Midday sun stared down unrelentingly on the shore, turning the sea into a liquid mirror and heating the sand. The small Otter plodded forward in the fringe of the surf, her eyes squinted against the glare and focused on a rock up ahead. It would be a good place to stop and rest. She had been going since before dawn that morning, when Derry had woken her with his weak, pitiful mewling of hunger. The otterbabe was worrying her more with each passing moment; she knew that if she could not find some suitable substitute for mother's milk he would soon starve.
The babe was quiet now, asleep in her arms as she kept doggedly on, panting thirstily and ignoring the pangs of hunger in her own stomach. The baby didn't have food, and she felt guilty eating when he couldn't.
She reached the rock an hour after midday and slid into the cool shadows that were starting to puddle at it's base again, and laid Derry in her lap gently. The flask of water she'd tucked in her herb pouch was frighteningly light, only half-full. She took a small swallow and then gently coaxed the babe to drink a little, too. Then, she held him close and settled into waiting out the heat of the afternoon. Eventually, she slipped into a dose, still holding the small child to her chest.