Kharidian Desert

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The Kharidian Desert is an expansive region located south of the nations of Misthalin and Morytania. The desert becomes a dangerous region south of the Shantay Pass, requiring a player to drink from waterskins or other sources of water to avoid dehydration unless Crocodile Tears has been completed. Failing to drink will cause the player to lose life points.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The Kharidian Desert is a vast land found south of the wooded kingdom of Misthalin and Morytania. The desert is the home to some of the oldest civilisations in Gielinor, ranging from the Menaphites that built the cities of Ullek and Uzer to the bandits that are all that remain of the followers of Zaros. As a result, it is amongst the most history-rich and treasure-filled areas in the world. It is this that has attracted so many archaeologists and explorers to the area, but not without consequence.

The most modern settlement in the desert is Al Kharid, having been built in around 1950 in the Fourth age by settlers crossing the River Lum in Misthalin. East of Al Kharid is the even newer Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede, which was founded around 99 of the Fifth Age by Saradominist nuns.

Most of the peoples of the desert are worshippers of Tumeken and the Desert Pantheon, although in recent times the population has started to abandon the old Gods and begin worshipping other entities. This is demonstrated in the greedy, mercantile spirit of Pollnivneach and the destruction of the statue of Elidinis in Nardah. The plagues in Sophanem have been blamed on this, as well as incorrect burial practices.

The Kharidian Desert is largely open land, seemingly untouched since the God Wars. Here the scorching desert winds blast the sand, turning the dunes into a sea. The blazing sun watches tirelessly from the sky, slowly draining the life of all that walks beneath it. The vultures circle overhead, eating the corpses of those that the desert bested, and packs of starving wolves search endlessly for prey, their hunger never sated. Many have entered the desert, never to return.

Indeed, the Kharidian Desert has earned its reputation as dangerous, merciless, and unyielding. Yet even here civilisation has emerged, and great rewards await those with the courage and ability to travel into its wastes!

History[edit | edit source]

First and Second Age[edit | edit source]

The Kharidian Desert has the oldest known human civilisation from the midpoint of the Second Age or even earlier, descending even from the time when the human first came to Gielinor.[source needed]

When the god Guthix shaped the realm of Gielinor, he also shaped the area which is now known as the Kharidian Desert at the south. At least the Eastern Kharidian was heavily wooded and rich in resources back then. Although Guthix brought many races to Gielinor, Kharidian was uninhabited and unnamed until the Second Age.[source needed]

Years later, many other gods entered Gielinor. One of these gods was Tumeken, God of the Sun. Many human tribes chose their own god to follow. Those who joined Tumeken later became known as the Menaphites.

The former temple of Amascut, after it was destroyed.

Somewhere around the beginning of the Second Age, Tumeken blessed the southern lands with his deity, called it Kharidian, and brought his followers into the area to live on. The small menaphite tribe later grew into an enormous kingdom ruled by a pharaoh king or queen. The kingdom contained enormous cities. The biggest of them were Uzer and Ullek. Sophanem also originates from that age, but was only small Menaphite camp at the time.

Tumeken later married Elidinis, goddess of fertility and growth, and they shared their rule over the Kharidian Lands. They later got two children, Icthlarin, god of the dead, and Amascut, goddess of rebirth.

But the menaphite kingdom was not the only kingdom of the world. Other kingdoms and civilisations existed north of the Desert. The biggest of them all was a kingdom ruled by the god Zaros and lay straight north of the Kharidian Lands. When Zaros wanted to expand his kingdom, he sent his armies south into the Kharidian Lands in an attempt to conquer it. The Menaphites fought back, but Zaros' armies were far stronger than those of Kharidian Lands, and the Menaphites were likely to lose the Kharidian-Zarosian War.

Icthlarin saved Kharidian from his doom when he brought the Mahjarrat from Freneskae into Gielinor. The Mahjarrat were an extremely powerful and destructive race, and with the aid of these Mahjarrat, the menaphites were easily able to defeat Zaros' forces and drive them back to the north.

