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 Ninety Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The army still rested in place, and gave no sign of moving on. But we had to act if we were to get out in front of them.

The way I saw it, we only had three choices: one, skirt around to the north side of the valley, or two, go via the trail to the south, or three, stay here and wait for better options to present themselves.

I believed the last would have been the most appealing to the Captain, but he surprised us by opting for the second.

Elijah, then, set us off on the southern route.

Along the way he told us there had been a fourth option – we could have gone straight through the valley.

Day Six Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We lingered long over breakfast before parting company from our new friends. They brim over with joy and thus are a pleasure to be around. They shall be missed. And the feeling is mutual.

Though the parting was tinged with sadness, the hope of our meeting again encourages all alike.

If any of their relatives remain in this world they are hopeful that they may win them to the truth.

Elijah for his part is confident that when we meet up again in Jerusalem, they will have added substantially to their number.

Our quartet had easy going on the southern route. We kept a constant vigil, scanning the sun baked horizon for the army on its march.

No sighting yet.