Marcus didn’t do it for personal gain. It wasn’t for pride or money. He didn’t try to convince himself it was for the good of his countrymen. He did it for Alice. Everything he’d done was for her. The day he did it would have been Alice’s seventeenth birthday. For nearly a decade he’d been planning and preparing for that one moment––the moment where he’d take everything away from them, just as they had done to him so many years ago.
Alice had been all he had left. Her mother had died giving birth to her. Her only uncle had been killed in war before she was born. For five years, Alice was Marcus’ solitary light in a sea of darkness; a beacon of hope that someday, maybe, it would get better. And then, all too suddenly and all too soon, she was gone. Marcus was left alone in the darkness. For a while, he blamed himself for failing to protect her. He nearly ended it all once or twice, when the pain became too much. But then, two years later, Marcus discovered who had taken her from him––and the light returned. It wasn’t the soft, warm glow he’d known when Alice was still with him. It was an angry, burning flame, an unmitigated hatred for the men responsible.
So he’d make them pay. Almost ten years of planning, politics and deception later, Marcus was ready to make his final move, his checkmate. He wouldn’t kill them; that would be too quick, too merciful. Instead, he’d knock the foundations out from under them, watch them topple like the wooden blocks Alice had loved playing with a lifetime ago. Marcus’ entire existence had been dedicated to making it happen for almost a decade––then, in an instant, it was done.
Marcus didn’t know what he would do next. He knew he would be hunted for what he had done, just as he’d hunted those who did it to him. Maybe he’d keep going, hunting the hunters, stopping those who would destroy others’ lives the way they’d destroyed his. Maybe he’d finally rest, joining his wife and daughter at last. All that mattered to him was that he had given Alice the peace she had never known. Someday, maybe, he would find it too.