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Within the Drakwald, Turgitz Cauldron, or the Cauldron, is a vast, natural depression in the otherwise seamless forest. Indeed, few trees grow within its limits. Several miles across, huge and stark, the earth enclosed by it is dark and choked with stone. Rain turns it into a thick slurry of mud, yet it is still more easily negotiated than the endless twisted leagues of woodland beyond.[1a]

The Bastion

The Bastion is the name given to the vast outcrop of dark rock that rises up in the very centre of the ancient bowl, rising in a smooth hump from the floor of the Cauldron. Armies of the Empire often choose to make their stand in this time-honoured place, particularly against the Beastmen.[1a]

Half a mile wide, and three hundred yards high at the summit, the Bastion is akin to a huge, natural fortress, capable of housing thousands of men and beasts on its back. The incline is shallow enough to ride a horse up on the lower flanks, but soon gets steeper. All the way up the flanks of the mighty rock formation, terraces and clefts offer protection from the elements. Centuries of use have worn pathways into the hard stone. At the pinnacle, high above the Cauldron, great spikes of rock twist up into the air like a crown.[1a]

The terraces carved into the Bastion's flanks have been the redoubt of choice for commanders since before the annals of the Empire had been started. The local people, such as there were, said that Sigmar had created it with a celestial plow taken from Ulric while the god of war slept. Even the devout, however, know not to believe such a stupid story. The Cauldron is just what it is - a place where armies have come to fight for thousands of years. Presumably, the blood in the soil was why the trees never grew back.[1a]

For a large army, crammed along the narrow pathways scored into the natural citadel of stone, baggage trains and artillery waines can be accommodated comfortably in the natural gorges of the huge edifice.[1a]

The command enclosure is based near the summit of the Bastion. Here, massed flags and standards mark the general's vantage point, whilst functionaries scurry around it, desperate to convey last-minute orders to field captains.[1a]

Unfortunately, against enemies like the Beastmen, little besides the advantage of high ground benefit the defenders, as the Children of Chaos - if they survive the initial wave of arrows and gunshot - can scale the slopes with ease, and in greater numbers.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Sword of Justice (novel) by Chris Wraight
    • 1a: Chapter 1

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