Angels are an uncommon, immortal non-magic race of humanoid. Unlike the other non-magic races and species, angels are created rather than born. They are characterized by their wings and halo.
Angels come in any non-magic race's shape, color and size. The stoutest dwarf to the lankiest drow can become an angel if they have a near-death experience, fall into a coma or die. Most things about the original body remain the same: height, skin color, eye color, etc., but becoming an angel adds some things to the appearance.
The simplest change is that angels have a sickly color to their skin. They can have any skin color, but, like vampires, their skin looks pale and unhealthy. Over time, the skin becomes translucent, and even the darkest-skinned people will have veins showing through their skin. This is caused by the slowing of bodily functions. Angels do not function like their livelier past selves. Angels find that they are extremely fatigued, their nerves don't quite work, have a faint pulse and a slowed metabolism. As angels age, their metabolism slows until the point that they essentially become living statues without medical help. When they are in this state of stasis, angels are nearly impossible to wake, but it is possible through careful medical means to slowly wake them from their coma.
Angels have halos. Halos are the physical representation of the person's soul, and they hang above every angel's head, a tangible version of their most intimate part of being. The brightness of the halo and its color differs between every angel. Scientists are unsure of what causes these differences, but there are two very popular ideas. The first says it depends on how pure a soul is based on the moral decisions of a person through their life. The other, more popular explanation, is that the brightness depends on how many fragments a soul has been broken into. If the angel's soul is a small piece of many, they believe it lights up dimmer. As for the color, there have been no real scientific explanations, but metaphysical people say that it represents the angel's aura color.
The most major change with angels is that they grow avian wings. These wings are generally white, gray or black and from an extant species of bird. There have been rare cases of angels with colorful wings or wings of extinct birds and even rarer cases of angels with completely unidentified wings.
When an angel fledges their wings, it is a slow, painful process. The wings generally grow in within three months after an angel turns into an angel, and they grow slowly out of their backs, carefully stretching the skin and growing feathers upon feathers and making new nerve connections to the body before they are finished. Since the wings are the "newest" part of an angel's body and have the newest nerve connections, their wings are generally the most sensitive part of their body.
Despite their wings being large enough for the angel to fly with, most angels are incapable of flight. All angels can glide, but powered flight often uses energy that angels do not have, and some angels' wings are just too small to fly with. Angels who aren't flightless are very few and far between.
The exact circumstances on how an angel becomes an angel are not well understood. Most people simply believe that the Three Goddesses pass their judgement onto the angel's soul or soul fragment, and if it is Their will, an angel will be born.
Angels are created from near-death experiences, comas and, rarely, death. Around 1 in every 500 coma patients become an angel, making them quite a rare, curious occurrence. When a person becomes an angel, the light that will become their halo pulls out of their body and slowly concentrates into the ring around the top of their head. Generally, at this point, the angel will wake. Sometimes it can take days or weeks for the newly-created angel to wake, and those who are "out" the longest wake only after their wings have completely grown and filled out with feathers.
Angels who are created in hospitals are immediately transferred into the care of a mmozologist, or angel specialist. Mmozologists are able to prescribe medications to keep new angels functioning nearly as well as their former selves and carefully monitor their patients for any mental conditions that typically ail angels. Most angels have at least one doctor and one therapist working with them regularly, but some of the ones who have been through traumatic experiences or do not transition well have a much larger support group. Some larger hospitals even have their own wings for angel and demon mental health care, to make sure they are being helped correctly by the best professionals.
Some angels describe waking up as an angel as a complete surprise, like their sleep had only been a split second, and they were immediately waking up in a hospital. Others say they expected it and had strange dreams while they were out. Most who have dreams report the same thing: whispering and pleasant scenery. These strange dreams are all eerily similar with their feel-good imagery, but darker overtones of the voices. Usually those who have these strange dreams, known as mmozi nro, wake up feeling fatigued or drained and are immediately aware of their wings and new body. There is also a correlation between mmozi nro and waking times, with those who do not experience it waking sooner. Scientists are unsure of what this correlation means, though.
Angels have always been an oddity to those around them, and it is reflected as so in their history. For as long as non-magic people have existed, angels have existed, and they have existed in various states of discrimination or worship throughout the centuries.
