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This idea, born in the mind of Aruk the Hutt, was to build a religious retreat on the planet of Ylesia, to which he would draw thousands of humanoid pilgrims suffering under Imperial rule and yearning for a better life. Once there, the pilgrims were forced to prepare spice for the rest of their lives, supposedly to improve themselves through hard work. The spice was then exported by Besadii throughout the galaxy, and accounted for most of the kajidic's income in the years leading up to the Battle of Yavin. Pilgrims could also be sold into slavery, especially to the Galactic Empire.
The centerpiece of the religion was a phenomenon known as Exultation. This was originally a biological feature used by male t'landa Til—a sentient species distantly related to the Hutts and which lived on the same homeworld—to attract females as a mating ritual. However, Aruk discovered that many humanoids were extremely sensitive to this as well, reacting to it as to a narcotic. Realizing the full potential of the Exultation, he sent a number of t'landa Til throughout the galaxy as "missionaries"; they would then reveal the power of Exultation as a "divine gift," and invite people to come to Ylesia as "pilgrims." Thousands of humanoids were duped and drawn into voluntary slavery in the spice mines.
The exact teachings of the religion are unclear, vaguely referencing "the One and the All," perhaps referring to the spiritual unity of the galaxy. However, the beliefs matter little; by Aruk's own admission, all he did was "make up some doctrine, compose a few hymns, write up several chants and litanies" and combine them with the Exultation to give it the appearance of a legitimate religion.
A sticky endEdit
The scam of Ylesia was first discovered by Han Solo in 10 BBY, when he briefly worked as a pilot for the t'landa Til. Believing him to be a strong individual, above petty concerns for the welfare of the pilgrims, high priest Teroenza revealed the big lie to his new pilot himself, bragging about his brilliance and mocking the stupidity of his congregations. Solo, however, was horrified, especially since he had developed a romantic attraction to one of the pilgrims, a fellow Corellian named Bria Tharen; he revealed the truth to Tharen and the two of them escaped Ylesia, stealing Teroenza's yacht and his antiquities collection and killing Zavval the Hutt—Aruk's envoy—in the process.
Though it took her years to overcome the addictive effects of Exultation, Tharen was determined to do so, and just as determined to see the Ylesian spice operation shut down for good. Starting in 5 BBY, Bria Tharen, now a commander in the Rebel Alliance, directed several operations against Besadii slave shipments, freeing a number of "pilgrims" and taking them to rehabilitation centers. Then, in 0 BBY, she led a Rebel commando strike—flown in by Han and other smugglers, and financed in part by the Desilijic kajidic, Besadii's bitter rivals—to Ylesia, killing the t'landa Til priests and destroying the entire operation.