Now, when I summoned a portal, it wasn't like a doorway. I just kind of flashed in and out of places. And that's what happened then- I was engulfed in orange light, and when it faded I was standing in some kind of magicians workshop. The walls were old stone, and there was a desk covered in scrolls in the middle. The ghost wasn't there, and I was partly relieved and partly concerned. With out him here, I was free to search for a copy of the Names, but I also needed him present for my spell.

No time to lose, I thought.

I looked through the scrolls on the desk- nada. But there was a key. I tried it on all the desk drawers and it opened the last one. I gingerly pulled out a scroll. I wrote a couple of life protection runes on my inner arm, then opened the scroll.

As soon as I read the Names, a million images flashed before my eyes. There were 13 in all- the 12 Olympians and Hecate. I watched every magically signifigant moment in history flash before my eyes- the Titan war, the dividing of the world, Zeus's marriage to Hera, Athena being born from Zeus' skull, Hera casting Hephaestus off the side of Olympus, Artemis, Hestia, and Athena swearing their oathes of Virginity and Maidenhood, Hestia abdicating her throne to Dionysus, so many others I couldn't even count. My clothes were smoking. My head felt like it was being cut into with a Hack-Saw. I fell to my knees.

"You survived. Interesting." Said a man's voice from behind me.  

I didn't have enough strength to lift my head, but I muttered-"Setne."

He materialized in front of me, and I gagged. He was wearing the most horrible outfit I'd ever seen. A black suit jacket with padded shoulders, a red t-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, blindingly white running shoes, a golden chain of interlocking ankhs, and diamond-embedded was(symbol of power) pinky rings. As a great magician once said, he looked like the Ancient Egyptian Mafia. And that was not a good thing.

As I was thinking that, my life force rejuvenation runes kicked in. I decided not to stand up just yet, but I did give him a surprised look.

"What are you wearing?"

He scowled at me, but otherwise ignored the comment. "So this is the best the House of Life and the Olympian council together can muster? A ten-year-old girl?"

I glared at him. I then flicked my wrist and summoned a roll of ribbons to my hand- The Ribbons of Hathor. In one fluid movement, I stood up, spoke a command word, and threw the Ribbons at him. They wrapped around him until he looked like an orange mummy. They also covered up his outfit, thank the gods.

I walked back over to the scroll of Names. I pulled out my combo spell and swallowed hard. It was basically a combonation of an execration, a reverse execration, and a binding spell. The scroll of Names would act as a talisman, like a statue for an execration, and when the scroll burned, no one would be able to learn the gods' secret names without their permission ever again, and everyone who already knew them would forget them. Except me, of course. But that wouldn't really matter. Because the cost of the spell...

It would burn my life force. And no amount of runes could change that. I began the spell. As I said it, the scroll lit on fire.

A warm fealing flooded through me, growing until it became uncomfortable. I watched the scroll burn, along with my life. Then the world faded to black.

                       *              *              *

Artemis, Hestia, and Hecate arrived on the scene to find a pile of limp, tangled, orange ribbons, and the girl's body collapsed on the floor. Artemis checked for a pulse- nothing. Hecate picked up a scrap of paper from the desk. It had a combonation spell written on it. She raised her eyebrows, mildly impressed. "She bound the Names, so that no one but her could learn them without our consent. She knew the spell would take her life force, but she did it anyway."

"Very brave." Artemis said. Hestia tilted her head and stared at the girl with her eyes of orange flame. "One such as her does not deserve such a fate." She knelt next to the girl and touched her forhead."Hestia!" Hecate protested. The girl's hair and jacket glowed a warmer orange, the color of the core of a Hearth. Then her eyes fluttered open.

                        *              *              *

The Half-Blood Magician, ch. 6:I Am Blessed