Otters

Otter species have been in the Blessed Isles long enough to naturalise to life in the Otherworld reality. Given the persecution that they have endured over the centuries, the Otherworld has actually become a reserve for these creatures and most individuals observed in our reality are from Otherworld populations that have recolonised a location or are using our reality to travel from one Otherworld location to another, much as the Ranger-led Expeditions move through the Otherworld.

The more common European Otter (Lutra Lutra) is the typical otter and lives on a diet of fish and shellfish, along with any meat it happens to scavenge. They require fresh water in order to clean their fur properly but will happily swim in the sea. Playful and curious, these are the otters that generally turn up in imrama and saints’ tales, sharing their salmon with weary travellers and hermits. Those with second sight report that the spirit form is basically a small, hyperactive child.

The King Otter (Cyrnaonyx antiqua) is officially extinct in our reality, and has been since the end of the last Ice Age, with no populations resettling from the Otherworld. Individuals are generally dark furred, often black, and have only been observed in freshwater. Their diet appears to be heavier on shellfish than the common otter’s, giving them a more fearsome bite. Their spirit form is also more robust and some academics have suggested that this is the origin of the dwarf as we now consider traditional: short, stocky, somewhat dour.

The king otters themselves are named after the Scottish tradition of “otter kings” that they inspired. Otter kings are accompanied by seven black otters – which is a fair description of a king otter family group. When captured, these beasts grant any wish in exchange for their freedom, which suggests the spirit form bartering for their freedom and the lives of their children. Their skins were also said to render a warrior invincible and protect against drowning and this added to the general persecution of otters over the centuries. Tradition says that they are hard to kill with their only vulnerable point being a small point below their chin. Records suggest that they are simply hard to kill because they are quite good at fighting back, especially when in their family groups.

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