At the edge of a small village by the name of Bitterweed the fog is rising as the dawn is just over the horizon. An apprentice is hard at work in an elegant, rather large thatched cottage. His sleeves are rolled up to his elbows as his strawberry hair flops onto his freckled sweaty face. The pale young wizard glances at the clock and curses under his breath as he quickly stirs the potion about to boil in the cauldron. Giving the potion two more stirs, he stops and lowers the flames leaving the potion to shimmer.
Hurrying over he quickly reaches for a tie to pull his hair back as his master did not like untidiness. The apprentice rolled his sleeves back down and buttoned them. Reaching for his necktie, he quickly realizes his collar is yet unbuttoned as he gazes into a small mirror, before properly tying his necktie. Rushing to the window, he flings the window open as he glances into the sky to see two owls fluttering towards him. "Master isn't expecting any correspondence today," the apprentice mumbled as he waited for the owls to reach him.
The first regular owl from the Daily Prophet lets out a hoot as the spotted owl drops the newspaper onto the edge of the window. The apprentice barely manages to catch the paper before it rolls onto the ground below. Giving the owl a dark glare, he reaches for five knuts and places them into the small pouch tied around the owls. The spotted owl glares at him for lack of tip and noisily flaps its wings at him, before flapping away.
The second owl, a Great Horned Owl had patiently landed on the edge clutching a letter addressed to his master, Damocles Belby. "Thank you, master has yet to come down," the apprentice said. "I'll be taking that."
The Great Horned Owl sharply nipped at his fingers as it apologetically let out a hoot as the apprentice let out a cry of pain. Cradling his red bitten fingers, the apprentice says, "Please, I'll get in trouble!"
"What is the problem, Wilfredius?" His master impatiently called out as he came down the stairs. "Did you forget to pay the owl again?"
Paling more than usual, the apprentice, Wilfredius's freckles stood out even more. "No, Master! But this owl won't hand over the letter intended for you, Master," Wilfredius stammered. "I think only you can receive the letter, Master."
A sharply dressed man in chartreuse-colored robes steps forward frowning. Thin lips, a pointed chin, sleeked back hair, everything about Damocles Belby was sharp. Striding forward, Damocles gestured for his apprentice to move as he reaches for the letter from the Great Horned Owl. Potion stained fingertips take the envelope as he furrows his brow at recognizing the family crest on the wax seal.
"Prince? I don't know any-," Damocles paused at recalling the tall, slim wizard, who'd once save his life in passing.
"Wilfredius," Damocles stared to say as his apprentice instantly stood rigid. "Feed the owl, while I read the letter and think of a reply."
"Of course, master!" Wilfredius said as he hastened towards the kitchen to find a bowl of water and some sort of owl snack to feed the large owl. To feed the large owl, before the owls set into the cool morning air.
Heading into his private study on the first floor, Damocles closed the door behind him. The study was lined with books from the top of the ceiling to the wooden floor. Beyond various potion ingredients scattered across a worktable, the rest of the room was largely bare except for the piles of books on the floor. His work desk unlike the rest of his office was neatly arranged with piles of parchment in stacks that only he knew what they contained.
The chair creaked as he sat down and took a silver letter opener. Damocles with a sleek motion opened the envelope and pulled the letter out to read ignoring the second folded paper inside.
"To Damocles Belby,
I'm sure that you do not know, who I am, but please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Rowan Prince."
"A fan letter-?" Damocles thought with a frown but read on.
"I am aware that you have made it your life's work to discover a cure for werewolfism and for that I believe you are worthy of receiving this gift above all others. Within a book at Hogwarts, I discovered an old parchment with written instruction on how to cure the blight."
Damocles loudly snorts in disbelief and almost tosses the letter away, but curiosity had always been his greatest weakness caused him to finish reading the written letter.
"I too thought it was a joke, but my brother who is considered a potion genius by our potions professor, Professor Slughorn studied the ingredients for the potion. I did not tell him what it was for, but he concluded it was for an unknown potion he'd never seen before.
I do not expect you to believe me and with good reason. But you are one of the greatest potion masters of our time. If anyone should gain credit for this find it should be you, sir. I, myself, do not request any sort of credit for the find nor any type of payment. It will simply be enough that you provide the recipe to the world. That is my one and only request.
Curious against his better nature, Damocles reached into the envelope and pulled out the folded scrap of paper. Unfolding the written recipe, he had a rather amused expression on his face as he began to read the supposed cure. Bit by bit the smile faded away as his eyes remained glued to the bit of parchment in his hand.
Trembling, Damocles slid to his feet as his chair was shoved back with a loud screech. Rushing out of his study, the door slammed shut behind him as Wilfredius opened his mouth to speak for Damocles to say, "Wilfredius toss that potion out!"
Wilfredius snaps his mouth shut as he hurries to do as was told. Though he did warily stare at his master's back. The potion in question was the product of four month's hard labor.
"Get me these ingredients the moment you are done!" Damocles said as he scribbled a list of the required items. "If we don't have them buy them at any cost!"
"Are you sure, Master?" Wilfredius worriedly asked. "We're already short on money this month as it is."
"Just please do as I asked, Wilfredius!" Damocles snapped.
Wilfredius gaped openly at his master. Not because his master had snapped at him, which was a regular daily occurrence. But rather the fact that his master had said, Please. He didn't even know that word existed in his master's vocabulary.
"Go on, Wilfredius!" Damocles said as he shoved the hastily written list into the astonished wizards' hands. "Slug & Jigger's will open any minute now!"
"Yes, Master!" Wilfredius said as he grabbed his coat off the hooks by the door. Particularly shoved out the door with a pouchful of money and his wand, he was left there starring rather stumped at the cottage.
"They did say that Master Belby was strange," Wilfredius muttered to himself as he properly pulled on his hat and buttoned up his coat.
But then again, he'd only been apprenticed a mere six months. That wasn't very long in an apprenticeship as most apprenticesh.i.p.s took at least three years at the shortest to complete. Still, Master Belby was fair despite being a bit cold and harsh at times. There were always worse masters to be apprenticed too. And at least, Master was talented and a genius.