From the introduction:
Before time started counting, there was only blackness and the place of the angels. For the eternity that was before our time, the angels were creatures of perfection -- occupied only with imagining wonders. Somehow, a great and terrible illness struck and the angels were grievously wounded. One by one, they withered and fell. As the last angel stood dying, she unlocked the mysteries of their immortal imaginings and, with the sweep of her arms the universe was born.
The world of land and ocean, of fire and rain, of creatures and men, came forth from nothing and the flow of time began. The souls of the angels were gone -- passing to some other world or out of existence entirely. But their bodies remained. Perfect crystalline forms among the chaotic new world. The material of their remains: harder than stone or metal, as clear as any solid can be, always cool to the touch, and fairly dripping with power, came in time to be called Ice among the men of the world. The bodies of Ice, over time and time, met the limits of their strengths. Cracks and breaks caused the form of the angelic bodies to vanish, replaced by rough, sharp chunks. These, in yet more time, were reduced to many, many small pieces. Relics of the dawn of time.