There was this legend known a long time ago—at the time when the Kings and Emperors of different prosperous lands would send out their soldiers on a voyage for a quest to discover and conquer unknown lands—about a small uninhabited island that no one could conquer.
Now, this legend was lost and not heard anymore by today’s generation for it was not documented nor written in any history or literary book, nor was it encouraged to be talk about at that time when it was still popularly yet secretly known, for the curious reason that many believed that the legend itself was enchanted.
The legend is about a small mysterious and uninhabited island, which many believed to be enchanted, found at the heart of where the Sea of East and the Sea of West meets. It was said that many Kings and Emperors had attempted to conquer this mysterious land but all efforts went to failure. There was even a rumour that there was this single instance that the Kingdoms who used to fight each other had decided to unite their forces and had sent only their best voyagers and soldiers in order to claim this land. But again, whether the rumour was true or not, all went to failure.
One of the strangest things in this legend was that the people sent for this quest would all just return to their homeland, in complete numbers, unwounded and unharmed, but clearly defeated. How their families and friends learned to know they were defeated was not told. Maybe, it was seen in their eyes, or the slouching gait of what used to belong to proud and undefeatable soldiers, or in the mysterious air that hung to them—the kind that tells you that someone had already met someone greater than him.
And no one, even their wives, mothers or the most charming of their daughters could extract any information about what they had seen in the land or how the battles had went. They would all just shrug their shoulders when asked, and you would see in their eyes that faraway dreamy look, and then they would sulk again the whole day in one corner. Soon, the wives, the mothers, and the daughters learned better not to ask about that land again, and soon enough too, the soldiers and all the people included in those voyages were back to their feet, but not quite the same like what they used to be before the quest. For the mysterious air that the land gave them had never quite leave them until they had died.
This mysterious land was soon dubbed as the ‘Unspeakable Land of East and West,’ which was later shortened as ‘UL’ (pronounced as how you would say ‘ul’ in bull). After a while, the Kings and Emperors also learned not to waste their time, efforts, and good soldiers for something like a small uninhabited land, where they were not even sure if it contains any gold and precious minerals. So they abandoned their pursuit of conquering or even sending their soldiers to UL, except for one King.
This king was a young, impulsive, yet kind-hearted king named King Gavin. He was just recently enthroned after his father died of old age, when the second troops of soldiers his father sent to UL returned defeated. He questioned all the soldiers, but they would not speak about what had happened. He tried to understand the soldiers’ plight and ceased asking about UL, as he saw how the soldiers were affected so much by the memory of it, and assigned them instead to a different military task. However, as what happened to all warriors who went to UL, the soldiers wanted to quit being a soldier. This infuriated the young king, but as he was such an understanding and kind king, he let the soldiers live a civil life.
However, King Gavin could not sleep most of the nights because of thinking about the Unspeakable Land. He was very curious (as all boys at his age) at what wonders or terrors the land might have. So one night, he sneaked to the room of his younger brother, and left a letter while his brother was sleeping, and then he secretly set on a journey towards the Unspeakable Land.
No one has ever heard about what had really happened to King Gavin, for he had never returned unlike the other soldiers who went to UL. Most said that he might have died on the journey, or captured by the pirates, or attacked by the whales or worst the Sea Serpent, or was lost in the sea. No one dared to speak about the Unspeakable Land, because they would rather learn that their King died in a noble way or even in an unfortunate way as long as it was through normal way of their times and not through some mysterious enchanted power of a land.
But those who knew the real reason—the soldiers who had been in the land of UL—had kept their mouth shut, but they rejoiced secretly at night whenever there was no moon, and admired more their King Gavin because they knew that their king had done what they could not do. Now, no one knows (except the soldiers who wouldn’t speak even after threatened) what the King Gavin had really done that the soldiers could not. That’s why this story was not passed on to generations and there were lots of missing pieces, because those who really knew it by heart never dared to speak about it.
Today, no one knows whether the Unspeakable Land of East and West still exists on Earth, or whether it really belonged on Earth, or whether it vanished the same way that King Gavin was never seen again, or whether this story really did happen.
:: This is my entry for Flash Fiction Friday: F3—War is Hell edition. You might have noticed that this is not your usual war story for the tales of war itself was missing.