Aragorn grimly surveyed the scene of chaos. The trade agreement on which he had laboured all morning was scattered across the floor, the parchment torn to shreds.
Eldarion’s puppy, Nimrodel stood beside Aragorn's desk, wagging her tail.
Aragorn called a servant and bade her summon his son.
A few minutes later Eldarion arrived. “You wanted to see me, ada?” he asked innocently. “ Ah, there is Nimrodel; I could not find her!” The puppy ran to him and licked his hand.
“And how did she come to be in my study?” Aragorn asked severely.
“Um, maybe the door was open,” Eldarion said evasively. He looked down, unable to meet his father’s stern gaze.
“A dog cannot open a closed door,” said Aragorn. “Look at me, Eldarion! There is nought to gain by studying your feet.”
“She must um have um followed me in here. I wanted to look at your model soldiers.” He gestured towards a collection of ornate bejewelled warriors that a visiting envoy had given his father.
“I have told you are not allowed in my study without permission,” said Aragorn. “ Just look at all the damage the pup has done! An important treaty – ruined!”
“Bad, bad dog!” Eldarion shouted at Nimrodel. The puppy whined and her tail drooped between her legs.
“You should not blame her,” Aragorn admonished his son.
“She chewed up your papers,” Eldarion replied, a trifle sulkily.
“Puppies do chew things, it is their nature,” said the King. ”However, if you had not disobeyed me by coming in here, you would not have led Nimrodel into trouble. Take her outside, then return and I will decide best how to punish you.”
“I am sorry, ada.” Eldarion blinked away a tear. He led Nimrodel from the room, his eyes downcast. It was hard to tell whether boy or pup looked guiltier.
Just then Faramir arrived, a parchment tucked under his arm. ”Whatever has happened here?” the Steward asked in dismay.
“Nimrodel decided to chew up the trade treaty with Rhûn,” Aragorn told him.” I had just spent three hours working on it.
“Maybe she is too high-spirited a pup for the Citadel,” Faramir lamented. "I regret not having chosen a quieter pup for the lad, but Nimrodel was the fairest and strongest of the litter."
“We would not be without her, mellon nîn, so do not blame yourself. She is a good-natured creature, just mischievous, as all younglings are. But what brings you here? I thought you were occupied with the City renovations today.”
“I am, but I thought of some new details to add to the treaty.” Faramir spread his parchment on the King’s desk. Aragorn perused it carefully. His features slowly relaxed into a smile.
“This treaty is far better worded than the one Nimrodel chewed!” the King beamed, clapping Faramir on the shoulder affectionately.
A few minutes later, Eldarion returned in a state of growing apprehension. “What is your will, ada?” he asked.
“Do I have your word you will not come in here without permission again?”
“Yes, ada, I promise.”
“I want you to sweep up this mess,” Aragorn said sternly. Then he smiled. ”Later, if you do it well, I will tell you the story of Huan, the greatest hound ever to live."
“Thank you ada!” Eldarion embraced his father then gladly set to work.
Outside in her kennel, as if sensing the young Prince’s relief, Nimrodel wagged her tail.