The following evening, it was snowing again in the picturesque town of Hogsmeade. Most of the villagers were nice and warm inside their homes if not at one of the local pubs. Pulling his cloak closer, a middle-aged, brown haired wizard makes his way up the snowy cobbled streets. A new added red scar could be seen just under his chin from his growing collection of scars on his face. There was one over the bridge of his nose and another on the edge his check that ran down his jawline.
Warm light and sounds could be heard from inside Hogs Head Inn as Alastor Moody makes his way inside. Squinting his eyes, he ignores the smoke-filled clouds as he scans the pub to not find who he was meeting with. Not having found who he was searching for, Alastor makes his way to the bar.
The owner/bartender with long, stringy, wiry gray hair and beard to his chest nods his head at him. "What will it be, Moody?" Aberforth Dumbledore asked as his blue eyes stared at him from behind his spectacles.
"Just a pint of butterbeer," Alastor confessed. "I'm meeting someone, and I need to have a clear head."
"Very well," Aberforth grunted, before turning his back and reaching for the butterbeer barrel. A minute later, the tankard was filled to the brim, before being placed in front of Alastor Moody. Alastor tentatively sniffs at the odor of the drink and studies the color of the butterbeer. "It's not poisoned, Moody!" Aberforth crossly snapped as Alastor sheepishly gave him a glance.
"Sorry, Aberforth," Alastor said, before taking a sip of the nice butterbeer.
The door behind them slams open in the wind causing Aberforth to glance up and meet the same blue colored eyes as his own. Aberforth makes a stormy face as he glances down at Moody and in a cold voice said, "Your friend is here." Before purposefully turning his back to them and busying himself with items behind the counter.
A measure of guilt and pain flashed through the blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore, before swiftly vanishing. The long, silvery haired, bearded wizard in dark blue robes that sweep the dirty floor makes his way to an empty booth in the corner. The tip of his wet, buckled high heeled boots peek out from under his robes. His normally sparking childlike blue eyes are rather grave behind his half-moon spectacles that hang on a long, crooked nose, that had been broken at least twice. One of which had been done by the bartender across the bar, Aberforth.
Alastor Moody quickly joins Dumbledore at the booth as Alastor subtly points his wand at the table and says, "Muffalito."
Dumbledore blinks and says, "And what is that spell, Moody?"
"It causes anyone trying to listen in to only hear a buzzing sound," Alastor said with a great deal of satisfaction.
"That is a rather brilliant spell, Moody," Dumbledore said in astonishment. "Who came up with the spell? Was it another member of the Auror's?"
"Now t'was Severus Prince, Professor," Alastor instantly replied, before recalling that the creator was still a child and student at Hogwarts.
Dumbledore blinks in surprise at recognizing the name of one of his students. But before he can ask, Moody instantly replies, "I saw the boy perform the spell, while at St. Mungo's."
"Yes, his sister, Rowan Prince had been hospitalized having been cursed with an unknown poison or dark curse."
Dumbledore furrows his brows as he recalls that a missive had arrived from St. Mungo's that morning stating that Rowan Prince would be returning to Hogwarts as per usual, but not be allowed to perform arduous tasks until Madam Pomfrey deemed otherwise. However, he'd been led to believe that it had been a simple illness that which she was recovering from.
"And how did Miss Prince fall to such a tragic state?" Dumbledore pointedly asked.
Alastor quickly tried to keep his lie as centered in reality as possible as he says, "I am told that she was invited to the Gringotts Auction for having spoken goblin to one of the tellers, who requested the child be allowed to attend. However, unlike the rest of the guests, she would not be participating in the auction merely viewing it from a private room."
"Then was the child attacked while there?"
"We believe that is the case as there were two goblin guards posted at the door who neither saw nor let anyone in until Ragnok, one of the upcoming goblins within the bank came to check in on her."
"Could the guards' memories have been obliviated or have been put under the Imperius curse?"
"That is one of the possibilities we are thinking," Alastor admitted. "However, what we can't find is the motive? Rowan Prince is merely a child and of no threat to anyone."
Dumbledore's eyes flash as he says, "And what of revenge for Reginald Prince and that of his sister actions at last winter's Malfoy ball?"
Alastor stiffens as his eyes race at the solemn conclusion and in utter relief. He'd been so blinded by the fact that he feared that Rowan had been discovered when the truth had been something else all along. "You are right, Professor," Alastor Moody said with a gleam in his eyes.
"I feared as much," Dumbledore quietly said. "I fear that dark times are before us, Moody. As dark wizards gather in the shadows for foul purposes. First, the Malfoy ball, then the attack on the sleepy town of Caithness, the tragic, unexpected deaths of Nicholas Flamel and his wife, and now the latest attack on the young, Rowan Prince, all point to dangerous times that lie straight ahead."
"Professor?" Alastor said, already half knowing that would be proposed. The child had written when the time came the order would be proposed. And for him and the Prewett brothers to join the order when that time came.
"I believe that if there is a dark order in place, then there must be one for the light," Dumbledore explained. "Moody, will you join me in creating the Order of the Phoenix?"
"Aye, Professor," Alastor gravely answered. "But I do believe it'll be just the two of us for now. However, if you don't mind me, I'd like to make a suggestion."
Seeing Dumbledore gesture for him to continue, Alastor says, "I'd like for the Prewett brothers to be made part of the order. They're both powerful wizards and Auror's to boot. But most of all, they can be trusted."
"They are both commendable," Dumbledore said as the two men began to quietly discuss the creation of the Order of the Phoenix. It was long into the night before they finally departed. Each lost in his own thoughts as they made their way home. It would be a rather sleepless night for both them as many thoughts constantly whirled away in their minds.