"Before me is not a man, but a witch doctor. A warrior of Mbwiru Eikura. A champion, not a servant. Never forget this."— Adiya to Benu(src)
In his first Igani Bawe, at the Hills of Mist, Benu headed out alongside ten other Witch Doctors of his clan, as they partook in the contest with the Tribe of the Clouded Valley and Tribe of the Five Hills. He was oversawn by Ungate. They confronted and incapacitated Zuwadza, a Witch Doctor of the Five Hills. Before they could engage in battle, they were interrupted by another Five Hills Witch Doctor. He claimed that Igani Bawe was unnecessary, that the spirits did not seek bloodshed between the Umbaru. Benu and his kin were enraged at such words, and Benu lunged at the interloper. A bolt of energy sent him hurtling back. The Witch Doctor asked that Zuwadza be spared. In response, all of the Seven Stones Witch Doctors charged. All of them were killed in an instant bar Benu. The Witch Doctor warned him of his approaching kin, that if found, he would be killed. Benu responded that he would have been proud for such a death, but the Witch Doctor didn't indulge him. Benu fled in shame, but was haunted by his foe's claims that the Igani Bawe was the will of the priests, not the spirits.
Back in his village, Benu was brought before the priests of the clan. They did not fault him for his actions, but Guwate'ka ordered him not to speak of the event to anyone. As he walked with Guwate'ka, he watched as captives of the Igani Bawe were sacrificed, per Umbaru custom. The tribe celebrated, yet Benu remained uneasy, as the Witch Doctor's words echoed in his mind. It was not so much the words themselves that bothered him, but rather that he had been cursed by them. Walking away from his village, Benu engaged in a Ghost Trance, viewing the spirits of those recently slain in the Igani Bawe. He could tell that something was wrong, that the Unformed Land was not what they expected it to be. They offered him a warning—"beware."
"Yes. Blind you were, but no longer. Before us stands a teacher. A spiritual leader and a healer. A warrior who defends life but knows the necessity of death. Before us stands a witch doctor."— The spirit to Benu(src)
One week later, another Igani Bawe was declared, for the priests claimed that the spirits demanded the war in response for the actions of the heretic Witch Doctor. Rumors abounded concerning the heretic, but Benu dismissed them as nothing more than hearsay. And yet he remained uneasy; gone was his fervor for the Igani Bawe, replaced instead with unease for what he had seen of the spirits. He sensed as Guwate'ka entered a Ghost Trance, the spirits clawed away at the veil of the physical world, coming to take revenge for the lies they had been told. Heading away from the ritual, he met Adiya, wife of Guwate'ka. She led him away from the village, before telling him of the words of the spirits. There was honor in life, not in the Igani Bawe, and the spirits claimed that he walked two paths. One side, forever a child of the Seven Stones, seeking a grace the high priests can never give. The other, a wildfire, unforgiving and bright, bringing newness and life to these stagnant jungles. Tomorrow, she said, he would be made to choose. She went on to say that she could not say which path was correct, but that the spirits believed that the Umbaru were no longer unique or worthy of celebrating. She further said that the high priests claimed that they communicated with the spirits daily, but that they only glimpsed the Unformed Land in passing. That the Igani Bawe was a means of control over the Umbaru. She bid him farwell, warning him of tomorrow's events.
As the Igani Bawe came, Benu forged on ahead, hoping that solitude would grant him clarity. He heard a voice, and found that it belonged to Adiya, though she saved him from an enemy Witch Doctor by killing his foe. She told him that the Unformed Land awaited all Umbaru, that Igani Bawe was an unnecessary ritual. Benu came around, believing her, and 'solidifying' the moment by kissing her. However, the moment was interrupted as they were captured by those of the Tribe of the Clouded Valley.
The pair were led back to the tribe's village, Benu not feeling elated at the prospect of sacrifice as he might have otherwise been before learning the truth. At the village, they encountered Edwasi, who had also been taken prisoner. As Edwasi was sacrificed, Benu noticed that the tribe's manner of celebration was identical to his own clan's, but now, it seemed devoid of any substance. To escape, Adiya suggested that they become kareeb, an act that was unspeakable. More lies, she claimed, and when they came to be escorted, they barged through their captors. The Cloud Valley Umbaru made little effort to stop them, unable to comprehend why they would not be willingly sacrificed. Adiya opened the jars containing Edwasi's organs, bidding that he consume them, to become a god. Benu hesitated, remembering the heretic—he had taken lives, but only as a means of self-defence, and in effort to save his master. Benu found that he could not consume the organs, for the Tribe of the Clouded Valley was not his enemy. He sought to enlighten, not dominate them. Enraged, Adiya cast lightning into Benu, nearly killing him. He engaged in a Ghost Trance, and communicated with a spirit directly.
The spirit told him the truth. The same truth the heretic had known, that the Unformed Land was not what the priests claimed it was. It was not a perfect world, but entering it did not require the Igani Bawe. The spirit revealed that Adiya was not a kareeb, but rather a demon, one drawn to the jungle as she had sensed his doubt. Eating Edwasi's heart would have done nothing, only made him an outcast, filling him with doubt the shame. All the while, Adiya would have been there. Benu admitted that he had rejected her offer, for he knew he had to teach the Umbaru the truth. The spirit was satisfied. Benu was now a teacher. Now, all he had to do was banish Adiya. Returning his mind to the physical world, Benu saw Adiya in her true, horrific form. She was engaged in battle with the Tribe of the Clouded Valley, easily shrugging off their attacks. Benu succeeded in killing her, but at the cost of his own life.
"You, Benu, straddle the world of shadow and the Unformed Land as if you were born at the border between them. It is this connection that will prove to be your greatest tool."— The spirit(src)
Less than a week passed before another Igani Bawe was held. Benu's fight against the demon spread, how he had given his life to save the Tribe of the Clouded Valley. Yet rumors persisted that he had defied the rites of Igani Bawe, that he had even been a kareeb. The high priests of the Seven Stones spoke of the spirits' anger over these events. Although they deemed Benu a hero, they claimed that the presence of the demon had sullied the ritual war. As the priests engaged in a ghost trance, Benu spoke to them directly, telling them they were blind. Only a few remained in the trance, the others believing they had angered the spirits. Only a few remained, and by the end, only one Witch Doctor listened to his words. But Benu was satisfied. It might take years, but someday, he would guide the Umbaru to enlightenment.