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The Huntsman Prince

Hanu of the Zainab

Tribe Huntsman of the Princes. Father of Manbeasts. The Hungry Cat. Hircine has many names, but all relate to his one known sphere; the hunt. The Daedric Prince is obsessed with the chase, the capture, the kill; whether the prey be mer, man, or beast.

Hircine is a favored subject of worship in Tamriel, although it is not out of line to question this popularity. None would go so far as to call him a deity of benevolence. In fact, Hircine has never seemed to actively want worship or reverence. He simply seeks out, tests, and rewards hunters he finds worthy.

Perhaps that's the appeal of such an idol. There's an odd purity to his savagery. Unlike many other Daedric Princes, his boons are generally found to be more or less fair. All his followers must do is prove themselves to him. Do so, and they are promised an afterlife of endless hunts within his Hunting Grounds.

The Hunting Grounds

Followers of Hircine are promised one thing; an afterlife within the Prince's realm of Oblivion, known as the Hunting Grounds. An endless forest where endless hunts are held. A land of savagery and violence, where an eternal cycle of death and rebirth take place.

Hunting lodges dot the landscape, home to the souls which haunt this realm. Powerful beasts lurk within the forests, allowing Hircine's followers to indulge in spectacular hunts. A true paradise for those who have dedicated their life to the Huntsman Prince.

The Great Hunt

Though a rare occurrence, Hircine does allow the living to enter his realm. This event is known as the Great Hunt, a deadly competition held for the Huntsman Prince's amusement. This contest of skill and cunning has only one goal in mind; capture the Hare and present it to Hircine. Only then will you earn his favor.

Many die during this bid for Hircine's boon. It's not uncommon for competitors to turn against one another, or to be killed by one of the many natural dangers the realm presents. And the Hare itself, of course, never goes down without a fight.


Hircine's title Father of Manbeasts is a well earned one. He's believed to be the creator of lycanthropy, the ability for mer and man to transform into beastial creatures. The most well known of these lycanthropes are werewolves.

Those infected with lycanthropy, whether by birth or infection, are cursed with an aggressive madness that compels them to bloodlust. Upon their death, they are sent to spend their afterlife within the Hunting Grounds. This is regardless of their allegiance to Hircine.

There's no known documentation of a soul escaping the Hunting Grounds, but there is one possibility. If a competitor of the Great Hunt would ask for a soul's freedom as their boon, Hircine will be compelled to free that individual's soul. And that is exactly what I must do if I ever wish for my father to be free of that savage realm.

The Glory of the Hunt

Wyress Strigidae

The glory of the hunt. I've always known it, always felt it. As my arrow pierced the heart of a creature, its lifeblood slowly draining from its chest. As my dagger punctured an enemy's skull, as I stared into their eyes as the life slowly faded from them. The beautiful symphony of my prey's dying screams, screeches, pleas.

I was always one of Hircine's children. No greater satisfaction could I gain than the thrill of the hunt, the feeling of triumph after a difficult kill. And the Huntsman Prince saw this, and smiled with bloody teeth.

As I laid dying, a sword sticking into my gut, I had no fear. I knew where my soul would go.

The Hunting Grounds. The forest of eternal hunts, of endless glory. Every day I join my sisters as we track our prey. Every night we lay under the majesty of Hircine's stars, recalling tales of our past victories. The wine is rich, the meat is fresh, and never do we fall ill. Our Lord has given us a paradise.

Soon the Huntsman Prince will gather outsiders for his Great Hunt. An exciting time for all of us hunters within His realm. We shall test these newcomers, see if they are truly worthy of Hircine's boon. And should they fall, what harm then? They shall simply remain within this paradise, this home we call the Hunting Grounds.

The Blessings of Hircine


It is the will of Hircine that the Bosmer become as we were in the Dawn Age. Before Y'ffre trapped us in a single shape, before he told us our story and took away our freedom.

