"Mr. Ollivander," Harry finally said, "Eirran taught Willen lots of things, but not how to fight. How was Willen able to discover his own magik?"
The wand maker smiled. "We were just getting to that part."
The chime from the clock on the mantel rang six times. As it finished, Mr. Ollivander took his pocket watch out and compared the two timepieces. He nodded and looked at Harry.
"But it looks like we will have to wait until tomorrow to see how Willen discovers magik. Mr. Potter, we seem to be on an acceptable schedule with our inventory. I am grateful to you for your assistance."
Harry smiled sheepishly. "I'm glad to help, sir. The story makes the work go faster. Thanks for telling it to me. This'd be boring otherwise." Harry remembered his manners. "Oh, but I didn't mean..."
"No apologies are needed, Mr. Potter. Taking inventory is a yearly necessity, but it is tedious. The story has helped the time pass for me as well. I have not told this tale since my son asked about our founding nigh on twenty years ago, I believe it was. But it is time to stop for the day. We can continue tomorrow."
At that very moment a bell sounded from the back room. It was not like the clock or the door chime at the front. Harry had been in the back room earlier in the day to help Mr. Ollivander stock a delivery of dragon heartstrings and ebony wand wood. He knew that the back door was bolted and had no ringer. From the back room an owl with a message shot through the curtain and landed on the counter right next to the shop owner. Mr. Ollivander recovered the piece of parchment from the Ministry pouch on the owl. He read the message and said something that disconcerted Harry, "Curious... curious.…"
Harry gulped. He remembered the first time he had heard Mr. Ollivander speak those words two summers ago. "Sorry, sir, but what's curious?"
The wand master looked from the parchment to the young wizard.
"Mr. Potter. I find myself in need of a dinner partner for the evening. Have you ever eaten at Greenbees Fine Cuisine? It is not far, between Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Madam Malkin's.
"On Wednesday evenings they always prepare a lamb specialty. I must confess I have a partiality for lamb, but they also have an excellent selection of other fine dishes. I would enjoy the company, you will be my guest of course, and we will be able to continue the story of Willen. I would not be mistaken if I assume that you do not want to leave him in the dungeon this evening, would I?"
Harry's eyes lit up. Indeed, he did want to know what was going to happen next in the story. Though there were many dissimilarities, Harry found that he identified with Willen in his desperate trip through life.
"Brilliant! I would like to hear more of the story."
"Then dinner at Greenbees it is. Just let me pen a return note."
Please inform CF the boy will dine with me this evening at Greenbees. - O
"Now, I will bank the fire..." A flick of Ollivander's wand and the ashes were pushed to the back of the fireplace. "...lower the curtains..." Flick. Flick. Flick. "...extinguish the torches..." Flick. "...and we will be off as soon as I lock the door. Colloportus."
It was only a minute's leisurely walk from the shop to the restaurant. However, Mr. Ollivander took his time, looked into almost all of the windows of his fellow shop owners, and tipped his hat to all those they passed.
Madam Malkin greeted them on the street and stopped to speak briefly, as did Mr. Eeylop. Harry noticed, as usual, that they both had recognized him and furtively glanced at his forehead in hopes of seeing the famous scar. However, after acknowledging him, they were both very eager to give their best regards to Mr. Ollivander.
The distinguished old gentleman was reserved as always, but not the least unfriendly. Harry believed he spoke to his fellow proprietors as equals - no condescension or haughtiness. He seemed genuinely interested in them. But they were very delighted to see and talk to Mr. Ollivander. When he asked about the latest fashions for returning students and about the new owls for the first years at Hogwarts, the two shopkeepers seemed a bit honored when they realized he was so aware of their business issues.
The young wizard and elder wandmaster passed by Gringotts Wizard Bank and stepped to the door of the building between the bank and Madam Malkin's. There was no sign out front. It seemed as if you wanted to eat there, you would know where it was located. Harry had always assumed it was the private home of some rich wizard family.
As they walked up, the door opened for them. "Ah, Mr. Ollivander. It is a true honor and pleasure to have you as our guest again this evening. And I am delighted to see you have brought Mr. Potter for the first of hopefully many visits with us."
The person who greeted them in a rich and melodious basso profoundo voice wore perfectly tailored formal robes with a bright red rose in his buttonhole. His shoes were polished to a sparkle, which was visible even in the dim light. In spite of this his appearance presented a surprising contrast with his voice and his clothing.
This Mr. Greenbee was the seventh generation owner of Greenbees Fine Cuisine and he was, despite the richness of his voice and the formality of his dress, only eighteen years old. (In fact, Harry thought that the baby-faced young man looked closer to twelve.) It was easy for Harry to remember someone who had the same first name that he did. He remembered Harry Greenbee from Hogwarts. Greenbee had been a seventh year Hufflepuff the previous year, but at first Harry had thought that he was younger. Even now, Greenbee was still shorter than he was, and Harry (Potter) was one of the shortest boys in his year.
Now Harry Greenbee was Harry's host, once removed from Mr. Ollivander. Greenbee almost made it through the greeting and seating of the two in a private room without looking at Harry Potter's forehead - almost. That slip helped Harry feel a little more comfortable with his surroundings.
"Mr. Ollivander, I believe you are here for the night's lamb specialty, as usual?"
"Yes, Mr. Greenbee, I am anxious to hear how you are preparing it tonight, and please tell Mr. Potter of your other specials this evening as well."
