouts to the chief. CORTES YOU killed him! Marina, tell them. Marina shouts down and the Mexica cacique yells into the crowd. Moans, cries and screams erupt. MEXICA CHIEF Bring him down! CORTES Only if you allow us to leave peacefully. The Mexica cacique speaks to the caciques surrounding him. A large group of warriors run around the palace and soon are on the rooftop. Battling erupts. * EXT. TENOCHTITLAN, TEMPLO MAYOR -LATER * The city is smoky and hazy. The Mexicas are very active, taking down bridges that connect the causeway junctures and porters removing them.

PAGE 98

97. INT. CORTES ROOM, SPANISH QUARTERS -NIGHT * Cortes summons the KING'S SECRETARY, a short, balding man to his room that is dirty. A blackened, scorched table has several canvas bags piled on it, as well as four larger bags piled on the floor around it. Cortes paces. CORTES Bear witness to 5,600,000 reales of gold, silver and jewels. A conservative estimate for King Carlos. KING'S SECRETARY I need to evaluate the contents. CORTES Impossible. Now order the soldiers to take what they can. We could lose it all to these dogs. KING'S SECRETARY Your generosity is ill timed. They fight for their lives. Cortes slams his fist into a wall. CORTES Follow my orders! KING'S SECRETARY I report to Emperor Carlos, not you. I must account for the treasure. CORTES Much of it is safe in Tlascala. KING'S SECRETARY How much? When was it transported? CORTES I am too busy. These administrative matters have been handled directly in my letters to King Carlos V. You are excused. Send in the soldiers. KING'S SECRETARY My report to the Emperor will be dispatched immediately. CORTES Do not threaten me! How do you think your report will be delivered? Leave! Some exhausted, dirty, injured soldiers straggle in.

PAGE 99

98. CORTES (CONT'D) Men, our escape will be difficult. Without the bridges, it is best to leave tomorrow night, in darkness. JOSE They'll set fire to us, if we wait until tomorrow. Cortes grimaces and throws the nearest chair to the ground, smashing it. CORTES Do not question me! Cortes breaths deeply then gestures to the table and bags on the floor. CORTES (CONT'D) Take what you can carry. Victory will be ours. We just need our ships. God will protect us until we get to Tlascala. The Spanish soldiers sullenly stuff their pockets and carry as much treasure as they can hold. Jaime and Alfonso stuff their canvas bags. EXT. TENOCHTITLAN -NIGHT TITLE OVER: "La Noche Triste, June 30, 1520" It is raining, wet and dark when the Spaniards and Tlascalans leave the city. It takes hundreds of Tlascalans and some Spaniards struggle, carrying a plank to position on a slippery mud causeway, to cross the lake with the bridge gone. * EXT. TACUBA CAUSEWAY -CONTINUOUS * The lake is covered in canoes at the Tacuba causeway, west of the city. On the causeway, the Spaniards are surrounded by bands of Mexicas with spears and slings. The Spaniards and horses struggle and slide down the steep, muddy hill of the causeway. Others trudge through the channel, with water up to their shoulders. They are weighed down with boxes, supplies and sacks of gold. Jaime and Alfonso are in agony, barely holding their canvas bags above their heads. ALFONSO I'm stuck! I can't swim!

PAGE 100

99. Jaime tosses his sack. It splashes among the raindrops and sinks. JAIME Drop your gold! It's the only way to survive. ALFONSO I can't! I promised my father... Alfonso is shot in the neck with a long spear. ALFONSO (CONT'D) Aaaahhhhh! Alfonso and his canvas sack silently sink into the water and disappear. Jaime desperately swims toward land, struggling to breathe through tears, repeatedly looking back. As the Spaniards reach the end of the causeway, the channel is clogged with dead horses, upended trunks, dead servants and soldiers. The exhausted, gasping Spaniards crawl onto the slippery, muddy shore. EXT. TACUBA -NIGHT Every survivor is wounded and they gather at a large open field outside the city. The field is littered with unmoving bodies. Most sleep unprotected on the soggy ground, bloody and restless. Some moan in pain. Marina sees Cortes from a distance, sitting away from the group, under a tree. HE CLUTCHES HIS BLACK COIN PURSE AND COVERS HIS TEAR STREAKED, SOOTY FACE. EXT. TLASCALA -AFTERNOON The survivors are a pathetic sight, limping into Tlascala. Only a few hundred Spanish soldiers, even fewer Tlascalan warriors and about twenty horses survive. The Tlascalans welcome them kindly, give them food and women nurse the injured with herb poultices. Maxixcatl and Xicotencatl visit an injured Cortes, who lays on a straw bed. Marina is administering herbs to his wounded chest when Maxixcatl and Xicotencatl enter. She translates. MAXIXCATL We told you not to trust the Mexicas for one day they would attack you.

