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16+ Language Violence Mature Content

Equivalent Worlds - Chapter Eight

by ScarlettFire


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language, violence, and mature content.

For Tenyo's LMS contest. Word Count: 1067, approx.

Chapter Eight

Samria heaved a sigh, leaning forwards and resting both elbows on her knees. She rested her chin in one hand and let the other hang down limply. Seth was in a bed, unnaturally still but breathing evenly, despite the thin, black lines crawling down his throat and up into his hair. Beneath his eyelids, his eyes were rapidly moving as he were dreaming--or having a nightmare.

She watched him carefully, worried for him. They'd finally found him and now he might not wake up. She really hoped he would. Sam wanted to talk to him, to get to know him and understand him. To know his likes and dislikes, to see if they were as different as they seemed, personality-wise. But she couldn't do any of that while Seth was unconscious. She sighed again and rubbed at her face. She was exhausted now.

"Just wake up," she muttered, leaning back in her seat and exhaling carefully. "Please, big brother... just wake up."

Seth remained motionless on the bed, and it served only to frustrate her even more. Sam stood up, pacing away several steps. She ran a hand over her face again, wondering what Amerys would say, what he'd do. He'd know what to do about this. Maybe. She turned to pace back, eyes darting to her brother's face again. What could she do to speed this process along? Was there even anything she could do?

"He's going to be like that for a while, Sam," Amerys said, startling her. She turned to face him. He had hesitated in the doorway, eyes on Seth. After a moment, met her gaze and smiled slightly. He looked at tired as she felt--and she knew not just anyone saw him like this. She was special. Her and Seth. "You know this."

"I know, but I'd still like him to wake up soon, Rhys," she muttered and plopped down in her seat again. Amerys crossed the room to join her at Seth's bedside, booted feet tapping a sharp echo against the metal floor. He placed a hand on her shoulder. "We've spent so long looking for him, and now I just want to get to know him. And I can't... because he's unconscious."

Amerys squeezed her shoulder gently. "He'll wake up," the man insisted, moving to sit on the bed. "He has to."

"You're so optimistic," Samira grumbled, scowling at where he sat on the bed beside her brother. She frowned and leaned forward, suddenly curious. "Can you... feel anything from him now?"

He hesitated for several beats before replying, his tone rather hesitant. "Yes..."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Are you going to share?"

Amerys sighed and shook his head. "It's faint, Sam," he told her, reaching for Seth's face and hesitating short of touching the thing black lines. "He's confused, scared... angry. That's about all I'm getting from him right now, and even then...barely..."

"But... that means you've started, right?"

He blinked at her, expression blank as if he didn't understand what she was trying to sigh. She sent him a dark look. He jerked his hand back, looking down at his hand. There was a tiny frown marring his brow.

"Bonding, that is."

"Oh," Amerys muttered, gaze drifting back Seth. He studied her brother for a moment and then heaved a sigh. "I'm... not sure, to be honest." He scrunched up his face as if the thought bothered him. Samira rolled her eyes. "I probably won't know until he wakes up." He rubbed a hand over his face and made to reach for Seth again--and again, he pulled back before he made contact. He muttered someone she didn't quite catch in Ansharian.

"If he wakes up," she added carefully, not quite looking at Amerys.

Amerys exhaled a soft laugh. "Yes, that." Suddenly, he fixed her with a sharp look. "You're glaring at me, and you're--" He smirked and leaned towards her, lowering his voice. "Are you jealous?"

Samira flushed. "Gods, no!"

He snorted, obviously not believing her for a second, and reached up to cup her cheek. "There's no need to be so jealous, Sam," he muttered and leaned forwards, brushing his lips over hers. She shuddered, suddenly feeling a touch too warm. That was inappropriate, especially while her brother was 'asleep', for lack of a better word. She scowled again. "I'll still be here when you need me." He pulled back and turned towards Seth again, apparently not noticing--or ignoring--her shift in mood. "How does he feel to you?"

She glanced towards her brother's grimacing face. He was not resting comfortably. "I feel nothing," she whispered, "and that worries me the most, I think."

"Nothing?" Amerys seemed surprised by that statement. "Are you sure?"

"Very."

