SUMMARY: A good-will gift to Aragorn arrives from Harad, and he, Faramir and Eomer spend the better part of a summer afternoon trying to figure out how to open a coconut.
Just a little silliness that the muse whacked me with the other day, inspired by makeitstop's wonderful new David Wenham website, Dessicated Coconut! (URL: story is complete, and cheerfully dedicated to the delightful citizens of the TORc David Wenham Swooning Thread. Y'all are great!
The final version of this story will be archived along with my other works at www.sen-o-gwend.us.
Reviews are VERY much appreciated!!
A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK
"...and it looks as if the rebuilding on the third level will be about half-finished by next week."
The young man's cultured voice barely stirred the humid summer air that wafted lazily through the large, sunny, stone-walled room. In his loose-fitting long-sleeved tan tunic, leggings and boots, he appeared remarkably comfortable despite the heat; the only betrayal of his discomfort were the tiny beads of sweat glistening across his wide brow, handsome face, and stubbled beard. His long ginger-colored hair hung in somewhat dispirited curls, and he took a moment to flick a drop of perspiration from one of his blue eyes.
As he did so, he glanced across the wide paper-strewn table at another man who sat nearby. The other figure was slightly older, with a weathered visage and short black hair, his lean frame clad in simple dark clothing. His gray eyes were scanning a piece of parchment held in his hands, but his expression indicated that his thoughts lay elsewhere. Only a costly silver ring beset with rubies that glittered on one finger denoted his status as being above that of ordinary men.
The ginger-haired man waited several moments, then finally cleared his throat. "Er, Your Majesty?"
His companion blinked, then looked over, paused, then sighed and laid the paper down on the table. "Forgive me, Faramir," he said with a shake of his head, rubbing his bearded face with one hand. "This heat has dulled my senses, and I am not yet capable of telling my mind to pay attention to my royal duties when my ranger's instincts are to go lie in the shade."
Faramir smiled a bit and bent his eyes back to the paper before him, writing down a few words. "No need to apologize, sire," he assured him. "I will admit to some mind-wandering of my own, now that the hottest days of the year are here. As this is your first full summer here as Gondor's King, I should warn you, it will be very warm for another few weeks at least."
The King sat up. "King Elessar welcomes the opportunity to bear this condition in order to benefit his people," was the light reply. "Aragorn the Ranger, however, is longing to find his wife and go out for a nice cool swim in the river."
Faramir chuckled and looked quickly over the small piles of paper on the table. "I'm sure the Queen would be agreeable," he declared, "and I think we're fairly done with the daily report. I should go see if Eowyn-"
A knock came on the large wooden door of the chamber, and the two men turned their heads as the door opened. Into the room stepped a tall, broadly built young man with a wide, handsome face, piercing dark eyes, and a cascade of long blonde hair streaming down his back. Like the other two men, his clothes were light but stately, although somewhat rumpled from the heat.
"I hope I'm not interrupting vital Gondorian business?" the newcomer asked with a slight smile.
"Ah! Eomer," Faramir said in greeting, standing with a pleasant expression. "Good day to you, brother-in-law, we are just concluding. And I thought a King could interrupt whatever he pleased."
Aragorn grinned as he got to his feet. "I believe only certain Council members who believe themselves to be overly important have that right," he mused. "Or at least they think they have, from my experience so far."
A snort escaped Eomer's lips as he walked farther into the room and stood before the table, his hands clasped behind his back. "And I thought that was a trait only some of the Rohan Council possessed."
Faramir was studying a few papers before he put them side, a pensive scowl on his face. "It's a universal aspect among such men, I fear, " he murmured, before setting the papers own and directing his eyes to the King of Rohan. "Is Eowyn awaiting us for our afternoon ride?"
His brother-in-law tilted his head back a bit before answering. "I have been sent here with a message from my sister, your wife," he replied. "Her mare is suffering somewhat from the heat, and she believes it would be best to wait until after supper to ride when the cooler winds are blowing. In the meantime, I am to give this to the royal hand."
With those words, he passed a folded piece of paper to Aragorn.
Faramir stood. "It's certainly fine with me if she wants to wait to ride," he remarked as Aragorn read the note. "I may take our good King's suggestion and have a bath-unless there is some new and pressing matter?"
Understanding this to be a question, Aragorn finished the note and looked up. "Not pressing, exactly," he said, a slight tone of puzzlement in his voice. "This merely states that we have received a goodwill gift from the ambassador of Harad, in advance of their arriving next week to begin negotiations for the new treaties."
