Day Six Hundred Seventy #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Overwhelmed.

This is one of those times when so much has happened I am not able to write it all down. So I’ll just touch on my highest concern.

I went out early to find some light fare with which Elijah can end his fast. (And to look around and get a feel for our situation). The innkeeper looked nervous when he saw me leave.

After a multitude of encounters in the market I concluded that it was sold out of fruit. A function of the army’s presence.

That being the case I found and begged a few pieces from an army mess.

Upon my return to the inn, the innkeeper was gone. Vanished.

And so were my three friends.

Day Six Hundred Thirteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas entertained us with tales of his adventures on the road before turning in. He found the conditions the same as reported by our neighbor. And no one bothered him.

We showed him the map to the other exile’s place and he recognized most of the landmarks therein. He was excited at the prospect of leading us there.

We intended to leave at first morning light and join the farmers in their daily movement to the city. However, come the dawn not only weren’t there any farmers and their produce heading to market, but the roads were clogged with columns of soldiers.

I pointed out the obvious conclusion – construction of the army camp must be complete.

We are waiting again.

Day Six Hundred Ten #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We kept a revolving watch through the night. No sign of our neighbor. The Captain even checked inside his house twice via the tunnel.

Foul play is a possibility, but the likelihood of that seems low. It is more likely that he is just visiting a fellow exile whom he mentioned also lives in the country on the other side of the city.

Although that possibility portends well in light of what we want to ask him, Tomas volunteered to actually go there and scout it out for us.

We gave him our blessing and set him on his way with the farmers going to market.

The three of us remaining behind alternated between the house and the peaceful causeway.

Day Five Hundred Ninety Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We arose early and went in search of our friends. Only a few farmers in carts heading to market shared the roads with us.

We said little on the way in.

When we came to a temple we had passed by yesterday Elijah insisted upon entering. It bore all the signs of rededication to the cult of Stan. An acolyte motioned us forward but we skirted around the morning crowd and made our exit.

With the citizens across the city tied up in similar meetings we quickly got through to the civic center. There the Captain and Tomas were penned in a cage. Their surrounding captors fainted away at Elijah’s approach.

We released them and together returned to the country.

Day Three Hundred Ninety Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah sent me out today to stock up on some supplies for our departure, which he believes will be soon.

Prices were noticeably higher than when the market was filled with merchants. So I wasn’t in a hurry to purchase anything. At the time I remember thinking that I would advise Elijah that we hold off until the next big market day.

I did buy a few necessities, and was about to leave when a riverboat put in and landed some passengers.

Curious, I stayed to look on. One figure stood out from the rest. Whereas most left the riverfront and dispersed, he went into the inn where we first stayed. It was the young man with a beard, Stan.

Day One Hundred Seventy #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A man by the name of Flowers came to see me today. He may be what we have been hoping for. He is one of the men connected with the market in the east end, and has asked us to aid him by bringing over his parents from the west end.

The parents, we are assured, are free of the mark. Flowers who has the mark, now wishes he hadn’t. He does not care what happens to himself, so long as his parents reach freedom from  what he sees as a growing oppression.

I brought his case to Lyle with an additional caution. Flowers does not know how much longer those without the mark will be free to move about.

Day One Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The meeting with Lyle’s leaders this morning was rancorous – only because the dissidents though few in number, made all the noise. The two involved in the east end market came to the meeting having already taken on the mark. They were eager to go on record that nothing untoward had happened to them because of it. They touted it as merely a census like measure which will carry little downside consequences. They gained some adherents, but when the majority opposed them, they backed down.

Then the clamor renewed, but this time from those who wanted to fight, or at least stay and defend their property.

At the last, Lyle told all that he was moving back out to the encampment.

Day One Hundred Fifty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Pressure is mounting on two fronts.

Moglen is the undisputed leader now in the second district. It is even whispered that he may rise to rule the entire west end. We expect an ultimatum soon.

And Lyle faces opposition from two of his leaders. They were denied access to a west end market unless they bear the mark. They proposed that they take it on to represent the east end in these matters. I advised Lyle to counter their notion with the suggestion that they maintain their market here. Let the west end come to us, we set no restrictions.

Grazie worked diligently in our fields today. I worry about the return of her depression once the harvest is finished.