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Places of Kalandar:

Ghastal

At the center of the northern zone rises what is usually considered the main inhabited area of the region, the village of Ghastal.

It is a city of average dimensions, risen from and developed inside a huge structure in stone of the old times, perhaps once a city itself, or as it seems from the decorations and recurring themes of the inner architecture, all alike amongst them, just one vast living structure; perhaps a palace or the court of the original civilization. Today the whole village is closed within the gigantic outer walls of the original structure even if these walls have fallen down and in other places they have been perforated and demolished to make room for the entrance conduits, speeder runways or walkways.

It is also true that with the increasing flow of clandestine to Kalandar many have started to live in Ghastal's outskirts, building homes, prefab structures or fortuitous dwellings out of the walls. But in the little officialdoms that the village has, these are not considered true and real inhabitants of Ghastal. Of the many settlements that can be found in the region, Ghastal is the only one that has a relative officiousness and is inhabitable. This is due to the fact that there is an Imperial garrison in the city and also because Ghastal is the only one that brings to Kalandar a minimum of consumer goods typical of the civilized life of the rest of the planet which are scarce in the zone. It has an emporium, a network center, vehicles for sale and to rent and even many entertainment centers.

Those who visit Ghastal for the first time perceive the same feeling of fascination and disgust together that all of Kalandar seems to inspire. Most of the road and buildings are in smoothed old stone, impressive and severe in their arrangements and in the architectural schemes that entwine with each other. In many places though metal and modern inserts have torn the stone weave to implant repeaters, generators, transmitters and conduits. On top of this all there is a coat of grime, negligence and carelessness.

There are many signs of abandon of the region that the high society of Coruscant has left on the local life: many buildings have been abandoned and locked, entertainment centers and houses are closed, have gone bankrupt or are about to go. The only thing that Ghastal is not short of is the population. The Empire is not easy with it's citizens so there are more and more exiles that for legal problems, economical failures or other personal mishaps decide to abandon a normal life on the rest of the planet and decide to hide in Kalandar. Roads and plazas are filled with aliens, humans and droids... all in miserable conditions and well determined not to call any attention upon themselves. Up to now the people of Kalandar and of Ghastal in particular, wishing only to go unnoticed, would desert the streets of the village at sunset. But with the continuous arrival of newcomers Ghastal has started to develop nightlife of it's own, along with criminals. Till now the tacit law of outlaws to not attack each other was working relatively well but with the arrival of newcomers and the worsening of conditions for everybody in the Galaxy have begun to change Ghastal in another underworld just like others that can be found in the planets on the edge of civilization.

Guide to Ghastal

The following are places of particular interest in the village of Ghastal. The guide is not complete but has only the more known locations inside the village that are not always the most interesting.

Indeed there is the unsaid rule for which the things that really count in Ghastal lie well hidden and far from curious eyes, concealed by the old stone walls and approachable only by those who know the right people and have the right reputation...

1 and 2 - Imperial Command of the zone and Landing Bay

One of the biggest and oldest constructions in Ghastal, the Twin Cathedral, so-called for the two big towers that form most of the buildings facade, has been readapted to hold Kalandar's Imperial command in the zone. The outpost is presently under the command of Capt. Varn, a cynical and disillusioned Officer who gives vent to his own bitterness for his missed opportunities in his career by once in a while being a tyrant with the residents. But in reality he has lost any interest in the place and worries only that he does not attract his superiors' interest.

The building includes the personnel's command offices, the troops quarters, technical workshop for the vehicles and not too far away there is a landing platform for the shuttles. The company stationed in the outpost, though it varies sometimes in number and quality, is usually comprised of:

  • 20 commanding officers
  • 80 security guards
  • 200 stormtroopers
  • 40 specialized troopers (scouts, AT-ST pilots, speeder bike and landspeeder pilots, etc.)
  • 60 technical and assistance personnel
  • 80 droids

Transports:

  • 10 patrol landspeeders (with light repeating blasters and exploration lights on the hull)
  • 20 speeder bikes
  • 6 AT-ST's
  • 2 lambda shuttles
  • 8 TIE/in fighters modified for atmospheric flight

This personnel has to divide itself between the outpost and the administration of the detention area, another Imperial complex in the city.

If needed other transports and personnel may be requested to the section command but Varn prefers not to request them unless it is inevitable and the section command prefers not to concede them unless it is inevitable.

