A centaur is a humanoid being, taking the approximate body shape of a horse sans neck, atop which rests the torso, arms and head of a human. Centaurs are characterised as being both proud and savage, keepers of great wisdom and yet filled with a bestial, untamed quality. They are distrustful of outsiders, and generally consider themselves to be superior beings.
It is said that the centaurs are divided into one thousand and one clans, though the basis for such a precise number is unknown. A cluster of centaurs is known as a herd. A centaur herd is headed by the stallion, who is the strongest of the herd and commands the ultimate authority, claiming multiple wives for themselves. Second to the stallion is the chiron, master of wisdom within the herd. The chiron advises the stallion on various matters, and in return the stallion protects the chiron. Should one fail in their duty to the other, then they are likely to be usurped.
Centaurs reside primarily within the Great Plains, thereby controlling the greatest amount of land of any species in Engelain. Despite this, centaurs are not so plentiful as one might expect, as each individual herd rules over large swathes of land. They share their land with the satyrs, defending the homes of the satyrs in return for their mead, music, medicine and merriment. Centaurs tend to treat outsiders very aggressively, and are highly suspicious of magic other than their own particular brand- the studying of the stars through which they gleam forbidden knowledge of future events.
Centaurs are a nomadic people, choosing to constantly patrol their territories rather than form any permanent abode. They are skilled in grass weaving, and make many temporary shelters out of such when it is needed. Though as intelligent as humans, (the centaurs themselves would argue they are more intelligent than humans,) this advantage is offset by their violent tendencies- centaurs have a tendency to go into a group rage, are known to drink heavily and become violent because of this, and are particularly aggressive during the mating season.
The culture and the religion of the centaurs is still something humans have little understanding over, as centaurs deem most of their culture sacred, and therefore that humans are unwilling to have this knowledge. It is known they worship a being called the Great Stallion, who allegedly leads the stars through the skies. The stars themselves are considered part of the Great Stallion's herd, and that the stallions of the Great Plains, should they die without having been usurped by another, younger steed, will become a star and join in the great herd in the sky.
Centaurs have an unusual funeral rite. Unlike the typical burials one might expect, all deceased centaurs are set aflame, and their bones ground down to dust. Some of the more devout of their kind will claim this is in order to prevent a supernatural figure in their folklore, the Spirit Gelder, from taking hold of their souls. Others disagree, and say that the act of burning over burial is one of practicality- centaurs have tremendous difficulty navigating steep surfaces, so digging deep can often cause mobility issues.
Although aware that the likes of horses and donkeys are lesser creatures, centaurs still allow them to roam the Great Plains and have more of a kinship to them than they do to humanity, allegedly due to humanity's own arrogance when it comes to the natural order of things. Some centaurs will guide humans through their territory, either out of a kindness or to prevent the humans from undergoing some act of devilry, but others would just as likely kill a human that they come across- though this tends to be the more devout, those that linger further inland in the Great Plains and have the least amount of contact with the human world.
As far as records show, centaurs have always dwelt roughly in what is known as the Great Plains today. Once upon a time they dwelt alongside the onocentaurs, their kindred cousins, and the grassland avians which did not dwell in the Eyr Mounts. When the East Great Plains Empire arose, the centaur population was reduced drastically, with most of the centaurs being pushed into the forest of the elves in the east and restricted to that area for many centuries. When that Empire fell, the centaurs returned, though their land was still limited due to the presence of various other factions wishing to wipe out the empire's existence.
When the Casurillion Empire collapsed two millennia later, the centaurs swept over the land and claimed it as their own. There was no collective power on earth that could stand in front of the one thousand and one centaur clans, united it is said by the legendary unitaur, and so the entirety of the Great Plains fell under their jurisdiction. Though much of their southern lands would be lost to the Tyrannian Empire, they were soon recuperated after Arran lead his armies against the might of Tywrought. As such, the Great Plains is littered with the remnants of empires, and some centaurs take to wearing the spoils of mankind as trophies, or else towing them into great piles to honour their horse god.
It is incredibly rare to find a centaur which worships any of the gods in the Engelite Pantheon. There are some centaurs that say the Engelite Pantheon is fabricated by humans, and that the traits assigned to these gods are simply signs of the vanities and insecurities of human kind. However, the general consensus is that the Engelite Pantheon exists, but it was not Tyrrus who created the world. Instead, Tyrrus is simply an outside being, a god from another realm that came to earth in order to create humanity, only to later leave after the war with Soahc. It is interesting to note that centaurs vehemently deny that Tyrrus created them, or that he made the world, but they do not themselves have any mythology dealing with the creation of the world- it is uncertain what it is that the Great Stallion represents to them.
It seems that centaurs may believe in a form of reincarnation, wherein a shooting star heralds the rebirth of a great stallion of old. It seems that the privilege of reincarnation is granted only to the stallions in centaur culture. Centaurs do not appear to have a concept of the afterlife, and have been shown to be greatly affronted by concepts such as Heaven and Hell when attempts have been made to proselytise them. It is unknown why the idea of living on after death is such a stigma in their culture.
Despite consistent rumours to the contrary, centaurs can breed with neither horse nor human.