January by the numbers continues (We’re in February now but hey)
From sauergeek‘s prompt Bombastic bishop blusters, bristles: a ficlet.
The Bishop of Bettenhurst had gotten his position in the usual manner – or at least, the usual manner for the Church of St. Besri, especially the Bishopric of Bettenhurst. That is, the previous Bishop had met an untimely end, and the current one had been closest to his mitre when that happened.
Now, normally in such situations, there was a reasonable grieving and transition period before anyone started thinking about jockeying for the position or moving underlings out of the way. In Bishop Bodrick’s case, however, the man was so bombastic, so obnoxious, so full of bluster and impossible to talk to, that the attempts to remove him began almost immediately.
The problem was, it did no good to get rid of the man if you couldn’t be close enough to grab the mitre, and nobody was getting close enough to this guy to touch his headgear. Bishop Bodrick wasn’t only blustery, he was bristly, and he had a staff composed entirely of lay people (who could not become Bishop no matter how many times they grabbed the hat) and Order of Saint Koben monks, who had sworn to never hold any position of authority. He was crafty, unfortunately, and cagey, and a little bit prone to catastrophizing, and he met fellow priests in a long, narrow hall with a very wide desk between them.
But he was so bad. He would stand in front of the populace of Bettenhurst, chest puffed out, and pontificate on this and that and everything. He would make up new regulations, regulations not ratified by the Pontiff or even the Cardinal, and he would declare harsh punishments for anyone who disobeyed. Soon, the parishioners of Bettenhurst lived in fear of new regulations and dreaded going to hear the Bishop speak. But that, of course, was required.
Something had to be done. Someone had to stop him. They whispered and they moaned about it, complained and muttered and plotted, but nobody did anything. Something had to be done. Someone ought to stop him.
The day he ordered that nobody leave Bettenhurst except with his express permission should have been the last straw. The day that he declared the fourth day of every week a holiday to his name should have been the last straw. The day he stopped all classes for a week so that he could re-write the entire curriculum, and ordered the children to spend the time off writing paeans to his name — those should have been the final straw.
The day he ordered the execution of a baker for spitting in the wrong direction, however, someone finally moved.
Lots of people moved, to be fair, screaming in the streets, rioting, leaving the city — overwhelming the guards, who were feeling not entirely sanguine about the whole matter anyway — tearing down banners to Bishop Bodrick’s honor, singing angry songs.
One monk of Saint Koben moves aside all of the anger and screaming and rioting and quietly stole the Bishop’s mitre and his vestments, his ring and his sceptre. He drugged the Bishop’s food and left the man — in baker’s whites and no shoes, no hat — sitting on a park bench an hour before curfew.
The symbols and trappings of a Bishop were found on a quiet priest’s bed, while that priest, like many in the Bishopric, also dozed in a drugged stupor.
Bishop Pace had quite a bit of mess to clean up, and could anyone really dun him for not looking too hard for his predecessor?
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