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.