Amerys fell silent, eyes searching Seth's face. Together, they watched the lines spreading for several minutes. Just as Amerys opened his mouth to say something, his earpiece chimed. The little black and grey half-circle sitting behind his ear was flickering blue steadily in time with the bell-like chiming. Amerys scowled but reached up to answer the call anyway. Sam listened in to the one-sided conversation carefully, pretending to be focused on her brother and tracing snaking black lines.

"Yes, Emir?" Amerys asked and then paused, surprise slipping over his face. After a moment, he grinned. "That's excellent news! I'll be right there!" With that, he cut off the call and lowered his hand, meeting her curious gaze. "Emir found something. I'll go see what it is. You stay here with him." He stood up abruptly and strode for the door, pausing as he reached it. Amerys glanced back at her. "Let me know when he wakes up, alright?"

Sam nodded and made a show of settling into her chair. "Of course."

"Thanks."

He flashed her a bright smile and disappeared out into the hallway. She stared after him for a moment before turning back to face her brother. Sam really hoped that Emir had found something on the black lines crawling across her brother's face like the many branches of a river. They needed answers, preferably now--and Seth needed to wake up. She couldn't bear to see him unconscious and in such obvious pain, not for any longer than he needed to be.


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Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:08 am
Xorsudite wrote a review...



Interesting chapter. I enjoyed the exchange between Samira and Amerys; it further expands upon their relationship.

See mine (notes) and /*edits*/ below.

Samria /*Samira*/ heaved a sigh, leaning forwards and resting both elbows on her knees. She rested her chin in one hand and let the other hang down limply. Seth was in a bed, unnaturally still but breathing evenly, despite the thin, black lines crawling down his throat and up into his hair. Beneath his eyelids, his eyes were rapidly moving as he were dreaming--or having a nightmare.


"He's going to be like that for a while, Sam," Amerys said, startling her. She turned to face him. He had hesitated in the doorway, eyes on Seth. After a moment, /*he*/ met her gaze and smiled slightly. He looked at tired as she felt--and she knew not just anyone saw him like this. She was special. Her and Seth. "You know this."


Amerys sighed and shook his head. "It's faint, Sam," he told her, reaching for Seth's face and hesitating short of touching the thing /*thin*/ black lines. "He's confused, scared... angry. That's about all I'm getting from him right now, and even then...barely..."

"But... that means you've started, right?"

He blinked at her, expression blank as if he didn't understand what she was trying to /*say*/ sigh. She sent him a dark look. He jerked his hand back, looking down at his hand. There was a tiny frown marring his brow.

"Bonding, that is."

"Oh," Amerys muttered, gaze drifting back /*to*/ Seth. He studied her brother for a moment and then heaved a sigh. "I'm... not sure, to be honest." He scrunched up his face as if the thought bothered him. Samira rolled her eyes. "I probably won't know until he wakes up." He rubbed a hand over his face and made to reach for Seth again--and again, he pulled back before he made contact. He muttered someone /*something*/ she didn't quite catch in Ansharian.


Amerys fell silent, eyes searching Seth's face. Together, they watched the lines spreading for several minutes. Just as Amerys opened his mouth to say something, his earpiece chimed. The little black and grey half-circle sitting behind his ear was flickering blue steadily in time with the bell-like chiming. Amerys scowled but reached up to answer the call anyway. Sam listened in to the one-sided conversation carefully, pretending to be focused on her brother/*tracing his black lines*/ and tracing snaking black lines.


On to the next chapter.




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Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:50 pm
Kaylaa wrote a review...



Hi there, Scarli, Kayla here jumping in for a review on Review Day!

Let's jump right into the chapter with saying that I didn't think this was EW at all. Quite the opposite, actually. There's not much content in this chapter (probably since it's for LMS) but I like the time you take for characterization and it seems to be a strong point of yours. What I did find to be lacking from your writing style is description.

In draft two if you do end up making one, I would end up focusing on that to make the elements of your writing more balanced, though that's just an opinion and your writing doesn't have to describe everything, I just want more of an idea for this setting.

