I remember sitting behind countless books, trying to learn the history of my new home. The history of heaven. The pages of every book were yellowed, some cracking. My fingers trembled as I tried to keep the books intact and my eyes scanned the ancient lettering, only finding a third of the words familiar.
The turning of the pages echoed in the large hall, and the glass ceiling above revealed that night was impatient for its arrival.
From what I could gather, the history of heaven, of Fismuth, was a sad and glorious one.
It is said amongst the Elders that at the spark of the land, there was only the winged people, the angels who had been graced by the touch of the Creator. Their instructions: to protect man and its innocence, to bring them to prestige.
For years, the angels lived free of corruption and visited Earth to intervene only on great occasion. But some of the angels were not satisfied and were afraid that the Creator would not be either. They had to find a way to truly save the humans from themselves.
More centuries passed, and the angels grew desperate. They all watched the wars and crime and anger in silent dismay, and rain fell from the sky in heaven.
One angel, Mikul, heard a child, a newborn, crying in a destitute home. The cry was different from the other humans—other angels agreed. The angels began to hear many children like the first: strange and pure.
Mikul stole away to Earth one wintry night and carried the child to heaven. The child was speaking and walking, but barely came to Mikul’s knee. The child did prove to be different; he created an invisible, impenetrable wall around himself infrequently.
The child was the first of Prestigious birth brought to heaven.
Angels eagerly sought out these new, special children and brought many of them to heaven. They had an array of abilities from predicting the future to hearing thoughts. Soon, the Prestigious children—as they were called—outnumbered the angels.
They grew to be hard-working, grateful humans who appreciated the beauty of the world they’d been brought to. The angels built tall towers for the blessed children to live and named it Edent. All the while, more children were brought every season.
I recall my eyes straining to receive this much information from the old texts, and the words began to blur together because of the late hour.
The specific date of the angels’ demise was not written in the books given to me to study, but it was clear that it began the day the twins were brought to heaven.
The twins were older than the other children—fourteen human years. They had been on Earth just long enough for greed to take hold of them.
The twins coaxed their fellow Prestigious into a rebellion, an uprising. They argued that the Prestigious were the ones with the powers from the Creator; the angels had only feeble wings. Why should their name—Prestigious—be ignored when they were clearly the ones meant to lead?
There was a great slaughter in the middle of the night. The Prestigious clipped wings and tossed the broken angels to the barren lands at the end of heaven. The few unharmed angels were ordered to begin building a wall, ordered to submit.
Meanwhile, as the wall was being built, the Prestigious formed ranks according to skill and ability. A stable, fair hierarchy was put in place, and the five Senses were named thus: Flares, Feelers, Listeners, Watchers, and Septars.
The word of the Creator was written in the darkest halls of the underground of Edent, hidden from sight. More blessed children were brought to heaven by trusted angels until the Prestigious learned how to accomplish the act without angels’ aid.
Within a few weeks, a towering stone barricade banished the mangled angels to the outlands of heaven. The twins demanded the able angels to begin carrying the most impure, hungry souls from Earth and leave them on the other side of the wall. Murderers, products of incest, rapists, cannibals, all of them were taken from Earth—the first and only tradition of the Prestigious protecting the humans.
As it is written in the histories, the battered angels fought against the foreign, angry ones that they were trapped with, but eventually succumbed to the unprecedented horrors presented to them.
It is written that it was the night the special children rose to the prestige their Creator had intended.
That it was the night that the screams of torture became the sounds of victory.
That it was the night that the angels became the workers.
The night that heaven became Fismuth.