Happy Birthday, Benji!

Benji’s birthday is here!

(If you’re envisioning a bunch of streamers and confetti falling all over them as they wear a serious expression, you’d be on the money.)

Basic Info:

Age in Aquarius: 17
Height: 5’9 | Weight: 130 lbs.
Hair: medium-length, straight, messy, dark brown | Eyes: hazel green
Human Race: Half-Cherokee, remainder is mixed European | Species: demon
Hailing Planet: Semes
Ability: hypercognition & tactical intuition
Rank: none
Specialties: strategic maneuvers, enhanced calculations, eidetic memory, encyclopedic knowledge
Best friend: Gabriella Moore, Koji Dimaculangan
Mentor: Dane Ward
Soul mate: Gabriella Moore

Three facts about Benji:

  1. Benji & Tawni are probably the only members of the Semes Tribe who still have both of their parents alive and well. Ainslie & Sylas are amicably separated, though, and currently seeing different people.
  2. Benji’s identified as nonbinary for as long as they could remember. Their family has always been supportive, so they can’t imagine growing up as Gabby did.
  3. Their hobbies include hosting videogame tournaments with the tribe and challenging Dane and Piece to chess. They’ve beaten Dane more often than not, but Tawni’s computer is nigh unbeatable.

My thoughts on Benji:

Benji grew up in a loving household where everyone was a genius in their own right. Their mother, Ainslie Hall, has single-handedly kept the colony’s power running for over two decades and could talk your ear off when it comes to electricity, fuel, and power sources in general. Sylas Carver, their father, doubles as a field hand and mechanic, which may not sound impressive–until you consider that he was Cienna’s mentor and taught her everything she needed to know about the crops she grows for the colonists. Whenever she comes across a new plant, he’s the first one she contacts for advice. Then there’s Benji’s older sister, Tawni, who had an aptitude for technology before she became a demon and realized her ability. You’d imagine that being surrounded by so many passionate individuals would spark a fire in the teen, urging them to find their own niche. It’s had the opposite effect, encouraging them to seek out knowledge on various topics as opposed to one or two. They go through “phases” where they hyper-fixate on one subject, but they eventually revert to their usual interests of spirit abilities and the mission that binds them to Earth.

As previously mentioned, the other three members of the Hall-Carver household have always been outspoken, enthusiastic individuals who unabashedly declare their love for their favorite topics… But not Benji. Aside from being well-rounded in terms of their interests and knowledge base, they also display a level of maturity far beyond their years. Among the Phebean youth, they’re the designated adult. That’s not to say they’re a goody-two-shoes; they were known to tag along with Koji when he skipped certain classes, though they stopped after Gabby insisted that they take their education more seriously. They also had a “bad” habit of being too honest, like when they would outright tell teachers that they were skipping a class because they saw no point in attending, or when they make harsh-sounding remarks to Tawni. They don’t mean to offend or be rude; they’re just blunt.

On the subject of their maturity, even Benji has their childish moments, though they are few and far between. When it does happen, it’s usually the result of embarrassment or excitement, two reactions they rarely exhibit. Gabby and Koji seem to be the only ones who can embarrass them, but Spencer has done it once or twice. Speaking of Spencer: since he and Benji both seem to lack tact, the results may vary between side-splitting interactions and full-blown fist-fights. They’re still learning to deal with one another; for now, they’re sort of seen as frenemies, especially since Spencer keeps trying to flirt with a disinterested Karia, whom Benji feels protective over following her breakup with Monty.

Fun fact: Benji and Gabby were among the group of characters first created for this series! Their original roles were meant to be far less vital; they were just Tawni and Gavin’s little siblings and were significantly younger following their conception (around mid- to late-grade school age). It was mainly meant to fuel cute side stories between me and my friends, but when I revamped the series years later, I aged them up so they could play more central roles in the future. I had always envisioned them together, though, so their being soul mates isn’t new. Koji’s interest in one or both of them, however, is a different story…

For those of you who don’t know, Benji is a supporting character in my trilogy Saturn Rising, which is the first installment of The Chronicles of Life & Death. The first book, Aquarius, is available now on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. You can even read it all for free with Kindle Unlimited! Learn more here.

Want more Benji before their group becomes a major player in the main book series? Check out my blog series Lizzie’s Diary, where they and other members of the Semes Tribe made their debut!

Read More

Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

Graphic made at Canva

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