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Entrance to the original Oracle of Trophonius at Livadia, Greece


Trophonius whose spirit inhabits the Oracle of Trophonius

The Oracle of Trophonius was one of the four Oracles associated with Apollo, and probably the most dangerous of the quartet. The petitioner entering the temple would drink from both the black Fountain of Memory, Mnemosyne, and the Fountain of Forgetfulness, Lethe, in order to prepare the mind.

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 Dark Prophecy

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.


The last prophecy before the oracle was destroyed was given in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. It was given after Meg McCaffrey was put on the Throne of Memory at the Waystation:

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

This prophecy tells of the next oracle in the next books.

  1. Line 1 seems to refer to the Sibylline Books currently being reconstructed from Ella's memory. They may be in danger of being burned by the third emperor.
  2. Line 2 might refer to this event happening on the new moon. Camp Jupiter is close by Mount Diablo where Leo Valdez fought Enceladus.
  3. Line 3 indicates that the changeling lord is Frank Zhang who will be faced with a challenge.
  4. Line 4 seems to say that the Little Tiber river will fill up with corpses.
  5. Line 5 says Apollo must go south.
  6. Line 6 indicates that Apollo must go through the Labyrinth to reach some sort the area near Palm Springs. Medea has collected the burning essence of Helios in that area of the Labyrinth.
  7. Line 7 says that the third emperor, Caligula, owns a swift white horse, Incitatus.
  8. Line 8 says the Caligula has control of the Oracle of Erythaea who speaks in word puzzles. Apollo must wrest him from the oracle.
  9. Line 9 says that Apollo will go to the emperor's palace in the West, which turns out to be fifty super-yachts.
  10. Line 10 states that Meg McCaffrey will return to her old home, Aeithales.
  11. Line 11 states that Grover Underwood, a Satyr, knows how to navigate through the Labyrinth.
  12. Line 12 refers to Apollo using Caligula's caligae to find Herophile.
  13. Lines 13 and 14 seem to indicate that once Apollo knows the three emperors of the Holdings and reaches the Little Tiber, he begins to reattain his godhood.