DAY SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY NINE
By the time we went into camp last night, the view of our surroundings was cut off by a thick fog. Or they may have been clouds, given our elevation.
This morning, whether it was clouds or fog, they had all dissipated under the gaze of the rising sun. And we could then see the lake winking at us far below.
The way ahead was more difficult, narrowing down to a mere track. Beside us water splashed down the rock bed of the ever present brook.
I looked ahead and could see Tomas stopped on a precipice. And guessed the destination our army companions.
Flashes of white behind Tomas drew my eye to a glacier on the next mountain peak.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY
Lung and Mei parted company from us midday. I thought I detected a little reluctance on the part of Mei to do so.
As I thought, their destination was the glacier on this mountain. They will survey the feasibilities of getting the water locked within, down the mountain to their tanker trucks.
The Captain told me that he saw a flamethrower in the pack that Lung was carrying. He lamented to me that he hoped that they knew what they were doing.
We kept on our way with frequent backward glances. And soon we could no longer make out the figures of our former companions trekking up the mountain, for our trail took us around and down the other side.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY ONE
Tomas had been making as many trips back down the trail as forward. A fact that had not escaped Elijah’s notice.
Tomas just returned from a long absence in the rear and Elijah stopped him before he could set off into the advance again. Instead he dispatched him to trace our path all the way back to wherever Lung and Mei may be.
I accompanied him. And Elijah and the Captain set up camp to wait.
We came to the brook, a torrent of rushing water. And there ran into Lung descending off of the mountain. He begged us to return with him to help rescue Mei. She had slipped into a crevasse they had opened accidentally with the flamethrower.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY TWO
When we reached Mei, Lung estimated that she had slipped deeper into the crevasse since his absence.
We could see the problem right off. Her wedged backpack was pulling her down, even as the crack opened more.
Tomas wasted no time and descended to her. An agony of minutes passed before he could free her from the dead weight. But as soon as he did, we pulled them both up.
We had no respite to savor the moment, for Mei urged us to depart immediately. That whole section of the glacier she felt was in danger of collapse.
So we ended up back with Elijah and the Captain today.
We had to restrain Lung from returning back down the mountain.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY THREE
We finally relented, and allowed Lung to go back down the trail, accompanied by Tomas. They reported that the trail was washed out by the force of the water from the glacier. And that a huge chunk of the glacier had cascaded down to a lower elevation.
Still, Lung desires to get back to his unit with this intelligence. And to see if any of the runoff has made its way down to the lake.
Elijah advised him to continue on with us until another way down can be found.
At the same time, Mei let it be known that she does not want to return.
This caught Lung completely by surprise.
We put further discussion aside and continued on.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR
Lung was continually on the lookout for another way down. Elijah assigned the Captain to stay by his side and save him from any rash action.
This has been made easier by the loss of both soldiers’ weapons back on the glacier. I judge we would not have been able to do so otherwise.
Elijah has kept Mei to himself all day. They have remained aloof, keeping their conversation only to themselves. Though I know for sure what they are discussing by her attention to Tomas each time he returns from his scouting.
I believe it will fall to me to talk to Tomas. Certain things he will have to do in the future require that he forgo others now.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FIVE
Waited all day for an opportunity to talk to Tomas alone. I would have accompanied him on one of his jaunts, but didn’t want to leave Elijah and the Captain without my support. Lung has been outwardly calm, yet I can tell agitation is festering just below the surface. Every step is taking us further and further away from his unit. If only he would talk to Elijah again. Lung has been avoiding him ever since the glacier.
Thankfully, Tomas brought word of another path branching off this one. He is certain it will take Lung back down. If not to the lake, at least to the desert.
I also decided to put off my talk with Tomas until tomorrow.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY SIX
Lung parted from our little band this morning. He made one last attempt to persuade Mei to return with him. But she was adamant about remaining with us.
Lung accepted her decision at the last, and even offered to report that she had perished back at the glacier.
I, however, suggested he merely report that they had been separated and that he had no knowledge where she was.
