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Well, today is the beginning of a whole new life for me. Or so Father says. Today is the day I am to receive the Mark .
Wand at the ready, I crept closer to the door, when I heard a voice whispering softly behind it. I froze. It was the Dark Lord’s high, cold, sinister voice, crooning softly to his snake. I was suddenly afraid to move, as if one small step backwards would bring his wrath crashing around my shoulders.
Draco stumbled lethargically from his bed, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes. Bellatrix led him, still in his pyjamas, his bare feet slapping on the cold flagstones, down two flights of stairs to the ground floor. He had been too tired and confused to even begin to work out what was going on. Then he saw where he was; a large, airy, high-ceilinged room, the walls and floor padded with dragon hide. The duelling room.
A hush had fallen over the hall. McGonagall placed a worn old hat on a three-legged stool at the front of the hall. The Sorting Hat! I thought, with mounting excitement. I had read of it whe I was younger, and it had been my favourite thing to imagine : the song, the thrill of finding your rightful house, the inescapable magic of it all…but I was disappointed. A rent in the fabric opened, like a ragged mouth; and the hat spoke:
"If you'd like to join us in class, Mr. Malfoy?" Professor Vector's caustic voice cut through his daydreams. He pulled his head up, raising one eyebrow threateningly at his teacher. It was expected of him, even if right now he felt like slumping onto the desk and drifting away..
The clock set into an alcove above the mantelpiece chimed midnight morosely. Midnight, but the common room was still littered with the odd fifth year scribbling away furiously, a tiny twelve-year-old slumped over in what wasn’t quite natural slumber, and Blaise and Carina engaged in what I shall euphemistically term “deeply affectionate behaviour.”
Night had stolen over Hogwarts; a blanket of darkness, of silence, and of safety for the creatures that walked in its shadows. And tonight there were many. Something in the depths of the forest howled desolately at the full moon just rising over the snow-capped mountaintops. The sky was already studded with rhinestone stars, uninterrupted in its inky glory but for a faint tangerine glow in the distance which marked a Muggle city.
Even though the room had been quiet before, only a few whispers escaping lips, the silence that descended as Nagini’s squat head pushed around the heavy door was immediately noticeable. She regarded us from the floor, her ribbon tongue sweeping the air. Then he entered, robes billowing as if caught in a perpetual gale. When the Dark Lord spoke, his voice was like ice, beautiful and terrible.
“Sian?” Mother rounded the corner into the kitchen. She appeared thrown by Narcissa’s presence, but spoke only to me. “I would like to talk to you. Alone.”
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