At the edge of a muggle town by the name of Tintwell is an old pub, where only travelers and strangers stop by. The inhabitants of the town mostly drink at a local inn, but the old pub is still kept afloat by the stream of strangers that use it. They're weird alright always wearing hoods like belonging to some sort of cult.
But the old bartender Johnny knew better than to ask questions. He just served them drinks and they, in turn, paid for them. Often more than not, the strangers in hooded cloaks would leave huge tips that he couldn't complain about. T'was the only reason he hadn't called the local constable on them after all these years.
The pub was fairly empty at this late hour but there were still one or two travelers drinking late. Old Johnny paid them no mind as he cleaned the tables and grabbed the mugs of them. In the corner, he kept his eye on a sickly-looking dark-haired man. The pallid man looked like he'd cough up a lung any minute the way he kept coughing. He'd lost weight by the pounds telling by his loose clothes and gaunt cheekbones.
The sickly-looking man kept glancing at this pocket watch. Personally, Old Johnny thought whoever he was supposed to meet were right mean bastards. The poor man should be lying somewhere in bed not up at his ungodly hour waiting for a friend at some random pub. People these days!
Old Johnny was interrupted mid-tirade when two tall, hooded figures entered the pub. He got an awful shiver as he saw them remove their cowls. The bigger of the two was broad-shouldered and looked right mean with a cruel, sadistic smile. He looked like the kind of bastard who would have enjoyed breaking the neck of a kitten or puppy just for fun. While the other dark-haired man was rather thin with ice-cold eyes. It was as if though all the light in his very soul had all but been stripped away, forevermore extinguished never to even glimpse the flicker of joy again.
Uneasy, but he still had a job to do Old Johnny approached them and said, "Will you fellows be needing a drink tonight?"
"A whiskey malt, if you please," said the thin, dark-haired man.
"Alright, and you stranger?" Old Johnny asked the mean-looking one.
"Vodka," the haughty faced man sneered.
Old Johnny quickly moves away and prepares the drinks as quickly as he can. Dropping the two glasses before him he hurries into the back. He just had the feeling that he shouldn't hear a single word that was about to be spoken. Or else, his life would be forfeit, and that gut feeling had saved his life more than once over the past years.
The old bartender disappeared into the back as the gaunt form of Alphard Black carefully stuck out his wand and cast a spell around them. Hiding the wand back in his sleeve he says, "Thank you for coming to meet me, Lestrange and Dolohov."
"If this is a trap, Black," Antonin Dolohov darkly said, "I'll kill you first and burn the whole village to the ground before the Auror's capture me."
"Calm yourself, Dolohov," Rodolphus Lestrange said as he took a sniff of his whiskey malt, before tentatively sipping at it to make sure it was safe. And it was, before taking a larger gulp of the burning liquid.
"Well, Black, I'm waiting," Dolohov threatened as he rested his elbows on the table.
"I am not here in regard to the murder of Tobias Snape," Alphard plainly stated as hid his disgust for the vile action. "Rather I have three questions pertaining to these three men." Alphard shoved a tiny scrap with the three names across to Dolohov.
Dolohov takes the paper and snorts. "What about them? They were all students while I was at Hogwarts, but they were all older by a year or two."
"That is my precise question," Alphard said as he leaned forward. "Were any of them in contact with Tom Marvolo Riddle?"
Dolohov eye's narrow as he says, "What about the Dark Lord? Are you here to prove the fact that he's a filthy half-blood? Because I already know his filthy little secret, but he gets the job done. I won't complain yet."
Leaning back Dolohov adds, "And the Dark Lord was quite pleased with my actions of removing the squib of Tobias Snape. He was a travesty upon the founder's lineage."
"As I said before I am not here to ask about Tobias Snape," Alphard stiffly said. "What I want to know is if Tom Marvolo Riddle was ever seen in their company."
"Once or twice," Dolohov confessed with a shrug. "All of them were in Sluggy's club with the Dark Lord. Beyond that they were in two different years and houses, there wasn't much interaction between them."
"Nothing else that was odd?" Alphard further prodded.
"Why so curious about these three men, Black? You must surely be desperate if you've come seeking my aid," Dolohov coldly said with a wolfish smile.
"I am not paying you to ask me questions, Dolohov," Alphard icily retorted. "If you cannot answer them, you will not be paid."
Dolohov sneers as Rodolphus remains rather calm still sipping at his whiskey malt. "All I know is that the Dark Lord disliked the Gryffindor," Dolohov barked as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"Why?" Alphard asked as he leaned forward.
"Back in our fifth year, Gamp called him the product of an i.n.c.e.s.tuous relationship," Dolohov snickered in recalling the memory.
"I don't know how Gamp came to know that the Dark Lord's mother was a Gaunt. But he somehow knew that Gaunts were rather infamous for intermarrying a bit too closely for comfort. They were mad the whole lot of them in the end. Either way, the two of them got into a bit of a duel with the Dark Lord naturally winning in the end."
"That still leaves all three of them," Alphard regretfully mused to himself in frustration. He had hoped to rule out Gamp, but now he simply couldn't discard him. The reason being just how in Merlin's name had Gamp known that Riddle was a Gaunt in the first place? It was something that even a pureblood would have had access to such secure information much less a Gamp even with all his wealth.
Reaching for the pouch at his side, Alphard tosses the pouch onto the table containing rare potion ingredients. "As promised your payment."
Dolohov specifically checks inside and confirms it is the agreed-upon payment. Handing over the pouch for inspection to Lestrange, Dolohov says, "Why the curiosity if I may ask, Black?"
Alphard pauses as he rises to his feet. "There are infinitely far worse things in the world than the Dark Lord," Alphard replied, before putting the payment for his drink on the table. "And please don't kill the bartender, this is a useful pub for quiet transactions."
Dolohov sneers, but throws down a wad of muggle money onto the table, before following Black out. Lestrange follows at his side as they watch Black apparate away. Dolohov says, "Lestrange, what did Black mean by that?"
"I don't know," Rodolphus confessed with a trace of unease. "But whatever it is, it can't be good." Dolohov grunts before the two of them apparated away.
The sleepy town of Tintwell returned back to its norm as old Johnny finally emerges from the back. Seeing that the last of his customers were gone he wanders over to gather the change. Shaking his head, he mutters, "Maybe it's about time, I retire. There's bound to be a nice available flat down in Baths."