They walked up the hill, and stopped. Roland was in front, of course. He had glanced around, not because he expected danger, but because it was so deeply ingrained in him that it was beyond a habit. Always con your vantage, said Cort, and his last gunslinger knows it well. He glanced to the left, than the right. He paused. Surely not. It was a trick of the light. Yet he had to look. And there it was. A giant sooty Tower, surrounded by shouting roses and the swirling clouds. Roland heart swelled with pure, unfocused joy. The rest caught up, and stared too. Jake, Susannah, Eddie, Oy, Sheemie, Mordred, Pere Callahan, and Roland stood in a line across the road. No one said anything, but they were all calmly waiting for Roland to make the first move. He motioned for them to make a circle around him. They moved without speaking, for speech was not necessary. In a way it was like The massive explosion of good-mind that wiped out the guards and taheen of Algul Siento. They had convinced enough of the Breakers that killing the Beams might be a bad idea. They might have been a bit…forceful in their persuading, but few gunslingers are gentle with those who are Breakers. If any. In the aftermath of the mind-bomb, as Ted put it, there was enough psychic energy floating around to hype up even non-Breakers. Speaking of non-Breakers-
"Trampas! Hurry up, man! We got something to talk about!" Shouted Eddie.
A few moments later, Trampas ambled up the hill, talking good naturedly to Eddie as he came up. "No need to shout, Eddie. I was right at-
He stopped. Looked ahead. Shook his head. Looked again. Managed to choke out, " is that it ?"
"Aye, so it is, The Dark Tower, We've gotten here at last, Trampas!" said Sheemie cheerfully.
Trampas shook his head. "I must be the first can-toi to look on the thing, and yet we plan to enter it. All the gods must have gone crazy." He shook his head again.
The Pere looked at him. "As far as I'm concerned-and I'm sure I speak for everyone-you're no more of a can-toi than I am. If there's anything to this Becoming business, than you're as far gone as none of your kind has been."
Yet under this mask I still have the head of a can-toi." Said Trampas glumly.
"I wouldn't be too sure of that, sugar. Sometimes it barely looks like you're even wearing a mask." said Susannah.
"Yeah, go on and take it off. At the least you'll go to the Tower wearing your true face." added Jake.
"Face!" extrapolated Oy.
"I agree." said Mordred. He glanced at Jake and gave a small smile. Jake returned it. Roland saw both, and was gladdened even more, if it was possible. Mordred was still prone to fits of depression, but he was improving. When Jake was imprisoned in Le Case Roi Russe, he found out that there was a rather unique boy of his own age in the same cell. After attempting to kill Jake a few times, he settled down long enough to talk. He was the only son of the Red king, he told Jake. He was also, astoundingly, the son of Roland Deschain. After Roland had sex with the spirit in the speaking ring, his seed was somehow mixed with that of the Red king, and given to the Spirit who had become human, Mia. She had died giving birth to him, he said. The Red king was surprised to learn that his son was completely ordinary. No mystical powers of voice, no transforming into a spider. Just an ordinary boy with a rather complicated genetic heritage.
The Red king had flew into a mad, murderous rage. He had killed all of his staff and laborers, and would have killed Mordred, too, if he had not hidden. Eventually, he came down into the dungeons, found him in a cell, and simply locked him up. With about a half-ton of food and water. When Jake was sent here when they saved Stephen King, There was barely a dent in the massive pile of food. Mordred was interested to hear about Roland. He and Jake talked, for there was nothing else to do. They swapped stories and a friendship grew among them. They were in the cell for almost a month when they were rescued by Roland. He was astounded to learn that Mordred was his son, but once he explained it, he had accepted it, and another member joined the swelling ka-tet. They had picked up Sheemie later, in the basement of Joe Collin's house.
Roland was snapped to the present as Trampas faced his back to them. He unhooked his mask down the back, and flung it away. Roland caught his breath. Could it be? Trampas turned around slowly, and raised his head. No one said anything.
Trampas couldn't take it. "Well?"
Susannah took out the small mirror that Aunt Talitha had given her. "See for yourself."
Trampas took it
with a not quite steady hand. He looked into it slowly. His eyes
widened. He breathed out a quiet "gods."
Well, you'll never be as handsome as me, Tramp, but still, it's a definite improvement." Said Eddie quietly.
It was true. Trampas still looked a bit odd, but he was recognizably human. The skin was stretched a bit and the eyes were a bit wide, but that was little enough. Also…
"No more Eye of the King, Sai Trampas. What do you think that means?" asked Roland.
"It means that either the Crimson King has died, which I doubt-all evidence points to him being on yon Tower-or it means that I have died. In a way I have."
"A miracle, and not the first to be seen today, I wot. Said Roland. "but join the circle, Trampas. We've got things to discuss."
He moved in between Jake and Eddie. They all clasped hands. And looked at Roland. He gathered his breath, and spoke to his ka-tet.