By the time they reached Notre-Dame, they had lost Ninon; but Madeleine was ahead of them.
Sunlight fell through the shattered stained-glass windows, idly playing on the broken benches, on the debris-littered aisles–and on the corpse of a male Fallen, lying still and bloodied in the centre of the cathedral.
He was limned in radiance, his dark hair shot through with red reflections–like fire, like blood. Philippe took in a deep breath, trying to dispel the memory of the darkness he’d felt on the way there, but he couldn’t–it was merely lying quiescent, as if waiting for the wrong gesture or word to flare up again.
His clothes were torn; and dozens of bloody pinpricks marked his arms; but his eyes were closed, an odd detail if they were the first to have reached the body. Philippe glanced at the cathedral, but saw nothing to indicate how he had died; or what of–except that the khi-currents seemed to have shrivelled and died around him, as if they’d been burnt at the root.
Light glinted on an edge of stained-glass; caught in his eyes; and once more the world seemed to shimmer and contract around him.
The cathedral was whole again, except all but empty–the throne at the end stood in shadow; and Morningstar was once more by his side, smiling at him–and it was all he could do not to be forced to his knees again by the raw power of the Fallen. “You see,” he said. “It all makes sense in the end.”