Brendan stared at the creature in the pale moonlight, transfixed by the silvery petals that glistened beneath that perfect purity. It was not until his final breath that he gathered his wits enough to scream after the thing had descended on him, all muscle and thorns and hard, barklike skin. It was too impossible, even the crimson blossoms that shone in the light of the moon.
These small, luminescent creatures are a distant relative of the willowisp, little bits of orangish light that are attracted by the flames of a fire. When enough of them have gathered around a fire, the fire appears to take on a fuzzy indistinctness.
On a world made entirely of molten rock, there is still life.
There are crimes for which a man is not killed, but chased into the wilds, away from his home and country, to not return or be killed on the spot. In one culture is the condemned mutilated, and even his vocal cords are damaged so that the voice is unrecognizable to his friends and family. This is the punishment for people too obsessed with their own prestige.