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 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 Yennifer, prompting Gerald 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, Gerald offered to trade his soul for Yennifer. Eredin agreed to the deal and releases Yennifer. Gerald was than 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.
The Wild Hunt returns as the main antagonists of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, they hunt for Ciri who has returned to the Continent.
They first appear in Geralt's dream when he trained a young Ciri in Kaer Morhen and later the Hunt intercepts Geralt and Yennefer during their travel to Vizima.
- Eredin - King of the Wild Hunt
- Imlerith - Commander of the Hunt
- Caranthir - Navigator of the Hunt
- Geralt (formerly)
- 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 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.