The Grimspiker

Summary: They say the Grimspiker was the reason no elven carcass was ever found intact.

The Grimspiker was most famously used during the Highborn Wars, but it existed long before. The first iteration was a multi-shot repeating hand crossbow designed in Yian during the First Era, used famously in pairs for the Martial Way of Heroic Bloodshed. The Grimspiker consisted of three small crossbows mounted atop a single grip and trigger, the released connected to a wheel. The design was underpowered compared to other crossbows, slings, and bows, so it remained a niche weapon.

When the elven genocide against humanity began, there was a need for weapons to storm elven ships and encampments in deep forests. Much of the early war was a desperate battle for survival, using guerrilla and ambush tactics against the superior elven forces and fleets. As such, the Grimspiker was adapted for the needs of the time.

The Atlantean Council organized human resistance around the world, standardizing the most effective tactics and tools against the Highborn Dominion. An improved version of the Grimspiker was one such weapon, with contributions from other members of the Council. The prod was improved by the composite alloys of the Vulkanite League. The elastic cords were woven of fibers grown by the Archdruids of Hibernia. The arrowheads were selected based on the hunters of the Astral Sun Peaks. The dune raiders of the Nekhemet deserts came to favor such weapons for ambushes, before unleashing hordes of reanimated dead upon their foes.

The Grimspiker's three bolts were often poisoned to compensate for the lack of penetrative power. However, the tinkers of the Vulkanite League devised a pneumatic mechanism to compensate for the lack of stopping power. They designed bolts with reservoirs of cooled, compressed gas that injected their payload into the target with even a glancing blow. The pressure from the gas expanding was enough to cause elves' entrails to fly out of their mouths, or even explode into giblets in certain cases.

Such was the weapon's popularity in the conflict that few even carcasses were captured intact, depriving human necromancers of material. Despite this, the Grimspiker found ample use in Nekhemet, primarily among the Grimwalker warrior monks, an order tasked with protecting the tombs of pharaohs from grave robbers, ghouls, and carrion scavengers. While also used in sizeable amounts among in the Vulkanite League and Yian, the weapon remained a niche curiosity to most.

When the Atlantean Council collapsed into civil war in the Year of Ominous Visages, they found a new lease on life. The Cyan Order and Archdruids found use of them against the Flowering Dead, destroying cadavers to prevent their reanimation by the parasitic vines or rebel necromancers. While countless variations exist, most still associate them with the Highborn Wars, a simpler time when the Council was united in humanity's defense.