It’s not what his mother called him, but it’s the name he’s come to use. Prickleback is an elderly cactusfolk: he was a decent enough gladiator in his day, but his real talents lay in the training room, not the arena. He cared enough about his fellow gladiators to want them at the peak of their talent, and he made the time to get them there.
When the time came, he was instrumental in getting the cactusfolk gladiators to unionise, turning them from an exploited sideshow to serious and respected contenders.
And Prickleback knew when to fold. When he found his strength failing him, he bowed out of the fighting while he was ahead, and used the money he’d been carefully saving to open a pit of his own. Most of the folk who’d fought alongside him joined up straight away.
These days, he owns half the cactusfolk fighting-pits in town, and he’s old: scarred, cunning, leathery and bitter. He can feel his body slowing down, he can see everything that he’s built start to be eclipsed by the work of newer folk who bought their way into success, and he is determined to do whatever it takes to protect the little empire he built up from nothing.