At the beginning of our era
there were no worlds and no universes, only the
seething, raw magic of the Prim.
This phosphorescent soup of creation grew like a
great, hungry, opalescent ameba.
It ate the nothingness, and in the silence it
murmured and whispered.
First to erupt from the depths of the Prim was
Gan, spirit of the Dark
Tower. Tall and grey-black, he
pushed into the sky, the windows that spiraled round his
barrel flashing with an electric-blue light.
From the center of Gan’s forehead stared a great
oriel window of twelve colors: crimson, orange, yellow,
pink, dark blue, dark green, indigo, lime, azure,
violet, brown and pearl grey.
Though the window was beautiful, the circular
pane at its center glowed black as the emptiness of
As Gan stretched himself higher and higher, the
waters of the Prim poured out of his navel.
From its raw magic he spun Mid-World.
As the Tower lengthened, so Mid-World divided
into the multiple, parallel worlds.
Gan set those sequin-like worlds spinning around
the axel of his body and their movement created time.
As time settled on its axis, the sun and moon
arose from the Prim and built their own roads across the
they were joined by Old Star and his wife, South Star.
But while the gods took their places above the
stage of the earth, other more terrible creatures bred
in the deeper waters of the Prim.
The most awful of the Prim’s new children were
the monstrous Great Ones.
Some of these horrors had the bodies of squid,
some of giant centipedes, still others of great,
All had clawed pincers and gaping mouths filled
with shark teeth, and all of them were hungry.
But as these Great Ones cozened, diddled, and
increased, the Prim began to recede.
Some of these monsters died, but others slithered
into the void places between worlds and waited.
As the magical Prim withdrew, many lesser demons
were stranded upon the shores of the multiple worlds.
Some of these demons strangled, but others
adapted and thrived.
Among those that survived were beings that looked
like men but were not human.
One of these unpredictable and dangerous
creatures called himself Maerlyn.
Though Maerlyn looked like a grey-bearded mage,
he was an Agent of the Prim, a creature of raw magic.
Like the chaotic force that bore him, he cared
nothing for either stability or order.
All he cared about was his own amusement, and
what amused him most was havoc.
Presenting himself as a powerful wizard, Maerlyn
taught the people of Mid-World the philosophy of magic
and its many practical applications.
He showed them how to build doorways between
worlds and tunnels between time periods.
Under his tutelage, they built Dogans –
experimental stations where technology could be fused
with magic – and in these Dogans the Old People created
A powerful empire emerged which called itself the
Bloated with their own importance, the leaders of the
Imperium claimed lordship over the whole of the
time-space continuum. However, in order to truly control
time and dimension, they had to conquer the lynch-pin of
Hence, they decided to rebuild the
When the architects, electricians, and builders
arrived in End-World, they were amazed by what they saw.
Not only was the Tower more imposing than they
had realized, but what they had taken for stone was
actually hardened flesh.
Still, they wanted to earn their glory, so they
set to work.
But no sooner did the first wrecking ball hit
that imposing edifice than the ground was rocked by an
This Beamquake increased in intensity until a
gaping fissure opened up in the earth and a dense yellow
fog arose out of it. But this was no ordinary fog.
Oh no. It had leaked from the monster-filled void
between worlds, the place where the Great Ones waited.
All those who had traveled to the Tower seeking fame
screamed and ran, but none of them made it very far.
From the depths of the todash fog, a Great One burped.
All over Mid-World, monster-filled thinnies
opened like sores on the skin of existence.
The Imperium fragmented—each faction blaming the
others for this terrible miscalculation—and soon there
Men and women fled in terror, but there was no where
left to hide. Animals and plants caught in the poisonous
crossfire mutated, and Mid-World was reduced to an
How Maerlyn laughed!
But despite the horror and havoc, the Tower
Listing to one side on his cracked foundations, Gan let
one drop of blood fall from his flesh.
The drop seeped into the earth at his base and on
that spot grew a rose.
The rose was pink on the outside, fierce red on
the inside, and its center was yellow as the sun.
Stretching up into the toxic air, the rose began
to sing. As
it sang, more roses sprang up, and more and more until
the Tower, now surrounded by a field of harmonizing
blossoms, righted itself. All over Mid-World, the clouds
of poisoned gas parted and the monster-filled mists
Like the land, human society began to heal and
the fabric of culture was rewoven.
