Lightning in the hand
My point bites deep
I end the chase
Even the mightiest are unmade by my touch.
—Spear of Bitter Mercy Inscription
The Spear of Bitter Mercy is an artifact that is an enigma to Tamrielians, but many believe it to be of Daedric origin despite a lacuna of recorded history. However, multiple Spears of Bitter Mercy may exist.[nb 1] Originally forged by Mehrunes Dagon, it has become the signature weapon of his "ally" Hircine, who has become the Daedric Prince that is most closely associated with the Spear.[nb 2] One of his titles given to him by the Reachfolk, the Spear with Five Points, is reflective of this. The weapon was once in Sheogorath's possession, but his association with it and how he came to obtain it is unknown. He has notably stolen artifacts from his fellow Princes in the past for his own amusement.
Mehrunes Dagon imbued the Spear with his power for use in the Ritual of the Innocent Quarry. This enchantment consists of powerful and maleficent energies capable of instantly killing all but the "High Daedra Lords". Thus it is forbidden from being removed from the site of the Great Hunt, and it cannot be wielded by any mortals or immortals, except those sanctified to the Hunt and bound to its rules. Because Dagon twisted his pact with Chimere Graegyn, an unsanctioned wearer of the Armor of the Savior's Hide can bear the Spear; the armor's enchantment offers protection from the energies of the oathbreaker. Since the rules only apply within the Hunt itself, the artifact can be safely wielded if it were outside its intended locale.[UOL 1] However, the spear can still seemingly reject those unworthy of wielding it.
According to a Reachman myth, Hircine wields the Spear of Bitter Mercy when he takes on the aspect of Alrabeg the Hunter. It is one of the Symbols of the Five Aspects, the other four being the Totems of Hircine (composed of three artifacts), and the Totem of Claw and Fang. The weapon grants its wielder a magical shield as well as the ability to summon storm atronachs. In appearance it is a metallic spear, usually with two or four protruding prongs surrounding the central spearhead. It is sometimes emblazoned with Daedric Hekem sigils, representing the letter H.
Legends speak of a Nord known as Thane Icehammer, who sometime in the mid-late fifth century of the First Era, unknowingly killed several were-creatures during a hunting trip in the Yorgrim River basin. Angered by the death of his kin, Hircine thrust the Spear of Bitter Mercy into Icehammer's side, whereupon the tip broke off and remained lodged inside him. Thane returned wounded to his home of Cragwallow, but the magic of Hircine's Spear slowly turned him mad, ultimately causing him to murder an acolyte of Kyne in a fit of rage. Matron Icehammer was appalled by her husband's actions, and ordered the guards to subdue him, but he fled into an ancient Nordic burial ruin in the mountains northeast of Cragwallow, whereupon he was sealed alive within as punishment. The ruins would become known as Icehammer's Vault, and would become a source of infamy, as Thane Icehammer continued to stalk its halls as a Draugr. His state of undeath and rage were fueled by the Spear fragment that remained inside him, until he was finally slain in 2E 582 by an adventurer.
Staves made in imitation of the Spear existed circa 2E 582. That same year, the Gray Host expanded into the Karth Valley, causing many Reach clans to flee to the safety of Markarth's walls. The Shrine of the Hunt-Father led by High Shaman Glynroch was erected within the city, and the Symbols of the Five Aspects were successfully recovered and placed in the shrine for safety, the real Spear of Bitter Mercy among them.
The Spear of Bitter Mercy resurfaced near the end of the Imperial Simulacrum (3E 398), when Mehrunes Dagon's forces attacked and seized control of the Battlespire with the blessing of Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn, who was impersonating Emperor Uriel Septim VII. With the portal back to Tamriel blocked, an apprentice trapped within the Battlespire made it to the Chimera of Desolation. There, they became the Hare in a Great Hunt instigated by Dagon's Herne minions, which may have possibly been hosted by Hircine.[nb 2] However, the apprentice was then aided by Chimere Graegyn, an inhabitant of the Chimera of Desolation and someone who had previously defied Dagon.
One of the Huntsmen was a Herne named Egahirn; it was his first Hunt, and he was given the honor of making the Kill. However, in order to assure his victory, he kept one of the six gatekeys needed for the Hare to escape on his person. This was a direct violation of the Law of the Hunt, and it did not sit well with many of the other participants (as Egahirn was protected against all weapons and magics). It also presented an opportunity; when he tricked Mehrunes Dagon, Chimere wore the Armor of the Savior's Hide, which protected the wearer from attacks by oathbreakers—which Egahirn was by his actions. The apprentice retrieved the Savior's Hide, which enabled them to bear the Spear of Bitter Mercy. Well-equipped, the apprentice defeated Egahirn and escaped the realm. Both artifacts were then used in the recapturing of the Battlespire, though the Spear was substituted with the Sword of the Moon Reiver for Dagon's banishment. Afterwards, the Spear of Bitter Mercy appeared sporadically within Tamriel.
