The Bishop rides into the castle courtyard...
The candles are burning long into the night in the Grand Duke of TransSyldavia's castle as the Duke and his cabinet wrestle with the problem of Hungarian manouvres, Pan-Serbian nationalism, Austrian manipulations and Dukely ambition.
"Are we sure the Hungarians will attack"
"No, my Liege, but if they do not, the Serbs will attack them, and will claim that we have shirked our responsibility in Balkan resistance to the yoke and if they succeed, no doubt some ambitious Serb lordling will decide he can ryle us better than you"
"And the Austrians - will they assist us?"
"Unlkely my Liege, though they may send money if we attack the Hungarians"
"Do we have the men to defend TransSyldavia"
"Not immediately my Liege, we have your own Zoauves, the TransSyldavian Grenz regiment will fight for us of course, the State Artillery is ready, our 1st and 2nd Battalions of Infantry and the Cavalry are being readied from winter quarters and we are calling up the City Militia, but that still leaves us woefully short in the short term. Also, we don't want to alarm the population over nothing, so calling up a general rising out is not yet a good plan".
Just then a horse clattered into the castle courtyard, and an unmistakeable deep bass boom sounded "I must see the Duke urgently"
"Oh no", groaned the Duke of TransSyldavia, "not Bishop Nevamakalos! What does the Mad Monk of the Mountains want now?"
The doors crashed open and in came the Very Bearded Bishop, swatting at the courtiers with his staff, his ivory handled pistols in his belt and his Bible close to his heart (it had already stopped more than one bullet).
"Duke" he boomed "the men of the mountains tell me the Hungarians are on the borders"
"Men Of The Mountains" sputtered the Duke - "If you mean those bandits, bashirs and bashi bazouks you call your flock...."
"Now Now Duke" said the Bishop "banditry is all in the past, they are all honest men now, ever since my grandfather Don Dharko was made Baron"
The Duke started to sputter some more, but the Bishop cut him off....
"Anyway, I know you don't have the men to head them off, but if I railled the Faithful of the mountains" the Bishop raised his eyes piously to the ceiling "we could easily get 2-3 battalions worth of mountain men in weeks, if not days. And God favours the big battalions"
The Duke was still sputtering but General Dinamic cut him off "Splendid idea, my dear Bishop. And I take it that the mountain men will fight for TransSyldavia, Freedom, and keeping whatever they find"
"God helps those who help themselves" beamed the Bishop.
The Duke was about to sputter again, but realised that the Bishop and his bandits on his side meant troops, now, and forced his best Dukely smile.
"Splendid - do take some of this rather good wine with us, my dear Bishop. Bulls Blood, I believe it is called"
"That would do nicely" said the Bishop."To the Mountain Men - long may they defend TransSyldavia from knaves and rogues"
"To the Mountain Men"
"Of course, my Duke", murmured the Bishop, mounting his horse "after this little affaire, I am sure you will support me in my bid to become Archbishop of TransSyldavia"
The Duke groaned, and nodded.....