Day Seven Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas led the way, as usual, around the lake and into the foothills. Our guests carried on behind us. Each fully armed and with heavy packs. They’ve been instructed to follow us until they reach the goal of their mission. Besides themselves, Elijah is the only one with that knowledge.

Their names are Lung and Mei. I really was bowled over to learn that Mei is not a man, but a woman. Both had been guards over Elijah, and Mei was always barking commands and gave no hint of her gender.

Elijah knew, of course, and was greatly amused at my discovery.

Our road is a good one. It has been surfaced for vehicles, and we are making good progress.

Day Five Hundred Fifty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I cannot help thinking about our recent guests and their enchantment with those green clad islands, as we pass by visions of surpassing beauty found only in the islands of these climes. They would have asked to move in for a closer look, maybe even have begged to land.

I know I have had such longings. But I realize that we have a schedule to keep and more pressing matters to see to.

Elijah remained in the special cabin all day. I alternated between the bridge and the Purser’s office, lending a hand to Tomas or P as the need arose.

Again a whole day has passed and no ship sightings. It would be disconcerting if we didn’t know why.

Day Five Hundred Fifty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

All day the ship has been a veritable hive of activity. We took on a full complement of cargo, for there is a great backlog of containers that ships bearing the mark have refused.

It was also a long day for goodbyes.

Elijah and I each conducted three of our guests to the sign of the fish, and brought back a local to lead more groups. The Raj twin G accompanied the last group to leave after a tearful parting from his brother.

The Captain shared with Elijah the dilemma of the other ship’s captain. He has a pressing need for a first mate and is resisting those with the mark the local authorities are promoting.

Our Captain suggested me.

Day Five Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A storm lashed the ship all day. Our guests remained in their quarters except the five of their number who are joining the crew. G oversaw their baptism as it were into this lot of a sailor’s life.

Elijah remained in the special cabin for the duration of the storm.  I could sense him wrestling for our safe passage.

I kept to the bridge and to the company of Tomas and P. Between the times of intense activity we talked about our lives, our past, and what it was that led us to this point in our life journeys.

Come my turn, their jaws dropped at the revelation of my great age. And marveled at my memories of my youth.

Day Five Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah had lots to sort out today, all on account of dreams. The dreams of crew members (including the Raj twin G) and the dreams of our guests.

Those experienced by the crew showed them joining the pilgrimage on land. And those of our guests revealed their continuing with the ship. Elijah has met with each one to hear their story. The fact that the number of individuals from each group is the same – six – strongly inclines him to accede to their leading. He wants to be sure.

And as I feared P is upset by all the talk of his brother parting from him. He talks about casting his lot in with him too.

That Elijah refuses to accept.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A whirlwind of a day. At the crack of dawn the tug returned with our guests of yesterday. We were granted permission to enter the harbor.

The pilot took us in.

A berth had been cordoned off for our vessel, and as soon as we docked, Emil’s special container was offloaded. All the while the political officer kept Elijah and I under close observation.

If the three containers we were to take back had been ready we would have been out of there in no time. But they weren’t. Granted they had an excuse, they had not been expecting us.

So we had to wait.

Elijah asked permission to go ashore and was denied.

My request as purser was granted.

Day Three Hundred late morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah writes:

Spent the night watching the activity swirling around the administration building. A curious sight. I suspected Enoch and Elam are no longer their guests. I waylaid one of the guards and made him talk. He confirmed it.

Returned to our last quarters. Still an empty ruin.

Decided to continue on to the seaport.

Hope to find them there.