few weeks ago Mel, Wyra and I had the opportunity to visit Uldum, more specifically a campsite outside Mar'at which is the main location for a small and growing community, known as the Dunedweller Protectorate. A self-governing community under The Kingdom of Uldum, ruled by King Phaoris of the Ramakhan tribe. Below is extracts from our conversation, for us it was very educational, and I hope you, dear reader, also find it interesting and useful.

Introductions:

H. Lester: Hardhy Lester. Senior Journalist at the Lion's Roar Newspaper. An independent news source for the discerning readers of Azeroth. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Salutations to all three of you, and welcome to Uldum. H. Lester: This is Mel Thorpe and Wyra Intern, colleagues Wyra once introduced herself as “Wyra intern” when she worked for us as an intern, it has stuck as a bit of an internal joke I find hilarious, I might be the only one who thinks its funny introducing her like its her last name, but there it is. W. Guthrie: Wyra Guthrie. Not intern! Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Weh-selem uasharef; Welcome, welcome - I am the Nabiin Ra'shariq; Prophet of the Golden Path, kateb at the court of Ramkahen and one of the local ladies of the Dunedweller Protectorate. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: And I am the Ea'thep Al'Quahara, Seer of the Dunedweller Protectorate and humble politician of the Court of Ramkahen. H. Lester: That was a lot of words I have no idea what meant. Assume we are completely clueless to the local customs, politics, culture and such. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: And hopefully, at the end of the evening, perhaps some of that can elaborated upon. You were brought here by master Nathan'roleious Flamestrike, correct? You'll have to pardon the title-salad, by the by-.. it sort of comes with the vocation and what have you. H. Lester: Yes, more or less. I been looking to make the visit for awhile, it just finally worked out Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Master Flamestrike will be here in not too long, I am certain; In the meantime, we've set out some seating cushions around the fireplace; the Seer has sorted out tea, and I am just about to open an amphora of wine. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Well we are most happy to have you of course. If I am not mistaken, it was on the basis of a curiosity towards the vision had here, and the ways of life we lead within this community? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Come, come, come, have a seat, have a seat. H. Lester: That all sounds great. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Do you all drink wine, or do you prefer tea? Water? W. Gythrie: I wouldn't mind some wine! H. Lester: Tea sounds good, it is local I assume? M. Thorpe: Can I have some water please. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Very much so. I believe the blend tonight would be one of the local favourites, the.. southern red? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: A red tea, indeed; the Ramkahen favor their teas in small cups - strong and rather -sweet- for tea, but it does you wonders, waha. At this point we all took seats on the small cushions around the fireplace, being a somewhat naturally large man, I may have taken two. Tea, water and wine was served and after an exchange of friendly pleasantries we continued with the official interview.

Back and forth:

Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Ah, but I do believe we are still in fact; waiting on good Rabani Flamestrike. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Perhaps, while we wait, could you tell a bit more about the Lions Roar? Just so warm up throats and what have you. H. Lester: Of course. It is a newspaper, mostly based in Stormwind, although we do have an office in Dalaran as well. I admit we mostly publish alliance centric news, but we try not to be biased as such Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Ah, I see. Well that explains why I faintly thought I had heard of that name before. Alas, we do not get that many papers down here that aren't well, local. H. Lester: A lot of people, especially people local to Stormwind tend to forget there is an entire planet outside the city Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Forget even? Such a shame. The world is - while often having lots of dangerous nooks and crannies - still a wonderful place. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: How did you manage to hear about our little undertaking down here? H. Lester: I agree, it it just so easy to get caught up in Stormwind, the city has so much going on trying to keep up with it often means little time to travel Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Well, last time I was there it was a bustling city full of various communities that were.. well, often against each others throats. H. Lester: Oh that has not changed much Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: That being said, not that well -that- does not happen anywhere else of course. Might I be so bold as to ask what got you journalist lot interested in this little slice of would-be-paradise? ..If it weren't always on fire or at the very least, smoldering with embers. H. Lester: I knew a community of sorts existed here, known about it for years really. And we been trying to be a little less.. Stormwind-centric. So it seems like an obvious choice to visit and hear your stories Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: We've plenty of those, my word.. H. Lester: I imagine, but perhaps for the first visit we should focus mostly on the official bits At this point some sort of device belonging to Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara made a sound and the Seer stepped away for a moment to communicate with the Nathan'roleios Flamestrike through a device I can only assume functions like the buzzboxes we use in Stormwind. Whether magic or technology, I cannot say. After a short pause, giving us time to have a taste of the sweet red tea, the Seer returned to us. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Right then! That -would- indeed be Nathan, saying that he is regretably going to miss this little gettogether. H. Lester: I am sure that will be fine It turned out Nathan'roleios Flamestrike made it for the finishing photo, but not much else. Anyway, back to the interview.

