Conservation Status: (Caligo) Near Threatened | (Dolos) Extinct | (Nevermore) Extinct
The Ojeku can be found in the northern territories near the Starless Kingdom. Known as Greathorns by humans, these tall and agile creatures serve as good omens when the darkest nights of winter spreads over the north.
They stand at about 7 feet tall and carry one of the largest antlers of any known cervid. It common for their antlers to span between 8.5-12 feet from tip to tip. This elusive beast is deemed one of the quickest stags of Caligo. They are believed to be a distant relative to the extinct Irish Elk.
Fur that changes color with the season:
These great stags throughout the year are usually pale white with streaks of gray and dark purple. The deeper their colors, the younger the stag.
During summer their coat shed to reveal a light brown with hints of darker tones, but when the darkest nights near, their colors change to a complete white. They can blend with perfectly with the snow, a useful evolutionary advantage when their speed is not enough.
The Ojeku’s diet can include leaves, fresh grasses, soft twigs, fruit, fungi, and lichens. They tend to search for nutrient rich areas that supports their growth, but are rarely ever found in groups. Female Ojeku or doe tend to stay with their young for only a year before returning to their solitude like the male counterpart. Stags tend to have a larger mane, a feature believed to be an attractive among possible mates. The larger the mane and antlers, the healthier the stag is to father children.
These creatures are not just fast runners, but also excellent jumpers and swimmers. They perceive the world differently with dichromatic eyesight, allowing them to only see two colors. However, the lack of color allows them discern possible threats and detect any subtle movement across an entire field without much effort. According to legend, the Ojeku was once ridden by certain northern Gods, and were worshiped as good omens in Dolos when they used to exist there.
Presently, they are only found in northern parts of Caligo, and they have become an important animal to the Nightsworn due to their speed and strength. The Nightsworn is believed to be the first and only human kingdom to tame this wild beast to push or pull slays.
The Ojeku are capable of running up to 30-35 mph within a few seconds. They are also strong enough to carry twice its own weight.
These creatures are not known to attack and often escape from possible threats, unless they are protecting their young.
When I was younger, I had fallen in love with Princess Mononoke and the stag that represented the Forest Spirit. I wanted to explore a species of deer similar to the Irish Elk, but with elements regarding the myths of White Stags and their divine connections with the old Gods. The name Ojeku derives from the Japanese word Ojika, which means stag. A big thanks to Karlee Ludvik for bringing this beast to life.
H.S. Crow has literary works appearing in all mediums of entertainment with a focus on fantasy, science fiction, and horror. He is an author traversing the breathtaking Caligo, a vast universe containing our dreams and nightmares. Notable books include Lunora and the Monster King, Stars of Glass, & the upcoming Drums of Fog.