Portrayed By Michael Lawrence
Appearance "Death Mask"
Affiliations Xena, Lyceus, Toris, Amphipolis
Series Xena: Warrior Princess

Cortese was a warlord that led the attack on Amphipolis which resulted in the death of Xena's brother Lyceus and the rift between Xena and her mother. His army wore trademark masks, which had haunted Xena for years. In order to avoid capture and suspicion, Cortese took the guise of the King of a local town. Xena claimed that Cortese was one of the catalysts that twisted her into the vicious murderer she was (along with Caesar).

Xena's older brother, Toris, began working for Cortese after the attack, in hopes of getting close enough to seek vengeance and kill him. Once Xena came into contact with a man that was wearing Cortese's trademark mask, she sought him out. Forced to work with Toris, of whom had not seen or spoken to her since the attack on their village, the two discovered that he had been using messenger pidgeons with the royal crest on them. This led them to uncover Cortese's seperate lives and subsequently bring him to justice. Filled with hatred and a desire to kill Cortese, Xena gave Toris the choice of killing Cortese or letting him live. He chose to let him live, after Xena convinced him that killing Cortese would not give him the satisfaction he believed it would.

Cortese might have been named for Hernán Cortés, the conquistador credited with subjugating the Aztec empire in the early 16th century.
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