The feast for the gunslingers' coming of age ceremony has begun. However, the mood is low and Steven Deschain gives a speech to try and pick them up saying they must not let the thought of spies in the city ruin their mood. He asks his wife to dance with him and she asks if he has forgiven her. She uses this opportunity to steal the safe key from him.
Roland, Cuthbert and Alain sit at the head table in uncomfortable silence with the women their fathers chose for them. Aileen Ritter sits with Roland and he asks her eventually to dance. They dance and talk of his exploits in Hambry, Aileen learning about Susan Delgado's death. They leave the feast for some fresh air.
Aileen talks about how Roland must eventually strive to get over his grief. Roland says that would never suffice and only by reaching the Dark Tower will he be able to end his grief and destroy John Farson and his ilk.
Kingson wins the riddler's competition; Abel wonders why he can't remember writing the riddles he reads out.
Aileen says the Dark Tower is nothing but a myth. Roland says she is wrong as he has seen it and will one day reach it and force whoever dwells there to erase the plague that rots Mid-World's soul. Aileen vows to go with him, but Roland refuses to let her. They share a kiss, Roland feeling like he is being unfaithful to Susan. They then hear a scream. They return to find Cort has killed Kingson, in his pocket Cort finds a signet ring denoting him as Farson's man.
Roland runs to the safe where Maerlyn's Grapefruit was hidden, only to find it gone. He assumes his mother stole it and runs to her chamber. He finds the Grapefruit there and looking into it he thinks Rhea of the Cöos stands behind him ready to kill him. He turns and fires only to find the sphere has tricked him and he has shot his mother and killed her. She held a belt which she made for him while at Debaria; her last words were, '"Roland… I love thee".