The monestary at Los Acantilados had stood for centuries, built by conquistadors from the rubble of a destroyed settlement as the fulfillment of a promise to a Franciscan who had died in a native attack. Water had to be carried nearly two miles every morning thanks to the strategic masterstroke that had saved those men, beset on all sides by those whom they hoped to conquer: collapsing the nearby well with their stores of gunpowder. The area had been frequented by earthquakes ever since, but the Franciscans always repaired and rebuilt.

Father Domingo had been surveying the damage from the latest quake, which had roused many of the friars from their slumber, when he fell through the rectory floor. his companions mistook his cries for agonized moans, and hurried to fetch ladders. It was only when they reached the bottom that they found he had been shouting not from pain but astonishment.

The cavern was filled with golden artifacts of totally unknown provenance and manufacture–the very treasure the founding friar of Los Acantilados had perished attempting to find.