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It is said that – once in a generation – a member of royalty is born with a heart of gold, be it a prince who wishes to end a war, a queen who forgives an enemy, or a king who sacrifices himself for his people. It is a sight that shocks the world – a person who wields power kindly and gently. Such people are often preserved forever in songs and tales by those they served, but sometimes, they are preserved by means far more fantastic. 

Sometimes, a kind and powerful monarch, upon their death, is laid into the ground with a country’s worth of broken hearts. When that casket is placed into the earth, and the first wreath of flowers is placed, the passed monarch changes into a majestic stag with flesh of marble and antlers adorned with the beautiful flowers left in their memory – flowers that never wilt nor wither. Such creatures are observed residing eternally within a single territory that corresponds to the nation or empire borders over which they once ruled. Such creatures keep a watch over their home, guiding lost children, helping wounded soldiers, bringing food to hungry families, and deterring hostile enemies. Known as Cariboquet, these brilliant beasts are noble and gentle, but wield powers that can – and have – changed the course of history.

Honor Among Beasts

Cariboquet do not seem to retain any humanoid intelligence nor memories from their past life. That said, they do possess a mind greater than a mundane beast and conduct themselves in ways considered wise and honorable – often earning themselves the title The Honorable Hunt, though few try to hunt them and none who try succeed. 

Many organized hunts  – those orchestrated by sporting clubs against trapped or wounded animals – are foiled by the floral stag who will not see a creature abused in this way. To a Cariboquet, a kill, honorable and necessary, is simply a worldly feature. But, a death delivered in sport, greed, or vanity is one to be avoided. Such hunting parties will be the target of a Cariboquet’s wrath and those guilty of the crime will be led astray by hypnotic scents of sweet flowers or trampled by hooves that quake the earth with each stride. 

Not only do humanoids heed the authority a Cariboquet represents, but these marble elk are known to command the wildlife in the forests they call home. Like a king sounding orders to an army, both the meekest prey and the mightiest predator come when summoned by a cariboquet. On at least one occasion, many generations ago, in the lands that would become the Creaton Kingdom, an uprising took the castle of an old, bitter king. This uprising was one of fangs and claws. Stories yet are told of Ohdon’s Charge that describe Ohdon – the local and ancient cariboquet that still resides within Creaton’s borders – that compelled bears, hawks, and lions to descend upon the bitter king’s castle. Ohdon himself – with soldiers overrun by beasts – dragged the vile monarch guilty of so many crimes out to the city’s square where his punishment could be doled out by the people. Ohdon then commanded the beasts to leave with him back into the forest – a watchful eye over wicked kings and a target for those same kings who wish to rule violently with impunity. 

Rumors from royal staffers say King Creaton is the first monarch to sleep soundly, for all those before him shuddered when the forest outside their windows were silent – silent save for the heavy thrum of an elk’s hooves on dirt.

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