The Wild Hunt

Click goes the hammer - run when you hear that sound.  
— Skillet, Finish Line
  When the moon is right, and the wall between worlds grows thin, the Wild Hunt rides out in search of prey. This ancient order of Fae has hounded humanity for countless ages, creating legends of boogeymen and other terrors that snatch the unwary away, never to be seen again. For the Fae, it is a rare opportunity to savor the thrills of the mortal world, with all its dangers and promise, a chance to craft tales of horror and heroism, to bleed some excitement into jaded lives.   For the prey, it is a terrifying nightmare made real, from which most never awaken.  

The Hunt Begins

It's like getting stuck in a horror movie - a bad one.  
— Amelia Korp, Walker
  Once unleashed upon the world, the Wild Hunt arrives with the force of a storm. Where the Fae emerge, the weather turns strange and foreboding. Things break or go missing, bad luck haunts those within the area, and any Magi there can sense darkness envelop the world. The Fae search for prey, each hunter using their own criteria, and once the mortal lays eyes on the Fae, they become part of the hunt. Victims become trapped in a bubble-reality where the Fae hold near-total dominion and the prey are separated from the rest of humanity.  
To Walkers, the area is like a sheared-off part of the Shadow, where Gates fail to open unless a Fae allows passage.
  The Fae's hunting reality is permutable, with some victims passing in and out of it throughout the hunt. In doing so, they inevitably drag others into their mess, much to the Fae's amusement. In this hunting dimension, the Fae can bend reality, warping space and even time, transmute material or mortal alike. In the actual Prime, only hints of what's going on ripples through reality. For the Fae, it ensures a successful hunt, one where the car starts at just the last moment to get away, or the door opens right before the axe would've hit the poor bastard trying to get away.  
It'd be no fun if it ended quickly.
 
Fae being Fae, no Wild Hunt is complete without treachery. Squabbles over the right to kill, ownership of particular prey, or slights to be avenged all boil to the surface during the frenzy of the wild hunt. If none exist, and such occurrences are truly rare, they are manufactured. Nobles remember insults that didn't exist before, and rivalries are invented. No Wild Hunt would be complete without it.   Such trouble is not an unwelcome part of the Wild Hunt, but another aspect of it. The Fae thrive on such stories and eagerly feast on the wild swings of fortune. In a way, the prey for the Wild Hunt are almost like spectators to a terrible play. The more the Fae can involve their victims, the better - some even play the role of the good monster, aiding the hunted here and there, all the draw out the process of the hunt and construct drama for them to later devour.
 
Such charades rarely last the entire Hunt, for what is sweeter than to have hope extinguished by a sudden yet inevitable betrayal?
  The actual killing is incidental to the Hunt itself. Even for the most blood-thirsty hunter, it is the chase, the story, and the thrill that they are after, with the actual murder on the end a punctuation mark, an end and satisfying conclusion. No Fae would dream of ending such a pleasant time early by slaughter, instead delaying the inevitable for as long as they can. If they can maim instead of kill, or frighten instead of wound, they'll often do so, allowing victims to escape again and again by the thinnest of margins to begin the chase new. There's nothing Fae like more than turning survivors against each other, played like pawns, then plucked away one by one when the time is right.   When the end finally does come, it is when the Fae have had their fill, not a moment sooner.  

Calling of The Wild Hunt

This is when the gods remind us that we are their playthings.
  Every Wild Hunt is heralded by the Hunter's Moon, when magic and wonder waxes, and pathways to the Beyond creak open. Fortunately for mortals everywhere, not every Hunter's Moon means a Wild Hunt is coming. Like all Fae things, the Wild Hunt is a complicated affair.   Only one Fae Archlord can call a Wild Hunt - the lord or lady of the hunt. The schemes to usurp that title are constant and legendary in scope. Many hunter's moons pass without a hunt because the Fae are busy waging war for the honor of being the one who calls it.  
The current Lord of the Hunt is a jackal-faced fae with a fondness for 80's horror movies that color the aesthetics of his hunts.
 
sebastiaan-stam-WXeJcabNzhE-unsplash.jpg
by Unsplash (Sebastiaan Stam)
To magi who study the Fae, the race for the title is more hotly contested than any other, and some think there is something else to the title... But exactly what, nobody's quite sure.  
Mere moments after a Fae has been crowned, the plots to steal it begins.
  Should the lord or lady of the hunt be unchallenged, they can call on a Wild Hunt to be assembled when the moon is right. To those who have witnessed it, the muster is a mad thing. The master-hunter sounds a horn that resounds throughout the Faelands, drawing hopeful Fae and their retinue from far and wide.
  Only so many Fae are permitted to join - the number changes, but always with some significance, and never more than two dozen. The fight for a spot on the list is merciless and is meant to be. It weeds out the weak or unsuited, and every Fae who rides in the Hunt has the personal approval of the Lord or Lady of the hunt.   Part of the process involves a certain amount of squabbling over what exactly they'll hunt, and why. Most are simple things - ride in the world in search of mayhem and amusement, spilling blood and soiling underpants. Others are more focused, with objectives such as capturing mortals to make into changelings or even slaying a single magi.
summon-4373257_1920.jpg
by Pixabay
 

