Throughout the land, the music of Orpheus was the source of inspiration and envy of all. Beautiful were the songs his fingers strummed across his lyre, gaining the love and lust of many a maiden on his travels. Even the muses were not immune to the pull of his music, much less so Cephisso herself. She found herself swooning as the notes from Orpheus’ lyre caressed her mind, captivating her so. Never before had Cephisso found herself looking upon another being and seeing nothing but perfection.
Each day, Orpheus could be found by the well in the center of the village, the sound of his music floating on the wind. And Cephisso would be nearby, listening intently to each and every note. Listening to his music was like getting a glimpse into his soul; and it was warm and inviting. He was all that Cephisso sought after and more.
Cephisso’s desires were dashed when Orpheus found love in the nymph named Eurydice. True, the nymph was lovely. However it did not dull the hurt Cephisso felt when they fell in love and then married. The romance between the two was undeniable and Cephisso found herself withdrawing, knowing well Orpheus’ desire was true.
Orpheus and the nymph spent much of their time together and the village felt empty without the sound of his music. Where crowds had once gathered to listen to his lyre, now only the scuffling of busy villagers’ feet was heard. The warmth that had once been felt in each of their hearts had turned bitter cold from jealousy. When Orpheus was found within the village, his gaze was met with envy and hate. Still Cephisso lurked in the shadows though she kept to herself, unwilling to interfere with a love so true as his and Eurydice’s. Instead, she simply looked on with desire, wishing it was she that was with Orpheus.
Not long after Orpheus and Eurydice wed, tragedy fell and the nymph met her end from the poison of a serpent’s bite. In the midst of the misfortune, Cephisso watched on as Orpheus fell into despair.
Orpheus’ love for Eurydice was so strong, he left to enter the underground to charm the ruler and convince him to let Eurydice return to the surface with him. He was successful in enchanting the ruler and his wife was returned to him. However, the ruler gave the nymph back on the condition that Orpheus would walk ahead of her back to the surface without looking back until they both had reached the surface once more. If he were to look back, Eurydice would be pulled back to the underworld forever.
The pair started their journey towards the surface, and Orpheus was worried for his wife as the path they traveled was treacherous. He could not hear the scuffle of feet or the exhale of her breath, but still he did not look back. Orpheus and Eurydice traveled towards the surface, nearing the exit of the underworld, but Orpheus’ worry got the best of him and he glanced back to be sure his wife was still behind him. For a brief moment he was able to glimpse her beautiful face before she was ripped from sight, devoured by the darkness. The nymph was returned to the underground, never to live again.
Cephisso heard of Orpheus’ failed mission, rushing to meet him at the village well, where he surely would be once more. Indeed, Orpheus was at the well playing his lyre, his now somber composition slithering through the crowd. Where the crowds of women had once fawned over him, they now threw rocks and slanderous words in his direction. Pushing through the tightly pressed bodies, Cephisso tried to make her way towards Orpheus, crying out for the women to cease their actions. By the time she reached Orpheus, she was too late. His lifeless body was strewn across the ground, his limbs angled incorrectly and his face smashed beyond recognition.
So distraught by the sight of Orpheus’ broken body, Cephisso fled the ugly ways of the women that had struck him down. In an attempt to rid herself of the horrible images, Cephisso gouged her eyes out, rendering herself blind. From then on, she vowed to dedicate herself to the study of music and carry on the warmth and love Orpheus had once spread across the lands.
Profile Art ©Mesmer
Character, story and bg render ©Celestial
Story based on mythology of Lyra
BG image found here
Papyrus texture found here
Font from DaFont