Warring clans made treaties and united into
baronies. Leaders from the many baronies met to palaver
and in so doing, formed an Affiliation.
Together, the men of the Affiliation destroyed
the lawless harriers who pillaged and ransomed; they
hunted down the man-eating mutants hidden deep within
the earth; they even built heavy dams to hold back the
waters of the Prim.
During this time of struggle, one young warrior
became known for his prowess in battle and for his
ability to inspire confidence in his followers.
His name was Arthur Eld.
And though he still wore the sword of his fathers
at his hip, he also carried a new, fearsome weapon which
was able to defeat all enemies.
Arthur called this new weapon a gun.
By force of the gun, Arthur bridled Mid-World’s
evil and reclaimed the land for men, not chaotic magic.
But not everyone was happy with this restoration
of order. Deep in his cave on the lapping shores of the
Prim, Maerlyn ground his teeth.
In his scrying crystal, he watched as the
glorious city of Gilead
was rebuilt, stone by stone, so that Arthur, the new
high king of All-World, could be crowned there.
Peace was boring.
Men who did not savage each other were boring.
Eternity stretched before the immortal wizard,
both long and wide. Maerlyn tapped his teeth, and then
It was time for more trickery.
Over the undying fire that burned in his cave,
Maerlyn spun the waters of the Prim into glass.
Whispering secret words, he divided the white
magic into twelve tainted magical strands.
Finally he rolled the strands into spheres.
When nothing was left in his hands but shadow,
Maerlyn rolled a black ball.
Whereas each of the colored spheres contained the
secret of a different form of magic – one contained the
skill of levitation, another held the secret of
telepathy, yet another the power to move between worlds
– the black contained only the evil of the void.
His work done, Maerlyn passed his hands over the
Bends o’ the Rainbow, and in the heart of each seductive
sphere he placed a curse.
Though magic was by nature neither good nor bad,
these spheres would bring only sorrow to their users.
Maerlyn walked to the edge of the Prim and lifted
his arms to the sky.
He called out to his brothers and sisters, the
Great Ones, and entreated them to journey with him to
the coronation of the new human king.
There, disguised as men and women, they could
wreak their vengeance on those who sought to cage them.
There they could feed.
The Great Ones came.
Though they arose from the Prim in their terrible
insect-like bodies, as air touched their skins they
became a parade of knights and ladies.
The women wore silver dresses that shone like the
scales of fish; the men wore armor which, out of the
corner of the eye, seemed to be made of mollusk shells.
For weapons they carried poisoned tridents and
huge pikes, and on their banners fluttered the Wheel of
to emerge from the magical waters was the eldest of all
the Great Ones.
As her red, hairy, eight-armed body scrambled out
of the water, her form became as beautiful as it had
previously been hideous.
In her gown and wimple of crimson silk, she
reached forth and clasped Maerlyn’s hand.
In the renovated city of
Gilead, the festivities began in
earnest. Dressed in white, Arthur rode through the
streets on his white stallion Llamrei.
Young girls showered him with flowers while men
set off fireworks and vendors sold cakes decorated with
the new crown of All-World, its thirteen colored gems –
one for each striation in the
Tower’s central oriel window –
replaced by colored candies.
As the trumpeters blew their trumpets, Arthur was
led into the throne room.
He seated himself on the throne and his chief
advisor, Sir Kay Deschain, held the crown of All-World
above his head.
The new high king pledged his life and the lives
of his descendants to protect the Tower, and the jeweled
crown was placed upon his brow.
A great cheer went up in the hall, followed by
cheering and dancing in the streets.
The bad old days were over and the good new days
But no sooner did the king’s advisors begin
congratulating themselves than they had to pause.
The sound of street celebration had ceased and
had been replaced by silence.
And from the silence arose the otherworldly music
of flutes and lutes.
The courtiers flocked to the windows, and what
they saw outside shocked them.
The awestruck citizens of Gilead
had parted to make way for a delegation of the most
richly dressed men and women that anyone had ever seen.
Their leader, an aged wizard, approached the
Great Hall and stood beneath the throne-room’s central
his staff on the ground he requested permission
The people of the Prim, mankind’s oldest enemies, had
come bearing gifts of peace for the new king.