I believe he understood the gist of my comment, and hope to trust in his discretion. Though I have a nagging doubt where Lung is concerned.
Mei spent the day with the Captain. He had a lot to share about Tomas.
I went out with our young friend for a long conversation.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN
Tomas went about his normal duties today. His self imposed ones as I think about it. Withal not unappreciated.
Our talk yesterday was mutually beneficial. We were both relieved that we were thinking along the same lines. If anything he was more aware of his calling than any of us gave him credit for. He was grateful for my understanding and support.
He was very concerned that Mei not feel rejected. I was able to assure him that Elijah has been hard at work helping her to see and experience that she is welcome, and the Captain has informed me that her eyes are opening to the reality of Hamashiach.
And I wonder what the Spirit’s plan is for Mei.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT
Our attention was driven to another topic today – the cold. We are so thankful for the extra clothing that the Supreme Commander had ordered for us. We kept moving as the best means to combat it, lingering long in those areas we could stay out of the wind.
From each respite we pushed on in silence. Something easy to do, for we wrapped our heads, covering our mouths.
I had a lot of time to think as we went along. I have a growing burden – to talk with Mei, and relay to her some small insights that should help her through the days ahead.
I am thankful for this time to formulate my ideas into a cohesive and comprehensive expression.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY NINE
We are descending. Not from the mountains, that is certain. Just into a space at a lower elevation than the peaks around. And signs of habitation therein raises our curiosity.
Even now Tomas has left us to see what he can see. The Captain advises again to go around rather than through.
I walked and talked with Mei all day. She laid bare her heart and even now holds out hope. This despite word from all quarters, save Tomas himself for he has been avoiding her.
I intend to speak to Elijah about this, but I am sure he will tell me that it is up to Tomas to make his intentions clear.
Thus the torture continues for poor Mei.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY
Tomas brought back a lot of intelligence about the habitation in the clearing. We sifted through it, point by point before making our decisions.
The habitation is marked by signs of the presence of the world government. Tomas saw their flag at the entrance on the far side of the compound. So, the Captain’s advice seemed most appropriate.
There is a very good road leading out of this area upon which Tomas had observed tanker trucks. Thus Stan and his people have the same idea as the Supreme Commander’s army.
And so, we will have to steer clear of that access. More’s the pity.
We wait again while Tomas searches another exit.
All of us, including Mei live in hope.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY ONE
We had to dodge a patrol last night that was coming towards our position. We used the situation to skirt around the compound in the opposite direction with our ultimate goal a track Tomas said we could use instead of the main road.
We rested the remainder of the night safe from view.
The track took us by a lake fed by mountain streams. On the far side two tanker trucks were backing in to fill up. A third waited its turn.
At the sight of them Elijah called a halt. This applied to Tomas too.
While the Captain kept watch, I thought it an appropriate time for our two young people to dispel the tension.
So they did, quietly.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY TWO
Our two young people talked freely, so freely that the Captain and I excused ourselves and left them to Elijah to chaperone. Feelings were expressed on both sides and each was gratified by those mutual yearnings. But as Tomas emphatically explained it, the times were such that any normal relationship was impossible.
So with the new day Tomas was again looking after every one’s well being. He lead us out by the road from the lake having ascertained its safety. We made good time and at the approach of any intruders, he had us well hidden.
Mei appears non-phased by it all. In fact, I sense a subtle change in her demeanor. She seeks to serve each of us.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY THREE
This day it seems we have spent more time off the road than on it. For the traffic has increased the farther west we travel. Tanker trucks mostly. But also some army convoys.
Their presence upsets Mei, for she fears it means that her comrades in the army are cut off or surrounded. In any event it doesn’t bode well.
Elijah is concerned that our westward drift is taking us away from our desired destination. So he has instructed Tomas to seek out a more northerly route.
With an expected full moon tonight, he is preparing to do just that.
Mei and the Captain put together our evening meal. And noticeably Tomas’ portion was double that of any one else.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR
Tomas did find another path. We have taken it and left behind the busy road and its dangers. It is pointed due north and looks to keep true to that orientation.
