The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children, Book Six
Jean M. Auel
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In this, the extraordinary conclusion of the ice-age epic series, Earth’s Children®, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte to a spiritual leader and begins arduous training tasks.
Whatever obstacles she faces, Ayla finds inventive ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life, searching for wild edibles to make meals and experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandonii must take while honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And there are the Sacred Caves that Ayla’s mentor takes her to see. They are filled with remarkable paintings of mammoths, lions, and bears, and their mystical aura at times overwhelms Ayla.
But all the time Ayla has spent in training rituals has caused Jondalar to drift away from her. The rituals themselves bring her close to death, but through them Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change her world.
Sixth in the acclaimed Earth’s Children® series
pole-drag, “especially if we are going to stop and see the Women’s Place. And if we don’t take too long, it’s close enough to the Ninth Cave that we can get home before dark.” Ayla wasn’t at all sorry that Zelandoni decided to continue and was glad now that the First had wanted to show her the sacred deep of the Women’s Place. They worked their way down the western side of the highland to Little Grass River, and near its confluence with Grass River they crossed over. Just a short distance beyond
you feeling?” “Ayla took very good care of me when she was staying at the Ninth Cave, and I feel much better now than I did last spring,” the woman said. “She really is a very good healer, and if you look closely, you will see that she is now a Zelandoni.” Marthona had noticed the mark on the side of her forehead, Ayla realized. It was healing and there was no pain, although it itched sometimes, and she had almost forgotten about it, unless someone mentioned it or made a point of staring. “I
followed his trail to the camp. After the formal greetings, Marthona and Aldanor began chatting, but Ayla recognized that while the former leader was being charming, she was also asking pointed questions to learn as much as she could about the stranger her daughter was planning to mate. Aldanor was explaining that he had met Danug and Druwez when they stopped to stay with his people for a while. He did not belong to Attaroa’s Camp, but one farther north, for which he was grateful when it became
young men didn’t form a lasting attachment, which was sometimes difficult. Jondalar’s donii-woman was The First, when she was known as Zolena, and she had taught him well. Later, after he returned to the Ninth Cave after spending several years with Dalanar, he was often chosen. But at the time of his puberty, he became so enamored of Zolena, he would choose none of the other donii-women. More, he wanted her to be his mate, even though there was an age difference. The difficulty was that she also
mother; she died soon after he was born, but that only gave him reason to idealize her. She was not one of those animals! Could not be, and neither was he! Though he knew Ayla was Jondalar’s woman, and there was no way he could ever win her from his tall, handsome cousin, in his mind, seeing her stand up to everyone’s laughter and not giving in to the ridicule made him admire her. For him it was love at first sight. Though Jondalar had always treated him well and never joined in when the others