Day Four Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The dust of many a mile had coated our limbs by our arrival before the walls of this port city. And like we found its sister port on the mainland behind us, no gates were open. And no one presented themselves to greet us or send us away.

Elijah set our immediate agenda. We washed off in a public fountain outside a closed gate. Then we proceeded to skirt around to the nearest point from which to view the harbor.

He judged the day too far spent to allow us time to trek around to the far side of the city. So we set up camp and built a larger than usual fire.

Perhaps they will come out to us.

Day Four Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

First thing we descended to the city. All the gates were closed. We heard the sounds of activity within, but saw no one. We made our way around to see the harbor. Three ships floated there and two were tied up at docks, but none was ours.

Then we realized we had to check the opposite side. And when we did, we discovered another road from the north and an open gate.

The guard in command denied us entry, for in his words we may not conduct business without the mark. Elijah declared we were not merchants. This stymied him and said he would ask his commander. And sent us away.

We have to wait to see what comes next.

Day Three Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Given Elijah’s time in this city, as long as he showed interest in who was coming in and not considering a departure by their gates, he was ignored. But now that he or rather “we” are planning our exit, everyone asks questions about us. When are we going – and where and for what reason? In his second such encounter he learned they do not have a kind regard for the followers of Hamashiach.

The Purser tells us this is not typical to his experience in the past. But it makes sense to me. Without the stabilizing force of the Spirit to the city, those remaining are suspicious of those who “abandoned” them.

We shall depart as soon as we can.

Day Two Hundred Evening #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Enough writes:

We were unimpeded all the way back to the camp. The gates of the second district and that of the city to the fields stood wide open, their guards in position, but slumped to the ground in sleep.

Great was the surprise of our friend Lyle when we burst in upon his evening quiet time. We exchanged accounts of our doings. And I heard at last from Grazie about her encounter with her father Moglen.

He is a broken, confused and remorseful man. She offered him her forgiveness. It is why she sought him out.

Then she told us it was time.

Day One Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I was about to write down that nothing happened today. Or, as a subnote, little that I was aware of. For it is unusual not to record anything.

But then Lyle returned.

He was alone. It was not what I had expected. This morning he left with Flowers into the third district to meet the merchant’s parents.

They had reached the street on which they reside, when ahead on the stair before their house they spied Stan waiting.

Flowers made an abrupt about face and evaporated from sight.

Lyle continued on and confronted Stan. But Stan would have none of that and dismissed him when Lyle had no mark to show when asked.

I think the gates are closing forever.

Day One Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

All witness accounts line up. The single column of smoke rising from the center of the first district made its first appearance two days ago.

I went into the city to investigate. I walked to where the gates to the first district once stood. They have been removed, and the gap walled up.

An easterly wind pushed the smoke in this direction filling the sky overhead. It bore with it the sound of cymbals and drums.

I turned my back on the sights and sounds and strode away. A man came out of his house and stopped me. He asked what it all meant. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Nothing good.”

Peace returned to me in the walled courtyard.

Day One Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The gates to the west remain open, but no one from the east end, save Lyle pass through them.

People from the west are coming to our markets here. So Lyle is vindicated in the eyes of his leaders. The two former dissenting members are quite pleased.

How long this will last, I have my doubts. But I won’t hold my breath.

They allowed Lyle to meet with Kip. He reports he is in good spirits, though very much bored. Kip asked after Grazie and again stipulated that she stand fast and not return. As to his own case, he senses that Moglen doesn’t know what to do and is awaiting instruction.

I long for time in my walled courtyard.

Day One Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle returned without Kip this morning, so we had lots to talk about on the way out to the vineyard. The gates closed while they were in Kip’s district, so they had to spend the night. And though Lyle was free to leave, Kip could not. However, he is confident that after completing some paperwork he will be allowed to depart.

Lyle reported that an offer for use of the machines was indeed made. As a condition we must all first receive a mark issued by the world government, a permit to do business with them.

We are both suspicious.

At the agreed time, Grazie joined us. She, like Kip, wants to leave the west end. And asked our help.

Day One Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I decided to try something else today. Instead of heading back into the city, I asked permission to work in the vineyards. I hoped to give Grazie an opportunity to contact me there. The same restrictions are in place.

Lyle took a reluctant Kip with him to check the gates in the city.

I am always inspired by my view of the desert from my work station in the vineyard. At one point I was so engrossed as to be unaware of Grazie’s presence.

She is indeed Moglen’s daughter. As for her “different” names, she gives no reason, other than it’s personal.

And she has agreed to meet with Lyle and myself tomorrow.

Now if only Lyle and Kip return.

Day One Hundred Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The harvest in the west is done. Ours is still days away from completion.

Kip said that the west end leaders will likely approach us when they are finished with an offer to use their machines. He is certain that it will come with an innocuous “price,” but its true cost will be hidden.

Lyle concurs, but he added that some of his leaders are longing to have their own.

I then proposed to pay a visit to the gates into the west to see if they have reopened. To which Lyle re-iterated that without him I must refuse any important discussions with Grazie, if we perchance meet.

I agreed and went.

All for nought, as it turned out.