The Imperial activities in the zone are limited to brief and occasional inspections of suspicious areas and buildings, checking out documents and identi-cards. All these activities are done only to carry out the shifts that the command has determined, but without hoping to make any difference in the melting pot of clandestine and outlaws that the region has become.

Imperials and residents have, unwillingly learned to wearily live together, the first by closing an eye and often and happily accepting money and favors in exchange of not noticing anything, the second being careful in carrying out their most illegal and turbid activities well hidden and far away from the eyes of the rest of the population so as not to attract too much attention or let the sector command reprimand the duty guards of the region. Naturally all this without taking into consideration Varn's changes of mood or leaps of pride when he will then order a mopping up or summary measures without forewarning, or the occasional inconveniences in which the surrounding Coruscant will drag the region. For example if an exceptionally dangerous outlaw or one at the top of the Imperial bounty list is seen in Kalandar both clandestine of the zone and the Imperials stationed there will shake and worry about the consequences that the attention of the rest of the planet on the local situation can bring...

3 - Network Center

In the rest of Coruscant computers are the base of civilized life. They control everything: from communications to shipments of files and goods, to trade to programming office operations and even controlling the traffic.

Though what is an integral and familiar part in the life of the rest of the planet, in Kalandar it is a luxury that few can allow themselves. Almost no connection line runs through the region. Few are the structures of the days of the Republic that could grant a decent connection, as they are old and in bad conditions. And useless to say a great many of the residents cannot afford to set up their homes with computerized structures due to economical reasons or more often to "privacy".

Dysol Inc. has shrewdly taken advantage of this situation of abandon and isolation. It is a small company with a daring management and many turbid deals that at the end drove it away from the big planetary network companies.

Investing the little funds left in a planetary repeater, obtaining the rights for a local holonet connection and moving in in one of the big towers in the heart of Ghastal, Dysol found the way to raise the bad state of its turnover and to virtually be at the center of all the traffic, information and contact exchanges that happen in Kalandar.

The rooms of the old tower have been transformed into communication centers so that anybody who can pay can use the holograph and info devices. From the tower of Ghastal it is possible to connect rapidly to the rest of the planetary network and for those who can afford it there are also repeaters and intersection communication stations that permit immediate communications with most of the known Galaxy.

Useless to say that business is prospering: the people of Kalandar are more than happy to have an "official" and anonymous service that sorts out and manages their dishonest communications and do not care much for the price as long as they can use Dysol's structures.

The current owner of Dysol, who is often seen at the network center carefully and cheerfully looking on at the always-active terminals and monitors, is a small Sullustan with a cunning look, Shyn Symm. Rumors about him say that he founded and almost sank Dysol when he separated his company from the multisection company Soro Suub Corporation and that only now in Kalandar could he lift up the fate of his company from the abyss in which it was about to fall in. Other rumors though suggest that Symm is not the sole owner of Dysol and that there are other partners not in Coruscant that do not participate in the daily management of the network, but who would be very quick to intervene and claim both the business and Symm's skin if things would not continue doing well.

The rooms of Ghastal's network center are always open 24 hours a day. Symm can be found almost always there while he supervises and surveys the intense activities at the terminals. When he is not there a human boy replaces him, Keon, a computer maniac that Symm has recently employed as assistant. Both Symm and Keon are helped by many droids that do the maintenance and checks in the network center.

Shyn Symm
Type:
Sullustan Trader
DEX 2D+1, Blaster 5D, dodge 4D+2, KNO 2D+2, Business 5D, Value 6D, Bureaucracy 5D, Streetwise 6D+2, MEC 4D+1, Communications 7D, PER 3D, bargain 5D, Con 5D+1, STR 2D, TEC 2D+2, Computer prog/rep 6D, Droid prog/rep 5D+2, Security 6D

Keon
Type:
Kid
DEX 3D+2, running 4D, pickpocket 4D+2, KNO 2D+2, business 4D, MEC 3D, communications 5D, streetwise 4D+2, PER 3D, bargain 4D, con 5D, STR 5D, climb/jump 4D, MEC 2D+2, computer prog/rep 5D, droid prog/rep 4D+2, security 4D

4 - Visiting The Dragon's Coils

Kalandar in general and Ghastal in particular have a multitude of taverns. The residents ask for nothing better than to be able to forget their miseries and privations with a jug of Kirano cider in front of them Naturally the premises are also a meeting point, for sorting out of information and selling goods that are more or less legal. The public houses vary in type and quality. Some alongwith supplying food and drinks also rent rooms for a small amount, others instead have only alcohol of dubious origin. Others, which are many, are degraded taverns almost abandoned save for the worst cutthroats of the region that hang around them, others (a few) as the Talkron, on Lostreen's shore, are inns that manage to keep an appearance of cleanliness and quality often thanks to some excellent food and special wine.