PAGE 101

100.* XICOTENCATL We will tend your wounds and feed you. You are home. Cortes groans and smiles weakly. MAXIXCATL Stay as long as you wish. We will beat the Mexicas together, if you agree to our conditions. This war has become very costly for our people. CORTES Accept these small gifts for your kindness. He passes them some colorful feathers and rolled cloth from a sack within arms reach, barely able to move. The Tlascalan leaders exit. CORTES (CONT'D) Marina, you often know what to do. When I am feeling stronger, will you assist me in strategy in dealing with our hosts? MARINA Of course, Hernan. But you must rest now. She massages his forehead and he falls asleep. * INT. SPANISH QUARTERS, TLASCALA -MORNING * Two NATIVE MESSENGERS quietly run up to Cortes' quarters and deliver a scroll. Cortes is recovered and smiles as he joins Juan and Pedro at their breakfast table. CORTES Governor Velasquez sent two ships to Vera Cruz with horses and soldiers for Narvaez. Apparently, he didn't know that Narvaez is in chains. (laughs) JUAN JARAMILLO I could use some men to explore the gold and silver mines on Montezuma's map. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Some are helping me check the temples and homes for gold. There's no one to protest because of the smallpox.

PAGE 102

101.* CORTES Still, without gun powder, be sure they are well armed with our hosts darts and arrows. Continue your good work, men! * EXT. SPANISH QUARTERS, TLASCALA -AFTERNOON * Spanish soldiers gallop in to camp, their horses laden with canvas sacks. Cortes is smiling as he speaks with a young, enthusiastic SPANISH SOLDIER. CORTES So men, the rivers and mines were generous. Show me what you've found. The soldier unties a canvas sack and pulls out silver and gold statues of varied sizes. SPANISH SOLDIER We've had luck there but also in the temples in the villages. CORTES Perfect! I'm sure I can trust you to give the crown all the gold you found. It is our duty to submit the royal fifth. You'll understand why my guards must search your belongings. SPANISH SOLDIER Of course, Hernan. It saddens me that you think we'd steal. Are we not subjects of Carlos V too? CORTES It's merely a policy. And our hosts require reimbursement for our food and supplies. Did you gather more slaves? I mean native workers. SPANISH SOLDIER Yes, sir. We found a village unaffected by the smallpox and brought back a large group of natives. CORTES (smiling) Well done, my boy. * INT. SPANISH QUARTERS, TLASCALA -LATER THAT NIGHT * Behind closed doors of Cortes' rooms, Cortes, the captains and king's delegates secretly distribute some of the booty. *

PAGE 103

102.* EXT. MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -DAY * Cuauhtemoc is the new Mexica king and he wears a cloth and feather loincloth but his chest and arms are bare. His colorful feather headpiece and gold and precious stone jewelry reflects his rank as king. He scowls as he walks the palace grounds with several caciques. The grounds and city streets are in ashes and covered with dead bodies from the smallpox epidemic. CUAUHTEMOC Look at our once glorious city. Those disgusting foreigners continue to poison us with their plague. MEXICA CHIEF King Cuauhtemoc, shall we attack them in Tlascala? CUAUHTEMOC No. Our spies saw the foreigners building their ships. MEXICA CHIEF To return to their home? CUAUHTEMOC Yes. They know from our last battle to go home. Huitzipotchli told me they are preparing to leave. Forever. EXT. TLASCALA -DAY On the outskirts of Tlascala, in a large, dry field, bordered by trees, the Spaniards and thousands of Tlascalans work diligently to build thirteen brigantines, some up to fifty feet and some are smaller. Supplies arrive from Vera Cruz by horse and wagon. Tlascalan porters carry timber on their shoulders. EXT. FOREST OUTSIDE TLASCALA -AFTERNOON * During a rainy afternoon, streams develop instantaneously while Tlascalan workers strain in a starkly deforested area against the rest of the woods, to cut down trees and carry them in the thick mud, EXT. TLASCALA -AFTERNOON * Cortes and Juan ride and talk together, while surveying men working on the nearly completed portable ships.

PAGE 104

103.* CORTES The nearby forests have been kind. Our ships are almost done. JUAN JARAMILLO Thank God for the porters. It will be an ordeal to get thirteen ships to the capital. They ride a bit farther and watch Tlascalans and Spaniards working together, melting and hammering copper to make darts. CORTES God will bless us again and we will have complete victory this time, Juan. I know it. JUAN JARAMILLO I agree. What will you do as "king" of our new land someday? CORTES My dream is to create a New Spain, free of infidels in a land of wealth and beauty, abundant in every resource, including native workers. A country where I will finally be in control and can live comfortably into my old age. And without constant administration to the Old World. JUAN JARAMILLO It sounds amazing, my friend. Don't forget me, when you become Governor! They laugh and continue riding. * EXT. WEST OF TLASCALA -AFTERNOON * From the aerial view of an eagle, an 8 mile entourage snakes along a winding dirt road leaving Tlascala. Thousands of native porters, cooks and women as well as hundreds of Spaniards, flying their standards, and horses transport the huge wooden pieces of the 13 dismantled brigantines and accompanying ropes and sails. * EXT. TEXCOCO, EAST OF TENOCHTITLAN -MORNING * A limited group of Spaniards and thousands of natives work busily, assembling the pieces of the brigantines, north of the lake and protected by trees. A canal is being dug from the assembly zone to connect it to the nearby Lake Texcoco.

