He awakens suddenly, but the nightmare continues. The maddening visions still grip him, as vividly as in his dreams. As vividly as if they were real. He lets out a scream he can’t even hear, frantically trying to force the visions out of his mind. They are too powerful for him to ignore. He begins to wonder if he is still asleep, still dreaming. Or, is he even still alive? Perhaps this is hell. What else could this be? He quickly grabs the short knife from his belt and presses it hard against his forearm. His hand shaking, he slowly drags the blade across his flesh, leaving a deep, jagged cut spewing blood. The sharp, intense pain briefly distracts him from the visions. The pain is all he has. It takes his mind off the terrible visions. It reminds him that he is still alive. It proves to him that he is real. That the world is real. That he even exists.
He continues to carve uneven cuts into his arm. Now he can think clearly. Now it all makes sense. All is pain. His mind is filled completely with the pain, pushing his nightmares into the deep recesses of his subconscious mind. He now moves the knife up to his forehead, plunging the sharp tip into his skin. He makes several straight cuts. He presses the knife so hard to his head that it scrapes ruts into his skull. Blood flows over his face as he brings the knife back down. Without any conscious thought to do so, he has carved the word “SIN” into his forehead.
He puts the knife back away and stands up in one motion. He immediately begins to walk. Blood is now dripping from his chin with every step. His face is hard and determined. His eyes are wide and wild, peering maniacally even though they see nothing but the desolate wilderness before them. His muscular body would be almost pure white from the cold if it were not covered entirely in bloodstains and massive bruises. His Book of Sigmar hangs from a chain attached to a metal collar, and sways back and forth as he walks. With each step he takes, he drags behind him three heavy warhammers. One chained to each leg, and another chained to a metal bracelet on his right arm. The hammers dig up snow and earth, leaving deep bloodstained ruts in his wake.
He keeps walking at a constant pace. All around him, in every direction, things look the same. There is nothing but snow and thin, bare trees. From time to time he passes some corpses frozen stiff in the woods. The corpses of those who fled for their lives from the outpost. Though the cold has kept their bodies from decomposing, he sees them only as rotting carcasses. Rotting, festering corpses, just like everything around him. He pays them no mind and continues his journey. He is on no path. He walks where Sigmar guides him, and trusts that he will find his way to where he needs to be. Just as he did the day before, when he walked nonstop until nightfall and then collapsed in exhaustion. His limbs could carry him no farther.
When he woke up, his whole body was sore. Only through incredible force of will was he able to convince his limbs to move. As soon as he stood up, his legs burned in agony and fatigue. But yet he continues to walk. He welcomes the constant pain. He keeps his mind sharply focused on the pain to the exclusion of all other thoughts. This wards off the visions while he walks. But the strain on his body becomes too much. When his legs start to give out on him, he pulls on the chain attached to his right arm. He drags the chain until he is able to pull the hammer up into his hands. And then, while he continues walking, he viciously beats his thighs with the hammer. He beats them into submission, refusing to allow them to give out on him. He continues to trudge through the snow. His bare feet are nearly frozen as he comes near to the end of his second straight day of walking through the frozen wilderness. But somehow, frostbite has not yet set in on his swollen, bruised feet. If it did, he would simply beat the evil decay out of them.
This is his punishment, and he shall accept it. The world has sinned against Sigmar. The world has turned their back on Sigmar and become corrupt. The moral decay of mankind has caused Sigmar to turn his back on the decaying world. That is why Sigmar would allow it to be destroyed by Chaos. It does not deserve to survive in its state of moral weakness. He realizes now that he has sinned, as well. He has not done as much as he could have to change things, to make the world better. To eliminate those who are corrupt and redeem those who can be saved. Yes, he is guilty of this sin. Perhaps the greatest sin of all. Complacency. He has failed in his duty to Sigmar. He has not done everything in his power to seek out and destroy the festering evils of the world. Now he repents for his sin, and now he pays his penance. He continues plodding through the freezing cold, dragging the massive war hammers behind him. His suffering is his penance to Sigmar. His suffering is his redemption. Soon the world of men will repent and find redemption. Soon the world of men will pay its penance. He will see to that.