Assuming he or she survived the process, they would proceed to the Cave of Trophonius, containing the spirit of Trophonius, and be forced to experience untold horrors that brought forth "nightmarish verse." Assembled properly, the nightmarish verse acted as a portend to the future – albeit in the form of a sonnet.
Once the petitioner exited the cave, if not driven insane (or dead), he or she would sit on the Throne of Memory, constructed by the titaness Mnemosyne, and the verse would be recited subconsciously. The priest would write down what the petitioner had recited, which would be considered the prophecy issued by the Oracle. Without the Throne of Memory, the petitioner would be forever trapped within the horrors of the cave.
The Oracle of Trophonius is currently located in Bluespring Caverns, Bedford Indianapolis. While there, the spirit of Trophonius asks for a favor; he requests Apollo to destroy the cave, thus making the oracle inaccessible to anyone.
Trophonius mentions that the location is too exposed and that Commodus would keep sending men down. Grudgingly, Apollo agrees, which is why when he leaves the cave and encounters three Blemmyae, he makes no attempt to stop them from blowing it up. Trophonius suggests that the Oracle may reappear somewhere else more secure in a few centuries.
The words that memory wrought are set to fire,
Ere new moon rises o'er the Devil's Mount.
The changeling lord shall face a challenge dire,
Till bodies fill the Tiber beyond count.
Yet southward must the sun now trace its course,
Through mazes dark to land of scorching death
To find the master of the swift white horse
And wrest from him the crossword speaker's breath.
To westward palace must the Lester go;
Demeter's daughter finds her ancient roots.
The cloven guide alone the way does know,
To walk the path in thine own enemy's boots.
When three are known and Tiber reached alive,
Tis only then Apollo starts to jive.
Unraveling The Prophecy
- Line 1 seems to refer to the Sibylline Books currently being reconstructed from Ella's memory. They are being written as tattoos on Tyson using hot needles.
- Line 2 refers to the Triumvirate Holdings, including Tarquin, attacking Camp Jupiter to eliminate the Sibylline Books on the new moon. Devil's Mount refers to Mount Diablo where Leo Valdez fought Enceladus, Camp Jupiter is close by.
- Line 3 meant that Frank Zhang took much part in this battle using his shapeshifting.
- Line 4 says that the Little Tiber river filled up with corpses, undead creatures do not do well in running water. The corpse were then made into Zombies or Skeleton Warriors for Tarquin's army.
- Line 5 says Apollo must first go south to Southern California.
- Line 6 indicates that Apollo must go through the Labyrinth to reach the area around Palm Springs. Medea has collected the burning essence of Helios in that area of the Labyrinth so the third emperor can replace Apollo as the sun god, the flames caused many natural disasters.
- Line 7 says that the third emperor, Caligula, owned a swift white horse, Incitatus.
- Line 8 says that Caligula has control of the Oracle of Erythaea who speaks in word puzzles. Apollo must wrest her from the emperor.
- Line 9 says that Apollo will go to the emperor's palace in the West, which turns out to be fifty super-yachts linked together.
- Line 10 states that Meg McCaffrey will return to her old home, Aeithales, and grow the Meliai that her father was going to grow.
- Line 11 states that Grover Underwood, a Satyr, knows how to navigate through the Labyrinth.
- Line 12 refers to Apollo using Caligula's Caligae to walk a path of gold squares while making a puzzle prophecy and find Herophile.
- Lines 13 and 14 indicate that once Apollo knows the three emperors of the Triumvirate Holdings and reaches the Little Tiber without dying, he begins to retain his godhood. This involves improving his archery skills.