Amber light streamed down from the arched windows, splattering the altar and their upturned faces. The priest held the ornate, silver chalice in both hands and raised it above his head. His low, droning incantation repeated by his two surplice-clad assistants.
All three turned to face the expectant congregation. Already a queue had formed for the communion ritual. The first communicants already knelt before the screen that separated them from the Holy of holies.
The three officiates moved towards the kneeling line with their platters of communion wafers and wine chalice.
As the priest leaned forward he lurched and trying to grasp the arm of his assistant he dropped the wine chalice to the stone floor before collapsing with his hands clasped to his breast. A red stain slowly spread across the flagstones as the echo of the falling cup died away.
Cries of alarm and shock escaped the stunned congregation.
All except one.
A tall, strangely pale figure got up from his seat at the back of the nave and laughed. Placing his black cape over his shoulders he skipped to the door and exited.