In 2523 IC, during Volkmar the Grim's crusade against Sylvania a young man called Dieter, an uninspired and minor apprentice of the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic Balthasar Gelt, came to his master with an idea. By using the icons of faith that Mannfred von Carstein had cast out buried throughout the region, Gelt could combine magic and faith in such as way as to imprison all Undead within the borders of that blighted region.[1a][1b][1c]
Gelt performed the ritual and his Wall of Faith, as it came to be known, bought him great respect and power. Dieter himself was found with his throat torn out soon after, which the Imperials assumed was an act of revenge by the vampires but was in fact because Dieter had been replaced by a Daemon shape-shifter called the Changeling. Trapping Mannfred in Sylvania was an attempt by Tzeentch to prevent the vampire playing his part in the resurrection of Nagash.[1a][1b][1c]
As the war on the Empire's northern border against the hordes of Chaos progressed Gelt was visited by a mysterious woman (unknown to Gelt, actually an agent of the vampire queen Neferata). She gave Gelt a scroll and encouraged him to use it to construct a similar wall, on a much greater scale, to hold the forces of Chaos at bay.[1a][1b][1c]
In 2524 IC the Auric Bastion was constructed along the northern border of the Empire, though it included the very few areas of the shattered nation of Kislev that stayed out of Chaos hands. It ran from the Kislevite city of Erengrad in the north where it was defended by Valmir von Raukov, the Elector Count of Ostland, and Boyar Syrgei Tannarov, commander of Erengrad, to Rackspire in the Worlds Edge Mountains to the east where command of the defence was with Wolfram Hertwig the Elector Count of Ostermark. The central span was commanded by the Elector Count of Hochland, Aldebrand Ludenhof.[1d][1e][1f]
The land of the Empire itself was shifted and warped by the magic of the Imperial mages as priests of various faiths worked to reinforce and empower the wall so it would be an anathema to Daemons. The living rock was too steep to climb, too smooth to get any hand (or claw) hold in and any damage it suffered was immediately healed by the mixture of magic and faith that had gone into its formation.[1d][1e][1f]
The greatest weakness of the bastion was that it required a constant stream of magic to maintain it. Ritual circles ran the entire length of the wall, channeling faith and magic into it, running the wizards and priests to exhaustion or possibly even death. Each time a wizard or priest had to be replaced their section of the wall became vulnerable and warbands of human worshipers and Daemons would break through. Every day the Imperial forces were forced to repel these breakthroughs, small though they comparatively may have been.[1d][1e][1f]
The biggest such breach resulted in the Defence of Alderfen, a battle where many Nurgle troops forced their way through and Wolfram Hertwig was slain. The day was saved only by the intervention of Valten, the Herald of Sigmar, and Vlad von Carstein, vampire count of Sylvania. After the battle Vlad secretly took command of the Rackspire and while many more breaches occurred, along his stretch the defense was much stronger. This section of the great wall became known as the Helreach.[1d][1e][1f]
Over time, Balthasar Gelt began to become suspicious about the 'bad luck' the Bastion kept suffering. He discovered Daemon spoor at the site of the Alderfen ritual circle that had failed and became convinced that there was a shape-shifting Daemon sabotaging the Imperial efforts along the Bastion. To this end he began his own secret investigation to try to uncover who the Daemon might be posing as, a mission he was supported in by the Ar-Ulric, Emil Valgeir. As well as this Gelt was suffering from a continuing urge to wrestle under his control the mindless walking dead that had so recently became common, although only in the defense of the Empire.[1g]
During this time Gelt was confronted by Vlad von Carstein. After being kidnapped by the vampire count Gelt was forced to hear how he had been manipulated by Neferata in building the wall and that Vlad himself actually wanted to form an alliance against the common enemy surging against from the north. As a gesture of good faith Vlad released Gelt unharmed, with a powerful necromantic tome as a parting gift. As the war continued and Gelt became more and more drained both physically and emotionally he began to see the value in von Carstein's offer. Eventually, he opened the book and revealed the secrets within.[1g]
Eventually news reached Elector Count Aldebrand Ludenhof of how Gelt was starting to use necromancy to bolster the defense of the Bastion. Determined to discover the truth he traveled along the Bastion was was appalled to discover the rumours were true. Gelt's attempts to convince Ludenhof of the necessity of his actions fell of deaf ears and, encouraged by Vlad, Gelt confronted Ludenhof on the road before he could reveal what he'd done to the Empire at large. A series of unfortunate events resulted in Gelt's Undead servants killing Ludenhof.[1g]
Throwing himself further into what he considered the necessary evils to protect the Empire Gelt received messages from Emil Valgeir suggesting that the priest's continued investigations into the daemonic shape-shifter pointed to Valten, the so-called Herald of Sigmar. Gelt knew that Emperor Karl Franz was due to present the great warhammer Ghal Maraz at a great ceremony at Castle von Rauken and that if his suspicions were correct, the Emperor's life was in great danger. He raced to stop the ceremony and expose the daemonic assassin. Once at the ceremony he tried to convince the Emperor of his concerns, but in his deranged state he was not believed. Desperate to buy himself more time to explain he used magic to halt the advancing Reiksguard who were about to take him away. However due to his exhaustion and panic he accidentally used necromancy. Convinced that Gelt himself was now a threat, the Imperial forces attacked him and Gelt raised the dead to defend himself and to kill Valten before he could reach the Emperor. In fact it was revealed that Emil Valgeir himself was the Changeling and he was slain, but Gelt's disgrace was complete anyway and he was forced to flee. The incident became known as Gelt's Folly.[1g]
This proved to be the beginning of the end for the Bastion. In response to the exposure of Gelt's corruption the Cult of Sigmar, by far the most powerful cult left in the Empire, refused to continue participating in the rituals required to strengthen the wall and keep it proof against Daemons. This led to a huge increase in the number of breaches until eventually within a few weeks the Bastion was finally torn down in multiple sections and the hordes of Chaos poured through. The Auric Bastion had fallen.[2a]
- Alderfen (Village) - It is situated about the end of the Helreach opposite to the Rackspire.
- Castle Rackspire (Fortress) - Powerful fortress situtated in the Worlds Edge Mountains, near Badenhof and Kislev's border.
- Castle Skarlan (Fortress) - Fortress where Elector Count Aldebrand Ludenhof oversaw his section of the border. This was probably after the death of Elector Count Wolfram Hertwig, because it is situated quite eastward and Elector Count Ludenhof was originally guarding the middle section of the wall. The castle is located about three days ride from Alderfen.
- Castle von Rauken (Fortress) - Family fortress of Elector Count Valmir von Raukov. Used as the gathering point and headquarters by the Emperor and the commanders of the army.
- Heffengen (Town).
- Trzy Siostry/Wilhelmshügel (Standing Stones & Imperial Fortifications) - Trzy Siostry (Three Sisters) was used by Imperial Magisters to keep the Auric Bastion up, while other Imperial forces were guarding the Bastion. Imperial forces called this place Wilhelmshügel.
- 1 The End Times I - Nagash
- 1a Prelude
- Chapter I
- Chapter IV