After half a moon Gunto returned from his Hunt of Passage, bending under his burden - his Tribute, the flesh of an elk he had killed. While the women prepared for the feast, he strutted behind the hunting band as they left for his initiation in the Magic Chamber.
Malu watched the procession from the Clan Hall into the passageway that led far into the mountain. They disappeared around the bend, where many smaller tunnels branched off, and then branched off again into even more winding tunnels. Only the hunters knew the way.
Malu and Varda had ventured through some of these tunnels. They only wanted to see where the Magic Chamber was - not to enter it, for to do so would arouse the fury of the gods. Holding torches, lighting one from another as each burned out, they'd followed many twistings and turnings, shuddering at the shadows where the torch suddenly lit up strange rock formations - white towering peaks and shimmering icicles of wet stone.
They'd spoken softly, thier voices echoing back as eerie whispers. They'd heard water gurgling somewhere, and mysterious twittering and stratching sounds.
Then the echo of thier footsteps had suddenly sounded different. Malu stopped and clutched Varda's arm, and when she lowered her torch to look down, there was nothing but impenetrable darkness below. They stood at the edge of a precipice.They had turned and fled - come to a dead end - turned back again. A wrong turn into another dead end! Would they ever get out? At last they'd stumbled into the main passageway. They'd run to the Clan Hall, but forced themselves to walk slowly inside. No one but Fidday and Talva had noticed them leave or return. "You didn't find it?" Fidday had whispered. Malu had shaken her head, while Varda said, "And we never will."