Thorgir and Somnak did not lack the strength to row against the current and an hour or so later, the group came upon the Fou-Fou Tree, where they camped beneath its enormous leaves...
They travelled with Dzila.
Delving through the merciless jungle was somewhat easier with her in tow. She knew the edibles from the poisonous for instance, and now they needed not starve. Needless to say, no one partook of Somnak’s Qullan haunch except Somnak.
A whole day they traversed the primal forest, where in places the twisting roots of the trees rose over their heads and had to be climbed. At one point Dzila stopped and hacked at a yellowish vine. Once punctured the plant oozed a golden sap, which she rubbed on herself, urging them to do the same, explaining how it repelled insects, once on the skin.
It seemed to Rasmus, he could be wrong he considered but probably not, that Dzila had taken a liking to him. She always had a smile for him whenever she caught him ogling her. He had never seen anything like it before, a half naked human body of the female persuasion that is, and so endowed with Khaum’s gifts! Something inside the Willow had awakened. Khaum be praised!
Lumori stalked the jungle silently. His companions had all witnessed his *other* side during the battle with the Qullan, that of the single-minded, ferocious destroyer, but no one spoke of it. He was back to being the unassuming thief now, and blended amidst his companions in the background, the same way the color green blended in with the jungle.
Somnak checked his new drum-skins often, making sure the leather stayed supple. Humanoid skin after all was more fragile than those of beasts, he knew.
Melior dreamed of power and magic and fire and diamonds, in that order. To entertain himself while he travelled he recited from memory everything he knew about everything. At one point Somnak growled at him to shut up, but it did little to dissuade the egotistical elf.
Thorgir remained quiet. The barbarian was still recovering from his gruesome injuries, the types of injuries that would have felled most men. At least he had added to his weapon arsenal, with the Qullan sword, the others going to Somnak and Lumori respectively, the fourth left unclaimed, as were the Qullan paint-dyes.
They spent the night beneath a mighty tree, another Fou-Fou, protected by its roots, as if by walls. The chemical this tree’s gigantic leaves emitted, Dzila explained, was anathema to most non-humanoid creatures of the jungle. That still left the Qullan, Thorgir suggested, so they took turns guarding, but nothing happened that night.
The following morning after more hiking, they began making their way up a steep upward incline; until by midday they finally came upon the base of a great waterfall, plunging more than three hundred down from the cliff-side of a massive, overgrown tepui before them.
“Through there is the quickest way” she said pointing directly at the waterfall, “Through the water, and under the mountain and up. Otherwise you would have to climb”, she said looking up, “Or fly. As for me I will go no further. The Watching Egg and his Seneschal do not take kindly to those who escape the village only to return.”