Chapter 1 – The New Kids

"Hey Harry, who's that new kid?" asked Ron. They were eating breakfast in the great hall and staring at the new kid at the end of the table.

"I think his name's Marcus," replied Harry. "Marcus Hill."

"He's cute, whoever he is," said Hermione.

"Hermione!" exclaimed Ron.

"What? He is! Let's invite him to come sit with us."

"Good idea, Hermione," said Harry. He waved at the new kid while Ron sat and sulked.

Marcus Hill was no ordinary new student. Orphaned as a child at a young age in a tragic amusement park accident, his magical background had been hidden from him by the mysterious old man who had raised him. After he set his neighbour's hair on fire in a mysterious accident, the old man revealed the secrets of his magical abilities to him and sent him to Hogwarts to learn magic. His arrival there was even more mysterious—he had joined the school in the middle of the year, something no other student had ever done. Mystery seemed to follow Marcus around like a shadow.

Now he sat down at the breakfast table and pushed a lock of his raven black hair out of the way of his jade green eyes. He smiled at the trio and said, "Hello. I'm Marcus Hill. It's nice to meet you."

The trio introduced themselves. After talking for awhile they were soon fast friends—except for Ron, who was a little jealous.

"Hey Harry, who's that other new kid?" asked Ron. He pointed at the cruel looking boy at the far end of the hall.

Marcus gasped. "That's Manfred Salazar, my old neighbour!"

"It looks like he's already hanging out with the wrong crowd," said Harry.

"Manfred was the meanest kid at my old school," said Marcus. "He kept beating me up and taking my lunch money. One day I got so angry that his hair somehow caught fire and then the next day I was sent here. Now he's here too! What's going on?"

"What a weird coincidence!" said Harry.

"Hey Marcus, Manfred looks just like you," said Hermione.

"Yeah, you could be twins," said Harry.

It was true. Manfred looked exactly like Marcus, except his eyes were crimson. As they would later learn, Manfred had also been orphaned… and there were rumours he had caused the accident that had killed his parents!

"There's no way we could be twins," said Marcus. "He's so… evil!"

Manfred had spotted Marcus from across the room and approached the table. He had already become friends with Harry's rival Draco and his cronies. "Don't think I've forgotten what you did to me, Marcus!" he shouted. "I'm going to get my revenge on you this year, mark my words!"

Marcus was too brave to take words like that lying down, so he stood up and braced himself for a fight. But a teacher saw him and gave him detention while Manfred strode away laughing. Marcus sat down and was furious.

"Well," said Harry. "If we have to put up with him all year it's going to be one interesting year!"