The former city of 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.
The area of Ullek is often called the Ruins of Ullek, particularly the plateau with the cliffs and buttes. The swamp area is often called the Swamps of Ullek. Under the plateau is a dungeon, which the High Priest of Scabaras refers to as the Scabarites' hive, and the tomb of Catolax.
Much of the area is not accessible until the player has done at least part of the Dealing with Scabaras quest. During and after the quest, various monsters inhabit the plateau, the dungeon, and the swamp.
The Ullek area in the south-eastern region of the Kharidian Desert. The approaches to the Ullek area plus Ullek plateau and the coastal area east of the swamp suffer from desert heat, so players are advised to bring water sources.
The area can be entered by travelling east from Sophanem and entering the swamp. The plateau can be reached by climbing up from the swamp, with the player first coming to an archaeologists' camp and then the monster-infested areas.
A shortcut allows access between the plateau and the Agility Pyramid area. However, the shortcut must first be set up, from the plateau, before it can be used. To do so, the player uses a rope on an overhanging rock at the westernmost part of the plateau just west of the archaeologists. The rope will permanently remain there as the shortcut. The shortcut requires 25 agility.
- Examine rock: Maybe it would be handy to attach a rope here.
- Use rope on rock: You tie the rope to the overhanging rock.
- Examine rope: A rope tied to a rock.
It is recommended that the player bring a rope and set up the shortcut while doing Dealing with Scabaras, to save time later. Players should be aware that aggressive mummies infest the area around the shortcut on the plateau and should take precautions.
When entering the Ullek area players should be cautious as all monsters in the Ullek area except the dried zombies are aggressive. In the swamp, the crocodiles can swim through the numerous lakes in the swamp to attack the player. Clumps of reeds block progress through the swamp; the player must click on the reeds to pass through them, which takes a short amount of time. Parts of the swamp are inaccessible, being blocked off by impassable vegetation, and, in the north-west, also by broken and vandalised pillars, which are believed to be part of the ruins of Ullek.
North-east of the swamp is a coastal region with several Scabarites there. They can attack with melee and ranged but not magic. A few will sometimes enter the edges of the swamp, so that the player can be attacked by crocodiles and Scabarites at the same time. The rangers will also shoot into the swamp but cannot fire over the vegetation, so there are several places along the edge of the swamp near the Scabarites that are safe from ranged attacks. The Scabarites here will become unaggressive after a while but will later become aggressive again and will continue to cycle between the two states over time. Some players assigned Scabarites as a Slayer task come here.
A fallen pillar blocks access between the swamp and rock stairs to the plateau; the player must click on the pillar to climb over it, which takes a short amount of time.
The archaeologists' camp is on the plateau near the top of the rock stairs. A spring issuing from a nearby cliff can be used to refill Waterskins. The archaeologists play a role in the Dealing with Scabaras quest and with the Scabarites Notes miniquest after the main quest.
The mummies can be found west of the archaeologists' camp. A low wall separates them from the rest of the plateau; the player must click on the wall to climb over it, which takes a short amount of time. The area of mummies is single-combat area. The shortcut between the plateau and the Agility Pyramid can be built and used here, as described above. After a while, the mummies become unaggressive and usually do not later become aggressive again. Occasionally, but unpredictably, they do become aggressive again. While there are only four mummies in this area, they respawn very quickly, in only a few seconds.
There is a Safe spot in the mummies' area. The player should stand in the mummies' area near the low wall and attack the mummies. The mummies will retreat from the player, toward the shortcut rock. While the mummies are aggressive, protection prayers can be used when getting the drops. Once the mummies become unaggressive, the player can get the drops without the mummies becoming aggressive. Occasionally, a mummy when attacked will retreat down a defile rather than to the shortcut rock. Players should watch for this and make sure their characters do not run up to the mummy to continue to attack it, as this puts them within range of its attack. This can occur whether or not Auto Retaliate is on.
Dried zombies are found north and then east of the archaeologists' camp. They are the only non-aggressive monsters in the Ullek area.
High-level Skeletons infest the region due north of the archaeologists' camp. This region has the entrance to the Tomb of Catolax, which features in the Smoking Kills quest, and the Scabarite Hive dungeon, which features in Dealing with Scabaras. Both can be entered after their quests, but the tomb has little or nothing of interest then.
Some players enter the dungeon after the quest to slay Scabarites there, although many players regard the coastal region next to the swamp and the Sophanem Dungeon as safer places for this activity. The dungeon can be extremely dangerous, as it has agility-based traps that cause damage; some can also cause Disease while the others inflict poison. Some traps can be avoided entirely, although this requires the player to enter large chambers full of aggressive Scabarites, which can attack with melee, ranged, and magic. The two chests in the dungeon contain Scabarites notes. It is recommended that players get the notes from chests during the quest, if they have the health and the interest to do the Scabarites Notes miniquest, to avoid having to pass through the dungeon later to get the notes.
History of Ullek
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 pharaoh 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 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, Pharaoh 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.
Some of these people were Menaphites, people that have 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 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' 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' 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 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.
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.
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.
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 Pollnivneach during the Third Age.
After Fate of the Gods, an Elder chronicle may be found in the archaeologists' camp atop Ullek. Since the chronicles are linked to the resting places of the Elder gods, and the memory on Ullek is Jas' memory, it is assumed that Jas is either sleeping under or is Ullek. During Heart of Stone the player visits an area west of Ullek.
- Lead archaeologist Abigail at the archaeologists' camp on the plateau
- Assistant archaeologist Kerner at the archaeologists' camp on the plateau
- High Priest of Scabaras in the dungeon
- The ghost of Catolax in the tomb (players wishing to talk to him should bring a Ghostspeak amulet)
- Level 94 Dried zombies on the plateau
- Level 74 Mummies on the plateau
- Level 70 Skeletons on the plateau
- Many types of Scabarites in the eastern swamp and in the dungeon
- 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.
- The area of Ullek can be seen as reminiscent of the Mesopotamian Marshes, where the Marsh Arabs live. It is a place surrounded by a desert, while it is itself a wet swamp or marshland.
- Ullek's name may be inspired by or a reference to the ancient Mesopotamian city Uruk.
- Dealing with Scabaras
- God Wars
- Scabaras research
- Scabarite Hive dungeon
- Scabarites Notes
- Smoking Kills
- Tomb of Catolax
|Part 7 of the Desert quest series|
|Miscellaneous||Quick guide • Transcript|
|Part 6 of the Desert quest series|
|Miscellaneous||Quick guide • Transcript|