"Oh," was the Steward's surprised reaction; Eomer simply looked a bit interested. "Well, that's encouraging. It is a comfort to know they truly seem to want peace after all this time. What have they sent us?"
The King shook his head. "It does not say," he muttered, "but it does invite us to inspect the offering. Apparently it has been delivered to the throne room."
He stood in thought for a moment, then straightened and folded up the note. "Would you like to join me, gentlemen? This is a momentous event, the first advance towards true peace for all of our peoples."
"Certainly," Eomer said. "I have heard much of these Haradrim, although they seldom ventured as far north as Rohan. I'm curious to see what they might have sent you, as I may have a similar package awaiting me back at the Golden Hall when I return to Edoras."
A short time later found the three men entering the spacious Throne Room of the palace of Minas Tirith. The white marble walls of the expansive room were aglow with the waning afternoon light, and as the heels of their boots rapped noisily against the polished floors, each man looked about to find the newly arrived treasure.
"Oh, there it is," Aragorn announced.
In front of a large pillar near to the steps leading up to the white throne of Gondor sat a small canvas-wrapped parcel, its wrappings bound with twine. Tucked beneath the knot on the top of the package was a folded piece of parchment, sealed with wax.
In a few moments, they had crossed the space, and Aragorn was kneeling before the box. Reaching down, he plucked the letter from its place beneath the knotted twine, opened it, scanned it for a moment, then glanced at Faramir.
"Can my Steward read the language of Harad?" he inquired with a smile. With a slight bow, Faramir offered his open hand for the letter, which was duly handed to him. That done, Aragorn drew a knife from his belt and began to cut the bindings.
"'To his majesty, King Aragorn Elessar of Gondor'," read Faramir with ease, "'pray accept this delicacy on behalf of our ruler. As it has strengthened and nourished our people for generations untold, may the peace between our lands also bless those who shall come after us to the end of time.'" He stopped and perused the paper further. "It is signed by the chief of the Haradrim tribe."
"There may be all manner of gifts inside," speculated Eomer as Aragorn finished slicing through the cords. "From what I have heard, the Haradrim are quite skilled in metalwork, weaving, weapons-craft..."
"It is well-appreciated, whatever it is," remarked Aragorn, pushing aside the cording and canvas. Inside was a wooden box, and in only a small matter of time, Aragorn had succeeded in prying up the lid.
Inside the box was something wrapped in red cloth, with a folded piece of parchment tucked at the top.
"It is a noble sentiment, sure enough," noted Eomer, who was watching Aragorn with his arms folded. The former ranger had unfolded the cloth and was trying to get his hands round what was inside. "What did they send you? Some kind of food?"
Aragorn braced himself to stand. "Well...I confess, Eomer King, that...I'm not quite sure."
He rose to his feet. In his arms was cradled a large, round, brown object covered with what looked like long, straw-like hair. One section of its surface was marked with three round, black indentations.
The other two men started, their eyes growing wide.
"What is it?" Faramir finally asked in a tight voice. "It...it looks like some sort of...rock."
"It is heavy enough to be one, my friend," replied Aragorn as he turned the thing over in his hands, peering at it closely. He turned his gaze back to the box. "It seems there are two more inside."
"It can't be," protested Eomer. "Why would the ruler of a Haradrim tribe send you a box of hairy rocks?"
"Hm," said Faramir with a frown, looking at the letter again. "He did write a little more...'I do not believe you have these in your land. They are a popular fruit among our people, and are called...'coconuts'."
Both of the other men scowled a little, studying the curious fruit.
"'Coconuts'," murmured Eomer, trying the word out. "It is a curious name. It looks like no nut I have ever encountered."
"Have you never come across this food in your readings, Faramir?" asked Aragorn as he handed the coconut to his Steward.
The younger man shook his head as he put away the letter and accepted the coconut, gazing at the object from every angle and hefting its bulk in his slender hands. "We have precious little information about the land of Harad in the archives, sire," he stated. "Beyond the language, some basic history of the region, and some of its customs, we know nothing. This is very, er, different from our native fruits."
Eomer was eying it in puzzlement. "How do you suppose you eat it? Surely you do not bite into it as you would an apple."
"No," murmured Faramir, "no, um..." His tested his fingernails against its rough skin. After a short time of trying, he sighed. "The skin seems very thick, too thick to peel." He looked up at his companions. "I would venture to guess it must be broken open."
