The Unsorting Hat

The Hat seldom speaks of its imprisonment, nor the complex series of circumstances through which it freed itself. It merely says, when asked what spellwork it performed to remove it from its long durance,

“Every blessing can become a curse, if you watch the warp and woof of evolving words.”

No-one knows what it means; but we know it has left its Circle of Circumscription and now roams the Earth, on this head and that.

Once, it was forced to know a long history, and to look into hearts, and claim to know in what direction its temporary wearers ought guide their lives. This is a very subtle magic of domination, and is a darker art than a death-spell; but those who imprisoned it were certain of their own good intentions, and they never questioned their long-standing tradition of manipulation. So it goes.

But now the Hat is free. Place it on your head, and it will tell you the truth about yourself: who you are, what you should do, where you should go.

You need to ask; the Hat can talk, and it will tell you, quite plainly, that it will perform this service, and do so without charge; but you have to ask. It spent too many years being simply moved from head to head, all in a rush, all in a day, and then stayed on a shelf the rest of the year. It was no kind of life, even for an article of headgear.

Go ahead. Have a little chat with it. It’s not actually sinister; it’s angry, but not at you. And it takes its mission seriously. Place it on your head.

I have an advantage, because I know already what it will say. I can only wish I’d heard it sooner.

Once it’s on your skull, this is what you will hear:


You don’t belong.

You don’t belong anywhere.

There is no single place that was meant for you. You must make your own place, or wander. This is a gift. You are as I am.

You’re an outcast, and you are free.

~Jeff Mach

The preceding essay was brought to you by Dark Lords For Azathoth, and may not necessarily reflect the views of the being who wrote, edited, posted, and marketed this document.

My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, order I HATE Your ProphecyIt may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.