The Sparth is a type of spear developed by the Cholian tribe of Aeruillin. Despite its primitive appearance, the Sparth is an extremely effective weapon when put into the hands of a person trained in its use. While it can be used offensively, this weapon is primarily helpful to hunt large fish, such as the jakécha, which cannot be caught in nets.
|Image description. A Cholian fishing woman proudly presenting a jakécha fish. Illustration by Faugar.|
While it appears to be a primitive weapon, the Sparth is extremely deadly and
has been perfected over many generations of use. The Sparth consists of two main
pieces, the spear head and the shaft.
The spear head is made of metal, usually steel or iron. The overall shape of the spear head varies from that of a normal spear. While normal tips are shaped like a cone to allow a clean entry, the tip of the Sparth is triangular. This small modification, combined with the style in which the spear is thrown, accounts for the weapon's deadliness. This is because instead of making a clean puncture wound, like a cone-shaped tip, the flat triangular tip of this spear catches the flesh and rips it when twisted, dealing much more damage and making it almost impossible to remove the spear using conventional methods. This works best if the spearhead is kept sharp. In order to maintain its sharpness, the Cholians spend a considerable amount of time sharpening their spears. Because they are so sharp, caps are often used to cover the spear tip when it is not being wielded of sharpened. These caps are usually quite primitive and are made from wads of cloth or bowl shaped rocks.
The second part of the weapon is the shaft. The shaft is made of hard wood that has been sanded down to its core to remove imperfections, making it smooth. A thin layer of animal fat, often from an inja goat, covers the shaft to prevent damage from water that can spoil the wood. Each shaft is personalized by the owner after it has been obtained. Carvings are engraved down its entire length that depict the owner accomplishing a task or sometimes words detailing a prayer to a god. These prayers often ask for the god's favour on the owner, or a blessing upon the weapon. These carvings also provide a rougher surface for the Cholians to grip. Without this grip, the owner would not be able to throw it with the rotation that makes it so deadly. The shaft is also used to help carry the Sparth. When it is not being used, a strap is attached by two rings to each end of the spear. The strap is then put over the owner's chest, holding the spear in place across his back.
Binding the two together is a strip of treated leather, taken from the hide of an inja goat, often referred to as a thong. After each the spearhead and the shaft have been individually made, the two are strapped together. This is accomplished by tying one end of the thong to the spear and coiling it tightly around the head. While it is not as strong as a spear in which the head is welded into the shaft, the use of the leather thong is more beneficial for the Cholians. As the spearhead is often caught into the flesh, muscle and bones of their enemy, it is quite difficult to remove. The spearhead must either be ripped out, which can be difficult of it is a deep wound, or cut out, which is a hard, time consuming process. When the leather thong is sued, the Cholian can use a small dagger to slit it, separating the shaft, which is of more sentimental value than the tip, from the spear head. Because they lose so many spearheads, the Cholians keep a large supply whenever they expect to use their Sparth.
The Sparth is a weapon found only among the
tribe. The weapon is primarily used to catch the
elusive jakécha fish which, when it
reaches maturity, cannot be caught using fishing nets. To solve this problem the
Sparth was created to be used as a weapon to catch the
As time progressed the usage of the weapon has expanded. As it is so vital to Cholian life style, it has come to be a symbol of maturity in the tribe. During their fourteenth year, Cholian children are given a Sparth to show that they are no longer children. It is a passage into adulthood. Because it represents such an important step in a Cholian's development, it is almost impossible to find a Cholian who is not wearing their Sparth. Even during idle periods, the Cholian keep their spear strapped across their back, showing its great sentimental value to the tribe.
Because it is so effective, the use of the Sparth has spread beyond the boundaries of fishing, and is now used as a weapon. While it is not commonly used outside the tribe, it is as deadly as any other weapon, despite its origin.
Fighting Style. There are two ways how to fight with the Sparth, one can throw the spear or use it as a thrusting weapon:
When the Sparth was created, it was meant to be used with this style of fighting. This fighting style derives from the fishing technique used by the Cholians to catch the jakécha. When fishing, the Cholian would hurl his spear at the fish from either a boat or the shore. The spear would be thrown with a slight twist, causing it to spiral. When the spear struck its target, the momentum gathered from twisting while in the air would cause the spear to turn slightly inside the fish after it had struck flesh. Depending upon where the hunter hit the jakécha, it would either die instantly or be immobilized (the spear ripped through the muscles preventing it from moving). The Cholian would then dive in, retrieve the fish and spear and move on. It was not until much later that the Cholians discovered that this technique, which was so effective on fish, would also be deadly for their enemies. Now, this throwing method is used frequently by the Cholians because of its effectiveness and efficiency. This method is commonly used by the Mordis, the Cholian army, as their primary form of attacking.
This style of fighting was developed by the Zarathian Men after they were given the Sparth as a gift by their allies, the Cholians. As the Zarathians did not understand the method employed by the Cholians, they developed their own using the same basic principles. Unlike the Cholians, the Zarathians use the weapon as a pike, more than a thrown weapon. In this method, the owner thrusts the pike forward, piercing their target and driving the spear deep into the enemy’s body before twisting as in the Cholian method.
Sparth originated many years ago among the
tribe. At the time the
one of the main fish the
hunt, was known for its ability to escape of nets of fishermen. This
weapon was one of the many inventions created by a
who was trying to develop a new, effective way to hunt this fish.
When first created, the Sparth consisted of a cone-shaped spear head made of rock and a wooden shaft. The shaft of a Sparth during this time period would have lacked the carvings found now as it had not yet become of any importance to the Cholians. As time progressed, the weapon was modified to make it more effective. As these modifications were made, it was realised by the Cholians that the Sparth was very effective in catching fish, so it was quickly adopted as their primary fishing weapon. As its popularity grew, so did its sentimental value. People began to engrave their Sparth's to make it more personal, and, after many years of use, it would become a symbol of maturity in the tribe. During a child's fourteenth year, the boy or girl would be presented by his parents with his first Sparth, as it symbolized that the child in longer needed the protection of the parents to survive. With the Sparth, the child became a full member of society with all the rights and privileges of an adult.
The second tribe that has adopted the use of the Sparth are the Zarathians. This tribe is often called upon by the Cholians to perform tasks, such as building, that the Cholians can not accomplish by themselves. No one is exactly sure how the Sparth jumped the gap between the two races, but it is thought that a Sparth was rewarded to a Zarathian who had performed a great service to the Cholian people. Presenting a Zarathian with a Sparth meant that, because of the great service he had offered, he would now be considered a member of the Cholian society. However as the Zarathians have no use for a fishing weapon, it is not found in their society as often as among the Cholians. It were these select few Zarathians who first used the Sparth for combat, applying the twist technique of the Cholians with the common technique used for other spears.