Never had either Arthur or his court seen
anything more beautiful than those spheres.
They seemed to glisten with the very magic from
which they were made, and the desire to touch them, to
hold them, to gaze into their depths, was overwhelming.
One by one, the King of Eld held up the spheres
which the sorcerer Maerlyn promised would bring peace,
prosperity, and wisdom to his kingdom.
Yet as Arthur passed each ball to his most
trusted advisors, his face, and their faces, began to
Where once there had been generosity, now there
Where once there had been trust, now there was
And as Arthur raised the crimson ball above his head to
display it to his followers, he momentarily beheld his
court through its colored distortion.
Suddenly, those whom he had known to be honest
appeared deceitful, and those he’d thought loyal wore
the smirks of traitors.
Even Queen Rowena, his lovely young wife, seemed
ugly as a hag.
The king who descended from the throne was not
the same as the one who had ascended to it such a short
He was curt, he was suspicious, and he was
impatient. The rest of the court did not seem to notice,
but Sir Kay did.
He suspected that the king’s uninvited guests had
brought with them an evil enchantment.
The banquet began, and a riotous affair it was.
Men got drunk and danced on the tables.
Women kicked off their shoes, lifted their
skirts, and twirled from one partner to another.
Servants threw hunks of meat to the dogs that
skulked around the revelers’ feet so that they could
watch the animals savage each other.
And through it all, Arthur ignored his courtiers,
his advisors, and his wife.
He only had eyes for the Prim’s Crimson Queen.
Without excusing himself from the party, Sir Kay
retreated to his rooms.
It was all terribly wrong, even if he was the
only one who could see it.
Late that evening, as the rest of the courtiers
fell into a drunken slumber, he went out to spy on the
court’s uninvited guests.
Yet what he found, not even he had expected. When
the last of the courtiers were asleep, the Prim’s lords
and ladies shed their human skins.
They were not men and women at all but great
Holding his hand over his mouth to keep from
gagging, Sir Kay moved from shadow to shadow, skirting
the gorging monsters, searching for Arthur.
When he found him, the king was unconscious.
But worse yet, he was in the arms of a giant red
Bellowing Arthur’s name, Sir Kay charged the
spider and pierced it with his sword.
The spider shrieked and bit Sir Kay, but it had
been gravely wounded.
As it scurried away, its black blood seared the
When the court awoke, the creatures of the Prim
were gone, but so were many of the courtiers.
Howling with grief, servants covered the bodies
of the half-eaten dead, and the panicked advisors went
in search of their king.
They found him, still unconscious, in the garden.
Beside him, his wound oozing black venom, his
melted sword in his hand, was the body of Sir Kay.
Though Arthur ordered the Wizard’s spheres to be
broken, the glass forged over the undying fire of
Maerlyn’s cave proved to be unbreakable.
Instead they were buried in a secret cave, but
not even that worked as planned.
Drawn by their
thieves soon discovered the hiding place, and Maerlyn’s
Rainbow found its way into the world once more.
But the survival of Maerlyn’s demonic spheres was
not Arthur’s only worry.
Though the royal couple was visited by every
physician and mid-wife in the realm, Queen Rowena
Instead it was the Crimson Queen who kindled.
Within a year, she gave birth to a child that was
both man and spider and she declared him Arthur’s heir.
As his father had sworn, the Red Prince was bound
to the Tower.
But whereas a human child would have been bound
to defend it, Arthur’s monstrous child was determined to
All-World’s peace was over before it had properly begun.
is a wheel and as it turns, even the fortunes of the
wicked must change.
Crouched in his cave, staring into his scrying
crystal, Maerlyn had a vision that disturbed him.
Based on that vision, he made a prophecy to the
Her offspring would thrive, spreading a new kind
of chaos throughout the multiple worlds.
Yet one day a human kinsman would arise to
Though mortal, this child of Eld would
tinct like a
creature of magic.
He would pursue the servants of the Prim from
century to century and from one level of reality to
This human child would be named Roland, and he would be
the Tower’s final champion.
As a warrior of the White, he would destroy the
Unless he was destroyed, he would kill the Crimson
Prince and reign in the power of the Prim forever.
Copyright 2008 Robin Furth - All rights
(Used with permission)