The sun splashed rose paint at the clouds as it clambered up from behind the horizon, greeting the landscape with a flush of golden light. It was greeted in turn by the birds: firecrests, ring ouzels, caspian terns, wallcreepers, goldcrests, eleonora's falcons, all tweeting and chirping and singing a bright hello to the morning. The city of Athens began to stir, its streets soon to be crammed with all manner of people.
In a rich area, where the children were slightly less dirty and the houses were slightly less cramped, a boy was already awake. He witnessed the greeting of the sun absent of the gladness that others felt at its coming, instead feeling disappointment as the stars departed. He had been awake for hours. A swift knock at the door heralded the arrival of a slave.
"Food is ready. Adelphos is waiting."
"Tell him I'll be there in a minute."
Zaccheus wouldn't turn his face to the slave. He refused to acknowledge those with such low status. He felt that a rigid class system called for rigid rules on the social norm. Slaves were not people. He was sure that with correct upbringing they would be, but they were not and it does not do to dwell on what could be.
As he left his room, he was yanked to one side by a seemingly-delicate hand with a stony grip.
"Brother. I sent a slave with a summon for you last night. Where were you?"
"I received no such summon." A hand swung at his face.
"Liar. You liar!" Zaccheus recoiled from his sister's spittle and wild eyes, squirming out of her grasp and stumbling away. He rubbed his arm. That would leave a bruise.
"Stop this, sister. Please."
"Stop what? All I want to do is love you and this is how you repay me?! You owe me a night of gratitude, grant me that! Just one night where you don't look at me with those eyes!"
"Gratitude? Or servitude? I owe you nothing. Leave me be."
Still clutching his sore arm, he ran out into the streets of Athens.