Their "height" is around four to five feet tall until about three-fourths the way down the body where their "tail" begins. Archangels' scales come only in shades of black () and have crystalline horns made of a special kind of material called musimite that comes in several thousand colors. They also have spikes running the entire length of their body made of this material. The spikes are generally about a foot tall and look like a scythe in shape and are placed in two-foot intervals.
Archangels have extremely thick, rubber-like scales all around their bodies. There are longer scales behind each pair of wings and directly behind the head that can lift from the body (like a cat's fur when it's scared) to make the dragon look more fearsome and large. These scales are usually of a different color than the rest of their body, usually a very bright color like orange or magenta. Generally, it's the neon color variation of the dragon's musimite. (Image at right was made by NekoLychee on DeviantArt)
These dragons have three sets of bat-like wings. The first set is the largest and located about six feet from the head. The second set is about ten feet from that and the third is generally around ten feet from the end of the dragon. Each wing arm has scales made of musimite and the wing's membrane is made of a tough, rubbery material. Their last two sets of wings are the only two able to furl up and their combined wingspan is around twenty feet. The main wing set is unable to furl and can be "locked" into a gliding position while the other two wings provide the forward momentum. The main set of wings generally has a wingspan of one hundred feet or more.
Archangels have no eyes, just heat-sensing organs underneath the flesh all around their bodies. This is to help detect thunderstorms or prey without having to move their head to detect anything. While the organs only have a range of ten meters (around thirty feet), the archangel's sixth sense makes up for it. The sixth sense of archangels allows them to reach out with their mind and detect other creatures up to a five mile radius in stronger dragons and a mile radius in weaker dragons. The range of the organs and sixth sense are also dependent upon how much energy the dragon is holding. Immediately after a thunderstorm, the radius of the organs can skyrocket up to a half-mile and the sixth sense to up to fifteen miles.
Archangels get their energy from thunderstorms. The musimite on their body is the strongest electrical conductor known to Alksheist and practically draws lightning to it. Along with being the best conductor of energy, musimite is also the best place to store energy. While most mages never get their hands on it (archangels are the only way of obtaining musimite), archangel mage riders can store as much energy as they like into the musimite. The crystal has a bottomless amount of storage. The extreme energy from the lightning gives archangels energy for their magic, flight, function, and growth. Some wild archangels will grow to be massive in their lifetime, due to the fact that they don't need to use magic or eat (the lightning gives them all the energy they need).
Mutated archangels have extremely primitive eyes and no heat-sensing, which throws them out of place in the wild. Mutants' scales are also white and they lack the amount of musimite needed to survive. If they do have enough musimite, it's barely enough to keep them alive or it's too much, which overloads their system. If they're not stillborn, their eyes also fry out in their first or second thunderstorm from extreme voltage, which either kills them or leaves them completely blind. No mutant archangel lives for very long, but they're luckily a very rare occurrence.
Archangels, when cats, are known as felumbries (or "cat shadows"). They are easily distinguishable from other cats by their long (often touching the ground), rubber-like coats of thick hairs that mimic the color of the dragon. The cats are significantly larger than other domesticated cats, being around the size of a caracal and the build of a Norwegian Forest Cat. Some archangels are able to have eyes in cat-form, but most of the time, they simply have glowing pieces of musimite in eyesockets or no eyes at all. Those with eyes have ram-like horns of musimite growing just below their ears. All felumbries have a piece of musimite on their forehead that gives off a faint glow that mimics the color of the stone in dragon form.
Archangels are capable of learning and executing spells, although they are capable of extreme magical feats when they have a powerful mage rider. Most wild archangels are able to exhale lightning, fire, or ice, although ones with riders are generally able to harness more advanced magics, like shadow, life, and air. Since an archangel needs a mage to teach it more advanced spells, we usually train dragons with mages and the riders in melee. An archangel's musimite glows when they use magic, in both cat and dragon form.
Wild archangels are generally solitary, but you can occasionally find a group, or stormchaser, of archangels. A stormchaser is often only seen when there is a very bad thunderstorm coming. In a stormchaser, archangels fly in a specific formation - an X-shape - and will not break this formation until the thunderstorm loses all its power. They will occasionally continue to stay in a group to go after storms, but generally a stormchaser lasts only the duration of the lightning in a cumulonimbus cloud.
Archangels are known to be the most stealthy of dragons, as they never land and are seldom seen in groups. Their six wings allow them to glide effortlessly and, when the smaller four wings are furled, the larger set allows them to have extreme bursts of speed, especially when the dragon is fully "charged." The dragons, as a species, also have the peculiar ability to change into cats. While even wild archangels have the ability to change to cats, generally only domesticated dragons will take on the change since it is extremely painful for the dragon, especially if they're on the larger side of the spectrum. This strange adaptation is likely from ancient times, when the climate of Alksheist was psychotic at best. Since archangels are poor prey hunters, they needed to devise a way to hunt prey in the dry season.
Female archangels will begin their search for a mate when they are around five hundred human years old. They will only lay eggs once and it can take them until the end of their lifetime to find the right mate. Male archangels will have many mates over the course of their lifetime, should they wish to. Archangels generally lay one or two eggs, although occasionally a female will lay three or even four.
Mothers lay eggs on the father's back. Archangel eggs are usually black and are coated in musimite. The father will fly into a thunderstorm and stay in the clouds for approximately two days before the dragonlings hatch. When they first hatch, they stay on their father's back until their wings dry or the winds blow the dragonlings off of the father's back (in which case they almost certainly die). Once they are able, they fly and usually stay in the thunderstorm they were hatched in, allowing them to grow quicker to adult size.
Legend amongst the dragons (they are a very social species when they're together) goes that eons ago, a drow dressed in a tiger skin approached a grounded archangel. His spear was at the ready, but the dragon moved his head toward the drow and said, "You may feed your village for many months, but do not let harm befall my children." Two baby dragons were on the father's back, their wings not yet dry enough to fly. The drow killed the father without a word, but he took the two dragonlings back to his village. Even though he fed the small dragons tiny bits of meat, they could not flap their wings to get off the ground and were starving. Three days after the archangel father died, one of his children died. Fearing an angry stormchaser of archangels, the drows of the village frantically tried to save the other dragonling. Their solution was a rune, a rune whose name and original purpose are lost to time. They branded the archangel child with this rune and the starving dragon immediately transformed into a cat, thanked the villagers, and ran away to live her life with other archangels. This dragon, the modern archangels say, is how they received their ability to transform into cats. Every archangel does have a strange rune seemingly inked in white somewhere on their body and it does glow when they change into cats. Perhaps there is truth to their myth.
Archangels are generally a very silent dragon species, but they are musical when they utter noise. The songs are the language amongst the dragons. While they can vocalize in many humanoid dialects, when archangels speak to each other, they actually sing. In the wild, archangels' songs are generally only heard in very large thunderstorms that many dragons gather in. With a rider, they are considerably more vocal and their beautiful and haunting songs can often be heard during the night around Evercrest.