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This is the story of Rannoch, a red deer born in ancient Scotland. The story begins on the night his father was murdered, and his mother, Eloin, taken by Drail's servant Sgorr. But Rannoch is no ordinary deer; he is special, for he bears a white mark on his forehead resembling an oak leaf.
To the Herla, as the deer are called among the world of the animals, this white mark holds great meaning and power. It was stated in a prophecy that the deer who was born with the mark would bring freedom to all Herla in the future, and that the bearer of the oak mark would be a healer and have the ability to communicate with all animals.
The Lord of the Herds, Drail, wants Rannoch killed out of fear of The Prophecy. Drail is tricked and murdered by Sgorr, who has militarized the herd by making the stags sharpen their antlers, training and drilling the young bucks, and will take no resistance. He realizes the threat Rannoch poses to his leadership. Rannoch escapes from the herd, accompanied by Bracken, not his real mother, and his companions Thistle, Tain, twins Peppa and Willow, Quiach, Bankfoot and their mothers.
Growing up outside of the herd, he struggles to choose between the life of freedom he now has and the future laid out for him by the prophesy. He knows that he must return, in order to unite the deer, and end Sgorr's reign of terror.
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