The Wild Hunt

Brigantia was faced with a problem. For centuries she had done battle with the Anguipeds, ensuring their banishment to the lowest pits of Dumnos. Their skirmishes would not waste the land like the Great War with Taranos had, but she would nevertheless leave the world scarred with Ice and Flame. A necessary cost, until the Humans had learned to Sacrifice.
She was moved by their plight. They would craft unlike any other creature, sign songs in honour of the Gods, and harness the Flames in her wake. And above all they had learned to give as the Gods had Given. For this, she sought to spare them from the worst of her Storms.

But the Anguipeds would still rise and wreak havoc, so she needed to find a solution. Brigantia went to her mother.
“Queen of the Land. I have fought my enemy with spear and fire, but it marrs the beauty of your World. How would you fight this War?”
Her mother answered “I know little of War. My realm is that of the Hunt. Whether blood is spilled in Battle or in the Hunt there is no difference to the ground it soaks into. You must ask yourself, would you rather feed the Crow, or the Hound?”
Brigantia considered these words. For so long the Crow had been her companion, but she was seeking a new path.
“Very well, tell me of the way of the Hunter.”
The mother regarded the daughter before responding. “You fight like the Bull, facing your equal foe head on. To hunt is to be part of the pack. I would seek the leader of the Warband, the Wind Wolf. He will tell you what you need to know.

So Brigantia travelled far to find a Hunter and fellow Warrior.
“Lugus, I seek a new way to fight my enemy, and would like to know of the Hunt. How would the Wolf teach the Bull?”
Lugus responded: “You must know where to find your prey if you are to chase it. I have travelled far and can tell you where your enemy hides. But what would you do to lead this pack? What would the Bull teach the Wolf?”
Brigantia could not find an answer. “You speak wisely. Though I am a great warrior, I am my strongest in single combat. Were I to raise a Warband, would you drive my foes from their hiding places, that I may face the strongest?”
Lugus hesitated. “I have many skills to practice, many secrets to learn, and many battles of my own to fight. When would I have time to lead your pack?”
“As the Wheel turns, Samos and Giamos wax and wane. It is in the Darkest Depths that my foe breaks free and I am needed most. Join me then.”
“Very well. Raise your host and I will lead them. Go see my brother, that he may train your pack.”

So Brigantia went to Mori, and there found Nodens.
“Iron-Handed. I would raise an army against the Anguipeds. I come seeking a strong host, that Lugus would lead on the longest nights.”
Nodens responded: “If you seek to train an army, I can certainly aid you. But I cannot conjure the soldiers from nothing. I rule the upper fields of Dumnos; the meadhalls of the Warriors sit below my realm while the mortals who seek my strength live above, and neither can pass through without aid. I do not have an army waiting for you.”
Brigantia grew frustrated. “Then why has Lugus sent me here? He told me you would have a pack for the Hunt!”
To that Nodens answered “Ahh, in that he is correct. Many a Hound has roamed my lands…They are the spirits of those caught between worlds until the new moon, when the Queen of the Land passes through my realm, and brings all the lost souls to feast with Sucellos. If it’s a pack of hounds you seek, fit to hunt with the Wind Wolf, I would need more than one moon to train them. Convince the spirits to Hunt for another moon, and you shall have your host.”

So Brigantia stepped into the roiling fields of Mori. But she was not a Hunter. And she was not a Wolf. And though she knew how to inspire the artisans, she was not skilled in convincing those who had other goals. So instead of looking for spirits, she found a friend.
“Ogmios, I have travelled far and spoken to many Gods on my quest. I seek to Hunt the Anguipeds rather than lay waste to Bitus with our battles, but I need spirits to join in the Hunt. You who is so skilled with words, would you convince the newly dead to Hunt on the darkest Moon rather than take their place in the halls of Dumnos?”
To this Ogmios smiled and made an offer. “I am always eager to embark on a new journey. I will not lengthen your quest. I only ask that you join me in feasting before I set out, and that you host me when I return. Together we shall celebrate, and I will give these lost souls purpose. This, I swear.”

And so Brigantia’s quest was at an end. She returned home and told the humans that when they light their fires in the darkest nights, to leave out food and drink for the Hunters, for they have a long Hunt ahead before they can feast in the Halls of Dumnos.