The Shadow Student (Wraithwood Academy #1) - Teresa Hann Page 0,1

realized it if my mother hadn’t told me the full story.

So Priam Redbriar had gone slumming it in a human bar one night, eighteen years ago, while his wife was pregnant, and ended the night in a back alley with a college student half his age. And then he’d wiped her memory of the night, so that by the time the evidence that she was pregnant against all odds became undeniable, she was already months and months along.

And Priam hadn’t bothered to take responsibility for the college student single mother whose life he’d upended. At least, not until his daughter by his wife turned seven, old enough to make it clear that her magical ability was far weaker than it should be. He and his wife Leda tried everything—artifacts, potions, tutors—but nothing worked. Clytemnestra Redbriar struggled to cast even the simplest and smallest of spells.

To Priam Redbriar, tyrant of the magical world, one of the strongest mages in generations, that was utterly unacceptable in an heir. So unacceptable, in fact, that he remembered he might have a child elsewhere, hidden in the world of ordinary humans.

This wasn’t him swooping in like an incredibly belated Prince Charming to rescue Cinderella from the ashes. My mother had moved on in the years since then. She’d had to drop out of college, and her religious parents had disowned her for having a child out of wedlock, but she’d worked hard to make a life for us. We clipped coupons and shopped thrift stores, but we had enough to live on. We were happy. My mother was starting to find success as a freelance translator.

Then Priam Redbriar came in and ruined her life again.

In a way, it was my fault, because he’d found me just in time to witness magic that impressed even him. In my second grade classroom, the sunlight kept getting into my eyes where I sat during the afternoon, and the teacher wouldn’t let me switch seats. So I’d subconsciously rotated the entire school about twenty degrees on its foundation so the sun would stop bothering me.

There was no letting us go after that.

I sometimes wondered if Priam had other half-human bastards as well, besides me, because a man like him wouldn’t stop at one college student. I’d read that the vast majority of half-bloods didn’t manifest any magical abilities at all; they needed to have some dormant magical ancestry on their human side, from an earlier half-blood who’d passed for human, to get the right combination of genes for magic. Maybe I had other half-siblings out there, passed over because they were useless to him, and therefore beneath his generosity.

They said many things about Priam Redbriar at his funeral, as my mother and I watched from a distant window, forbidden to mingle with the guests and dignitaries. He was brilliant, and talented, and ambitious, and charismatic. For twenty years, he’d held the fate of mage society in his hands. But no one ever claimed he was kind.

And yet, our lives were better back when he was still alive. He liked me. He thought I was useful. And he’d never left me tied me up in a trunk for seven hours.


The car rolled to a stop. I heard the thump of doors, footsteps crunching on asphalt, and the metallic rattle of a moving cart. More thumps, as the suitcases on top of me were lifted away and dropped onto the cart. I was savagely pleased to hear Aegis grunt when he picked up the trunk with me inside; at least I was making him pay in this petty way for the amount of hardware they’d put on me.

“We’re supposed to be in… Rowan Building, Room 205-1 and 205-2,” said Cly, with a rustle of parchment. The cart began to move, jostling me painfully against the hard, lumpy equipment strapped to the inside lid of the trunk.

The enchantments on the trunk got rid of my bodily needs, such as food, water, proper circulation, or trips to the bathroom, which made my imprisonment slightly less terrible than it could have been. Still, the trip to Rowan House made me curse the very existence of cobblestones. By the time we stopped and I heard the scrape of a key into a lock, I knew my back was going to be covered in bruises tomorrow.

After that, I spent another half hour or so lying there, staring into darkness, as Cly and Aegis explored the room, set up wards, and unpacked the other suitcases. It might