Hircine (in Daedric script, ) is the main antagonist in The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon and the Daedric Prince whose spirit is the hunt; the sports of Daedra; the greatest game and the chase and sacrifice of mortals. He is known by the titles 'The Huntsman of The Princes', 'The Father of Manbeasts' and 'The Hungry Cat' to Khajiits.[OOG 1] The summoning date of Hircine is the 5th of Mid Year. He is also the creator of Lycanthropy.
Hircine the Spirit of the Hunt's past leads many to argue. He himself was never mentioned or heard of in the early histories of Nirn. Some scholars believe because of this that Hircine was not one of the original Daedric Princes and is therefore a spawn or offshoot, similar to Malacath. However this is often shunned on account of Hircine creating Lycanthropes, and the disease existing well into the Merethic Era. Hircine also appears within the mortal realm once every thousand years; but not to destroy, like most princes, but to enjoy a great hunt known as the Bloodmoon Prophecy.
The Bloodmoon Prophecy is a legend of the Skaal, a native group of Nords from Solstheim. It foretells the Hunt of Hircine, an event which happens every era when the Prince enters Mundus and releases his Hounds upon the land. The Hunt is proceeded by four signs. The first is the coming of the "Hounds", when werewolves appear on the island. The second is the "Fire from the Eye of Glass", a pillar of fire which appears on the surface of the frozen Lake Fjalding. The third is the "Tide of Woe", a horker massacre, the bodies of which then wash up all along the island's northern coast. The final sign is the namesake of the prophecy: the "Bloodmoon", when Secunda turns crimson from the blood of the Hunter's Prey.
After the four signs is something called the "Hunter's Game", which varies from era to era. The game might involve the hunting of an entire tribe, or just one man. After the hunt, Hircine returns to his realm for another era. The most recent Bloodmoon Prophecy was in 3E 427. It took place within the Mortrag Glacier.
Popular opinion and worshipEdit
Hircine is one of the more worshipped or, to a certain degree, accepted daedric prince. Although all daedra are completely shunned by mainstream Imperial society, he is often worshipped in greater numbers compared to other daedra, even though he does not necessarily care for it. He is father to man beasts, and is thusly worshipped by all kinds of lycanthropy-infected creatures such as Werewolves, Wereboars, Werebears, Werelions, and Werecrocodiles. He respects and even praises these creatures if they accomplish something in the hunt, a rare quality for a Daedra. He is often seen as the most honored huntsman to walk any plane of existence, and as such is often looked up to by other hunters, fishers, and trappers.
Daedric Princes are almost always looked on as evil due to their destructive nature. While there is some truth in this, this does not apply to all princes. Some princes respect honor and fairness among their subjects, and are against dishonorable murder. Hircine is typically considered to be in this category. While he cannot exactly be seen as benevolent, he is very honorable and always gives his prey a sporting chance; he's even willing to be congratulatory to those who were deemed as prey if they manage to turn the hunt to their favor and become the hunters in turn. He is not needlessly destructive like many of his Daedric brethren. With those he does not care for he is often neutral in his trades, unless they are his prey.
Hircine is the patron and creator of the lycanthropic condition. Evidence of this is given when, during the Bloodmoon, Werewolves (also known as Hircine's Hounds) acted as the hunters while the inhabitants of the Solstheim were their prey. The individual that can defeat the hounds is honored and would receive favors by the Prince himself, and face Hircine's aspect in one-on-one combat. He is believed by devotees and Hircine himself to be honored to be the prey of the Prince, though very few have survived this battle.
One artifact can suppress the bloodlust suffered under the lycanthropic condition; Hircine's Ring. Sometime before the Warp in the West, this ring was reported resurfaced in the Iliac Bay. The ring makes the Lycanthrope wielder able to turn to beast form or back at will, and suppress the hunger. During the Bloodmoon in Solstheim, the enchantment somehow was changed. The ring can allow any person to turn to beast form at will but for lycanthropes the bloodlust is still there.
On a side note, the witches of the Glenmoril Wyrd Coven of High Rock are known to be worshippers of Hircine, and they will often perform a summoning for anyone that can pay their price. The witches are also able to cure anyone of Lycanthropy, an ability that is alluded to in the book.
The infected person, with the assistance of the witches, must perform a ritual called The Rite of the Wolf Giver. It is a complex ritual of dark magicka, requiring the sacrifice of both flesh and innocence. And certain ingredients, which are petals of a wolfsbane flower and one bunch of ripened belladonna berries, are needed by the witches to concoct a potion for the rite.
