Sixty years after the Great Houses War, House of Silverspires, Ile de la Cite, Paris

Isabelle smiled; and it was a chilling expression–nothing like the naive, childlike mannerisms she often had, but something far older, far more… malicious. She’d Fallen–all the way from Heaven. Why did they think Fallen young, or innocent, or ignorant? Whatever it was they’d done in their previous lives, they’d been cast out of Heaven. They had Fallen. They had rebelled against God, or sinned, or whatever it was that it took for a God of love and mercy to cast His own creations out of Heaven. They weren’t lambs or calves or foals, fresh with the innocence of the newborn; they were wolves. “It’s you,” Madeleine said, slowly. “You’re the one who thinks Selene is mishandling the situation.”

“Am I?” Isabelle’s eyes shone with a fey light. She leant against the secretary desk, casual–moving with the same feline grace as Asmodeus or Samariel. “Tell me, Madeleine, am I?”

In some legends, Morningstar was the serpent; the tempter, the one who had caused Adam and Eve to taste the forbidden fruit; and other Fallen were his henchmen–he’d have laughed, no doubt, at the suggestion that he was meant to be any kind of role model, or have any authority over the rest of his brethren; but Isabelle, standing tall in Madeleine’s laboratory, had never seemed so… dangerous.

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