Unexpected things happened after the war with Zaros. Amascut, seeing the death and destruction the Mahjarrat caused, was driven insane and became obsessed with destruction. This caused Icthlarin and Amascut to become each other's worst enemy. Tumeken became tired of the hassle between his children and decided to sleep. He chose Icthlarin to rule the kingdom instead of him, and fell asleep. During the sleep of Tumeken, he had a dream where he created other gods: Apmeken, Crondis, Het, Scabaras, and possibly even more. They all formed the Desert pantheon and were worshipped by the entire Kharidian civilisation.

Zaros, after witnessing the Mahjarrat in battle, realized that they were also Children of Mah; in one sense, they were his younger siblings. One devious Mahjarrat, called Sliske, grew tired of working for Ichlarin. He convinced the majority of the other Mahjarrat to meet with Zaros at the fortress Kharid-Et, located approximately where Al-Kharid stands today. There, the Mahjarrat agreed to change their allegiance to Zaros. Following this, Zaros launched a second invasion of the Kharidian Lands. As the Menaphite army stood no chance against the now-bolstered Zarosian army, Tumeken sacrificed himself to save the Menaphites, creating a huge explosion that inflicted heavy casualties on both sides.[1] The Mahjarrat would all have perished had it not been for Azzanadra, who managed to erect a shield just in time, enough to save 1/5th of the race.[2] Zaros, realizing that he couldn't unite all of Gielinor under his banner by force, gave up on conquering the Kharidian Lands. Although Tumeken's sacrifice spared his people from Zarosian rule, it came with a huge cost; most of the green and fertile Kharidian Lands had turned into a warm and deadly desert wasteland.[3]

At the end of the Second Age, many Mahjarrat and Avernic demons became disillusioned with Zaros's rule. One Mahjarrat in particular, the Legatus Maximus Zamorak, saw that the Zarosian Empire had stagnated under the strict and orderly structure that Zaros had created. Believing that mortals should be free and that chaos spurred individual growth, which in turn would create progress, Zamorak planned an assault on Zaros with his most trusted associates. After finding the Stone of Jas, as well as acquiring the Staff of Armadyl, he was ready. He entered the throne room of Zaros along with Viggora, Zemouregal, Hazeel, Drakan, and Thammaron and challenged him. As his own henchmen dealt with the guards in the throne room, Zamorak leaped toward Zaros with the Staff. Zaros simply transported Zamorak into the latter's mind. Although Zaros believed he had won, Zamorak discerned the nature of the Staff and used it to his advantage; by stabbing Zaros with it inside his mind, he would also do it in the 'real world'. Thus, Zaros was impaled with it, and Zamorak absorbed much of his divine power, becoming a god himself. Zaros, despite being very weakened and now incorporeal, managed to flee to his home-plane of Freneskae. Zamorak was mentally exhausted after the fight, and had previously agreed to free the Avernic demons from Chthonian rule on Infernus. He was transported to the demonic homeworld following the fight, leaving the Stone of Jas and Staff of Armadyl behind on Gielinor. Saradomin and Armadyl used this opportunity to steal the Stone and Staff, respectively. Zamorak and his Avernic demons finally managed to conquer Infernus after 19 years, having killed or exiled the majority of the Chthonians. Zamorak then returned, backed by the entire Avernic army, one so vast that he could conquer Gielinor. He declared war on Saradomin following his return for stealing the Stone of Jas from him. Thus ended the Second Age, and the God Wars began.

Third Age and the God Wars[edit | edit source]

Jaldraocht Pyramid, where Azzanadra was imprisoned.
The enormous Dominion Tower, built in ancient times by an individual known as "The Founder".

Many of Zaros' followers, including some Mahjarrat, switched to Zamorak and destroyed all of Zaros' remaining fortresses and settlements.

The god wars and the death of the Kharidian Lands' current pharaoh queen Senliten caused hard times for the Menaphites. The groups who stayed loyal to Zaros were forced to exile into the Kharidian Desert from the northern regions to escape from Saradominists and Zamorakians and the two groups had to somehow survive each other. Still, throughout most of the Third Age, the desert was relatively free from the God Wars.

A climate change took place in the middle of the Third Age in the eastern part of the lands, turning wooded areas into deserts like the rest of the area had been.

In the last millennium of the Third Age, the first major battles of the God Wars finally reached Kharidian areas. The Kharidian Desert Campaign started when other gods sent their forces into the desert in attempt to conquer the kingdom for themselves. The vampyre overlord Drakan was also involved in this campaign when he was trying to expand his kingdom Morytania into the Desert.