The gift of Hircine is the gift of a second shape. The sacrament of Hircine is the scent of prey on the wind, the taste of blood on the tongue. Praise Hircine and his Houndsmen! Rise up and reject the tyranny of shape and story!

The Legend of Fallen Grotto


Long ago, a man with seven sons and seven daughters lived in Bangkorai. Their home was in a deep and twisted cave at the edge of the woods.

The surrounding forest was filled with all manner of creatures: bears, wolves, badgers, and deer. Though his family was large, they never knew hunger, for the animals were plentiful and easy prey.

"We must give thanks for Hircine's blessing," said the man.

And the man prayed to Hircine, building within his home a shrine to the God of the Hunt. He painted the walls of the cave with pigments he made by combining animal fat with the earth. From the deer his children slew, the man took antlers to make an altar, and his wife braided hides into leather rugs to cover the dirt floor.
When the shrine was complete, the man and his family lit tallow candles and roasted an ox, pouring its blood onto the altar as they chanted prayers.

Suddenly, they heard a laugh, and before them stood Hircine himself, drawn by the death cry of the ox and the scent of its roasting flesh.

"You've done well!" Hircine cried, striding forward. He was clad in layers of animal hide, though his feet were bare.

"To prove your faith," said Hircine, "send forth your seven sons and seven daughters. I will hunt them from dawn until dusk and from dusk until dawn, until I am sated."

The man recoiled in horror. "I cannot do that!" he said. "You may take anything, but do not take my children from me!"

Eyes narrowing, Hircine raised one hand toward the cave's ceiling. Then he pointed to the ground with the other. Hircine screamed, and the walls collapsed inward, destroying the shrine and the man's home.

As dust curled upward like the smoke from an offering, sixteen forest trolls lumbered uncertainly from the debris, staggering from the grotto to the woods.

"You were not worthy of becoming beasts," Hircine remarked coolly, "but I shall hunt you anyway."


Aspects of Lord Hircine

Juno Procillus, Academy of Chorrol

The following is the transcribed statement of a shaman of Druadach who named himself Uraccanach the Witchman:

"Like the fingers of your hand, like the clutch of the hagraven, like the arrows to kill a bear, Five are the Aspects of Lord Hircine. You may meet any of the Five. All are true and right and death-in-the-woods. All are worthy of reverence.

"You may meet the Hunter, who is invoked as Alrabeg. He bears the Spear of Bitter Mercy. He comes here from the Hunting Grounds to hunt new prey, or he brings prey native to the Hunting Grounds, like the Unicorn, to hunt in new forests. If he brings not prey, then woe betide you who meet him, for he may dub you the Hare. Then you must flee as best you can, though you will not escape.

"You may meet the Manbeast, who is invoked as Storihbeg. He wears the Wolf Skull Totem and his growl is like a landslide in the Karth Gorge. He comes here to hunt with his children the Skinshifters, or to adopt new children and turn them pelt-side-out. His howl will freeze your inwards like a pond in Evening Star at midnight—you will see your death approach, but be unable to flee.

"You man meet the Great Stag, who is invoked as Uricanbeg, and whose hooves drum the Blood Summons. He comes to mate with the hinds, and may transform a comely woman for that purpose, or to cull the herd of the weak. Those who hear his drumbeat are doomed to run with the herd, and may follow him back to the Hunting Grounds where they will be chased and unmade."

"You may meet the Quick Fox, who is invoked as Gulibeg, and who wields the Wand of Bone. He comes here to confound mortal hunters, to run them in circles until they are so plexed and wildered that they follow him over a cliff or into a trackless mire. He may fill you with such fury you can do naught but pursue him, or he may note you as clever and teach you his tricks.

"You may meet the Mighty Bear, who is invoked as Hrokkibeg. He embodies the Totem of Claw and Fang, and comes here seeking solitude, peace from labors, and renewal of the Burning Spirit Within. Beware, for if you rouse him and disturb his serenity you will be torn asunder. But if you approach him with deference and an offering of honey-sweet mead, he may grant you the power of the Bear-Heart in your next fight.

