Deer

While any animal (or plant) might wander into the Otherworld reality and become naturalised, current supposition is that it takes so many generations for a species to develop a spirit form that this can be use to judge the classification of animals in the Blessed Isles. The introduced reindeer, muntjac, sika and water deer species have been observed in the Otherworld without spirit forms and can therefore be treated as their normal selves – and thus ignored for the rest of this article.

The solitary Eurasian Elk (Alces alces alces) were last seen wild in the Blessed Isles some four thousand years ago. However, the Otherworld subspecies remains and may be the source of a number of sightings in our own reality. The Scottish Rangers call them siannach and warn people to avoid them, even sightings in our reality, as they have a tendency to stalk and kill humans.

The Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus) have been lost to our reality since the prehistoric era. Initial descriptions of the Irish elk were confused by the observers’ lack of knowledge and assumed to be a more benevolent variant of the unrelated Eurasian Elk. However, photographs taken in the late nineteenth century proved that this was a totally separate species. They are gregarious, live in herds, and will even allow riders if they find humans on their own.

The Fallow Deer (Dama dama) were introduced to the Blessed Isles twice – by the Romans and, later, the Normans. It had been assumed that the animals died out between the two introductions but recent DNA studies suggest that the Otherworld subspecies are the descendents of the first wave, and have bred back with the second wave since the 1100s. Both populations can be considered hybrids and not all Otherworld fallow deer have spirit forms. Unnatural Resources describe these animals as “observant, neither running in fear until the threat is identified nor running to investigate”.

The Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) are the most likely to pursue interaction with humans being classified as “curious” by Unnatural Resources. Those with second sight describe the red deer as charming, graceful and engaging. The shape-shifting deer – whether stag, doe or fawn – from Blessed Isle folklore is most likely to be inspired by red deer.

The Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) are flighty, nervous and relatively noisy. They can be very territorial amongst themselves but will forget their own arguments in panic when potential predators are sighted. Although probably the most common deer species in the Blessed Isles, at least historically, they don’t seem to have left a clear mark in folklore.

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