Adrian Masters journeys into the wilderness of Starlight, the dragon planet, in search of his brother Frederick who has built a refuge for runaway slaves. Carrying the comatose body of Marcelle and accompanied by two liberated slave girls, Adrian has to find medical help for Marcelle, but the slave master dragons will kill him on sight if he comes out of hiding.
Adrian hopes to join his brother and devise a plan to rescue other humans enslaved on Starlight. Since he cannot leave Marcelle alone, her nearly lifeless body becomes a physical and emotional anchor, and he is torn between helping her or attempting to rescue the slaves.
Meanwhile, Marcelle’s spirit travels to their home planet in search of military help. She is able to materialize there in a temporary body that looks corpselike and feels icy cold. Because of her appearance, Governor Orion persecutes her as a sorceress and sentences her to burn at the stake. Yet, she has hope of rescue in three allies—her father; an eccentric former teacher; and the mysterious Starlighter, Cassabrie.