PAGE 105

104. EXT. TACUBA, WEST OF TENOCHTITLAN -DAY * TITLE OVER: "Tacuba, West of Tenochtitlan" Cortes' army arrives in Tacuba. At the front are newly arrived Spanish dignitaries including a PRIEST, a NOTARY and a TREASURER, that carry Spanish banners. Cortes and a few of his captains climb to the top of a tall temple in Tacuba. From the top, they see a lovely view of Tenochtitlan with its shrines, villages and buildings along the water and canoes on the lake. PRIEST This is not the act of men but of God for us to conquer this land. CORTES In God's name, now is the time to finish what we started. St. James, grant us victory! The group is jovial and give each other affectionate pats on the back. They set up camp at the temple courtyard. EXT. SPANISH CAMP, TACUBA -DAY Cortes is alone under a shady grove of trees. He pulls out his black coin purse. He holds his two tiny silver coins in his hands and bows his head to pray. He intensely kisses the coins, returns them to the coin purse and shoves it in his armor. He strides back to camp, smiling. EXT. SPANISH CAMP, TACUBA -MORNING The Spaniards awake to SHOUTING and WHISTLES from the lake, luring them to come fight. Cortes sends a lithe TLASCALAN SPY to secretly view the lake. Cortes is in the midst of a meeting with Pedro and Juan when the spy returns. Marina translates. CORTES What did you find? TLASCALAN SPY I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of canoes in the lake. Marina addresses Cortes after translating. MARINA To deny them fresh water from the aqueduct will hurt them most.

PAGE 106

105. CORTES Agreed. Let them tire in their canoes. Today, we destroy the Chapultepec aqueduct. EXT. CHAPULTEPEC SPRING -DAY A large group of soldiers on horseback approach the aqueduct at its origin. They are attacked but the Spaniards quickly overtake with just a few wounded. The Spaniards demolish the aqueduct. Water sprays out of the broken pipes and the sizable spring fed pond overflows. EXT. LAKE TEXCOCO, TACUBA -DAY Cortes launches the 13 ships on Lake Texcoco. Battles in the lake ensue. Smoke signals blow from a hill in the center of Tenochtitlan, while other smoke signals blow from various villages around the lake. The HOWLS, WHISTLES, SHOUTS, DRUMS AND TRUMPETS are overpowering. The Spanish troops and Tlascalan allies SING loudly, as do the Mexica troops. Every canoe in the city is out to attack, with over 1,000 of them covering the lake. Cortes and Pedro shoot firearms from one of the ships. A strong breeze blows. CORTES (shouting) Oarsmen, let the sails take over. Attack with your oars! Hundreds of canoes are overturned by the Spaniards' oars. The Spaniards struggle with reloading their harquebuses and most of the metal shots plops into the water, not reaching their targets. They switch to the use of thousands of copper darts at close range. Within a few hours, the Spaniards are victorious on their first battle in the lake. They are festive as they return to camp. EXT. LAKE TEXCOCO -DAWN * Mexica pirogues (flat boats with a flat roof) begin to appear. The Mexicas use one pirogue to come out from hiding in the reeds, covered with branches and foliage to bait a Spanish ship. When the ship comes near, more than a dozen pirogues in hiding come out to surround the Spanish ship and attack with darts, slings, spears and arrows.

PAGE 107

106.* EXT. CUAUHTEMOC 'S PALACE, TLATELOLCO -DAY * Cuauhtemoc's palace is in Tlatelolco, the village of Tenochtitlan's great market on the north shore of Lake Texcoco. The palace grounds are large and manicured, surrounded by gardens with flowering bushes and several ponds. The palace has a central courtyard with many smaller buildings. * INT. CUAUHTEMOC 'S PALACE, TLATELOLCO -MOMENTS LATER * Cuauhtemoc and his chiefs are finely dressed, in colorful capes and plumes. They are jovial amidst an amazing banquet. Several MEXICA WARRIORS, dressed for battle, drag in captured Spaniards entangled in nets. MEXICA WARRIOR My lord, we captured ten of them. CUAUHTEMOC Did you get Cortes? MEXICA WARRIOR We did but his men used their swords to free him. His legs are injured and he couldn't walk. With a nod from Cuauhtemoc and a dismissive hand gesture, the Spaniards are quickly attached to collars on poles and shoved into a dark outbuilding. EXT. SPANISH CAMP, TACUBA -EVENING * Cuauhtemoc, the chiefs and a group of Mexicas approach the Spaniards camp. In front of Spanish and their native ally soldiers, Cuauhtemoc and his chiefs pull five bloody Spanish heads out of bags. Cuauhtemoc shakes one of the heads, with blood splattering the ground. His face turns red as he shouts. CUAUHTEMOC Ten of your men's hearts were given to our gods today, in thanks! One year ago, you contaminated our city with your filth. We will feed our gods with your hearts until every one of you is dead! Retreat or die! Marina translates. Cortes and his captains look defiant. At the top of the main temple, miles away, DRUMS, CONCHES, HORNS and WHISTLES sound. The Spaniards and native allies are dumbstruck.