Early on I remarked to Elijah that the terrain we were passing through looked familiar. He replied that there was a good reason for my recognition of our surroundings. And stated that we were on the approaches to the place in the north we had visited by the power of the Spirit many months ago.
The memory of that time flooded me with peace. We had been there less than a span of a day, yet it was unforgettable.
And I’ll never forget Jordan’s astonishment at our sudden return.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE
A bone weary day, with lots of ground covered, despite some down time when Tomas brought word of an army patrol. We hid easily while they passed us by.
I am sure they were looking for sources of water and not for us or their enemy.
Later, down the trail we crossed a footbridge that spanned a narrow gorge. Water rushed within its course far below.
I assume the leader of the patrol took one look and gave up on this path. There’s just no getting a tanker truck close to this source. They’ll probably find an easier access to it somewhere else.
At day’s close, Elijah predicted that sometime tomorrow we will definitely arrive at our destination up ahead.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY SIX
And so it came to pass. We were standing in the same spot where Elijah exhorted and taught the gathered followers of Hamashiach. But this time we were talking to Jordan, our friend, from far to the south and so long ago.
He had come down to meet us and conduct us up the last snowy reaches to this way station encampment.
I congratulated him for I knew that his presence here could only be due to the influence of the Spirit. And he thanked me and then added that he was so glad, for he had been told by the Spirit to expect us.
I made the introductions to the other members of our troop.
Mei was decidedly impressed.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN
A busy day for all. A large contingent of the camp spent the day with Elijah at the request of Jordan. Since Jordan has been here he has sent many groups off on the next leg of the journey to Jerusalem.
Word has passed down from all the groups that have collected here from out of the northern countries about the guidance that Elijah had shared on that one singular occasion. They were all eager to hear from the man himself.
He did not disappoint. Even the Captain and Tomas were riveted by his words. And Mei came to me with an enlarged understanding. And with many more questions.
When the camp took up their duties she met with Elijah.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY EIGHT
After seeing the latest group off, Elijah and I sat down with Jordan for a long talk. We asked about his trip here, and then about the conditions in the countries from which the followers were fleeing.
It was a dark, dark picture. Persecution, torture, and death.
When I think back on our wanderings I consider how well we have been protected and cared for.
Jordan’s journey was attended by war and conflict as brought by the world government in subjugating all the local regions within their reach. In town after town capitulated to the mark, they await secretly the great army from the East as their liberator.
But as Jordan reads it they just want to be lords themselves.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY NINE
Tomas hasn’t known what to do with himself the past few days. I suggested he avail himself of one of the places set apart around the camp for times of meditation.
This was all news to him. He explained that he usually prayed as he scouted. And he missed that time out by himself with the Spirit. But he has hesitated going beyond the bounds of the camp here on that pursuit, seeing that no one else did.
He wishes now he had asked someone at the beginning. I agreed with him saying that we often don’t find what we’re looking for, when we don’t ask.
Later the Captain sought Elijah and me to talk about our departure for Jerusalem.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY
That question has been foremost in all our minds, from the minute we stepped foot in the confines of this way station. Jordan, ever since his arrival here, has always felt that he would be the last to leave. But now after the event of our arrival, has changed his mind.
And Elijah agrees.
So, Jordan has announced his departure for tomorrow. We will stay.
Though at first, the Captain and Tomas considered leaving with Jordan’s group, that was opposed by none other than Mei.
Her decision stems from a dream she experienced over the last two nights. In each instance all of us – just our group, were outside under the moon and stars. And a dark shadow passed overhead.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY ONE
I puzzled over the meaning of Mei’s dream. Even after Elijah pronounced it sound advice. Right up until the time that Jordan led the last group out of the way station. It was then that understanding dawned in a rush.
Our small group will remain behind to cover the tracks of Jordan and his people, and hold off any pursuit.
I couldn’t say for sure from what quarter they will come at us. Yet I strongly suspected that we needed to watch the skies.
