Day Six Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We crested a ridge this morning and got a look down into another section of the pass. We could see a mass that just might be the rear guard of the army.

Tomas departed from us down a side track to a better vantage point.

He rejoined us later with the news that it was the object of our interest. Or a section of it. And further, it appeared to be not moving. Stalled.

We were heartened that we could soon catch up, but at the same time concerned for what the reason might be for their inactivity.

Our attention was soon back to navigating the trail with Elijah pressing us onward. Tomas ran ahead hoping to find a shortcut.

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Day Six Hundred Eighty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We could not communicate with one another save through gestures and signs. Their weapons did most of the pointing.

After a few tense moments they seemed satisfied that we were not on a mission from their enemies which we took to be the army in the pass.

Thankfully they did not force us out into the night, but neither would they let us depart this morning.

The Captain had a sense they were waiting for someone else with the authority to make that decision.

Tomas went outside briefly with one of them and brought back news that the storm had passed.

Both Elijah and I sought to redeem the time in prayer. We were allowed use of the sleeping quarters.

Day Six Hundred Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We arrived in an area at a lower elevation – and less cold. The advance units of the army had disappeared further down the pass and the main body had marched into view.

They moved more swiftly than before. At the double quick.

At first I wondered how long they could maintain that pace, but then I was struck by perhaps a more important question – why.

Tomas chimed in with the thought that they may have discovered evidence of their enemy’s presence back in that defile.

Our discussion on this topic was interrupted by the Captain who brought the news that we were not alone on the trail.  He had found tracks on our path that merged onto it from above.

Day Six Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have stayed put today in the nice dry cave Elijah found for us. We need to sort through some issues before making our next move.

Just as we had our news to share with Tomas and the Captain, so too have they returned the favor.

They had observed various scouting patrols in the area, each one checking out the routes up to the mountain pass. All have hastily beat a retreat back down to the plain.

Tomas went out on his own to see what was what. He brought back some unsettling news.

Dire warnings are posted on the roads westward. They warn that radiation is present at dangerous levels.

It must be why the army has not budged.

Day Six Hundred Fifteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The stamp of feet no longer reverberates throughout the house. The last soldier column passed our crossroads around midnight during my watch.

The silence was welcome.

After my turn on guard I slept and actually got some rest.

Upon rising, Elijah was just returning from some time apart on the causeway. He reported more strangeness.

The farmers were on the roads again, but instead of being bound for the city, they were headed towards the army camp.

We decided to postpone our departure for today. Instead we dispatched the Captain into the city to reconnoiter.

The news he brought back was disconcerting. Not a single man of military age remains in the city, only women or children or old men.

Day Six Hundred Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Some unusual activity today. The Captain and Tomas told us later about the waves of soldiers passing through the area. Thankfully they were not stopping anywhere along their route. Elijah and I missed it for we were off in the city for news.

Everything appeared calm and even dull there. We attracted notice in certain sections, but there was a marked difference in the willingness of the people to respond when we talked to them. It made us curious.

We discovered why on our way back. Fresh posters were mounted on the walls outside the temple. They announced that Stan would deliver a message to the world in two days and included a simple admonition – to be kind to everyone.

Day Five Hundred Seventy Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The port has been a study in contrasts today. All the other ships were abuzz with activity, while ours was just sitting by the dock, waiting.

Waiting for the Captain and P to return. (If they return at all). Waiting for news of what comes next.

Small boats were plying the waters constantly between the warship and the shore. We spotted one unit coming in that we were sure will be paying visits to the shrines of the city, claiming them in Stan’s name.

At one point Tomas was called for. He brought back word of the Captain’s imminent return, and a suggestion that we depart.

Neither Elijah nor myself sense that our time aboard has come to an end.

Day Five Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were no overt signs, no indication on any level that this place was given over to the enemy. Not even any posters of Stan’s image staring down from the walls.

But a brooding sense of malignancy made its presence felt at the edge of our senses.

Elijah and I remained in the ship. One look over the ship’s railing was enough for us.

Tomas took P ashore to school him in the purser’s responsibilities with the dispatcher. The other Raj twin G wanted to accompany them, but was told his charge was to remain with the ship.

Tomas brought back surprising news – we will be allowed to load several containers whose owners don’t bear the mark either.

Astonishing indeed.

Day Five Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When the Raj twins failed to return from the shipyard over night, the rest of their family begged us to seek them out.

Since Elijah and I were aware of the push to finish repairs on our ship, we weren’t too concerned, and explained our reasoning. This calmed them until rumors electrified the streets that global security forces were entering the city.

We left immediately for the shipyard, taking the family with us. They realized that now is the time.

We were the first to arrive at the yard with the news, and in turn were surprised to see our ship again afloat.

The Captain brought everyone aboard, reuniting the family with the twins.

We standby for our next move.

Day Four Hundred Sixty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The last of the boatloads was winched up and stowed aboard this afternoon. I’ve lost track of the amount of trips they’ve made, but I have an exacting account of the amounts of tin and bauxite.

Elijah made a trip ashore to look around and meet the people. He brought back news about the Purser. Some people from the village had heard about his passage northward, and being followers of Hamashiach went out and joined his group.

The shipper has paid half of the shipping costs, and we are to collect our other half from the consignees. (The metals are in trade for items that they have received already).

An eleven hour trip across the mouth of the gulf awaits.