PAGE 108

107.* Cuauhtemoc is passed a spear and charges a Spanish soldier. The Mexicas attack and battle erupts. EXT. LAKE TEXCOCO, TENOCHTITLAN -DAY Tenochtitlan is in chaos as the Spaniards capture the city. Buildings and homes burn, amid drizzle. The lake is full of activity with Mexica canoes, pirogues and the 13 Spanish sloops. Cuauhtemoc's family and servants cluster in a group of 50 canoes. Cuauhtemoc's royal pirogue is richly decorated with colorful shells, an awning and plumage. The canoes are full of people, property, gold and jewelry. Two Spanish ships quickly overtake the group of canoes. A breeze allows them to easily trap Cuauhtemoc 's pirogue and Mexica canoes between the two ships. The Spaniards fire their guns at the canoes, immediately causing leaks and panic. Cuauhtemoc stands from his throne, waving his arms. A SPANISH GUARD translates. CUAUHTEMOC Do not shoot. I am King Cuauhtemoc and I demand to see Cortes. Juan and several Spaniards rope the canoes together. Once landed, they put Cuauhtemoc in chains and seize the treasure from his pirogue. They take the women they want who follow without protest, their heads down. EXT. SPANIARDS AND ALLIES CAMP, TACUBA -LATER An angry Cuauhtemoc and a few of his chiefs are brought to Cortes at the Tacuba camp, led by Juan. Marina translates. CUAUHTEMOC I have done my duty in defense of my city and people. I can do no more. I am beneath your power. Cuauhtemoc speaks with difficulty, his voice wavering and a tear runs down his face. CUAUHTEMOC (CONT'D) Take the dagger from your belt and strike me immediately, I beg you. To honor Ahuitzotl, Tizoc and the holy kings before them. The Mexica chiefs stare indignantly at the Spaniards.

PAGE 109

108.* CORTES I admire your bravery and defense of your city. But your defeat was inevitable. Your gods told you we would rule. CUAUHTEMOC I did not realize you were an expert on our gods. Don't misinterpret the words of a few of my uncle's priests. CORTES I've heard enough. Juan, put him and his men in chains then take them to the cells. * EXT. SPANISH CAMP, TACUBA -NIGHT * TITLE OVER: "August 13, 1521" It rains and thunders while the Spaniards celebrate their victory with drinking and guitars playing in the temple and outbuildings. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Finally a stop to their battle drums! JUAN JARAMILLO Cheers to peace at last! CORTES And free to take whatever treasure we find. Thanks be to God, victory and wealth are ours! The Spaniards enjoy the company of many native women, laughing, drinking, listening to music and dancing. * EXT./INT. CUAUHTEMOC'S PALACE, TLATELOLCO -AFTERNOON * On a sunny afternoon, Cortes, Marina, Juan and Pedro step over countless bodies as they walk to Cuauhtemoc's palace. The streets, courtyards and canals are strewn with Mexica corpses, most covered in smallpox blisters. Cortes and his men burst through the door of the dark outbuilding to find Cuauhtemoc in a chair. He is thin and disheveled, his hands and feet chained to the back of the chair. Marina translates. CORTES Cuauhtemoc, where is Montezuma's treasure? His gift to me, well before his death?

PAGE 110

109.* CUAUHTEMOC You would know better than I. CORTES Not the portion we melted but the idols. I'm required to send tribute to our King. And pay back the Tlascalans. CUAUHTEMOC I'll ask my chiefs to check the lake. CORTES Your treasure must be submitted too. CUAUHTEMOC Treasure is unimportant. I beg you to let my people leave. They are starving and dying of thirst. CORTES Some may leave, only because Tenochtitlan stinks of death. Cannibalism is a sin. CUAUHTEMOC For months Tenochtitlan has been without drinking water and food. Thousands have died, with only bark and roots to eat. Your disgusting plague kills thousands more. Cuahtemoc speaks directly to Marina. CUAUHTEMOC (CONT'D) (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) Those women and children starving could be you! Beg him, please. MARINA (in Nahuatl with English subtitles) I was a slave to my own people, struggling and know how those abandoned and starving feel. CORTES Marina! What is he saying? MARINA He asks if your group brought the plague. CORTES Enough talking.

PAGE 111

110.* Cortes abruptly turns away, his men follow and Marina is last. A few Spanish guards remain in the dark, dismal chamber. * EXT. TENOCHTITLAN AND THE CAUSEWAYS -DAY * All three of the main causeways are clogged with Mexica men, women and children, skinny and dirty. Many are covered with smallpox blisters, flushed and sweating with fever. They struggle to walk, carry their belongings and step over the continuous corpses. Cortes and a few of his captains survey the city, their noses and mouths covered with handkerchiefs. It is devastated from the battles and all of the plants and trees are dug up from the starving natives. The chinampas and orchards are decimated. Piles of soot and black embers litter the streets. Near Montezuma's palace grounds, Cortes and Pedro come across a thin, dead jaguar, sprawled on the street. Cortes kneels down to inspect it. Cortes sighs and tries to lift the heavy animal. CORTES Pedro, help me. He deserves a proper burial, alongside his master. PEDRO DE ALVARADO As you wish. Cortes and Pedro carry the jaguar away on their shoulders. EXT./INT. TENOCHTITLAN -DAY The Spaniards methodically check homes to loot. Cortes and Pedro enter a central courtyard and check the associated rooms. In one, they see reed mats and blankets to the side and boxes and baskets with weaving materials, clothes and toys. Pedro sorts through a basket and pockets some gold, silver and precious stone jewelry. In another room off the main courtyard, they find an OLD MEXICA MAN huddled in a corner with an OLD WOMAN, feverish, delirious and covered in blisters. They are unable to move. The Spaniards shake their heads at each other and step back into the sunlit patio. CORTES They'll be dead in a few days. PEDRO DE ALVARADO There is a dangerous shortage of burial sites and men to dig them. We're going to have to use the canals for graves.

