Day Seven Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The wide prairie was lost to our view as we wandered among the hillocks. There being no clearly marked path, Tomas kept us pointed in a northerly direction as best he could. To that end he would climb one of the hilltops to check at regular intervals.

On one such occasion, he returned to us to report an armed group passing through on the other side.

We stayed in place while Tomas and Mei climbed to the top of a higher hilltop to observe them.

They were gone quite some time.

It turns out that Mei left Tomas to follow them, bringing back the news that they entered a village not too far distant.

She believes them to be hunters.

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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 Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Yesterday was a refreshing day of rest for all of us. We each drew apart at times for communion with the Spirit.

Both Tomas and Mei desired to venture on to see what lay beyond our line of sight, but we prevailed upon them to just wait.

This morning, therefore, we were more than ready to depart. So, we let loose the young people to tumble down the mountain ahead of us.

More switchbacks eased our descent and we remained bundled up against a bracing cold. And thankfully no sign of Stan’s presence, brooding or otherwise, disturbed our peace.

The Captain and I lagged behind and filled our time with conversation on many topics. But  at their center was Jerusalem.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our young people returned with good news.  Indeed, there was a passage under this mountain that disgorges onto the other side.

With this comforting knowledge we settled down to pass the night in the safety of the cave.

Come morning we pressed onward led by Tomas and Mei.

There were a couple of tricky sections where we had to descend a good height by handholds chipped from the rock by persons who had explored this way before. Who knows how long ago?

Once through to the other side, Mei and Tomas waited for us to catch up. Tomas collected our firebrands and suggested that we rest up and spend the night again in the cave.

His thoughtfulness was very welcome.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have turned aside after a long day of ascents back and forth across the face of the highest mountain in the area. Definitely our last choice for a way out of the valley.

We turned aside because the way ahead is choked with snow and ice. And Tomas judged it to be too hazardous. Instead he thinks a nearby cavern will lead to a passage that will take us to where we want to go.

So, we made camp inside the mouth of the cavern while he chases down the flutter of air coming from somewhere further on.

Mei begged to be allowed to accompany him, arguing forcefully that no one should undertake this particular task alone.

We agreed.

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 Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were hopeful that our pursuers had given up. Or perhaps even lost and off on the wrong track.

Thus we were thinking as we entered this mountain valley. Strange to see such rich pasturage on either hand, and no flocks being shepherded. In fact it seemed untouched, as though undiscovered. But surely that could not be the case, for many groups of Hamashiachites must  have crossed this very meadow.

Mei came to me in the afternoon. She was troubled, but not about what troubled me. She had dreamed again last night about the dark shadow coming between us and the moon and stars.

Unlike before, the telling of her dream raised the hackles on the back of my neck.

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.

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.