The Wild Hunt is a group of specters, led by the King of the Wild Hunt, which is considered to be an omen of misfortune and death. It is said to appear mainly, but not exclusively, during the winter. The Wild Hunt can appear 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.
Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri have all come into close contact with the King and his specters, either directly or through dreams. Geralt was a member of the hunt for a time, after he gave the King his soul in exchange for Yennefer's. While he would escape eventually, he lost his memory in the process. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Wild Hunt returns in an attempt to find and capture Ciri.
The King of the Wild Hunt and his specters appear to Geralt over the course of The Witcher, taunting and twisting his memories.
The first glimpse of the King and its minions occur near Kaer Morhen in the Prologue. In Chapter I it appears again in the Outskirts along with the ghost of Leo. In Chapter IV, Geralt must avoid summoning him while completing a quest for the Hermit. These encounters culminate at the end of the game where Geralt must face another major dilemma.The King of the Wild Hunt is in fact Eredin, an Aen Elle elf. In his world, Eredin leads Dearg Ruadhri, the "Red Riders." In The Tower of the Swallow, he and Avallac'h lured Ciri to the titular tower which led to her imprisonment in the world belonging to the Aen Elle. There the duo tried to force her to beget a child with Auberon Muircetach in order to harness her powers; but, Eredin ruined the plan by unwillingly murdering Auberon. Ciri managed to escape with the help of the unicorns. The King of the Wild Hunt later sought Yennefer and Geralt in order to find Ciri once again. He captured Yennefer, prompting Geralt to recruit Letho and the witchers from the School of the Viper to try and fight the hunt. Though they did damage, the sheer numbers meant it was impossible for the witchers to win. In desperation, Geralt offered to trade his soul for Yennefer. Eredin agreed to the deal and released Yennefer. Geralt was then brought into the Wild Hunt, serving them for some time before Ciri was able to free him.
- "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.
- Signs and a silver sword are both effective after dispatching the King of the Wild Hunt.
- 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.
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.
- Eredin - King of the Wild Hunt
- Imlerith - Commander of the Hunt
- Caranthir - Navigator of the Hunt
- Geralt (formerly)
- Ge'els (not actively part of the Hunt)
- The Wild Hunt originates from European folklore and possibly myth. There are many legends of the Hunt, but notable among them is that the cavalcade is led by the god Odin.
- The Wild Hunt's horses have six legs. This is possibly a reference to Odin's horse Sleipnir, who is described having a similar physique.
- The medieval German hero Dietrich von Bern is said to have been carried off by the Hunt at the end of his life.
- To look upon the riders is perilous. It is also considered an omen of death, as the riders are the souls of the dead themselves.
- One of the earliest references to the Hunt appears in the writings of the 12th-century British writer Walter Map, who names the king as Herla.
- The appearance of the Wild Hunt is also an omen of war, and signifies the coming of war or tragedy.
- The abductions or disappearances affiliated with the Wild Hunt are most common during or before times of war.