During the god wars the desert was a site of many battles. Where many settlements, most notably Uzer and Ullek, were destroyed by Zamorakian forces. Uzer, a city defended by clay golems, managed to survive throughout most of the god wars. It fell into the hands of Armadylean, Saradominists and Zamorakians, until finally the Zamorakian demon Thammaron managed to destroy the city (at that time held by Saradominists). However, he was mortally wounded and died after making his escape to his dimension. Soon Ullek fell to the hands of Balfrug Kreeyath who later became a bodyguard of K'ril Tsutsaroth. A few survivors managed to escape through a tunnel network into Sophanem.

A lot of the of Zaros' remaining followers were killed or imprisoned in the Kharidian Desert during that time, like the Zarosian Mahjarrat Azzanadra.

However, not all the settlements fell. Menaphos and Sophanem, much smaller than they are now, managed to survive the wars. They accepted the refugees from destroyed cities. Former inhabitants of Ullek, for example, influenced the city greatly, making these twin cities to be some of the oldest surviving human settlements.

One of the cities was even created in the desert during the wars, called Nardah. Saradominist follower Nardarine fled from the wars from the northern settlements but ran out of supplies. Saradomin did not listen to her prayers but Elidinis heard her and brought water to Nardarine. Around that spot, an oasis was created and eventually, Nardah was founded.

The god wars ended when Guthix woke up and set up the Edicts of Guthix. The Desert pantheon was also bound to the Edicts and were, like all other gods of Gielinor, forced to leave Gielinor for eternity, although Amascut and Icthlarin both got permission to stay on Gielinor, still continuing their "hassle".

Fourth Age[edit | edit source]

The God Wars ended and the Fourth Age started, but the Menaphite kingdom was changed into nothing more than an enormous desert, becoming heavily corrupted with almost all of its enormous cities ruined and abandoned. Most Menaphites now reside within the twin cities Sophanem and Menaphos. Many human groups, who no longer had a home, became nomadic tribes travelling around the world to survive, but the Kharidian Desert was one of the few places where many humans lived on permanent settlements, although large parts of the Kharidian Desert were also inhabited by nomadic tribes. Menaphos and Sophanem continued to grow. The human groups quickly recovered and many other settlements were created. New kingdoms were found and new settlements were built in the desert. Like Pollnivneach, Nardah, and most notably Al Kharid, which managed to achieve political independence from the rest of the desert. A very few of Zaros' worshippers still reside in the Bandit Camp today.

Fifth Age[edit | edit source]

The northernmost city of Al Kharid, at war with Menaphos in the Fifth Age.

Not all the trouble was gone though, as Amascut was still active during the current Fifth Age and she has pointed her attention at Sophanem, where her brother Icthlarin still rules. She created a deadly plague which affected all of Sophanem's citizens and animals. To avoid the plague spreading across the rest of the Desert, Sophanem was separated from Menaphos and the citizens of Sophanem were locked up within their own city.

Amascut also took control over the Scabarites, a new race of insect like humanoids who were loyal to the desert god Scabaras. Most scabarites resides now within the ruins of Ullek, and Amascut forced them to attack Sophanem through the ancient tunnel once used by Ullek citizens during the God Wars, making the life in Sophanem even harder.

In year 99 or 100 the Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede was founded by the followers of Saint Elspeth near Al Kharid. In year 169, a brutal murder occurred within the abbey, and an adventurer arrives in time to investigate in the quest, One Piercing Note.

Sixth Age[edit | edit source]

Some of the Tuska debris, fallen in the Bedabin Camp

The body of Tuska crashed just off of the western coast of the Kharidian desert, leaving debris strewn along the shore, and creating a large sandbar south of the crash site.

Regions[edit | edit source]

Kharidian desert is roughly separated into three regions - the Northern, Middle and Southern parts. The River Elid also divides the middle and southern regions into eastern and western parts.

Northern Region[edit | edit source]

Shantay Pass, the entrance to the southern region.

