Also called deer-men, the Gard are a race of beings that are said to be "both man and beast". They live in forests, and currently are very aggressive towards humans.
Gard appearance varies, and is affected by proximity to humans. Gard that live closer to humans have more human-like appearances, while Gard deeper in the forest have more beast-like forms. They have deer-like attributes, such as antlers and pointed ears, and some have hooves and tails.
Gard vary from humanoid deer to human-like beings with deer features. Gard have a slightly shorter life span than human's, but make up for it by being sturdy and stronger than humans.
A Gard diet is mostly vegetarian, though it is not uncommon to eat meat. However, they never eat dear, for obvious reasons. Gard may prefer saltier foods, like Xan does for example.
Male Gard start growing antlers at puberty, and shed them every winter, while female Gard do not have antlers.
Having evolved from deer, Gard find their antlers very important to their culture. An example of this is Xan, who feels shame over the loss of his antlers and keeps his hair long to cover the pedicles on his head. Another example of the importance of antlers is the fact that Xan gave Rio the tip of one of his antlers, as such an event is the Gardish equivalent of a blood oath.
Male and female Gard live seperately for a majority of the year, with the males living in small, nomadic groups, and the females living in in permanent villages
Taken from the author's Formspring:
"The women operate fairly self-sufficiently and run a village as one would expect- women handle the government, growing of food, and even combat. The men are trained as masters of the forest, and learn tracking, combat, etc from a very young age. They are specialized rangers who act as mobile sentry- their purpose is largely to keep outsiders (read: humans) from entering too deep into the Great Forest."
Gardish names are usually three letters long, and one syllable, with some exceptions. The first two letters of their names are taken from their mother, and example being that Xan and his twin sister Xae would have a mother that also has a Xa name.
Humans and Gard do not get along well, and Gard are considered lower beings by most humans. Gard feel dislike towards humans because of their intrusion on the forest, and are taught at a young age to be hostile towards them.
Vinuesa , a country to the north of Lavelle is known for being especially antagonistic towards the Gard, with some being captured as slaves, and some being hunted for their antlers. One example of hostility is a duke who used captured Gard for experiments, until he died.
Gard rarely live with humans, for the reasons above, although there are rare exceptions, like Xan.
- The Gard are based off of whitetail deer