Even if every citizen of Kalandar can point out a different tavern according to their preferences, almost all will agree that the most important and best known is The Dragon's Coils, which is not far from the center of Ghastal.

The owner was scrupulous in fixing up the place: on the outside in fact the Coils seem like one of the many aging and stern buildings of the city. Even the typical noise cannot be heard from the outside and the only thing that could alert the occasional passer-by that there is a tavern is the strong and aromatic smell of Ithorian mushrooms - the cooks special - that rises from the darkened windows.

Once gone beyond the stone arch of the entrance though, all this changes: the visitor finds himself in front of a wide hall in stone with a low ceiling held by old columns (the archeologists would see in it an old weapons room but nor the owner or the patrons worry much about what it once was). Tables occupy all the hall (the Coils can easily hold up to 100 persons but in certain evenings it cannot hold all that want to enter and a sitting place is nigh impossible to find). On the left there is a long counter made from a single block of stone (and even if the owner denies it the evident similarity of the marble of the counter with that of an equestrian statue that was destroyed not far from the tavern leaves many doubts on the origin of the stone). On the opposite side there are the kitchens and rest rooms separated by a small corridor that give to a discreet back door that has saved the neck of the patrons and the owner many times.

The storeroom is downstairs along with small living quarters for the owner and some small crypts now used as "private rooms".

The patrons of the Dragon's Coils are various and many: be they alien or humans, rich or penniless, those who come here are of any kind. In Ghastal the Coils in fact socially replace what is the function of the town square: even without a precise reason people go there to meet friends, talk about the latest news or to get information on what they are looking for.

In this view the tavern not only soon became famous as a neutral territory in which armed fights and clashes are prohibited but it has also earned a sort of sacred respect from the citizens who are careful in respecting the tranquillity and protection that the tavern offers and they are even ready to intervene against anyone who will threaten it.

In fact those who usually violate the peace at the Coil's is usually a newcomer or a foreigner. In the nights in which there are only the usual patrons the atmosphere in the tavern is almost unreal: smoke clouds rise to the stone ceiling, the aroma of the mushrooms permeate the air and there is the hum of the patrons that discuss among themselves at the tables or that drink a jug of Kirano cider.

The owner of the tavern is a Duros called Kilgarr with forthright manners and of few words. Great appraiser for the tranquillity and discretion that the tavern enjoys Kilgarr is careful that it remains that way up to the point that often he is rough or rude if he sees newcomers or people particularly "colorful" enter the tavern. With the recent arrival of residents and the increase of outcasts, Kilgarr has even taken extra measures to be sure not to have trouble, and has employed four or five "permanent patrons". They aliens and humans taken from the streets sit at the tavern's table for the whole night, having a meal and drink offered by the owner and in change they are ready to assist in case a hothead goes looking for trouble.

Naturally The Dragon's Coils is also a meeting point for information for sale, contacts and illegal goods. Especially it seems a meeting point in which contraband spices switch hands but with the clients covering it all up and the owner's conspiracy of silence, anyone who would investigate too much ends up loosing his time but some times winds up with a broken rib. And as for the information it is obvious that Kilgarr himself is the most reliable and informed source to turn to. The quiet innkeeper of Ghastal, with his penetrating eyes always half-closed is the focal point for information, business and conspiracy. Most of the times he decides who can know what.

Along with it's status of town meeting-place, The Dragon's Coils is also famous for two special dishes: Ithorian mushrooms that are served with many of the meals prepared in the tavern's kitchens and Kirano cider, a strong and clear beverage envied and much sought for by the other taverns in Kalandar. Of course the owner keeps his secret on the origin of these specialties locked away. Some say that he has a trusted smuggler that every week supplies him with provisions directly from the planets of origin of the goods. Others instead say that in some way Kilgarr has done an important favor to a Kirano and Ithorian that live in Kalandar and that in reward he received a big quantity of the food and contacts as to where find more.