The Faelands

Fae lives in the part of the Beyond called the Faelands, a kingdom of wonder and nightmare they've carved from magic and dying gods.   It is a realm of horror and magic, of majestic wonder and terrors not found anywhere else. Within primordial would and industrial nightmares of pipes and choking gas, the Fae hold court and drown their boredom.   When the moon is full and their hunger unsated, the stars align to let the Fae ride into the mortal world in search of prey and amusement.  
Faelands
Geographic Location | Jul 17, 2021

Deep within the Beyond, the Faelands beckon through dreams and ill-omen. It is a land of wild and primal power, lust and whim unfettered, emotions untamed.

 

Hobgoblins

The Fae share their lands with a thousand kinds of slaves, collectively known as hobgoblins. Every Fae has their own cadre of Hobgoblins at their beck and call, able to create them with a passing thought and thinking just as little about destroying them again.   The greatest among the Fae have entire legions of Hobgoblins bound to their will, using them for anything from waging war to erecting monuments to entertainment and experimentation.   These lesser spirits have all the malice and whimsy of their lords, but only a fraction of their power.    
Hobgoblins
Species | Jul 11, 2021

A minor fae spirit-creature, imbued with all the malice of their greater kin but only a fraction of the power... Or smarts.

As creatures of magic, Hobgoblins are usually not able to survive in the wonder-starved Prime, but whatever enables the Fae to invade lets them take some minions along.
 
WildHunt
by Freepik (Free Vector)
 

Hunting Party

No Fae goes alone on the hunt. Many lead scores of Hobgoblins to hound prey or even serve as easy foils for the Fae's victims. Others bring Changelings, delighting in pitting the once-mortal against their kin, and even more so should the two be related somehow.   A few cages beasts and monsters from other parts of the Beyond, dragging them into the hunt in chains and unleashing them to watch whatever spectacular carnage that follows. Sure, that'll occasionally backfire on them, but that just makes for a better show.   Some Fae even brings Fae-worshipping cultists into the hunt as the most disposable of lackeys. It is rare for any of these Fae Groupies to survive the honor.  
Fae Groupies
Organization | Jul 17, 2021

Desperate worshippers of the cruel Fae, trading their bodies and souls for a chance to meet their immortal master's approval.

Once it is over, the Fae fade back into the Faelands like darkness before the rising sun. The slain and captured go with them, becoming grisly trophies and playthings for the victorious Fae... And possibly sacrifices to some greater power within the Faelands and the true power behind the Wild Hunts.
 
trollinho-FEhqAEKTYl4-unsplash.jpg
by Unsplash


Cover image: by Unsplash (Blake Weyland)

Comments

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19 Jul, 2021 15:34

This is terrifying and so amusing at the same time!! I lost it at "spilling blood and soiling underpants" <3

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit my galaxy
2 Aug, 2021 11:17

:D You know at least one poor guy pooped himself in fear....

19 Jul, 2021 16:03

Knock, knock... Who's there? Me and my players. We are relocating to you setting!   Amazing read.


Graylion
Roleplaying
Ruleplaying
Rollplaying
2 Aug, 2021 11:17

Hahah, thank you :D <3   Would be a fun setting to play in, I think!

19 Jul, 2021 16:20

Great work here Q. Terrifying and chaotic and very Far.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
19 Jul, 2021 17:31

Always that traitorous moon...   This seems really like a fun hunt :D All that politicking sounds super interesting :p Does that mean that the leader of the hunt is the "strongest" fae right now, or is it not necessary and just meant that they came the top of the alliance game? Does the countess participate in those political plays or does she not bother?

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
19 Jul, 2021 17:32

Forgot to ask, do the fae dilate time or something so that the stars/moon/whatever stay align for as long as they want to prolong the hunt? Or is it just necessary for them to start it and enter the prime, and then after that they can stay as long as they want the hunt to last?

2 Aug, 2021 11:24

Not so much strongest (but that certainly helps) as whoever manages to secure enough support and/or alliances, yes. A bit like being a medieval king! They tend to be individually very powerful, too, but that's more of a bonus.   The Countess used to be an avid huntress, and even lead one or two Wild Hunts, but not any longer!   Fae do dilate time; once you're stick inside the hunting 'bubble' of pseudo reality, it'll feel a lot longer. Such magic is unstable and the Veil doesn't tolerate it for long, so at most they can keep that up for... However long the book requires (a few days to a week) ;D   Thank you for the comment and awesome questions :D