A windswept, snowy day has shut down all movement on or off Block Island. It is the final day of classes before the winter break at the prestigious Block Island Academy High School. Prester Charles John is lecturing his class on the Italian Renaissance, and is displaying a set of twin daggers once belonging to Lorenzo de Medici. During the lecture, an angry young student, Kirk Renzo, grabs one of the daggers and runs away. The boy's footprints lead through pristine snow to a 500-year-old tree.