War, he thought, was not unlike a courtship. First, the flash of recognition, of decision, of blood thrumming in fingertips and buzzing in the ears. How no earthly beauty could rival the sight before your eyes, be it maiden or glittering cuirass and brilliant pennant; golden mane and cervine features or brave men and songs of bravado; the strength that comes with pursuing a worthy purpose.
After: the long lull, the inevitable parting, the wait. The agony of marching through weary and endless days where the very measure of the hours revolved around what and where and with whom you were not.
Then, on the heels of thunder, arose the close and desperate clash, the rise of blood and heat and doubt and glory all distilled to the edge of your sword, the focus of your eye, the nearness of the one with whom you struggled. This final, crushing culmination, the one where every muscle in your body seized, desire barely usurping pain and utter exhaustion, and the thought flittering through your mind, light as gossamer and weighted as the dead, that this is how you would die.
He would tell her that when it was over, he decided. She would laugh.