In the 17th century, though surrounded by enemies,
Spain still dominated the world.The king was Philip IV, the Planet King,and his territories were ruled with an iron hand by his favourite,the Count-duke of Olivares.To Flanders, the Americas, the Philippines,part of Italy and North Africa,Portugal and its colonies had been added,but it was in Flanders, in a long, cruel war,where the battle for the Empires survival was to be fought.An Empire sustained by professional armieswhose main core were veteransof the dreaded Spanish infantry regiments.This is the story of one of those men…Flanders, winter, 1622Here, Count!Count, cover us!Retreat!Stay close to me, Count.Hold on to my shirt.Die, Catholic dog!Damn.Lope.My son…My son, Diego…My son, Diego. My son.Don Diego Alatriste: In compliance with the wishes of my father,who died, may God rest his soul, in the land of heretics,I send you my brother Inigo, whom I have not the means to maintain.He knows mathematics, can read and write,is obedient and quick to learn,though somewhat given to fantasy and stubborn. MADRID, ONE YEAR LATERAs you know, my father wanted him to study, MADRID, ONE YEAR LATERto go to university, but he wants to be a soldier.I pray that God and Your Honour may forbid such a thing.Ana Balboa,Oñate, Guipuzcoa.Which ones that;M.Youre glum today, don Francisco.How fares your memorial?I do believe Philip the Great and his favourite Olivareshave wiped their arses on it.Thats still a great honour.An honour for his royal arse.It was good paper, costing half a ducat per ream,and in my best hand.Rumour has it that Olivares begins to hold you in esteem.Yes.He even gives me leave to live in Madrid.He needs your verses.Damn you, Captain!You make a better friend than an enemy.So they say.Excuse me, senor de Quevedo.My friends and I were wondering if certain verses were yours…Here lies, in black tomb hemmed, lifeless and condemnedwho sold his soul for profit vileand een in death lacks flair and style.In black tomb hemmed…Might be improved if they were mine. Right, Inigo?Of course, don Francisco.In any case,is Gongora so ruined that they dedicate epitaphs to him?Not that I know of.I hear don Luis de Gongora still enjoys good health.So good that he still writes the best poetry in Spain.Dont waste your steel so early in the day, don Francisco.And on such a trifle.The merriments over.The cuckold constable.Quiet,or Ill kick your arse to kingdom come.Back to work.Diego, I have work for you.Theres someone who needs you.Safe work,no risks involved,save the usual ones, of course.And for a good purse… to share.To share?With whom?Follow me.Two foreign gentlemen.Theyll enter Madrid alone, on horseback, this Friday night.Payment for your serviceswill be 60 escudos in doubloons. To share. Agreed?That suits me.We are each three gold pieces short.To be paid when the work is done to satisfaction.To whose satisfaction?My sons,I am Father Emilio Bocanegra,President of the Council of the Inquisition.The two heretics must die.Mercy!Mercy!Mercy for my companion!- Leave him! – Do you jest?None of this is clear.They are not simple heretics.We can kill them another day.We shall meet again.Diego, you are in a fine mess.I imagine so.The news will soon forward to the peace and quiet of my own bar.Right.Well, now I know where to get a free beer when Im in New York.Yeah, for sure.- What? – Peace and quiet, huh?Well, I heard you redecorated the barwith a couple of goons, before you came out here.Huh?Zito brothers.Mm-hmm, I know.What I heard was you beat one with his own gun,the other you threw through the windowbecause you wanted to change that shit anyway.And my favorite part, you told them how youre gonna kick their assbefore you kicked their ass.Does that ring any bells?Well, you know, people tend to exaggerate things- because they have this– – Yeah, I know,did you-didnt you have the fight already?Fight. Well, hey, a fight is a violent exchange of–Listen, man…peace and quiet, my ass.You want that beer or what?[Mason] So, ADS, they asked me to take over from Briggs,can you believe that shit?[John] Oh, yeah?[Mason] So, I guess if you ever get tired of serving drinks, give me a call.