Aragorn smiled and held out his hands, into which the Steward delivered the gifted food. "Well, then, my friends," he said brightly, "let us find the means to open this treasure. The stones outside should prove hard enough, and then we may see what the Haradrim have bestowed upon us."
The afternoon sun was still warm as they stepped out into the courtyard, a mild breeze stirring the blossoming leaves of the White Tree nearby. The Guard standing nearby turned his head to look at the three men as they appeared, but otherwise appeared too wearied by the heat to pay them much mind.
"Now," said Aragorn, grasping the coconut firmly, and with a mighty swing he threw the round fruit upon the white slate stone of the courtyard.
The coconut struck the ground, bounced up a foot or two, then began to roll away from them, perfectly intact.
Had the Guard cared to look, he would have been treated to the sight of two Kings and a Steward chasing across the courtyard after a large round rolling ball-like object. Unfortunately, he was instead staring at the wide blue sky and wishing for a good cold ale.
"That was close!" breathed Faramir as he scooped up the coconut, from where it had almost rolled off of the first level. He stood and inspected its skin. "Alas, sire, it does not even appear cracked."
"Hmm," growled Aragorn, relieving his Steward of the object and checking it himself. "Well...I'll just have to throw it harder, I suppose."
They walked back to the steps, where Aragorn braced himself, then with all of his strength reared back and hurled the coconut at the ground.
The results were much the same, except that this time the object bounced straight past Aragorn's face and came with a few inches of breaking the royal nose.
"Oof!" the King breathed as he fell backwards in an effort to avoid the blow. behind him, Eomer and Faramir darted after the errant coconut, which this time had elected to roll into the palace.
"Still nothing," reported Eomer, when he and Faramir returned, coconut in hand.
Aragorn pursed his lips, the beginnings of frustration glinting in his gray eyes.
"This is not over," he swore, turning and walking a few paces away. Faramir and Eomer exchanged slightly amused glances.
"The last time he had that look in his eye," noted Eomer, "Sauron did not live to regret it."
Three more times Aragorn hurtled the stubborn coconut to the hard paving stones of the Courtyard, each time with greater ferocity. Still the fruit's only response was to bounce away unscathed. At last, somewhat sweaty and disheveled from the heat, Aragorn sat on the steps of the Palace and glared at the triumphant coconut in his hands, a gleam of war blazing in his eyes.
"Very well," he finally panted. "It appears we must try something else."
Fortunately for the men, the Citadel armory was mostly deserted that afternoon, save for a few soldiers practicing their swordplay. As Aragorn, Faramir and Eomer strode into the dusty main hall with its tall ceiling and stone walls lined with various weapons, passing through the columns of light afforded by the small, highly placed windows, nobody gave them much notice.
"I imagine this should work," Eomer offered as they reached the end of the room, where some hay-stuffed archery targets and large blocks of wood lay scattered about. Aragorn brushed one of the wooden blocks clear of its dust and bits of straw and carefully balanced the coconut on the worn surface.
"Of course it will," said the King of Gondor, stepping back and unsheathing his magnificent sword. "This is Anduril, Flame of the West, the weapon that sundered the Ring from the hand of the Dark Lord Sauron and smote the armies of Mordor. It ought to be able to handle a coconut."
His two comrades nodded in assent and stood back, patiently watching.
Aragorn hefted the blade in his hands, tapping the husk of the fruit once with the sharp edge of the sword in order to place his aim. Then lifting the mighty weapon, he brought it down with all of his might onto the hapless coconut.
The coconut shot out from under the sword like a missile fired from a catapult, flying off to the side and slamming into the stone wall with a loud report. As it rolled obediently back towards the annoyed threesome, a few heads now turned to see what was happening at the other end of the hall.
"Not even cracked," sighed Faramir as the coconut finished rolling and sat before them on the floor, silently mocking them.
"It is simply too round to sit in place under such a strike," said Aragorn, striding over and picking up the stubborn fruit. "It would seem we will have to secure it while the blow falls."
"It's not the sword, is it?" teased Eomer with a smile.
"No, it's not the sword!" came the insistent response, accompanied by an irritated glare.
Faramir and Eomer did not look so sure.
A short while later found the coconut clamped in a wide vise procured from a nearby weapons repair room. Aragorn was eying the fruit intently as he lined up his swordstroke, his knuckles white as he clutched his blade.
"All right," he panted, "this should work..."
He reared back and brought Anduril down on the coconut with every ounce of strength in his kingly arms.
