|Official Name||Tarkkin Metsähivri|
|Common Nicknames||Tarkkin Reindeer, Sudemo Deer|
|Habitat||Tarkkin-controlled forests of Drixagh|
The Tarkkin Metsähivri is a species of reindeer native to areas of the Throatcapstog (forests found in western Drixagh), under the control of the Tarkkin Ailor, a Northland Culture split between two tribal groups. The one found in these forests, the Sudemo, are heavily dependent on the Metsähivri for survival, and in return, even wild members of the species have become entirely comfortable with the presence of Ailor and the other sentient Races. Their physical shape is lean and built for slipping through the dense northern woodlands that they call home, and overall, they are a unique feature of the region and of the Tarkkin people who largely care for them.
The Tarkkin Metsähivri has been central to the tribes’ survival over their many centuries of existence. It is said that the Tarkkin were gifted the ability to tame the Metsähivri by Lensa and Basjtur, in an effort to keep a symbol of their marriage union alive in the face of the Skagger Horde. However, it is far more likely that the Sudemo tribe of the Tarkkin people tamed the cervid sometime before the Cataclysm, likely from specimens coaxed into cohabitation and ultimately domestication from the much more populous Reindeer of Drixagh’s tundra. Since that time, the Tarkkin Metsähivri has remained local to the Sudemo’s land within the Throatcapstog, Drixagh’s major forest. It exists as a source of transportation, meat, fur, and companionship for the Tarkkin, who have treated them with extreme care in return. However, their role in the wider world is almost non-existent due to their extreme locality to one area of Drixagh, and ultimately, they are synonymous with the Tarkkin people who created them. As a result, they are likely to remain a part of the Drixagh ecosystem for the foreseeable future.
The Tarkkin Metsähivri ranges in size from five and three-quarters feet to six and a half feet in length, and generally stands between five and six feet tall when its head is fully raised. Additionally, its weight varies considerably, but ranges between 100 and 250 pounds. The animal’s form is typical for a cervid, with a square snout leading forward from the head with a wide mouth and a large dark brown or black nose. Two large eyes, often dark brown but sometimes in dark greens, exist further back on the head, with a pair of dark-colored antlers that grow up from the skull just above and set back a bit from the eyes. These antlers are often smaller with more of a narrow V-shape, and lack the complexity or vastness of other species of cervid. These are routinely shed every year, allowing the Tarkkin to harvest and use them in their art or in their clothing. Their heads are completed by a pair of dark-colored and pointed ears. A narrow neck attaches their head to their wide body, which is a lean structure with long legs and hooves well adapted for the woodland climate they live in. Their bodies then taper off with a short tail between three and four inches long. They are covered in a thick coat of brown-grey fur, which changes in length throughout the year as they shed their thicker pelt during the spring and summer, gaining it again in the fall and winter months.
Male Tarkkin Metsähivri are far larger and heavier than females of the species, as they range the tallest of the species and also the heaviest, being between 150 to 250 pounds. In comparison, females are shorter, and are also far lighter, weighing between 100 and 150 pounds. Unlike other species of cervid, both genders grow antlers, and the lack of them is not an indicator of gender.
Life Span and Development
Tarkkin Metsähivri give live birth to one or two calves, who are heavily reliant on their herd and Ailor tenders during their first two months of life. After this time, they are able to eat greenery but will still rely on their mother for several more months until weaned or eventually stopping themselves. At the age of one, they are considered fully mature and are capable of separating from their mother. A number of calves often stay close to their mother for another full year before drifting away. From here, the young member stays within the main herd or goes where directed by the Tarkkin Ailor who control their herd. Their lifespan ranges between fifteen to twenty years.
The Tarkkin Metsähivri is a creature who, thanks to approximately 300 years of cohabitation with Ailor, has largely shirked the shy, if not flighty, personality that other cervids possess. As a result, they are fairly calm and neutral beings, used to the smells of and interactions with various sentient Races, dogs, and other domesticated animals. They are not especially intelligent, but they are excellent runners and dodgers, possessing a sleek profile perfect for streaking by predators and making minute movements to avoid hunters. In herds, males are fairly aloof with their offspring, while females devote more attention to their calves as they develop. When interacting with each other, the species is fairly neutral, except during the mating season when tensions are high and males do battle for the right to mate with females of their choosing.
Territory and Groupings
Tarkkin Metsähivri are herd animals and live in groups ranging from 20 to 50 members, though these herds can be broken up by the Tarkkin Ailor who have domesticated a huge number of the population. Those outside domesticated surroundings are still highly pliant to being domesticated due to their frequent interactions with the Tarkkin people and their own controlled populations. The animal is naturally nomadic, moving around the forest, and unlike in some other societies, are not restricted from doing this by the Tarkkin. Instead, the Tarkkin travel these ancient “Metsähivri Paths” out of respect for the animal but also to ensure that nature remains as balanced as possible, without crowding in one area for a long time.
- Tarkkin Metsähivri antlers are one of the most commonly traded goods between the Sudemo and the Ylhällä.
- Tarkkin Metsähivri meat is commonly used in Auringonian Stew, a dish of meat and plants together to make a flavorful soup.