Warriors admired by two species
"The benti are proud, Taisa, and won't let any zivar join them unless they prove their strength", said Gawa. "We can't just be good. We have to be the best."-- Benti-Zai
To be a benti-zai, one needs to be approved by the benti. Usually that happens through a competition in which the wannabe riders race against each other, mounting a benti. The benti analyze the performance of the racers, in aspects like: number of falls, team work, final placement and how they dealed with problems on the way. There are three different trials during the year, each one regarding an age interval for the riders. It is supposed that the rider is a master in mounting a benti, fighting while mounted and communicating with its benti partner during a fight. These expectations are very reasonable, since the primary objective of a benti riser is to help the Gasami in their war against the Sawari.
A rider can have basically three ranks: apprentice, soldier and commander. The apprentice is a rank destined to the riders that just joined the Gasami army, specially the younger ones. They are still adapting to the benti way of doing things, and will not be part of the effective army yet. The soldiers are the most common riders: not beginners, but not commanders. They usually follow the orders of the benti commanders and sometimes a zivar one. The commander is a soldier who proved their valor even more than a benti would expect from a zivar. They have the right to lead rider units and sometimes take decisions among the benti commanders. Since the benti are very proud, it's very rare for someone to reach this rank, and no more than 11 cases are known.
Payment & Reimbursement
The riders are not given any payment from the benti, except for food while in field. However, the riders are almost always considered local heroes in their villages and even beyond, and may receive all sorts of gifts from their family, friends and neighbors.
Benti riders are the most respected people among the zivar, except for village chiefs. The prestige of being a rider is big enough for parents to train their child since very small to be riders one day.
A benti-zai helps the Gasami in their fight against the Sawari. This avoids the Gasami extinction (they are usually weaker and less numerous than the Sawari) and helps the zivar to earn land. Since the life in Engoru Savanna, the place where they live, can be hard, all the land is precious for the expansion of the zivar people.