PAGE 112

111. CORTES No, a controlled fire will sanitize the area. We need to begin constructing a proper Spanish city. I'm tired of living in squalor. EXT./INT. CORTES' NEW RESIDENCE, COYOACAN -NIGHT * TITLE OVER: "Coyoacan, Near Tenochtitlan" Cortes occupies a great Mexica palace with pristine gardens in Coyoacan, on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco. The palace is large with many grand rooms, is richly decorated and the walls are brilliant white from burnished lime. Cortes hosts a banquet. The men and their native women enjoy wine, talk, laugh and walk through the property. A bell rings and they all gather at a huge outdoor table, covered with fresh fruit, corn, flowers and a roasted pig. CORTES Men, cheers to your hard work and to New Spain! SPANISH SOLDIERS Cheers!! Yeah! CORTES God bless us and New Spain! Cortes beams as he walks outside to peruse the outdoor guests. Juan and Marina are talking in the garden, with the greyhound at Juan's feet. He abruptly returns to the guests eating near the house. The night becomes wild with drunken debauchery and liberties with native women. The many rooms are occupied and some men pass out on mats in the courtyard and gardens. EXT. CORTES' RESIDENCE, COYOACAN -DAY * Cuauhtemoc in chains is gaunt with greasy, matted hair. He looks at the ground, walking slowly surrounded by guards to have lunch with Cortes. Marina translates as they are served huge platters of fish and fruit by lovely native women. CORTES Cuauhtemoc, I hope you are well. CUAUHTEMOC (eating greedily) Do I look well?

PAGE 113

112.* CORTES I need your men to restore the Chapultepec spring and aqueducts. I also need men to dispose of corpses. CUAUHTEMOC As you wish. But I must now ask a favor of you. Many of our best women died in this ordeal. Some must be returned to us. CORTES I'll ask but they prefer our lifestyle. A few are pregnant and happy with their Spanish masters. They are Christian now and prefer our comforts. CUAUHTEMOC They chose to survive they do not prefer you. CORTES I don't care to argue. I plan to divide the city into sections. Parts of the city will be for Spaniards, others for the natives. CUAUHTEMOC You want to keep a Mexica section, only to supply you slaves? Thousands of my people are dying from your repulsive plagues. CORTES Lord Cuauhtemoc, Spanish law prohibits slavery. You are so ungrateful when I spared your life. CUAUHTEMOC You value my life. Kill me now, I beg you! CORTES Come with me. They walk down the street with Cuauhtemoc in chains, followed by several Spanish guards. They see a few unfamiliar Spaniards ahead. They are formally dressed and TREASURER HERREROS, middle aged and slender, is the obvious leader by his forceful stride and posture. He briskly approaches Cortes. TREASURER HERREROS Seor Cortes, an honor to meet you. (MORE)

PAGE 114

113.* TREASURER HERREROS (CONT'D) Congratulations to you and your men. Emperor Carlos dispatched us to supervise the division of wealth. Who is that? He points at Cuauhtemoc with a disapproving expression. Cortes bows ceremoniously. CORTES Royal treasurers, welcome to New Spain. Come to my house to discuss our interests. They nod in agreement and walk up the road with Cortes talking animatedly. Marina walks alone, behind the Spaniards and Cuauhtemoc struggles to walk with the chains with guards on either side. EXT. TEMPLO MAYOR COURTYARD, MONTEZUMA'S PALACE, TENOCHTITLAN -NIGHT The main temple courtyard and city center are charred, dirty and ruined. Cuauhtemoc is brought to an outbuilding in chains, accompanied by Marina and a group of Spaniards, many well dressed. A heavy wooden Spanish chair is sitting in the center of the room with a bowl and a torch next to it. Marina translates. "SEE "EL SUPLICIO DE CUAUHTEMOC" PAINTING BY LEANDRO IZAGUIRRE" TREASURER HERREROS Tell us where you hid your treasure. CUAUHTEMOC I already told you. It was thrown in the lake. TREASURER HERREROS You're lying. Guard, his feet. A guard uses a piece of cloth and dips it into the bowl. The wet cloth is rubbed on Cuauhtemoc 's feet. The torch is lit. The torch is placed on each of his feet, they ignite and Cuauhtemoc fights against screaming or showing pain. CUAUHTEMOC I will tell you! I will tell you! Stop, I beg you! Treasurer Herreros looks bored and does not watch.

