Cernunnos is the former Season of Autumn who was one of the instigators in the Great War. While in Ga'leah, he served as the leader of the Wild Hunt and was known as the Hunter King, with his crown being the massive antlers of a stag. Prior to banishment, the Huntress cursed his crown to fuse with his skull, which then led him to declaring himself the Horned King, as a final act of defiance against the gods. He created the Black Cauldron during the Great War.
His presence in Allutheria was not as prominent as it was during his time in Ga'leah, but his name was still known as a nightmare in the dark recesses of the Allutherian landscape. Once the Blight became tangible, he chose to become the first infected, the first Revenant.
Autumn the Hunter King Edit
Autumn was one of the original fifteen Fae in creation and gifted with the power over the Season of Autumn by the Green Man. As a season of transition between the harsh onslaught of Summer and Winter, Autumn grew to be a very calculating Fae with a taste for games, traps, and trickery. When Summer or Winter tried encroaching on his domain, his push back was often the subtle side of confrontational by making the end of Summer's days cold and the start of Winter's days warm.
When it wasn't time for the Season of Autumn to be in control, he took to learning the land they had been given to roam. His interest soon turned to the animals, and he became one of the first hunters. Autumn often took trophies from his kills and conquests, with one of the first being a magnificent set of antlers off a stag. He cleaned the skull himself and donned it as his crown.
His hunting was not just done for sport but for the thrill of testing the will for survival and the tests, traps, tracks, and tricks that led up to that final moment of the kill. He soon gathered a following of like-minded individuals, and together they became known as the Wild Hunt with him at the helm as the Hunter King. It was in this manner that he discovered Alistair and brought the Fae under his tutelage as if he was his true-born heir. However, as his power grew, so did Alistair's, and eventually the younger Fae challenged him for his horns. Although Alistair was well-trained and talented, Autumn was more powerful. Out of the mercy of his heart, and perhaps with some guidance from the Goddess of Mercy, Autumn spared his son death in favor of exile. Others who challenged him after that were put to death, however, for the King of the Hunt tolerated no insubordination.
Hunters that had proven themselves worthy of his attention were elevated to the rank of 'Elite' and were permitted to have their own clans answer to them so long as they, in turn, answered to the Hunter King.
The Wild Hunt often sought out targets that proved a challenge, which resulted in them targeting other Fae or Demigods. Autumn made it a habit to personally present these Demigods, dead or alive, to the Forebearer himself to deliberately make a show to the other gods that he was a force to be reckoned with. However, deals could be made with the King of the Hunt to keep demigods out of his crosshairs, and Autumn was content to honor these deals until a better deal came along. One such deal was made with the Green Man and Gaia with Autumn pretending to be their daughter Willow's father.
Great War and the Black Cauldron Edit
With his ever inquisitive mind, it did not take much to have Autumn wondering why the Gods should be revered when the Fae were capable of supporting Ga'leah on their own. He believed the Gods had rendered themselves obsolete and wholeheartedly believed Ga'leah would be better off without them, thus aiding in the instigation of tensions between Gods and Fae. To aid in the war effort, he created the Black Cauldron with the power of a fallen deity to boost his and his allies' powers. The first Ghoul appeared out of the Cauldron and lent its aid to the War once it processed it had just come back from the dead and never crossed to the Essence. Autumn also created a Fae-monster known as the Minotaur.
As much damage as they had done against the gods, it had not been enough. When it came time to face punishment, he did not flee as many Fae had. Instead, he spat in the Green Man's face when he came to retrieve the powers that had been given to him as the Season of Autumn. The Huntress cursed his 'crown' of antlers to fuse with his skull and turned his feet to hooves to further humiliate him, but he continued to take the punishments in stride.
Cernunnos the Horned King Edit
There were a handful of Fae who managed to avoid the banishment to Allutheria, such as his brother Jack Frost, his sister Gaia, and Fae who had once been part of the Wild Hunt. He deemed Jack a coward and resented Gaia, but his ire was not as stoked against them as it was against the Elites who had defected and sold themselves to a goddess to remain in Ga'leah.
The rest of his army had either fallen or abandoned him once the Fae had been banished to Allutheria. He left the Minotaur in the care of Echidna, the mother of Monsters, for the very visage of the monster he had created left him disgusted with his failures. The Elements, Seasons, and Endless had scattered as well, leaving the former Autumn with a deeper void than he thought it was possible for him to experience. Spring, who renamed herself Kerena Romanov, kept him from falling to darkness in the beginning, and she inspired him to seek companionship among the Fae. As a result, when a group of Fae approached him for help with a new project, he agreed to lend them his aid. The concept of the project had not interested him until he heard the premise of how the others wanted to create a creature as a magic nullifiers. Where they wanted to bring stability to Allutheria, he saw an opportunity to bring down the barrier around their prison and so joined their efforts under the guise of wanting to see this new world prosper. Together, they created the Unicorns, which did just as they had been designed to do: nullify magic. Disappointed with their abilities not being enough to dissolve the barrier between worlds but intrigued with the potential their abilities did present, he killed their other creators to keep their power to himself.