I had the same problems with BlueAfrica with the dialogue which seemed to be weaker than usual (I'm going to go ahead and point LMS at that too for being the reasoning) and in places, you have dialogue, a line in-between, more dialogue. Rinse and repeat that until the paragraph ends. Sorry, but that's not how it works and it got me confused as to who was actually talking--when I realized it was all just one person for the most part.

Like BlueAfrica says in her review, there doesn't need to be so many actions and verbs all in one area--it's a little daunting even for me. That being another area of your focus while editing (at least I suggest), here's an example of where you're doing this:

He snorted, obviously not believing her for a second, and reached up to cup her cheek. "There's no need to be so jealous, Sam," he muttered and leaned forwards, brushing his lips over hers. She shuddered, suddenly feeling a touch too warm. That was inappropriate, especially while her brother was 'asleep', for lack of a better word. She scowled again. "I'll still be here when you need me." He pulled back and turned towards Seth again, apparently not noticing--or ignoring--her shift in mood. "How does he feel to you?"


Aside from those issues that I found, this is a gently paced but solid chapter, I thought. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! i hope I helped, and have a great day.

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:10 pm
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BluesClues wrote a review...



"You're glaring at me, and you're--" He smirked and leaned towards her, lowering his voice. "Are you jealous?"

Samira flushed. "Gods, no!"

He snorted, obviously not believing her for a second, and reached up to cup her cheek. "There's no need to be so jealous, Sam," he muttered and leaned forwards, brushing his lips over hers.


Has their relationship always been this way and I just didn't notice because I came in late? Amirys has really seemed like a grizzly, grumpy old man to me.

Maybe it's just his personality (although he did seem weirdly cheery in this chapter).

Oh, my! No reviews yet?

I'll say what I said to...Ventomology? I think so. Anyway:

NOT ON MY WATCH.

So here I am, adding to this so I feel justified in marking it as a review.

So you know how I feel about this kind of momentary hint at romance after reading back from the beginning. I think I should've mentioned, part of the reason it seemed weird to me was Sam's reaction.



Like, yes, it's inappropriate at this moment because her brother's unconscious right there in the same room, but the way she thinks it comes across as if it's always inappropriate/makes her uncomfortable. So honestly I think part of it was that I took my cues from her.

The other thing I noticed during this read-through was that the dialogue kind of gets buried in narration, like, a lot.

"Oh," Amerys muttered, gaze drifting back Seth. He studied her brother for a moment and then heaved a sigh. "I'm... not sure, to be honest." He scrunched up his face as if the thought bothered him. Samira rolled her eyes. "I probably won't know until he wakes up." He rubbed a hand over his face and made to reach for Seth again--and again, he pulled back before he made contact. He muttered someone she didn't quite catch in Ansharian.


He snorted, obviously not believing her for a second, and reached up to cup her cheek. "There's no need to be so jealous, Sam," he muttered and leaned forwards, brushing his lips over hers. She shuddered, suddenly feeling a touch too warm. That was inappropriate, especially while her brother was 'asleep', for lack of a better word. She scowled again. "I'll still be here when you need me." He pulled back and turned towards Seth again, apparently not noticing--or ignoring--her shift in mood. "How does he feel to you?"


I realize if the same person is speaking with actions between every line or two, you might not want to separate it out all the way. But there's something to be said for letting dialogue stand alone now and then, to draw more attention to it.

Plus, it can make the chapter less intimidating to people who might otherwise think it's too long and scary to review.

Not that this chapter actually is that long, but you know what I mean.

You don't have to separate EVERY line, but maybe something like this.

He snorted, obviously not believing her for a second, and reached up to cup her cheek.

"There's no need to be so jealous, Sam," he muttered and leaned forwards, brushing his lips over hers. She shuddered, suddenly feeling a touch too warm. That was inappropriate, especially while her brother was 'asleep', for lack of a better word. She scowled again. "I'll still be here when you need me."

He pulled back and turned towards Seth again, apparently not noticing--or ignoring--her shift in mood. "How does he feel to you?"


So there the dialogue is a little more visible now, but it's still perfectly clear who's speaking, and it sort of subtly changes the pacing and even the mood. Because now we've drawn attention to both the dialogue and certain actions, like Rhys pulling back from this kiss thing without noticing her mood change.





Every empire tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires.
— Edward Said