PROLOGUE

Somewhere in the gloom of the bookstore, the tinkling of a high-pitched bell rang out, interrupting the sound of pages rustling and the floor creaking under soft footsteps. Only a small number of the bookstore's occupants bothered to look up to see who entered; those who did quickly turned back to their reading, not wanting to be caught staring at the intimidating stranger who was standing in the doorframe.

He was a relatively normal height, brown hair that looked as though it had not seen a haircut in quite a while with flecks of gray showing through. He wore a typical wizard's black cloak, and black gloves that looked as though they had seen far better days. He looked as if he was in his mid forties. In reality, however, he was nearly ten years younger than that, but that was not the strange thing. All of these features could be found on an average man.

The man's eyes, for one, were a bright amber color. They had a distinct canine quality to them; any sane person would be mad to challenge him to a staring contest; it would be impossible to hold eye contact with him for more than five seconds.

Another rather formidable aspect was not a physical feature, but more of the manner of which he simply held himself. It was the air of someone who had seen and suffered far more than any person should in their life.

The man stepped onto the welcome mat on the threshold of the bookstore, shaking snow from his boots as he closed the door behind him. A couple of people who seemed to forget their manners looked up again, watching him with curious eyes. The man seemed to either not notice or care. He strode into the bookstore as if he had been there a thousand times, though none of the frequent visitors knew or even recognized him. An employee who was organizing the books on the shelves opened her mouth as if to ask if he needed help with anything, but she hesitated, seeing that he knew what he was doing, and went back to her work, glad for an excuse not to have to talk to him.

The man hurried over to the back of the store, in the Dark Arts section. He quickly scanned the books above him, hesitated for a moment, then reached up and grabbed a large, ancient-looking brown leather tome. He held the book out in front of him, leaning against the bookcase, and flipped through it. After a couple of moments, he nodded, as if finding the book satisfactory, hurried over to the check-out and paid with a galleon, far more than the book was actually worth, seven sickles. The cashier didn't seem to care. He simply swept up the galleon as if it was contaminated and put it in the large jar that sat behind the counter.

The bell rang again as the man walked outside into the whirlwind of snow and was gone. Some of the occupants wondered if he had really been there at all; all that remained to remind them of him was the galleon in the jar behind the counter, and the steadily melting snow that had been left on the doormat.


Yeah, it's really short. The other chapters will be longer, I promise. Chapter One is coming soon!