The Wild Hunt was a group of specters - led by its King - considered by inhabitants of the continent as omens of misfortune and death. It was said to appear mainly, but not exclusively during the winter. Several tales have arisen around the phenomenon with specific details, such as these of Winter Queen or of Naglfar.
The Wild Hunt first emerged in the Witcher saga during Time of Contempt, surfacing as a rumour the royal messenger Aplegatt overheard. It appeared a second time as the horde passed almost directly by Geralt as he and Dandelion were in Hirundum, near Gors Velen.
“The Wild Hunt” said the Witcher softly. “Close the shutters securely, Mr Hofmeier.”(…)The Witcher drew his sword and ran towards the causeway, and the Halfling rushed after him without a second thought, armed with a pitchfork. Lightning flashed once more, and a galloping horse came into view on the causeway. Behind the horse came something vague, an irregular cloud, a whirl, a phantom, woven from the gloom and glow. Something that caused panicky fear and a revolting, gut-wrenching dread.
Mysterious disappearances and reappearances of people who seemed to be suffering the effects of some sort of time dilation were also blamed on this group of spectres. These individuals seemingly returned to their loved ones often decades later than they had left, but having apparently not aged at all. In reality, the "Wild Hunt" were not spectres at all, but an elven cavalry lead by Eredin Bréacc Glas and known as the Dearg Ruadhri, or "Red horsemen" in Elder Speech. The apparent time dilations were due to the kidnapped humans being taken back to the world of the Aen Elle where time moved differently and then returned to their own world.
Known Riders of Wild Hunt
- Legends and myth about the Wild Hunt have origins in ancient Northern and Central Europe folklore, in our real world. According the myth, the Wild Hunt is a hunt\chase of spirits and other supernatural beings, all completed with hounds, horses and huntsmen. It represents an omen of danger, misforture of catastrophe, or simply the personification of human fear. It also cited in cinema, music and literature.
The Wild Hunt and its King pursue Ciri across the regions of The Witcher 3, seeking her Elder blood. Geralt, along with associates and friends, must confront them for the final time.
Journal entry (excerpt)
- The Wild Hunt was in truth an elite cavalry brigade from the world of the Aen Elle, the Alder Folk, and was commanded by their ambitious and ruthless king, Eredin Breacc Glas. He would travel via secret paths through the cold emptiness between his world from ours to capture victims and take them back to his homeland as slaves.
A book can be purchased on the topic of the Wild Hunt. Reading the volume adds to the journal entry.
- According to tradition and eye witness accounts, the Wild Hunt abducts people, forcing them to join its mad gallopade on the sky. It's harvest is especially rich just before or during a great war, like a few years ago in Novigrad, when over twenty people went missing without a trace after the Wild Hunt passed. Some of the abductees managed to escape the cavalcade back into the world of the living, but the stories they told were so extraordinary that they were always considered insane.
- Stories of the Wild Hunt do not appear in the dwarven and elven cultures. It is quite interesting, for the Elder Races must have faced the Hunt long before humans did. As it seems, the dwarves ignore everything on mutual terms, while the elves are mysteriously silent on that subject.
- Sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg was abducted by the Wild Hunt, just like witcher Geralt of Rivia. Her fate remains unknown, though she certainly did not join the host of wraith horsemen, unlike her lover who was one of the Hunt's riders for some time. The motivation of the gallopades leader, the King of the Hunt, remains, as always, unknown.
- According to the Nordlings, the Wild Hunt is a procession, or rather a cavalcade of skeletal horsemen. They rush across the sky on the bony remains of steeds. Clad in rusty remnants of armor, they wear jagged swords at their waists. Like comets, the Wild Hunt is an omen of war, which has been confirmed beyond all doubt. The spectral cavalcade ventures out in search of victims every several years, but its harvest was never as rich as just before the last war with Nilfgaard, when over twenty souls went missing in Novigrad alone after the Hunt passed through. Curiously, elven and dwarven legends make not the slightest mention of the Wild Hunt.
- One of the insane asylum's patients claimed to have been abducted by the Wild Hunt and taken to a world where unicorns saunter about lush elven gardens. When he finally succeeded in escaping the Hunt's grasp, he returned to this world only to find that his children had aged and died, so many years had passed...
