That had been until they reached the plateau, and sensations they had begun to feel were forgotten returned. It was warmer here, not warm enough to soften the compacted snow ice beneath their feet or to encourage the removal of their many protective layers, but warmer by comparison to even a step back down. The air was thicker, as if it had fled the surrounding peaks to gather here in silent, rapturous audience to a new coming. And where there had previously been only the monotony of an endless climb droning down into an empty series of automatic motions, with the air and the temperature came another sensation, one of instinctive, primitive fear. If the heights were sacred, this place was forbidden by the divine.
The cause of all of this was unquestionable, for one thing alone stood out in stark relief on the entire plateau, as if seeking to rival the surrounding peaks, even the one of the mountain it nestled itself aside. Though it was perhaps several city blocks wide, it could only be described as a pillar, uniformly wide its entire visible height and tall enough that it seemed thinner than it was by comparison. A bone white material comprised its surface, completely and perfectly smooth despite how it had punched through the mountain covering it, as red pulses of light and energy ran up its length through rivulets before pooling in brightening convergences and discharging again, ever upwards toward the distant, mushrooming summit. This unearthly tower could only have been the cause of the woes in this region of the world, but no visible entrance presented itself.
The wise would gather their wits before its majesty, striving to determine the appropriate next action.