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.

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Day Six Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Of course I had lots of questions for Elijah. But he would not answer any of them. He said we needed to save our breath.

We headed north on the far side of the river course and walked all night. I kept my peace and my questions to myself.

We took a roundabout route to the place he had stashed the Captain and Tomas.

With the new day came a new excuse about answering my questions. Elijah thought it best to wait until we rejoined our friends.  He didn’t want to retell it over and over.

They had seen the aerial display as it happened and asked my burning question – why not destroy the army too?

His answer – “Not yet.”

Day Six Hundred Thirty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The caravan route has been easy to follow. And we have moved quickly upon it. When in the few instances it disappeared, Tomas unerringly led us to where it reappeared again.

There are magnificent mountains to the south of us, and no matter how far we progress, they remain stationary. We wonder if the army would be found on the march in that sphere.

Elijah has fallen into a new habit.  He rises hours before us each morning. Then lingers behind, joining us on the route later in the day at lunch.

I brought up the idea of night travel. Something Elijah and I have done in the past. But the others want to keep to daylight hours for now.

Day Six Hundred Twenty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The road has disappeared under the sands of a desert. This fact has gone a long way to explain the absence of an army on the march behind us. They must have taken another route.

We stood there briefly to consider our options. The Captain and Tomas volunteered to continue on upon whatever track there might be ahead. Elijah set a time limit for their foray, and at its expiration they were to return here.

Elijah and I found a cooler spot and there turned our attentions to things of the Spirit.

By the time of their return we were all in agreement that our way ahead lay through the desert.

They had found a well on a caravan route.

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 Twenty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It feels good to be underway again – out in calm seas under sunny skies, especially as the Captain has decided to take the risk and put in at the next port up the coast.

Elijah has invested all his waking hours with the Raj family, which he gathered into our cabin to go over the slightly different route they will be taking.

At one point he sent for me. I was with Tomas in the Purser’s cabin, listening to his arguments for taking on the job again. It seems some of the older members of the Raj family were battling sea sickness.

I rejoined Elijah in our cabin and did what I could to help them cope with the malady.

Day Five Hundred Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I returned with the Raj twins to their family last night. We have a lot to do in a short time.

This morning we stayed with the family rather than going back to the shipyard. (We would only be underfoot and in the way if we tried to help with the ship’s repair).

Elijah has laid out for the family a plan and a route for their future journey. They are eager to comply and are pressing us for a word on when they should depart. All we can tell them is that they will know within themselves when the time is right.

They have balked however at Elijah’s insistence that the twins accompany us on the ship.

Day Five Hundred Fourteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

More empty villages littered our route. Though discouraged we are hopeful for the road ahead. Elijah feels that the household in question may have fled to the large city now within our view. I pointed out of course that the populace of the entire countryside appears to have done the same.

A heavy mist that has covered the environs of the far side of that city has melted away in the afternoon sun, revealing the presence of the sea beyond.

Thankfully it will limit the flight of our fugitives.

However with each step forward the city looms larger. It is an effort to keep the task ahead in perspective, and less daunting.

We decide to seek first for the shipyard.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We held our station until the robotic warship was out of sight. It was obvious to us that it was patrolling the route between the port cities. Perhaps on the lookout for us.

Then we immediately entered into the island’s port city. No other vessel was currently tied up at the docks. We had our pick of  berths and chose the one closest to Emil’s office. He wasn’t in, so we settled in for the night.

Elijah and the Captain went ashore this morning only to return almost immediately. Not only could they not find Emil, the dock was deserted.

There was a short debate as to what to do.

We decided to unload the three containers ourselves and wait.

Day Four Hundred Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I was a late riser this morning. Elijah, having the last watch, let me sleep in to recover from yesterday. So when preparations were complete, we got off to a good, though late start.

Even so we came out of the wilderness well before midday, which was ahead of our expectations. But the view that greeted us was completely surprising. An extensive and empty salt flat.

That it was empty was most unnerving. I had expected to see multitudes awash in this interior expanse. All of the evidence we had passed on our route called for that conclusion.

Elijah took in the scene and was pragmatic. All it meant he shrugged was that we still have a ways to go.