Day Seven Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We set up camp in the dark last night. It took us that long to reach the spot designated by Tomas.

It was a comfortable place in many respects. In fact we may have waited til sunup before rising if it had not been for Mei giving the alarm.

She rousted us all after waking from a dream in which drones were descending upon us. Her dream was reality.

Elijah calmed and held us in place. “Let them get a look at us,” he said.

When they ringed us, he raised his staff and they tumbled out of the sky.

With no sign of pursuit visible on the ground behind us, we broke camp and took to the trail again.

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Day Six Hundred Fifty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The camp is in disarray this morning. We had some unwanted visitors over the night. A swarm of drones descended upon our position  and attacked.

We believe we brought them all down. Either from the rifle fire from our new friends, or from the fierce ire of Elijah when provoked.

Tomas and I combed through the aftermath to be sure nothing was still operable that might give away our position.

There were no casualties among us. The only damage has been to some tents and their contents – supplies and equipment.

Still, it is obvious that we shall have to part company sooner than anyone had planned, or wanted.

Elijah took the chief soldier aside for instruction while we made preparations.

Day Two Hundred Fifty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When last in this vicinity we were hounded by drones. Nothing flies above our heads now, not even birds.

Our host explained everything to Elijah. He is related to the woman who had helped us. She disappeared a few days before the deluge from the skies took down everything electronic.

Elijah in his turn explained the mystery behind the woman’s disappearance. It was a great comfort for our host. The time was indeed ripe for him to believe.

When we told him our intent to continue moving onwards into the city, he balked and practically begged us not to. He does all within his power to avoid drawing attention to himself and his people.

We decided to acquiesce for now.

Day One Hundred Ninety Eight Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Though an overcast day, the column of smoke was still discernible over the city. (It was a degree or two lighter in color).

Anxious thoughts about Enough and Grazie crowded my mind. I resisted the gloom. But at the point of success, a horde of drones descended upon us out of the city.

You’d think Moglen lost something.

Day One Hundred Ninety Three Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Grazie is being held at her post in the vineyard. And we can’t do anything about it.

She had left for it at the normal hour this morning. One of the patrolling drones pealed off and followed her. That seemed normal too, until Moglen came into the camp to claim his daughter Terresta.

Regret seized me. I should have insisted a change in Grazie’s duties to keep her in the camp. But then again she always made herself scarce if ever there were even a hint of her father anywhere near.

I told Moglen we will oppose him however we may.

Day One Hundred Ninety morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

From the minute we took down our tents, more drones joined the ones patrolling. And as we finished packing, these flying sentinels positioned themselves on our perimeter.

Some of our people froze in place at being hemmed in this fashion. Others turned and pressed into the center of our position.

Calm was restored at my urging as I passed among them. I then moved to the perimeter facing the city and waited.

Grazie was the first to detect movement across from us. I looked up to see Moglen and his contingent.

We waited. And I sorted through my thoughts, formulating my questions.

Day One Hundred Eighty Nine morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Sent Grazie off to the vineyard again. In full view of the drones overhead.

Called for a meeting with the community leaders. Spent much time in thought leading up to it.

Open yourself to being led, and expect yourself to be called upon to lead.

Once we had the gripes and complaints out of the way, I made a proposal to the group. Since our goal is to open communication with those within the city, I suggested we pack up the camp for a move. And begin with the noon drone flyby. Perhaps that way we can goad them to a parley.

Day One Hundred Eighty Eight morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

An exercise in futility? I prefer to see it as battling the temptation to impatience.

Stayed all day yesterday, returning to camp with no answers. Grazie remained until the end, and would have been waiting there still if I had not prevailed upon her that she had other duties and responsibilities.

Encouraged her to take her post at the vineyard today, and promised that I would remain in camp. She made me vow further that I would not venture to the city without her.

Two drones, one after the other, buzzed the camp.

I stood out front and waved.

Day One Hundred Eighty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

All await the ultimatum. It’s dependent, of course, upon when Moglen and the others discover their latest gambit has collapsed. In the opinion of most, it has already occurred. Four drones instead of the usual two buzzed the encampment and spread out from there.

Lyle called a meeting of his leaders, but even more people came. Hardly anyone reported to the fields. Everyone wanted assurance. Not just for the future. But for their next breath.

Lyle was the calm in the center of the storm. He directed their focus to where it should be.

Afterwards we went off together. I asked him what we were going to tell Moglen when he asks to speak to Flowers.

“The truth, of course.”

Day One Hundred Seventy Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle and I spent our day going from one end of the encampment to the other looking for Flowers. We did find a look-alike in our little market area, but this doppelgänger, unlike Flowers, does not bear the mark.

I wanted to take him to Moglen as proof that their drones are in error.  Lyle, however disapproved. He’d rather have Moglen come here. I can see his point and concede  Moglen more than likely will be back sooner than anyone wants.

We finished our canvass around the end of the noon hour, about the same time that the midday drone flyby was departing.

I watched its last lazy circuit before it winged its way back over the city wall.