The Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii is the cave where Ayla and Jondalar live. The current Leader is Joharran, Jondalar's half-brother. Before him was his mother Marthona. Before her was the man of Joharran's hearth Joconan. There lives the First Among Those Who Serve The Great Earth Mother formerly known as Zolena. Ayla is now Zelandoni of the Ninth cave.
The Cave is based on the real-life cave Abri de Laugerie Haute in near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil southern France.
The Ninth is the largest cave introduced in any book. With more then 200 people living there it grew far beyond the normal size of a community of their time. The ninth cave is known for its crafts people. Most Zelandonii who wish to learn a particular craft, and even some from much farther away, go to the Ninth cave due to the large amount of artisans who live there. Members include but are not limited to:
Ayla - Formerly the First Acolyte of the First Among those who serve the Great Earth Mother she is now the Zelandoni of the Ninth cave. She is the main protagonist of our story. She has two children. One living with "The Clan" who is an "abomination of mixed spirits" that nobody except the First and Jondalar knows about. While living among the Zelandonii she gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Jonayla. She eventually discovers through her "calling" that sex is what causes children.
Jondalar - He brought Ayla back with him after his five year journey with his late brother Thonolan. He is a master flint knapper who has a "gift" of being able to bring Ayla back from "Doni's deepest underworld" when she uses the forbidden Clan root.
Jonayla - Ayla and Jondalar's daughter; she is one of the only people in their world who can be absolutely certain who her father is as Ayla never "shared pleasures" with anybody except Jondalar.
The First Among Those Who Serve The Great Earth Mother - Formerly known as Zolena, she was Jondalar's Doni woman. She taught him about "The Mother's Gift of Pleasure". She is the Most powerful Zelandoni in the entire Zelandonia. She pressures Ayla to become an acolyte to which the young woman finally agrees.
Joharran - The leader of the Ninth cave of the Zelandoni. He is Jondalar's half-brother as they have the same mother but were born to the hearths of different men. The man of his hearth is the late Joconan. He is mated to Proleva.
Proleva - Joharran's mate and mother of Jaradal
Jaradal - Proleva's young son
Marthona - The Former Leader of the Zelandonii. She was originally mated to Joconan, the leader of the Ninth cave. After he died she mated Dalanar who then went on to be the founder and leader of the Lanzadonii. When they severed the knot she mated Willamar, The Trade Master. She has, in total, four children. Joharran, Jondalar, Thonolan (deceased) and Folara.
Willamar - The man of the Hearth of Thonolan and Folara. He is mated to Marthona and is the Trade Master of the Ninth cave.
Folara - Daughter of Marthona, Daughter of the Hearth of Willamar. Sister of Joharran, Jondalar and Thonolan. An attractive young woman who goes on to mate a man from the S'Armunai named Aldanor.
Laramar - The lowest ranked man in the Ninth Cave. He detests Ayla because her status is above his. He believes that all of her contributions should count for nothing. The fact that she was "foreign born" and raised by the Clan would normally put her behind him. This is not the case as her hearth is amongst the highest of the Zelandonii. He has many children living at his hearth. He claims that none have even a remote possibility of being his except for Bologan. He makes barma, a fermented drink, which is the only positive thing he is known for. He never takes care of his children. He never bathes and thought nothing about abandoning them at the end of the series. His wife is Tremeda
Tremeda - is Laramar's alcoholic mate. Having not shared "pleasures" with her mate in many years Laramar denied all of the children of his hearth with a slight exception for Bologan. She stopped producing milk forcing her young daughter, a ten year named Lanoga, to try to keep the baby alive by feeding her mashed up roots. She is lazy, refusing to do any work but is not above begging others for things for her "poor hungry children".
Bologan - Tremeda's first child and the only one who has any possibility of being Laramar's son. He learned how to make Barma from Laramar.
