I place here an excerpt from The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla.
It describes the last stand of the last gunslingers out of Gilead and the loss of Eld's Horn:
The day is suffocatingly hot; the sun reaches its roofpeak and then
seems to stay there, as if the hours have been suspended. Below them is
a long sloping field filled with great gray-black stone faces, eroded
statues left by people who are long gone, and Grissom's men advance
relentlessly among them as Roland and his final few companions withdraw
ever upward, shooting as they go. The gunfire is constant, unending,
the sound of bullets whining off the stone faces a shrill counterpoint
that sinks into their heads like the bloodthirsty while of mosquitoes.
Jamie DeCurry has been killed by a sniper, perhaps Grissom's eagle-eyed
son or Grissom himself. With Alain the end was far worse; he was shot
in the dark the night before the final battle by his two best friends, a
stupid error, a horrible death. There was no help. DeMullet's column
was ambushed and slaughtered at Rimrocks and when Alain rode back after
midnight to tell them, Roland and Cuthbert... the sound of their guns...
and oh, when Alain cried out their names--
And now they're at the top and there's nowhere left to run. Behind
them to the east is a shale-crumbly drop to the Salt -- what five
hundred miles south of here is called the Clean Sea. To the west is the
hill of the stone faces, and Grissom's screaming, advancing men. Roland
and his own men have killed hundreds, but there are still two thousand
left, and that's a conservative estimate. Two thousand men, their
howling faces painted blue, some armed with guns and even a few with
Bolts -- against a dozen. That's all that's left of them now, here at
the top of Jericho Hill, under the burning sky. Jamie dead, Alain dead
under the guns of his best friends -- stolid, dependable Alain, who
could have ridden on to safety but chose not to -- and Cuthbert has been
shot. How many times? Five? Six? His shirt is soaked crimson to his
skin. One side of his face has been drowned in blood; the eye on that
side bulges sightlessly on his cheek. Yet he still has Roland's horn,
the one which was blown by Arthur Eld, or so the stories did say. He
will not give it back. "For I blow it sweeter than you ever did," he
tells Roland, laughing. "You can have it again when I'm dead. Neglect
not to pluck it up, Roland, for it's your property."
Cuthbert Allgood, who had once ridden into the Barony of Mejis with
a rook's skull mounted on the pommel of his saddle. "The lookout," he
had called it, and talked to it just as thought it were alive, for such
was his fancy and sometimes he drove Roland half-mad with his
foolishness, and here he is under the burning sun, staggering toward him
with a smoking revolver in one hand and Eld's Horn in the other,
blood-bolted and half-blinded and dying... but still laughing. Ah dear
gods, laughing and laughing.
"Roland!" he cries. "We've been betrayed! We're outnumbered! Our
backs are to the sea! We've got em right where we want em! Shall we
And Roland understands he is right. If their quest for the Dark
Tower is really to end here on Jericho Hill -- betrayed by one of their
own and then overwhelmed by this barbaric remnant of John Farson's army
-- then let it end splendidly.
"Aye!" he shouts. "Aye, very well. Ye of the castle, to me!
Gunslingers, to me! To me, I say!"
"As for gunslingers, Roland," Cuthbert says, "I am here. And we are
Roland first looks at him, then embraces him under that hideous sky.
He can feel Cuthbert's burning body, its suicidal trembling thinness.
And yet he's laughing. Bert is still laughing.
"All right," Roland says hoarsely, looking around at his few
remaining men. "We're going into them. And will accept no quarter."
"Nope, no quarter, absolutely none," Cuthbert says.
"We will not accept their surrender if offered."
"Under no circumstances!" Cuthbert agrees, laughing harder than
ever. "Not even should all two thousand lay down their arms."
"Then blow that fucking horn."
Cuthbert raises the horn to his bloody lips and blows a great blast
-- the final blast, for when it drops from his fingers a minute
later(or perhaps it's five, or ten; time has no meaning in that final
battle), Roland will let it lie in the dust. In his grief and
bloodlust he will forget all about Eld's Horn.
"And now, my friends -- hile!"
"Hile!" the last dozen cry beneath that blazing sun. It is the
end of them, the end of Gilead, the end of everything, and he no
longer cares. The old red fury, dry and maddening, is settling over
his mind, drowning all thought. 'One last time,' he thinks. 'Let it
"To me!" cries Roland of Gilead. "Forward! For the Tower!"
"The Tower!" Cuthbert cries out beside him, reeling. He holds
Eld's Horn up to the sky in one hand, his revolver in the other.
"No prisoners!" Roland screams. "NO PRISONERS!"
The rush forward and down toward Grissom's blue-faced horde, he
and Cuthbert in the lead, and as they pass the first of the great
gray-black faces leaning in the high grass, spears and bolts and
bullets flying all around them...
I long for the tale to be finished, but I know that will likely never happen.
I have recently gotten to the last book in the series again and I have found music based on The Dark Tower, extremely good music and it's made me feel as I always feel: Very much drawn into the story, that the characters are very real indeed...
Current Music: Demons and Wizards - The Gunslinger