Day Eight Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The skies were clear above the megapolis for most of the day. Only the occasional drone could be seen making the rounds on its patrol. Quasimo opined that the warplanes were no doubt back to their job of running sorties against the army of the East.

I asked him if he had knowledge about the conflict.

He replied that any contacts between these forces were minor by Stan’s design. And only used as a means to draw the army of the East where he wanted it.

We ended our day near the point of our parting from Tomas and the Captain, and Mei and Raj P – where the road to the west crossed the northern approach to the towerless city.

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Day Eight Hundred Sixteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I had been dwelling on the thought that Elijah was entertaining the idea of taking ship from this port, but perhaps that was just my nostalgia for our times at sea with our old friends Tomas and the Captain.

My hopes rose, when Quasimo’s route took us into this section, dense with warehouses bordering the docks. He has been most careful to keep us from unfriendly notice. But with the side effect of circuitous and slow progress.

When we settled in for the evening Quasimo presented several options for tomorrow. The best one in his estimation will take us east out of the megapolis, hence in an opposite direction from our desired destination.

We surprised him when we both concurred.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I confess there were tears in my eyes at our parting this morning. Our hugs were marked by whispered prayers for one another. Our parting, though real and painful, we know to be temporary in the greater balance of things. Our shared hope buoys us all.

I watched them as they and their groups disappeared in the west.

I was cheered by my belief that they were ready, especially Tomas and the Captain.

We had the road to ourselves all day. Nothing and no one crossed our view – on the ground or in the sky.

We shed our heavier garments as it warmed, only to put them on again at the sinking of the sun.

Our next destination- the Capital.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We covered a good deal of ground today. The terrain changed. We have left the hills behind. Now we have entered into the prairie – still on our southwest trajectory.

Our resting place this evening finds us at a crossroads. The six of us gathered for a meeting. Each one knew before a word was spoken that a momentous shift was afoot.

Elijah looked from one to the next in succession, and lastly to me.

It fell to my lot to make the announcement.

Tomorrow, Elijah and I were to part from them. They – Mei, Raj P, Tomas and the Captain and their groups will take the road west. Elijah and I shall head south.

There were no questions, just assent.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

An earth-shattering cataclysm overshadows all else that happened to us today.

We had finally honed our co-ordination to such an extent that everyone was satisfied – and we were moving at a pace that was comfortable for all.

A flash of light, brighter than the sun caused us to look around for its source. Our starting point of the morning was far behind, and beyond that rise the flash was being replaced by a burgeoning column of smoke.

We knew in our hearts that the city on the prairie was no more.

Many in both groups wanted to turn back, but for the most part Mei and the Captain were successful in dissuading them.

Only a handful left us.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Settling into camp last night had been a ragged affair. Hardly unexpected given we were a large group trying to do something together for the first time.

The five of us, plus P, met early in the morning to talk about better co-ordinating our movements. Thus we were able to lumber off with the minimum of aggravation, taking up the same marching order as yesterday.

We agreed to maintain the same order when we halted.

The one question we did not resolve right away was Tomas’s position in the column. Both Mei and the Captain wanted his help with their groups.

At the last I decided that he needed to be out front where he does best, scouting ahead.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Only a few hundreds from the villages gathered at ours, prepared to set out. Mei was disappointed that so many were choosing not to go. I came along side to encourage her and remind her that it is always this way. And to remember to rejoice that some have responded to the call.

Elijah led us out, first to the city. There the Captain met us. Thousands were prepared to accompany him. It was obvious the authorities had been holding back more than Raj P.

P was surprised to see in their number a couple of his former jailers.

After a brief discussion about our marching order, Mei led off with her people, then the Captain’s.

Lastly Elijah and me.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

P milked all we could recall about his brother G in our recent time with him. He longs to see him again. I assured him that his desire would come to pass.

Elijah added that he was initiating the first step to that coming day. He announced that all who desire to go up to Jerusalem be ready to depart tomorrow. To that end he dispatched Mei and Tomas to circulate among the camps seeking those who will go.

Elijah then turned to the Captain and asked him to do the same in the city by the prairie.

This astonished our old friend and I saw him waver. But to his credit he shook his personal feelings off and acquiesced.

Day Seven Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The leader of the tribunal was more than solicitous. He was unceasingly apologetic, the focus of his groveling directed towards the Captain.

All along the way, he put the blame squarely on the hunter groups, and their leader in particular.

Once inside the courthouse it was as though he was on trial. And Elijah the judge.

Our leader stated our demand simply, then led us away, leaving the tribune to comply.

The rest of the day was a whirl of activity, followed by peaceful rest.

I awoke this morning excited for the day ahead.

True to his promise the city judge delivered his prisoner to us. The Raj brother P whom we had lost at the gateway to the East.

Day Seven Hundred Eighty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We waited until mid morning to set out and put Elijah’s plan into motion. It took those earlier hours to sort out and stabilize the situation in the hunter villages, reeling from the power vacuum created by the loss of their leader.

His overall unpopularity among his own people made a realignment of relationships among the rings of villages easier to negotiate.

We left Mei and Tomas behind to continue organizing. The Captain accompanied us again at his insistence. (I was concerned that his motivation wasn’t what it should be, but Elijah said to let him come anyway).

Soon after we arrived at the entrance to the city, the head of the tribunal rushed to meet us.

His attitude submissive.