Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were signs of a recent occupation when we reached the village at the edge of the wilderness. But we didn’t realize just how much until we set out this morning.

One entire building was filled up with dead bodies, our attention drawn to it by a swarm of buzzing flies. A makeshift hospital I assumed, but Mr. Kagi called that into question when he observed that all of them wore the uniform of the army of the North. A detail that bore a more sinister connotation.

While Tomas and the Captain ranged ahead, picking a way for us off of the beaten path, Elijah walked with Mawuli.

Mr. Kagi and I marveled at the depth of the lad’s understanding.

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Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the redoubt empty and in disarray. It had been abandoned in a hurry. Whether it was to join the battle or to flee we didn’t know.

Mawuli and Tomas opted to keep vigil. Through the whole night.

But I took over at midnight and sent them in for a much deserved rest.

Actually there was nothing to watch or guard against. Save wild animals. And none put in an appearance.

Elijah led us out in the early morning. He wants to reach the village at the edge of the wilderness by tonight.

No matter how late.

Along the way the Captain shared a premonition. He doesn’t think he and Tomas will arrive at the hiding place with us.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When Mawuli failed to return over night, all of us went down to look for him. Vermin which had joined the scavenger birds slunk away at our passage. We found him on the far side of the valley on the one spot of ground not soaked in blood.

He said not a word as the Captain gathered him into his arms.

Rather than return to the heights right away we skirted the edge of the valley until we made out the stone bridge far above. Mawuli was recovered enough to walk on his own and he aided Elijah and myself. After a short search we located the stream bed and took the path that paralleled it up to the heights.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are bone weary, but alert. Throughout the slaughter of yesterday, either Tomas and myself, or the Captain and Mr. Kagi stood by Elijah and helped him hold his arms aloft.

What before our eyes whirled in ceaseless motion, finally settled into the stillness of death behind the passage of something the likes of which I can only describe as a wave. Leastways until the clouds of carrion birds arrived. Rising and falling at their whim and gorging themselves.

Mawuli was the only one of our number who desired to descend into the valley for a closer look.

We all know he seeks Stan. He did so, against my advice. And despite the Captain claiming to have seen him flee.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

None of us closed our eyes last night. We were too alive to the moment.
The silence of the night early gave way to the sounds of hasty preparation. While the first rays of light revealed rank upon rank of the opposing armies stretched out in endless lines.

The blood trickling down the rocky stream bed under the stone bridge was only the harbinger of what was to come, down in the valley.

Elijah stood to his feet and raised his staff over his head and intoned judgement on both armies.

Then across each rank and down each line, blood sprouted like a crimson bloom above each individual, a veritable fountain as they fell.
Like grapes in a wine press.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the road unencumbered by patrols or checkpoints until we neared the area of the stone bridge. Well before then, Tomas guided us up to the level above the destroyed altar.

Though still in ruins people were hard at work attempting to make it serviceable. All the more ugly.

Mr. Kagi was the first to notice. Then I recognized the people being forced to work on the edifice – the prisoners paraded through the world government camp but a few days ago.

After a quick calculation in my head (and my memory of the shape of last night’s moon) I knew that tomorrow marks the return of the new moon.

My blood ran cold over the fate of these prisoners.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were hesitant this morning about whether we should push on or not.  The battlefield to the south had fallen silent,  and no victorious troops (which we assumed were the armies of the East and North) had moved up into the positions vacated by the world government.

Mawuli removed every reason that we thought could hold us there when he simply stated that we must move on, and do so immediately. Every member of our party simultaneously felt impressed with the same instruction.

So in short order we decamped.

Along the way Mr. Kagi had a revelation and asked me a question- why were there no warplanes?

I then told him what had happened up near the reservoir above Jerusalem.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah called for Tomas and tasked him to scout a new position for us on the route back to Sy’s old redoubt. He set up a camp with Mawuli a day’s march away.

It was late in the evening before Mr. Kagi, the Captain and Elijah and I caught up with them.

Yesterday the army of the East was stopped and held at bay by the elite forces of the world government. And it was clear today that Stan was sacrificing that group because the troops supporting them were being withdrawn.

They did so in perfect order and easily outpaced us.

The din from the opposing forces increased even as they dropped from view.

All was left to our imagination.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas had to reposition himself at his lookout point to stay out of view of an observer set up further down these heights and closer to the skirmishing.

The Captain, after talking with him, was just about to do something to this interloper, when Elijah appeared and settled him down. Indeed, he said there was no need, as we would soon be departing back for Sy’s redoubt.

As though to confirm his point, the army of the East burst forth from their forward positions at that very instant. Just in time to vacate ground that erupted under an artillery barrage.

I turned to see my friend already consumed in the throes of intercession.

It proved to be an interesting day.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Small pitched battles pock-marked the plain as the opponents sent out feelers to test the other’s mettle. Tomas guesses that the elite troops of the world government were successful at keeping the other two armies in check close to their lines.

Meanwhile the numbers of the army of the East were swelling in their positions on their front lines. It’s easy to see that when they reach a critical mass, they will burst forth and carry all before them.

In all this, Mawuli called my attention to a vehicle circulating about the camp of the world government. He is sure it is Stan’s. When it had accomplished its purpose it set its heading and sped out to the north.