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Location on World map
Agility Pyramid
Sophanem Ullek Harmony Island
Southern Sea

Ullek was once amongst the most ancient and prosperous cities in Gielinor. It occupied the area that is now cliffs, buttes and swamps in the eastern Kharidian Desert during the Second Age. It fell during the cataclysmic God Wars, leaving few remains.

Contents

Ullek Before the Wars

The South-eastern Kharidian Desert was much more wooded in the Second Age, in stark contrast to its arid climate today. The economic, environmental, and architectural benefits of this attracted many settlers, who ultimately founded the city of Ullek. Unfortunately, reliable information on the early days of Ullek is very rare.

During its glory days, Ullek was the most prosperous of all the desert cities, surpassing even Uzer in power. Evidently the two cities were closely connected, and shared the same pharoah along with smaller cities such as Sophanem and parts of the Bedabin wildlands. As one of the few prominent settlements in the region, it faced little opposition, safe from the bandits and caravans of slavers that roamed the desert even in ancient times. All documents suggest that Ullek was amongst the greatest cities of men at the time, and escaped the influence of Zaros that covered modern-day Misthalin, Asgarnia, northern Morytania, and the Wilderness. Its close proximity to both the Southern and Eastern Seas allowed for trade with most of Gielinor's major civilisations, including the Hallowland, the Eastern Lands, the islands of the Southern and Eastern seas, and, prior to Zaros's arrival, the human tribes and Myriad of the central mainland.

In the Second Age, prior to the arrival of the Icyene, Zaros launched an attack on Ullek from the Hallowland as part of an early effort to expand his power in Gielinor. The military forces of Ullek and Uzer managed to fend off this attack with relative ease, in no small part due to the assistance of the Mahjarrat loyal to Icthlarin. Zaros would evidently not launch a significant second attack against Ullek in the future, even after the Mahjarrat left the Kharidian Desert and joined his forces.

Some time after the war with Zaros, Pharoah Queen Senliten ruled Ullek and the rest of the Menaphite nation. Senliten's rule was a period of marked prosperity, and also saw the establishment of the Uzer Mastaba, the first pyramid in Gielinor.

Despite its prosperity, some texts describe Ullek as wasteful and overindulgent. Indeed, despite their worship of the Desert Pantheon, it seems Tumeken held a certain dislike for the city, which indirectly led to his creation of Crondis. An excerpt from a book describing Tumeken's Dream describes Ullek during its peak:

On the third day of his dream, Tumeken chose to travel to the east of the desert, where there was a great swampland, which bordered an even greater city known as Ullek. There, Tumeken hoped to see his followers at their most devout, it being the largest of all desert settlements.

The citizens of Ullek celebrated his arrival and put in motion a feast in his honour, despite his protestations. They sent out many axe men to gather wood for their fires and many hunters to slay beasts for the meal. Water and wine came in voluminous earthenware containers; fruits piled up as tall as people. Tumeken's eyes were opened to the wastefulness of it all. Fires piled tens of times higher than a more simple meal would require; fat men reclined in chairs, cramming their spittle-flecked mouths with yet more fodder.

 
Tumeken's Dream, As Translated by Reldo of Varrock

Some of these people were Menaphites, a people that had already lived in the desert for hundreds of years. Ullek also had close contact with Uzer, which brought in a steady supply of clay, including clay golems which served as warriors and guards. Ullek also was notorious for its harsh punishments. One document suggests that, when the quota for wood was not fulfilled, all of the woodsmen involved would be severely flogged. Towards the end of the city's life, wood seems to have become increasingly difficult to find. Whether this is due to climate change or the city's extensive deforestation is unclear.

The sea has taken much of the area where Ullek once stood, leaving the once wooded area a dangerous swamp.

The trees that covered the coast and the game that inhabited it became very important to the people of the city. Documents suggest that many of Ullek's people were carpenters, woodsmen, and blacksmiths. The city's supply of wood was amongst its most important assets, without which much of the city could not function. However, stone was also a key part of Ullek's development; granite and sandstone were two of the region's most significant resources. Apart from for trade, these were used to construct pillars and archways that still dot the South-eastern desert. Using these materials, the people of Ullek were capable of constructing extremely advanced locking and defensive devices, as is evident in the city's tombs and caverns.

The city itself was very large, extending along much of the South-eastern coast and into the large cliffs that had been weathered by the tides. The cliffs were very important and may have served as a form of defence against the rogues and aggressive nomads that wandered the area.

It is possible, but not confirmed, that Ullek's people built Jaleustrophos, the Agility Pyramid found nearby.