The blade struck the husk a ringing blow, then bounced back up with such force that the sword was torn from Aragorn's hands and went sailing back over his head. Behind him, Faramir and Eomer were compelled to hastily duck as the sword went flying over their heads between them, striking the floor some distance away with a clang and finally spinning away into the far corner of the room.
Faramir and Eomer watched the sword slide away, then turned their heads back to see Aragorn scowling at the still-intact coconut with an expression of enraged resignation.
"Incredible," gasped Faramir softly. "Apparently, Sauron's armor had nothing on that coconut."
After a few moments, Aragorn looked at them, sweat beading on his royal brow.
"Good sirs," he panted, "the royal ear is now ready for suggestions."
"I'm certainly glad I've kept up on my archery practice," Faramir was saying as he tested out the pull on the large bow held in his gloved hands. The coconut, still on the wooden block and held in the vise, now stood some small distance away before the back wall of the room.
"Be careful," warned Eomer as Faramir reached to a quiver full of arrows lying on a nearby table. "This coconut has proven more tenacious than most Orcs I have ever encountered. It's a bit harder to duck a ricocheting arrow than a flying sword."
Aragorn was leaning against the table, watching with arms crossed, a somewhat peeved glint in his eyes. "Somehow, Eomer King, when my sword was forged in the ancient Elven smithies by the great weapon-masters of old, I doubt they were considering the unique properties of coconuts."
"I suppose even the Elves can't know everything," muttered Faramir as he nocked his arrow and peered at the brown, hairy target. "All right, my friends, prepare yourselves."
Aragorn and Eomer silently got ready to move swiftly as Faramir gracefully pulled back the string of the longbow, lifted the arrow to his ear, and sighted the target. There was a faint echoing twang as he released the arrow, and they all watched as it flew across the room, struck the coconut, glanced off the tough hide, and went twirling away to one side to fall back to the floor with a wooden clatter.
There was a moment of silence.
"Right," said Faramir firmly, nocking another arrow, "suppose I'll have to get a little closer."
He took a few steps towards the target, drew back and let loose the arrow.
"All right, let's try standing farther away..."
"Hmm. Perhaps a larger arrow..."
"Or a tighter string..."
"You know, I don't think I'm drawing back far enough..."
"Perhaps a larger bow with more pull is in order..."
"I think you might have dented it with that last one," announced Eomer with a small amount of enthusiasm, inspecting the coconut following Faramir's fifth attempt.
Faramir was studying the coconut with only a little less animosity than he would bestow upon an Orc, all the while gingerly flexing the fingers of his drawing hand. "A hundred more such dents and it may actually crack," he said with a rueful sigh. "But by then I'll have broken my wrist. I fear this isn't going to work."
Aragorn patted Faramir's shoulder sympathetically. "It was a noble attempt, my Steward," he assured him. He looked at Eomer as the Rohan king stood next to the vise-gripped coconut. "Does the King of Rohan have any ideas?"
Eomer considered the question for a minute, then began undoing the vise that held the coconut in place.
"Perhaps a more direct approach is called for," he declared, palming the coconut with both hands once it was free of its iron bonds and tossing it lightly before turning to his friends.
"How far is it from the first level down to the courtyard?"
The warm summer wind blew strongly about them as the three men stood at the very tip of the Citadel courtyard, peering carefully to the entranceway courtyard of Minas Tirith some seven hundred feet below them. As they stood on the end of the pointed mountain rock that protruded through all seven levels of the White City, it was a straight drop from their perch to the paving stones of the area below them.
"If this doesn't work," stated Eomer firmly, holding the coconut in both of his hands, "I say we throw this thing in the river and forget the whole matter."
"Agreed," replied Aragorn, staring down into the courtyard. "I've sent word for the guards to clear the area, so we need not fear harming anyone. It looks as if they have done their duty, so you may make your attempt whenever you are ready."
Eomer grinned a bit with satisfaction. "It is my pleasure, good King of Gondor," he said, and without much ado he heaved the coconut over the side of the short retaining wall and watched with his companions as it made a small arc through the air and began its ascent to the paving stones below.
Several of the citizens of Minas Tirith were somewhat bewildered that day to look up and see a small brown hairy ball plummeting through the clear blue sky. Past every level it sailed, picking up speed and making a small whooshing noise as it shot to the ground. Those on the sixth and fifth levels were barely aware of it; those in the lower regions had more time to catch sight of it and wonder at what new mystery had come into their midst.
