Disclaimer: I do not own or claim to own Harry Potter, any of its wonderful and dynamic characters, items, spells, or anything you recognize in this story. It all belongs to the brilliant, COMPLETELY brilliant J.K. Rowling. I am NOT J.K. Rowling and it would highly offensive to her brilliant mind if I said I was!

Authoress' Note- This is my first 'posted' fanfiction so please be gentle on the first oh five or so chapters. I already know they are mostly sheer vomit, and if you can past that I'm hoping you'll think it gets better. I've done minor corrections on them and I soon may try to do a lot of fine-tuning and improvement but I just don't know if I can get them up to par without drastically changing things. (sigh) I hope you'll be able to see my effort... E.D.J.

Ch. 1- The Beginning of an Era

Lily Evans stood staring up at the vast starry ceiling of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's Great Hall, dazzled by its profound similarity to the true night sky.

When she'd gotten her letter for Hogwarts, she'd never thought she'd end up here: a giant castle filled with ever changing staircases, hidden passageways, and sheer mystery. Lily had assumed the letter was a hoax and hadn't given it another thought, so one could imagine her surprise when a severe-looking woman in green robes had literally appeared on her doorstep, a few weeks after she received the letter.

The woman had pretty much shown herself in and introduced herself as Professor Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Professor had explained vastly to her family all about magic and Hogwarts, and Lily had been rattled by the truth of what she was. A witch ... magic ... The words had felt odd and exotic on her tongue and yet strangely comforting; she finally had an explanation for what her sister Petunia had defined as "that strangeness that you had better not show in front of decent people anymore."

After the general uproar of surprise and excitement that had shook the Evans's family, Professor McGonagall had taken them to buy Lily school supplies at Diagon Alley: the place where the young eleven-year-old received her first taste of the magical world she'd suddenly been cast into. Once the Professor had instructed her on the proper way to reach Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (passing through the barrier before Platforms Nine and Ten at King's Cross Station for you few Muggles who don't know) and thus the Hogwarts Express, she had disappeared again as suddenly as she had come.

Lily had thought Diagon Alley and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters were strange, but now they seemed perfectly normal compared to what she was seeing now: ghosts hovering about in mid-conversation with each other and a few older students,other nervous first-year students comparing wands and whispering of the spells they'd already learned, and once again, the still mind-boggling ceiling with its perfect resemblance to the night sky!

Lily shook her head, her thick red hair whirling. It would be a completely brilliant seven years.

A tall thin boy with hazel eyes and very untidy black hair stood gazing out across the Great Hall. He had heard just about everything about Hogwarts from his parents and his other family members, but seeing it with his own eyes made a bubble of excitement well up inside his chest. He was here; he was finally here!

Deciding that he probably should start introducing himself to his classmates instead of gaping like an idiot at everything, the boy pushed his round glasses up the bridge of his nose and walked over to the first person he saw, a pretty redhead.

"Hello, I'm James Potter," he said warmly, holding out his hand.

"Lily Evans," she said, shaking his hand. She glanced at him for a moment and then craned her head up once more to stare at the ceiling. "Amazing, isn't it?" she murmured half to herself, indicating the ceiling.

"Yeah, it's great," agreed James, not sure what else to say. "So ... excited about starting school at Hogwarts?"

"Very," said Lily, turning her eyes on a ghost covered with silver bloodstains as he floated by. "Any idea why everyone else is sitting and we aren't?"

"We're waiting to be sorted," he informed her, feeling a bit of smugness at his knowlege of Hogwarts's Sorting ceremony. "There's four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Most of my family's been in Gryffindor."

"So you're from a wizarding family then?" Lily asked suddenly.

"Yes," said James. "You?"

"Muggles for parents," she said in a slightly wary voice, and he was sure that she'd already been told of the horrible prejudice against her kind in the wizarding world. "I never knew all the strange stuff that happened around me was magic. I once set a swarm of bees on my sister Petunia!" She laughed, sounding a little wistful. "My parents weren't too happy about that, but they were thrilled to find they had a witch in the family, insisted Petunia pretend to be happy for me and everything."

Lily smiled at him and he felt his face go hot, so he quickly said,"Well, very nice to meet you! I'm going to mingle some more before the Sorting."

"Of course," she agreed, turning a bit pink. "I'll do that too."

James quickly walked off in the opposite direction, suddenly feeling as if sweat was pouring down the back of his neck.

Two boys stood talking amidst the other first years. One was rather good-looking for an eleven-year-old boy with his black hair and gray eyes while the other had light brown hair, blue-gray eyes,and a strained, weary look about him, as if he'd had more than his fair share of pain in his short lifespan.

"So, Remus, where do you hope to be sorted?" asked the first boy in a slightly haughty tone, one he'd probably picked up from being forced to attend to many of his parents' dinner parties.

"Oh anywhere," said the second boy who was called Remus Lupin. "What about you, Sirius?"

"Well the Black family, the whole lot of them, were all in Slytherin, but I don't know if I want to end up there. There's too much pureblood nonsense in that house," growled Sirius, with more than a hint of suppressed rage. He dropped his voice to barely a whisper: "My parents would kill me if they heard me say that. They have all those stupid views of purebloods being dominate over everyone else."

"Ah," murmured Remus thoughtfully, "they think that way do they?"

"Yes," sighed Sirius, shifting uncomfortably,"along with the rest of my extended family. My cousin Bellatrix is starting Hogwarts this year too." He pointed at a tall dark-haired girl with heavily-lidded eyes, who avoided looking at him as if he was the plague itself. "She and I aren't that close. She's a joy to be around."

Just then, a thin messy-haired boy appeared near them, putting out his hand. "Hello, I'm James Potter."

Remus and Sirius introduced themselves. The boys joked and chatted for a bit until Sirius said softly, "Who's that kid staring at us?"

He jerked his head slightly at a short boy with a rat-like face who was skulking about behind a group of chattering girls, peering at them with his small, watery eyes.

Without a word, James marched over to the boy, spoke to him for a moment, and then brought him back over to Remus and Sirius.

"This is Peter Pettigrew." he said, nodding at the boy.

Peter stood nervously beside them, peering up at the three taller boys and looking as if he expected them to tell him to sod off in a matter of minutes.

"So why were you staring at us?" inquired Sirius somewhat gruffly.

The smaller boy visibly trembled. "I ... I don't know anyone here, so I was just watching people to pass the time." He stared at the floor forlornly. "No one's tried talking to me yet."

"Well, mate, we've all just met! Join us! Chat a bit!" said Remus cheerfully, motioning to a spot next to James.

A tiny, grateful smile appeared on Peter's face, and he stepped forward into the circle. And with that small gesture of kindess on Sirius, Remus, and James's part, the Marauders, the most famous group of pranksters ever known to Hogwarts, were formed.

It's bulked up a bit in description and that certainly helps! Of course, it's still isn't and never will be my favorite chapter BUT hopefully all of you were intrigued by the story and will continue on? E.D.J.