The Torch of Freedom
Freedom is a very special city for many reasons - but not least for the strange effects the land around has on it. When the first settlement was made here, the original settlers placed a torch for light in their camp. The next morning they found that the torch had mysteriously floated up into the air and taking this as an omen, decided to build around it.
And there is stays to this very day, in the centre of the Town Hall. It is said that if ever the torch were to fall, then all freedom would be lost and the galaxy would fall into turmoil. It may be of some concern that the torch has been very slowly dropping for the last ten years.
While some people have tried to debunk the torch by claiming that has built-in repulsors, this has never been proved and it is commonly believed to be because the City is built on the site of an ancient Jedi battlefield.
But the torch is not the only thing to float mysteriously. Shop signs and even people have been known to hang above the ground without any visible support.
Of Dearic and Dearon's Rift
While part of this information has been based on Imperial records, the compiler felt that other sources were more balanced and less critical of the Jedi involved. Souces include Mennon Hal (Coronet Dept of Records), Boonoo Tabeth and others who wished to remain nameless.
It was the powerful Jedi Dearon Roon who led the first settlers on Talus back in the ancient days. Along with a small group of Corellians they established Talus' first city of Dearic, named after him. It is claimed that in those times, Talus was rich with crystals that would enhance the Force. These crystals could allow Jedi to become mightily powerful - and because of this, many Jedi (Dearon included) would travel the planet in search of them. But slowly the desire for these crystals began to consume him and others, and although they were frustrated through lack of success, they continued to search and became more obsessive and protective of their secrets.
Eventually, word spread that Dearon had found a large cavern filled with Force Crystals and was planning to keep them all for himself - setting himself up as the ruler of the planet. Whether this is true only history now knows, but regardless, the other Jedi on the planet began to group together and tracked him down to the shores of the southern ocean. There he was found sitting hunched on the beach, while the group of Jedi looked down upon him from the cliffs above.
Dearon had indeed found a cavern of Force Crystals. But he did not realise that the rich seam of these crystals was so dense and so long. As the lightning shot from his fingertips, it was intensified both with the crystals he was wearing, and the crystals that were packed into the land around him. The energy went from thin shards to a thick, constant bolt of sheer power that completely destroyed the challenging Jedi and thrust forward into the cliff edge itself. Here, it met the intensive focus of a million Force enhancing crystals embedded deep in the rock and the ground exploded in a ribbon of bright light - straight as an arrow for miles and at least fifty feet high. This disintegrated all the crystals it touched and carved a huge cleft in the land that can still be seen today.
Dearon was never seen again, but Dearon's Rift has become one of the most awe-inspiring features on Talus.
For some time during their approach, the group could sense a great power growing and here the air was almost buzzing. One of them called out to him and as he turned they could see sparks of energy flowing across his body like the caress of a tiny thunderstorm. His clothing was tattered, but threaded with sparkling gems of many colours.
"You there," one of the Jedi shouted, "You dare keep the secret stones for yourself?"
"Stay away," yelled Dearon, flinching with pain, "The power....it's too strong."
Scowling, the lead Jedi stepped forward and ignited his lightsaber. But instead of the thin, white blade, the hilt spewed forth thick bolts of energy that looped down into the ground and towards Dearon. As the Jedi holding it was lit up in a fire of white light, the others began to back off and some started to run away, fearing for the power they were seeing. Dearon was now blinded by the bolts of energy flying towards him. In intense pain he raised his hands towards the Jedi to repel them and let forth with a storm of lightning from his fingertips.
Of the Coming of the White Jedi and the Battlefield of Sana-bel
Souces for this article include Mennon Hal (Coronet Dept of Records), Illenia Both and Kar-ven-holen Miin.
For many years thereafter, Talus remained a quiet and mostly unpopulated planet. Corellia itself was a far better prospect for settlers and businessmen so few people saw the need to travel to one of its moons - particularly one with such dangerous wildlife. The town of Dearic failed to expand to any great degree partly because of this. The townsfolk were often attacked out in the wild or had to deal with herds of animals invading the town. Many moved back to Corellia leaving only a few stubborn souls who refused to leave their homes.
But the situation was slowly getting worse. The animals were becoming more ferocious and this made the hunter's tasks so much harder. The people of Dearic could not afford to import any great amount of resources, so food stocks slowly began to dwindle. And it seemed to them that the sky was darkening in the east. In past years, the swamps to the east had provided a good source of food, particularly waterfoul and various Talusian fruits that flourished in the damp environment. However, the swamps were becoming a place to be feared. In fact, dread seemed to creep over anyone who ventured there and their animals would flee in terror. Stories began of strange, mutated creatures that inhabited the swamplands, creaping over the lands and breathing out a foul green smog that hung in the air and would kill anyone who came into contact with it. Pleas went out to the people of Corellia to supply vehicles and blasters for protection, but they fell on deaf ears.
However, it seemed that the Jedi had got wind of these rumours, for these keepers of peace began to arrive in Dearic in small numbers. When asked for protection, these Jedi would confirm that they could sense some strange evil in the area and one by one would go to investigate. None returned.