"These are the Five—there are no more, and any who say so are witless and foolish. So states Uraccanach, and whenever have I been proven false? I have said it, and it is so. Pass the juniper-draught."

Invocation of Hircine


Mighty Lord Hircine, noble Lord Hircine, we come before you in all obeisance and humility, acknowledging your divine authority over the forest and all the lawful prey therein. We invoke you, O Master of the Chase, in your aspect of Alrabeg the Hunter, to look kindly upon the endeavors of these, your worshipers, as we praise you by engaging in the hallowed tradition of the Hunt.

Ever do we respect the Law of Fair Hunt, never taking a quarry that had no chance of escape.

Ever do we respect the Prey, thanking it for its sacrifice in our worship of you.

Ever do we respect the Huntsman, beseeching your permission even as we loose the arrow.

Bless us as we hunt, O Hircine. Help us to hunt with honor, and bring in prey both lawful and bountiful.

The Book of Daedra


Azura, whose sphere is dusk and dawn, the magic in-between realms of twilight, known as Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky.

Boethiah, whose sphere is deceit and conspiracy, and the secret plots of murder, assassination, treason, and unlawful overthrow of authority.

Clavicus Vile, whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pact.

Hermaeus Mora, whose sphere is scrying of the tides of Fate, of the past and future as read in the stars and heavens, and in whose dominion are the treasures of knowledge and memory.

Hircine, whose sphere is the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game, the Chase, known as the Huntsman and the Father of Manbeasts.

Malacath, whose sphere is the patronage of the spurned and ostracized, the keeper of the Sworn Oath, and the Bloody Curse.

Mehrunes Dagon, whose sphere is Destruction, Change, Revolution, Energy, and Ambition.

Mephala, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; known by the names Webspinner, Spinner, and Spider; whose only consistent theme seems to be interference in the affairs of mortals for her amusement.

Meridia, whose sphere is obscured to mortals; who is associated with the energies of living things.

Molag Bal, whose sphere is the domination and enslavement of mortals; whose desire is to harvest the souls of mortals and to bring mortal souls within his sway by spreading seeds of strife and discord in the mortal realms.

Namira, whose sphere is the ancient Darkness; known as the Spirit Daedra, ruler of sundry dark and shadowy spirits; associated with spiders, insects, slugs, and other repulsive creatures which inspire mortals with an instinctive revulsion.

Nocturnal, whose sphere is the night and darkness; who is known as the Night Mistress.

Peryite, whose sphere is the ordering of the lowest orders of Oblivion, known as the Taskmaster.

Sanguine, whose sphere is hedonistic revelry and debauchery, and passionate indulgences of darker natures.

Sheogorath, whose sphere is Madness, and whose motives are unknowable.

Vaernima, whose sphere is the realm of dreams and nightmares, and from whose realm issues forth evil omens.

[Especially marked for special interest under the heading "Malacath" you find a reference to SCOURGE, blessed by Malacath, and dedicated to the use of mortals. In short, the reference suggests that any Daedra attempting to invoke the weapon's powers will be expelled into the voidstreams of Oblivion.]

"Of the legendary artifacts of the Daedra, many are well known, like Azura's Star, and Sheogorath's Wabbajack. Others are less well known, like Scourge, Mackkan's Hammer, Bane of Daedra...."

"...yet though Malacath blessed Scourge to be potent against his Daedra kin, he thought not that it should fall into Daedric hands, then to serve as a tool for private war among caitiff and forsaken. Thus did Malacath curse the device such that, should any dark kin seek to invoke its powers, that a void should open and swallow that Daedra, and purge him into Oblivion's voidstreams, from thence to pathfind back to the Real and Unreal Worlds in the full order of time."  