Also called Al Kharid Desert. This place is the safest of the three and also the only part open to non-members. It is politically independent from the southern parts of the desert, with the centre being Al Kharid. The northernmost part of Al Kharid Desert has a mine with a wide variety of rocks. It also has the Duel Arena, Mage Training Arena and ends with the Shantay Pass on the southern edge. The Northern Kharidian Desert is the coolest region (temperature-wise), hence its inhabitants and tourists suffer no desert heat effect. This is also the place once you finish Diamond in the Rough, you can start the Sorceress's Garden minigame.

Middle Region[edit | edit source]

Shantay Pass divides the northern and middle region where players can buy supplies to venture further into the desert. Prior to April 2005 desert updates, anything south of the Shantay Pass was called Shantay Desert by many. The middle region of the desert is more dangerous than the northern one due to many monsters who are aggressive to low-level players. However the most notable danger in this region is the desert heat effect which is absent only in a few settlements. Fortunately, Kharidian Cacti grow in this region, which can be cut with a knife to refill waterskins. Also completion of the quest Crocodile Tears also provides immunity to desert heat. The middle part of this region of desert contains the Kalphite Lair, Desert Mining Camp, Bedabin Camp, ruins of Uzer, Dominion Tower, a hunting area, and on the southern border there lies the Bandit camp and Pollnivneach.

Southern Region[edit | edit source]

River Elid.

The southern region is the Kharidian Desert proper. The transition between the middle and southern regions, especially in the eastern part is smooth. Pollnivneach, the Bandit camp and a mountain range approximately divide the middle and southern regions in the west. In most of the southern region, players may notice slightly darker sand colour and a lack of Kharidian Cacti. This is where extra waterskins or an enchanted water tiara come in handy, especially when being away from settlements for extended periods of time. The monsters in the southern part are also stronger than those found in the middle part. For example, the River Elid is full of level 63 crocodiles. The south-eastern areas near the Ullek ruins and the reed swamp are particularly dangerous places due to the much larger crocodiles and scabarites residing there. The most important landmarks in the southern part include Nardah, the twin cities of Menaphos and Sophanem, several pyramids, a mining quarry and the ruins of Ullek underneath the swamp area.

Survival[edit | edit source]

Inventory: Water and Equipment[edit | edit source]

Main article: Desert heat

Waterskins can be refilled by three methods: using a waterskin on any water-filled item such as a bucket, jug or bowl or any water source such as a sink or a fountain; with a knife in their inventory, players can cut healthy Kharidian Cacti to fill waterskins; or players with access to the Lunar spellbook can cast the humidify spell, completely refilling all Waterskins in the players' inventory. Cutting a cactus will not always give the player water, but if it does the player will also receive 10 Woodcutting experience. Many parts of Kharidian Desert, especially the southern part of the desert, do not have cacti to get water. You can also drink from other sources of water such as water in bowls. You cannot drink from water not labelled on the map as a water source such as the River Elid.

The enchanted water tiara is a quest reward from Dealing with Scabaras which can be used in place of waterskins.

Wearing desert clothing, available from Shantay at the Shantay Pass, will cause the player to drink less frequently. Without desert clothing, a player needs water about every 90 seconds. With a full set of clothes, a player needs water about every 120 seconds. The desert outfit, Menaphite robes, and dervish outfit also provide protection like desert clothing.

If the tome of frost is worn the damage taken from the desert heat will be reduced and time between the hits will also be longer. Wearing both the tome of frost and desert clothing will not reduce the time between the hits, but it does lower the damage taken.

All those methods are rendered redundant upon completing the Crocodile Tears quest, as it rewards permanent immunity against desert heat.

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Although the desert houses many beasts, there are three common creatures that can be found in great numbers and that players should be prepared for. Desert wolves, though only level 27, can be dangerous to lower-lever players. Ugthanki, level 42 desert camels, are aggressive and potentially dangerous, especially if the player is only wearing robes. In addition, along the River Elid the player can encounter level 63 crocodiles which will attack the player if they stray too close to the river. There are also desert strykewyrms, but as they attack the player only if they have been assigned as a slayer task (requires 77 slayer) and only if they are provoked, they are not a danger for the inexperienced.

Cities[edit | edit source]

There are four major cities in the desert. The player does not need to drink water in most cities.

