In Brief Lives, Dream is initially suffering from a broken heart as his present relationship has ended, the dream realm as a result is suffering from a torrential downpour as the weather reflects his current mood. He needs something to make him forget and an opportunity presents itself when his sister Delirium asks for his help, She means to find their lost brother who is mentioned in The Seasons of Mist but his name is not revealed. The missing brother is Destruction who abandoned his realm 300 years ago and now unbeknownst to the Endless lives in the waking world on a Greek Island.
The heart of the story belongs to Delirium as a character of contradictions, she is erratic and unpredictable yet at times a wise persona is prevalent, she seems confused and not altogether there yet at times appearing lucid and determined in her quest. Delirium knows things that the rest of the Endless do not and her colourful interaction with Dream is one of the highlights of the story.
A significant event occurs in this story as Dream takes the advice of his brother Destiny to seek out an oracle to assist in finding his lost brother, the oracle is Dreams son Orpheus condemned to eternal life as a severed head, Orpheus is cared for by priests at Dreams behest.
Dream meets his son that he hasn't seen for ages. His reluctance to do so, stems from a promise he made to himself not to see him ever again. Orpheus reveals to Dream the location of his brother Destruction but in return owes him a boon.
It is noticeable that Dream is changing, willing to contemplate an alternative to himself and shedding family blood, an act of kindness and sadness that he swore he would never perform. Fantastic series.