Day Five Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The crew is scared witless. Elijah has been sharing with them portents of future events. He did temper his vision with reasons to hope, but they have only been able to focus on the downside. I took every opportunity to share with them out of our experience about how that hope is real and has the power to see us through anything.

I passed part of my time today with P to instruct him in the duties of a purser. (Yes, he has been approved for the position by all concerned). He has asked a lot of questions – always a good sign. I encourage him to ask more, as it gives me the best insight into what I should teach.

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Day Five Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Raj twins are fascinated with the workings of the ship. They followed me about everywhere, from the depths to the heights.

The one, whom we call G, was particularly enamoured of those things that are done routinely for the maintenance of the ship, as a result, most likely, from his experiences in the shipyard.

His brother P expressed more interest in what Tomas does when functioning as Purser.

This would be fine by me, for I have not felt right about taking it on this time around. As long as the other parties involved agree – Tomas, the Captain, but especially Elijah.

For now, Elijah feels we are beyond the reach of the global government. And hopes to stay ahead.

Day Four Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas has relieved me from all watch duty. The danger from pirates has past. Though we still exert caution not to call undue attention to ourselves from the patrolling naval vessels which seem to be everywhere.

The Captain estimates that we are three days out from our next port of call. Therefore he asked me to prepare the list of containers that will be offloaded there.

In the process I discovered a listing for a container with no destination information on its original paper work. I queried Tomas about this. He told me he had discovered the same anomaly when he was filling in as purser, but hadn’t had any time to investigate.

I put it first on my list.

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.

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 Four Hundred Fifty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

In my capacity as purser I accompanied Tomas on his rounds today. Every thing was in its place and as far as outward appearances go, in perfect condition. And Emil’s special container still crowned the stack of deck cargo.

We caught up with the other ships at the mouth of the channel. One split off and headed for the island port. The other two just sat there waiting.

And it was easy to see why. Another storm looked to be brewing in the south. Our Captain took a wait and see attitude too.

Back on the bridge, I watched as Elijah went forward. He dropped from sight. But I knew he made it to the bow.

For the skies cleared.

Day Four Hundred Twenty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Late into the night Elijah and I discussed what to do. Before turning in we concluded that we would explore our immediate surroundings.  

First on our list was the northern road that runs out of the one open gate. In the hills just outside the city we discovered a series of villages and farms. In those that were closer to the city the mark was prevalent. But further out it disappeared. Good news.

We were able to restock some foodstuffs. And gain some information. Those without the mark had been driven from the city. They uneasily await a future expulsion from their current locale.

Come that time Elijah advised them to prepare to travel north to search out the Purser.

Day Four Hundred Twenty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have not seen anyone else on the road, in either direction, since we left the river yesterday. Judging by the calculations of the former merchant from the port city we still have three days to go.

Elijah tells me that the Purser had given him a message to relay to the Captain. A resignation – and an apology for doing so. Elijah raised an eyebrow to me at the finish of this information. I caught his gist and agreed to offer to take on the position if acceptable to the Captain.

My mind was filled afterwards with thoughts of what I would do as a ship’s purser – things that I learned from watching him, and things from my own experience.

Day Two Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Purser will continue to lead the followers of Hamashiach on this continent. We said farewell to him and his family. I will miss them, but most of all, Mawuli.

I was struck with curiosity as they approached the river to cross, keeping an eye on Elijah to see if he’d intervene. But the river, though wide, was very shallow at that point and no action on his part was necessary.

We stayed until the rear guard was across. And Mawuli and I exchanged our last goodbyes from opposite banks.

Elijah turned his face eastward. I followed suit and we set out.

The road runs straight with little change in elevation – the highs brought low and the lows filled in.

Day Four Hundred Twenty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We arrived just short of the road this evening. The Purser had located the former denizen of the port city who was invited to spend the day with us. We have learned much.

The man, a former merchant does not hold out hope that we will find any believers left in the city. Further he warns that the remaining population may be hostile. He is incredulous that we would want to go there.

In the evening council meeting I confess I was quite moved by what Elijah shared. He explained they will have an important role to play in the future.

At the close he advised them to ford the river to the side opposite the road and head north.