I first heard about the Chamber of Secrets in my third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We were in History of Magic class, when I, intrigued by the small story in Hogwarts: A History, asked Professor Binns about it. My classmates weren't as curious about it as I was, though those who had read Hogwarts: A History looked up at the professor, sat up straighter and were suddenly listening intently.
Professor Binns peered at me through his glasses "And you are
?" he wheezed.
"Vaith, sir. Vaith Hester." I answered, tugging my robes a little straighter. The sorting hat had sorted me into Slytherin House three years ago and I was now very familiar with the schools many secret passageways and doors, but my life's ambition was, from then on out, to find the Chamber of Secrets.
I stared, enraptured, as Professor Binns told the story, coughing at intervals and rolling his eyes as though he didn't believe this idle legend. When he had finished I was already planning. Imagine, finding something no other wizard, even the great Godric Gryffindor, had never found. I was filled with images of striding out of the Chamber (which looked like a tunnel/corridor) and the monsters head (which resembles a distorted, ugly dog's face) would be in one of my hands, my wand in the other, both my arms raised.
For the next two years I isolated myself from the rest of the wizarding world. Though I studied, my research was of the Chamber, so my grades dropped several levels. In the school holidays I would pester my parents to go to Diagon Alley, where I would either rush to Flourish and Blotts, or scamper off down Knockturn Alley to find books on the Chamber or Parseltongue. I figured out that you would need Parseltongue to enter the Chamber, because Salazar Slytherin had been a Parselmouth, so it would only make sense that his heir would be able to open the Chamber with Snake Language. I studied it, and it was the most complex language I've ever seen, and I studied Ancient Runes. I sat for hours on end hissing to myself, trying to capture the attention of the snakes in my garden.
One day, in my fifth year at Hogwarts, I came across a creature called the Basilisk. A huge serpent. It caught my attention almost immediately, as someone had folded the corner of the page in. I found the entry in a big dusty silver volume of 'Old Beasts and their Legends'. I bent lower over the page as Madame Pince strutted past, and read about the giant snake. Spiders flee before it, hatched beneath a toad, cry of a rooster; the whole text burnt itself into my brain. I had finally found the beast within the Chamber of Secrets.