PAGE 115

114. TREASURER HERREROS Water. Cuauhtemoc gasps as his feet are put in buckets of water. Treasurer Herreros looks at Cuauhtemoc. TREASURER HERREROS (CONT'D) We're waiting. CUAUHTEMOC (panting) Cortes knows where my palace is. It is in the pond in the front garden. I hoped to give a token to my children. To remember our empire. TREASURER HERREROS This better be the truth or the fire will burn more than your feet. Where is Montezuma's treasure? CUAUHTEMOC Only Cortes knows. Cuauhtemoc is carried away as he moans and trembles by his guards since he can't walk. Marina pulls her shawl over her head and slips away silently. EXT. TREASURER HERREROS' QUARTERS, TENOCHTITLAN -MORNING A group of Spaniards approach a tidy residence near the city center in a small carriage. They carry some pieces wrapped in cloth up to the building. Treasurer Herreros opens the door. TREASURER HERREROS Surely there is more than this? JOSE Seor Herreros, this is everything from Cuauhtemoc's pond. They open the cloths to show a large gold sun disk and some small gold and silver statues and some loose jewels. TREASURER HERREROS Nothing! SPANISH SOLDIER Ten men scoured the muck all morning. It wasn't very big or deep... TREASURER HERREROS Cortes must get me something for the Emperor. (MORE)

PAGE 116

115. TREASURER HERREROS (CONT'D) My God, I just want to go home. EXT. CORTES RESIDENCE -MORNING Cortes wakes up and walks outside early in the morning. On the white wall at the front of the house he reads large red letters: "My soul is very sad and will be till that day When Cortes gives us back the gold he's hidden away." He looks around to see if anyone is watching. He hurriedly tries to rub the letters off the wall but they won't smear. Pedro approaches. CORTES Pedro, they've done it again. I am tired of waking up to these messages. The men need to accept their share and earn their own riches. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Hernan, 600 reales each is not what they expected. They are insulted and will return to Cuba or Spain. I myself am very disappointed. CORTES Pedro, it will take time. We've just finished a year long war. I have nothing left to give them! PEDRO DE ALVARADO Everyone is tried of being hungry and tired, without the basic comforts of home. Except for you CORTES Please beg them to stay. And help me find something to cover this. Cortes and Pedro walk toward an outbuilding, Cortes gesturing dramatically as they talk. EXT. TEMPLO MAYOR COURTYARD, TENOCHTITLAN -LATER THAT DAY * Cortes gathers the men in the Tenochtitlan main temple courtyard.

PAGE 117

116. CORTES Men, much of our gold was lost during the battles. But your futures here are secure. Stay to help me build a city that rivals the best in Spain. Your dreams can now be a reality. The men talk among themselves, avoiding eye contact with Cortes. Cortes walks the opposite direction. SERIES OF SHOTS: SPANIARDS LEAVE TENOCHTITLAN 1. Montezuma's palace library is visited by large groups of Spaniards, studying the account books and maps. 2. Groups of 15-20 Spaniards leave the city by horse and on foot. EXT. CHAPULTEPEC SPRING -AFTERNOON TITLE OVER: "Chapultepec Spring, near Tenochtitlan, 1523" Juan ties his horse to a tree and scoops fresh water into his mouth at the origin of the spring. Pedro arrives on his galloping horse. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Our men did a good job restoring the aqueducts. JUAN JARAMILLO Agreed. PEDRO DE ALVARADO Why did you want to meet privately? JUAN JARAMILLO Most of our men have left and our friend Cortes is losing power. Our diseases have left few natives to work. What are your plans? PEDRO DE ALVARADO He has an expedition for me south of here. I will claim this new territory as my own. And rule. I'm hoping for plenty of gold and silver. JUAN JARAMILLO I plan to stay here and start a new life, not defined by battles.

PAGE 118

117.* PEDRO DE ALVARADO Brother, we no longer have to obey him. I wish you luck. They mount their horses and ride together, talking. EXT. CORTES RESIDENCE -DAY * TITLE OVER: "Cortes Residence, 1523" Cortes' wife, Catalina, arrives in Coyoacan by carriage. She is formally dressed and accompanied by a group of Spaniards on horseback. Native passersby stare. Cortes rushes to the carriage and embraces her lovingly. He proudly shows her around their lovely home. They sit on a bench in one of the flowering gardens. CORTES My dear, how I've missed you. I wish my father could see what I've done. She smiles at him and they talk. Marina looks serious as she watches them from the second floor of the palace. * EXT. CORTES RESIDENCE, GARDENS -EVENING * Cortes and Catalina walk through the property gardens at sunset. CATALINA Well, Hernan. Your accomplishments are great but the city is a disaster. I was expecting it to be more civilized. Everything is burned and destroyed. The smell is horrific. CORTES My dear, give me some time. My men and I are working hard to build New Spain and a city worthy of us. We just purged the savages. CATALINA I will try to be patient, my love. But Cuba seems the height of sophistication, compared to this. CORTES Sophistication will come, I promise. He takes her hand and kisses. She smiles weakly.

