The remainder of the trip to the Oracle was worry free, though I expect each member of the ka-tet was rehearing in their own minds what they might say or ask of the Oracle (and what payment would be demanded). Aileen Delgado, having visited the Oracle once, had no intention of going again and remained with the horses. It took our inexperienced adventurers some time to bring the Oracle, discussing amongst themselves what is needed. The Oracle demanded to know their purpose, choosing Jonas as it’s medium. The group collaborated on a well worded question, knowing that to leave ambiguity was to invite unnecessary risk. Finally, question in hand, they asked the Oracle to show them the path to the Dark Tower and help them reach it.
The Oracle chose to be magnanimous, offering several options – the road to the Dark Tower, a weapon to face their enemies, knowledge of their enemy (and perhaps his/her weakness), or sanctuary – away from the horrors coming with the weakening of the Tower. Briefly torn, the group decides the most direct approach is best, asking for the path to the Dark Tower itself. Each is then struck with a vision – real or not remains a mystery. Jonas sees himself safely home, winning riches and, even more, his younger brother revived from the dead. Was the Oracle prophesying or promising? Vesp finds himself seeing the End of Days, the Dark Tower crumbled, the wastes of the worlds, and, a fleeting glimpse of a shadowy figure. Not The Enemy. No, this was someone familiar. Someone among his own ka-tet. A betrayer to their purpose. Will he be able to discover who it is before the end game? Azure sees herself flying over vast landscapes following a glowing line in the earth, over forests and towns, rivers and ruins, to the shining pinnacle of the Dark Tower. She strives to write it down while her memory of the vision is fresh, providing a map to their goal.
Having experienced the unearthly presence and twisted mind of the Oracle, the group sets off on their quest in earnest, shaken but determined. They reach a town destroyed by modern military weapons, the oily cloud of smoke being seen miles before they arrived. They set about finding survivors and a reason for the destruction of the town. They soon learn this is no normal army that came through, locating several bits of what can only be cybernetic parts of a robot army. And, in addition to the valuable commodity the town relies on for its livelihood, the men have been taken, to who knows where. The group nervously spends the evening becoming accustomed to just what it means to be a gunslinger in this far away place and what they are getting themselves into. As the sun sets on the ruins of the town, Vesp looks northward towards the departing army, a dangerous gleam in his eyes and a desire for violence surely in his heart.