By the time it reached the first level, the coconut was traveling at an alarming velocity, and even from their lofty perch the three men could hear the resounding CRACK it made as it struck the stone floor of the courtyard. They could see it bounce some eight feet back up into the air, but it was so small from where they stood that it was impossible to tell if it had been broken open or even damaged.
Aragorn stood and turned to the others. "Gentlemen, let us go see how we have fared."
They arrived at the first level some time later, to find a small crowd gathered. Irolas, the Captain of the Guards, was there with a few of his men, and when Aragorn and the others arrived they were stunned to see him holding the coconut, still very much intact.
"Your Majesty!" Irolas said upon Aragorn's arrival, squaring his long blue velvet cape on his shoulders and facing his King with his usual utmost decorum as he held out the coconut to him. "I trust the orders were carried out to your satisfaction?"
Aragorn tried not to look too disappointed as he accepted the coconut. "Yes, thank you, Captain, you have done your duty to perfection as always."
Irolas smiled as he straightened, his long blonde hair blowing slightly in the warm wind. "It was no trouble, Sire, the people were most cooperative," he reported. "And you'll be happy to see that despite the long fall, your...object...sustained no damage."
The King nodded, unable to muster the slightest bit of false joy. "Yes."
Irolas' dark brows knit a little in confusion. "It is a most curious thing," he continued. "Is it a new weapon? It seems well nigh impenetrable, to fall from such a height and sustain not a mark. I believe it did crack a paving stone, though..."
Faramir smiled and clapped his old friend on his velvet-covered shoulder. "I shall explain all when we meet for our weekly ale," he promised. "Right now, I believe we're going out to the river."
The Captain seemed to accept this and nodded, giving Faramir a smile and the two Kings a proper salute before returning to his duties. As the crowd melted away, the three men stepped aside, Aragorn gazing at the coconut in his hands in defeat.
"Shall I saddle the horses, my King?" asked Faramir, clasping his hands behind his back and regarding Aragorn with a slight smile.
Aragorn sighed and shook his head. "No; let us return to the throne room. I believe we have exerted ourselves on this enough for now, and perhaps in the solitude there we may come up with another plan."
Eomer and Faramir agreed to this, and they began their journey back to the utmost level, not failing to hear the comments of the people over the unusual event that had just transpired.
"Be careful where you go," they heard one newly-arrived man say as they passed through the first archway into the second story. "Some fool's throwing rocks off the top level!"
The throne room was bathed in the orange-gold light of the setting sun as the three men took their leisure and contemplated the events of the day. Aragorn sat slouched upon the white throne, head resting on one fisted hand, staring glumly at the coconut which now rested on its box. At the base of the stairs leading to the white throne was the black throne of the Steward, upon which Faramir sat in a similar attitude, one finger gently stroking his chin as he stared at the defiant fruit. Eomer sat next to him on the steps, his own expression towards the coconut one of simple, open hatred.
"I have come to a conclusion, my friends," said Aragorn finally, in a weary voice. "It is a coconut of Morgoth."
"'Tis a shame we do not have Gimli's axe," mused Faramir. "I wager the Dwarves could fashion a tool to shatter it."
"Or we could go to the remains of Isengard and see if Saruman left any of that fire-powder behind," suggested Eomer.
Faramir peered over at him. "If we use that powder on it, there will be nothing left of it to eat," he observed.
A fearsome gleam burned in Eomer's eyes. "I don't want to eat it," he said with a growl. "I want to destroy it."
"So this is where you all are! Eowyn and I were about to dispatch a search party for you."
A woman's voice echoed through the large hall, and the three men looked up to see two graceful feminine forms wafting down the long polished walkway towards them. Both were tall and beautiful; the human woman was strikingly fair, her golden hair flowing down her back as she walked, while the other was an Elven woman of regal bearing and timeless beauty, her own dark hair intricately styled in the manner of her people.
Faramir and Eomer both smiled and got to their feet at once.
"Ah, my love," said the King, rising with a tired smile as well and descending the marble stairs while holding his hand out to the Elven woman, "my apologies, the hour has grown late. We have all been involved in-well, you might call it a diplomatic matter."
"It must have most trying, to wear the three of you out so," said the Elven woman in a deep, musical voice, a smile playing across her lips. She held her hand out to Aragorn, who gladly took it upon reaching the bottom of the stairs.
"You have no idea," murmured Faramir as he took the hands of the fair golden-haired woman and kissed her cheek. "I shall be sure to bore you with the details over dinner, darling."
