Loukas’s desire to turn the game to his favor blurred his thinking.
He soon began gambling away the many riches Lambros’s generosity had brought into his family.
He lost his treasured cottage and the large tract of land on a hillside that opened to a view of the sea.
He lost the goats.
Next, the statue-laced fountains and lush gardens that surrounded the cottage went to the merchant.
In the next round, all that remained of Loukas’s treasures were his wife and children.
He could see the madness in sacrificing his family to satisfy a hunger for defeating his rival.
He could flee from the game if it meant saving his beloved Thera and their
What should he do? What did he do?
Loukas worked himself into such a frenzy over crushing the merchant that he lost the will to quit the game.
When he laid down his next hand showing two pairs of aces over tens, the merchant trumped him with four of a kind.
Loukas had no choice but to hand over the lives he loved.
Dazed, he forced himself from the table, nearly toppling it.
Shame blazed through him.
He navigated a clumsy about face, grabbed his satchel, and staggered out of the cafe.
The merchant’s shrill laughter followed Loukas as he stumbled onto the rugged roadway that led from the harbor up into the forested highlands.
Like a sleepwalker, Loukas trudged on. He was nearly bursting with anger over his recklessness.
With his heart breaking from his losses, he came to an abrupt stop and raised his fists skyward.
“Before God, the saints, and the sacred spirits that rule the Earth, I vow to free my family from the curse my madness has inflicted on us all,” Loukas cried out in anguish.
At that very moment, he recalled a legend that told of islanders going in search of Destiny to seek release from the suffering fate had handed them to test their will to survive.
Like those islanders, he must gather his courage and go off to find Destiny somewhere deep within the island forest where she lived with her son Ilion, the Sun, and her daughter Luna, the Moon.
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