The Octology of the Seven Hats
Part One: An Odd Beginning
Chapter One: Vilhaun
It seemed like hours, though it was actually only a few minutes later, before Malbo awoke. He saw a young man towering over him. The man looked no older than thirty, but had the appearance of being very knowledgeable. He was tall and well-built with a short brown goatee, blue eyes, a mole on the left side of his nose, and a nearly bald head. The man walked away as if he had heard someone calling in the distance.
Malbo sat up and looked around. He saw that he was sitting in a field with a pair of black-spotted white cows (not white-spotted black cows) and, of course, the mysterious man. The field was large; Malbo could see no end to it.
Malbo spotted the man, who was now walking toward the cows. He was whistling the same tune that Malbo had been whistling earlier. Malbo got up and walked towards the man to ask him about the tune. The man, however, stopped abruptly and, snapping his fingers twice, said, “Acutlo toron ofonosa una ak ma’i’at.”¹
Even though you may not have understood what the man said (and instead, looked at the footnote at the bottom of this page), Malbo could. The man was speaking Elogfluntifont, the ancient language of Eapo. Elogfluntifont was rarely spoken in those days, but Malbo had learned it from his father.
Malbo looked around for two pails.Then he saw two tin pails zooming towards them as if attracted by a magnet. Malbo was fascinated by this act. The pails dropped at the man’s feet.
The man, instead of picking up the pails, turned and faced Malbo. “Hello,” said the man. “I am glad you came.”
Malbo, not knowing what to say, nodded. He then asked, “Who are you?”
The man chuckled. “You don’t recognize me?” he asked. “Well, I am a wizard, in case you hadn’t guessed before. My-”
“You’re a wizard!?” Malbo exclaimed. “I thought there were no longer wizards. I-”
“Malbo, you must learn that it is quite rude to interrupt,” the wizard said. “My name is Vilhaun.”
“You’re Vilhaun!?” exclaimed Malbo. “Wow! I thought you would be, well, I don’t know-”
“Older?” Vilhaun said. “Well, I’m not. Many people think that at 31 no one could have accomplished all of the things I have, but I have. I started when I was young. I was 17 when I-
well, I’ll save that story for another day. Right now, we have more important things to do.”
“Like what?” Malbo asked.
“We’re going on a quest,” Vilhaun said.
“A quest? What type of quest?” Malbo asked.
“We’re searching for the Seven Hats,” Vilhaun said.
“The seven whats?” Malbo said. “I’ve never heard of the Seven Hats. What’s so special about seven hats?”
“Have you seriously never heard of the Seven Hats?” Vilhaun exclaimed, shocked. “The Seven Hats are what give Eapo its evil power.”
“I’m sure I haven’t heard of them, then,” Malbo said. “Eapo isn’t evil. It’s the most peaceful place. There’s never been any evil in Lugh, except that one time a guy tried to rob a store, but he was caught. This is a peaceful land.”
Vilhaun chuckled to himself. “I never said Lugh was evil, but you live near the south of Edd. However, in the north, there is plenty of evil. I’m sure you’ve at least heard stories of the Darklands, haven’t you?”
Malbo shook his head. Vilhaun sighed. “I guess I need to tell you why we’re going or else you’ll never come with me. Well, there’s no time like the present.
“A long, long time ago there lived a wizard named Ekinhulf. Now Ekinhulf was no ordinary wizard. He could do many outstanding things. For instance, once he made a whole river dry up and appear in a land five hundred miles away. He was quite an accomplished wizard.
“Now, one day, Ekinhulf heard of the story of Zan, a star system not far from here. Now Zan was very powerful at that time. Ekinhulf heard that Zan had six tablets that gave them their power. Ekinhulf always had wanted more power. Even though he was a very powerful wizard, the idea that he could have more power was always in his head.
“Ekinhulf had always had a fascination with hats. He was a collector of all sorts of hats, mostly tall hats with wide edges and a pointy tip like the one I and most wizards wear today. So he got seven hats like this, all the same color, and all the same size, and transformed them to make them have powerful characteristics. These characteristics were invisibility, eternal life, strength, wisdom, power, courage, and glory. Ekinhulf claimed that his own hat gained another characteristic, but that was never proven, neither by himself nor by anyone else. He kept these hats with him wherever he went and they gave him great power, greater than he had ever had before.
“Soon, Ekinhulf made the Eapoan planets into a powerful kingdom, starting with his own planet, Eeb². Ekinhulf appointed a man named Larunchi as the king of his empire. Ekinhulf, with his magic, was able to travel between planets whenever he wanted too. Since he was able to do this, he soon had all the other planets almost completely under his power.
“But, soon, some of the other empires of the day heard about what Ekinhulf had done. Some of the greatest rulers of the day began travelling to Eapo to try and defeat Ekinhulf so that he would not endanger the universe. When they saw the chaos Ekinhulf was causing, they set out to destroy the Hats.
“However, Ekinhulf heard about their plan and grew fearful. So he hid the hats and himself. When the other leaders found out about this they set out to find the hats and Ekinhulf. The Hats were never found, so nothing was done to stop Eapo’s evil deeds. Eapo grew more peaceful without Ekinhulf, but Larunchi continued to be King of Eapo. His offspring continue to rule on each planet, and they are steadily ruling more ruthlessly. Moreover, the kings have created creatures to do their evil bidding, the Arectori, but I’ll tell you about them another time.
“So that is why we are searching for the Hats. We are going to destroy the evil ruling of Eapo forever so that the universe will again become a peaceful place. However, there is an ancient prophecy I must tell you first, but I will tell you that when you meet the others.”
“What others?” Malbo asked.
Vilhaun replied, “The prophecy says that a representative of each planet must come together before the Hats can be found. This prophecy was written by Ekinhulf himself, so it must be followed.”
“So who are the others?” Malbo asked.
“You will meet them in time,” Vilhaun replied. “But I need you to cooperate with me, Malbo, or else the entire universe will be in danger.”
“Why does it have to be me?” Malbo asked. “Why can’t it be someone else? Why do I have to come with you?”
“Because you are the ‘Destined One’ that the prophecy mentions,” Vilhaun replied.
“The ‘Destined One’? How is that?” Malbo remarked. “I’ve never been chosen for anything. What’s so special about me?”
“I have no answer for that at the moment,” Vilhaun replied. “But I do know that we need to leave here soon or else we will not make it to our destination in time.”
“Where are we going?” Malbo asked. “Surely we must be close to Lugh.”
“No, actually we are not,” Vilhaun replied. “Instead, we are nearly 500 miles north of Lugh. We are in the northern part of North Umbria, on the banks of the Kost River. We are just outside of the town of Auguri.”
“Wow! How did you do that?” Malbo asked, flabbergasted.
“By magic,” Vilhaun replied. “I told you I was a very accomplished wizard, didn’t I?”
“Amazing,” Malbo said. “So, when does this quest start?”
“Right now,” Vilhaun said. “In fact, if we’re going to leave, it would be best to leave in . . . about 42 seconds.”
“Then let’s go!” Malbo said.
¹Bring two pails to me.
²The last planet in the Eapoan solar system.
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.