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Amerindian Arbalists

Cross My Heart, This Is My Crossbow: An Allohistorical Tale of Amerindian Arbalists, or just Amerindian Arbalists for short, is a short pre-Columbian timeline and AH story by Petike. Published in early August 2020, it's a bite-sized bit of AH on an overlooked POD topic, and you can read it here.

In February 2021, it was successfully nominated for a Turtledove Award for “Best Medieval Timeline”.

Premise and POD

At some point in the 10th century AD, a native bowyer of a tribe in eastern North America chances upon an interesting discovery. Using an unexpected bit of inspiration, he gradually invents a new type of archery weapon, only somewhat more complex than the bow. In many divergent timelines, his invention fails to spread or spreads only modestly, but in the story of this timeline, the device gradually spreads through North America over the many centuries, and sees some degree of refinement for both hunting and warfare.

The timeline provides a speculative look at how the minor invention of an innovative weapon - simpler versions of the crossbow - could have influenced or even somewhat changed pre-Columbian Native American cultures. The story/timeline was based on a discussion from July 2018, where Petike speculated about the viability of crossbows in a non-metallurgical civilization, like those of the New World. Petike began writing the story in autumn 2018 and wrote about half of it, but only found the time to complete it nearly two years later.


Artworks and images (Part 1)

Artworks and images (Part 2)


Most of the trivia stuff is listed at the end of chapter four, the Author's Afterword.

See Also

The Westward Wind - A timeline of pre-Columbian contact that happens in the early 1400s. Rather than a huge and cocksure fleet of New World conquerors, a small crew of a European fishing ship is carried across the Atlantic in a freak storm, lands on the shores of what we'd know as North America, and starts an uneasy coexistence with local native peoples. A narratively focused timeline, in the manner of a historical novel or robinsonade. Not planned to go too far into the future, and to cover only alternate events from the 15th century.

Native American timelines - A list of various Native American focused timelines and AH stories on, written by various authors over the course of two decades. Well worth reading.

timelines/amerindian_arbalists.txt · Last modified: 2021/02/22 19:05 by petike