Elysia gritted her teeth as the thugs closed in on her, heavy wooden clubs raised to strike her down. Despite the unfavorable odds, Elysia had to bite back a smirk. “You have no idea how lucky I am, boys.”

“Are you talking about what we’re going to do to you before we kill you, or after?” said the closest man.

Elysia wrinkled her nose. “Seriously, that’s all you can think about when you’re about to — you know what? Never mind. I don’t even want to be here.”

She raised her hands as though to ward off a blow from the nearest thug, then thrust her arms out straight in front of her, fingers splayed.

“Hestia, your servant has need of your protection. Lend me the terrible breath of your hottest hearth, that they might see your power and know to fear your wrath.”

Her eyes fluttered, and she felt the presence of the magic slink up behind her, to wrap comforting arms around her chest and waist. The magic drew its touch across her chest to her shoulder, and down the length of her arm, where it left warm, tingling sensations. Where its stance matched hers, she felt covered, shielded by its embrace, and from around her issued a hot blast of air that seared the men in front of her.

The force of Hestia’s Breath was such that the closest men staggered back several steps. They dropped their clubs to use their arms up to protect their faces. The men yelped as the divine wind singed their exposed flesh, and Elysia fixed her gaze on the closest man. “Harm me at your own peril.”