Beneath A Nephilim Canopy

Behold the births in a limitless garden. Under a sky of vines and grass, where the sun shines green above the original universe's sky, a fecund, nephilim canopy where all things are born. Here seed the beginnings of beginnings, here the first instructor, Hesediel, prepares one student after another for the ultimate task: stewardship of the ever-expanding multiverse.

Hesediel sighs inwardly, but nonetheless smiles. This is the job she was molded for, she assumes. She's never done anything else. No other task but an endless procession of young minds, of burgeoning powers she shapes and sends into a shrinking void.

The rewards are worth it. The rewards are worth it. She reminds herself as the child before her tries and tries and fails again to create life of her own.

                The glum-faced youth stares blankly at the amalgamation of rotten flesh and feathers, of beak and bone, skin bloodied by ingrown furs face frozen in a death scream. A… bird? A… beast? Its only blessing was that it did not live long.

                "It's no use! I suck at this!" The would-be creator pouts.

                "Now, now, Ruth. It's okay. No one succeeds in their first tries." Her over-burdened teacher begins, creases from stress evident even in her immortal face, slight canyons in flawless skin. Their brown lines lie almost invisible against her onyx exterior.

                "Let's try again, close your eyes." The girl of light huffs—how like a true child, Hesediel thinks—yet does as her teacher commands. "Picture a creature, a single creature. What do you see?"

                The child bites her lips and squirms. "I see… I don't know. I see a lot."

                "You must focus Ruthie!" Hesediel snips, then reminds herself, Calm, Hessy, calm. She is still young.

                "You see a lot? That's good. You have a vibrant imagination. What a wonderful world you will make. What a diverse universe! But for now, we focus. Choose one creature for today. One attribute to start. How many limbs does it have?"

                With her eyes closed, biting her upper lip crafted of hope and shining rainbow light, Ruthie, a child effuse with the potential of a million worlds finally begins to focus: "Four…"

                "Good, good, now h-"

                "But it stands on two."

                Hesediel's eyes light with joy, Ruthie was getting it. Crafting innovations all her own. Here her job became easy. When a shepherd leads the sheep to the river, once there all she needs do is watch them drink.

                "A smart beast are they?" Is all Hessy will allow herself to ask, just the gentlest nudge.

                "Yes, and…" Ruthie does not speak, her eyes flutter and before them, materializing from the air, a man manifests. Thin and sinewy and bewildered, but alive. Ruthie takes a step towards him, squealing with delight, but before she can lay hands on her first life. He disappears, whisked into the beyond.

                "Where did… where did he go?"

                "Away, where you will go before long, child… look it's already beginning."

                Ruthie looks down at her skin, once dark and shining now translucent. When she speaks, it comes in an echo as if she is already worlds and worlds away. As she fades, she runs to her instructor, to Hessie, the only warmth she knows.

                "But I don't wanna…"

                "You must, child. You will do great things. You will… you will forget this old soul."

                Ruthie stares at her with the defiance of the young. "No," she says. And despite the tremble in her voice, despite her tears, she smiles. "Never…"

                And then Hessie is alone.

Her Nephilim wings, frayed and shedding. How long it's been since she's slept, she cannot recall. Again and again these 'children' pass through her life, where they're sent she does not know. What they create, she will never see. Who they are, however—those brilliant wonders, those petulant prodigies—she carries in her heart forever. She treasures the joy they feel in their first successes, the brief hugs they share as they fade from her and into the Real. She remembers every one.

And for her, the first instructor in the first garden, incapable of leaving or of creation herself. This is enough.

It will have to be. She thinks, blind to the tears that track her face.

She blinks, and before her stands a quiet son, looking bewildered around him, new to the worlds and life.