Wraith by Jaleigh Johnson is one of those short stories that you REALLY wish went on.

Set in Amn, we are introduced to a gang of street urchins who refer to themselves as Wraiths and are doing what urchins to best, robbing unsuspecting passerby to try and make ends meet.

They are able to take down one merchant with some success, but when they face their second target, things go awry.

The heirchy in this gang is not too unusual at least how children regard things.  The older ones lead, the younger follow.  And in this pack the older ones each have a younger charge, ones that they take care of and train essentially.  Our leading urchin lady Meisha has one such charge, and when they come upon their second target, her instincts are to let the man be.  But her charge had other ideas, and attacks.

As he does, magic is unleashed and the younger child is killed.

At first it seems that the target is the one that cast the spell that killed the child, but after a bit of back and forth it’s discovered that while the target is a wizard, Meisha is the one that cast the spell.  Turns out little Meisha is a wild mage.

And as with most Amnians, Meisha has a fear and distrust of magic ingrained into her, as do the other children.  So when the wizard offers to take her in and teach her how to control and use her wild magic, she turns to her fellow Wraiths in fear for help, and they swiftly take up arms against her for the magic in her blood and the death of their younger comrade.

It is a rather heartbreaking story, I was really invested and was surprised with how quickly it ended.  But the most interesting thing for me is that this turned out to be the origin story for the main character for one of Johnson’s other works, The Howling Delve, second in The Dungeons series.  That was pretty fun for me, though again I wish there was more, maybe like a whole prequel/origin story book babout Meisha because that was damn good.

But all good things must come to an end.  Much like the Realms themselves when I finally gird myself to getting there.

In the meantime we have Every Revel a Masterpiece by Ed Greenwood next.

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