Today I looked closely at the new game board in The Elder Scrolls: Legends. I clicked around and noticed the Daedric script on the wolf’s skull.

After deciphering it (actually some talented people at reddit did it at the same time, as well as translating the runes from main menu), I got this:

(from top to bottom, from left to right, the last word is not fully visible)


It’s a quote from Invocation of Hircine, a book in The Elder Scrolls Online:

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.

Is this just a reference to The Elder Scrolls lore? Or is this a way to tease new content? If this is a way to tease new content, it can be two things: Reachmen or Hircine. Or both, because the Reachmen, later known as the Forsworn, worship Hircine.


Reachman Shaman card art from The Elder Scrolls: Legends

The Reachmen are native to the Reach and the Western Reach. It’s the westernmost part of Skyrim, the province you could visit in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. They also live in Wrothgar and High Rock. The Reachmen are known to have Breton ancestors, as well as elven, Nedic, Imperial, Daedric and Orcish.

They have a long history of guerilla wars and attacking other races that occupied the Reach – to be honest, only the Reachmen thought it was their own land. The Bretons, Orcs, Imperials or Nords never thought about the Reachmen as a race that was equal to them. To them, they were just savages, despite their bloodline and rich culture. Rich and dark culture.

However, they managed to conquer the Reach for themselves in 1E 500 and kept it until around 1E 1100, when Empress Hestra took it for the Empire. By force, blood and fire, of course. By the Fourth Era, most Reachmen had given up their traditional values. However, the Forsworn, a group of the Reachmen, continued to follow the traditions of their ancestors, being known as the Old Ways, archaic and cruel customs. The Forsworn were the only ones who continued the everlasting guerilla fight for freedom… The others probably assimilated and gave up.

In the old days when those people cherished their culture and were more or less happy, or at least were not broken, the Reachmen were divided into tribes (in times of freedom – into small kingdoms). They had a disdain for the civilized societies and cultures of Tamriel. Despite owning both the Reach and the Western Reach at various points in their history, they never built cities or kingdoms that would be united for longer periods of time.

Why do the Reachmen, and later the Forsworn, fight for a savage, wild land that never had true cities except the desolated Dwemer city of Markarth? They believe that it’s a blessed, holy territory given to them by Hircine himself. They revere the Daedric Princes, but Hircine is the most important one in their pantheon.

The “Witchmen of High Rock”, as they are called, practice a form of human sacrifice to create Forsworn Briarhearts, superior, undead warriors. Taboo magic, cruel traditions, alliances with hagravens and Daedra, slavery – all that is part of their culture. A kind of Reachman shamans known as the Gravesingers practice necromancy. The Reachmen are said to possess their own language, though there is no evidence of any written form, only oral tradition.

Let’s get back to Daedric Princes. In fact, the Reachmen revere both Aedra and Daedra. Known Aedra worshipped by them are Dibella (goddess of love), Kynareth (winds), Arkay (cycle of life and death) and Talos (war). Known Daedra are Namira (repulsive things and cannibalism), Malacath (ostracism), Mehrunes Dagon (change, ambition, revolution), Sanguine (lust, revelry), Clavicus Vile (trickery) and, most of all, Hircine (lycanthropy, hunting).

The tribal skull engraved with Daedric runes that form an invocation of Hircine the Huntsman literally screams “Reachmen”. But… who, exactly, is Hircine?


Promotional wallpaper for The Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter

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.

The Huntsman Prince

Hircine the Huntsman is the creator of lycanthropes. All werewolves, wereboars, werebears, werelions, and werecrocodiles have their blessings from this Daedric Prince. He respects, rewards and even praises these creatures if they accomplish something in a hunt. What’s interesting, non-lycanthropic hunters, fishermen and trappers do pray to Hircine as well. Not all of them, but some do, even those who are not evil by nature.

Whoever is “blessed” by Hircine with lycanthropy, will go to his realm – the Hunting Grounds – after death. There, they hunt for an eternity in their beast form until the end of times.

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!

The Blessings of Hircine

Hircine also appears within the mortal realm once every thousand years; but not to destroy, conquer or rule like most Princes, but to enjoy a great hunt known as the Bloodmoon Prophecy.

The Bloodmoon Prophecy is a legend of the Skaal, 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:

  1. Coming of the “Hounds,” when werewolves appear on the island of Solstheim.
  2. “Fire from the Eye of Glass,” a pillar of fire which appears on the surface of the frozen Lake Fjalding.
  3. “Tide of Woe,” a horker massacre, the bodies of which then wash up all along the island’s northern coast.
  4. The “Bloodmoon,” when Secunda, one of the two moons in the skies, turns crimson.

Another tradition of Hircine is the White Stag. The most rare, prized and quick prey of all, the avatar of Hircine himself. Whoever will slay the Stag, will be deemed a worthy hunter, one of the best hunters in the world. Hunting this rare, magical animal is a way to please the Daedric Prince.

His artifacts are:

The Cuirass of the Savior’s Hide. According to Tamrielic Lore, the Cuirass has the special ability to resist magicka. Legend has it that Hircine rewarded his peeled hide to the first and only mortal to have ever escaped his hunting grounds. This unknown mortal had the hide tailored into this magical Cuirass for his future adventures. The Savior’s Hide has a tendency to travel from hero to hero as though it has a mind of its own.

The Spear of Bitter Mercy. According to Yagrum Bagarn, the last Dwemer, little to nothing is known about the Spear. There are no recorded histories but many believe it to be of Daedric origin. The only known legend about it is its use by a mighty hero during the fall of the Battlespire. The hero was aided by the Spear in the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon and the recapturing of the Battlespire. Since that time, the Spear of Bitter Mercy has made few appearances within Tamriel.

Hircine’s Ring. A ring that grants the wearer unlimited werewolf transformations, though only if they already possess lycanthropy. Normally, by Fourth Era, mortals turn into the beast form at full moon, few can do that at will.

Can we expect a new expansion?

Perhaps. If yes, Sparkypants Studios have a ton of inspiration. A Hircine-themed expansion doesn’t have to be Heroes of Skyrim 2.0. Yes, we had a lot of werewolves in that one, but don’t mistake Hircine for a god of werewolves.

They can add a horde of other were-things, they can expand the Reachman type of cards that was abandoned like the Dwemer were until Return to Clockwork City, they can even add a hunt-inspired mechanic. A hunt-like mechanic can be something the Young Dragonborn card has (When Young Dragonborn Slays a Dragon…). If a card Slays an X type of creature, X happens. Or it can be anything else.

There is one, small, tiny nod towards a Hircine-themed expansion. This might as well be just me having too much free time, but hear me out.

The next expansion is Isle of Madness, a Sheogorath-inspired expansion. I described him in my previous episode of TESLore.

Sheogorath is featured in Sixteen Accords of Madness, a series of stories about him tricking other Daedric Princes. There are three Accords that are known, VI, IX and XII.

Guess who is tricked in the first known Accord?


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.

Sixteen Accords of Madness, Book VI, Hircine’s Tale

If you are curious, the other two Accords are about Vaermina and Malacath, respectively.

What is more, the latest expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online was Wolfhunter. Yes, you guessed right, Hircine-themed. Previously, Houses of Morrowind and Return to Clockwork City were inspired by latest TESO expansions, so why not this one?

See you on the Hunting Grounds!

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