Day Eight Hundred Fifty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

His name is Jezer. He never ceased talking from the moment he entered our camp. He was bent on selling us something, anything. Starting with his camels. He couldn’t see how we could do without one, or better yet two.

We politely declined, but that was only the signal for him to bring out the rest of his wares. All in all he is entertaining, and quite the charmer. (Though there are moments when I see the greed for gold in his eyes).

And persistent, for this morning he was back to pushing our need for camels, and told us of his near escape from marauding soldiers, and strongly intimated that we would be wise to take up his offer.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Members of the city’s militia came to the inn this morning looking for Tomas. And finding him with us, they demanded that we all come with them for questioning.

So it was after a long wait, we finally appeared before a tribal magistrate. He had no questions for us, only for the militia soldiers. Tomas had been observed by those stationed at the dam. Their conclusion was obvious – Tomas was a spy, and by association so were we.

We protested, but our words fell on deaf ears. We were hustled away to the dam, of all places, and locked up in a chamber deep therein.

I guess with all the soldiers about they believe it to be the most secure.

Day Seven Hundred Seventeen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The five of us talked through the night. Our joy grew as the Spirit’s loving superintendence of our lives was revealed in the recounting of our journeys to this point in time.

G has brought his charges safely through beehives of global authority soldiers all intent on their capture. In fact, their presence in this remote place is the most recent example of their hairbreadth escapes.

G was greatly encouraged by our accounts – the only exception being the mystery surrounding the fate of his twin brother P, who, last we knew, was in the hands of the authorities at the gateway to the east.

Each of us, however holds out hope, knowing that what has sustained us also sustains him.

Day Seven Hundred Ten #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

With the way open behind us, we were again called upon to press forward into the pass. The Captain and I had ended our fasts, but Elijah was continuing with his.

Other units pulled into the area and filled it up as we vacated it.

All was calm and peaceful and nothing but the silence of the mountains greeted our ears along the way.

The soldiers marching with us were noticeably ill at ease. And their leader called an end to our advance much earlier than I would have thought.

We later learned that this had been at the instigation of the Supreme Commander whose vehicle had caught up with the advance unit, also bearing Tomas, our very excited friend.

Day Seven Hundred One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The detail of soldiers given charge of us was beyond strange. I don’t think any of them shut their eyes at any time. Nor did they, in our hearing, say a word. They filled the night with their unblinking stares.

As for our side I was the only one who had trouble sleeping. Elijah and the Captain didn’t stir.

Come the dawn we were remanded into the charge of the Head Quarter’s guard, and the strange detail departed.

We didn’t have to wait long for our interrogation before the Supreme Commander. He had only one question for us – why were we there.

Elijah answered him with another question – were they prepared to release our friend.

Then Tomas was ushered in.

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 Sixty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A momentous day. Advance motorized units of the army came roaring into town at dawn. The townspeople, those who had not fled, stayed inside. Only a few were brave enough to venture out.

Seeing that these soldiers were non-threatening, more denizens, their curiosity whetted, joined those already out gawking.

The main body of the army came through at noon, and for the next six hours filled up the plain towards the mountains.

For most of that time, Tomas and I were out and about, looking for the Captain. Elijah wanted us to stop him from arranging our truck transport. His only explanation being that we cannot yet leave the area.

We were successful in both objects.

Now to wait.

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 Six Hundred Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We actually saw the squad of soldiers coming a minute before our neighbor’s signal. And like he thought they tackled his home first.

The Captain and Tomas had plenty of time to hide themselves in the tunnel.

When the soldiers finished banging around our neighbor’s home, they regrouped outside, conferred briefly, then entered our dwelling.

Elijah stood immovable in the middle of the great room. The soldiers ignored him, peppering me instead with their questions.

Because we are obviously foreigners, I believe they stayed longer than at our neighbor’s, scouring through our things.

At long last they departed, and when they did, they took the guards at the crossroads with them.

Our friends emerged, having spent the whole time praying.