- According to the notes of a sorcerer, who spent his entire life studying the phenomenon of the Hunt, there is a mysterious power behind the wraith host's incursions into the world.
- Philippa Eilhart also has a theory about the origin, motivation and essence of the Wild Hunt. It is a surprisingly shallow theory for such a learned woman and not worthy of mention next to such illustrious deductions as the ones above.
- Síle de Tansarville showed absolutely no interest in the spectral riders of the Hunt. This was puzzling to say the least given her reputation as a very learned sorceress.
- There are more opinions about the Wild Hunt than there are stars in the sky. Some claim the Hunt is a retinue of the specters of knights who perished in various worlds. Others think the phantoms were created by a powerful force that sends them out into different worlds in search of slaves.
- Astronomical observation can be used to calculate the frequency of the Wild Hunt's appearances. This seems to confirm the hypothesis that the spectral riders come from another world.
- Mages remained silent about the Hunt, as if beset by a hoard of tongue-hungry cats. This silence from so many learned minds was as telling as words, but you'll not learn any more on this subject from me within this tale.
- The poem "The Song of the Hunt" is a book as rare as hen's teeth, and a pile of rubbish about the Hunt at the same time. Experts on the subject are willing to kill for that item, but fortunately there are not many of them. The multilayered narration sends the reader into the world of the author's rich imagination where each verse equals another interpretation. Truth mingles with fantasy in that work, but there's nothing of interest there for one researching the Hunt.
- No poem can remain vague when interpreted by a consummate poet. Master Dandelion thinks that "The Song of the Hunt" symbolically describes how the cavalcade enters our reality from another one. It means that the wraiths of the Hunt are the inhabitants of another world, not necessarily the world of shades, who use the primordial magic of chaos and entropy. The poem, however, fails to explains the reasons they might have for such journeys.
- Aramil, an elf from a parallel world, was pursued by the spectral riders to Loc Muinne, where he found a moment of respite. He left a missive according to which the King of the Hunt desires to fling open the gates between the worlds for all time, so that chaos and terror might reign in our world as well.
- What is the Wild Hunt in reality? A cavalcade of riders from a world dominated by elves, riders able to travel between different dimensions. The so-called wraiths are these elven warriors' spiritual emanations. They serve a powerful race and even more powerful individuals, whose knowledge of magic and skills in this domain far exceed those of the human and elven mages of our world.
In The Witcher computer game
|The Wild Hunt appears in the sky as a harbinger of war and other misfortunes; some believe it to be simply a magical phenomenon and not a horde of specters; elven sources refer to it as the Red Riders|
|No information is available about fighting the Wild Hunt|
|Magic, especially of the ritual kind, according to the Hermit in the fields outside Murky Waters. They are apparently not fond of mandrake either|
|Warriors of the Wild Hunt do not have to fight, they inspire such terror that people cower after a mere glimpse; there are known instances of abductions by the Wild Hunt|
|Vapors of the Hunt|
The King of the Wild Hunt appears at several points over the course of the game. This spectre seems to dog our hero's every step. He also seems to take pleasure in spewing twisted interpretations of past events.
- "The Wild Hunt is a horde of specters that roams the sky during storms and is an omen of disaster. The appearance of the Wild Hunt foreshadows war and woe, much as a comet does. The spectral Wild Hunt sometimes appears in nightmares of the cursed or those touched by Destiny."
- In contrast with the saga, signs and a silver sword are both effective against the King.
- During the Prologue, Lambert may say that the Wild Hunt was present when Eskel and Vesemir found Geralt, and that Triss urged them to drive the specters away.
- Furthering the Dead Hand of the Past quest triggers an encounter with the King of the Wild Hunt.
- The Hermit initiates Hunting the Wild Hunt, describing it as "a group of crazed specters who traverse the heavens searching for souls like themselves. They are susceptible to magic, especially of the ritual kind."
- In the Epilogue, Geralt may again discuss the Hunt with the Hermit; this does not result in any new journal entries (not even a bestiary entry if you were missing it).
- If Geralt kills the King, he can loot Vapors of the Hunt with or without the associated journal entries.