My Magical Artifact, the Hand of Lothar, is Missing

To: Rodolfo the Clock-Maker, Laddys Fermille, Malicule the Meticulous, Baldo the Vargouile Slayer, and all signatories of the Aurantian Concordat
From: Parciloquy the Peculiar, Pleonast of Bleak-on-Vomir and Thaumaturge Most Excellent

My dearest friends and colleagues, balm to my copper-plated heart, it is with such joy and pleasance that I write to you today regarding a magical artifact well beloved to me. I but bask in the glory that is your attention, which shines like the golden second sun of Arcturias floating betwixt the twin peaks of the Alablavendar Mountains.

You, who shine like the blood moon at the height of its perihelion on the vampire world of Sangria Muerte, I fear I must relate to you, in the feebleness that is my lot when compared to the glory of my fellow wizardly colleagues such as yourself, that I have recent cause for a great deal of woe and distress.

No doubt you, whose intellect and wisdom shine brighter than all the stars in the Blue Hydra constellation, have by now deduced my dissimulation. Having written the words of the Trichromatic Obeisance, I feel I may dispense with the platitudes and write more plainly. Or, as the planar aborigines of this version of Earth say: “Let’s cut the shit”.

The Hand of Lothar has been despoiled of my premises by a burglar which I am sure we are all by now familiar with. She purloined and absconded with the Hand, avoiding both the flesh golems and the Maze of Digestion. I now also have nearly a three-score of goblins to replace.

Yes, I understand the Hand’s power is subtle and great, but it is also the only legendary magical artifact that can produce a decent cup of coffee. Surely, scholars, sages, gurus and paragons of unrelenting research understand how important that is to me.

hand of lothar magical artifact
Illustration of the Hand of Lothar from a commonplace book I kept between 1760-1762 under the pseudonym Isaac Johan Holland, and which now appears to be interred at the Yale University library.

Also yes, I employ more extensive security measures than goblins, flesh golems and acid-secreting living mazes in guarding my magical artifacts. After all, I didn’t choose a castle built on a giant rock floating over sea of molten lava two miles  beneath the Earth’s surface for the scenic view. It may seem impractical, but the savings from the geothermal power alone have ultimately outweighed the initial cost.

Baldo1, you should know quite well how difficult it is to sneak into my lair. Considering one morning I found you turned to stone at the keyhole to my harem. Unfortunately for you that night, you discovered medusa-style is a bit of a fetish of mine.

And no, I still don’t believe the excuse you gave after restoring your flesh that you had tracked a vargouile two miles underground and past my well-provisioned security apparatus all the way to my harem of gorgons.

Additionally, when I queried you regarding your hand firmly ensconced within your buckskin pants, I then as now find no purchase in your excuse that you were merely scratching your leg.

Mr. Coffee Is Not a Valid Substitute

I too am aggrieved that I must once more rely on Mr. Coffee. The last time I turned him back to flesh after a particularly wild night with the medusae he was extremely upset. It took a full day of charm spells to calm him down enough to begin producing coffee again. For a creature that began existence as an inaminate object, he really is rather touchy about being petrified.

And yes,Rodolfo2, I know you say I was never very good at transmutation, and I must take extra care when casting polymorph, especially when creating intelligent creatures due to their sensitive psychosocial profiles and blah blah blah. Regardless, I assert that turning a coffee maker into Mr. Coffee isn’t such a mean feat even without taking into consideration hyperreal neurosocial matrices.

It took me the better part of a month to get him just right, and the coffee he lactates is still too bitter. And he constantly and fatuously complains of scalded nipples. It almost makes the effort of teleporting to Starbucks worth it. Almost, but not quite.

Please, if the HoL (as I shall deign to fecklessly refer to it for the nonce) happens to turn up via any of the usual suspects, I shall be happy to reimburse you with a tip for your trouble.

Additionally, if the thief is unwise enough to approach you herself, I’ll be glad to double the offering price if you happen to acquire her soul as well. As it goes in this business, eternal torture always makes for a good, if temporary, example to anyone else who allows ambition to outstrip common sense.

A Special Note for the Clock-Maker:

No doubt, as most magnanimous and erudite personages, you are also likely aware of the wager I lost withRodolfo the Clock-Maker. Therefore I would like to address an aside specifically to him:

The HoL is not to be considered payment for that wager, as you — in your precise and lawyerly wisdom — must surely agree. As I mentioned, I am at work locating your payment, and once my lackeys have discovered its location I shall be happy to forward it along.

Until that time, the HoL belongs to myself and therefore must be returned to me. As I said, I shall gladly reward with the mundane riches of this world whosoever acquits this magical artifact back into my possession.

Precious metals, mountains of gemstones, funding for your tech startup… it’s all the same to me. I’m in dire need of a caffeine fix and only the Hand will do!

Thank you, indeed bless you, and may the three lonely sisters find their way across the steaming oceans of Lakshmi Sing on Baltar’s third moon even as we the Enlightened navigate our own plans throughout this history.

May your vaults be ever-overflowing.

Parciloquy the Peculiar3, AM, XIM, PhD, etc.

L.L. Squib’s Post Script:

The following is a notice that appeared on my table one morning after what felt like a particularly restless night. Written in my own hand on a legal tablet from my desk drawer, it was affixed with the following sticky note:

Well met and hale, my good man of Earth. I must say that I do appreciate the lending of your body for the past few days as I excurse through your charming land of Oregon. It has been a pleasure and I do so hope to do business with you again. In the meantime, for allowing me the use of your body I have left the agreed-upon payment in the kitchen.

Inside the kitchen was a mountain of expensive computer equipment and electronic gadgets purchased with my own credit card and shipped overnight. Thus began my relationship with the being I’ve come to know as Parciloquy the Peculiar.

  1. Baldo the Vergouile Slayer is an Aurantian wizard of 69th Aeon of the Inevitable Realm of Atlass.
  2. Rodolfo the Clockmaker is an Aurantian wizard of 69th Aeon of the Inevitable Realm of Atlass.
  3. Parciloquy is (according to him) one of the foremost thaumaturges of the 69th Aeon of the Inevitable Realm of Atlass.