The basics:

H. Lester: Are we ready to make it a little more official? or are we waiting on someone still? Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: -Fire away- my good sire. H. Lester: Right, let us try to get something basic established. What is this place? who lives here, who is in charge, why are they in cha.. okay, I'll back up a bit. Tell me about this place. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: I'll just have to specify - "this place" as in, the community, or Uldum in general? Just so I'm not rushing off on an inane tanget right out of the gate. H. Lester: Community I think, Uldum is Uldum I think Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Ah. Waha: Well-... For the most part, the "community" - when people refer to it - is that of the Dunedweller Protectorate. The Protectorate was established two and a half years ago. H. Lester: What is a Protectorate? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: A Protectorate, in this case, is defined as a semi-autonomous "region" - in this case a very small region culminating in a few spots in Uldum, this camp included, and a bit of land surrounding it, that are essentially allowed to govern themselves to a certain extent - but still answer, ultimately to the Crown. The Crown is, of course, here defined as the Kingdom of Ramkahen, under the steady protection of his royal majesty, King Phaoris. H. Lester: So the King has allowed a group of people to rule a bit of his land? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Not, -rule-, per say, but administrate. At any time, the law of the King can supersede us. H. Lester: Kings don't generally tend to give up control, what is in it for him? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Ah, and that is where the crucial part comes in; See, when the magical veil that obscured Uldum fell, the culture of the Tol'vir was shocked to its very core - for thousands of years, they were under the impression that they were, essentially, alone in the world. In one fel swoop, almost quite literally - on account of Deathwing the Destroyer arriving - that perception completely shattered. They were, for a lack of a better term, simply unprepared. And for a long few years, they suffered as a result - already Deathwings arrival spurred on a catastrophic civil war, and they saw no other choice than to ask for help from these strange new outsiders. And.. well, it worked, but only to an extent. For while they did welcome newcomers, a great many problems emerged in the wake of this - grave robbery; sudden exposure to foreign new magical abilities and strange races. For example, slavers managed to move in - already back then, the Ramkahen were stretched thin, their people hurt by the great tribes' war. Then, about three years ago - half a year before the formal manifestation of the Protectorate, three people asked audience at the Ramkahen court. Master Saellen Runecrow of the Kirin Tor; Master Siavash Windfarer, a very popular festival consierge, you may have known about him..? H. Lester: Yes. Hard not to. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: ...and finally, myself; we came with a proposition - in return for allowing us to establish this Protectorate, the people we brought - including many refugees from the recent great faction war breaking out - would put our skills and abilities at the disposal of crown and country. We would help the Ramkahen understand outsiders - provide advice at the Court and put a bit of order to the formerly rather chaotic conditions surrounding outsiders. We'd also put ourselves at disposal as part of the defense of Uldum and its borders, including the great many Titan installations currently here. H. Lester: Makes sense then, and since then, a lot more people than the original three I assume? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Mwahaa, yes, more came. Many more. At our very peak, we had about three hundred refugees from the two largest factions; with about a dozen or so part of what we unofficially call "the garrison"; the sort of people who, if need be, could grab to arms and bring special abilities to bear.

