Season 1 Episode 4 (The Slaved Princess)
Draft Treatment by Jeronimo Bertran
TOWN IN CUBA – DAY
Hernán Cortés is talking with several friends about the expedition inquiring if they will go along. He is dressed differently, as befitted, as he thinks, a leader of men, in a hat with a plume of feathers, with a medallion of gold, and a black velvet cloak with golden knots. Pedro de Alvarado and Gonzalo de Umbría join him and Hernán Cortés tells them that they already have three hundred who are willing to join the expedition. Hernán Cortés is happy with the progress they have made and tells Pedro de Alvarado that he has purchased a caravel and a brigantine, adding to the caravel Pedro de Alvarado had returned in and another brigantine that belongs to Velázquez.
Hernán Cortés gives money to a shopkeeper who in turn gives them several sacks of beans and oil. Hernán Cortés thanks the shopkeeper and assures him that he will pay the rest when they return. Some of the men working for Hernán Cortés start carrying away the merchandise.
On the street, Diego Velázquez and Hugo de Cáceres are watching Hernán Cortés give the money to the shopkeeper. Velázquez is astonished that in only two weeks, Hernán Cortés has managed to gather so many men and ships. Hugo de Cáceres tells Velázquez that Hernán Cortés has too much freedom and that he is spending money at an alarming rate. He even tells Velázquez to notice the way he is dressing and that he believes Hernán Cortés is thinking of taking over the affairs. He tells Velázquez not to forget that Hernán Cortés is, after all, an Extremaduran who will seek vengeance for the past treatment he received when he was imprisoned. Diego Velázquez is alarmed and asks Hugo de Cáceres what he suggests.
VELAZQUEZ OFFICE – NIGHT
Diego Velázquez, Hugo de Cáceres and other men are discussing matters pertaining to the new expedition. A man comes in and announces that Juan de Grijalba has returned. Diego Velázquez refuses to see him because he has abandoned the rich land. Juan Xuárez is walking by on the hallway with another man and notices the tension in the reunion before the door is closed.
Hugo de Cáceres tells Velázquez that he must revoke the orders he has issued to Cortés and that they could transfer his authority to a man named Luis de Medina. Velázquez points out that relieving Hernán Cortés would be dangerous. Hernán Cortés was preparing for this expedition with a great force and everyone was going along. If he pursues the matter rigorously, there will be an uprising in the city, and even killings.
Hugo de Cáceres suggests that they secretly write to Luis de Medina to be prepared to take over the expedition and that the next morning they should discretely arrest Hernán Cortés and immediately have Luis de Medina take over. He is sure that everyone will be willing to continue the expedition under new command and that Hernán Cortés will be refunded for what he has invested. Velázquez agrees and writes the letter. He gives it to the messenger that came in earlier with instructions to be very discrete and take the letter directly to Luis de Medina. The messenger takes the letter and walks out.
LONELY ROAD OF CUBA – NIGHT
Velázquez’s messenger is walking down a dark, lonely road. Juan Xuárez approaches him and asks him what his business is. The messenger refuses to answer and hides the letter inside his pocket. Juan Xuárez asks to see the letter and as the messenger is drawing his sword, Xuárez approaches him with a knife and stabs him. Xuárez takes the letter and pulls the messenger’s body and throws it into a ravine.
CORTES’ HOUSE – NIGHT
Hernán Cortés asks them to get everything ready to sail tonight and to gather some men and weapons and meet him at the shopkeeper’s. He tells Alvarado that he will visit an old friend from Hispaniola who is now in Cuba and he will meet them soon.
ALVARO DE LEON’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Hernán Cortés knocks on the door and a servant opens. He asks to see Alvaro de León. The servant lets Hernán Cortés in. Alvaro de León comes down and is surprised to see Hernán Cortés but offers him a drink. Alvaro de León tells Hernán Cortés that he knows that he has done very well in Cuba and that everyone is talking about this new expedition to a land fill with riches. Hernán Cortés tells him that he needs to borrow money and that he will pay him back when he returns. Alvaro de León laughs and tells him that he is very brave. He first sleeps with his wife and now he comes here to ask for money.
Alvaro de León confesses that, on the other hand, he believes that if anyone can succeed in this expedition is him. He goes to the other room and comes back with a chest. He opens the chest and it is filled with Spanish reals. He tells him that he expects interests adds that having him far away will also keep him away from his wife.
Hernán Cortés thanks him, takes the chest and leaves.
Alvaro de León’s wife watches Hernan Cortés leave from her second-floor window.
