Because he was walking alone, he was totally occupied by his thoughts. He thought that his transgression was not so severe. Why his family should banish him from Athens, to work in the fields as punishment, was beyond his understanding. His was another mouth to feed, true, but his work more than overcame the cost. He had briefly considered removing himself to a far corner of the city, to make his own way, but he knew the word would get back to them somehow. The thing was done, and he had no choice. It would be better to do as he was told and then send word after a time when everyone had recovered from their madness. Then he would be invited back. He noticed that the road was quiet, surprisingly so, and wondered if it would be better to have passersby to greet as he walked, or if it were better not to be asked about his travel. He grinned. He could invent a tale. Why not create an adventure to take up on the long road to the olive groves? He came to a small rise that turned slightly, and when he crested it, he turned back to look at Athens. Fighting one’s fate only leads to unhappiness, he thought, so he would accept it. He heard a noise ahead of him, one that so barely entered his conscious thought he didn’t identify it.
When he turned to look, the sight was so surprising he could not immediately understand. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. Some on horseback. He saw shields and swords. Muzzled war dogs and arrow quivers. Women. “Amazons,” he thought, just before the blow to the back of his head took his thoughts away from him.