The Totems of Hircine


Among those of us to whom Lord Hircine bestowed his most precious gift of Lycanthropy, there are legends that he also set into the world specific artifacts of his power. They date to a period when men could neither write, nor speak, nor barely think, but the powers of blood of the beast were yet flowing strong among the selected.

The first: a carved skull, of the wolf itself. Used by those ancient shamans in the blood ceremonies that created our lineage, it is said to grant a great presence to those who prostrate themselves before it, such that those who witness their forms cower in a terror unknown except to those who have glimpsed the face of Hircine himself.

The second: a thigh bone, carved as the skull, but from some animal unknown. Used as some form of medicinal wand in the more ancient brotherhood, it was said to grant a kind of heightened awareness, both in sight and smell, such that the prey could never flee too far from our senses.

The third: a simple drum, its mundane appearance meaning it is most likely lost to the mists of long ago time. As our fathers would beat time to summon their brethren from the fields, so too would our forebears in the blood call their allies to them with its pounding.

Through these totems, we channel and focus our energies of the beast. While werewolves give up the powers of magic known to men, we can tap into a more direct natural energy at times, and through these totems, discover the abilities that first tamed the world before wrought civilization sullied it.


Posting of the Hunt


The writing in the book appears to be a hasty transcription, perhaps from dictation, or copied from a longer work.

Let no man say before a witness that the Hunt has not been called, nor the Rites declared, or the Ancient Offices observed.

The Ritual of the Innocent Quarry, also called the Wild Hunt, is an ancient rite drawing magical energy from the powerful magicka stream that engulfs this realm. The creators and times of the rituals are long forgotten. But followed properly, the rite brings great power and prestige to the Huntsman.

The ritual pits the all-powerful Huntsmen and their Greater and Lesser Dogs against the pitiful and doomed Innocent Quarry, called by tradition the Hare, after the mortal creature of human hunts. At once, the Huntsman is transported by the exquisite thrill and glory of his might and dominion over his helpless prey, and at the same time touched by the tragic, noble, and ultimately futile plight of the Innocent Quarry. In the highest aesthetic realization of the ritual, the ecstatic rapture of the kill is balanced by the Huntsman's identification with the sadness and despair of the Innocent Quarry. As in pieces the body of the innocent Hare is torn, the Huntsman reflects on the tragic imbalances of power and the cruel injustices of the world.

As the Hunt begins, the Lesser Dogs assemble before the green crystal reflections of the Chapel of the Innocent Quarry. Inside the Chapel, the Huntsmen, the Greater Dogs, and the Master of the Hunt perform the rites that initiate and sanctify the Huntsmen, the Hunt, and the Innocent Quarry. Then the Huntsman emerges from the Chapel, displays the Spear of Bitter Mercy, and recites the Offices of the Hunt. The Offices describe explains the laws and conditions of the four stages of the Hunt: the Drag, the Chase, the Call, and the View to the Kill.

Stage One -- The Drag, in which the Lesser Dogs drag the ground to flush out the Hare.

Stage Two -- The Chase, in which the Greater Hounds drive the Hare before them.

Stage Three -- The Call, in which the Greater Hounds trap the Hare and summon the Huntsmen for the kill.

Stage Four -- The View, in which the Huntsman makes the kill with the ritual Spear of Bitter Mercy, and calls upon the Master of the Hunt to view the kill by ringing the town bell. The Master of the Hunt then bestows the Bounty upon the Huntsman Bold who has wielded the Spear of Bitter Mercy in the kill. The Master of the Hunt also calls upon the Huntsman Bold to name the next Hare for the next Hunt (though the Huntsman Bold himself may not participate in the next Hunt).