SHOP IN CUBA – NIGHT
Hernán Cortés and his crew, accompanied by several armed men are carrying supplies from the shopkeeper. Hernán Cortés pays the man and notices that he has outside several pigs and sheep. He tells the shopkeeper he will take it all. The shopkeeper protests that he is going to take it to the slaughterhouse the next day and that it is the meat for the entire city. Hernán Cortés gives the man several coins and tells him that should also cover the penalty of depriving the city of its meat supply.
PORT IN CUBA – NIGHT
Hernán Cortés and his men are loading the last provisions into the ship. Alvarado tells him that they are short of provisions for the number of men and for the voyage. Hernán Cortés reassures him that they will still make a few stops in Cuba where he still has some good friend. He notices that Velázquez arrives at the dock with several armed men to try to stop him, so he hurries to undock the last ship.
MOCTEZUMA PALACE – DAY
The second world, known as Wind Sun, was ruled by Quetzalcoatl, and was populated by humans. Tezcatlipoca, still enraged, knocked down Quetzalcoatl with a massive jaguar paw. As he fell, the world was destroyed in a massive hurricane. The few humans who survived turned into monkeys.
RAFAEL’S DREAM – NIGHT
A familiar scene of Rafael’s mother talking to a 4-year-old Rafael. Rafael’s mother is serene and tells him she will always look after him. In the dream, Rafael is in front of his mother, but he is now 16 years old. He calmly helps his mother lay down on a wooden surface. He takes her hand and slowly moves it to one side and lays in on the wood. His mother looks at him. A tear runs down Rafael’s eye. He holds his mother’s hand in place and with a quick stroke hammers a nail trough her hand. His mother is in pain. We now see that Rafael is crucifying his mother on a wooden cross. He hammers the second hand and her feet to the cross. Rafael is crying to see her mother suffering. He then grabs a sharp stone and cuts her mother and extracts her heart. While crying, Rafael holds his mother’s heart up towards the sky and it catches fire in his hand. His mother’s body now catches fire.
RAFAEL’S ROOM – NIGHT
Rafael wakes up sweating and crying. He looks around and begins to shiver. He decides to go out looking for Malinalli.
MALINALLI’S ROOM – NIGHT
Malinalli wakes up as Rafael comes into her room. Rafael is visibly shaken and Malinalli tries to comfort him. He tells her that nothing makes sense. That he realizes now that his father was only trying to protect him.
Malinalli tells Rafael that she often dreams of her father.
NAHUA NOBLE HOUSE – NIGHT
The nahual cacique is meeting with other noblemen in his house. It is evident that he is the leader and that he is serene and just. In the other room, Malinalli is taking lessons from a teacher, getting ready to leave. His wife, carrying their 2-year-old baby girl Malinalli, is waiting for him to get ready. He tells his wife he will return soon and that the journey is not dangerous. He grabs the baby girl in his arms and looks at her smiling. He tells her that as a cacique he must go for a few days and that someday she will inherit being the cacique of the region and make them all proud.
As the cacique walks out, a young warrior is waiting for him. The young warrior salutes the cacique with respect and asks him if he is ready to leave. The cacique gives his daughter and wife one last kiss. The young warrior takes special interest in the cacique’s wife before leaving with the cacique.
Malinalli narrates to Rafael that this was the last time they saw his father. He had been attacked and killed by an enemy tribe, and the young warrior who was with him barely escaped. That young warrior had been visiting her mother more and more after Malinalli’s father died. Her mother eventually married the young warrior and they had a baby boy.
Malinalli asks his stepfather if it’s true that he was the last one to see his father. He tells the little girl that they have told her many times not to ask questions. Malinalli’s mother tells her that she must not question her stepfather.
Malinalli’s stepfather tells his wife that the village will need a male cacique. That women are weak, and they will all be in danger if Malinalli inherits the leadership.
MALINALLI’S HOUSE – DAY
Malinalli is playing with her friend Atototl. She is a 12-year-old slave girl who was given to the family as payment of a debt. Malinalli’s stepfather and mother come into the room. Malinalli’s mother looks nervous. Malinalli’s stepfather holds down the slave girl who begins to scream. He puts his hands around the little girl’s neck and begins to choke her. A few seconds later the little girl is dead. Malinalli is crying. Her mother is covering Malinalli’s mouth. Malinalli’s stepfather tells his wife to give him Malinalli’s clothes so they can switch them with the little slave girl.
