“We can look at them with shame, with horror, with disgust for the joy they take in the acts they perform, but the truth is this; we need them. We need them, and in our darkest hours, we envy them for their freedom to embrace that which we must turn away from.”
The poet-philosopher Essila’narem.


~

It was a taste in the mouth, on the lips. A quickening of the heart, a heating of the blood. A sharpening edge to every movement and the ache in the palms of the hand where they yearned to grip familiar hilts. The Heart of War may have been broken into shards during the Shattering, but its legacy lived still. Iron in the soul, carved there long ago and burnt into the scars. For those amongst the Whispering Fleet wedded to war, the Exarchos of the surviving shrines scattered throughout the shoal of vessels, it was something more. This was the echo of war yet to come, the sweet anticipation of being of purpose again.

Across the fleet, some would begin to hear the song that would call them to war. Gentle at first, but insistent. A whisper that would grow to a hum to a chorus. Songs for the dead already passed. Songs of the dead yet to come. They would hear it and they would find the scattered shrines according to the harmony in their head.

Each of the souls within Sar Elinesh remembered the first time they heard the song. Each remembered the last time they heard it as their hearts slowly stopped beating. Like all their kin, Sar Elinesh was both the dead and the living, a one who was many. The embodiment of their Shrine and the distillation of its purpose into total purity.

They remembered their first hesitant steps into the Shrine, the first time they held the unfamiliar tuelean before it became as much a part of themselves as their own arm. The kinship with the other adepts of their Shrine, how close they grew. They remembered the righteousness of the purpose of the Shrine of the Cleansing Rain, the purity of the Aspect of the Avenger.

Others already felt that same purity, that same purpose. The Shrine’s adepts already numbered five iron-wed souls, but Sar Elinesh could feel the new souls that would find their home here, even if they themselves did not know it yet.

Four more shuriken lay on the mirrorwood block, each distinct and individual in minute ways. Four more souls would come to the Cleansing Rain and would choose their razored drop of rain, and would know the hidden joy of the iron in their hearts.
~




Iron-wed of the Shrine of the Cleansing Rain, Aspects of the Avenger.



Sar Elinesh, Exarchos; wielder of “Tears-fall-like-razors-to-cut-all”, Wrathling of the Shattered World.





Purity of purpose, bound in warplate and mourned as already dead. War-bound and wrath-hearted as only children of the Shattered World can be.

~