The Offices of the Hunt, which the Huntsmen, Master, and Hounds are solemnly sworn to honor, detail the practices and conditions of the Hunt. These practices and conditions, also known as the Law, strictly define all details of the Hunt, such as how many Hounds of each sort may participate, how the Spear of Bitter Mercy may be wielded, and so forth. In addition, the Law states that the Hare must have a genuine chance to escape the Hunt, no matter how slim. In practice, this condition has been defined as the availability of six keys, which, if gathered together in the Temple of Daedric Rites, permit the Hare to teleport away from the Hunt, and so elude the Huntsman and his Spear. It is inconceivable, of course, that the Hare might actually discover the keys and escape, but the forms must be observed, and tampering with the keys or cheating the Hare of a genuine chance of finding or using the keys is a shameful and unforgivable betrayal of the Law of the Hunt.

The Ritual of the Hunt grants the Huntsmen protection from all forms of attack, including mortal and immortal weapons, and sorceries of all schools. Huntsmen are cautioned, however, that the ritual does not protect the Huntsman from the potent energies of his own Spear, and cautions against reckless wielding of the Spear in close melee, darkness, or other dangerous circumstances, for a single touch of the Spear of Bitter Mercy means instant and certain death for innocent Hare or fellow Huntsman alike.

The right to name a Wild Hunt is a grand and grave right indeed, as all but the High Daedra Lords are vulnerable to the potent sorceries of the Spear of Bitter Mercy. The Spear itself is therefore a terrible weapon, and it is forbidden to remove it from the Grounds of the Ritual Hunt.

16 Accords of Madness, v. VI


Hircine's Tale

Ever proud and boastful, Oblivion's Mad Prince stood one fifth day of mid year among the frigid peaks of Skyrim, and beckoned forth Hircine for parlay. The Huntsman God materialized, for this was his day, and the boldness of Sheogorath intrigued him.

Wry without equal, Sheogorath holds in his realm giggling loons, flamboyant auteurs, and craven mutilators. The Mad Prince will ply profitless bargains and promote senseless bloodshed for nothing more than the joy of another's confusion, tragedy, or rage. So it was that Sheogorath had set a stage on which to play himself as rival to Hircine.

Without haste, the coy Prince proffered his contest; each Prince was to groom a beast to meet at this place again, three years to the hour, and do fatal battle. Expressionless behind his fearsome countenance, Hircine agreed, and with naught but a dusting of snow in the drift, the Princes were gone to their realms.

Confident, but knowing Sheogorath for a trickster, Hircine secretly bred an abomination in his hidden realm. An ancient Daedroth he summoned, and imbued it with the foul curse of lycanthropy. Of pitch heart and jagged fang, the unspeakable horror had no peer, even among the great hunters of Hircine's sphere.

In the third year, on the given day, Hircine returned, where Sheogorath leaned, cross-legged on a stone, whistling with idle patience. The Prince of the Hunt struck his spear to the ground, bringing forth his unnatural, snarling behemoth. Doffing his cap, sly as ever, Sheogorath stood and stepped aside to reveal a tiny, colorful bird perched atop the stone. Demurely it chirped in the bristling gusts, scarcely audible.

In a twisted, springing heap, the Daedroth was upon the stone, leaving only rubble where the boulder had been. Thinking itself victorious, the monster's bloodied maw curled into a mock grin, when a subdued song drifted in the crisp air. The tiny bird lightly hopped along the snout of the furious Daedroth. Sheogorath looked on, quietly mirthful, as the diminutive creature picked at a bit of detritus caught in scales betwixt the fiery eyes of the larger beast. With howling fury, the were-thing blinded itself trying to pluck away the nuisance. And so it continued for hours, Hircine looking on in shame while his finest beast gradually destroyed itself in pursuit of the seemingly oblivious bird, all the while chirping a mournful tune to the lonesome range.

Livid, but beaten, Hircine burned the ragged corpse and withdrew to his realm, swearing in forgotten tongues. His curses still hang in those peaks, and no wayfarer tarries for fear of his wrathful aspect in those obscured heights.

Turning on his heel, Sheogorath beckoned the miniscule songbird to perch atop his shoulder, and strolled down the mountain, making for the warm breezes and vibrant sunsets of the Abecean coast, whistling in tune with the tiniest champion in Tamriel.