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"Thermidor": In 1794, Dream visits with Johanna Constantine - a woman who had once attacked him as a demon five years previously. Today, he comes to her with a proposition. He requires a mortal agent to perform a special task for him, and
Appearing in "Thermidor"
- Louis St-Just
- Maximilien Robespierre
- Thomas Paine
Synopsis for "Thermidor"
In 1794, Dream visits with Johanna Constantine - a woman who had once attacked him as a demon five years previously. Today, he comes to her with a proposition. He requires a mortal agent to perform a special task for him, and in return, he will give her what is in his power to give her. Johanna accepts.
Nearly one month later, in the guise of a peasant, Johanna is encounters a pair of French revolutionaries in Paris. They detain her and demand to know what she carries in her satchel. She resists, but they force her hand, and she produces a severed head from the bag. She explains that it is the head of an aristocrat who biolated her sister three years ago. After he was decapitated, she begged the executioner to give her his head. She intends, she reports, to take the head back to her mother so that they can both spit in its face together. Before letting her pass, the guards inspect the head and rip an earring from its ear.
After getting back home, Johanna apologises to the head, which happens to belong to the immortal Orpheus, son of Dream. Orpheus warns that Robespierre's men will soon be searching for her. They cannot leave Paris until the next day, which means that they must thing fast, lest they be caught in the meantime.
Eventually, Johanna is caught, though the guards cannot find the missing head anywhere. The guards prepare to torture her until they are interrupted by Louis Antoine St-Just. He takes personal custody of her, and drags her out into his carriage. It becomes clear that Johanna has already seduced St-Just under the name of Jeanne, though he seems to show no inclination to let her go free. He accompanies her to the prison in Luxembourg, built inside a large palace.
One day, from her cell, Johanna watches as the revolutionaries make puppets of the decapitated corpses of the aristocrats. She is visited by Robespierre himself, who professes to know much about her, including her real identity. He demands to know where the head is, because destroying it will help further his cause. Once they find the head, they will have her killed by guillotine.
That night, Johanna dreams of Dream, and they concoct a plan together. He has her drink a special concoction that will allow her to remember his words after waking. Soon, she is roused by Robespierre and St-Just, who drag her down to a special chamber. He announces that he has realized where she hid the head: in the same place that they keep all of the other severed heads from the aristocrats. Dragging her into the chamber, he demands that she pick out the head she brought from the pile within.
Picking up Orpheus' head, Johanna reveals to whom it belongs. She orders her companion to sing for them, covering her own ears. The sound of his voice leaves Robespierre and St-Just standing in awe. After Orpheus' song is finished, they still stand, and she grabs the head and escapes.
The next day, St-Just, a great orator, fell silent during his speech before the national convention. Robespierre attempted to cover for him, but embarrassed himself. That very night, he and his faction were arrested, and on the next day, they were put to death by their own weapon of execution, the guillotine.
Months later, Johanna returns Orpheus' head to the priests in Naxos, Greece. She never saw him again, but she occasionally sees him in her dreams, and wishes that she could sometimes sing the song he sang to people in authority.
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