When silence fell over the camp after Jordan’s departure, Elijah put us to work dismantling all the rigid structures.
By day’s end we had progressed markedly in making the way station disappear. Mei proved very helpful.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY TWO
The majority of the camp structures have been dismantled. All that remains are our personal tents. And those can be gotten up in minutes.
Tomas, with our blessing, has surveyed the immediate vicinity, paying particular attention to the trail taken by Jordan’s people. He thinks he can obliterate all marks of their passage by precipitating an avalanche in that area. But he wants to find another way out for us first.
The Captain with Mei’s help has gathered everything combustible into one big pile. When we set it ablaze, if visible by our foes, it should focus their attention away from Jordan and place it square on us.
Elijah feels ready to rely on the Spirit’s capacity to defend us.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY THREE
Mei made the sighting. She was watching the skies, but was drawn to flashes on the ridge line far to the east of us. When I looked I thought it was the water survey party we passed a few days ago.
So it was good that we were all set to leave. Tomas had covered the tracks of Jordan’s group per the plan and had selected another path away from the area.
On Elijah’s order we torched the pile of debris and stepped out again for points north on a trail that must have been used by those fleeing from that direction.
Tomas stayed with the group to help us over the tricky parts.
We should have a solid lead.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR
The first part of our journey has been very difficult. Steep and challenging, especially for Elijah. Though no complaint passed his lips.
Mei kept guard behind us. I think she would fling herself at anyone who would dare follow us.
From our vantage this morning we could make out three groups coalescing on the path for that footbridge over the gorge.
We have the advantage of a couple days on them, maybe more by tomorrow.
And more good news, Jordan’s group was nowhere in sight. Nor could Tomas see them from the heights further on, where he has found the perfect spot for us to pass the night in safety.
That is, if we can get there before night falls.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE
We set up camp in the dark last night. It took us that long to reach the spot designated by Tomas.
It was a comfortable place in many respects. In fact we may have waited til sunup before rising if it had not been for Mei giving the alarm.
She rousted us all after waking from a dream in which drones were descending upon us. Her dream was reality.
Elijah calmed and held us in place. “Let them get a look at us,” he said.
When they ringed us, he raised his staff and they tumbled out of the sky.
With no sign of pursuit visible on the ground behind us, we broke camp and took to the trail again.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY SIX
Our path has become easier. More level. And word from Tomas reported that a descent to a mountain valley lies ahead.
Still no pursuers visible behind us. But we can’t shake the feeling that someone is back there.
In a couple instances, Mei dropped behind to observe, but each time the trail remained empty.
She talked most of the time with the Captain.
He later told me that she was fixated on Elijah’s staff. At the first, he recounted the times that he had witnessed great deeds with it in Elijah’s hands, but then he realized she was forming a wrong idea about the two.
So he sent her to Elijah who gladly dispelled the false notions she was forming.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY SEVEN
We were hopeful that our pursuers had given up. Or perhaps even lost and off on the wrong track.
Thus we were thinking as we entered this mountain valley. Strange to see such rich pasturage on either hand, and no flocks being shepherded. In fact it seemed untouched, as though undiscovered. But surely that could not be the case, for many groups of Hamashiachites must have crossed this very meadow.
Mei came to me in the afternoon. She was troubled, but not about what troubled me. She had dreamed again last night about the dark shadow coming between us and the moon and stars.
Unlike before, the telling of her dream raised the hackles on the back of my neck.
DAY SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY EIGHT
We left the valley, but not for long. Tomas came to tell us that the trail ahead comes to an abrupt end. It was just fine when he checked yesterday. Now a cliff marks the end of the trail’s usefulness.
We returned to the valley to seek a new way out.
I stayed with Elijah and prayed while the others split up to better cover the possibilities.
Our focus was still northward, but if we were to exhaust all possibilities in that direction Elijah would prefer a westward trail that angles north.
At day’s end we collected for the night and compared notes. Two likely paths were also blocked.
Our concern is growing that an unseen agency is opposing us.
ONTO MONTH TWENTY SEVEN