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Daraz Society: Social Structure

Daraz Society: Social Structure published on

The Daraz are a subterranean species of monotremes who live in extensive cave networks in the mountains. An average clan has 500-1000 individuals.

Daraz society is organized around four primary castes, whose role is determined at birth based on what the clan expects to need in the coming years:

  • Kiralyno (a.k.a. The Kira) – the primary egg-layer and clan leader
  • Hazastars – consorts to The Kira who contribute genetic material during reproduction
  • Munkas – non-reproducing laborers, of whom there are several sub-types
  • Harcos – non-reproducing warrior/hunters


The Kira is responsible both for laying eggs and for making major decisions affecting the entire clan. Xe spends nearly xer entire life underground, carefully guarded by the rest of the clan. Only when a young Kira is leaving to form a new clan are they seen aboveground. Kiralyno are capable of limited parthenogenesis, laying unfertilized eggs that can develop into Harcos and Munkas. Typically this only happens when setting up a new clan.


The Hazastars provide the Kira with eggs and sperm, which xe gestates, and then lays eggs into development cells. Hazastars also rarely venture aboveground, only to be seen outside during trading pilgrimages. These pilgrimages take place when clans trade Hazastars with one another every few years, helping to bolster genetic diversity across clans.


Munkas see to the day-to-day of running a clan, including digging new tunnels, farming and harvesting subterranean plants and fungus, practicing medicine, keeping records, advising The Kira, and so forth. Scribes are known as The Irnok, and their actuarial tables determine which eggs are assigned to what caste. Of the four main castes, they have the most discretion to choose what roles they want to take on, within their purview. They are asexual and have no role in reproduction.


Harcos are non-reproducing, asexual members of the species, and exist primarily as the hunters and warriors of the clan. Harcos group into units called quads, which can consist of anywhere from two to five individuals, but are most typically comprised of four people, two older and two younger Harcos. The older ones are responsible for training and mentoring the younger ones. Harcos are the caste most likely to be encountered by humans, as they frequently leave the clan to hunt. The humans of Pocalo routinely employ Harcos to act as officers of the peace or bodyguards. These roles are filled on a rotating basis, as a Harcos’s primary loyalty is still to the clan.

Daraz Biology: Body Type and Caste

Daraz Biology: Body Type and Caste published on
Valley of the Silk Sky - Daraz Biology
Daraz Harcos

These creatures are a species known as the Daraz, and they are monotremes, a.k.a. egg-laying mammals. The Daraz come in four basic body types: Kiralyno (a.k.a. The Kira, the primary egg-layer); Hazastars (consorts to The Kira who are involved in reproduction); Munkas (non-reproducing laborers); and Harcos (non-reproducing warrior/hunters).

Of these, the only ones humans are ever likely to see are the Harcos, as the rest typically stay underground for most of their lives.

Your body type, and therefore your caste, is preselected at egg-laying based on what the clan needs most. Every egg has the potential to be any body type. Which one it grows into is determined mostly by what the embryo is fed while it is developing in the cell. Some will get a diet rich in thus and such hormone, and become breeding adults. Others will get a different hormone, and become non-breeding workers.

Daraz society is collectivist – you have a job to do for the good of the clan as a whole, and there’s not much room to decide you want to do something else. After all, if you’re a non-breeding worker caste, you do not have a reproductive system (beyond some vestigial internal organs). You can’t decide you want to be a breeding adult instead. If you are a Harcos your body is literally a weapon, and you will be expected to train in how to use it so you don’t hurt those around you just by existing.


Ah, but biology is complex and prone to unpredictable variation, and as such this predetermination process doesn’t work smoothly 100% of the time. Up until about 6 weeks of gestation you can switch production over to a different body type without noticeable consequence. After a somewhat vague cutoff point, though, you wind up with someone who is a little bit this and a little bit that. These Daraz are known as “Keverek,” a.k.a. “mixed.” In these cases, you’re assigned to the caste you seem most similar to, and everyone just sort of hopes it works out.

Hali is one of these Keverek. Xe started out on the path to being a Hazastar, but a sudden need for more Harcos had xer production shifted fairly late in the game. Since Hazastars are significantly smaller and less muscular than warrior/hunters, Hali is shorter and thinner than xer compatriots. (Xe is also much younger than the other two in the illustration, who are adults tasked with training the up-and-comers.) Given that xe has all the Harcos weaponry and no evidence of a functional reproductive system, xe was assigned to the Harcos caste, and off to training xe goes.

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