~Author's note- This is a continuing saga of the author, Joe Asher. This is a tale of how he fell in love with a woman, and how he fought to hold on to what he believed to be true love. Granted, the author is not a killer, nor has anyone truly died. This is a work of fiction, with the truth being told in a fantasy tale~

War. War never changes…

War has been waged for a variety of reasons. It has been fought over lust, over territory, over slavery and terrorism. Men and women of all nations, brother and sisters, sons and daughters, husbands and wives…countless lives lost over hideous crimes, misbegotten loyalties, and fear. Yet, has anyone ever died, or rose up against nations, for love?

To be sure, patriotism is not love. Love for one's country? Yes. It instills a sense of freedom and loyalty that one must truly commend when seeing a brother in arms risk his life; indeed, his very soul, for others. I do suppose seeing some such act could very much be considered love.

The war that I am about to embark upon, however, is not a war to be remembered in the history books. It is a one man war for justice. For true love, if you will. I will never forget the rage that ignited in my torn asunder heart when I heard what you had done to my wife. I will never forget the long nights and terrifying dreams I have suffered since that day. I swear to you, I will see you brought down, if it's the last thing I do on God's forsaken ground…

Hands seemingly made of dark night shook silently as they folded the letter into an envelope, sealing it tight. Turning from the oak desk, the shadow held it up to the light, making sure no one could see through to read it.

"You will see to it that this gets delivered,?" it asked the man sitting on the pillow-strewn couch sardonically, voice coming out as a gravelly whisper.

The man nodded, knowing that was the only answer that would keep him alive. Looking up into the red-rimmed bloodshot eyes of the man he once called friend, he hesitated, then asked in a voice pitched high with fear.

"Why are you doing this? Why are you hunting down and slaughtering all that you once held dear? Were we not once comrades in arms? Doing what we once considered our duty? We all fucking loved you, for Lords sake!"

The shadow chuckled, a low guttural sound. Pivoting on one foot, he grabbed the twin Glocks off of the desk. Without turning back to his captive, he held them in his strong tanned hands, sorrow crossing his face as he answered.

"You ask me why I am doing this. I am doing this in atonement for what was done, not only to me, but also to Katie. I loved her, you know. A more kindhearted and gentle woman never walked upon this Earth. Every breath that she took was pure bliss. It was always a joy to watch her gaze out upon the waters, and hear her singing to the young skies. She was the one person, the only one, whom I coveted above all else. And since she was the one woman whom knew me most, you killed her. Without reservation, nor mercy."

Turning back to his captive, the shadow saw his face was white with fear. Crossing the space between them, he sat down next to him, turning the Glocks over in his hands.

"You are one of the lucky ones, John, for I have not killed you quite yet."

The captive cringed as though mortally wounded upon hearing his name being spoken from his captor's pale pink lips.

"Why? Do you plan on using me to deliver your message, and then killing me? You will never get away with it. We are much more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Killing me won't bring Katie back."

"I believe those were the words I said to you when you told me my wife was murdered, John. That you would never get away with it. And yet, against all odds, you truly thought that you had."

The captive shook his head in denial, sick to his stomach."How many times must I tell you? I had nothing, at all, to do with that. I was merely the message runner. I had no idea what was to come. You have to believe me, Joe!"

Hearing his name brought a smile to the shadow's face. Picking himself up off the couch, he walked over and threw the curtains off of the bay window, moonlight illuminating the room. Looking up into the sky, Joe fingered the scar that run down his jaw line, courtesy of an assassin's blade years earlier, reminiscing.

Anger. Joe had never felt such anger as what he felt when John came crashing through his window, assault rifle in hand. He couldn't believe his ears when his ex comrade told him what had been done to his wife. How she had been raped repeatedly. Stabbed and shot numerous times, then thrown into the harbor. How calmly John told him, as though they were talking about the weather. How Joe had been inches from ending John's life before drop kicking him into silence.

"Believe you?" Joe asked in a soft whisper, jacking a round into each chamber. "You? My best friend who betrayed me without remorse? The piece of shit who gave my wife's murderers directions to her house so that they could do what was done? Every word out of your mouth, to me, is a God damn lie. And here is what I am going to do about it."

John closed his eyes and mumbled a prayer as cold steel hovered near his right eye. Sweat began to form upon his brow as he listened without moving.

"You are going to deliver this message to your patron. Tell him that I am coming for him, and that he should not rest easy. Every sound, every cry or movement in the dark, could very well be me. His days are numbered, rest assured. Once it is done, I will give you the choice of either dying slowly and painfully, or going out with a bang. However, if you do not deliver this message and instead just run, I will hunt you down, and neither Heaven nor Hell will save you from me. Do I make myself clear?"

John nodded vehemently, willing to agree to anything to anything to get out from under Joe's steely gaze. Tears leaked from behind his closed eyes.

Joe shook his head in disgust. "Take the letter, and get the fuck out of here."

Staring at the door as it slammed shut behind his once friends back, Joe holstered his pistols and turned toward the life-sized painting behind his desk.

"Do not worry love. I swore a vow over your grave to see you avenged. And avenged you shall be…"