As Oracles are Wont to Do
- Page Seven -
Maenthrai felt her left leg hit the stone of the balcony by the doorway, soon followed by her right foot and her buttocks. The impact was hard, but the merciful tides of adrenaline in her system drowned the pain out into a hollow echo.
As she impacted, her head got knocked upward. This allowed her to see the strained face of the bearded man who had yanked her free from the maw of the abyss a moment earlier. In this dilated sense of time, Maenthrai was able to take in all the details of this man's face and form. His eyes were closed, his teeth gritted together with immense strain. Beads of sweat ran down from his dark hair-line, being collected in his wispy brown-and-gray brow. The hulking arms and broad shoulders of his frame were barely constrained beneath a series of leather straps and buckles. Large molten-metal plates were attached to many of those leather straps. The salt-and-pepper hair on his head ended in a loosely braided ponytail, the end of which was held together with metal molten right into the collected ends of his hair. Unlike the young woman she had passed by, she had no mirth concerning this person, she knew he had just saved her from a most dire fate.
With the last impact of her head against the crystalline glass of the metal door, her senses returned fully to their normal focus and speed. Tremendous pain erupted up from her body and the smell of her own blood filled her nose. The last impact on her head was still a hollow one, but that only lasted for the briefest of seconds, before the pain tore through her entire skull. She was back in the mortal world — such as it was — completely now.
"She-" A female voice stammered for a moment. "She almost died!" The voice changed in pitch as the woman ran towards Maenthrai who was now sprawled against the doorway. "What in Gehemol?!"
The large man let go of Maenthrai's robes, slowly. His knuckles were white with strain and his fingers seemed to quiver. "What in-" His voice broke from lack of breath, yet he continued after he took in another. "Hoelv, were you-" Another deep breath. "Thinking?!"
Maenthrai raised her right hand up to the impact point on her head. She let her fingers run through her long, fine, blood-colored hair until she felt her scalp. She continued to train down over the most painful parts of her skull — noticing a bump that was beginning to form — until she felt satisfied enough to pull her fingers up to her face. Rivulets of her blood-colored hair fell away from her hand, slowly exposing the remnant blood spots on her flesh. There wasn't much, which was a mercy. She knew from many personal experiences just how badly most head wounds could get. Thankfully, it was mostly just an impact rather than gash.
The large man leaned forward, putting his rough and meaty hands on his knees. He gave a few puffs of air while the look on his face turned from one of strain to one of confusion. "Surely, you weren't trying to end it all, were you?" His eyebrows peaked and scrunched together. He raised his left hand from his knee, offering it outward to Maenthrai. She leaned forward and took his hand. With a burst of strength, he managed to raise both of them up to their feet.
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