"The Hero's Choice"

Location

33838
United States
28° 0' 49.4748" N, 81° 36' 32.3532" W

There was once a young, restless hero of Rome,
Who wandered the lands, searching for a home.
This he did until he dreamed,
(“A great sign from the gods,” he deemed);
That he would journey to find Delphi,
Apollo’s prophetess, and his destiny.

So he started his journey that very night,
To make the journey of a fortnight;
Hoping against hope that he was right,
About the Oracle’s wise, keen sight,
On destinies that the gods do write.

The prophetess received him kindly,
But warned of seeking prophecies blindly.
Many men, she said, had sought their futures,
And upset by the grim news of hers,
Tried to change what they still had to endure.

He acknowledged her warning but said,
“Whatever my future is, in the end,
I'll have lived as I have lived and then I'll be dead.”
She admired his logic and words,
So began by consulting the birds.

From the signs of the gods, she did find,
This prophecy for the hero’s mind:
“In your life, you will have to make a choice,
A hard choice, made only by your voice.

“If you go east, you shall discover,
A woman, who will be your lover.
But first a child she will deliver,
A child of Jupiter, by the Tiber River.
If you choose to be their caregiver,
There is one small thing you must consider.

“You would be free to live a happy life,
With the child, your children and your wife;
And Jupiter would smile upon you with favor,
For being his child’s great savior.
But you will die young, yet find your peace,
If you choose this path and go to the East.

“Yet something else I see if you go west;
Where you will prove yourself with a test,
Initiated at Juno’s request.
There you will find fame and glory,
That will befit such a hero’s story.

“You will live as long as if you went east,
For you will be killed by a great beast;
But every year there will be a feast,
To remember your feats and your name.
But either way, your life will not be in vain.

“And now you have that for which you came,
Either way, your fate will end the same.
Only you can choose based on what you wish,
But I will tell you only this:
You alone can make your destiny.
Your freewill, not the gods or prophecy,
Makes you who you are and helps you choose,
The path you'll take for this life you'll use.
Go now, young hero, and live your life,
Whether for fame and glory, or a child and wife.”

He thanked the prophetess profusely,
Then set sail immediately.
Some say he went east to find the girl,
For though both ways led to early death in this world,
Love conquers all for it is more precious than any pearl.
Others believe in a different story,
One of fame, triumph, and glory.
Yet no matter if his true destiny was set in stone,
The final choice he made was his own.
But is the choice you think he made,
Something, for your life, you would trade?

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