Day One Thousand One Hundred Ninety Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The number of Moglen’s men packing the crate multiplied today. So they quickly and easily attained the high place.

We observed the proceedings with Tomas from our position, while Reuben and Sy watched from theirs.

My hopes rose after the crate was opened and I saw the idol laying there in pieces. I thought it was broken. But as it turned out it was in pieces only for transport.

Moglen arrived and supervised its reassembly.

The monstrosity was set in place above the stone altar before the afternoon was consumed.

That was when a commotion erupted down in the redoubt. To our horror Magwich had arrived and launched an assault to free Mawuli. They were all cut down and killed.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Ninety Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Sy woke us in the early morning with a report that explosions could be heard coming from the direction of Babylon. As we strained to see over the horizon we could make out the glow from the same. Then the many camps far below on the plain stirred to life.

We watched with interest the goings on throughout the day.

Moglen’s outpost on these heights packed up and descended down to the redoubt.

Another group operating from the redoubt, labored all the daylight hours, and succeeded in carrying the crate half way up to the high place.

Before the sun set Reuben and his team arrived, guided by Sy’s men sent down for that purpose.

Elijah and I made ready.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Ninety #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A plan has been made and the parts assigned. Elijah and I left for the Galilee after meeting with Mawuli’s parents, the Purser and Mary. We assured them we will do everything possible to bring their child home.

We took Tomas with us. Sy, Reuben, and Magwich will follow, each leading a small group on successive days.

Hopefully to maintain the smallest profile possible.

Mei stopped us on the way out. She so wanted to accompany us. Elijah firmly declined her offer, but then had a second thought, and added that if the Captain and Jezer were to return in the next three days she could direct them to come and accompany them.

She excitedly embraced him then skipped away.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Eighty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I cannot write down all that I am feeling. I am so shaken.  All I can think about is Mawuli and his plight.  Over and over I say to myself – we have to do something.

I have to do something.

My thoughts fill up with scenario after scenario. All formed around a desire to see Mawuli whisked out of danger. An end that I know could easily result in disaster for all involved.

Tomas, too, came by and bounced some of his plans off of me. He wants to enlist Reuben and Sy and Magwich, and with their aid, lead a raid with them wherever the boy is being held.

It took Elijah’s wise intervention to settle us all down.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Eighty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I stirred early and discovered that Elijah was already up. He looked at me without a word pacing about looking up at the heavens.

I opened my mouth to speak only to have him shush me.

Then he stood stock still, raised his staff and swung it in an arc from horizon to horizon.

Fifteen points of light sprang to life marking the staff’s passage against the sky. They glowed brilliantly then extinguished.

We awakened our three brothers for breakfast and a conference.

Our decision was swift and unanimous. We will forsake our direct heading and make our way around the area of the hiding place and approach from the Damascus side.

We tasked Reuben with finding the best way.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Eighty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We passed the night under the stars. And stars were all we could see, for our only view was straight overhead from a dirt floor at the bottom of a rocky depression.

I traded the early morning watch to Magwich who wanted to take in the view. He remarked to me afterwards that he had thought he’d never see it again.

Throughout the day’s hike Magwich overflowed with joy and thankfulness, an infectious feeling that sped us along.

Reuben kept the advance, dropping back only twice to hold us in place while two patrols passed through.

Quasimo is optimistic that we will be back at the hiding place before the meridian tomorrow.

Elijah and I had much to talk over.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah laid hands on Magwich this morning and raised him from his couch. Judging him sound we left after eating.

Upon leaving I noticed a sign posted at the entrance to the compound that announced it was quarantined. I shot Reuben a glance and he gave me a wink in return.

Reuben led the way on a path new to everyone. At the bottom of a gully he asked Quasimo to send the drone aloft for a quick look ahead.

It indicated that we had the path to ourselves.

From the next high point we could see the way ahead was quite rugged with lots of ups and downs as it wound its way down from the heights of Jerusalem.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Eight #DayoftheEndoftheWorld

Magwich insists that we abandon him and return to the hiding place. And argues he will follow when he can walk on his own.

If Elijah had not finally consented to rest, I am sure that Magwich’s argument would have ended in short order.  But it had fallen to me to attend to him instead and I confess I was feeling keenly the need to return, if only to inquire about Tomas and Sy.

I was at the point of giving in when Reuben entered to silence our bickering. A platoon of soldiers was approaching.

We held our breath as Reuben went down to observe.

They moved on without entering and Magwich did not renew his demand that we leave.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Magwich was in shock when Reuben and Quasimo brought him in. Elijah installed him in an upper room and stayed with him while sending us away.

We conferred briefly before setting up a watch rotation. Quasimo took the first.

Reuben filled me in from what he knew.

They had caught up with Magwich in the affluent section. The area was awash in the flood waters from the destroyed reservoir. Some angry residents had taken him for a looter and were pummeling him mercilessly.

Reuben took command of the situation, ‘arresting’ Magwich and taking him off their hands.

It gave me much to think about on my watch.

With Magwich going in an out of consciousness all day we stayed put.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

None of us wanted to leave the area without Magwich. So Reuben led us to a deserted compound that at one time was the residence of a relative who just happened to be related to Magwich as well.

While Elijah and I remained behind, Reuben and Quasimo went in search of our friend.

We originally focused on interceding for our absent trio, but that soon changed. Both of us began praying simultaneously for Tomas and Sy with an urgency that I have seldom experienced before.

In comparing notes with Elijah afterwards, he had had a vision of Moglen leading a bound and gagged Mawuli.

Our earlier intercession was rewarded by the return of Reuben and Quasimo carrying a wounded Magwich.