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Pitfalls of the Palantir  by Haleth

Odob the walrus patrolled the bottom of the Bay of Forochel. The oldest and largest of the walruses that inhabited the bay, Odob's normally bad temper was currently augmented by extreme hunger. There were simply not enough clams in the icy waters to feed the entire walrus population. The shortage forced Odob to look further afield for his sustenance.

He was in a very deep part of the bay where even the walrus usually hesitated to go. He skimmed through the meagre plants and worms that grew along the silty bottom, searching for the evermore elusive clams.

Something flashed to one side of him. Hopeful that the glow meant food, Odob glided towards it. The faint light shimmered fitfully, drawing the walrus into an area that had once held a ship. The vessel had been lost beneath the waves of a storm over a millenium ago. It was now barely remembered in the myths of the Lossoth, the ice people of the Bay of Forochel. The ship's mighty timbers had long since dissolved in the icy brine, leaving only the occassional stub of a nail above the silt. Of the unhappy crew, passengers and cargo, nothing visible seemed to remain.

Odob swam onwards, oblivious to the history of his surroundings, the light beckoning him.

At last he was directly above the luminescence. Odob could not believe his luck. Half buried in the silt was the largest clam he had ever clapped his beady little walrus eyes upon.

He approached it greedily and shoved it with his tusk.

It was also the most solid clam he had ever come across.

Odob pushed the glowing clam with his flipper.

Add heaviest to that list.

Again he tried to pry it open with his tusks.

It was by far the strongest clam he had ever encountered.

With such an impressive list of superlatives, it was not a clam to be left behind.

Odob pushed, pulled, rolled and body slammed the recalcitrant mollusk across the floor of the bay. He finally walrus-handled it into the shallow water near the shore in the vague walrus hope that exposure to the sun and air would weaken it enough to be opened and eaten.

Screaming gulls circled overhead, intent upon theft.

The cries of the gulls were interrupted by the shouts of the Lossoth who had made their winter camp on the edge of the sea.

Odob, for all that he was the fiercest walrus in the bay, would not risk a confrontation with the Ice Men's spears. Roaring in frustration, he paddled into the deeper water and abandoned his prize to the rapidly advancing men.


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