The Wild Hunt

If there’s any one thing in the world of monsters that deserves a separate mention, it’s the Wild Hunt. Until a certain fight against an uppity witch in 1879, the Wild Hunt was the closest the many disparate kinds of monsters have come to working and fighting together against a common foe.

Even the Fae don’t remember when the Wild Hunt was created or who founded it. Odin claims it was originally his invention, as has Gwydion, Herne the Hunter, and Oberon. Some say that King Arthur has led the Hunt. Humans who claim to have witnessed the Hunt declare that Lucifer riding lead and that the Hunt abducts humans to join its ranks.

It’s closer to the truth to say that there are many Hunts. One version of the Hunt still rides the moors of Britain on foggy nights, led by the legendary King Arthur. Another roams the wilds of Scandinavia with Odin at the front. Another branch covers France, another Spain, another Poland, and so forth. Any location where humans might be tempted to mass murder, cannibalism, and any of the other acts that can create wendigo — the monster that monsters fear — has a Wild Hunt.

Where wars take place, a Wild Hunt inevitably arises. There has always been a link between the depravities of war and the creation of wendigo, even if that wasn’t always the name used for the creatures. When a human goes wendigo, there’s never any going back. And monsters know that, once the taste of human flesh no longer satisfies, monsters are next on the list. The Wild Hunt is the monsters’ equivalent of calling down the big guns: once a wendigo starts eating monsters, it’s impossible for a single monster, no matter how powerful they are, to take down a wendigo. It’s better to take them out as quick as possible, if they can be found.

In North America, there are several individual Wild Hunts. Between the Mexican-American War and the Civil War in such close succession, as well as the Trail of Tears and other atrocities, there are a lot of souls who died in horrible ways. Harsh conditions, cruelties, and desperation have led to more wendigo than anyone is comfortable thinking about. Supposedly a high ranking Fae, one of the Tuatha dé Danaan, named Neit brought the concept of the Wild Hunt to North America, and it has been used since to combat the problem.

The North American Hunts are unique among other Hunts. The three Hunts roaming the United States have Antichrists riding in the lead. Their unique ability to shadowwalk make them ideal for moving their section of the Hunt to the issue, allowing for something close to surgical strikes. Prior to 1854, each had a banshee in it, to call the rest of the Hunts in if additional help was needed. An attack by a group of wendigo in 1857, many of the creatures fighting together against the monsters, has decimated the Wild Hunt, killed at least one of their Antichrists, left one maimed for life, and resulted in the disappearance and likely death of the third one. The Hunts have yet to recover.

Of the three United States Hunts, they had divided the country as best they can to cover before the slaughter they encountered in Illinois that night. The Eastern United States, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, was covered by Belial and was slaughtered; a Hunt that had contained forty monsters was left with two both living and capable of still continuing the war. Four more lived but would never be able to fight again. Belial was not among the survivors, and his body was at least partially eaten by the creatures.

The Wild Hunt for the Northwestern United States, from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, north of the Arkansas River, was led by Mordecai, whose right arm was bitten off by a wendigo during the fight. It is know that he survived the assault but is no longer able to fight. Of a Hunt of forty-six monsters, fourteen survived and are still able to fight. Another eight survived but would never be able to fight again.

The Wild Hunt in the Southwestern United States, from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, south of the Arkansas River, was led by Ezra. Faraday also rode in this section of the Wild Hunt until the assault in 1857. Ezra, originally known as Ezekiel, is known to have been seriously injured in the attack, enough so that Faraday assumes he’s probably dead. Of the parts, this one faired the best, with only three members definitely dead or dying, one missing, and two maimed beyond fighting capacity, out of a fighting force of thirty-eight. However, Faraday left shortly after this, to participate in the Civil War (“War of Northern Aggression” as he called it in movie), and did not return.

Out of an original fighting force of 124 monsters, the Wild Hunt in the United States has forty-seven monsters remaining, meaning they’ve lost two-thirds of their original numbers. The number of monsters joining the Hunt was never strong to begin with, but it has completely stalled out now, when the need for a Wild Hunt has never been higher.

To supplement the lost numbers, angels have started trying taking on the wendigo themselves, but even they can have issues against the creatures. Often all that will be found of the angels who tried to go it alone is the feathers from their wings and their weapons. No one has ever asked an angel to join the Wild Hunt, and no angel has ever volunteered for it.