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Aelinor Elk

Outland Beasts of Burden

Hoofbeats mumble across the ground as the moss and grasses mute the heavy blows. Shadows weave through the trees, their antlers projected by the fading sun, stretching and twisting further than anyone could grow. While some of the largest creatures in the forest, they are by far some of the most gentle, their hulking forms depicting safety and travel instead of invoking fear. These are the mounts of the Outlands, coveted for their gentleness and their grace.   Aelinor Elk serve as the pack animals of the Outlands. While much of the Elven Forest prefers horses or other pack animals, the Outlanders prefer the grace and gentleness of the Aelinor Elk as it allows even children to keep and use these creatures. A relationship born of necessity, these creatures have found a better life serving as aides to the Outlander instead of being hunted mercilessly due to their docile nature.   One of many creatures influenced by the magic of the Elven Forest, the Aelinor Elk take their name from the Aelinor Oaks that it is said their antlers often mimic. Larger antlers, thick fur similar to that of a bear or wolf, and increased lifespans are the blessings that these creatures have gained from the deep magic of the forest. Because of this, the elks' use to the Outlanders is far greater than many others.  

Basic Information

Young Aelinor Elk
Young Aelinor Elk are oftentimes indistinguishable from common elk as their antlers have not yet begun to grow in the intricate patterns that the species is none for. Their coloring is also brighter, making it difficult to know if one is looking at a common elk or an Aelinor Elk.

Anatomy

Aelinor Elk are slightly larger than the common elk that roam in the Elven Forest. Female Aelinor Elk stand about 5 feet tall at the withers and average about 9 feet from nose to tail, while male Aelinor Elk stand about 6 feet tall at the withers and average about 10 feet from nose to tail. They range in weight from 700 to 1000 pounds.   These creatures have very soft fur, similar in texture and weight to that of a wolf. It ranges in color from a light grey to a dark brown, also spanning shades of green, to match the Aelinor Oaks around them. During the colder months, the Aelinor Elk grow a darker, thicker coat to survive the winter, and shed this layer when the weather gets warm.   Aelinor Elk stand apart from other deer and elk in that they do not shed their antlers yearly. Over the course of their lifespan, their antlers will grow and twist in a very flexible way, very similar to the branches of the Aelinor Oaks. This phenomenon has been impossible for Scholars to explain, so it has been attributed to the magical qualities the elk gain from the Aelinor Oaks.  

Genetics and Reproduction

Aelinor Elk reproduce very slowly, often only having two or three calves in a typical fifty-year lifespan. These elk grow slowly, reaching full size by roughly age seven, at which point their antlers will continue to grow and shape themselves in interesting patterns. Upon reaching age ten, an Aelinor Elk is considered mature enough to reproduce, at which time it will find a mate that it will keep for the rest of its life.  

Dietary Needs and Habitats

The optimal environment for the Aelinor Elk is close to the Aelinor Oaks in the Elven Forest. Much of their life is dependent upon the magical network that connects these trees, causing the elk to rarely if ever, leave the safety of the Elven Forest. Because of this, their diet consists largely of plants and leaves that are common to the forest and are imbued with the magic that makes the area thrive.   Those Aelinor Elk that have been claimed and somewhat domesticated by the Outlanders may also subsist on a diet of berries and oats as the growing
seasons allow, but the forest itself provides everything that the Aelinor Elk need to survive.

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Aelinor Elk are very attuned to the environment around them, often having extraordinary senses when it comes to sight and hearing. It is assumed these senses are heightened by their magical connections to the forest. All things in the Elven Forest are affected by the natural flow of magic through the trees, but none more than the Aelinor Elk. The twisted nature of their antlers is a testament to their ties to the magic of the Aelinor Oaks.   It is believed that these magical ties have also granted the elk great intelligence, allowing them to learn commands quickly and efficiently once domesticated as well as learn great expanses of terrain to extremely detailed levels.
Aelinor Elk
Aelinor Elk are known for their intricate horns that often grow and twist in various patterns over the course of the creature's life. Their horns set them apart from the other animals of the Elven Forest and often grant them great reverence as an oddity of the forest.
Scientific Name
Cervus Fae Aelinor
Lifespan
50 to 60 years
Conservation Status
The Aelinor Elk are not under protection, but some have been domesticated by the Outlander tribes to be used as beasts of burden and for other needs.
Average Height
5 to 6 feet tall at the withers
Average Weight
700 to 1000 pounds
Average Length
9 to 10 feet, nose to tail
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities

Uses & Products

The Aelinor Elk are most commonly used as beasts of burden by the Outlanders as their size and sure footing allows them to move through the Elven Forest with its protruding roots with ease. Other animals, such as horses, struggle with the terrain.   The fur, antlers, and hide of the animals are also utilized in a variety of things in Outlander villages as these people believe in stewardship of the land so that both the needs of the villages and the forest are met. They do not believe in waste, so every bit of the animal is used.   As domesticated elk are often much more than pets for their people, the uses of the animal upon its death are considered extremely important or ceremonial for the one that had owned the animal.


Comments

Author's Notes

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23 May, 2022 06:26

Nice work up on the Fairy Elk concept.

23 May, 2022 06:26

Nice work up on the Fairy Elk concept.

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