"I don't want to worry you, your majesty, but it's been like this since the last visit of the Orlesians..."

Queen Miranda was pacing next to Eamon rapidly towards the royal apartments. "How long has he been in there?"

"This time? Since early yesterday evening. He ran from dinner and ordered the... items from the kitchens to be sent to him directly. He's been in there ever since. Last time.... when he emerged.... well..." the chancellor's face looked deeply troubled. "It took us a staff of twenty to get the rooms back into their original state."

"If only I hadn't been busy with the Dwarven delegation!" she exclaimed.

"To be honest, your majesty, I'm not sure your presence would have helped. He's like a man possessed."

They reached the door of the royal chambers. Miranda could hear the sounds from within even through the old oak doors. She motioned for Eamon to leave her. "Sorry, my friend," she said. "But I believe it would be better if I went in alone."

Eamon looked relieved and turned to go.

She listened for a few moments to the murmurings of her husband "Yes.. yes I know. I will always love you. But can't a man have different tastes every now and then? You know I'll always come back to you..."

She took a deep breath, and opened the door.

Alistair was sitting in the middle of the room, surrounded by empty packets and some full ones. He held a single block of gruyere in his hand and was talking to it lovingly. However, the detritus around him was from his newest passion - the Orlesian invention brought by their delegation the previous month.

He looked up, his face covered in the remnants of his feast. "My love!" he exclaimed. "You simply MUST try this! It's better than cheese!"

Ahh, she thought. Chocolate!