The God Wars and the Fall of Ullek

Following Zaros's fall from power and the start of the God Wars, the Kharidian Desert became the site of many battles, largely due to the banishment of Zaros's followers and the conflicts between Zamorak and Saradomin. This became most intense during the Kharidian Desert Campaign of 3000-4000, which saw numerous factions fighting for control of the region. These included not only Zamorakians, Zarosians, and Saradominsts, but also the forces of the mostly independent Lord Drakan, who sought to extend his control over Morytania from the Hallowland. The northern desert was hit particularly hard, the city of Uzer being destroyed at the hands of the Elder-Demon Thammaron. Ullek was soon assaulted by the 3-faced demon Balfrug Kreeyath, a future bodyguard of K'ril Tsutsaroth. Civilisation was effectively forced into the more remote, southern reaches of the desert, as war tore most of the world apart. Ullek, despite its distant location in relation to the centre of battle, quickly fell, the Clay Golems and soldiers that defended it easily defeated.

The refugees that escaped the battle hid in the extensive tunnel network beneath the city, which had long served as a storage area. However, once within the tunnels, the refugees were unable to return to the surface, where war made survival nearly impossible. The conditions in the tunnel were miserable, and many fell to disease and starvation. The timber supply quickly ran out, and the dried camel dung that was to serve as backup fuel had become wet and infested with some type of maggot. This left the tunnels without ventilation or light. Eventually, the refugees found an exit that bypassed the conflicts on the surface, allowing them to leave the tunnels.

Ullek's tombs were famous for their advanced locking and trap mechanisms.

Eventually the few survivors that escaped the tunnels travelled to the Menaphite settlement of Sophanem, which was a small village at the time. Here, accepted by the Menaphites, they contributed greatly to the city's construction. Menaphos, the desert's current capital city, was founded soon after the fall of Ullek, and the refugees likely contributed their architectural knowledge to its design. Trade with the unexplored lands to the south likely increased heavily during this time, as most of the mainland and Eastern Sea had been razed by the God Wars and the region lacked many basic living necessities. Eventually, the survivors of Ullek were absorbed into Menaphite society, effectively ending the city's legacy. Their culture, though, probably still survives somewhat in the culture of the Menaphites.

Ullek Today

The remains of Ullek are very few. Pillars and columns designed by the masons of the city can still be found in small numbers throughout the South-eastern swamp, but they have been eroded to the point where they tell little of their culture. A number of doors have been discovered hidden in the cliffs, leading to the city's former storage chambers and tombs. The tombs are particularly well-guarded, protected by complicated locking mechanisms that few now can open.

The Varrock Museum has recently taken an interest in Ullek, and has sent a large number of archaeologists to the area; although they have not been fully trained because of the museum's limited funds since their expansion. Robbers such as Simon Templeton have also taken an interest in the ruins, although most of the city's treasure is long gone and the undead remaining from Balfrug's assault are very aggressive. This, coupled with the dangerous wildlife and climate of the desert, has allowed for few findings regarding Ullek.

The High Priest of Scabaras's chambers, found in the caverns of Ullek.
Few of Ullek's remains can still be found today, although scattered stonework still dots the swamps of the South-eastern Kharidian Desert.

Recently a large congregation of insect-like Scabarites discovered Ullek's tunnel system. The religion of Scabaras states that to obtain enlightenment, one should completely isolate themselves from the outside world. Realising the value of the now-abandoned tunnels and swamp, the Scabarites have begun worshipping in the area. To ensure their minds are not polluted by contact with outsiders, they have sealed most of the tunnels' entrance points, and positioned guards in the surrounding area. They have also discovered large strains of locust and scarab, which they are using as beasts of war. This has made studies in the area extremely dangerous.

Amascut, The Devourer, recently discovered the Scabarites and convinced their high priest through visions that to obtain ultimate solitude, all other life must be destroyed. The Scabarites found that Ullek's cave system was distantly connected to Sophanem Dungeon, which they used to launch an assault on Sophanem. During the Dealing with Scabaras quest, players manage to rescue the High Priest from Amascut's control, saving Sophanem from the corrupt Scabarites. Some, however, continue to follow Amascut, seeing her teachings as superior.

During the Smoking Kills quest, players venture into the sealed tombs of Ullek, where most of the dead's tombs have been robbed by thieves and treasure hunters over the years. Its guards continue to protect the bodies of the city's dead, living on as spirits who protect the tombs at all costs. Amascut sends the player into the tombs during the quest, where they must seek out the spirit of Catolax, a former Slayer Master from Ullek that died in the Desert Slayer Dungeon caves beneath modern-day Polnivneach during the Third Age.

More information can be found during the Dealing with Scabaras, Contact!, and Smoking Kills quests.

Trivia

  • Ullek's name was first given long before anything was known about it. In the God Wars Dungeon, Balfrug Kreeyath's examine information is "The despoiler of Ullek." When the Dungeon was made, it was unknown whether Ullek was a city or individual.
  • The geology of the cliffs and buttes north of the swamp area in Ullek bear a strong resemblance to the buttes of Monument valley in Utah and Arizona, and may have been inspired by this region.

See also

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This article uses material from the "Ullek" article on the Runescape wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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