The Arcatar (High Arcadian: High Folk), also known in the common language as Arcadians, were a humanoid species native to the continent of Arcadia, where they were also the dominant species.
Biology and appearance
- "Not human?"
- —Albus Dumbledore, upon learning of Lily and Harry's true origins
The Arcatar were an intelligent species that originated during the Age of Dawn, their history essentially being the same as the history of the continent of Arcadia itself, which they inhabited. Much like humans, they came in two sexes, male and female, and gave birth to live young. In general, they were bipedal beings with a bilateral symmetry, having a front and a back end, as well as an upside and downside. Their body comprised a head, neck, torso, and four limbs. The upper limbs, called arms, ended in hands which had five fingers each; the lower ones, called legs, ended in feet with also five digits. The fingers of the Arcatar had multiple points of articulation, and one of them was an opposable thumb that allowed for fine manipulation. Finally, they had one head perched atop a torso. They had only a light covering of body hair. Most of it was concentrated on the head and, in the case of adult males, face.
The Arcatar were endotherms, or "warm-blooded" animals, meaning they maintained a constant body temperature independent of the environment using the energy from their food. They were omnivores, although the ammount of animal tissue and plant-based foods diverged from sub-species to sub-species, this being a biological factor, not social. For instance, the Elisene were known to consume more animal products compared to their Amaranthine cousins.
From both physical and spiritual characteristics inhert to Arcadians, they were considered to be "elastic", in relation to their ability to both integrate and reproduce with non-Arcatar species, specifically humanoids. For instance, several cadet members of the House of Arcatar upon leaving the Anuanth settled down in other worlds and interbred with the natives.
In general, Arcadians varied greatly in appearance, and besides exceptions such as identical twins, no two Arcatar looked exactly alike. Amongst the diversity factors was height. Arcadians averaged 1.80 meters in height, with males being usually taller than females. There were rare occurrences of dwarfism and gigantism, with the former growing to at least 1.3 meters, while the latter could grow up to 2.30 meters.
Their hair was grown, cut, and styled for aesthetic or ritualistic reasons. Facial hair grown by males could be styled or shaved completely. Their hair colour ranged from blond to black, sometimes with hues of red or brown, changing to grey or white as years passed. It could be straight, wavy, or curly. Much like hair, the eye colour of the Arcatar was also varied, with some colours being exclusive to certain sub-species. This also applied to skin colour.
The main form of reproduction of the Arcatar was through sexual means, requiring the mating of an opposite sex couple to produce offspring. While developing in their mother's womb, the child gave her a distinctive "baby bump" accompanied by a significant weight gain. Possessing all characteristics of a mammal, females gave birth to live young, either one or several at a time. The delivery itself normally took place after nine months of pregnancy. During their first months of existence, the babies were usually fed with milk from their mother's breasts, although there were various alternatives to this type of sustenance.
The secondary means of reproduction were exclusive to the more powerful of the Arcatar, as it required accessing their primordial form, and through their power, give birth to a child born not through sexual reproduction, but by mingling their essences together. This process usually took between thirty minutes and one hour, depending on the power of the two Arcatar. This made it the only way for a same-sex couple to have a biological child. Beyond this, it was also considered to be the safest way of reproducing, as it had no risks to either parents or the child. This however, allowed for children born of incest, something which occurred in several Arcadian cultures.
Originally, the Arcatar were part of a group of primal spirits which inhabited the primordial chaos that was the Anuanth. The small group which would become the ancestors of the Arcatar fell under the leadership of one of the strongest spirits, following its ideology and seeking refuge in the newly formed mortal world, settling on the continents of Arcadia and Timmur. This led to them adopting mortal and humanoid shapes, introducing them first hand to the concept of mortality.
As the mortal plane became more stable, so did the forms of the proto-Arcatar, allowing for the establishment of the proper Arcatar species, which in turn started the Age of Dawn. Despite this, with the introduction of new concepts previously unknown to the Arcatar, their union quickly fell apart, and soon tribes were formed, each developing its own set of rules and traditions.
- The Emperor of the Night (First appearance)