Politics:

W. Gythrie: Um -- I was wondering... how are, uh, relations between you and Ramkahen now...? I mean -- are you... have they come to think of you as part of them...? Part of the, uh... kingdom, I guess? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: So, that's.. the short answer is "yes". With -all- the -expectations- to come with that. I can assure you, ms. Guthrie, we must earn our keep -every- day. W. Gythrie: But, so... Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: But while there have been altercations, and there are understandable parts of the Court who are... skeptical towards us, well. results are had to deny. W. Gythrie: If you're in trouble, say, from something that doesn't really affect Ramkahen, maybe something within or... well, anything, really... they'd defend you wholeheartedly? Or help you? As though it's their own being attacked? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Roughly spoken: If, for example, someone here in camp decides to cause a fuzz, or perhaps injure someone else in this camp, it is expected of us to deal with that ourselves, preferably. We can, in some very egregious cases, call for their help, but it's...well, we encourage and are encouraged to deal with this ourselves. W. Gythrie: I get it, I think. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: But, if we are attacked by an outside force, or an enemy of the Crown, the idea is that we earn their protection as well. But, really, we are oftenmost those deployed to sort out such threats. We are really an irregular fighting force as much as anything. W. Gythrie: Do you hope to become an integral part of the kingdom, eventually...? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: We have that aspiration, the Seer and I. I mean, there are already some of us who are full-fledged citizens of the Kingdom. W. Gythrie: That's great, then! You clearly care about the kingdom a great deal. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: There is.. it is a passion. A deep one. In some fashion. You see, for as much as I speak about the legal angle, really-.. the Protectorate, and Uldum, is to many their only home. The last great faction war saw many ousted and ostracized by the two factions. Shunned, for having the wrong views, or refusing to fight in the wars... to them, the Protectorate was their last hope. So, we protect Uldum just as much because we are protecting that home for people; that last chance. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: The view of 'neutrality' was.. alas a horribly prejudiced one at the time. And exiles happened daily to a point where.. well, where the Song and the Protectorate became a beacon of hope to those people. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Everything you do in life ought to be done with passion. For without it? It is doomed to fail. W. Gythrie: I totally agree! Life without passion is no life at all. I can see where the passion comes from. And why it's necessary to begin with!

Power and control:

H. Lester: Let us move on a bit, who is in charge? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: As it is a family, it's not always easy to point at one person and say they are definitely in charge - a lot of decisions are mostly communal, but.. H. Lester: That is usually what people in charge say.. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: There is a group of people who liasson directly between the Ramkahen Court and the Protectorate; That would be the Seer at my side, myself, master Flamestrike who you've spoken to, and Sister Marisk Martenson. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: There are no actual -official- leaders... But there are leadership -figures-.. People that the majority turn towards in times of need. The four spoken by my Juqhira so, for example. But no on-paper titles that marks either of us as such, bar our connection to the Court. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Things on that front might change in not too long, depending-.. W. Gythrie: I can't imagine people don't look to you as the unequivocal leaders, though! You have that sort of... leadership-y vibe... I mean, if I lived here, I'd totally view you that way. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: The Seer is one of the people who have been here the longest of all of us, even before the establishment of the Protectorate; I am the last of the Founders having a permanent station.. H. Lester: Mhm, I can see that is a bit of a sensitive topic, so we can move on, this is more meant as a primer to the community, and less as a deep delving investigative journalism.. at least on this visit

Day to day in the protectorate:

