El Sendero Del Diablo
Ramirez de la Portablanco
Impecable taste and improbable skill--the Caballero Portablanco ,the champion of good will not rest while evil thrives in the land.
The Portablanco vineyard was established 20 years before, as Ramirez calls it, the hand of god plowed the earth of California. As a sickly child Ramirez read incessantly, but his scholarship came second to his day dreams and faith. Though it was likely that he would never ride a horse or fire a gun, he could not help but dwell on those things rather than how a near cripple could make it in the world.
His father had been given a title, Caballero, in return for settling in north America in honor of the Queen of Spain. Originally, the Portablanco family was carpenters, but Senor Reynaldo de la Portablanco was a brilliant man and quickly added the growing of grapes to his skill set. Ramirez was often a dissapointment to his father and mother. As an only child, it was thought that he would never married and the family would die out. That all changed on his sixteenth birthday. While praying in church, he simply got up and walked out.
With his renewed strength, his devotion to God deepened and his love of the outdoors grew. Instead of studying, he sought out “adventure” in the surrounding country side of San Jose. He hunted, practiced gun play, and fenced with other local Spanish nobility. Ramirez was quite the dashing young man, and during these exploits of his youth is when he met Isabella. She was an actual noble, a high Castellan from a family with extensive holdings in California and Spain, and the love of Ramirez’s life. As it turned out, Isabella’s father approved of Ramirez and the two were arranged to be married.
God once again changed the course of Ramirez’s life, 5 days after his twentieth birthday and 10 days before his wedding, was the day the earth of California was plowed by the hand of God. As the countryside tore itself apart, fissures spewed scalding hot sulfuric water. When at last the violence of the earth stopped, Ramirez sought out his fiance. The smell of sulfur and the death of her and her family scarred Ramirez. He remembers the smell more than anything, the smell of the evil one.
Somehow all the Portablanco holdings were undamaged. Ramirez gathered his fathers gun, money, and equipment for the road. He left his family’s steward Martin Salazar in charge and gave him permission to build his own house on the vineyard grounds with the express orders to run and grow the family business while Ramirez went to fight evil. If in ten years Ramirez does not return, all the property belongs to Martin.
That first day when Ramirez left was the last day he ever cried—at least that is the story he tells. He headed for the great Cathedral of St. Catherine in San Jose, and persisted in the Bishop naming an order from God to fight evil. It took Ramirez three months of persistent pestering, but the Bishop eventual blessed Ramirez and told him “Where ever there is injustice, Where ever there is despair, Where ever there is evil, there Ramirez de la Portablanco will be. Go with God.” Relieved to finally have Ramirez out of his hair, the Bishop Santiago could have never imagined that God had chosen this dreamer dilettante to be his champion. In truth, though Ramirez believed it, it was not until he had healed a poor cripple child in a small farming town did he truly believe either.
It had happened right after leaving the Bishop’s office. Ramirez closed his eyes spun around and rode until he could not ride anymore. He ended up at the home of a small family of peasants. They were at first terrified by the one-minded hatred of evil in the Caballero Ramirez de la Portablanco. Yet, when they had told him there was no evil in their home Ramirez could not believe it. He began searching through there home until he came upon their bed ridden child. Then without hesitation in the power of God, he raised his hands, “As God has healed me so I bring this healing.” and touched the child’s feet. Ramirez left, confident that he had healed the boy. Perhaps because of his blind faith, the power of God flowed through Ramirez. It is not for us mortals to know. The truth is that without doubt, without reservation, Ramirez de la Portablanco Champion of Good will never surrender to the evils of the west.