"Excellent. Excellent. Tonight we feature the Crushed Fennel Lamb Rack accompanied by bulgur wheat, artichoke stew, and a Brussels sprout emulsion. We also have a delightful Crisp Black Sea Bass served with truffle potatoes and Champagne sauce. From our regular menu I find it most difficult to choose one or two favorites. Everything on the Greenbees menu is of the highest quality and has my personal guarantee of satisfaction."
Here the proprietor leaned in conspiratorially. "But if I were deciding tonight, in addition to the Lamb and Sea Bass, I would also consider the Filet Mignon with Creamy Spinach, Silken Potato, and Spring Onions, and the Chicken Cocoban with slightly steamed broccoli and a wild greens salad with raspberry vinegarette dressing."
Young Potter had been in only two other wizarding eating establishments in his life, the Leaky Cauldron and Florean Fortescue's. The Dursleys had denied him the experience of eating in a restaurant, except for the rushed meal in the hotel restaurant they ate while running from Harry’s Hogwarts’ letter owls.
Because of this, Harry seemed stunned by the descriptions told to him.
Mr. Ollivander of course understood the dilemma and rescued him from indecision and possible embarrassment. "Well, Mr. Potter. You decision is simple. All of these choices will be a delight. You merely need to choose between lamb, fish, beef, and chicken."
It was a lifeline. From the long litany of food possibilities four clear choices appeared.
"Beef, please." The covert look of relief may have gone unnoticed by Greenbee, but the wandmaster missed nothing.
"And the Crushed Fennel Lamb Rack is much too much for me to resist," added Ollivander. "Thank you, Mr. Greenbee. As always the delights of your culinary offerings are only outweighed by the warmth of your hospitality."
Harry Greenbee actually blushed at the praise rendered. Harry Potter noticed once again the earnestness of wanting to please Mr. Ollivander in particular.
In the two years he had been in the wizarding world, our young hero had heard many discuss the legendary wand-making firm of Ollivanders. There was no other place in Great Britain to buy a wand. But in less than four hours Harry had noticed four different people from four different and diverse business establishments in Diagon Alley most delighted with the older gentleman's attention.
That the serving girl Marcie Polkind might be affected this way was not unusual. But Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, Eeylops Owl Emporium, and Greenbees Fine Cuisine were all larger and more prosperous looking establishments than Ollivanders. Young Harry concluded that it must be the man, his host and temporary employer, who caused this reaction.
Within two minutes of ordering, the drinks were served. Harry was presented with iced pumpkin juice and he watched Mr. Ollivander taste and approve a red wine.
The two were left alone and Mr. Ollivander spoke. "I believe we left young Willen incarcerated in a dungeon with a life sentence, and with what had once appeared to be a madman. Willen now knows Latin, basic economics, and that he must discover magik with little help from Eirran the Seer.
"Mr. Potter. Do you think you will be able to understand my telling of this tale without the interruptions of calling out wand descriptions?"
Harry smiled and then smiled even more. Mr. Ollivander had told a joke!
"If I miss something, sir, I know you'll be nice enough to explain..." Harry was pleased that he could continue the humor.
"Well, Willen is in the dungeon. He has just been told that Eirran is a Druid, just like Porto."
And now our story continues.
The shock was evident on Willen's face. "But how could you be a Druid?"
"Willen, would you want an outsider to judge all of the people of Loundon's Towne by the way Caedric the Fisher treats you?"
The look of shock was replaced by a look of confusion, then contemplation.
"You have told me there are almost three hundred people living in Loundon's Towne. Of those hundreds there are perhaps a dozen people with the Touch that you know of, perhaps a few more. Even of that dozen there are those that have treated you better than others, correct?"
Willen could not see where the old man was going with this line of thought, but it had distracted him from his confusion. He nodded in agreement.
"Now, imagine people by the thousands, tens of thousands, tens and tens and tens of thousands. My people are the Celts, and those are our numbers. Over two hundred years ago we began spreading out all over the world. We were, and still are, a fierce and proud people who would have liked to move into new lands in peace, but quite often we had to fight to stake our claim to the farmland and water sources we needed.
"Within the large population of Celts there came into prominence a group of us who discovered that we had what you call the Touch. Of course we called it something else, which doesn't matter. We developed our talents and skills and trained in many different manners of helping our people. Those of us recognized with the gift or ability enter into rigorous training at a young age. It takes years of very hard, work and those of us who succeed are rightfully honored and proud. We are known by different names, but Druid will suffice. Any of us within the Celtic nations with the skill and training will answer to that name. I consider it a noble calling to be a Druid. We are teachers and diplomats and we try to help rulers govern wisely. We even help keep the peace when different tribes of Celts find themselves at odds with each other.
"We Celts, like all people, have had both good folk and bad among us. I was raised and trained to believe that a sacred part of our Druidic trust was to temper the excesses and ill-conceived intentions of troublemakers and rulers alike, and to stop it if absolutely necessary.
"It has been over two hundred years since my ancestors left our homelands and moved here to Gaul. I have never been to the lands of our origin, nor do I ever plan to. There have been several waves of Celts leaving our homelands since my forefathers created Gaul out of a few scattered villages. But to me and to others like me, this latest migration is somehow different, somehow not like the rest of us. Rather than going into sparsely populated areas and building townes and cities of size, culture, and economic strength as has been Celti