Day Seven Hundred Eighty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah has been kept on his feet all day, as he and Mei (and I) have been lead from village to village. He was thronged in each place.

Story after story emerged about how these people have been lead to this place by dreams and visions, at the center of which has been the likeness of our friend Elijah.

And in place after place he worked mightily to redirect their focus onto the One who sent the Spirit.

There was much rejoicing in our wake.

We returned to our host village at day’s end, tired, but elated. Tomas and the Captain had traveled all the way to the city only to be refused entry.

We made plans for the morrow.

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Day Seven Hundred Seventy Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our hosts who accepted us into their village are refugees from the East and thus have an affinity to Mei. Indeed, we learned that most of the inhabitants on the rings of villages are new to the area, but unacceptable and kept out of the sprawling city. Only the hunters, having been here longer are allowed into the city. And that for trade only.

That intelligence set off warning bells in my head, and I made the case to Elijah that we waste no time in going to the city.

But Elijah was not persuaded. He confirmed that we would indeed enter the city. Just not yet.

Instead he wants to explore the reason behind these people’s reaction to him.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our final decision to pick a village and enter it, was taken out of our hands. A boy and his dog spotted Tomas and raised the alarm. We gathered together before contingents from three neighboring villages surrounded us.

Though armed they seemed more curious than threatening. That is, until their leader showed up.

He was more suspicious and demanded to know why we were sneaking around.

Mei was able to explain that we had business in the city.

Her statement brought a sniff of incredulity from him. It was plain to see we were not merchants.

Then Elijah stood (he had been seated), and the contingents vied with one another to take us into their village, despite the leader’s protests.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We took the Captain’s usual advice and gave wide berth to the hunters’ village. Yet time after time Tomas had to adjust our way again as village after village cropped up across our path.

The whole process moved us steadily away from our desired compass point.

Finally, Tomas brought us all atop one hillock to see rings of villages between us and a city at the edge of the prairie.

I looked to Elijah and he nodded.

I knew this city was our next stop. But then we debated how to get there.

Did we dare enter one of these villages? They were more than likely responsible for the attack we had overheard.

And had they driven out the Hamashiachites?

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The sound of two gunshots and an answering fusillade crashed out of the pathway to our left.  Before their echoes trailed off, we made our easy choice, the right-hand fork, and hurried out of the area.

Tomas ran ahead to sweep the path and to ensure we wouldn’t come up against another surprise.

Mei took up her favored position,  keeping a constant watch behind us. The Captain dropped back also to keep her company and lend additional support.

Thus we continued all day.

I walked with Elijah. With not a word between us. A whole new vista was opening up before us – the hills flattening into rolling prairie to which we could see no end.

“Almost there,” said Elijah.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I startled awake at an early hour, for a moment disoriented, left wondering where I was. That I was in a cavern was immediately apparent. But I must say I was flashing back to another time and another cavern – when Elijah and I were accompanied by the young bearded man, Stan.

I could not but conclude that he was somewhere near at hand, roaming about seeking our trail.

I arose and cautiously went outside. The sun’s morning rays were stretching over the eastern horizon, feeling their way around the mountain towards our position. Nothing else stirred, not even on the winding path just emerging from the darkness.

Elijah joined me and declared we would stay put for one more day.

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 Seven Hundred Sixty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The lush meadows have disappeared under the onslaught of devouring locusts. They descended in a cloud from the mountains to the north of us.

And we dived back under cover and remained there until they passed on, leaving naught but bare earth and our tents behind.

Afterwards we took turns comforting Mei. For though not unfamiliar with these insects, their close proximity was new to her experience.

We watched them form up again over the mountains to the south and held our breath as they descended out of our sight – down to where the city beside the lake must lie.

Elijah and I applied ourselves to prepare Mei and Tomas for what we were certain will come next.

Winged Abaddon.

Day Seven Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We left the valley, but not for long. Tomas came to tell us that the trail ahead comes to an abrupt end. It was just fine when he checked yesterday. Now a cliff marks the end of the trail’s usefulness.

We returned to the valley to seek a new way out.

I stayed with Elijah and prayed while the others split up to better cover the possibilities.

Our focus was still northward, but if we were to exhaust all possibilities in that direction Elijah would prefer a westward trail that angles north.

At day’s end we collected for the night and compared notes. Two likely paths were also blocked.

Our concern is growing that an unseen agency is opposing us.

Day Seven Hundred Sixty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our path has become easier. More level. And word  from Tomas reported that a descent to a mountain valley lies ahead.

Still no pursuers visible behind us. But we can’t shake the feeling that someone is back there.

In a couple instances, Mei dropped behind to observe, but each time the trail remained empty.

She talked most of the time with the Captain.

He later told me that she was fixated on Elijah’s staff. At the first, he recounted the times that he had witnessed great deeds with it in Elijah’s hands, but then he realized she was forming a wrong idea about the two.

So he sent her to Elijah who gladly dispelled the false notions she was forming.