The Rise of The Fallen
The Wild Hunt
“On my honor do I swear:
To uphold my liege and Emperor, and serve the empire in all things
To protect my fellow Eladrin from those that would bring them destruction
To root out and destroy those that would poison and destroy my brethren
To sacrifice every thing, even my life’s blood, to achieve my ends."
—From the Wild Hunt Oath
The Wild Hunt began as packs of hunters who lived in the demesnes of Faerie Lords, long before the great Empire of Avaleron arose. These hunters provided needed food for their lords, and occasionally a common defense against threats from the magical woods. Occasionally, the Lords would meet, and bring their hunters with them. When these meetings happened, the faerie Lords had their hunters compete with each other to bring back the most interesting game. This “game” could be any fairy beast, but occasionally the hunters hunted each other, especially if the lords were rivals of each other.
The Faerie Lords would occasionally take prisoners from those who intruded on their lands, or offer a chance to escape execution to criminals who had wronged their vassals. When this happened, the poor unfortunate would be given the pelt of a white Fey Fox and a head start. Then the lord would release his hunters, who would chase the prisoner to the edge of the lord’s demesne and sometimes beyond. If the prisoner could escape the hunters, he was free to enjoy his exile. If captured, he was butchered.
When the lands that would become Avaleron began to band together for common defense, the hunters of the various lords were the most experienced soldiers. They trained common Eladrin in the arts of war, but reserved the best secrets for their own ranks. In time, this group of hunter-soldiers evolved into the “elite forces” of the Eladrin military, and passed down secret initiation rites and rituals through the ages. As Avaleron became a mighty empire, the Wild Hunt became its most feared enforcers and best troops. Partisanship, however, remained, as each troop of hunters was fiercely loyal to the lord of the province they hailed from. These troops often had to be reminded that their loyalty was to the empire, not the lord who commanded them.
During the Hundred Years Chaos, the Zargoni Conspiracy used this fractiousness to their advantage. They managed to replace key lords with doppelganger puppets, who duped them into working at cross-purposes while the Zagoni cultists dug their way deeper into the levels of government. By the time of the diabolic invasion, the Wild Hunt had been almost completely duped into working directly for the invaders rather than protecting the citizens. When the conspiracy was uncovered and the doppelganger puppets unmasked, the Wild Hunt banded together, but by then the damage had been done and the empire had fallen into ruin.
The Wild Hunt helped clear out the devils and free the land from their influence, and also helped the human lands that the devils had invaded (which would become the kingdom of Coralton, and then lent itself to the rebuilding of the Empire. The fractiousness had gone from their ranks, and they renewed their pledge to protect the empire instead of the separate lords. Emperor Nyroni Goldenbow commissioned the Wild Hunt to be the police force of a new Golden Age. The Wild Hunt currently focuses its attention on the genocide of the changeling race, blaming the descendants of the doppelgangers for the fall of the empire and vowing to destroy them to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future. The Wild Hunt usually stops at the Empire’s borders…but not always.
“For the Glory of the Empire! AYOOUGH! AYOOUGH! AYOOOOOOOOOOOOOUGH!”—Traditional battle howl
The Wild Hunt is the Schutzstaffel of the Eladrin empire. They believe they are patriots and heroes cleansing their lands of abominations not fit to live, but in reality they are butchers and totalitarian strong men.
The goals of the Wild Hunt are to help rebuild the empire and protect it from its enemies. They have interpreted this doctrine to include those races that they deem unfit to exist alongside the Eladrin (the gnomes, for one) as well as those who are too dangerous to allow to flourish (the changelings).
The Wild Hunt can count on the support of the Court of Avaleron. They are, in fact, it’s most politically powerful entity, second only to the Emperor himself.
They also have an…understanding with the White Fox Society. It is an interesting relationship, because both are independent organizations and have different aims. Sometimes the Foxes need to be chased, while other times the Foxes will lead the Wild Hunt to other prey.
Naturally, those who have been on the wrong side of the Wild Hunt’s attacks dislike them immensely. And because their attacks are driving more and more changelings and gnomes into the world, their attitudes color those that they’ve settled with. Slowly but surely the citizens of Coralton are hearing about the Wild Hunt’s activities back in the Feywild, and they aren’t so eager to let Wild Hunt packs operate freely within Coralton’s borders.