The Blighted Marshes (or sometimes just called the Blighted Marsh) lies on the northwest of Tilea, from the Great Ocean to the Black Mountains. In its depths hide the Skaven and their capital, Skavenblight.
From the shores of the northern Tilean sea to the foot of the Black Mountains a great morass of dismal marshland lies like a festering plague. This area is known as the Blighted Marshes: an ancient and terrible realm where death comes quickly to the unwary. A permanent, reeking mist cloaks the deep black pools and slimy reed beds from view. Sluggish, muddy channels wind through the mire mazelike and unfathomable, darkened on either bank by stretches of twisted stalks which resemble nothing so much as corn blackened in a fire. In places pools form, slicked with a dark iridescence where no living things grow.[1a]
To enter the Blighted Marshes is to walk to your doom, inviting death in the bottomless murk or the jaws of the twisted beasts that inhabit the marsh. Very few brave its terrors, for there are no tales of gold or hidden knowledge lying forgotten in its chill dutches to draw adventurers to the vast black marsh, reeking mist and toxic pools. No one dares to dwell near it, for fear of the dark secrets it harbours.[1a]
Unknown to the world, deep in the rotting heart of the Blighted Marshes festers the vile capital of the Skaven - Skavenblight. This shell of a once great city lies half-sunken in the noisome morass, a relic of the men that lived there and a testimony to the corruption spread by the children of the Horned Rat.[1b]
Long before finding Skavenblight a traveller in the marshes would come across one of the many rotting slave-hulks that rows listlessly through the turbid waters. Flotillas of tiny coracles cluster in their wakes, occasionally swarming out to gather the black corn growing amidst the reed beds. Burly Skaven overseers ply the lash on miserable slaves struggling to make their quotas. They ignore the odd coracles which disappear into the mist or overturn with a splash. Escape through the marshes is impossible and the worst punishment that the grain-slaves can suffer is to be abandoned in that black morass.[1b]
Closer to the centre of the marshes huge, solitary buildings rear up out of the murk, their narrow slit windows staring out accusingly over the water. Slave-hulks cluster darkly about the quays and an endless, trudging line of bent-backed figures carry baskets of corn inside. From within a great grinding and squealing of turning mill-w heels echoes relentlessly. Greenish lights flicker and flash at the narrow windows as the great mills grind mutant corn between warpstone wheels to feed the starving hordes of Skavenblight.[1b]
Beyond the great mills a vague outline can be seen through the mist, an angular rise amidst the monotonous Harness of the fens. Irregular tongues of fire leap up from it and a far-off rustling can be heard as of many sounds melded together by the distance. Moving closer, the indistinct bulk resolves itself into a great ruined city spreading out of the grey smog.[1b]
The veils of clammy mist writhing sluggishly across the marshes hide much of the ruins but the lines of old walls and arches can still be seen protruding from the sucking mud. Deeper into the city the land rises, and the buildings rear up higher on the firm ground. Broken houses mingle with shattered halls, cracked paving stones tilt crazily up from deserted market places. Here and there the ground is pocked with dark tunnel mouths gouting flames or foul vapours and the earth trembles with rhythmic cadences from far below. Pale lights gleam high up in some of the tallest buildings, as if paying homage to the mighty structure which dominates them.[1b]