Two be or not two be

Random words: horseback, apricot, dignitary, master, decipherer, condition, original, double, hibernation, social.

The dignitary came in on horseback.  As soon as I heard the hooves clatter on the stone courtyard I sent for the Master Decipherer.  I knew the dignitary carried an important missive from the Pope.  As I waited in the throne room, the fragrant apricot aroma from the fruit bowl nearby drifted past my royal person.  Together, the dignitary and the Master Decipherer were announced into the throne room.  I waved off the major domo and waited for him to close the massive wooden doors.

As soon as the lock clicked into place, I turned to the Master Decipherer and said, “Well, have you read the parchment yet?  We are impatient to hear the message from his Holiness the Pope.”

The Master Decipherer, ruffled, answered hesitatingly, “Uh, yes sire, I have.  It is most specific.  The condition set for the royal hibernation is, um, most original.”

I glared at him, “Continue!”

“Yes, your Majesty.    Um, as I said, the hibernation is to be most unusual, as it is to be, ahem, social.”

“Social?” I queried.  “Whatever does that mean? You are the Master Decipherer, are you not?

“Yes sire.”

“Well then, decipher!  How can a hibernation be social?”

The Master Decipher blushed and bent his head.  “Your Majesty, I believe his Holiness requires you to be, uh, wed before you go into your royal hibernation.  His Holiness said it was to be a double hibernation in order to ensure royal issue within the year.”

Incredulous, I replied, “That is blasphemy! I cannot believe that his Holiness the Pope would dare order me, the King of Altaria, to marry.  My person is holy and cannot be desecrated with carnal pleasures.  Why, that is the very purpose of the royal hibernation!”

I rapped my scepter on the flagstones summoning the Major Domo.  Before the doors had fully swung open, I barked, “Remove these offending persons from our presence immediately!”

Turning away, I walked stiffly to the open balustrade window.  Surveying the land before me, I vowed to never bow to the Pope’s demands.


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