It is believed that during the Stone Era, angels were treated as gods. Temples shaped like pyramids with wings along their sides were erected all across Alksheist, and inside, archaeologists have found stone thrones with slots specifically for a monarch's wings built in. If their angel kings did not die, they eventually waned, and were placed into a gallery of living petrified angels along with his past brethren. To this day, these ancient angels are still stuck in their eternal slumber, impossible to wake after the millennia that have past. The most famous site of these angels has been named The Tomb of the Living and is located in Xohiolagiany, Anbri. There are examples on nearly every continent, however, excluding Copun. Ancient, petrified angels immortalized in tombs are such a common find from the Stone Era that archaeologists have began calling them "decorations" since they line the walls of ancient tombs.
Not much is known about the Stone Era angels, other than that they were so deeply respected (or perhaps feared) that not even grave robbers would touch them. There has been a single instance of one of the ancient kings being awoken by a notable divine, but he was awoken too quickly and died of shock only hours later.
For centuries, angels were mostly treated as kings or gods. Temples erected to winged deities have been placed all around the world, and in them, there are more living angel statues. Generally at the center of the religious temples would be an odd angel, with strange or colorful wings, and the natives would decorate them in the attire of their god and place them there to worship as a living idol. Some of these angels still live today, still in their quiet stasis. Like the ancient kings, even robbers would not kill them, either out of respect or fear.
As the Stone Era drained into the Bronze Era, angels were becoming quite common, and they began to see their front in warfare as the population expanded. Despite their lowered energy, angels were valuable warriors -- they could not feel pain, not like the other soldiers, and were thus a great asset in wars fought across the land. While they were not revered as gods any longer, they were still important generals and, occasionally, rulers within their civilizations.
As time wore on through the ages, angels slowly lost their importance in civilization. Wars became less common, and the need for immortal kings and queens waned. Many angels were left to wander, and during the early Modern Era, there were villages and towns full of only angels in areas around Anbri and Rhoncus. Special mausoleums built for their petrified brethren were built near these villages, and today those angels are laid to rest carefully in open sarcophagi in those special places.
Around this time, fairies and angels began a literary feud against each other. Angel poets like Lentsoe and Khebelu wrote about how the fairies' wings were not as grand as angels' wings, and that fairies were cowards for hiding their wings. The fairies retaliated about how they could fly with their wings, and how their wings were much more colorful. This feud went on for thousands of years, and still goes on today, with very devoted fairies and angels taking it to the point of being blatantly racist toward the other. As such, fairies and angels typically don't like each other, especially if they are particularly rooted in tradition.
As the Modern Era really began, angels were thrown under the bus by everyone. Mental health was not taken seriously, and angels were stuffed into overcrowded "transition" asylums with demons and people considered "at risk" for becoming angels and demons. The Modern Era was full of unnecessary wars, and angels were considered completely useless in the war effort. They could not fight or retain energy for long, and most armies wouldn't even draft angels into their service. Angels were soon thrown into their own neighborhoods and spit on by all the other races, left to starve in poverty until Shali's Revenge at the end of the Modern Era.
With the establishment of Evercrest Academy, angels began to regain their footing in society. Evercrest didn't discriminate against race, and angels became prominent dragon rider icons in Alluum. During the Dragon Era, strides were made toward mental health, especially related to angels and demons, and with these people getting the care they needed, they were suddenly able to do the things that all the other races could do without effort. Today, angels still have some racism pointed toward them from the ten thousand years of oppression, but they are mostly well-accepted into society, although certainly considered very strange. Most angels still feel very isolated since there are so few of them, and many people do treat angels differently simply because of their looks and struggle, but society has come strides from throwing angels into mental asylums for no reason.
Sareloa - angel from a Bronze Era civilization who was revered for his military strategy
Mahali - the "Great Queen" of the largest civilization known to Alksheist, the Mmadu
Lentsoe - a popular poet from the early Modern Era, began the feud between angels and fairies
Khubelu - a popular poet from the early Modern Era
Askell Luttrel - fifth crusader class head
Rasa Graf - an influential angel rights speaker