From No. 4 Privet Drive

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1. Prologue

A broad-chested brown Barn Owl landed on the windowsill of Number Four Privet Drive. It shook its still-damp feathers, careful not to get water droplets on the window. The large house needn’t be disturbed, it was very important, for sleeping in a small cupboard under the staircase, a small child was sleeping. Nearly as important was the owl’s package, being clutched in his talons.

A quill. A beautiful emerald green feather from some melodramatic foreign bird, filled with matching ever-lasting, emerald green ink. Despite its radiating beauty, there was something sinister about it. The owl could feel the quill’s unsettling magic coursing up the shaft and through his small body. As a post owl, he had seen and delivered, many quills charmed with different hexes and spells, but never one so strong.

It was important to deliver the quill. However, now the time came, it was hard for the owl to relive himself of his burden. This was no ordinary feather.

The owl ruffled his feathers once more, delaying his inevitable departure; the windowsill was wide, the owl could sit there comfortably for maybe another hour or two, guard the quill, be shielded from the rain. It started settling down.

“SCRAM!” The owl dived off the windowsill at the sound of a man’s cry. He was a large man with a luxuriant greying-brown moustache and bulging eyes. His enormous bulk was leaning half out of the now-open window, and he shook his fist as he shooed the bird away: “Get away from us, you little bugger!”

The owl did not hesitate and threw himself out of the man's reach, churning his wings against the storm.

The hollering man slammed the window shut as if he felt the need to make it perfectly clear that nothing as foreign as an owl was to enter the mundane life of his family.

Too bad; it was too late:

The quill had been nudged inside the house by a forceful gust of wind, and it had already landed on the peach-hued carpet. Nobody noticed the garish feather among the pastels, but it had penetrated the Dursley household all the same.

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