Malinalli’s stepfather ties Malinalli’s hands behind her back and ties a cloth around her mouth. He then takes her to a room and ties her to a pole while her mother watches. Malinalli can’t stop crying.
OUTSIDE MALINALLI’S HOUSE – DAWN
The people from the village are congregated outside Malinalli’s home. Malinalli’s mother is seen crying as townspeople comfort her. On a wooden bed lies the body of Malinalli’s little friend. The bed rests over a pile of wood. Her face is covered with amatl paper.
Malinalli’s stepfather tells the crowd that the gods had come to take Malinalli. She was to become the future leader of the village but because of this tragedy, it will go to her stepbrother who will surely lead the village with Malinalli’s spirit in his heart.
Malinalli’s stepfather proceeds to the body of the girl and with the help of a priest, they cover her entire body with amatl paper, position the girl in a sitting like fetus position and tie her so that her body remains sitting in that position. Malinalli’s stepfather then takes a torch and lights fire to the bed of wood under the little girl. The cremation begins while mourners watch as the night falls.
MALINALLI’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Malinalli’s mother and stepfather untie Malinalli from the post and secretly take her outside.
JUNGLE – NIGHT
They walk into the jungle making sure they are not seen. There, they are met by a group of slave trader led by a vicious looking man. The man asks Malinalli’s stepfather if she will behave like a slave. Her stepfather acknowledges that she likes to speak her mind but that it should be easy to correct. Malinalli’s stepfather insists that they must take her far away so that she will never be found. The man assures him that they will trade her deep in the Mayan land where they don’t even speak Nahuatl. The man pays Malinalli’s stepfather with a bag of copper tajaderas.
Malinalli’s stepfather removes the girl’s cloth from her mouth and hands her to the slave traders. Malinalli calls out to her mother. Malinalli’s mother watches her but says nothing. The slave traders take Malinalli away.
MALINALLI’S ROOM – NIGHT
Rafael is listening to Malinalli’s story. She explains that she traveled in captivity from her native Nahuatl-speaking region to the Maya-speaking areas, where she learned that language. After a war between the Mayans of Potonchán and the Mexicas of the Xicalango area, she was ceded as a tribute to Tabscoob.
Malinalli tells Rafael that her mother and stepfather were Aztecs like the commission that comes to collect tribute and take everything they work for. He warns him that Aztecs are evil.
FIELD IN TENOCHITILAN – DAY
Citlalin continues her secret training with Necalli. Necalli warns Citlalin about the harsh laws in Tenochtitlan if anyone found out she was not doing was is expected of her. He advices her to work on her studies but Citlalin reiterates that she feels she was born a warrior for a purpose. In the distance a silhouette is watching them in the dark. Necalli notices the hidden person and tells Citlalin that it has been enough training for one day. He then walks calmly and secretly towards the hidden figure.
February 1519 – Cuba
Velázquez decides to replace Cortés with Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa. Cortés gathers more men and supplies for his expedition in different ports in Cuba, always outsmarting Diego de Velázquez who tries to get him arrested at every port. Cortés has with him about five hundred and thirty Europeans, as many as fifty sailors, many of them, as was common in those days on Spanish ships, foreigners – Portuguese, Genoese, Neapolitans, and even a Frenchman. The fisherman “Melchor”, a cross-eyed Maya captured in Yucatan by Hernández de Córdoba, accompanies the fleet. Spaniards make fun of Melchor since the frequent cross-eyes were considered a sign of beauty to the Mayas and were artificially encouraged in childhood.
Sixteen horses are loaded: the important innovation of this voyage. There are also numerous mastiff dogs. Dogs had fought effectively, and had been used brutally, in establishing other parts of the Spanish empire.
The captains on the expedition present some political difficulties to Cortés. Several are more experienced than he in wars in the Indies while others are close friends of Diego Velázquez.
Cortés arrives in Trinidad. Velázquez dispatches two confidential persons to Trinidad with orders to Francisco Verdugo, the alcalde mayor of that town, who was his brother-in-law, to divest Cortes of his command, and take from his control, the fleet and troops, announcing that he had been superseded, and that Visco Porcallo had been appointed in his stead. But Cortés was not unprepared for this message. He had a large and well-appointed body of men around him, eager to serve under him, and sufficient to overawe the few who were attached to the governor’s interest, or might be inclined to respect his authority. Cortés chose, however, to put in requisition his talents of persuasion. Diego de Ordaz was induced by him to represent to the alcalde the danger of attempting to execute the order by force.
Cortés finally departs Cuba from Guanijuanico towards the New World.
END OF EPISODE 4