When I was writing The Young Sorceress, I needed a couple of young men to tag along with Senta. I looked through the characters that I had appearing before and after and picked two mostly at random. Since I had already written what happens to everyone for the rest of their lives, I knew that one of these two young men had a fairly important future. It wasn’t until recently though, that I realized I was going to be writing it in The Sorceress and her Lovers. Here are Benny, Shemar, and Senta in The Young Sorceress.
The small train, consisting only of a locomotive and a caboose, stopped at the end of the spur line and deposited its passengers—a blond teenage sorceress and two teenage boys carrying rifles. The girl was dressed in black leather. The two young men wore khaki explorer clothes and pith helmets. All three had high boots, proof against the thick and thorny brush. On the southeast edge of the great forest through which the train had journeyed, more than a hundred miles from Port Dechantagne, the landscape grew hilly and rugged.
“I really don’t think you two should be out here,” said Senta. “I can do just fine on my own.”
“It’s not safe out here for you either,” replied Shemar Morris. “I know you can do magic and all, but Graham says you were almost eaten by dinosaurs on a couple of occasions.”
“Let’s get going,” said Benny Markham, his eyes constantly scanning the area. “I’m really of no mind to run into a tyrannosaurus.”
“Not likely to see one around here,” replied his friend, “at least according to Colonel Mormont.”
“Much more likely to run into a gorgosaurus.”
“Yeah? What are they like?”
“They’re like short tyrannosauruses,” said Senta.
“That’s just ace. How about we get a move on? I’m getting paid a flat rate, not by the hour.”
Senta reached into the air just above her head and grabbed something floating there which only she could see. It was a glamour—a spell stored for use at a later time. The spell was scrying magic that would lead her hopefully to a large coal deposit. The time to use the spell had come. She crushed the gemlike object between her thumb and forefinger and watched as tiny sparkles spread through the air like fairy dust, gradually drifting into an arrow shape that pointed almost due west.
“This way,” she pronounced.
They crossed over a series of small hills which on their far side looked out over a vast open plain. Hundreds of monstrous creatures roamed across it. The vast majority of them were of a type that had the same basic shape as the iguanodons found near the coast, but were a solid deep brown in color and had very different forefeet.
“What does Mormont say about those?” asked Benny.
Shemar pulled out a small leather bound copy of the book that almost all Birmisian residents now carried. He opened it and read. “Gryposaurus. Large herds, very fast, eats grass and shrubbery.” He stuck the book back in his pocket. “Bunch of triceratops over there. Oh, and look.”
Four grey and green striped predators stalked along the edge of the massive herd. They were very much the same shape as the tryrannosaurs known from the coast, though much shorter and with a lighter build.
“Let’s skirt over that way,” said Benny. “I’ll feel better if we can keep those paralititans between us and the gorgosaurs.”
“They’re not paralititans. They’re sauroposeidons.”
“Yeah, all right. I see than now. Let’s just keep moving.”
“So have you got a girlfriend yet, Shemar?” asked Senta.
“I’m keeping my options open.”
“He’s too afraid to ask a girl out,” said Benny, still watching the dinosaurs.
“I have my eye on a few.”
“Like who?” asked Senta.
“Why do you want to know?”
“I don’t want it getting around that I might be interested in one. Then what if I wanted to ask a different one out?”
“Don’t worry,” said Senta. “I don’t talk to any of those other girls anyway.”
“Well, I kind of like Gabby Bassett. She has nice eyes.”
Just as he spoke, Shemar kicked a loose rock which went rolling downhill. A two foot long rodent, heretofore unnoticed, jumped startled from its hiding place, and scurried across Benny’s boots, and then out of sight. Benny jumped completely off the ground, landed off balance, and dropped his rifle.
“Kafira damn it!” he shouted. “Can we pay attention to what we’re doing?”
“Uuthanum beithbechnoth!” shouted Senta, aiming her hand in the boy’s direction.
A bolt of bright orange energy shot from her hand and just past his head, quickly followed by a second and a third. Benny stood shaking where he was for a moment and then turned around. Lying dead ten paces behind him was the body of a beautiful red feathered creature. It was an achillobator, twenty feet long and weighing over a thousand pounds. It was every inch as large and ferocious as the utahraptors they were all familiar with.
“Kafira Kristos,” Benny muttered, crossing himself.
“Dutty Speel is nice,” continued Shemar. “But did you ever notice that her eyes are kind of spaced too far apart?”