Orpheus in "Brief Lives

Orpheus is the only son of Dream and Calliope. He is introduced in the issue Thermidor, in Fables and Reflections as a disembodied head.


Orpheus, the bard of Greek myth, is here revealed as the son of Oneiros and the muse Calliope. On the day of his wedding to Eurydice, his bride tragically dies from a snakebite. Overcome with grief, Orpheus petitions Oneiros' help to revive Eurydice, but ends up disavowing his father when he is unwilling to help. His uncle Olethros and aunt Teleute prove a bit more cooperative, and send Orpheus to plead his case before Hades, the ruler of the Greek underworld. He succeeds in convincing Hades to return Eurydice under the condition that he not look back. However, out of doubt that Hades kept his word, Orpheus looks over his shoulder and Eurydice is taken back into the Underworld.

Orpheus falls into misery and shuns the company of others. When he encounters the Bacchante, the mad female worshippers of Dionysus, and refuses to participate in their rituals, they tear him apart and only his head survives. He is condemned to eternal life as a severed head.

In 1789, Lady Johanna Constantine makes a deal with Dream, and in June 1794 she is tasked with retrieving his son's head. Dream tells her that she is contracted to do this because he can't take part in the action directly. Johanna finds its to be a difficult task, but she finally accomplishes it. After that Orpheus is taken to a remote island by the name of Naxos, and Dream creates an order of priests who are charged to take care of Orpheus.

The order of priests protects Orpheus until the events of "Brief Lives", in which Dream meets his son for the first time in centuries. He is reluctant, but his son is the only oracle that can tell him where to find Destruction. Orpheus tells Dream Destruction's location, but in return he asks that Dream kill him.

At the end of Brief Lives, Dream finally ends his son's life. Dream emerges from Orpheus' temple, Despair and Delirium met him upon his exit, suggesting Dream's state. The blood droplets on Dream's hands struck the ground, creating a new flower where they fell.