Chapter 1: The Suit of Armor

The Hogwarts train sped through the open countryside. Outside the roar of the wheels on the track was nearly deafening. Inside was no different. The train was filled with the noise of Hogwarts students causing all around mayhem.

Sparks erupted without warning in one compartment, while the occupants of another, three doors down, were enveloped in a cloud of some unidentifiable substance. Girls were tittering behind their hands, pretending not to notice the antics of boys outside their door and many students were loudly showing off new spells or trinkets they had amassed over the summer.

Even though the chaos outside was reaching the brink of total anarchy, one compartment on the train remained as quiet as a grave. Inside was a massive, bulky suit of armor and a sleeping figure in a blood-red cloak. The armor blocked any view of the person's face and was a subject of great interest to the students passing by.

One lone girl was pushing her way through the students in the passageway. Her bushy, brown hair and the stack of books in her arms instantly identified her to every student to whom she politely (if a bit hurriedly) said "Pardon me." She peeked into every compartment, searching for her friends.

The girl came to the silent, aforementioned compartment and stuck her head in. Her disturbed expression matched her thoughts. Why in the world would a student bring a humongous suit of armor to Hogwarts? There were plenty there already.

She stared at the armor for a few moments. She could have sworn she saw the helmet slightly turn in her direction with a light glowing behind the empty eyeholes. It was eerie, but she dismissed it as merely the train jostling. After all, no normal student could fit in a suit of armor that large.

With one final glance at the sleeping figure, who had just emitted a loud snore, the girl left the compartment and returned to searching. Five glass doors down, she found the compartment she had been searching for.

"Hermione!" exclaimed two voices as she came in.

"Hello, Harry," Hermione said happily to a boy with unruly, black hair and round glasses. "Hello, Ron," she said to a tall boy with ginger hair and freckles. "I've been searching all over for you two!" She set her books down on the opposite bench and sat down next to them. "How are you? I haven't gotten any owls from either of you recently."

Ron sank deep into his seat. "Errol had an… accident. He flew into the middle of one of Fred and George's 'experiments' and he's been cross-eyed for a long time now. Mum was furious and she's been borrowing Percy's owl since then. But only when it's absolutely necessary because Percy's a prick."

Harry gave Ron a sympathetic glance and turned to Hermione. "You can probably guess why you didn't get any letters from me. Uncle Vernon boarded up my windows after a neighbor saw Hedwig flying into my room."

"Well, at least we're going back to Hogwarts," Hermione said cheerfully. She settled down and picked up one of her books. Immediately, her focus was glued to the pages.

Harry and Ron returned to their game of Boffers and Buffers. It was a game with two sets of cards, each card containing a magical figure or creature. Harry was blue and he set down a gnome card.

"Fear me!" bellowed the gnome.

Ron scoffed and placed down a wizard card next to Harry' card. The wizard pulled a wand out of his pocket as the gnome stepped out of view and came back with a mace nearly twice its size. The wizard's jaw dropped. He sent a spell over, but the gnome dodged it and threw the mace. In a flash of smoke, the wizard disappeared.

"Boffers!" said Harry. "That was fast." The mace disappeared and he put his card back in the bottom of the draw pile. The next time the card showed up, it would have only the gnome on it until he set it down with Ron's card. Then a brand new weapon would appear.

"Buffers," Ron said gloomily. "Why can't any of my cards have a mace?"

The sliding door to their compartment opened. A worried looking boy stepped in, a toad in his hands and a copious amount of periwinkle dust covering him head to toe. It floated off him every time he took a step.

"Hi guys. Would any of you happen to have a really good cleaning spell?

"Blimey, Neville!" Ron said incredulously. "How'd you manage to do that?"

Hermione finally looked up from her book. "Oh!" she exclaimed. "What happened?"

Neville looked even gloomier. "Seamus gave me a spell. He swore it would make my new plant grow faster. I didn't even know Feathered Bay Blooms had a defense mechanism!"

Hermione stood up and grabbed her wand out of her pocket. "I know a good spell. Come on, let's go help."

The three spent the rest of the train ride helping the victims of the explosion. When the train was almost to Hogwarts they changed into their robes and got ready to go.

As they stepped off the train, Hermione remembered the suit of armor she had seen earlier. She looked around, but she saw nothing. Maybe it was still on the train. But what first-year would bring a suit of armor? And the owner would definitely be a first year; no returning student would bring their own, personal, giant suit of armor to Hogwarts.

With a frustrated sigh Hermione stopped searching and stepped onto one of the carriages that took students to Hogwarts. She pushed her questions to the back of her mind and instead wondered why boys liked violent games so much. It was appalling, the things that could entertain them. Absolutely appalling.

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