He became the sole handler of the unicorns' names, by default. Rather than exert power over the herd, he allowed them to go free across Allutheria as initially envisioned but with one small request: should he appear to any of them, they were to be forthright with any answers to his questions of what they had seen in their territories. The Horned King did not place too much faith in them for they did not see the world as the Fae did, but detached spies were better than no spies at all. They became his spy network across Allutheria and inadvertently aided him in mapping out the land of the Fae so no area remained a mystery. As the land got settled, however, he was denied access to the buildings that were built, but he still knew the land as well as the back of his hand. And maybe one day, the barrier between worlds would weaken and he could use their powers to force a large enough entry for him to cross back over into Ga'leah.
The pain of what he had lost in Ga'leah continued to eat at him, however, and it grew so strong that he sought to remove the memories from his mind. He succeeded in pulling a copy of the memories out of his mind, but the result was that a faemiliar had been created to house them. A beautiful white doe with horns who resembled the first animal Autumn had slain, the very same beast from whom he had liberated his horned crown, stood before him. He attempted to scare her away, frightened and frustrated by this beast that sprung from his mind, but her very essence compelled her to remain near. He named her Achren the White Hart, once he finally accustomed to the idea that perhaps this was the companion Kerena had tried to convince him he needed. He had found his Hart at last.
The Horned King never established a Court as he was a nomad by nature, but he did establish several treasure keeps and other locations that were known as his domain. He continued to sink into darkness as his lack of purpose beyond desiring revenge had him divining new and unusual ways to keep busy and entertained. He continued to target powerful Fae for their coveted powers and artifacts as he had back in the days of being the Hunter King, but now the sport was more dangerous. His followers were honored so long as they proved useful but the moment they lost their purpose, he rid himself of them. The Hart tried to keep him on a lighter path, to bring back what used to be Autumn, but the Horned King eventually got tired of her antics. In a fit of anger that he refused to regret, he severed the bond between master and faemiliar, tore the horns from her head, and banished her from his presence.
He went on to create three other faemiliars to better serve his goals, but the Hart remained present in his life. Even from afar, she taunted him with the path the Horned King had chosen, but the Horned King remained resolute in his quest of destruction and revenge. His second faemiliar was a Horned Serpent with the power of persuasion and the personality of a mischievous imp. His third was an attempt at creating a dragon, but dragons could not be created by Fae so this one was born without forearms and became a wyvern. She was a wrathful creature who delighted in impulsive violence. His last faemiliar was another attempt at a dragon yet resulted in a wyvern once more. He had a serene yet analytical temperament and became his master's undisputed most trusted advisor.
The Horned King paid little attention to Court politics as he was content to govern the chaos of the in between areas, raiding freeholds as he pleased while pitting various Court knights against one another to test their mettle. If it started a war between Courts, then he would be there on the outskirts, ready to swoop in like a vulture to devour the remaining power of various Fae before they perished and took their power with them. He honored alliances and truces with the Court of Hearts, the Summer Court, the White Court, and the Court of the Bull as he was acquainted with at least one of their rulers, but if the subjects were out wandering beyond their court's territory...then they were free game to him.
After discovering that the Philosopher's Stones could produce a Ghoul similar yet weaker and more controllable than the ones produced by the Black Cauldron, the Horned King sought to recruit a few of his own. Although he preferred to keep to himself and the three faemiliars he created, he had inspired other Fae to follow him. It was these Fae he sought to choose his ghouls from, but he wanted to test them first. Always having had an inkling that his sister Hippolyta had lain with the gods--for he knew the signs of a demigod well from all the ones he had hunted--and that her three children were demigods, he sought out the middle child. If he was correct in his assumption of whom her father was, then that meant that his sister's daughter was a sister to him in a way. He prided Nemesis on her prowess and skills and convinced her there was a rat among his followers and the only way to find a rat was to lay waste to the area. He witnessed her ability in action and confirmed his suspicions that she was a daughter of the Green Man. Once she had killed his followers, he thanked her with a promise that he would repay the debt some day.
From the corpses, he chose the followers who had shown bravery in the face of adversity before sliding rune-inscribed stones down their throats to bring them back as ghouls.