The book Tamrielic Lore has this to say about the Cuirass:
This artifact has surfaced multiple times, such as in Battlespire Crisis, where it is required to wield the Spear of Bitter Mercy. Another occasion when it was shown was in Tel Fyr, the house of Divayth Fyr. Divayth, an ancient House Telvanni Wizard and also an artifact collector, was once able to procure the artifact. He then invites Thieves to steal them from the Corprusarium. It then later appears in the Oblivion Crisis, as a reward for completing the Hircine's Shrine Quest.
Another artifact gifted by Hircine is the Ring of Hircine, available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The ring allows the wearer additional werewolf transformations each day. At the end of the quest, the player must select to side with the werewolf or the hunters. If the player sides with the werewolf then they get the Ring of Hircine whereas siding with the hunters gives the player the Savior's Hide. An alternative is to side with the werewolf and to get the ring and then kill and skin him before leaving the grotto.
Prince Attrebus and Sul needed a fast way to travel to Vivec City. Sul had made a trail which ended in Morrowind to escape from Oblivion when he was trapped in Umbriel. They decided to use an inactive Oblivion Gate from the Oblivion Crisis to access such trail, but they ended up in Hircine's Hunting Grounds. Hircine and his beasts gave chase to the intruders. Sul knew where the door that would take them out of Hircine's realm was, so they mounted the Khajiits from Faashe clan.
Hircine wouldn't show up until after dark, when he would attack with a pack of werewolves. They eventually heard the voice of a horn sound incredibly deep, Hircine was approaching. They were still fifty yards away from the portal, so Lesspa and the remaining Khajiits sacrificed to buy time for Attrebus and Sul. They fought against Hircine, presumably dying.[OOG 1]
In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the Nerevarine received one of his artifacts, the Spear of Bitter Mercy, as a reward for killing a Giant Bull Netch with the Fork of Horripilation. Although in this case the spear was a reward from Sheogorath, it is more usually associated with Hircine. The Nerevarine fought and defeated Hircine when he attempted to enter the mortal plane in Solstheim. Hircine's typical lackeys on the mortal realm Nirn are werewolves, which he directly talks to, gives tasks, and rewards with additional powers. Hircine hosts a great hunt every era, pitting various prey of his choosing against one another. The exact nature of each hunt varies from era to era.
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it is revealed that the Circle of the Companions are werewolves as a result of Terrfyg, a Harbinger of the Companions, having made a deal with the Glenmoril Witches for power in exchange for Hircine bringing them to his Hunting Grounds instead of Sovngarde upon death. The Witches are slain by the Last Dragonborn, who uses the head of one of them to posthumously cure Kodlak Whitemane, the latest Harbinger, of his lycanthropy so that he can go to Sovngarde instead of the Hunting Grounds.
Later on, a Nord werewolf named Sinding stole the Ring of Hircine in an attempt to control his transformations. However, this plan backfired when Hircine cursed the ring, causing Sinding to transform at random, killing a child and ending up in jail. Soon after, the Dragonborn met Sinding, who tasked the Dragonborn to take the Ring and free it from its curse by hunting the White Stag, before escaping from jail. Hircine then requested that the Dragonborn hunt Sinding down and tear the skin from his body. After confronting Sinding a second time, the Dragonborn was left with the choice to kill him in order to receive Hircine's favor and the Savior's Hide, or to kill the other hunters trying to get Hircine's favor and the uncursed ring. Whichever option the Dragonborn chose, Hircine will be pleased with the results.
- Hircine means "of, pertaining to, or resembling a goat."
- Hircine in Bloodmoon is voiced by Jonathan Bryce.
- Hircine in Skyrim is voiced by Craig Sechler, who voiced the male Altmer, Bosmer and Dunmer for Oblivion. Craig Sechler also voiced Gallus, and Peryite for Skyrim.
- Hircine's stag-horned appearance is likely inspired by an Ancient Celtic deity commonly known as Cernunnos and/or the figure of Herne the Hunter from English folklore.
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online
|Princes||Azura • Boethiah • Clavicus Vile • Hermaeus Mora • Hircine • Jyggalag • Malacath • Mehrunes Dagon|
Mephala • Meridia • Molag Bal • Namira • Nocturnal • Peryite • Sanguine • Sheogorath • Vaermina
|Related topics||Deities • Demiprince • Daedric Artifact • Daedric Shrines • Daedric Quests|