Day One Thousand Eighty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We petitioned the commander to replace one of the men guarding us. He was overbearing in his treatment of our injured members. And was threatening them with instant punishment for their slow reactions to his commands.

Why he singled them out when he shied away from the rest of us baffles me. Perhaps it is only an indication of his meanness of character.

The commander heard our plea and replaced the offending guard, but substituted an even more brutish one.

Thankfully about that time a truck from the Supreme Commander’s headquarters pulled into camp and we were spared further bother. (And the guard a possible drubbing from Elijah).

We climbed into the back of the truck and were driven off.

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Day One Thousand Eighty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The unit commander condescended to speak to us today. He was in a good mood, being pleased with the efficiency of his men in executing his orders.

His mood changed, however. when Elijah brought up our request to be taken to the Supreme Commander.

He was incredulous about our claims to have met him. Mei at the last prevailed upon him to send a message from us along with his other reports.

The monotony that settled upon our group afterwards was dispelled as we turned our focus to the things of the Spirit.

The quiet of the camp was disturbed later in the evening when an uproar erupted at the news that the adversary Stan was recovered from his wound.

Day One Thousand Seventy Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei recognized him first, and resisted her impulse to rush to greet him. For we all knew the need for caution. But when she saw that it was her old unit with their tanker truck she called out to him.

We were welcomed into their camp and made comfortable.

Lung asked to meet with Elijah and myself.

He spent the night detailing all that has happened to him since he parted from us on the mountain on that long ago day.

When he shared about his transformation we called Mei in to hear the news too.

And as his crew continued pumping water at daylight, we heard the rumors that Stan had been fatally wounded in the battle before Babylon.

Day One Thousand Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We wandered the rest of the day without striking Sy’s well. I could tell his frustration was mounting at his inability to locate it.

Finally Elijah signaled for a halt in an area we all judged fit for a camp.

Sy, however, continued to roam about, muttering he was sure it was near at hand. The next morning the Captain stumbled upon it. Actually he tripped and fell on his face.

The well had been filled in, packed with rocks. We gathered around it on our knees to remove them. Only to discover the water there had been befouled too. Unfit to drink.

Elijah took up his staff and stirred the water with its tip, drawing out all the impurities.

Day One Thousand Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It was not the carnage of battle that we surveyed on the summit of that mountain, but rather the aftermath of a wanton sacrifice. An altar had been raised over the source of the stream and an untold number of bodies lay strewn about – the bodies of animals contorted in their death agonies. All under the sparkling gaze of an idol of Stan, which presided over the scene.

Mawuli toppled it with a well aimed stone from his sling, and we crushed it under foot.

Elijah had us return to our camp near the stone bridge for the night, and from there this morning we set out towards the east, following Mawuli’s lead.

Elijah held his staff aloft in praise.

Day One Thousand Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I had a dream over night. Everything about it was unexpected, but not unsettling. In fact, I found it a comfort and an encouragement.

In it Grazie came to speak to me, though uttering not a word at first. Her countenance beamed with serenity. Which enfolded me like a hug and communicated more than her voice would have.

And, in effect, shut down a nightmarish vision that lurked at the periphery of my consciousness.

Only after she had my complete attention did she speak.

She simply said, “A child shall lead you.” And smiled.

And was gone.

I shared the dream with Elijah. And at the moment I finished Mawuli walked into our camp. And asked when we were leaving.

Day One Thousand Sixty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We left the redoubt, but did not leave the area. Here, at day’s end, we still await a sign. So, we set up a camp with the intent to stay until we do.

We can see activity down on the plain, but Elam tells us that it is only minimal. And he is sure it can mean that more are operating beyond the rear guard well beyond our field of view.

Sy concurred and added that he expected to see more troops being moved up from Damascus soon.

Mei asked if that might be the sign we are awaiting.

The Captain weighed in and said he was sure that it would be something else, something dramatic and unmistakable at once.

Day One Thousand Fifty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our surprise was mutual. Raj P recovered first, brimming over with thanksgiving for answered prayer before he even said a word to us.

He had accompanied Quasimo into the Galilee, and had been dispatched by him to go in search of us and bring us back to help persuade Sy to leave.

I asked if Elam had made it back and was overjoyed to learn that he was safe and sound in their midst.

We made it as far as the road before making camp.

We inquired about everyone else and buoyed by his good report turned in.

Today was an even longer day.  It takes so much longer when you’re not riding in the cab of a tanker truck.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Another day and everyone in the Purser’s camp should be recovered enough to travel.

Everyone, that is, except that ex-army surgeon. He died. Shriveled away to nothing during the night.

The Purser now believes he was working against us and was the one behind all their losses, including his daughter Retha.

When I sensed that our friend was slipping away to a very dark place, Elijah and I took him and his wife aside to comfort them.

At the last, Elijah was able to convince them that in no manner were they responsible for the dead man’s perfidy.

Afterwards I joined Mawuli at his sentry station and helped him through this renewal of grief by simply standing with him.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have settled in for the night after a long day of travel. So thankful for the camel Mawuli has with him, as we thus were enabled to offload our burdens.

Unlike usual Tomas kept close contact to us throughout the day. Still he was the first to spot a young man approaching on another camel.

Thus we met one of Mawuli’s counterparts on his way to the well, one of the volunteers on the all important rotation that supplies water for the Purser’s group. Unlike Mawuli he wore a uniform.

When I asked Mawuli about it, he laughed and said there are more than one type of uniform in their camp, from practically every land they have passed through.