Tall, though not exceptionally so. Broad, though he doesn't seem to have grown into the breadth of his shoulders. If they are anything to go by, he will one day be quite solidly built. As it is, he is compulsively fit and well beyond gangly, and his stringently proper posture adds turns to his age. On closer examination, he is fair complected; his square hands and short fingers are calloused from various use. His eyes are the cloudy blue-gray of winter skies, and his dark brown hair is in the early stages of growing out of a buzz-cut. He is square-jawed with good cheekbones and obsessively smooth shaven. One slightly crooked front tooth breaks the trend as does the occasional smile which, when it turns up, seems perpetually wryly embarrassed about something.

Foremost, he wears a brown hat with a tall crown and wide brim. This is his almost constant companion. The only compromise he has made to the desert thus far is trading in his plaid for light, long-sleeved cotton tunics. His trousers are sturdy if a trifle snug, and his belt is multipurpose. Pant cuffs are carefully tucked into his boots. Tall, leather, and of good quality, the boots are well maintained, oiled, and shiny. Attached to his left shoulder is the relatively simple double-corded loop and short tail of a senior apprentice, in the blue and white of the Harper Craft. A more recent edition is the patch on his right shoulder: black dunes against a gold background.


Benton's beginnings aren't particularly ideal by most standards though they were undeniably formative, in the most complicated sense of the word. He was born in a minor hold in the mountains some distance north of High Reaches Weyr. Climate and conditions being what they were, closely knit community was the way of life—in the worst conditions, very possibly the way of survival.

Benton's parents were rarely together. His father, Trufton, was one of the few far-ranging guards. He could be out for patrol for weeks at a time—crime or not, there was always some damn fool wandering off into the wilderness without proper preparation, and dragons are only so much use in locations with poor visibility and violent air currents — and when he returned from those patrols, Trufton was distant at best. His mother Bendida, a deft-fingered Weaver, kept Benton in warm clothes and busy. Unfortunately, while Trufton was out on patrol, Bendida caught a fever, and the Healers were unable to keep death at bay. After that, Trufton was — if possible — even more distant, his patrols lengthened, and it really wasn't much of a surprise when word finally made it to the hold that he had been seriously injured on patrol and died from exposure.

Young enough to be flexible in the face of these personal disasters but old enough to remember, Benton fell into the keeping of his father's parents, the co-maintainers of the Hold's limited records, scrolls, and books. It was a small collection, befitting the size of the Hold, but it was more extensive than it could be through the efforts of its maintainers. Benton really grew up *there*, under the stern but not unkind authority of librarians (who had no patience for slacking, "Shoulders back, Benton!" or what they deemed to be childish games) who were not expecting to have to raise another child.

So Benton ate up all the information that was available to him, perused his father's journals, and spent as much time as he could afford under the professional feet of various Crafters — the Harpers liked him because he could hold a tune, besides having a sharp memory for history and tales and numbers, the herders and the kennel masters liked him because of his sure touch with animals *as* animals (not the fuzzy, cuddly balls of fur that most children expect), the Healers liked him because he attended first aid classes and asked insightful questions and had dexterous fingers. Yes, he was one of *those* kids — either immediately likeable with their crisp manners or absolutely intolerable because they Know Things and will readily correct anybody on everything, and oh, what sort of sissy would go to such lengths to keep his fingernails clean, anyway? The guards were slightly leery of him as his father had been something of a legend in the area, and one is wisest to avoid the offspring of legends. They might have Ideas in their head and Ideals and no real sense of What Life Is Really Like.

This didn't deter Benton who had some idea in mind of following in his father's footsteps. He even ran away for a time to prove that he was entirely capable of being an adult. A friend of the family tracked him and coaxed him back home but Benton — a precocious thirteen year old who thought he knew everything, by this point — was to have none of it. He learned to spar, he learned to track, he accompanied one of the more tolerant guards on patrol when the weather was mild. He had his mind made up.

Then, of course, his grandmother intervened, put her not inconsiderable foot down, and bawled him out for being "dim and short-sighted and didn't we raise you better than that, Benton? I ought to let you run off with the guards, all that drinking and carousing, you would end up a shambles. Don't you know half of those stories about your father are tall tales at best? You want fiction, then it's off to the Harper Hall for you." Suddenly, with apparently no choice in the matter — because his grandmother was the kind of matron a wise man didn't argue with — Ben found himself an apprentice at the Harper Hall.

The Harper Craft was not a match easily made. Benton could strum a guitar and carry a tune reliably enough, though he had no interest in song-writing, lyrics, or instruments beyond his guitar. But given his voracious reading habits, reliable memory and ear for stories — "oral history," he might well grumble — he was to become a two-legged historical compendium and probably a reliable teacher for those able to sit through his long-winded and frequently rambling explanations. Maintaining archival materials, thanks to his grandparents maintenance of the holding records and paraphernalia, came almost as second nature.

Still, if you have convinced yourself that you want to be a guard in order to follow in your fathers footsteps — because it seemed like the Right Thing to do, a sure way to Make a Difference — a career as a swashbuckling Harper was sketchy at best. And Benton and violence typically avoided each other. This did not diminish his thirst for the Ideals of Truth and Justice (not necessarily contiguous with black and white views of Law and Order), his desire to see wrongs righted, or a similar desire to mete out fitting punishment.

Taking steps to practice law might seem, to an outside observer, to be ironic. But approached with an investigative mind, it seemed like the only outlet for his singular focus. Recently posted to Igen Weyr to study under the resident Master, he has yet to walk the tables — but that trial is looming, provided he can refrain from melting in the heat.


Name Relation Location Position
Bendida Mother Deceased Deceased
Trufton Father Deceased Deceased



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