Day One Thousand One Hundred Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Clarity dawns in fits and starts. Soon, it is my belief that our fellowship will be breaking up to go our own ways.

It is my hope that those departing should remain together. And this seems likely given the option that has arisen for the Captain. Mr Kagi has put the ship at his disposal which opens it to whom ever should like to accompany him.

The Captain intends to take her out and around to the west. And either come through the area by the crossroads well and the desert, or even attempt the backdoor through Jerusalem.

Quasimo’s cousin plans her return by the land route via her tribal village and the crossroads well.

Elijah has given his blessing.

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Day One Thousand Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas and Jezer passed through on their last trip from the well. The last until the drought ends or a miracle intervenes – it would take one in Tomas’s estimation.

Jezer thinks it may recover before then.

But now it is apparent we shall need to move on as soon as possible.

Mawuli and I met with his father to calculate how long our water will last. We concluded that we must begin to ration.

The matter had me thinking back to that snowfall in the desert. It had not been what I prayed for, but it was what we needed.

I was kept so busy over these issues that I forgot to discuss my suspicions with Elijah about the drone.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I almost didn’t recognize him, he’d grown so much in the past year. But he had no difficulty recognizing me, and positively could not stand still in his excitement in our presence.

After a brief exchange he filled his water skins and begged us to remove our camp away to where he had set up.

It was a caution he always practiced. And as it proved, a more comfortable place to pass the night.

Today we filled the rest of his water skins and we set off for their place deep in the desert.

Mawuli explained that they have been stranded there for months now. Their numbers keep growing as his parents invite injured and castoff people into their group.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As preparation for the next stage of our search, I suggested we replenish our water skins at the desert crossroads before heading into the desert.

As we all deemed it necessary, it was an easy decision to make the detour. As always Tomas was happy to go anywhere he’d never been before, especially with the additional incentive of seeing where we had first encountered Jezer.

It took longer than we remembered for it was late in the day when we finally arrived. We had the spot all to ourselves and set up camp.

While we filled the water skins, Tomas explored the area.

Our surprise was great when he returned minutes later with a struggling youth, my youngest friend Mawuli.

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 Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We continued our journey through the desert while Tomas inspected the villages along the road. We agreed to reconvene in the desert to the east of the last village two days hence.

Elijah thought that the day after should land us at the crossroads where we first met Jezer. At that point we could decide whether to  return on the side to the west of the road, or retrace our steps to Babylon.

Our discussion out of the way, we trudged on in silence. But now a new thought was stewing in my mind.

Finally, I asked Elijah why we just did not wing to Babylon on the Spirit to check my hunch.

He replied that he had already asked.

Day Nine Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We encountered no one today. Not even a lone sheep without its shepherd. Tomas returned to ask if we should head back into villages nearer the road.

At first, Elijah refused his suggestion for he believes our friends are held up somewhere in the desert.  But he at last relented and said if Tomas was moved to do so, he was free to go off on his own.

Tomas, hesitated, for he wanted us to go together. And stated he would be very reluctant to be out of contact with us.

I was touched by his love and concern, and took pains to assure him that nothing untoward was going to happen to any of us. Remember whose we are.

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 Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Meesa has reunited us with our friends – Mei, Tomas, the Captain and Raj P. Much to our joy and theirs. The trail she came across when north of Damascus led her at the last to their refuge here in the desert.

The group is almost four times bigger than everyone now in the hiding place. This simple fact has caused us to settle in to talk about how we can get them all into safety.

Of course it took awhile to get around to the topic at hand for we had so much else to discuss to satisfy each other’s curiosity.

Finally Elijah called us all to order. And while we discussed our options, Quasimo kept watch with the drone.

Day Nine Hundred One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

One of those momentous days. It seems that so many days come and go with little to report. Then one day comes along and it’s almost too much even to think about.

It started off when Jezer returned alone. He was looking very dispirited. We had to encourage him not to give up hope.

Elijah instructed him to stay and rest today. Instead, Quasimo and I accompanied Elijah to take up the search.

We took the drone with us. Quasimo was very curious about its operation. And, with the minimum of instruction soon had it mastered.

With its aid under his direction down in the desert from which we had plucked him, we located the mystery group.

And our Meesa.