The main purpose of the Scavenger's Den is to introduce the player to the new game. There are several instances where the player learns about the game mechanics and objects like the torch.
After surviving the shipwreck of the Endurance in the Dragon's Triangle Lara and her shipmates are stranded on the island of Yamatai. Lara is taken captive by a Scavenger who takes her to his den where she wakes up hanging upside down and tied up in a sack. The Scavenger, who has somehow avoided Mathias and his men for years, has made the cave his home.
To escape, Lara has to swing left and right to set her "cocoon" on fire. She is severely injured when she hits an arrow shaft sticking out of the ground. Inside the scavenger's den Lara finds the remains of several previous victims of the scavenger, including the body of Steph. While escaping, she encounters the Scavenger, who claims that he is trying to help her, to save her; however, having seen the horrors of life on Yamatai and the inevitable fate of women on the island, the Scavenger's idea of "helping" newcomers is to murder them, to spare them the ordeal of a slow death on the island, so if Lara doesn't fight back, he will kill her. As she escapes from the Den, the Scavenger dies in a cave-in, crushed by boulders which also block the exit, making it impossible for Lara to get back into the Den.