The Octology of the Seven Hats
Part One: An Odd Beginning
Chapter Four: The Journey Begins
They began sailing north into the expanse of sparkling water known as the Great West Sea. It wasn’t long at all before the star rose above the horizon, casting hues of violet, orange, and red into the morning sky. Seagulls flew above their heads and fish swam under the rippling waves.
Soon, the star was high above their heads. The weather did not change, but they began seeing the seagulls less and less often. A strong wind pushed behind them towards the north.
By the third day of their voyage, the questers were quite bored. Malbo entertained himself by making his hat fly around in the air. Vilhaun encouraged him to begin doing larger feats of magic, and Malbo obliged by sending Vilhaun’s hat flying halfway across the deck.
Laughing, Vilhaun sent his hat zooming back at Malbo’s head. Malbo ducked, but with a flick of Vilhaun’s powerstick, it veered and hit Malbo in the stomach. Though the hat itself was not heavy, the speed of it made Malbo’s stomach hurt for the rest of the day. Malbo vowed to get Vilhaun back for this someday.
The other questers often amused themselves by playing chess of card games. Souiloen and Tagac were learning the behaviors of unicorns. Though unicorns are in most ways the same as horses, they learned that in some respects, unicorns were vastly different. For instance, they learned that unicorns only eat their food after it has been salted generously and that they will never eat sugary foods. They also have a uncanny preference for asparagus rather than carrots. Souiloen and Tagac learned this when the unicorns threw all of their carrots overboard and pillaged the pantry in search of asparagus. Vilhaun laughed hysterically when he heard of this, and from then on the unicorns had a steady supply of asparagus and Dwiedle made sure that they never saw another carrot.
At the end of their fourth day of voyaging, the questers arrived in the Pawian Islands. The Pawian Islands are a group of six large islands located nearly a thousand miles north of Tolben. They were on the largest island, Mohagi, and were docked in the capital city, Pawi, on the western shore. This would be their last stop until they arrived at the Kentotile Islands nearly 1300 miles to the north.
Dwiedle, Inilor, and Tagac took three of the unicorns to the shops in Pawi to stock up on some supplies.Vilhaun had given them sufficient money to buy supplies for the week-long journey ahead of them. Meanwhile, the rest of the men inspected the ship to insure that it was in pristine condition.
Soon, the three men who had left returned leading the three unicorns who were laiden with supplies. The unicorns, who weren’t tired at all, walked straight onto the ship and back to the hold. By then it was dark, so they left the ship docked until morning.
The next morning seemed a bit foreboding. It was a cloudy day, and Alche said it would probably rain in the area soon. As soon as it was light enough, Tagac lifted the anchor and Vilhaun filled the sails with air. His strength, however, soon waned for a strong headwind was pushing them back from the north.
Malbo noticed this problem, and rushed to Vilhaun’s aid. Combining his spells with Vilhaun’s remaining strength, the ship was able to move along steadily, though not as quickly as on previous days.
It was nearly midday when, in front of them, a shiny mountainous island appeared before them. Malbo and Vilhaun, anxious for a rest, steered the ship towards the uncharted island. It was not a large island, but it had a sandy beach and a few coconut trees. It appeared to be uninhabited. The shiny mountain looked odd, but they soon saw that it would be fairly easy to climb. The men disembarked the ship and started a small fire on the beach. Vilhaun started to cook some freshly caught fish for lunch while the other ten questers explored.
The ten questers decided to go for a hike up the mountain to see what they could see. Alche tried to dissuade them, but then they discovered that the mountain was covered in scales appearing to be of solid gold.
“Don’t touch them,” Alche warned. “Things will go much easier if we don’t touch any of these scales. I sense that there is more to this island than meets the eye.”
“No, Alche,” Souiloen said. “Don’t you see? This is all made of solid gold. We could use this gold to pay off any further debts. There’s enough here to make us all richer than we could ever dream of being.” Souiloen, trying to prove nothing was amiss, bent to pick up one of the scales.
“No!” Alche exclaimed. Souiloen didn’t listen, but picked up the scale anyway. Once it was in his hands, the scale immediately disintegrated.
“See?” Alche continued as Souiloen threw down the pieces in disgust. “It’s all pyrite. E told you that it wouldn’t be so easy. Now let’s get out of here before-”
Suddenly, all ten questers were thrown from their feet by a massive earthquake.
The Octology of the Seven Hats copyright 2018 by Stewart Forthofer. All rights reserved. All likeness of any characters in this book to any person, past or present, is purely coincidental.