Green-Leaf consulted with the Willow Spirit about the safety of traveling up the lava tube toward the volcano. The spirit hinted at an ancient enmity between the willows and the volcano, but also said there had been no trouble recently. So, the party traveled uphill through the lava tube, toward the volcano, with the wind at their backs.
The crack in the ceiling eventually ended, and they entered a long tunnel of darkness. They made torches to light their way, and had to extend the torches’ life by dousing them in fat from the bear they’d recently defeated.
They came to the bear’s lair. It lay beneath another cave-in, and was full of the rotting remains of the bear’s meals. In the refuse they found human remains, and an amulet of volcanic stone.
Little-Mountain claimed the amulet, but was reminded that Green-Leaf is the head shaman. So Green-Leaf got the amulet, and determined that there was no willow spirit in it.
Trees were visible above the caved-in ceiling above the bear’s lair. They built a stone ramp, and sent Far-See up to check out the forest. He heard vague animal noises in the distance, and so everybody else came up to join him for protection. Then Far-See climbed a tree to look around.
He saw that they were only a few miles from the lip of the volcano. He also saw the Lava Folk’s village on the volcano’s rim. The village is made of permanent mud huts, and there is a strange tall narrow teepee, without a smoke vent at the top, at the village’s center. Far-See also discovered that the nearby animals were goats. He almost fell while descending the tree, but he was rescued by Thunder-Gut who held the safety rope.
They re-entered the crevasse, and camped for the night upwind of the bear’s lair in the lava tube.
The next morning they continued uphill through the tunnel, entering into another long stretch of darkness. After hours of travel they detected a reddish glow and strange unearthly noises ahead!
A voice called out, telling them to go away away, and then claiming to be the the lava spirit. Green-Leaf loaned Thunder-Gut the volcanic rock amulet, and he also put on bear skins to be more impressive. The voice turned out to belong to a hideously burned, blind, and mutilated Rogok of the Valley Folk named Gar-Gun. Once it was determined that neither side was comprised of the hated Lava People, they cautiously made friends. Gar-Gun’s people, the Valley Folk, have mastodon shamans who marked the mastodon. Gar-Gun himself wants revenge on the Lava People, who sacrificed him to their volcano, but he survived – and has apparently been staying alive by devouring the remains of later sacrificial victims.
Gar-Gun agreed to accompany the PCs to the home of the Valley Folk. So they led him all the way back to the place where they originally entered the crevasse. He could not get out himself, before, because of the bear.
At one point Gar-Gun talked smack about how his people are stronger than the Yorwah – the PC’s breed. Thunder-Gut responded by wrestling to prove him wrong, and won.
Before dawn the next morning, as they crossed the grasslands back toward the willow forest, they attracted a pack of hungry dire wolves!
Sprint-Thorn won the session’s experience point, adding it to her Core stones. It SHOULD have gone to Soft-Touch, but her player wasn’t present for this episode.