PAGE 119

118. CATALINA It's been almost three years since we were together. I hope to be with child quickly. CORTES I pray for a child too. Cortes puts his arm around Catalina's waist and walks her toward the residence. SERIES OF SHOTS: CATALINA IN COYOACAN 1. Catalina walks around the estate. 2. She observes Marina and Cortes together often. 3. Catalina scowls at Cortes and Marina, seeing them talk with Mexica slaves as fruit is picked from trees on the property. 4. Catalina tries to ask the native servants a question in the kitchen. They stare back, not understanding. She throws a bowl on the ground, it shatters and she storms off. The servants clean it up but are jumpy and cringe when she returns. 5. Catalina sees Marina and Cortes talking in the courtyard on a sunny day. She sees Marina's silhouette and notices Marina's pregnant belly through her loose but transparent cotton gown in the sunlight. When Marina turns her back, Catalina's face turns white, mortified upon noticing her same red handkerchief, tied in Marina's hair. INT. CORTES RESIDENCE -NIGHT * Cortes and Catalina host a party for a group of fifteen Spaniards. Elaborate food and wine is served. The group gets drunk, including Cortes. The guests slowly leave. Catalina and Cortes go upstairs to their bedroom. CATALINA You've learned the native language quite well. Why don't you teach me? CORTES My dear, you've only been here a few weeks. I was hoping you'd get settled first. CATALINA Weeks? I have been here for several months.

PAGE 120

119. CORTES (laughs nervously) There is much for me to do and the time passes quickly. CATALINA You want me to be isolated. The servants in this house hate me. They are awful. CORTES Catalina, I will speak to them. Try to be patient. CATALINA Patient? Married to you for six years and I am still without child! Yet your translator girlfriend is pregnant! Cortes glares at her. CATALINA (CONT'D) I still speak the language of our countrymen. They told me you are the father. You should beg forgiveness from me and the priest. CORTES I beg nothing of you. CATALINA Yours may be the first half breed of New Spain. You must be so proud. CORTES That is enough, woman! Quiet! Someone is going to hear... Cortes rushes over to her and grabs her by the neck. His face contorts in anger as he strangles her. She weakens, gasping for air. The red handkerchief peaks out of the bodice of her dress. They stand in front of a long window. Cortes pushes her out the window and she falls to her death. The red handkerchief, flutters behind her, resting on the ground beside her limp body. EXT. CORTES RESIDENCE -NEXT MORNING Cortes wakes to a group of Spanish soldiers talking outside his bedroom window. He is groggy and slowly gets out of bed. He rubs his temples as he pulls on his gown and goes to the window. Juan and a few Spaniards stand below, over Catalina's body.

PAGE 121

120. JUAN JARAMILLO Hernan, your wife is dead! CORTES My God, what happened? JUAN JARAMILLO There are red handprints on her neck. She's been choked. CORTES No, no. I was with her last night but I must admit, I drank too much and fell asleep. She must have fallen out of the window. Cortes walks away from the window. Jose turns to the group. JOSE (quietly) Didn't you hear them fighting last night? I'm reporting to the king's secretary and the priest. JUAN JARAMILLO Tragic. My family knows Catalina's in Cuba and Spain. INT. CORTES RESIDENCE -DAY Juan is led by a native servant to Cortes' breakfast room on a terrace. JUAN JARAMILLO You summoned? CORTES Juan, my dear friend. I've heard the Emperor is sending an inquisitor. They accuse me of murdering Catalina, among other crimes. JUAN JARAMILLO What others? CORTES Lies! They allege I'm not sending the true royal fifth and incorrect governance. I was drunk that night with Catalina but I did not murder my wife. JUAN JARAMILLO (sighs) How will you resolve this?

PAGE 122

121.* CORTES Will you testify on my behalf as a witness? JUAN JARAMILLO You ask me to lie? I did not witness what happened with Catalina. CORTES But as my friend, you could... Juan interrupts. JUAN JARAMILLO Hernan, I want to help you but a trip to Spain as your witness is impossible. CORTES Help me, Juan. I will grant you whatever you ask. Juan shrugs his shoulders. JUAN JARAMILLO Let me think about it. But I assure you, however I help, it will not involve a trip back to Spain with you. * EXT./INT. LA HACIENDA DE SAN JOSE DE VISTA HERMOSA, CUERNAVACA -DUSK TITLE OVER: "Four years later, February 1528, La Hacienda de San Jose de Vista Hermosa, Cuernavaca" The hacienda is a beautiful, extensive sugar cane plantation, with palm trees, flowering bushes, gardens, stables and an aqueduct. It is silent and appears abandoned when a Spanish delegation of TEN MEN open the wooden gate and approach in carriages down the river rock road. They burst through the massive, wooden front door and disperse to search the large, stone building. After searching the first floor, ENRIQUE GALLEGO, short, stocky with dark hair and a groomed beard is scowling when he bumps into a few of his men. ENRIQUE GALLEGO Stop walking in circles. Find him! The men rush toward the opposite end and Enrique notices a thin, steep, curved stairwell.