This must have caused a great deal of concern among the Jedi order, for one day, a group of twenty Jedi clothed all in white landed in the fields just outside of Dearic. When questioned they were less than forthcoming, but were otherwise kind and humbly took the offers of food and shelter for the night. The next morning they set off early for what was becoming known and the Black Heart of Talus.
Within seconds the air was lit up with the clashes of laser swords and arcs of blue lightning that shot through the gloom. For a time the battle was stalemate, but eventually one of the White Jedi fell. The dark figures had the advantage here - the swampy ground was familiar to them and they moved through it with ease. So the White Jedi gradually began to retreat, drawing them out west to the fields of Sana-bel. It was hoped that they could escape and regroup, but at the very least they would find solid ground to fight upon. And as they retreated, the Black Jedi followed tirelessly - their leader directing their movements. At the edges of the swamp the water began to shift and foul, distorted creatures - like crazed and mutated versions of the animals of Talus - emerged from the depths and swarmed out in a bellowing charge that was terrible to behold.
They were outnumbered now and they knew it. As they fled at lightning speed towards Dearic in the hope that they may outrun their pursuers, then came across a small settlement in the plains. They urged the inhabitants to escape the approaching horde, but they refused and took up what weapons they had to protect themselves. The White Jedi knew there was no chance of victory and continued on - except for one. His name was Kalen Vor and he was disgusted that the others were so ready to leave these people helpless. He vowed to stay and fight, and quickly gathered the villagers together. saying, "You people have lived in fear for too long. Fight now not only for your freedom, but for the freedom of the person by your side. That way we all shall be free". And in that moment, the horde arrived.
Upon approaching the edge of the swamps, the Jedi held their nerve where others would have fled. As they spread out to search, dark figures began to move around them. "Who is there!" one Jedi shouted, his voice sounding flat like the atmosphere around him was void of air. As the other Jedi turned to look at him, shapes began to rise in the swamp - not dark and monstrous but human. They were clothed in black and each one in turn ignited a lightsaber. Slowly the figures moved together, forming a line in front of a small mound that supported a single, lifeless tree. A faint glow grew behind them and a man clad in dark, tight fitting body armour emerged. He moved with a slowness that suggested old age, but his features were hidden beneath a helmet riddled with pipes. With a single gesture of his hand, the black jedi sprang up and began moving towards the newcomers, whose own lightsabers were now held at the ready, buzzing and glowing eerily in the swamp mist. No more words were spoken. None were needed for each man there knew what was inevitable.
The battle was short and fierce. The settlement was all but destroyed and only a handful of survivors managed to escape the carnage. Kalen Vor was eventually surrounded inside the basic structure that doubled as a storage shed and town hall. There, the leader of the black clan stood face to face with him and slew him with a single blow. The building was then set alight and the body of the Jedi was left to burn. Deciding that enough work had been done for today, the dark leader returned to the murk that was his home.
The following day, the remaining White Jedi returned to their ship and left the planet. What they had witnessed and the blackness they had felt in the Force was something that could not be allowed to remain. Orbiting the planet, they trained their turbolasers on the area of the swamp and bombarded it with the massive bolts of energy. Still the feeling of evil remained, but this time it was sharper and more precise. For two days they remained in orbit, the most skilled of their group scanning the planet for a distinct presence. Eventually one of them found it, like a thin black pillar of hate radiating from one single point on the surface. A computer scan revealed a faint life-sign to the west of the settlement where Kalen Vor fell. Their pinpoint-laser was carefully targeted and fired. It hit with supreme accuracy and the mysterious leader of the swamp was vaporised completely. But his scar still remains on the planet and to this day an area of black, scorched earth can be seen where he died.
Nobody really knows who that man was, but some have said it was Dearon, twisted by years of dementia and torment who had been unable to handle his powers and had drifted to the dark side of the Force. And as for the swamps - they still remain a place of superstition and fear.
Of The Founding of the City and The Torch of Freedom
Many thanks to Coronet Dept of Records.
Of the people that survived the destruction of their settlement, a handful decided to return to honour the memory of the fallen jedi Kalen Vor. They gathered round the spot near where he was killed - his body was nowhere to be found - and sat silently, almost in meditation as was their custom.
When the night drew in, they placed a burning torch to keep them warm. The following morning, when they had woken, they noticed that the torch had risen from the ground and was floating into the air, still burning as if it had only been lit moments before. They gasped and looked upon this in awe, taking it as a good omen that the spirit of the Jedi was protecting them.
While their plan had been to return to Dearic, they now decided that they would rebuild their home here, and would no longer fear the dangers that lurked in the swaps. They immediately began repairing what was left of the old settlement and named this new home 'Freedom'.
The Town Hall was built around the burning 'Torch of Freedom' and the people believed that as long as the torch remained floating in the air, there would be protection from all things evil in the world.
For centuries, Freedom had remained a small, unassuming settlement. Despite this, it has lasted and remained strong - despite the overbearing presence of nearby Dearic. In recent years, the town has begun a project of regeneration - new, modern buildings with many facilities that will attract visitors and increase the income for the residents.
And the torch still hangs there to this very day, forever burning, a beacon of hope to all.