  • Al Kharid: Al Kharid is the only non-member city in the Kharidian Desert, and is located at its northern edge. Several quests can be started here including The Feud, Stolen Hearts, Diamond in the Rough and Shadow of the Storm. In Al Kharid there is a bank, crafting shop, tannery, furnace, platelegs shop, plateskirt shop, scimitar shop, some stalls and a palace. Other notable features are the Al Kharid Mine north of the city and the Duel Arena to the north east. Previously if players wanted to enter from Lumbridge, they would have to pay a toll of 10 coins, however a fee is no longer required to enter Al Kharid. You may also enter Al Kharid by walking through Lumbridge swamps to get to the docks where a boat takes you Daemonheim.
  • Menaphos and Sophanem: Players are granted entrance to Sophanem if they have started the Icthlarin's Little Helper quest. Upon completion of the Contact! quest, a bank and several other features become available for use in Sophanem.
The remains of Ullek, the Kharidian Desert's former capital.
  • Nardah: The city of Nardah is located in the south-eastern-most area of the desert. It is located near the Agility Pyramid. The player may buy a waterskin (full) from Ali for 1,000 coins. The reason of the high price is because the city is under a curse, featured in Spirits of Elid quest, which has dried up the fountain. The city also has a Choc-Ice stand, where the player can buy choc-ice for 30 coins each.
  • Pollnivneach: Pollnivneach is a desert city located on the banks of the River Elid. A substantial amount of the quest The Feud takes place here. The city is divided between the Bandits and the Menaphites. The player can purchase water here from the shop. There is a well, a kebab shop where the player may buy super kebabs and red hot sauce, a tavern, where drinks can be bought, and a camel merchant. The player can fill waterskins from the well by filling a bucket and transferring the water.

Other locations include:

Transportation[edit | edit source]

The main form of transportation in the desert is by Magic carpet. They can take the player to a variety of places in the desert, such as:

A player rides a magic carpet over the desert.
This map shows where magic carpets can go. An orange line indicates a route.

The normal cost of such travel is roughly 200 coins. However, doing the Rogue Trader activity or wearing the activated ring of Charos will decrease the price to 100 coins, and combining them both lowers it to 75 coins.

There are also several fairy rings located in the desert.

Wearing armour of any kind is not advisable, as due to its metallic nature the player will overheat faster and thus use up their supply of water quicker.

Extra Features[edit | edit source]

The Kalphite Queen

Kalphite Queen: The Kalphite lair is located west of the Shantay Pass, surrounded by bones. A rope is required to enter the Kalphite tunnels and another to enter the Queen's chamber. Also, on the first level of the dungeon, there is a tunnel leading to the Dorgesh-Kaan south dungeon.

Kalphite King: The Exiled Kalphite Hive is located south of Azzanadra's Pyramid. The Kalphite there are more powerful than the traditional ones, and so is the "King of the Desert". The Kalphite King is the third-most powerful boss of the game, having a combat level of 2500, he can be killed by only one person but it is extremely hard. He is very rewarding, providing valuable random drops along with the drygore weaponry, which is immensely expensive and some of the most powerful weaponry in the game for players. The Exiled Kalphite Queen also resides there.

"The King of the Desert".

Azzanadra's Pyramid: The final Pyramid from the Desert Treasure quest, this labyrinth is where the player can switch between the normal spellbook and the Ancient Magicks spellbook.

Agility Pyramid: Located just north of Nardah, this Pyramid is one of the more popular methods of training Agility. Players must negotiate each level of the Pyramid to reach the summit, where they can retrieve a golden pyramid exchangeable for 1,000 coins.

Pyramid Plunder: Located in Sophanem, this Thieving activity allows the player to advance based on your Thieving level.

Dust Devils: Dust Devils are level 85 monsters. They require 65 Slayer and a facemask to kill. They are located down a well east of the Bandit camp.

Desert Lizards: These Slayer monsters are located north of Nardah and east of Sophanem. They require level 22 Slayer and an ice cooler to kill.

Goats: These level 10 monsters, and the level 22 billy goats that are found with them, are the only source of the desert goat horns used to make combat potions. They are found near Pollnivneach, Nardah, the Kalphite lair and the Shantay Pass.


