- The Wild Hunt is a pack of shifting forest-demons and animal-gods, thousands strong, which sweeps through the countryside killing everything Eric of Guis path. —
- A flood of horrific beasts, tentacled toads, insects of armor and spine, gelatinous serpents, vaporous beings with the face of gods, all poured forth from the great hollow tree, blind with fury. — A Dance in Fire, Chapter 4
The Wild Hunt is a magical trait innate to all Bosmer. It is brought on by a collective ritual performed by many Bosmer, causing them to shapeshift into a horde of feral, supernatural beasts. These monsters stampede, changing their form constantly, slaying and devouring all in their path and eventually, when left with no surviving targets, turn upon themselves in a "cannibalistic orgy". This transformation is seen by the Bosmer as a return to the chaos of the Dawn Era, when they were unable to hold onto one shape for more than a moment. After they made the Green Pact with Y'ffre, he taught the Bosmer how to escape that chaos and retain their form, but also how to return to it by instigating the Wild Hunt. These shapeshifters are said to be able to take on a gaseous form which makes them impossible to contain without the aid of magic. There's even some suggestion they can take on the form of water.
The purpose of the Wild Hunt varies with each separate Hunt, from an act of vengeance to a tool of war. In either case, the Bosmer are not proud of their ability and are unwilling to discuss the Hunt at great length. One of the rare accounts on the nature of the Wild Hunt states that "every monster in the world that has ever been comes from a previous Hunt". As such, the Bosmer are reluctant to use the Hunt, except as an act of desperation. The monsters that do get created by a Wild Hunt, all former Bosmer, are said to be ferocious and long-lived. Notable examples included Willy the Bitten and King Dead Wolf-Deer, who were created by the end of the fourth century of the First Era and lived at least until the beginning of the Third Era. They went on to plague Silvenar Grove and the Lympan March respectively. The change is said to be irreversible.
There have been three documented cases of the Wild Hunt:
- 1E 369, Cyrodiil — A Wild Hunt was invoked in order to kill King Borgas who was a supporter of the Alessian Order and thus against Valenwood. As a result of his death via the Hunt, Skyrim was plunged in a civil war that lasted for more than 50 years.
- Late Second Era, location unknown — The last Wild Hunt to be officially documented until the end of the Third Era.
- 3E 397, Vindisi — A Wild Hunt was invoked in retaliation to a Khajiiti attack on the Bosmer hamlet of Vindisi by its inhabitants during a truce in the Five Year War. According to the Imperial Geographical Society this was the most recent sighting of the Wild Hunt to date.
- The Wild Hunt of the Bosmer should not be confused with the Wild Hunt periodically conducted by the Daedric Prince Hircine, which is also sometimes called the Great Hunt or the Ritual of the Innocent Quarry.
- ^ a b c Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri Dominion — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- ^ a b A Dance in Fire, Chapter 4 — Waughin Jarth
- ^ Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- ^ The Keeper's Primer Volume II: The Binding Stone — The Office of the Canonreeve of Corrections
- ^ A History of Daggerfall — Odiva Gallwood
- ^ a b c Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- ^ The Posting of the Hunt
- ^ Tal Marog Ker's Researches — Tal Marog Ker