OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Intent: Further flesh out the fauna of Midvinter.
- Image Credit: Cattle International Series
- Canon: N/A
- Permissions: N/A
- Name: Elkki (alt. älk or álk)
- Designation: Non-sentient
- Origins: Midvinter
- Average Lifespan: 30
- Estimated Population: Planetary
- Description: The primary domesticated animal native to Midvinter, the elkki are large, cloven-hoofed herbivores possessing long furs commonly used as effective winter clothing by the Valkyri. Each possesses a pair of horns protruding from the sides of their heads, though males tend to be larger and thicker. They are incredibly heavy and strong, but also peaceful and simple. Their fur is remarkable in that it grows at a very fast rate, allowing cattle herders to harvest up to four times a year.
- Breathes: Type I atmosphere
- Average Height of Adults: 1.8 meters
- Average Length of Adults: 2.5 meters
- Skin color: Grey; pink nose
- Hair color: White, Blonde, Auburn, Brown, Black
- Distinctions: Strong and sturdy, elkki have ever been used as beasts of burden in areas such as farming, logging, cart-pulling, and more. Their hides are tough and their fur allows them to weather any winter, no matter the cold. Fur color is passed down from one generation to the next, however mutations are known to occur. Different fur colors do not denote any difference in traits or value, however.
- Races: N/A
- Force Sensitivity: Non-Sensitive
- Incredible resistance to cold.
- Diet: Herbivore; grass, flowers, leaves, fruits & vegetables
- Communication: Mooing, braying
- Technology level: N/A
- Religion/Beliefs: N/A
- General behavior: There are usually only a few males in each herd, each spring competing against one another for the leadership of said herd. With leadership, comes the right to mate with the harem of females at their disposal. They take little part in the raising of their offspring, leaving the mother to tend to the young calves. Once old enough, surplus bulls are either butchered for their meat or traded as they are in high demand. As they are domesticated cattle, rarely do they have to defend themselves from predator attacks without the swift intervention of their handlers, however if threatened they will form tight circles with their horns facing ourwards, keeping their calves safe inside the circle.
For as long as anyone can remember, the elkki have ever been a part of Midvinter. In the Age of the Ancients, the Beorni were the sole masters of the known world, living alongside nature and the various fauna found therein. In those days, great massive herds of elkki roamed the lands freely, unhindered by civilisation. Because the Beorni had no need of extra protection against the cold, they only ever disturbed these hairy beasts for their milk. Being the peaceful animals that they are, the elkki trusted their fellow pacifists with such gifts.
Many thousands of years later did the first Valkyri crawl out of their caves, and were cared for by the Beorni and taught the ways of the land. Farming, fishing, architecture, smithing... all these the Beorni bestowed upon this "protégé" race of theirs, believing they would follow the same path of pacifism and living alongside nature. And they did, for a while.
There was an inherent ambition found in Men that the kind-hearted bear-folk could not foresee, as it took only a few generations until the Valkyri deemed that the land should be ruled over and made to bend to their needs. A rift formed between the two races, and armed conflict followed. The Beorni were driven from their own land, leaving the Valkyri the new masters of Midvinter.
The elkki herds were easily domesticated from the many generations of living beside the Beorni, and turned into cattle to be used and abused by their new masters. Those still roaming the fields were hunted down; at first this was done in order to feed hungry families, but later the hunt turned into sport. Large numbers of elkki were left to rot as their hunters were only interested in their furs and horns, leaving their meat to spoil.
Today, such hunts have long since been banned after the animal that had sustained them for so long was put on the brink of extinction. Elkki cattlers are highly respected for their hard work, for there are few possessions as priceless as the fur of these loyal beasts of burden. Herds are again allowed to roam freely under the supervision of their caretakers, to disuade any would-be poachers or predators. Harming these animals is now considered a heinous crime, granting the ranchers and cattlers the right to punish wrong-doers in any fashion they deem fit.
With the recent return of the Beorni to mainland Midvinter after being granted the province now known as the Heartlands by order of High King Thurion Heavenshield, the ancient people was once again reunited with their companions of old, and the lands under their care have since seen the slow return of wild herds of elkki.