Hello, I'm Antares. This is my first HP fanfic, and I intend to turn it into a series. It'll involve the Founders and the history of Hogwarts, basilisks and Parselmouths, Slytherins and Gryffindors united- and against each other, prejudice and power, love and hate, and a prophecy that might or might not be true. Unfortunately, you don't get that now; this is just the prologue to the first book. It's kind of a summary of the first ten years of Harry's life. But you can read that by yourselves. So, without further ado, I present to you Book One of the Saga of the Lightning Speaker.

Disclaimer: I don't own HP. If I did, Harry would have been smarter and more independent. That's why I'm writing this fanfic!

His coming is both gain and loss,

He rips the gold from out the dross,

He rides the winds, is by them tossed,

Oh, hope for twins, lest hope is lost!

The Foretelling, Salazar Slytherin

For as long as Harry Potter could remember, he had protected his younger brother.

Well, all right, Mark wasn't that much younger- he had been born just a few minutes after Harry- but the elder twin had always felt like Mark was much, much less capable than he was. Mark's bravery could put armies to shame, but Harry was the smarter, more capable brother. To be brutally honest, Mark needed Harry's protection; he just wasn't that bright. Or thoughtful. Or foresighted.

Harry was.

And so it was Harry who took all the worst chores; Harry who distracted Dudley's gang when they were chasing Mark; Harry who would create diversions when "Aunt" Petunia and "Uncle" Vernon were feeling particularly spiteful.

In fact, it was because of Harry's voluntary position as scapegoat that he met his closest friend. Sisith was intelligent and witty, with a great sense of humor and a unique outlook on life.

Sisith was also a garden snake, so Harry couldn't exactly introduce him to Mark. Mark hated snakes, had hated them ever since Sisith's mother had bitten him as a very small child.

The twins, then only four, had been banished outside for some small crime which Harry had long since forgotten. Bored, the brothers had sat down against the house, Harry on the ground, Mark on a snake.

Needless to say, neither Mark nor the snake had been very happy with the arrangement.

It had taken quite some time to stop Mark's screaming.

Harry had turned and shouted at the snake, yelling that it was just an accident and that she was a mean, mean snake for biting his brother. The snake, a slender black hatchling barely out of her nest, had gaped at him. Then she had replied that it was also very rude and mean for Mark to sit on her, thank you very much!

Part of the reason it had taken Mark so long to stop screaming was that it had also taken quite a while for Harry to regain his calm.

Petunia had not been happy with either of them. She had dragged them inside, shrieking at the top of her lungs and adding to the general cacophany.

But Lisse had hung around, curious about the young Parselmouth. Speakers, she had explained to Harry, were exceptionally rare. The last speaker she had heard of was a Lord Something-or-other, a magical madman who had completely destroyed the honor of serpents.

"Magic?" Harry had asked incredulously. "There's no such thing as magic!"

"Harry," Lisse had dryly pointed out, "you are talking to a snake."

Which effectively ended all their arguments about the existence of magic.

As soon as Harry recovered from the shock, he wanted to learn everything. He had always been a bright and inquisitive boy, and the discovery of a whole new world, a wonderful world without any Dursleys, ignited the fire of his curiosity into an inferno.

By the time Harry reached six, he had digested all of Lisse's meager knowledge of the magical world and was eager for more. His serpent friend, happy to oblige him, sought out other serpents, snakes with more knowledge of the hidden wizards. Since there were so few snakes in non-magical Britain- so few, in fact, that Muggles thought them extinct- this was rather difficult. Lisse persevered, though, and their knowledge grew by leaps and bounds. One of their informants hung around, and soon Lisse delivered their first brood of children. The year after that, when Harry and Mark were nine, Sisith was born.

Sisith and his siblings grew up in a magical environment, bombarded daily with information and rumors about the Wizarding World. Most of the young snakes, excited by the magic, soon left the nest for wizard territory. Sisith didn't. He liked Harry, he said, and intended to go with him when the Wizarding World finally claimed its own.

Harry's only regret about the entire situation was that he couldn't share it with Mark. His brother was quite irrational around serpents. Harry was forced to bite his tongue, bide his time, wait for the letters to wizard school that would inevitably come to them.

A wizard school, he thought with a delicious shiver. A school that he and his brother could go to, a school with wands and secret passages and broomsticks and potions where they would finally be free of the Dursleys. He had had heard many "friend of a friend" stories about it: it was a huge castle, very far to the north; non-magical people (including Dursleys) weren't allowed in; an entire tower was populated by owls; the nearby forest, dark and beautiful, was home to a wide variety of magical creatures, each more wondrous than the last; and, most interesting to Harry, a basilisk lived beneath it.

A basilisk, the King of Serpents! That was perhaps the most exciting thought of all. Harry couldn't wait for his letter to arrive.

And sure enough, it did.

Monday. Unlike most children, Harry Potter loved Mondays. Mondays were Vernon's longest workdays. Mondays were Petunia's grocery shopping days. Mondays were Dudley's sit-in-front-of-the-telly-and-gape-at-it-until-you-drool-out-your-brain days. Harry and Mark had the house almost completely to themselves.

At least, they would once breakfast was over. Harry could never fathom why the Dursleys, with their hatred of the Potters, insisted on making the twins make breakfast for them. Weren't they afraid of poisoning? They probably only did it so they could order the twins about.

"Dudley, get the mail," Vernon commanded brusquely, not looking up from his paper.

Dudley, looking ridiculous in his new Smeltings uniform, began to whine. "Make one of them do it," he protested, scarfing down yet another plate of bacon.

Vernon shoved Harry out of his chair, still not looking up. "Boy, go get the mail."

Harry sighed silently. "Yes, uncle."

As usual, the mail was boring. A bill, another bill, letter from Marge…

And two letters, made of a strange, old kind of paper, embossed with a four-quartered seal.

Harry's breath caught; his heart froze. He'd never seen the symbol, but Lisse's northern relatives had described it time and time again. With trembling hands, he held one of the letters up to his face.

Lion, eagle, badger, snake, all surrounding an immense H…

The seal of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Somehow, Harry managed to swallow his shout of elation. It was finally here!

But what if the Dursleys saw it?

The thought was horrifying; Harry's heart nearly stopped. If they found it, they would take it away. He and Mark would never go to Hogwarts!

Harry shoved the letters under his shirt, next to his furiously beating heart. He trotted back into the kitchen, handed Vernon the remaining mail. Could they hear his heart pounding in his ears?

Evidently not. Vernon sorted through the letters, settled on the postcard from Marge. Harry didn't listen when he began to talk. Something about Marge being ill- good riddance.

No, Harry Potter was busy making plans, his brilliant brain running a thousand miles an hour. He'd have to tell Sisith… and Mark… he needed to contact the wizards without the Dursleys knowing…

Unnoticed by the Dursleys, a smile broke across Harry's face. Mark noticed and raised an eyebrow in question. Harry's smile grew broader.

Soon, he promised himself. Soon, wizards, we will come to you.

Well, there it is. Next chapter, we go to Diagon Alley.

Read and review, folks!