Lanoga - at ten years old she was more of a mother to her siblings then her mother ever was. After her mother's milk stopped she tried to feed her baby sister Lorala using mashed roots. Ayla taught the girl how to properly take care of the baby and about the importance of bathing. She mates Lanidar , a boy with a deformed and paralized arm.
Trelara - She is Tremeda's third child.
Lavogan - He is Tremeda's fourth child.
Unnamed child - This child of Tremeda's died some time before the story begins.
Ganamar - Tremeda's fifth living child.
Lorala - Tremeda's sixth living child. Her mother's milk dried up very early in her life. Her sister fed her mashed roots to try to keep her alive. She would have died without the intervention of Ayla who arranged for all the nursing mothers in the cave to nurse the baby and also taught Lanoga how to properly take care of her sibling. She is a healthy yet undersized child.
Matagan - Jondalar's first flint knapping apprentice. Ayla saved him after he got mauled by a woolly rhinoceros. Since he walks with a limp Jondalar decided to take him on as an apprentice since he would need to learn some craft to compensate for his inability to hunt.
Ramara - a member of the Ninth Cave. Her son's name is Robenan. She is mated to Solaban, who is one of Joharran's aides.
Rushemar - a member of the ninth cave. Mated to Salova. He is also one of Joharran's aides.
Ronokol - Shevonar's brother. He believed that he should have died instead of his brother who had a family. He later mates his brother's mate Relona after they became close when he was helping her compensate for the loss of her mate.
Relona - She was Shevonar's mate. She later mated her mate's brother Ronokol. She has two children.
Cherezal - Although born Zelandonii he came from a cave that was rather far away.
Former members or deceased members of the Ninth Cave:
Dalanar : Founder and Leader of the Lanzadonii. Formerly mated to Marthona he is now mated to Jerika. The man of Jerika's hearth, was a traveler who came from near the "Great Sea" in the east of the Asian continent. Jondalar is the son of his hearth and the "son of his spirit". They look identical except for the obvious age difference.
Marona - Jondalar's spiteful ex lover. She detests Ayla. She tried to embarrass Ayla by tricking her into wearing inappropriate clothing to her welcoming feast. She moves to another cave after the incident and later mates a Zelandonii from a cave that is very far away.
Joconan - Marthona's deceased first mate. He was the leader of the Ninth cave and the man of the hearth at Joharran's birth.
Thonolan - Marthona's deceased third child he was killed by Ayla's cave lion "Baby". He became depressed and somewhat suicidal after his mate Jetamio died in childbirth. When living among the Zelandonii he made spear shafts. His craft was woodworking.
Brukeval - Jondalar's cousin. His mother was half clan and half "Others". Everybody notices his resemblance to the Clan but only those who wish to anger him, or Ayla in her naivety, would dare to make any innuendos about it. He is in love with Ayla and yet he hates her because he hates "The Clan" He sees them as the root of his pain because his grandmother was "attacked by animals" meaning the Clan who took her in when she was lost in the woods. A Clan man used her to "relieve his needs" meaning he forced sexual intercourse with her which, while not being accepted in Cro-Magnon culture is accepted in the culture of the neanderthals. He eventually runs away because of discovering the truth. That his mother was an "abomination" and that his grandfather was a neanderthal.
Brukeval's mother - she died shortly after giving birth to her son. She got pregnant immediately after "First Rights". She was the daughter of a woman who was taken in by the Clan, who were considered animals by the Zelandonii, and was "attacked" meaning one felt he had the right to "relieve his needs" with her resulting in a half-clan baby. Brukeval denies that his mother had anything to do with "those animals".
Brukeval's Grandmother - After getting lost one summer just before First Rights she was taken in by a Clan who found her. She considered the "Clan" to be animals and viewed one Clan man's "relieving his needs" as an attack by an animal. She gave birth to a half-clan baby girl then died.
Shevonar - The first man Ayla treated for injuries after arriving at the Ninth Cave. He was trampled by a bison and died of his injuries. His mate's name was Relona.