ON THIS DAY in 1284, the Grand Duke of Vernonia, a tiny principality just about halfway between here and there, mustered every citizen in his realm to march on Eupatorium, the capital city of his inveterate enemy King Wendell IV of the equally tiny Boltonia. This would be the decisive battle that would end decades of desultory war between the two little nations, and it was a battle that the Grand Duke was determined to win by force of superior numbers.
Leaving his own capital of Hieracium early in the morning and proceeding by an indirect route, the Grand Duke, with his army, reached Eupatorium by early afternoon prepared for a fierce battle.
No resistance, however, was offered; and when the motley army entered by the main gate, raising the Vernonian flag over the tower, they made the astonishing discovery that the city was deserted. A diligent search found no one anywhere. It appeared that the whole town had been suddenly vacated no earlier than that very morning.
Seized by a sudden and horrible premonition, the Grand Duke sent a fast messenger back to Hieracium at a gallop. In a few hours, the messenger returned with the news that the flag of Boltonia was flying over the city of Hieracium, and the city they had left deserted that very morning appeared to be filled with Boltonians.
Since that day the Grand Dukes of Vernonia have made a number of unsuccessful attempts to recapture their ancestral realm, as likewise have the kings of Boltonia; but the borders are better guarded these days, and nothing ever comes of it. Nevertheless, the border is still recognized as a flash point by UNSCOG (the United Nations Special Committee on Grudges), and if the population of either country should ever exceed the upper two digits, the Security Council might be persuaded to intervene.