Craestyl is my home. We conquered this sector and we will not bow to you now.
—Senn Schorn, defiant in the face of Bolo Artel's bombardment
Craestyl, sometimes known as the Red Jewel, was a small rocky planet that served as the de facto capital of the Axe, a strategically important sector in the Outer Rim. Its largely human population had remained largely out of galactic affairs until the Annhilation of Craestyl in 14 BBY, which devastated the Imperial shipyards on the planet and killed millions.
Before the Republic
Thousands of years before the Republic was founded, a contingent of human settlers colonised Craestyl and its twin planet, Calstade, exploiting the planet for its riches and establishing it as a base of operations at the centre of the Axe. Eventually the settlers extended their reach across the sector, conquering Tarn and forcing the Oth, who had previously conquered the sector, out of Rothus back to their home of Otis, which was then also subjugated. The Oth, along with the Ciciarazzi of Rothus, were then enslaved by the humans and used to supply their growing war machine, making Craestyl rich in the process. When the Galactic Republic was founded, the humans of the Axe joined the Republic without complaint, though their practise of slavery was eventually outlawed. Craestyl remained a power in the region, and continued to act as the de facto capital of the sector.
After the establishment of the Galactic Empire and the purge of the Jedi, Craestyl was a loyal component of the Empire, with an active and very profitable shipyard. This made it a lucrative first target for fugitive Jedi Bolo Artel, who had organised a small rebel force made up of the Vinn and the remnants of the armies of the warlord Gorith. Artel ordered the planet's major cities to be bombed for hours, destroying much of the facilities and killing millions of unsuspecting Imperial citizens.
The bombing brought Craestyl to its knees and drew the Empire's attention to Artel's rebellion. While his fleet dispersed -- and was quickly crushed above Otis at the Battle of the Axe -- the Jedi stayed in orbit, and descended to the surface. Even he was shocked by the level of damage and misery his bombing had incurred. Artel left the system soon after, lured by Darth Vader in search of his new apprentice, Tsark, who had been captured by Imperial forces. Craestyl's economy never recovered, but the fervour of its people kept the system loyal and dedicated to the Empire, even after the Galactic Concordance.
From orbit, Craestyl was undeniably beautiful. A hot world with a thick atmosphere, its surface was covered by shining black rock, with rivers of blood red flowing between towering mountains. Its southern hemisphere was covered by canyons and calderas, evidence of extensive volcanic activity in its distant past, but its north was more even, and was where most of the planet's major cities were based. A vast ocean on one side of the planet, covering hundreds of miles and millions of gallons of water, was the planet's main water supply, though this water was tainted with sulphur and metal ores and so had to be heavily processed. The planet had several major cities, the majority of which were dedicated to manufacturing. Craestyl became rich as a world selling weapons and ships to the Empire, though much of the general population remained poor.
Behind the scenes
Craestyl was created by Jegory as a key setting in the story of Bolo Artel. Originally designed merely as a manufacturing world, Craestyl was later added to the cluster of planets in the Axe, which would serve as a pivotal location for Artel's short-lived rebellion against the Empire.