When asked the reason of the tavern's name, he just shrugs his shoulders and explains that when he renovated the building and turned it into a tavern he had to get rid of huge slabs of stone that adorned the inside walls that reproduced in full-size a Dwinogwuin Star Dragon.

It might be a tale that was divulged just to increase the tavern's fame, but one thing is sure: it does really seem that there is a Dragon's blessing on the business of the most famous tavern in Ghastal...

5 - Emporium

Without a centralized service that administers all the needs and structures of a house, life is much more difficult for those who decide - or better who are forced - to live in Kalandar. When a newcomer decides to move in and make his own with one of the many buildings that are crumbling down which dot the region, they will end up with just four stone walls and a ceiling on their heads (if they are lucky!). The remaining necessities have to be moved in every time. Since there are no electrical or energy hook ups, big portable generators have to be brought in to give energy, heat and light. Not even the most desperate of the refugees of Kalandar would dream of drinking stream or rainwater, and therefore large water tanks have to be transported and refilled every time... And the biggest store that supplies the region with commodities is the emporium of Kalandar.

Inside it's big rooms made out of rough stone there are piles meters and meters long of groceries, water supplies, medical supplies, building goods, excavation tools and anything that is needed to live in Kalandar's hills, except for weapons that Lubenn the owner will not sell.

Ironically, even though the emporium and its owner have more good will than those who are behind the network center business is not good and life for Lubenn gets more difficult with each passing day. Part of the emporium's economical failure is due to the owner's trusting nature but what causes most damage to the shop is the continuous series of thefts that afflict the emporium.

Lubenn's shop in fact has been the aim of repeated raids by many of the worst refugees of Kalandar who do not want to pay honestly whatever they can easily rob with a minimum of risk and a few threats.

The building's position does not make matters better: even though it is inside of Ghastal's walls the building that houses the emporium is old and crumbling: in more than one place the walls offer an opening or can give under with just a minimum of effort. Lubenn tries to protect his goods by keeping it locked or setting the warehouses up with sensors and electronic alarms, but the plunderers seem to deride even the automated alarm system.

Lubenn's family helps him out at the emporium: his wife Tossan and his two children Kiva and Zeed. At least one of them is always present at the emporium to keep an eye on the goods and to discourage further sacking.

6 - Imperial Detention Center

The fact that the Imperial zone command has limited resources and little motivation does not mean that the cells of the detention center of Kalandar are empty. On the contrary it is anything but.

With nothing but the intent to make his presence felt and to remind once in a while who is the boss in town, every so often Varn orders some arrests and searches among the residents of Ghastal or some other village. Once that the stormtroopers are sent out to take prisoners, reasons to arrest any citizen of Kalandar do not lack. In theory since every resident of the region is illegally in the zone he can be arrested and held according to the Imperial laws. Add to this the many illegal activities or pending charges that usually hang over their heads and they are sure of a long stay in the cells of Ghastal.

Curious enough Kalandar's residents have almost gotten used to this and even if they try to avoid falling under Varn's grasp during these patrol days, there are many that philosophically boast to have had a month's stay at the Empire's expense. In fact procedure wants that the arrested citizens undergo a deeper control. If it is found that they have nothing more than an illegal stay or petty theft all they get is a fine and a month's detention. But those who have more serious crimes are transferred and sent to the section command of Coruscant, and often they never come back.

The detention level of Ghastal is in a gloomy and massive brick building that in the old days had the same function: there are many small and narrow cells that receive air and light from single slits along the walls, without bars or shields, but narrow enough that not even the most slim alien can pass.

The cells are on the first floor and up and except for the slits that give light there are no other entrances to the superior floor with the only possible passage the one on the ground floor, through the Imperial's offices, the interrogation rooms, the personnel's rooms and the morgue.

It is strange that some criminals of Kalandar with serious charges pending but that have a good income have been released from the detention center after the usual month of arrest; a sign that the toleration between the scum of Kalandar and the Imperial garrison could mean something more...

