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Two important divisions exist within Varanyi society. The first is "caste," or division based on crests. The more crests a Varanyi has, the higher his t'illk. T'illk combines some of the meaning of the human terms "mental serenity," "class," "status," and "face." Due to their mental powers, the Varanyi are easily able to judge another Varanyi's state of mind, psychological "balance," mental acuity, and mental power, and all of these factors, as well as the more concrete ones such as "status," are implicit in the term.

T'illk marks a clear division between social strata, but a Varanyi can "lose" it if he does something particularly embarrassing or detrimental to society. Still, it is very, very rare for a Varanyi to lose so much t'illk that he falls to a social level below the one dictated by his caste. The Ks'lch, who have no crests and hence no t'illk whatsoever, may act as they please without suffering further social opprobrium, which offers them a measure of social freedom crested Varanyi sometimes envy.

A Varanyi's position in society, job, and opportunity for significant achievement generally depend on his crests and t'illk (a Fringe Benefit reflects this; Varanyi whose accomplishments have earned them unusually hi t'illk can represent this by paying more points for the Fringe Benefit, or buying a Reputation Perk). The lowest, dirtiest, most menial and dangerous tasks are reserved for the Ks'lch. Varanyi of one or two crests occupy mid-level positions. Varanyi of three or more crests hold the highest positions in society, though it is possible for a lesser crested Varanyi to earn sufficient t'illk (through valor in warfare, notable scientific discoveries, and similar accomplishments) to obtain a position normally reserved for Varanyi of more crests. The Ks'lch have no such opportunities for advancement; they are forever trapped in their caste.

Non-Varanyi subjects of the Empire have no t'illk whatsoever; they're even lower on the social ladder than Ks'lch. The Varanyi rarely allow them to travel within the Empire, and never outside it; the best they can hope for is a mercifully short life of backbreaking slave labor. Many species are simply exterminated because the Varanyi find it more trouble to guard them than to eradicate them.

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