The party ventured on through the crypts, finding no more of the evil occupying force. What they found were purposeful defenses left by the Elves. Guardians which stood by doors they protected with fervor. They would allow only so many chances for them to prove their allowance to enter. Blackwater solved their mysteries until they reached a final room.
The circular area began to spin and the dropping of their stomachs revealed the lifting of the platform. They climbed rocky walls at an uncomfortable pace as the ground began to glow. A star carved into the stone below them led to its center. It read around it that it called for the blood of the Bringers of Dawn.
“Do it,” Ferindar insisted. “It is the only way.”
They did not understand, but had come so far. If this was their means to the Ways and their key to reaching Wolfden Vale before the madness of their king drove Mandragorran to a war within itself, they would follow the ritual. They shed their blood into the center of the encapsulating symbol. Its glow brightened.
The platform they stood upon reached its destination at what became the top of the mountain beside Tessaran. They looked down upon what was once a brilliant sight. The Elven city sat dark and lifeless. Only a few flickering fires glowed with its only few dozen inhabitants alive, albeit dying at the hands of the Red Cough. Their military fought an invisible war in the Ways and this was all that was left.
Light from below them fired blindingly into a moon-lit, starry sky. It shot off into the heavens. The mountain below them seemed to mourn its loss. It shook for a long moment as the sky became star-less and so hard to face. The dots finally returned after the tremor halted.
They began to rain down from the sky with sparkling trails behind them. As they neared Tessaran, Ferindar finally spoke.
“It had to be done. Do you understand that? I could not enter this place alone. Don’t you see they can’t be saved? I couldn’t protect them! I couldn’t protect Tari nor Seregil. I pray you are Kolindos en’Anaron for we bring the dawn now. We destroy them to bring them together once again.”
His dazed monologue laced with madness trailed until he raised an implement to his head. He gazed at them as the stars crashed into Tessaran, returning its light to it once again before replacing it with rubble. The spectacle did not make a sound. They could only watch each brilliant explosion.
“I am so sorry for deceiving you, but it has always been in your hands hasn’t it? The Waygate lay at the base of this mountain. Warn the last of the Elves! Destroy the Ways before the Dark Lord’s reach may destroy this land. I beg of you!”
With a breath, he unleashed his own power into his temple, leaving him lifeless on the damp, dark mountain ground.