Benj came from an affluent family, and had all the best masters. He greatly respected his parents, though he often differed with his father on various matters. His mother always says Benj was just like his father, and while the two recognized certain similarities between themselves, they had a tendency to concentrate more on their differences. However, these differences concerned not so much ends as they did the means of achieving those ends. Like his parents, Benj believed very strongly in the superiority of the nobility over commoners; also like his father, he saw commoners as tools to be used for the advantage of nobles such as his clan. He merely thought those tools should be utilized in a different fashion, and considered long term strategy more important than short term. He believed that even if commoners could be used to advantage in the short term, not having a clear view of the possible consequences further down the road could very well prove disastrous. It might be said that his viewpoint was closer to that of his brother than that of their father. In fact, Macen had a great deal of influence on Benj in his formative years, and among other things instilled in him a deep sense of the importance of education.
Benj always had a number of friends, growing up, among the various noble clans in Triscot. Several kids around his age were in a group that studied under several masters of various subjects. Among this group, his main academic rival was Darius (who was about a year and a half younger than Benj). Most of the other children in the group worked just hard enough to get by, finding studies to be boring and largely pointless, since they knew they'd be inheriting their parents' wealth and possibly their businesses, someday (though it could be said they mostly ignored the more generalized subjects their parents' insisted on having taught to them, and paid more attention to the specific trades they expected to go into later in life). But Darius and Benj both excelled in a wide variety of subjects. Benj's father had a strong personal dislike for Darius's father, Adam, and so Benj was inclined to extend that dislike, for his own part, to Darius. Certainly, Benj and Darius disagreed on many matters, just as Xander and Adam did. However, they couldn't help but have a mutual respect for each other, academically at least. And so they developed something resembling a friendship, though it was hard to see past the surface enmity, more often than not. But when Darius was 13, his clan was wiped out in the Battle of Triscot, leaving Darius homeless and virtually destitute. He began attending a public school, while Benj went to a private school. Not long afterwards, Darius dropped out and left Triscot to become an adventurer. And so, the rivalry was officially over. Benj had clearly won.
After graduating from primary school in Triscot, Benj began attending the University of First Village, in 906. Of course he also had learned his father's skill at social networking, and made many important contacts. By the time he graduated university in 909, he was in a good position to begin his political career, as an intern working for one of the village councillors (not his father, of course), while also working as assistant manager of the First Bank of Triscot (which had been founded by Grigory Manager), beginning in early 910. When the branch manager retired in 912, Benj was promoted to manager.
However, later in 912, for reasons that remain unknown, his father disowned and disinherited him. (This happened around the end of the Chaos War. It is known that while Xander Illustri supported Demos, Benj supported Quinn Darkstrider, which many speculate was the cause of the falling out.) Despite continuing to disagree with Darius on most points, he did come to believe that what Darius was doing was right, even if his reasons for believing this were wildly different from Darius' own reasons. In 913, Darius gave Benj a provisional position in the government of the new country he established.