Most people have heard of the royal hunt either through myths or music composed by Mozart. Many assume that this game was only played by those that were rich or royal. Yet many don’t take into consideration that there is another version to this game. one that is played in the realm of faeries.
Those who were nobles or rulers of the land would take part in hunts gathered their army or created small hunting parties to tag along. These parties would consist of men on horseback carrying bows and sword with a pack of hounds lapping at their feet. Their query would be boar, deer, and in some cases bears. In the modern era, the hunts are a bit different. Wealthy men bring a caged fox to their homes before releasing it into the surrounding woods. There the hunting party rides on horseback but use guns allowing the hounds to chase the animal down for them.
In the realm of the fey the hunt goes by a different name. The Wild Hunt is their unique version of the hunt portrayed by humans. There is a folklore that describes the hunting party as a group of elves, faery, or the undead. The leader is either a faery or elvish lord or a historical being. It was said that those who see the party will be dragged to the underworld or the fey realms. Otherwise they would be given an omen of death before joining the ranks of the party.
There is another version that the Unseelie Court uses The Wild Hunt to toy with humans. On the Summer Solstice, they would name a human as the fox and allow them to run through the woods until sunset. If they avoid capture they could remain free but if caught they would be trapped in the fey world for all eternity being a slave to the leader of the hunting party.
I have never been a fan of the concept behind the hunt. A fox being chased through the woods by men on houses with packs of hounds sounds barbaric to me. It would be one thing, if the animal was hunted for food, but the concept of the royal hunt is to chase the animal for sport. I understand that men use the hunt to show power and leadership, but there are other ways then harming animals in the process.
Not all animals survive the hunt and end up getting killed during the hunt, or die from panic before being released from their cage. The fey’s version of the hunt is not much better for them humans play the role of the fox being chased for almost a day. To be in consent fear sounds more like torture then a mere game.
Furthermore, it’s clear that the royal hunt had influenced many forms of media throughout the centuries. The practice is no longer in effect due to its cruelty to animals though children now use the hunt as a version of tag. The fey still take part in their own version of The Wild Hunt, some like humans in enjoyment while others see it to gain new servants. In either case the sound of the trumpet will continue to mark the start of the chase heard in childish laughter and the cries of the fey courts.
Now, shush, I’m trying to read,