Day One Thousand Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We sensed that we are not yet released to leave Damascus. Elijah’s pupils, however, returned only to inform him that they are splitting up, some called to aid Tomas and the others in Jerusalem, and the other half of the team to look for Jezer, who is missing.

That latter bit of news upset me. And the fact that no one had any answers to my questions regarding him, only made it worse.

In addition I was left thinking why we had been sent here in the first place, while all along, as it now appears, the objects of our mission, were indeed, in the direction I had originally wanted to go.

Oh, to get from underneath my own understanding.

Day One Thousand Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the spot where the tanker truck had been abandoned. Or, at least, we thought we did. For whatever wreckage had been there, had been removed.

We did not stay long on the busy thoroughfare after that, but at the first opportunity we struck off onto a mountain path. And slowly made our way to the place where  we had once waited with Meesa.

First thing this morning we moved to a vantage point from which we could evaluate the movements in and out of Damascus.

We were keen to know if any changes have been enacted since last we were here.

Elijah was pleased when he saw a group of his pupils emerge with the morning work force.

Day One Thousand Twenty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I went over our plans before our anticipated departure tomorrow. Not that we planned everything in minute detail. In our experience, collectively and individually, that would be counterproductive and would run the risk of missing the Spirit’s leading.

We did settle upon a direction.

At first I was all for heading north as I thought that the most likely place to begin our search for Tomas and Jezer after my talk with Quasimo yesterday.

Elijah dismissed that notion, not unkindly, but with an explanation that revealed he knew more than I did. His first pupils had been responsible for covering our crossing from that direction, our missing friends acted only to the south.

So, Damascus is our destination.

Day One Thousand Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I again joined Mei to help in any way I could, within my capabilities. Since Meesa and the Purser were expected back some time in the morning, the tasks were small and easily completed, so there was a good number of them to fill up my time, and could be assumed any time by our absent friends.

Every thing ground to a halt when they returned, as they had news. Not at all related to their reason for going out, but of great interest to us all.

Early on their mission they heard an account of a tanker truck immobilized in a narrow pass on the Jerusalem-Damascus road. They adjusted their route to check.

They are sure it’s Jezer’s.

Day One Thousand Eighteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Quasimo has come out of his crisis of confidence, partly helped by his skill in getting us to the third and last of the relay points, but I believe mostly due to the penetrating insight supplied by Elijah through their discussion.  Elijah was able to put him at peace, both for the present, and with his past. And most glorious of all, for the future.

Our passage today was for the most part uneventful. Reuben did sight a drone, but there was enough time to get everyone into cover. Quasimo said to expect more such sightings from here on out. Especially in the vicinity of the busy road that runs to Damascus from Jerusalem.

That will be the greatest challenge.

Day Nine Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I had much to ponder as Elijah and I plodded along. What was left that would fit the description of Mei’s words? Perhaps Damascus? But we would not know anything from that quarter until we heard from Jezer and Reuben.

Somehow I don’t feel they are there.

I contented myself with interceding for the Purser and his family and their charges, wherever they might be.

Shortly after we came across a shepherd and his flock. The aged man told us a story about a large group of people away off deeper in the desert. Our excitement was squelched when he added they were in uniform.

The sighting was repeated by the next encounter, a traveling merchant.

What do we do?

Day Nine Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I left before the sun was up. We took Tomas with us. He knows the way in and out so much better than us which was especially helpful in the twilight.

The Captain, we have left behind. Grumbling to be sure but all for the best for any number of reasons. (I overheard him remark once recently he is getting too old for such adventures- I feel the same sometimes).

Tomas brought us by a way that came out onto the road by which we originally travelled to Damascus. From the heights we could see the string of villages laid out along its length.

With military activity so readily apparent we crossed the road and into the desert.

Day Nine Hundred Seventy #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I knew before Elijah told me that we would be going out westward to check for the Purser and his band. It was all the more logical since they were originating from that quarter.

But first we saw the others off, counseling them to stay together until the staging yard for the tanker trucks. Elam and Magwich would continue on to the Galilee from there, and if the army’s presence doesn’t prevent it, Jezer and Reuben may be able to go on short runs in and around Damascus to check that area. Otherwise they’ll go on foot. Jezer knows what to do.

And we will be leaving the hiding place under the capable direction of Meesa and Mei and Quasimo.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elam begged to leave today. He calculated that Sy and his people would be in need of a fresh supply of water.

Elijah and I gave our hearty approval, adding at the same time a request that Sy mount a search to the east beyond their stronghold for the missing Purser and his group.

At this juncture, Magwich stepped forward and volunteered to accompany Elam. They had become fast friends during their latest expedition.

To this we assented after referring the matter to Reuben first, who easily agreed. And then in turn he proposed himself to reconnoiter the area in and around Damascus.

Elijah called a halt to the proceedings at that point, saying we needed to wait a day.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The news brought by Jezer and his companions was grim, but not unexpected. Damascus has turned into an armed camp, the focus of hundreds of army units flooding in from the countryside roundabout. (Many, I am sure, we saw on our way here).

Jezer had more challenges than usual getting back here with his tiny flock, but he has his ways. And it certainly helped having the clearances that come with driving tanker trucks obtained through Elam’s influence.

Elijah questioned them closely about what they had seen and heard. I could tell he was sifting for any leads on the Purser. I took more time with them afterwards to explain what finding these people will mean to all of us.