The Stag Hunt is a respected Light Fae tradition held to select a new Ash when the previous Ash dies unexpectedly, becomes incapacitated and unable to lead the clan, or to punish the leader of the clan.
The event is a competitive hunt and The Stag that is the hunted prey is a Light Fae convict sentenced to life in prison by the clan for an act considered treasonous under Fae law. The Stag is always a volunteer and revered until the hunt. Sabine Purcell was The Stag.
The Gyallahaal gala, held in The Stag's honor, is the first phase of the competition.
The contenders can only use sanctioned hunting weapons and may not kill each other (a bow and poisoned arrow was used for the hunt). The Stag is provided with the hidden location of the bell, and if she or he finds it first and rings the bell, the competitors all become disqualified and The Stag is pardoned and allowed freedom and rights. However, in practice this never happens as the entire system is tilted against it.
"Through their willing sacrifice, Stag's crimes are forgiven, returning honour to the family name. It's really quite an equitable system...If you had a chance to go out free and fighting instead of rotting in a cell, wouldn't you take it?" – The Blackthorn