In 3E 427, Sheogorath tasked the Nerevarine with retrieving the Fork of Horripilation from Big Head, a mad Argonian hermit and a worshipper of Sheogorath who lived in a small shack on an island in the Sheogorad region of Morrowind. Sheogorath instructed the Nerevarine with an odd task, to kill a giant Bull Netch with the fork. Big Head willingly gave the fork to the Nerevarine, who then killed the Bull Netch and returned the fork to Sheogorath, and was rewarded with the Spear of Bitter Mercy. The Nerevarine later sold the weapon to Torasa Aram, who put it on display in the Mournhold Museum of Artifacts.
Circa 4E 201, a tribe of goblins migrated out of Cyrodiil using subterranean tunnels beneath the Jerall Mountains. They emerged into the Rift and took up occupation of a cave known as Gromm's Pass. The hunter of this group, a goblin named Gogh, was seemingly blessed by Hircine as he was in possession of the Spear of Bitter Mercy. Gogh was fiercely protective of the weapon, which rejected anyone else that tried to claim it. The tribe subsequently encountered a helpless Orc from the nearby stronghold of Largashbur, who happened to be stained blue by the Steel Blue Entoloma mushrooms which grow in abundance within Gromm's Pass. Believing him to be the Blue God (an aspect of Malacath worshipped by goblins), the tribe quickly made him their shaman and began to obey him as their god. However, the tunnel to Cyrodiil collapsed soon after, cutting the tribe off from any reinforcements. Gogh then spotted the Orcish shaman applying blue dye to maintain his appearance and was thus sentenced to death, but was fortuitously saved by the Last Dragonborn, who killed the Orc and his remaining goblin followers. Gogh thereafter entered into the Dragonborn's service, and continued to wield the weapon and its powers in battle.
- "Can a Huntsman's Spear wound the Huntsman?" — when talking to Old Man Chimere.
- "We left our Spears sealed away, so that we are not tempted to kill you in the excitement of the chase." — When speaking to common Hernes.
- "Look here. See? I have my own pretty Spear of the Bitter Mercy …" and "That thing? That wouldn't even fool a Scamp. Well. Perhaps. It does look remarkably like a real Spear …" — When speaking to Herne Egahirn.
- Gary Noonan also attributes the Chimera of Desolation's Great Hunt that Mehrunes Dagon's forces participated in as hosted by Hircine.[UOL 3]
- The Spear of Bitter Mercy is one of two known spears that are associated with Hircine. The other is the Spear of the Hunter.
- For game-specific information, see the Battlespire, Morrowind, SkyrimCC, and Elder Scrolls Online articles.
- Chimere's Notes about the Armor of the Savior's Hide by Chimere Graegyn
- Spear of Bitter Mercy Inscription — A short inscription about the Spear of Bitter Mercy
- The Posting of the Hunt — A document announcing a ritualistic hunting of a mortal by Daedra
- Tal Marog Ker's Researches by Tal Marog Ker — On the exploits and studies of Chimere Graegyn
- Tamrielic Lore — Yagrum Bagarn
- Old Man Chimere's dialogue in Battlespire
- Elder Scrolls Artifact: Spear of Bitter Mercy bundle description in ESO
- Great Spirits of the Reach: Volume 2 — Vashu gra-Morga, Chief Daedrotheologist at the University of Gwylim
- Sheogorath's Quest in Morrowind
- Sheogorath's dialogue in the quest Chaos Magic in ESO
- The Posting of the Hunt
- Battlespire Athenaeum page 151
- Tal Marog Ker's Researches — Tal Marog Ker
- Blue God's Journal — Blue God
- Aspects of Lord Hircine — Juno Procillus, Academy of Chorrol
- High Shaman Glynroch's questline in ESO
- Effects in Morrowind
- Effects in Skyrim
- Appearances in various games
- Icehammer's Vault description that mentions Hoag Merkiller
- Legend of Thane Icehammer
- Thane Icehammer's death needed for the Icehammer's Vault Explorer achievement in ESO
- Paxti Bittor's dialogue in Battlespire
- Events of Level 5 in Battlespire
- Letter from Balaherne — Balaherne
- Letters from the Dremora
- Events of Level 7 in Battlespire
- Events of The Museum quest in Tribunal
- Goblins Creation for Skyrim Special Edition
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.