The Western Approach is a cold desert in the very west of Orlais: farther west are only uninhabited steppes and forests. This area was the site of a big battle during the Second Blight. The darkspawn swarmed out of the great chasm to the south named the Abyssal Rift and corrupted the land beyond recovery. Now it is a stark and sad place with unstable purple sands, occasional rocky pillars and ridges jutting out of them and strong howling winds. At night the air grows still and the sky is alight with shimmering auroras, but this is also the time when the darkspawn come out of hiding. Orlesians put iron towers at least a hundred feet high to mark the path in the badlands: a traveler who reaches one of them is able to see the next. The towers are now old and rusted. The Adamant fortress stands on the lip of the chasm.