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The Lost Writings of Petra Lakatos

Or: the burning of Petra Lakatos' knowledge

"Books are the only way the future will remember," she said. "Therefore I must write them."   "Books aren't as infallible as you believe," he replied. "Therefore this is going to be fun."  
Petra Lakatos and her Demon

Summary

As Petra Lakatos was unparalleled as a resource for magic, her writings were highly coveted by magic users and historians in the know. Known as a scribe while she lived, it was unfathomable to all that she wouldn't have left behind a collection. People scoured her trail, everywhere she was known to have been. Time passed on. People began to forget while others became obsessed.   Then two researchers found a hidden cache, where ever tome Lakatos penned had been bound and sealed. The world of magic exploded. Those with money attempted to buy, while those without attempted to charm. And those without either attempted to steal. Several pieces were snatched while the researchers tried to decide what was best to do with the collection.   Fire broke out during another thievery, ruining the bulk of her work. It is said one of the books incinerated the thief, the researchers, and all of Lakatos' remaining work. With the presumed strength of Lakatos' magic, even after all that time, no one with familiarity with magic was surprised, though they mourned the loss of her knowledge. Every known surviving book becomes more and more valuable as time goes on. Especially "The Demon".

Historical Basis

While magicians and the like don't deny Lakatos could have hexed a book to catch fire, many doubt that is what happened. It was well documented that two people did indeed come into possession of a great deal of her work, but the extent of what they had was never confirmed. While a magical fire, well controlled, could have erased all evidence, magical historians don't believe someone of Petra Lakatos' nature would have left such a trap behind when she spoke for education and passing along knowledge of the magic world. Too many believe it would have been too out of character for her to have done such a thing.   Arguments are had about whether one of the researchers, or a thief, having destroyed what they couldn't take. Most are of the opinion the collection which remained after the first few burglaries was moved, the place burnt to hide evidence, before the books were sold. One by one, because anyone with enough of her work would become a well watched target.

Spread

Despite the paranormal world staying underground, knowledge of Lakatos and her books has managed to spread. Even those who believe magic to be fake have heard of the collection, which they take as fiction. Yet the average person would likely not know the story, or the person behind it, unless they had an active interest in the occult or in history.

Variations & Mutation

Despite documentation of who found the books, there are those who believe there were never researchers in the first place. That someone had inherited the collection and decided they didn't want to keep it within their family anymore, rather than finding a secret cache of books. One of the named researchers, redacted, had come into a lot of money and old books when a distant relation passed. People say without her books, it would have been impossible to track down any of Petra's less famous paths.   Others say that the fire was started by Lakatos' Demon or Guardian. Accounts differed for a long time as to whether she had summoned a protector or bound evil to her will. With some of the knowledge of "The Demon" spreading, belief of a Guardian has dwindled.

Cultural Reception

Whether the story is believed or not, it has only served to underline the value and rarity of Petra Lakatos' work, even copies made of the original text. Collectors, historians, and those who practice magic who know of Petra Lakatos desire the knowledge in any of her books. In certain circles, it has reached the point of believing certain books are only useful if someone has several of the other books to refer to as well.

Stats of Petra Lakatos' original collection


Assumed number: 124   Known volumes: 79   Titles known: 43   Accurate copies made of known titles: 33

List of originals and their known locations


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"Knowledge is dangerous. And where else can knowledge be found? Books. Books are dangerous."


Cover image: by Mark de Jong

Comments

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8 Jan, 2021 12:59

I love how much detail there is here, and how much thought you've clearly put into these books, their history, and even their author and her values. It's a lovely read!

8 Jan, 2021 15:34

I think there might be couple words missing in some of the paragraphs. Or the demon got them. Mischievous little dude, isn't he.   I love the redactions in the list of known works; that's awesome and hilarious!   You've got the beginnings of a most intriguing mystery here! Keep going! :D