The abandoned rocky island of Azkaban centred in the north sea impossible to be reached without a special guard and their blessed ships. Not many adventurers succeeded in acquiring the assistance of the reclusive guards and those that did perished in the bottomless murky sea surrendering the infamous island.
"It says here that no one really knows what is actually on the island because no one has returned once they set off".
Harry ran a hand through his hair staring amusingly at his studious friend curled up on her bunk reading a book instead of joining their game. "Come on mione you don't believe in that rubbish do you". The death glare he received for insulting a book made him quickly back track. "I mean how can that Rita Skeeter woman write a whole book about the mysterious Island but also claims no one has ever returned from it so how did she get the information? Remember owls can not even find the place nor does magic work there".
Hermione nodded along closing the book with disappointment. Expertly jumping off the top bunk and landing on her feet with ease earning whoops and applause from Neville and Ron both in their boxer shorts and not much else. The men in their group were playing strip poker and judging from Draco and Harry still fully clothed they were winning.
"Maybe your right Harry I just want to be prepared is all". Hermione tilted her head gazing out the small port hole to see the calm blue sea gently lapping at the ship. "Where are the girls?". Suddenly realising how quiet it was in their cabin, the bottom bunks suspiciously empty.
"On deck stargazing apparently" Draco chimed in.
Hermione quickly left the boys to their game and drew in a deep breath as she clambered on to the deck the darkened sky stretched out above her, stars scattered in the darkness. Grasping tightly on to the railing she unsteadily made her way towards the bow.
"Truly magnificent" Ginny giggled.
All of a sudden the small ship was violently slammed in its right side by fierce waves. Pitching the crew and their guests across the small space just as the ship groaned in protest, mental bending and the ship was thrown up from the sea by invisible hands and with a almighty crack the vessel broke in two crashing back in to the sea sinking in to the deep depths.
A cold unforgiving substance burned her lungs as she desperately tried to breathe. Hermione tried kicking her legs, her feet being dragged down by the greedy sea, this was not how she wanted to die. Fighting back the young witch managed to free herself from her weighted robes and with her last bit of strength she broke through the surface coughing and spluttering up the salty water.
It felt like forever when Hermione managed to swim to land, a sandy beach stretched for miles around. Exhausted and alone the young brunette dropped down upon the beach in a daze waiting and hoping for her friends to amerge from the dangerous depths of the sea.
Just a few hours ago she and her friends were having fun upon the ship enjoying each others company unaware of their impending death. They dreamed of this daring adventure for years, from the moment she was a young naive eleven year old entering the world of magic for the first time. Befriending Draco Black an orphaned boy brought up by the Potters, they son Harry and from there Hermione came fast friends with Ronald Weasley and his sister Ginny, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. Even though Hermione was sorted into the house of Ravenclaw she and her friends made a splash during their time at school reuniting the four houses as Draco and Neville ended up in the house of Slytherin while Harry and Ron ended up sorted in the house of Gryffindor and Ginny and Luna a year behind them followed in to the house of Hufflepuff. Hogwarts gave her the courage to be true to herself and follow her friends in to this once in a life time experience so came their graduation day still dressed in their celebratory robes the five graduates with Ginny and Luna stepped aboard the blessed ship waving a teary goodbye to their friends and loved ones as they sailed off into the night.
"Hermione is that you?" a familiar voice called out from behind her. She jumped up and threw her arms around the bespectacled boys neck, tears of relief dripping on his soaked shirt.
"Oh Harry have you not seen anyone else either?" Hermione wiped away the tears, her heart heavy when he shook his head sadly in negative. Both friends stood silently facing the sea wearing matching expressions of desperation.
The silence dragged on Harry started pacing the shore line once in a while fidgeting with his cracked glasses and Hermione stayed put her eyes straining to see across the water hoping to find any signs of life.
"I think this is Azkaban" Harry darkly muttered.
