The homeword of the Malev is an enigma to outsiders, who sometimes have difficulty understanding how this race thinks and functions within its complex caste system. Unlike many of the homeworlds occupied by the other Big Seven races, Edderick is not a single biome planet, but is found by humans to be a rather Earth-like world, with sparse inhabitation at the polar regions, and widely varying topographical features giving rise to widely diversified societies scattered across the globe. Malev cities come in a myriad of varities, from rural enclaves to vast metropolitan complexes inhabited by millions.
That is where the similarities to Earth end, however.
The similarites end there because of the complex caste system that influences the daily lives of individual Malev of all castes. Accordingly, the Malev's planet-wide caste system greatly impacts the way that the various Malev societies interact with each other as a whole. Intense stratification exists within Malev society, and since the Caste system as it exists is a non-linear non-hierarchical system (rather different Castes have superiority in different aspects of life, in an uber-complex Rock-Paper-Scissors-style relationship), understanding the rules of travel, trade, cultural and currency exchange, and just about any other factor in the way the planet functions requires an understanding of the subtleties of Malev culture that few outsiders have ever come close to possessing. Thus, the existance of the saying "Harder than planning a Malev Wedding" as a universally understood idea of an impossible task.
The Malev Caste-system's origins can be traced to the earliest religous beliefs among the Malev, and although many Malev no longer practice or believe in the "Supernatural" aspects of this system, there is an incredibly stong cultural bias supporting the politcal and social aspects of those beliefs.
---"Up" and "Down"Edit
The Malev worldview divides their world into two planes, but unlike the division of Land/Sky that most races have developed, the Malev see Edderick as divided at the planet's surface, with an "Upworld" above the ground and a "Downworld" that exists below. Life was believed to have stemmed from the ground, but ascended into the light from the darkness. Malev archaeologists have determined that the Malev evolved from a highly intelligent burrowing species (thought by humans to resemble a cross between a meerkat and a badger), and this division makes sense within that development.
The pervading factions of "Up" castes and "Down" castes are so strong that many portions of modern Malev cities are constructed in gigantic underground warrens, and inhabitants of those areas may live and die without ever seeing Edderick's sun with their own eyes.
---"Soil" and "Metal"Edit
The Malev as a species were an example of parallel development, and their second major caste division reflects a society that formed where hunter/gatherer societies ("Metal") and agrarian societies ("Soil") developed concurrently, rather than one evolving to replace the other. Edderick as a result features a complex set of interactions that allows exchange between societies in times of need, yet maintains their distance when both game and grain are plentiful. Modern examples of this duality of competitive cooperation are visible in many ways, one prime example being the friendly rivalries Malev cities that focus on production of technology tend to have with regions that are primarily agricultural in nature.
Within those four ordinal divisions there are literally hundreds of variations, that individual members of Malev society understand intrinsically within moments of meeting a fellow Malev. Malev are not simply members of an "Up/Soil" or "Down/Metal" caste, they may be an "Upper-Up/Soil/Middle-Down/Metal Male" whose place in society would differ greatly from another Malev with nearly all the same credentials, save an additonal "Upper" on the "Up." Confusing? Indeed, especially when the caste rank varies depending on where one is standing at the moment. Fortunately for offworlders, the Malev are forgiving of offworlder mistakes, even when the errors would be considered a gross insult to a fellow Malev.
Effects on EdderickEdit
Even a transaction as simple as ordering a meal can be a complex endeavor on Edderick, although the Malev tend to be forgiving of the ineptitude of outworlders. Different styles of service, different forms of address and even different menus are available based on caste, and depending on the city or region that a person is in, their caste can vary from being a perk to a detrement, sometimes within the above or below ground sections of the same city. Tracking it is all but hopless for someone not schooled in the intricacies of Malev society. Malev spaceports are a caste-neutral region, however, often employing entire staffs comprised of outworld species to ensure that caste biases do not creep in.