As they were speaking, the house elf was already attending to their tea order. It didn't take long until a pot of steaming Ceylon Pekoe had appeared on the table between them. Of course, the elves had thought of all the details. Milk, sugar, cup, saucers, teaspoons; everything they could possibly need was there. Msaed decided to let the tea sit for a while as it was just freshly brewed.
"Prendergast, just how?" he objected theatrically to the other man's insistence that duelling was not for him. "Who doesn't love a good duel? And who else at this school could I convince to give me a hand with the duelling club? If I can't win you over, can you at least help me with who I should ask? I don't know anyone here yet, save Albus of course, and I think he had enough of duels for a while after what happened." He left the implication hanging, thinking that his colleague knew enough about Dumbledore to fill in the blanks.
Msaed's memories of the war still felt fresh, even now. The acolyte rallies, the public unrest, Dumbledore's reticence to intervene, his later change of heart at the eleventh hour and of course the final duel between the man that was now headmaster and Gellert Grindelwald. The press had hailed it as the greatest duel of all time and it had brought Dumbledore rather a lot of, what Msaed supposed was unwanted, fame. No, he wouldn't be convincing the headmaster to join him for a spar anytime soon, as grandiose and spectacular as it would be.
Msaed poured a cup for each of them and left his own tea black, as was his preference. He produced quill and parchment from the seemingly endless hidden compartment inside his sleeve and drew up a quick diagram on the piece of paper.
"So, blood maledictions, shall I catch you up to where I am with it and you interrupt me when I stop making sense?" It seemed the easiest way of catching up Prendergast with the problem.
"I won't bore you with basics. Passed on though family lines, usual matrilineally. Victim temporarily gains the ability to transform into an animal, not unlike to what an animagus can do. At some point, the animal transformation is no longer voluntary, and the cursed person is trapped. Resulting animals are unusually long-lived but no longer fully sentient. The usual methods 'finite incantatem' and so on bear no effect on the curse."
"Boring, boring, boring. What is interesting though is the sustaining nature of the spell. Normally, animated transfiguration spells have finite durations. I'm sure I don't need to point you to the relevant laws. It seems the caster must be using the first victim's blood to fuel the permanence and inheritance of the condition. But the part that gives me pause is how the permanence works on the second generation victim, or say the fifth generation. The original casting ritual was not attuned to their blood specifically and yet still it triggers somehow. It always seemed to me that this moment of transference was where to intervene - but even exsanguination and blood replacement doesn't seem to help. I've tried with a victim, not a pretty result."
As he was speaking, we starting to note down several mathematical models to account for transference.
"Truth be told, not much research on it out there I've not seen on this subject by now and a lot of it is nonsense. But if you have a good suggestion I'd be grateful."
He wondered if he should tell Prendergast that this was a personal project rather than a matter of simple academic curiosity. Maybe, he didn't need to. If Prendergast ever investigated the available literature the name Bonnie Clarke-Montgomery was bound to come up in the credits of quite a few publications. She'd been a prolific author on the subject of maledictions. Well, until her own malediction had claimed her at least.