"Are you absolutely sure this is the right place?" Hermione fearfully asked turning around studying the dark and gloomy island looming behind them.
"Don't think it matters either way" Harry grimaced frantically waving his hand over the wreckage of the blessed ship that was being dragged up from the depths and spat out on the beach. "No one knows we came here nor would they be stupid enough to follow".
Kneeling down she brushed away the wet sand to discover the book that she was reading on her bunk, plucking up the mushy ruined paperback clutching it to her chest Hermione began to cry.
"Oi you two over here" came a deafening shout.
Hermione stumbled up and ran along side Harry as the messy blonde hair of Draco popped up on the other side of the beach. The three friends embraced each other. Hermione pulled away to see a hurt Neville bleeding out leaning against a rock.
"Oh Neville let me see" Hermione gently cooed. Kneeling down she removed his shirt to reveal a large gash to his shoulder. Ripping the material into strips Hermione carefully wrapped his injured shoulder up and used the last of his shirt as a make shift sling.
"Thanks Hermione through I wouldn't say no to a pain reliever potion even if professor Snape brewed it" Neville chuckled bitterly.
Standing back up she walked up the steep incline leading further into the island. Stopping momentarily she turned back to the boys. "Well are you coming? It's going to get dark soon enough and we might find that the others are already here" Hermione forced a smile to reassure the hesitant boys.
The next hour of walking was dragging on the small group the boys grumbling about their stomachs much to Hermiones irritation she bit her tongue more times than she could count to stop herself from screaming at them.
No signs of their friends or any living creature inhabiting the island was worrying Hermione but she kept it to herself unwilling to further the pain her friends were in.
"Please tell me you guys are seeing that and I am not hallucinating" Neville excitedly shouted momentarily forgetting his injured shoulder as he bounced on the balls of his feet like a child on christmas morning.
Harry and Draco were joining in the childish glee taking off in a run.
A castle the size of Hogwarts sat before them surrounded by wildly overgrown gardens and iron gates that looked ready to fall at the slightest touch. While Hogwarts was inviting and warmed you with welcome this dark castle was frightening and rightly deserved a place in a horrible film.
"Idiots you're going to get us killed or bloody worse" Hermione grumbled taking off after them. Once she had crossed the boundary of the castle grounds she felt an awful feeling of dread wash over her, this was not a place they should be.
Hermione stopped by the iron gates careful not to touch them she bent over, hands upon her thighs trying to catch her breath. Her sides aching from the unprepared physical exercise. "Does anyone listen to the bookworm?" muttering under her breath. Straightening up her eyes widened she couldn't see the boys at all, forcing her legs to move Hermione dashed up the long abandoned path mindful of the nettles and unfamiliar plants hanging low trying to pull her in.
"Harry! Draco! Neville! Boys where are you?" Hermione bravely called out ducking beneath a low branch she quickened her pace just as she reached the castles crumbling steps. Pushing down the urge to flee Hermione carefully made her way up the steps, sidestepping the gaping holes and leaping over the debris till she finally made it to the wide open doors.
Peering in to what seemed to be a large foyer, Hermione could see a grand staircase that run up both sides of the walls. A large crystal chandelier hanging above her head. The foyer had a small table in between the staircases with a rather beautiful vase and fresh flowers. Hermione stepped back in caution as much as the grounds looked abandoned clearly the castle itself wasn't which meant she and the boys needed to leave as soon as possible.
"Harry! Draco! Neville! Answer me god damn it. Someone is living here" Hermione called out again warily watching the shadows for any sudden movements.
"Boys this isn't funny" she scowled. Two doors led off from the foyer Hermione took the closest to her right. Twisting the handle the door swung mutely inward revealing a large parlour sparsely furnished with expensive furniture.
A three seater couch and two armchairs sat next to a roaring fire. The room was otherwise empty there was no personal items nor any kind of useless knick-knacks any where to be seen. Red and black coated the walls creating a dungeon feel to the atmosphere.