Soundtracks unlocked in the region[edit | edit source]

Update history[edit | edit source]

The update history project is a work-in-progress – not all updates to this topic may be covered below. See here for how to help out!
  • patch 24 February 2020 (Update):
    • Various NPCs in the Kharidian Desert have had their name changed from 'Ali' to better reflect the diverse variety of names we see in real life.
  • patch 4 June 2018 (Update):
    • It is now possible to see various NPCs in the area south of the desert when climbing over the fallen pillar to a higher floor.
  • patch 26 February 2018 (Update):
    • All dig locations for the Kharidian desert scan clue are now located east of the River Elid as intended.
  • patch 10 July 2017 (Update):
    • The Kharidian Desert members' information on the non-members world map has been updated to include Menaphos.
  • patch 19 June 2017 (Update):
    • The swamp environment area in the desert has been updated.
    • Blocking has been added to some desert locations near the Bandit Camp.
  • patch 5 June 2017 (Update):
    • The Kharidian desert has been graphically updated.
  • patch 21 November 2016 (Update):
    • The top of a deformed cliff by the brilliant divination colony has been flattened.
    • A number of force-walk tiles in the desert south of the Citharede Abbey have been fixed.
  • patch 13 July 2015 (Update):
    • Missing textures have been added to an area of sand beside Tuska in the desert.
  • ninja 1 June 2015 (Update):
    • The "Dying of thirst" message spam has been reduced while wearing a tome of frost in the desert.
  • patch 25 September 2013 (Update):
    • Another rogue curtain, this time attached to a cactus in the Kharidian desert, has been removed.
    • Several tiles near the Sinclair mansion, and in the Al Kharid desert, no longer force players off them.
  • patch 29 May 2013 (Update):
    • Several desert NPCs jaw lines and skin tones have been fixed.
  • patch 2 April 2013 (Update):
    • Some sections of blocking have been added to the Wanderer's tent in the desert.
  • patch 28 January 2013 (Update):
    • Players can no longer walk on water in the desert.
    • It is no longer possible to walk through the statue of a giant head in the desert.
  • patch 31 January 2012 (Update):
    • Some force-walk areas in the desert have been removed.
  • patch 6 December 2011 (Update):
    • A certain area near a rock wall in the desert no longer teleports the player to the other side of the wall.
  • patch 28 March 2011 (Update):
    • A white tile in the desert has been fixed.
  • patch 11 January 2010 (Update):
    • Increased the range of ambient sound effects in the southern desert area.
  • patch 3 December 2009 (Update):
    • Fixed a river section in the desert.
    • Adjusted some height mapping in the desert.
  • patch 9 November 2009 (Update):
    • Free players are now given a bit of text when trying to enter the desert.
  • patch 13 October 2009 (Update):
    • Added a missing travel icon in the desert.
  • patch 16 June 2009 (Update):
    • Added a new song, "Kharidian Nights", to part of the desert area.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Kharidian Desert takes inspiration from the real-world regions of Southwest Asia and North Africa, the latter of which is notably the location of the Sahara desert. The Kharidian Desert's transformation into a dry area mirrors the geological history of the Sahara desert which was a tropical wetland thousands of years ago.
  • The areas that the Kharidian Desert is inspired by do not actually have any cacti. Cacti are only native to North and South America.
    • The presence of cacti is another curiosity in that they could not have survived in the Kharidian Desert's former forested environment. Cacti are specifically adapted to live in dry conditions and could have only appeared in the area within the last few thousand years.
  • The Kharidian Desert was graphically updated on 5 June 2017, to coincide with the release of Menaphos.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Kharshai, "Kharshai's memory", RuneScape. "[Tumeken] cursed our treachery, then sorrowfully told the Menaphites that he needed them to join him in making the ultimate sacrifice for their homes and families. Then he raised his arms to the sky, and the light from his body grew brighter until nothing could be seen, and then his body exploded into fire and I passed out. [...] The rest of our people, the Zarosian legion, and the Menaphites were merely smoking remains."
  2. ^ Kharshai, "Kharshai's memory", RuneScape. "At first I did not know how I survived, but soon it became clear that Azzanadra had erected a magical shield around those of us in range. [...] Nearly five hundred of us left Freneskae, and now there were less than a hundred left."
  3. ^ Kharshai, "Kharshai's memory", RuneScape. "As we returned to Kharid-et the extent of Tumeken's final act became clear. What had been a lush and fertile land had become a desert. [...] Tumeken had sacrificed himself and half his lands to save the remainder."