H. Lester: You grow your own food? trade? how is the every day life for people living here? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Juqhira, help me on this one - I've been blabbering so far; take the charge on this one. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Ah, right of course. Well the Protectorate is in fact in the possession of a few plots of land as my Juqhira noted earlier. Some of those lands are very much arable land; farmland. Down to the south of the Dam for the most part. This place is overseen by master Tavari Dawnwalker, and has a few of our own members, one of which would be Rabani Kraanos. And of course several Tol'vir who also works there. Furthermore the Protectorate often aid in the farmlands of the Akhenet Fields; good hospitality and all that of course. We grow -plenty- of crops, and raise livestock. Granted, there has recently been a very looming famine, one we are still dealing with thanks to the Old God invasion. H. Lester: Mm an Old God does tend to throw a wrench in the machinery Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Recently, the Protectorate called upon its allies to aid in the gathering and distribution of resources; especially -foodstuffs- to the areas most severely hit. And.. if I am not mistaken.. also grew crops from a personal farm from.. Dawnwalker.. I believe. In Pandaria. Now as for -trade-.. There are a number of craftsmen and women here. Hunters and what have you. However, most of these trades are done per person, and less so from the entire community.But I dare say that our economical relationship with the Tol'vir is still thriving. H. Lester: Ah. I assumed the Uldum Nights was a community effort and that profits from the visitors was invested back into the community? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Actually, nnno-.. Now, Uldum Nights is an opportunity for all involved; it brings trade to the region - but rabani Windfarer is entirely independant. -However-: He still gives great monetary gifts to maintain the Protectorate. He does so out of free will. The people who help him are normally simply friends - and perhaps a singular ambitious Pandaren who likes to ensure her allies and compatriots feel they are given a helping hand. Politics are politics. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Mm..indeed. H. Lester: Politics are politics, that seems like a bit of a contradiction to a commune where everyone is somewhat equal? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: It's a bit more complicated than that: First and foremost, rabani Siavash Windfarer is no longer part of the Protectorate. He gives financial gifts, and we are of course good friends - but he does his own thing.

Looking to join?:

H. Lester: I see. So how does one become part of this community? should one wish to do so? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: It's a gradual process, really; we're.. irregular; really, one is free to come and go as they please - those who simply decide to settle can consider themselves part of us, or not. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Well.. the only thing easier to do would be breathing. It is.. virtually going "I want in" Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: See it like this.. the day you decide to pitch up a tent, and the day you say: 'Where can I help?' H. Lester: And there is free land to settle on? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: The greenery extending behind these tents are under our purview, where one can pitch ones own. W. Gythrie: If someone joins you and it turns out they're... incompatible with the community and its way of living... what happens then? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: if they adhere to the law of the land, we have little right to tell them to bugger off, if that's what you're hinting at. W. Gythrie: Well, I mean... someone can follow the law and still be a bad fit, can't they? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Waha; and normally that merely means they are not exactly invited towards certain opportunities or calls to action. That is often more than enough. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: We can -encourage- certain changes in how they act. And of course, people in the community can decide that they want nothing to do with the individual. But we -cannot- tell them to just leave. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: The fact is that most people who decide to cause trouble often do so where they're just as trouble-some in the eyes of the Ramkahen as they are in ours. So, ultimately, it ah.. sorts itself out. T'is not a perfect arrangement, but, well, it's worked for a couple of years, soeh..

No longer in Westfall:

H. Lester: What is the 3 most strange cultural behaviours a newcomer might be faced with? Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Mm.. Right, well, let's take the biggest one; Newcomers are faced with a BUNCH of new races they're not likely to have either met, or at the very least, seen a lot of. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: As a second, I feel, the thing that surprises folks the most is-.. well, exactly how open we are, even towards vocations. Often, many other places, cultures will be adverse to a particular kind of power or another - we here represent a philosophy where you are given a chance; even if your origin is... very unusual. This falls in line with the Ramkahen; when Deathwing arrived, they were willing to take help from all sorts of folks, even if these were of a.. controversial nature. And, well, the nation lives. That's not to say we're not -careful-, on the contrary. We understand exactly the dangers of some vocations over others, and one will often come to realise that while we are willing to give chances, that shouldn't be taken lightly. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Right, right.. and a -third-? Heavens above, perhaps a less serious note but one that seems to surprise a lot of folks who come down here; the changing climate and its effects on the populace. Unbearingly hot in the mid-day.. so cold you are likely to freeze to death at night in the Dunes. In the day, that means you're going to be seeing a lot of ahumn-.. -skin-.

