Day One Thousand Sixty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our pace has been slow and deliberate. And as we went along I marveled at our collective reaction to the horrors we had seen atop the mountain. Anything more conducive to panic and fleeing headlong to escape, I find hard to imagine. Instead we were united to follow on, calmly and with hope, looking forward to accomplish that for which we have been summoned.

Mawuli began the morning huddled with Elijah. And ranged out ahead of us, much like Tomas used to do.

He expressed to me his awe at being used as a blessing to us. And I in turn reminded him of what has passed before, and how those times of small things are rewarded with increased responsibility.

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Day One Thousand Fifty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I went for a walk. First up to the heights to look around. Elijah scanned the view, paying attention to the road that runs to the East.

We then came down and struck out in the direction upon which we had mutually agreed. As we climbed away from the redoubt, I noticed Elijah was making heavy use of his staff. We stopped frequently so he could catch his breath.

Cresting the ridge and descending the other side, he picked up the pace. We halted on a stone bridge that spanned a dry stream bed.

One look at a path that ran beside the stream bed and we knew we had found the way to the plain far below.

Day One Thousand Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It has become evident that the army patrol from the checkpoint is not on a routine sweep. Otherwise they would have turned back with the onset of night.

I can only think that since we sometimes have them in view, they must likewise see us, despite our conscious efforts to shield our movements.

Thankfully they show no signs of gaining on us. Elijah quickened his pace during those times when we were blocked from view. With the result that the time between sightings lengthened.

And in one of these blind troughs we headed away from our destination, and we hoped from our pursuers too.

That’s when we ran into the man who had accosted us down on the main road.

Day Nine Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our sendoff was a somber affair, attended only by the leaders and those in the vicinity of the entrance to the hiding place. Everything needing to be said had been said last night. Only Elijah spoke and that was to reiterate his instruction from our conference to dispatch Jezer after us upon his return.

We left the remaining drone behind. Elijah says it won’t be necessary. Indeed, he feels it would be a hindrance. (Another decision vouchsafed by the vision given to the Captain).

Upon emerging we saw the predicted sign – two thin clouds, crossways to one another, and the longer one, pointing towards our goal to the north.

Elijah set the pace and I had to step up mine.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Quasimo’s instructions as to the next waypoint on our desert crossing were somewhat vague. We were to direct our march towards the first mountain peak in a grouping of three until a single larger one came into view in the west.

It was easy enough to set our course in the dying light before setting out, but we were left wondering how we could detect the second in the dark. We may have to consider walking in the daylight hours.

We were able to hike for a couple of hours on the bedrock before it was subsumed again by the desert sands.

Then our pace greatly slowed. Whereas we had been quite talkative before, we fell silent with the exertion.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

An earth-shattering cataclysm overshadows all else that happened to us today.

We had finally honed our co-ordination to such an extent that everyone was satisfied – and we were moving at a pace that was comfortable for all.

A flash of light, brighter than the sun caused us to look around for its source. Our starting point of the morning was far behind, and beyond that rise the flash was being replaced by a burgeoning column of smoke.

We knew in our hearts that the city on the prairie was no more.

Many in both groups wanted to turn back, but for the most part Mei and the Captain were successful in dissuading them.

Only a handful left us.

Day Seven Hundred Fourteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas has taken up his wanderlust again, traveling in advance of us, sampling the paths that branch off of this main one. None have been judged better than the one we are on.

Elijah has ended his fast so he kept up with our brisk pace.

Tomas did beg us to join him up on a vantage point, a short distance off the beaten track.

It offered a full view of an hundred eighty degree arc of the mountain ranges west of us. They look for all the world like waves frozen in place on its march to the sands of the desert off in the distance.

But more importantly we could see that our path veers towards the west.

Day Six Hundred Ninety Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have wended by deserted farms and abandoned villages on this southern route around the bivouacked army. Nothing of value has been left behind. Either the inhabitants departed with their possessions, or foragers from the army scooped them up.

A number of times we were forced off the trail by the approach of patrols, and remained motionless until after they had passed. It makes our progress very slow.

On one of these occasions five peasants came up behind the patrol, in plain sight and made no move to avoid the soldiers other than leaving the road to them when passing them by.

As we were similarly attired, we were emboldened to do the same.

We quickened our pace after that.

Day Six Hundred Eighty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah awoke first, and came and roused me. We collected Tomas and the Captain and departed our captors.

Both soldiers were in a deep, sound sleep.

Outside the crevice I had to hush our puzzled companions until we were further down the trail.

Later to my explanation the Captain said it was like one of the passages he had read to me recently. I concurred.

We looked for the army but the pass below was empty. Elijah told us it was imperative for us to catch up to them.

We picked up the pace, but I was not convinced it would make any difference. Another path at a fork looked to suffice and we took it despite its radiation warning.

Day Six Hundred Eighty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tracks continued to precede us on the trail. Another set joined the first at the juncture of the path with a mountain stream. This second set came up from below.

We slowed our pace by tacit agreement. I believe none of us wanted an encounter up here in the mountains.

We all felt relief on that score when the path forked and the pair of tracks took the upward bound route. We will stay the course and keep in view of the pass below.

We are left curious though. Tomas told us that the upward branch was marked with signs of warnings about radiation – like those in the hills up from the town on the plain.

Elijah alone remains unconcerned.