“When the pupil is ready, the master will appear.” When young, Diego is idealistic and romantic, filled with visions of a greater California devoid of corruption and injustice. He survives his imprisonment by fixating on his futuristic intention to avenge his capture and the death of his wife; he refines his idea until it is flawless. Upon meeting Alejandro in the tavern, Diego immediately senses his greater potential; he realizes Alejandro is capable of being his “replacement” and ally in carrying out his vengeance. He prides himself on patience, and often berates the young man for not keeping his eye on “the greater picture.” The presence of a training wheel in his underground lair reveals that Diego has perfected his skills over many months and years of practice… they may not have come naturally to him. “Your brother is dead; put it behind you.” Diego is frank in his assessment of others (“You are drunk and in no condition to fight a trained fighter; you will fight bravely and die very quickly”). He constructs a meticulous plan that he wants carried out to the latter, which includes training Alejandro to act the part of a gentleman, teaching him how to fight, and training him to put his emotions aside. Diego’s logic gets him out of prison (take the place of a dead man, kill the guard, grab his keys, break out of my chains, dig myself up out of the grave). He is used to being obeyed in the orders he gives. “I can see we’re not going to do a lot of talking,” Alejandro laments, when opening up to Diego and receiving silence in return. Diego is hurting over the loss of his wife and daughter, but does not talk about it until it is absolutely necessary to do so; he shyly befriends Elena and compliments her, without revealing too much information about his own sorrows. He berates Alejandro for using the mask of Zorro to fulfill his own showy desires, reminding him that Zorro “is a servant of the people.” Late in the story, Diego chooses to pursue his emotional desire for revenge and to have the truth come out, nearly at the cost of everything else; he prioritizes his feelings above their “greater plan.” He is very opportunistic (knocking out guards, kicking Montero’s legs out from under him, getting into various scraps with Alejandro), and in the moment whenever he dons the mask, but sometimes miscalculates the situation, leading to his capture. 

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Diego has a calm presence and a likable nature. He is easily able to connect to Elena when he meets her in the stable and conceal many of his emotions even though they speak of her mother (she does not realize this at the time). He is warm and giving to the boys that save his life, affectionate to his wife, and stoic in the presence of his enemies. He manages to patiently wait many years to escape from prison, without losing his mind in the dank hole. He calmly reminds Alejandro not to lose his temper and do “foolish things.” Then patiently teaches him all he needs to know, before urging him to make a connection to Montero. Once he decides to take his revenge, he becomes stubborn about it, refusing to reconsider or turn back from his chosen course. He is willing to put down his sword twice, to save his daughter’s life and on her appeal for him not to get shot. His 8 wing has a strong sense of conviction that he should right the wrongs of society, intervene on the behalf of the abused, and not stand for injustices. He spends much of his time doing this as a younger man, until he feels resentful that all he got in return was his life destroyed. He isn’t afraid of Montero, or of dying, if he does so in the cause of something greater than himself.