The young brunette ran her fingers over the black silky material of the couch. Fit for a queen it seems whoever lives here certainly knows how to live the life of luxury. Seeing as the boys had no place to hide in the sparse room Hermione pushed on through to another set of doors.
"Lo and behold the pigs are at their trough" Hermione remarked, quirking an eyebrow at three sheepish grins of her friends. The boys were sat at the end of a long ancient looking table easily able to fit twenty people comfortably. "We need to leave now before the owner returns or Merlin forbid happens to be somewhere inside this huge place and comes to murder us off one by one for trespassing in his home".
Harry rolled his eyes patting the seat next to him. "Eat Hermione we are fine actually you just missed the murdering homeowner". Waving a chicken leg around like a chubby baby playing with its food.
"I think not I have seen enough horror films to know how this goes thank you very much" Hermione glared, crossing her arms in defiance.
"Far too pretty to be a murderer" Neville chuckled.
Her gaze took in the decor of the dining room, this time the walls were a dark midnight blue with again no personal belongings or photos. Mysterious definitely. Dark, gloomy and sparse.
Hermione pouted leaning against the wall "oh yes my apologies because beautiful people can't and won't commit murder. How naive are you three? This is how every horror story starts".
"Come on Hermione lighten up the homeowner as you put it is being very generous, they have found our missing friends".
"Why the hell didn't you start with that then?" Hermione shoved herself off the wall, turning to leave.
Draco called out stopping her in her tracks "stay and eat. We have been told not to wander about by ourselves as we will get lost".
Hermione glared crossily with all three of them, slamming her palms down hard upon the table "you three are stupidly naive to take the word of some weirdo that lives here alone on an island that is inaccessible to most folk. How do you know they haven't murdered our friends and used their meat for your supper?".
Harry choked, Neville spat the food back onto his plate and Draco carried on eating without a care in the world.
"Ignore her she is just overwhelmed. Anyway if it is our friends well they are absolutely delicious".
Hermione stamped her foot childishly "are you seriously telling me you are fine with all this? We nearly died we nearly lost each other" she cried out.
Harry jumped up pulling her into his embrace "hey of course we are upset but this is why we came isn't it? Our friends are safe Hermione".
Hermione pulled away violently "how can you say that? How can you be fucking sure our friends are alive and this bloody hermit hasn't done something to them? You hear all the time about the crazies of the world maybe this bloke is one of them otherwise why would he live on this island? Why did we come to this stupid place I want to go home I ..." she hysterically shouted, tears falling down her cheeks.
"My apologies I hope I'm not intruding" a new voice calmly intervened. Hermione wiped her eyes with the back of her jumper sleeves. Her breath hitched at the tall beautiful woman standing on the other side of the room.
Long blonde hair flowing over her shoulders framing a pair of iciest blue eyes she had ever seen. The black form fitting dress clinging to her womanly curves showcasing her covetous cleavage. "You must be Miss Granger". The blonde tilted her head watching Hermione with a intensity that made her shiver.
"Yeh this is Hermione sorry about the shouting. Just tired and overwhelmed" Neville spoke up.
The blonde quirked her lip "Naturally. I am countess Black but you can call Narcissa or Cissy as my sisters do". Her intense blue eyes never leaving Hermione.
"I want to get my friends and then we will leave" Hermione simply said.
"No can do Miss Granger once you entered our land you and your friends have doomed yourself to this island" Narcissa intoned.
Hermione swirled to her friends each with a guilty expression etched on their faces. "You knew you knew all this time that there was a chance we wouldn't be going home". Harry sadly nodded. "How dare you do this to me how dare you ruin our lives..".
A sharp sting pierced her shoulder blade, Hermione whipped around to find the calm and collected blonde standing behind her with a needle in her hand. "I am sorry Miss Granger but you need rest and so do your friends". Narcissa grabbed her in her arms just as the darkness pulled her under.