Day Nine Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain provided the signal to the timing for our departure. I am thankful for it – not only for the confirmation itself and the confidence it provides, but also for the sense of belonging that it gave to my friend. I rejoice with him that he was chosen to aid the fellowship for this important step.

Both he and Tomas will provide valuable leadership in our absence.

We gathered them with Meesa and Mei for a conference in advance of our expected leaving tomorrow. Meesa will continue in overall charge. And Elijah had very specific instructions for the others to support her in seeing to the well being of the community.

Then all gathered around to pray for our mission.

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Day Eight Hundred Sixty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Over night Elijah and I separately received confirmation that today was our day to enter. We timed our arrival at the gateway to coincide with the morning rush. However, we were intercepted on the way by Meesa and our guest at the desert well, Jezer.

She had been on the way out to our spot to introduce us, and to inform us about the best strategy for entry.

A few awkward moments ensued, then we were talked into entering later in the day as part of a labor crew bringing scraps from outside for reuse.

The stratagem worked. This evening we are within Damascus. And thankful for the Spirit’s timing, for without Meesa’s intervention we would have been turned away.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Not only did I lack confirmation, I confessed to having more questions than before.

Along the way Elijah had confirmed my suspicion that the first snowfall had been an answer to his petition on our behalf – a provision of water for the next step in our journey along an unknown path. A highly localized suspension of the drought. Purely for our benefit.

But – hence the question. Who was responsible for the crimson snow that followed. And did they know where we were? And if so, how? Were we under surveillance?

Elijah just shrugged and said it was obvious the enemy’s goal was to thwart us, but asked me to remember that the Spirit can use that opposition to help us.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I got us out of there as fast as we could go. Which meant climbing down from the rock shelf and feeling our way around its base until we sensed a level path beneath our feet.

At that point the snowfall slowed and soon turned to mist. We kept going. Through the rest of the day and through the night.

Elijah called a halt in a valley created by towering rock formations. They appeared to stretch onwards forever, corralling the slow moving sea of sand within the boundaries dictated by their will.

We looked back from whence we came. The sky was empty, holding the promise only of another hot day.

That’s when Elijah asked if I had any confirmation.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Instead of setting out again tonight, we are going to stay put here at the foot of this mountain. And we intend to stay here until we have a confirmation.

It’s a lesson long ago learned. So many problems can be avoided by not running off just to be doing something. Simply waiting on the still small voice of the Spirit.

And when there is no answer, that is your answer. Be that a “no,” or as I see it in this case – a “not yet,” for now.

In many cases when considering it afterwards, it turns out to be all a matter of timing. In our limited understanding we are completely unaware of what may have to occur first.

Day Seven Hundred Eighty Three #DayoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei wanted to march right in and take the Captain back by force. I succeeded in calming her. However, Tomas surprised her further with his wait and see attitude, but then again he knows that they cannot perish apart from one another.

Our hosts had no insight to offer when we met with them this morning. Neither could they tell us what might happen to our friend. They have kept well away from any direct entanglement. All of their contact with those in the city has been through the auspices of the hunters.

That was a confirmation of sorts for Elijah. He asked directions to the village of the hunters’ leader. And set out for it with me in tow.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I saw him perched atop the fearsome beast winging between us and the moon and stars. Just like in the dream related to us by Mei.

Stan was searching, flying in a pattern to and fro across the sky.

On a sudden I sensed a presence at my elbow. Elijah had joined me.

He told me to pay him no heed for he had blinded him as to our location. And that he was only striking out randomly in his frustration. It seems the easy explanation of what has been happening to the various routes out of this valley.

We apprised the others upon rising. Mei was gratified to have the confirmation.

At Tomas’ recommendation we tried another northern route.

Day Six Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As the night came on, we saw the light from that campfire still in the same place. It occasioned a lively debate.

The Captain, backed by Tomas’ judgement, wanted to find a way around it. To that end Tomas volunteered to run in advance of us to reconnoiter.

Elijah and I, however, held a different opinion. We wanted to continue on and catch up to these people – all based upon the revelations that Elijah has received, and the confirmation that I’ve been convinced to accept.

What I had to say on this matter resonated with our friends, and they at last acquiesced.

At the end of this night’s trek, we estimate the camp to be only one  more night away.

Day Six Hundred Fifty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We called a halt in the middle of our trek last night. We had come across what we thought was another caravan camp. But changed that estimation when we discovered abandoned military equipment among the camp refuse. Uniforms mostly. Though there were a few spent cartridges.

Upon pressing on, I wondered if this was the group whose refuse we had noticed at the caravan stop a few days before. And what would happen if we came upon them.

Elijah asked me if I had seen anything familiar. Only then did I tumble to the fact that among the uniforms I had seen were belt buckles with insignias described beforehand to me by Elijah.

Was this the confirmation I’ve been awaiting?

Day Six Hundred Forty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The terrain has changed. Much less vegetation. And the trail has taken a turn to the south, following what I make out to be a river course – dry with not a lick of moisture.

Tomas was fully recovered and ranged far to our front, vigilant to protect us.

The night air was cold. We had to keep moving to keep warm. The Captain feels it most keenly.

I remained by Elijah’s side. (He no longer hangs back to pray, rejoining us at a later time). He has added a wealth of detail to what he told me yesterday, but I still await an independent confirmation.

We halted at the first streaks of dawn and prepared ourselves against the coming heat.