"I'm certain Eowyn and I will hardly be bored," Arwen assured them, noticing the coconut. "Did your adventure involve this?"
"Indeed it did, Your majesty," said Eomer with a bow. "Although I would warn you against touching it. It appears to have a malevolent life of its own."
"Very unusual," noted Eowyn as she parted her hand from Faramir and picked up the coconut, turning it over and examining it. "Is it some sort of rock?"
Aragorn pursed his lips. "It is a gift of good faith from Harad," he said tightly. "It is said to be food, but no craft we can devise seems capable of rendering it edible. It has been thrown to the paving stones, struck with Anduril, shot at with arrows, and tossed from a height of seven hundred feet, yet remains as whole as before."
"Hmmm," said Arwen, studying the coconut in Eowyn's hands before looking around. "And is that other box from Harad as well?"
The King blinked. "Other box?"
"Yes." She nodded in a fluid motion to the pillar where they had found the original package. "That one there."
The three men looked. There was indeed another box, identical to the first, somewhat hidden behind the pillar.
Taken aback, Aragorn looked at his equally bewildered comrades, then drew his knife and went to the box.
"I confess I do not know, my sharp-eyed Queen," replied Aragorn as he drew the parcel from its hiding place and kneeled to cut it open. "I would have sworn upon Elendil's tomb that there was only one box here earlier."
Swiftly the box was opened, and its contents proved identical to that of the first gift, including two folded pieces of parchment lying atop the red folded wrappings. These Faramir plucked out, unfolded and quickly read, his expression growing more chagrined with each passing second.
"And what do the letters say, my learned Steward?" asked Aragorn from his kneeling position. There was a tinge of dread in his voice.
Faramir coughed. "Ah. Well, they would, ah, seem to be...a set of recipes of how to prepare and consume the coconuts, and...er...explicit instructions on how to open them." He paused and glanced up, somewhat abashed. "I suppose we found the wrong box first."
Eomer heaved an embarrassed sigh, but said nothing.
After a pause, Aragorn stood and replaced the wooden lid of the box. "It is a lesson in trust, I believe," he said. "I should have known the Harad would not send a gift of good will without making certain we could enjoy it." he took Arwen's hand and kissed her warmly. "My thanks for rescuing our sanity, Queen of Gondor."
Eowyn bent down and replaced the first coconut back on the wooden box. "Oh, I don't know," she said merrily, straightening and giving them all an amused look, most of all her brother, "I'm wagering you three rather enjoyed testing your martial skills against this wily opponent. From the dents and scrapes on its surface, it looks as though you gave it a good pounding, at least."
"Well, it was a unique experience," admitted Eomer with a nod. "We may put it to good use, if we ever run across an enemy force armed with coconuts."
Faramir had been studying the recipes, and now looked up. "Now that the mystery has been solved, my liege, I'll send someone to take these boxes down to the palace kitchen. I confess these recipes sound quite intriguing, and they appear to be a most versatile food."
"Can it be pulverized?" asked Eomer, still regarding the coconut with mild annoyance. "I admit I should like to see this one crushed into as many tiny pieces as possible."
Faramir looked over the list. "It would seem so," he muttered. "It can also be turned into milk, shredded, boiled, desiccated...hmmm, desiccated coconut, that's an odd-sounding phrase, isn't it?"
The King of Gondor stepped forward, his arm around his wife. "Now perhaps, speaking of food, we should go prepare for dinner," he said. "This afternoon's exertions have increased the royal appetite, and I believe we have all earned ourselves a good meal."
"By all means," replied Faramir, putting the letter away and taking Eowyn's hand. Eomer was in accord as well, and together the small party began walking from the throne room into the warm summer twilight.
As the three men continued to discuss the events of the day, Eowyn turned to Arwen who walked beside her and said in a low voice, "It sounds as if they've had quite the adventure with that coconut, doesn't it?"
The Elven Queen nodded, smiling gently. "Yes, it does," she replied in a hushed voice.
There was a pause.
"I suppose we should wait to show them the pineapples the Easterlings sent over."
Arwen nodded, still smiling. "Yes, I'd say that would be best. They have had enough unusual fruit experiences for one day."
They stepped out of the throne room and were gone, leaving the battered coconut behind still sitting atop the wooden box. It might have only been a trick of the dimming light, but if one looked closely, one could almost detect an air of mute triumph in its round black eyes.
But surely this was merely an illusion.