Story for the day: Fruit
|Rautu does not like your stupid fruit|
It was a mystery as to why the Den Asaan had such a horror of fruit. Over the past many seasons he has spent in Diras, he had become more forbearing of their presence in his sweets, and though at first their appearance in anything placed before him was incommodious, he could bare the taste of some with tolerable dislike when melded with chocolate or baked in a cake. Mashed into a paste or a pudding and mixed with honey to mask the chief of the flavour was abided to some extent but sliced and placed on a plate before him was unquestionably not. There were certain fruits that won his favour over others. Apples when in pies were borne, cherries and peaches when pitted and drowned in sweet cream were deemed acceptable, and fruits that were dried and candied were allowed near his person but not near his disapproving mouth. Any fruit that bore even a faint hint of tartness was discarded and any infused with inseparable seeds, unless cooked in a jam, were vehemently dispatched.
His favourite chocolatier attempted once to introduce the notion of strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, but as many berries contained two of the abominable faults any amount of chocolate would not salvage them. Even those employed at Diras Delights with all their affable and good-humoured suggestions to their owner and patron could not persuade him to eat a chocolate orange or poached caramel pear. Lemon icing was even mildly objectionable to his decided palate, but the quandary was if he disliked the taste of fruit or if there were a disagreeable memory attached to one in particular, therefore making the whole insufferable.
At the leniency of all this, many were shocked to see the trade ships coming from the islands bearing a consignment of fruit. They did not believe that the Haanta had none on Sanhedhran but given the Den Asaan’s aversion to them, they should wonder if there were any he would sanction. His detestation of his people’s provisions was well understood and this only gave rise to the idea that perhaps Frewyn had succeeded in turning the giant’s decisive and unforgiving heart in a direction he never believed he would take.
The commander was as well astonished to see fruits entering the Diras Bay by the barrel and spied the particular provisions with concerned inquisitiveness.
“May I ask what type of fruit this is?” she said to her mate, lifting one of the round green and red fruits from the crates.
Rautu treated the appearance of the fruit with cold stares. “That is the Gondantha,” he said with disdain. “It is a fruit that grows on western portion of Sanhedhran.”
The commander inspected it from all sides, remarking the subtle change in colour as it was turned. “Is the peel edible?”
Before the Den Asaan could make all the usual warnings against eating such a fruit, the commander bit into it with a hearty satisfaction. She hummed at its sweetness and succulence and characterized it with a similar class of fruits that had come from Lucentia every summer.
“This is delicious,” she exclaimed, taking another bite.
“My people do not eat them.”
The commander gave her mate a suspicious glare. “Shall I ask why?
“Because they are poisonous-“ His admission was interrupted by his mate who immediately upon hearing this important stipulation spat what was left in her mouth of the Gondantha into the bay. “In large amounts,” the Den Asaan continued.
The commander cleaned her mouth and tossed the remainder of the sumptuous yet precarious fruit into the waters below. “May I ask which one of your brothers goaded you into eating one?” she said, wiping her lips.
“None of them.”
“You ate one of them on your own volition? Unlike you to not be suspicious of a fruit that nobody will eat.”
“I was desperate,” Rautu contended.
“Had you not eaten in one hour or two?”
The Den Asaan gave her a flat look. “The first time we were made to eat Phoraas after we were instated was unbearable for me. I had never tasted something so unpleasant,” he said, wincing at the remembrance. “After a few bites, I could eat no more. I buried it in the sand and decided I would rather starve than eat another Phoraas.”
“Somehow the notion of you willingly starving yourself is catastrophic,” the commander said smilingly. “How long did your heroic efforts last?”
“Until evening,” Rautu groaned. “I found a Gondantha tree and ate one of the fruits. I enjoyed the taste and believed my people thought it was detrimental due to the sweetness. I ate another. I was still well so to appease my hunger, I ate one more. I had not finished it when the poison began to affect me.”
“How ill were you?”
Rautu placed his hand upon his forehead and sighed. “I have never been that ill since,” he said in a quiet agony. “Even when Otenohi poisoned me I was not that ill. I crawled to the Ankhimari where I was treated for some time.” Rautu fleered. “She told me I would be well prepared for the Amghari resistance training.”
The commander smirked and shook her head at her mate. “If these fruits are so unfavorable for one’s health, why are they here?”
“They contain a substance needed to make the sealant for our letters. That sealant is also used as mortar for our temples and homes.”
“How industrious of your people to take one thing so disagreeable and from it create something so constructive. I daresay we can learn from the Haanta example.” The commander pursed her lips and made the remark only to provoke her mate into replying with a disparaging comment of how Frewyn could learn much in the way of efficiency but the giant was too occupied with the memory of his illness and remained silent while he stared at the hateful fruit.