La Zone Grise: A Short History
Any cartographer worth their salt will admit that where roads and trails and coastlines are traced meaningfully from generation to generation, within the interior all lines eventually become broken and dotted until there is nothing but a large vast…
…well nothing. When asking their elders about the space in the maps, they would be told simply that nobody has ever been there.
Extravagance, as seen in some of the royal maps, often adorned these lands with monsters and magic, and elaborate drawings of folk heroes slaying exotic beasts. Others, more practical for merchants and travellers, simply referred to the blank parts as, “La Zone Grise,” and in some cases, “Blanc.” This changed very little over the years. Those who entered the area to explore found nothing but a barren expanse, devoid of life and detail; flat, hot, and dry.
“Not even the wind spends much time this place,” came reports from one eminent Italian explorer who set out to discover, what he described as, “The great forests of our childhood,” with a team of six donkeys and three Abyssinian guides. After two weeks, he was discovered walking on a beach with no trousers, no donkeys, no guides and only a small piece of Salami. The lack of water driving him along the edges of the expanse southwards to the ocean.
After this failure, most proposed exploration was greeted with derision by society and no respectable citizens would raise the subject in public. Instead, a period of rejection descended with many simply referring to the area as, “La Gris,” or in some cases, “La Terne.” With the emergence of industry, attention was turned away from the interior and outward to trade countries beyond the seas. This for some was convenient during state dinners, but caused embarrassment when raised by traders who frequently asked what was on the other side of the lands. Most were dismissed with comments about goat herders and wild men. Ultimately, La Terne became the official title for the area replacing all previous terms and used often in the derogatory sense when criticising things of little interest.
It is surprising this abject place within a land that boasted rising citadels and modern ports along it’s coasts existed until several months ago without so much of a mention in public. That is until someone walked into the capital claiming to have lived his life with a tribe of monks on the far side of La Terne. Speculation grew that now, with advanced technology, and equipment, it was possible to at last explore. Petitions for funding were hastily prepared and put to the banks and investors from other lands. La Terne became the next big thing.
Now there are thousands of pundits and speculators all prepared to entertain the public with articles in magazines and appearances on evening chat shows. Never before has so much interest in La Terne been seen. Traditionalists dismiss all mention of the place as fanciful youthfulness; a fad that will pass. Bureaucrats look to produce policy of governance over La Terne, fearing the creation of a haven for revolution.
La Terne has become the place of children’s bedtime stories; a place that lovers throw casually into hopelessly promiscuous lines of prose. La Terne is the cry of the unions and the oppressed.
“La Terne! La Terne!”
“Ce qui est revele!”
Stocks on the markets have started to rise and fall simply due to the uncertainty. Security is increased to give everyday life the impression of calm, smooth continuity. A Garrison has been posted on the perimeters of La Terne in case an army marches out to disable and crush the machine. Authors have taken up the old names again referring to La Zone Grise. They say that instability and uncertainty has always been, and that people simply chose to ignore it.
There is no certainty of the future except that the uncertainty will continue and get worse. Only one thing can be said for sure…
Until the Cartographers can produce their maps and continue the roads and borderlines into La Zone Grise, there will be no peace here.
This entry was posted on 04/02/2011 by Supernova1987. It was filed under History, Maps, Political, Shorts and was tagged with Desert, History, indie writing, Maps, Political, reality, Short Stories, writers, writing.