Solar Exalt of the Dawn Caste
A horse Beastman , He and his older brother, Sunder, grew up with a nomadic tribe on the eastern plains. He and his brother were 5 years apart so Sunder was finishing his manhood trials just as Balio was beginning them. Sunder had become a huge powerfully built stallion and received his warrior tattoos. Shortly afterwards he traveled alone out into the wilderness to commune with the gods and receive a vision, and vanished. Alone now, Balio doubled his efforts in his training. He was smaller than most of the other horses, but as he was decidedly faster. He decided that when he received his tattoos he would travel out into the wilderness to search for his brother.
Near the end of his training He was posted as a lookout in a tree near the tribes encampment and witnessed Guild slavers making their way to attack some of the tribes children who were gathering nearby. He sounded the alarm and ran to their aid, his great speed getting him there before the tribes warriors. He leapt to the children’s defense fighting and slaying many of the Guild’s men before the warriors arrived.
This was a great crime however. As he had not completed the trials yet he was not a man or a warrior and thus fighting, and especially killing was an affront to the gods. Though grateful for his aid, the tribe’s leaders could not offer him special treatment and he was exiled. Taking this as an opportunity to search for his brother he walked into the wilderness to begin his search.
Soon after however the Guild slavers returned, many of them remembering Balio’s fighting prowess, saw an opportunity. Alone and outnumbered he was captured and sold as a slave. His mane and tail cut short, he was branded as property and shod for hard labor. Willful and rebellious his owner soon found another use for him, as a pit fighter giving him the name Colt.
A pit fighter is a piece of meat to the masters to be enjoyed in every way. If asked
Balio would be hard pressed to remember a time during his captivity that he was allowed to wear clothing. He was raised as livestock while clothing was reserved for his more “civilized” masters. Fighters displayed their hard muscled naked bodies at all times to emphasize brutality and aggression, the concepts of modesty and shame having long since been beaten out of them by their masters whips. Training was cruel and harsh and the fighters were generally required to “show their subservience and gratitude” to their masters regularly as payment for the training they received
While fighters were required to leave their bodies on display adornments were permitted. Shortly after his first fight Balio’s master gave the horse a small iron horseshoe on a leather cord to wear around his neck as a reminder of his place.
The winner in the pits claims the prize for his master, and complete domination of the loser for the night. Much to the sick delight of the watching masters. On more than one night the young horse was the victim of unspeakable cruelty, violence, and sexual depravity at the hands of other fighters.
At 20 he was a powerfully built stallion hardly befitting of his fight name anymore. The horseshoe around his neck seemed like a toy more than anything that could ever have fit him, however it still had its’ uses. Balio’s master was traveling with him by ship to a massive tournament in Wu-Jian. Normally Slaves would be kept with the cargo but his master, eternally confident in his dominance over his slave, let his guard down after having his way with the equine. Balio removed the horseshoe necklace, which while small was still made of hard Iron. Using it as a flail he brained his master to death in a cathartic fit of rage. Gathering the keys he liberated himself from his bonds and prepared to make his escape when a storm kicked up.