The local jargon:

H. Lester: So neither of you think the fact that entire conversations can be carried on without people understanding a word, is something to mention? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: That would have been a fourth; As much as this seems to be shocking, the three others are what we-.. "struggle" with the most. I must assume you are referring to our local little argot? Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Ah my good sire. It is alas something that is so heavily engraved in our minds we rarely notice when we -do- speak in the local argot. But no, they cannot be carried out entirely in the argot. Well.. of course there's the language of the Tol'vir, but that would be another. H. Lester: Perhaps not entirely, but if you use enough words a stranger does not understand, the meaning of the sentence gets lost just the same. I would have thought that to be a bigger issues than people wearing less clothes. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: However, in the presence of newcomers, and when we speak to these newcomers. We do our best to try to speak in the common tongue. And if we do speak in the argot; we tend to 'add' on their meaning quickly after. Of course.. these conversations are natural amongst those who live here, thusly well.. Little thought is given when t'is a friend to friend conversation. M. Thorpe: May I ask.. You have referred to each other a number of times as your err.. Ju-kira..? Sorry.. I don't think I am saying that right. Anyway what does this word mean? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: "Juqhira"; Sister, in this case. Used both for actual blood sisters and sisters in spirit. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: A good attempt miss! Juqhira, it is a phrase or word used to describe a sister, or equal. Either by blood or.. well, as you'd describe a close friend, or one from a sisterhood. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: ..Exactly. M. Thorpe: Oh I see.. Thank you... Ju-qhira.. Yes? Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Perfect. H. Lester: So is that words used by the protectorate? or Uldum in general? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Oh, the word is used only by the Protectorate, some of our allies and guests who've adopted it. Some people occasionally think that we are in fact speaking Tol'vir, but, no-.. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: And a few others who have lived here for long who are not a part of the Protectorate. And so-.. waha, that. Pardon.. 'Waha' means 'yes'." M. Thorpe: I was just about to ask that. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: As you see; the pesky little words have a tendency to slip out. H. Lester: I'm confused. So if it is not based on local culture, how did it come to be? Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: Ah well.. would you care to shed some light on this Juqhira? Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: That is a whole story in and of itself, but I shall be brief; The original "Tongue of Suns", or "San'shami" was actually a -thieves cant-. In time, however, as the Protectorate arrived, we essentially have embraced it as a means to communicate a certain culture. The biggest cultural value there lies in it is that one, by the use of it, often declares - without necessary declaring allegiances - that you're a bit more open to people in general. Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: It has a beautiful way of bringing people together. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Remember; one could, in the bad old days, risk their lives if they spoke too broadly about a more neutral position between the two great factions. While this is no longer the case, there is that cultural importance in the argot. Bear in mind: There are people down here who are part of the Protectorate who do don't use it. There's no demand. I am the custodian of the original texts of the argot.

Saying our goodbyes:

Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: You mentioned potential further visits; I dare say we shall be happy to expect you again another time. Prophet Nabiin Ra'shariq: Waha, very well then! I could imagine there's enough to chew on - though, really, in some ways one has only scratched the surface, buuuuut, waha, if there's time and interest.. H. Lester: Aye, experience tells me I have to limit the length of articles or our readers drift off, so Id rather come back another time and talk more than to have one very long article Seer Ea'thep Al'Quahara: As my Juqhira said; this is merely the beginning. The very surface of it all. And with that we took our leave, back to Stormwind, less sand, less special words, but also less hospitality. Give the camp a visit if you are ever in the area. Just be respectful of the local customs.