The Red Queen summoned him to her aid, claiming she felt trapped by her courtly life. She refused his advice but rose to the bait he presented to her, proving that she was only as trapped as she allowed herself to be. Their heated dispute became more physical, but only centuries later would the Horned King learn that Llyr was the fruit of his loins from this fateful night.
The Court of the Bull remained of interest to him for the Queen was the last Fae Grail Maiden. It was his monster the Minotaur who had claimed the role of King of Court of the Bull and found his Queen so the Horned King made a deal with him. He could either give him his wife or future daughter. Either would win the affection the Minotaur had sought from his creator. The King did not wish to part with either but reluctantly agreed to present a daughter to him once she was of age, if one should be born. A rival of the King cursed him with madness, however, and his life grew more complicated as the centuries wore on, resulting in the fall of the Court of the Bull by the hands of the Red Bull, the Prince.
The Princess Eilonwy was lost to the Labyrinth until the Horned King learned the Goblin King was willing to part with her. Pleased that it appeared the Goblin King was unaware that he had a Grail Maiden right under his nose, the Horned King convinced him he was doing him a favor by lifting the wily young Fae off his shoulders without having to barter for her full value.
During his time in Allutheria, the Horned King became reacquainted with Adora, or Maleficent, as she had started calling herself. The moment he learned she was plotting revenge against the Pantheon, he wanted to join the effort. The call for the Cauldron became that much more important, if he could find it. He kept in touch with her over the centuries, and finally she found a way through to Ga'leah. He eagerly followed and began to make trips back and forth across worlds, observing what he could of the land he had previously only been able to visit in memory.
Once Eilonwy fully matured, he married her to further bind her to him not just as a servant but as a wife and to further preserve the secret of what she really meant to him: an ace up his sleeve. He left her purity intact and kept her sheltered so she would not learn of his evil ways, however, after experimenting with a human Grail Maiden he found 100 years prior. Although that Grail Matron had died from corrupted purity and a broken spirit, she left him with an heir worthy of his legacy, Morgana.
The Blight Edit
When the Blight arrived, it was finally his moment to shine. Or darken. He became exposed to the Blight, willingly accepting it into his being and became the first Revenant.
As damning as the substance was, he had never felt this alive since he had been Autumn. Embracing the Blight and spreading it to bring down the gods outweighed any suffering the Blight could have brought to him personally. He knew he had been right about the Pantheon becoming obsolete, but he realized his timing had been off when it came to the war. The time was now, and he would not rest until he saw them suffer as the destruction and torment from the Blight brought each and every one of them to their knees.
Becoming acquainted with this entity inhabiting his body and learning how to coexist with it left him occupied for the first few months after the Blight was released. He was reunited with Kerena only after her Court had fallen, but he aided her in the effort to restore her power, with Prince Titus also participating in the initial ritual. He sought out his daughter Morgana to recruit her to the cause and taught her about Ghouls before he reached out to his son Llyr, finally deeming it time to become acquainted with him. As Maleficent cast her eyes on other allies, so too did the Horned King, resulting in him coming across Mozenrath to gauge the abilities of the young sorcerer.
Through the Blight, he learned of a being who would be able to show him where to find the Black Cauldron. All he had been able to glean was that she was a pig who once belonged to his old friend Dallben, and so the hunt began. His path crossed with her keeper Taran, but once he proved his worthlessness, the Horned King left him to rot in the trees.
As the being with the most intimate knowledge of the Blight, he found he had the ability to see through the eyes of other Blighted victims and control the hordes should he care to do so. For the most part, he let them wander, only directing hordes if an opportunity presented itself, such as when he followed the Horseman of War to Allutheria and gave him a nudge to march on Themyscira. The Horned King sent other beasts of his design into the fray to see how they would fare and was pleased with the results wrought by the corpse-giants. His wyvern-faemiliar had thoroughly been corrupted by the Blight so in a last farewell, he sent her off to attack one of his sister's children, a demigod by the name of Bia, for old times' sake. Although Bia led an impressive display of self-defense, being surrounded by Keeners and having a wyvern target her was too much. She made her last stand on the battlefield by piercing the wyvern with her lightning-spear at the same moment the wyvern ended her life by ripping her in half by sheer force from her tail's sharp scales.
After the battle, he became reacquainted with his first Faemiliar as she pledged her loyalty to him once more, and he restored her horns. Nemesis summoned him to make a deal, cashing in the debt he owed her for him to restore Nemea. He agreed to help the lion faemiliar manage her Blight but made no claim that he could remove it from her. He considered the idea of taking the Blighted lion faemiliar for his own, but he decided to wait and see what potential might present itself from this opportunity.