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Bal'Tol 'Xellus, a descendant of Ussa 'Xellus, was born in the Refuge. When he was young, Bal'Tol often attended floatfighting matches in the Refuge's Combat Section. Between scheduled competitions, he would practice free-fall acrobatics and trained to be a professional floatfighter. However, his aspirations were put to an end when he broke his left arm while practicing. He had damaged nerves in his arm, and it lost some of its responsiveness for the rest of Bal'Tol's life. During the outbreak of the Blue Mandibles of Section Two, Bal'Tol led a contingent of soldiers, overran the cannibals, and eliminated the faction. The unpleasant memory remained in Bal'Tol's mind and constantly resurfaced.
After the death of his uncle and former kaidon, N'Zursa 'Xellus, Bal'Tol became kaidon and took an oath that pledged to execute or imprison any sentient species that discovered the Refuge. During his service as kaidon, Blood Sickness had continued to plague the Sangheili of the Refuge. His intended mate, Limtee 'Xellus, fell ill to the disease. Bal'Tol desperately searched for a cure to save her, however he found her dead in her sleeping chamber. C'tenz served as 'Xellus' second-in-command; C'tenz's quick elevation to this position led to false rumors that he was Bal'Tol's offspring.
In November of 2552, a Sangheili suffering from Blood Sickness, who identified himself as 'Kinsa, claimed to be sharing his body with the spirit of 'Insa 'Greftus—another Blood Sick Sangheili who led the insurgent 'Greftus Faction until Bal'Tol's uncle executed him. 'Kinsa had gained a following of delusional Sangheili suffering from Blood Sickness. C'tenz and Tirk 'Surb, head of Refuge Security, convened with Bal'Tol to discuss the situation and agreed that 'Kinsa and his followers must be executed. Soon, Bal'Tol, C'tenz, Tirk, priest Tup 'Quk, and six heavily armed patrollers traveled to Section Five of the Refuge to arrest 'Kinsa and his followers. Bal'Tol offered the Blood Sick Sangheili a chance to live in isolation, until a cure for the disease could be found. A stand-off ensured as 'Kinsa refused to be apprehended. Suddenly, fifteen followers armed with mec-missilers appeared behind Bal'Tol and his troops. As a firefight broke out, Bal'Tol called in for a contingent of patrollers as he and C'tenz engaged Norzessa, a Blood Sick floatfighting hero. Norzessa's sickness led to him shrugging off mortal wounds and intensive damage as he continued to engage the Ussans, until Bal'Tol managed to stab him in the throat with a burnblade and C'tenz finished him off. As the firefight raged on, Bal'Tol was wounded by a mec-missiler, and Tirk was mortally wounded after downing many hostiles. As the patroller contingent arrived, 'Kinsa and eight other Blood Sick survivors fled from the battle.
As Bal'Tol recovered from his wounds, 'Kinsa's followers took over Sections Two, Three, Four, and Five. Bal'Tol ordered the Ussan biological repairer Qerspa 'Tel to continue to search for a cure for Blood Sickness, however many of the medical supplies that were required were located in the Hall of the Godminds in Section Five. In 2553, Bal'Tol soon came to realize that he would also need to retake Section Two in order to repair the failing repellent field generators throughout the Refuge. He had C'tenz organize a raiding party, although Bal'Tol reluctantly agreed to stay behind to prevent his own death during the mission. While Bal'Tol coordinated the mission in the Primary Section with Xelq 'Tylk, C'tenz led V'ornik 'Gred and Torren into Section Two. However, 'Kinsa's followers intercepted the borders at the airlock and a short engagement occurred that resulted in the death of Torren, the capture of C'tenz, and V'ornik being sent tumbling into space in a maintenance pod. Using a helmet recorder, 'Kinsa ordered Bal'Tol to surrender to him in exchange for C'tenz's freedom. Instead, Bal'Tol challenged him to a floatfight match in the Combat Section, ten warriors from each side to determine which faction would control the Refuge. 'Kinsa reluctantly accepted the offer.
Liberating the Refuge
While Bal'Tol prepared for the floatfighting match, he made Xelq acting kaidon in his absence. During this time, a former Covenant supply ship, Journey's Sustenance, discovered the Refuge and rescued V'ornik from the maintenance pod. Xelq made contact with the ship's crew, consisting of San'Shyuum Zo Resken, Huragok Sluggish Drifter, and Sangheili D'ero 'S'bud, Tul 'Imjanamee, G'torik 'Klemmee, and Crun 'Brinsmee. The group had been in the Ussan system searching for the Refuge for nearly a year following the dissolution of the Covenant. Meanwhile, Bal'Tol had recruited nine of the best floatfighters available, including Z'nick 'Berda. 'Kinsa arrived with an extra member on his team and armed himself with a mec-missiler, a weapon not traditionally used in floatfighting. Outnumbered by 'Kinsa's Blood Sick followers, many of Bal'Tol's patrollers and floatfighters died during the match, including Z'nick. Bal'Tol battled legendary floatfighter V'urm 'Kerdeck, but was easily outmatched by him. Before V'urm could kill the kaidon, he was killed by Enduring Bias, the monitor of the Refuge that had been deactivated years before. When Sluggish Drifter came aboard the Refuge, he had repaired the monitor who then proceeded to search for the colony's current kaidon. Enduring Bias spoke with Bal'Tol, confirming that the crew of Journey's Sustenance came from High Charity and Sanghelios. 'Kinsa attempted to destroy the monitor with his mec-missiler, but he was quickly killed by him when his bolt proved to be ineffective against Enduring Bias. Enduring Bias had Bal'Tol and C'tenz brought away for medical attention, while the remainder of 'Kinsa's followers surrendered or fled.
Bal'Tol had given permission for Enduring Bias, several patrollers, and the majority of the crew of Journey's Sustenance to help liberate sections of the Refuge still under control by 'Kinsa's followers. Soon, most of the insurgents had been killed. Bal'Tol and his closest allies went before a crowd of Ussans that had gathered in the plaza of the Primary Section, while nearly all other Ussans were watching in their residences. Bal'Tol gave a speech informing the Ussans that the Covenant had been destroyed and that they all now had access to other worlds. He allowed all of them the opportunity to leave the Refuge and visit Sanghelios, but he knew most would remain behind. He also revealed that the Blood Sickness had been cured by the Huragok and Enduring Bias, and cures would be passed throughout the colony. After the speech, he had Enduring Bias join the fragmented sections of the Refuge together, forming a connected, ring-shaped structure for the Ussans to live in. With the Refuge now back in functioning order and a safer place to live, Bal'Tol pledged to continue to lead his people and postpone his visit to Sanghelios, until he had more free time.
Personality and traits
Bal'Tol enjoyed meditating in a method that originated from an unidentified prisoner that was from a distant world who stumbled upon the Refuge. Although many Ussan kaidons preferred to execute criminals by ejecting them from an airlock into space, Bal'Tol did not as he believed that it was not an honorable way to die. He did not particularly care for the Refuge's religion, often believing it to be mere superstition, though he publicly worshipped each god.
List of appearances