"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
- Galileo

Frost and Ruins

In the deep darkness, where neither light nor warmth could touch, a light beckoned. It shifted the currents, caressing a gaunt carcass. A glow worm, startled, shrunk down into a rock to hide. The light whispered to it, spread a bit of life across the alabaster bones until they started to move and shift, rising, crustacean and rust crackling off with the sound of ice. It stretched up toward the surface, blood red sinew and pale skin laced across its bones, knitting them together, as the body rushed faster and faster to the surface.

Then it burst through the tide, gasping for breath, and came washing onto a cold block of antarctic ice. The creature splayed its fingers, trembling, and sucked in another lungful of breath, relishing in the painful cold.

Black boots stepped up, and the creature rose its eyes to meet the one who summoned him. It was a man in a purple bowtie and bowler hat, his suit pristinely black, his boots shining. A broach with the insignia of a skull pinned a snow-white lily to his pocket.

"My Liege," the man greeted, bowing so low the silvery braid over his left shoulder touched the ground, "we are delighted you have returned. He has reappeared, after three-hundred years."

The creature tilted his head, his blue lips pursed, and rose a bony hand to his servant's cheek. At the creature's touch, the man's eyes sprung wide as his cheeks grew gaunt and slithers of black veins raced across his face. With a strangled gasp, fell to the ice, a heap of burnt limbs, crackling softly like a campfire.

"Thank you for your contribution," the creature said, and stepped over the corpse.