Lore: Wild Hunt
- The Wild Hunt is a pack of shifting forest-demons and animal-gods, thousands strong, which sweeps through the countryside killing everything Eric of Guis path. —
- A flood of horrific beasts, tentacled toads, insects of armor and spine, gelatinous serpents, vaporous beings with the face of gods, all poured forth from the great hollow tree, blind with fury. — A Dance in Fire, Chapter 4
The Wild Hunt is a magical trait innate to all Bosmer. It is brought on by a collective ritual performed by many Bosmer, causing them to shapeshift into a horde of feral, supernatural beasts. These monsters stampede, changing their form constantly, slaying and devouring all in their path and eventually, when left with no surviving targets, turn upon themselves in a "cannibalistic orgy". This transformation is seen by the Bosmer as a return to the chaos of the Dawn Era they call the Ooze, when they were unable to hold onto one shape for more than a moment. After they made the Green Pact with Y'ffre, he taught the Bosmer how to escape that chaos and retain their form, but also how to return to it by instigating the Wild Hunt. These shapeshifters are said to be able to take on a gaseous form which makes them impossible to contain without the aid of magic. There's even some suggestion they can take on the form of water. When Bosmer invoke the Wild Hunt it causes a change in wild animals as well. Beasts typically transform into beings that are part plant and part animal.
The purpose of the Wild Hunt varies with each separate Hunt, from an act of vengeance to a tool of war. In either case, the Bosmer are not proud of their ability and are unwilling to discuss the Hunt at great length. One of the rare accounts on the nature of the Wild Hunt states that "every monster in the world that has ever been comes from a previous Hunt". As such, the Bosmer are reluctant to use the Hunt, except as an act of desperation. The monsters that do get created by a Wild Hunt, all former Bosmer, are said to be ferocious and long-lived. Notable examples included Willy the Bitten and King Dead Wolf-Deer, who were created by the end of the fourth century of the First Era and lived at least until the beginning of the Third Era. They went on to plague Silvenar Grove and the Lynpar March respectively. The change is said to be irreversible.
There have been three documented cases of the Wild Hunt:
- 1E 369, Cyrodiil — A Wild Hunt was invoked in order to kill King Borgas who was a supporter of the Alessian Order and thus against Valenwood. As a result of his death via the Hunt, Skyrim was plunged in a civil war that lasted for more than 50 years.
- Late Second Era, location unknown — The last Wild Hunt to be officially documented until the end of the Third Era.
- 3E 397, Vindisi — A Wild Hunt was invoked in retaliation to a Khajiiti attack on the Bosmer hamlet of Vindisi by its inhabitants during a truce in the Five Year War. According to the Imperial Geographical Society this was the most recent sighting of the Wild Hunt to date.
- We … we said the words. And the Wild Hunt returned to Valenwood. It roamed through the forest, drove our people feral. It had consumed them before we realized what had happened. That's when the chase began. — Gwaering
In the Khajiit's Moonlit Path, the Vestige accompanied the future Mane and encountered a vision of a possible reality of a Wild Hunt occurring in circa 2E 582, due to the fall of the first Aldmeri Dominion. It showed that after the fall of the mane Akkhuz-ri and his speaker Gharesh-ri, the Khajiit fell away from the Dominion, and on Summerset, the Veiled Heritance led a successful revolt against Queen Ayrenn, leaving Valenwood vulnerable. This led to the Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact launching their assault, and after losing hope, the Green Lady Gwaering and the Silvenar Indaenir recited the words and caused the Wild Hunt to transform their people into feral creatures, leading the two to become hunted by their own people and engulfing the province in chaos.
- The Wild Hunt of the Bosmer should not be confused with the Great Hunt periodically conducted by the Daedric Prince Hircine, which is also occasionally called the Wild Hunt.
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri Dominion — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- A Dance in Fire, Chapter 4 — Waughin Jarth
- Varieties of Faith... — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- The Binding Stone — the Office of the Canonreeve of Corrections
- Wild Hunt Horse mount description in ESO
- A History of Daggerfall — Odiva Gallwood
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Events of The Moonlit Path quest in ESO
- The Posting of the Hunt
- Tal Marog Ker's Researches — Tal Marog Ker