|Common Nicknames||Forest Horses|
Deer exist across Aloria on several temperate climates, but also in more humid areas where they are often far more exotic. Divided into several subspecies as a result, Deer have long been looked to as sources of meat, bone, and pelt by early Cultures and Races in need of such supplies. Deer most often live in forests, but some venture out into plains or grasslands, where they are constantly on the alert for danger. Deer are also common symbols of hunting and fertility within the Cultures of the world because of these and other factors,and because of their spread across Aloria, are likely to endure in all their unique varieties for centuries to come.
Deer have been a feature of forests and jungles across Aloria for centuries. Sadly, the first and earliest interactions with Deer would ultimately lead to a subspecies extinction. The Daen Deer, a small and nimble creature, was encountered by the Altalar early, if not since the dawn of their existence in Aloria. The animal was considered clever and, while small, still a worthy hunt due to its capacity for escaping traps meant for larger creatures. But, after the Consolidation, the animal vanished from the history books as the Floundering gripped the Altalar people. In the coming years, the remains of this species of Deer would become rare, and then fade from the world, only appearing in Altalar illustrations. As for wider Aloria, Ailor encountered both the Ceardian and Regalian Deer in their respective regions early into their region’s history. For many Ailor, these creatures were hunted as food, and became attached to the gods of such activities, but also sometimes to the harvest, as some Deer lived in the open plains rather than the forests. Over time, they spread to other continents beyond their ones of origin and so were ultimately ensured survival even if their numbers in one location diminished. In distant Dexai, the Dexai Deer went little observed for many centuries, though it was a feature of the Southern Kingdom and often a symbol of their society. However, when the South Well exploded into being, the animal mass migrated north into new lands, where it has managed to thrive despite the different climate. Finally, there is the Suvial Deer, an exotic breed spoken of in myth by the Altalar for many years. Its origins and ultimate fate are mysterious, but today it is said they exist under the care and guidance of the Suvial Altalar who rule over the Sundial Isles that are the animal’s home. If these are merely friendly creatures or fully domesticated ones is unknown, but the creature is as rare as the Sundial Altalar themselves. As a result of this broad spread across Aloria, the Deer has remained an enduring symbol for many different things in many Cultures, for many Races, and it is likely to remain as such in the coming centuries.
The Deer is a diverse animal, spread out across Aloria, though some generalities about its appearance can be made. The animal stands anywhere from five to seven feet tall, six to eight feet long, and often heavily varied in weight due to the time of year, diet, and gender. Their heads possess a narrow snout, with a large black nose, a wide mouth, a pair of dark large eyes, and then a pair of pointed ears. At the top of the head usually sits a pair of pale antlers, which grow in a V formation. They fall out every year before rapidly regrowing, with some hunters living more of a gathering lifestyle by recovering these antlers from still living Deer who have moved on from the location where the antlers dropped away. Their heads are then attached to the body by a strong, flexible neck which holds the head up above the body. Their body is often round, and universally possesses four legs with hooves meant for walking through forests or grassland regions. The tails of each Deer species vary in length and size, but they are generally all small and pointed, being covered in hair like the rest of the Deer’s body. Coat colorations vary widely between the different subspecies.
As mentioned above, the Deer is a diverse animal. In its spread across Aloria, a variety of subspecies have emerged on the various continents to suit a variety of different needs. In general, their population numbers are equal between the two sexes and there is sexual dimorphism in the existence of antlers on male Deer (known as stags), and because they are often larger and heavier than female Deer (known as does). Below can be found a list of the various subspecies of Deer in Aloria.
- Ceardian Deer: The Ceardian Deer is the most widespread species of Deer in Aloria, existing in Oldt Era, Essalonia, and in areas of Hadaria and Corontium. They have coats of varying colors, from greys to browns, and are most distinguished by their pure white underbelly which extends out to their tail, giving a clear indicator of the species.
- Regalian Deer: The Regalian Deer is a very populous species of Deer native to the Regalian Archipelago, though specimens have since been transplanted to other areas of Corontium and into Essalonia. Their coat of hair is always a red-brown color, earning them the common name of “Red Deer” among those who know many varieties.
- Dexai Deer: Also known as “Vampire Deer” to many, the Dexai Deer is quite visually distinct and most like the extinct Daen Deer. It is the smallest of all Deer species with an auburn coat and lacks antlers, but instead possesses two very prominent downward-turned flat tusks. The reason these large fang-like protrusions exist confuses many scholars.
- Suvial Deer: Suvial Deer are the rarest Deer within the bounds of Aloria. They are sleek, with brown tan shaded fur covered in white spots, and a pair of smooth, gently curving white antlers that lack the many tines seen in the antlers of most other species. They are very rare, only existing within the Sundial Isles, with fewer than ten pelts and antlers collected by outsiders given the isolationist nature of Sundial society.
- Highland Thessaliy: While this species' name might suggest a tie to the Highlander Cultures of the Caeren or Dunbrae, the Highland Thessaliy is actually native to Etosil. Possessing unique, long body hair ranging in tones of black and dark brown, the Highland Thessaliy lives in the highlands of the exotic continent, and is heavily sought after by Vladno hunters due to the role it plays in their fashion.
Life Span and Development
Deer are liveborn solo or with a sibling, but no more than that. They are already haired when they emerge from the womb, but they rapidly gain their full colors and are capable of walking, if not running, easily within the week. However, for the next few months, they heavily rely on their mother for guidance in the world and, by the age of one, are physically and mentally mature enough to go out into the wider herd. They have lifespans of ten to fifteen years.
Deer are very skittish creatures, easily frightened and capable of smelling foes from a distance should the wind carry a predator’s scent. They prefer flight to fight given their physical forms built for speed, but they can, and will, defend themselves and other members of their herd should the need arise. Deer are generally aloof when it comes to other members of their herd beyond moments of danger though, with mothers and their calves being the only bond of real affection, since few, if any, Deer mate for a significant amount of time.
Territory and Groupings
Deer herds are small, sometimes numbering only a family groups, but they always grow in size into herds of 100 or more when the mating season comes. The herd keeps together during this time before dispersing itself back into these smaller groups.
- Deer are some of the most commonly hunted animals with the deep forests known as walds that exist within Greater Calemberg.
- Some claim that the Daen Deer is not extinct, simply in hiding in the deep jungles of Daen. However, these believers are often Cielothar and Yanar, who believe in Estel’s protective power over the innocent, and how could she have allowed such a small and beautiful creature to die so long ago?
- Okosuto and Dexai Deer get along very well.