7 - Speedroad for Coruscant

The Old Republic had built one big access road that entered Kalandar from south and crossed the region till Ghastal, easily linking the center of Kalandar with the rest of Coruscant. The speedroad that was conceived to canalize both luxury landspeeders and the big transport barges loaded with supplies and provisions not only was left intact by the Empire but it was even enlarged with a series of branches with the purpose of connecting the different corners of the region (when it was about to become one of the most prestigious residential areas of the court). But the branches were only started and never finished. As soon as the Emperor saw that his scheme on Kalandar was working out, there was no reason to further continue to pretend to be interested in the project, and so the works were called to a halt.

Therefore even today the speedroad to Coruscant is a double-edged weapon: it is the only easy way to get to the region and specially to Ghastal and while the trip is taken on the main road, the Republican one, vehicles proceed regularly. Not even the most reckless pilot though would even dream to travel on the secondary branches that are incomplete or that have fallen down: carelessness and nature have rapidly made havoc of them and unstable bridges, collapsed tunnels or that are about to collapse and even roads that end up in the middle of nowhere are nothing compared to what can happen to the careless pilot that ventures on detours and exits. He may just as well take his speeder directly into the hills and woods, say the residents of Kalandar. And almost every time it is a foreigner that is the victim of accidents or disasters along the secondary road of Kalandar.

"Nobody that lives here would be so dumb to use the speedroad to get around" these are the words of Kilgarr at The Dragon's Coils. And as always the innkeeper of Ghastal speaks for all.

8 - Monorail

Another means of connection with the rest of Coruscant, this time from the northern part of the region, was a gigantic monorail with wagons travelling on magnetic fields that would journey between Ghastal and the rest of the planet. Once out of Ghastal the monorail goes underground and it is assumed that once it was linked to Coruscant's planetary traffic. But it is just an assumption because while the speedroad is still used the monorail has been deactivated for more than twenty years. There are scary tales in Ghastal about what now dwells in those abandoned underground tunnels, wide and dark galleries that are marked only by the steel rails that wind in the dark and it is indicative that no resident, not even the most anxious to disappear from circulation have decided to use the tunnels of the monorail as a base.

On the contrary, one time about five years ago, a group of willful and eager citizens that wanted to improve their city went out with the intention to reactivate the magnetic train and make the monorail start working again: after all the system had simply fallen into disuse, but with adequate work it could be possible to restore it. The volunteers boldly entered the galleries of the monorail with the best intention only to disappear without trace. The worried citizens of Ghastal organized three relief expeditions. When even these disappeared the people of the village decided to forget every thing and stay well away from the tunnels of the monorail, a wise principle that is scrupulously followed today.

9 - Manarai Door

The great stone wall north of the city, officially classified by the archeologists "door of the dancing moon goddess of Kar Dhelba" (the bas-reliefs appear to represent something like that) was renamed by today's residents, with typical common sense, Manarai door. In fact this city exit leads to the northern part of the region, the mountainous one. For a few kilometers it continues along the old Republican road, then the ground becomes steep and uneven to end up in a tangle of hills and slopes.

About a year and a half ago Varn decided to place an outpost for the stormtroopers in front of Manarai door and Lostreen door in an attempt to operate a more careful surveillance of the movements of the citizens of Ghastal. Even though this idea was working at the beginning, soon the population started to show signs of intolerance towards the Imperial surveillance and simply started to use other roads, going in and out of the city through the many breaches that time has made in the city walls. Soon the surveillance of the two main doors became useless and Varn abandoned the idea so the two outposts that are still leaning on the outer town-walls are now used as temporary shelter for vagabonds and wayfarers.

10 - Lostreen Door

Lostreen door is one of the few republican constructions that are today still intact and successfully carries on its original function. Built by the Republican management to allow a better guided visit of the region Ghastal's south exit gives on to a series of paths totally covered by roofs and canals in plastisteel that were supposed to permit to continue visiting the region during winter or rainy days and admire the view in sheltered corridors.

The structures in plastisteel have withstood the passage of time quite well and the walkway from Ghastal to Lostreen is almost all in one piece. And that is a welcome advantage because with the climate regulator down the weather has become uncontrollable and unpredictable, specially in the region around Lostreen where the waste-waters and fumes of the many rivers of the region condense. Almost all the residents of Kalandar are used to walk and travel during storms but when lately the rainfalls have become acid or toxic the walkways of Lostreen door are not only a pleasure but also definitely a necessity.

Back to Places of Kalandar

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