PAGE 123

122. He turns to the SPANIARD with him. ENRIQUE GALLEGO (CONT'D) Get me a torch. Quickly! With the torch, they carefully go down the stairs. At the bottom is a maze-like catacomb with tunnels shooting off at various turns. They reach a hall of prison cells. One has a wooden torture device. Another has a stone altar with whips hanging from the wall. Cortes startles, seeing them only as he fumbles with a ring of keys, upon exiting the last cell. ENRIQUE GALLEGO (CONT'D) At last we find you. Do our priests know of your torture chambers? CORTES Who are you? How dare you trespass on my property! ENRIQUE GALLEGO I am here by order of Emperor Carlos V with notification that your title of Governor of New Spain is revoked, effective immediately. CORTES Impossible! ENRIQUE GALLEGO For crimes against the crown. And several other lawsuits have been filed against you. CORTES What crimes? Enrique Gallego turns to his men and with a gesture, Cortes is put in chains. He's loud and brashes against the chains while going by carriage to a temporary prison in the cleaned up, Spanish center of Tenochtitlan. Enrique opens the gated prison door and they stand in front of a cell. ENRIQUE GALLEGO We will deliver you to Spain for trial. You are accused of treason and murders. Bountiful expeditions to new territories without tribute to the King. Your prosperous gold and silver mines and plantations like this one, benefit you alone. Our Emperor deserves the royal fifth.

PAGE 124

123. CORTES A ship is at Vera Cruz, overflowing with treasure for the King! ENRIQUE GALLEGO Another lie, I am sure. CORTES My defense to these allegations is lengthy. But I am now curious about the murder charges against me. ENRIQUE GALLEGO Many witnesses say you murdered your wife, Catalina Xuarez. Several testimonies match. She was from a prominent family and is not forgotten. CORTES I swear on the Bible, I am innocent. ENRIQUE GALLEGO You are also accused of murdering appointees of Emperor Carlos to assist you here by poisoning their meals. CORTES Absurd. ENRIQUE GALLEGO We have witnesses. They say you've coronated yourself the imagined king of New Spain. CORTES Ridiculous. I follow the law. Call upon one of my captains like Pedro de Alvarado or Juan Jaramillo. ENRIQUE GALLEGO (laughs) Pedro de Alvarado, Governor of Guatemala, dutifully submits the royal fifth. His dedication brought your neglect to our King's attention. CORTES Juan lives nearby. ENRIQUE GALLEGO (snickers) And provided testimony of your wife's murder years ago. And after what I just saw, I am obliged to add violation of the royal edict to protect natives from slavery to your list of crimes.

PAGE 125

124. Enrique reaches into a bag and presents a scroll, tied with ribbon to Cortes. Cortes reads it, furrowing his brow. ENRIQUE GALLEGO (CONT'D) Signed by the King, this decree revokes your governorship and demands you appear for trial. We leave for Spain the day after tomorrow. CORTES I have a gift for you. ENRIQUE GALLEGO For me ? You mean our Emperor? CORTES For you. I have only a small token with me but promise more, if you release me. I will disappear, never to return to New Spain. Cortes reaches into his chest pocket and opens the black leather coin purse. He holds the two original tiny silver coins as well as a tiny gold lizard statue. ENRIQUE GALLEGO This is the price of your freedom? CORTES Free me! I will give you more. Enrique laughs and throws the items on the ground. He shoves Cortes back into the prison and locks the door. Cortes huddles on the floor, grimacing, as he turns his empty coin purse inside out. EXT. JARAMILLO ESTATE, LAKE TEXCOCO -AFTERNOON TITLE OVER: "Jaramillo Estate, Xilotepec, near Tenochtitlan, 1528" Marina, baby MARIA and Juan sit on a wooden bench in the midst of their courtyard flower garden with a fountain gurgling water. Baby Maria is about one year old, bald with light eyes. They are surrounded by a beautiful estate on Lake Texcoco. Juan and Marina smile, watching five year old MARTIN chase butterflies from bush to bush with the greyhound running by his side. Martn has brown hair and skin. Marina carries Maria in her arms while walking out of the courtyard with Juan and Martn. The view of the lake and their fields of maize and cocoa trees is lovely.

PAGE 126

125.* MARINA It is a gift to be free of translating for Hernan. I am much happier, here with you. She reaches over to hold Juan's hand. JUAN JARAMILLO You are my true love. Thank God Hernan allows Martn to finally be with us, at least for now. You, Martn and Maria are the greatest joys in my life. He kisses Marina on the forehead and tousles Martn's hair. MARINA Now that Hernan is in Spain, I hope he forgets us. Thanks to the gods, I am with you. They smile at each other and cuddle with the baby. Martn runs off into the fields. DISSOLVE TO: TITLE OVER: "Millions of Mexico's natives died in the years following the conquest, primarily due to European diseases. Even the Tlascalan population was significantly reduced, despite their honored status as the most loyal ally to the Spaniards in the defeat of the Aztecs. Cuauhtemoc and a few other surviving Mexica nobles were executed under Cortes' orders a few years after the conquest. By some accounts, Cortes died penniless in Spain after continual legal battles there. His attempts to replicate the success of the conquest of Mexico in other regions failed. Despite the unprecedented material wealth that flowed into Spain during the rest of the sixteenth century from the New World, the country experienced multiple bankruptcies by the end of the 1600's." FADE OUT. THE END