Day One Thousand Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It was not the carnage of battle that we surveyed on the summit of that mountain, but rather the aftermath of a wanton sacrifice. An altar had been raised over the source of the stream and an untold number of bodies lay strewn about – the bodies of animals contorted in their death agonies. All under the sparkling gaze of an idol of Stan, which presided over the scene.

Mawuli toppled it with a well aimed stone from his sling, and we crushed it under foot.

Elijah had us return to our camp near the stone bridge for the night, and from there this morning we set out towards the east, following Mawuli’s lead.

Elijah held his staff aloft in praise.

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Day One Thousand Fifty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I went for a walk. First up to the heights to look around. Elijah scanned the view, paying attention to the road that runs to the East.

We then came down and struck out in the direction upon which we had mutually agreed. As we climbed away from the redoubt, I noticed Elijah was making heavy use of his staff. We stopped frequently so he could catch his breath.

Cresting the ridge and descending the other side, he picked up the pace. We halted on a stone bridge that spanned a dry stream bed.

One look at a path that ran beside the stream bed and we knew we had found the way to the plain far below.

Day One Thousand Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are across. I feel as if I were swept up in a whirlwind. It all happened so fast.

The road was still throttled with traffic when Elijah turned to me and said that it was time. He directed me to summon the others.

I was glad for those dry runs.

When I arrived back at the relay point, Reuben already had his people alert and prepared to move.

Time seemed to standstill as we raced back to our waiting friends.

Elijah was then in the middle of an empty road holding aloft his staff, and commanding us to cross.

Quasimo met us on the other side and guided us around a platoon of sleeping soldiers.

Soon we ourselves rested.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I twisted my ankle on our transit last night. Elijah caught me before I hit the ground. Otherwise the injury would have been more serious.

As I sat there he rubbed his hands together creating heat from the friction. Then seized the point of the swelling. I could sense warmth radiating from there throughout my body.

In moments I was able to stand. He loaned me his staff as a precaution against further missteps.

We called an end to our night walk early for we came upon a well at a crossroads.

We drank our fill and found a place nearby to rest and pass the day.

Given the crossroads we had another decision to make, hopefully not under duress.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Despite our times on and off watch through the night and then the daylight hours, Elijah and I continued to gain strength. Partaking of the well water liberally, helped tremendously.

I was on the last watch before our departure when the jackals returned. I nudged Elijah awake.

As it was still light, we had a better view of these animals than last time.

They were horribly deformed, as well as emaciated. Their obvious hunger was spurring them to the attack.

Elijah cracked the lead one on the head with his staff. Its skull fractured in pieces and its body fell in a heap. The other jackal turned and fled.

We set out as planned, remaining on guard against its return.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our roundabout route via the wadi to the spot beneath the bridge consumed the rest of the day. But we remained there over night not because of the coming on of night, but because of the drone that was sniffing at our heels.

It was still present this morning. By the pattern of its movements we could tell it was combing back and forth, scanning each wadi. At one point it stopped midair as though contemplating something under its gaze.

Both of our hearts leapt with the thought that Quasimo’s cousin was the object of its scrutiny. And we both sighed with relief when it continued on without perpetrating any deadly action.

Elijah lowered his staff and we moved on.

Day Eight Hundred Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

With each step the city seems to grow taller, towering over everything in sight and blotting out half the sky to the south of us. One can sense the hum of industry going night and day without cease emanating from its presence. I commented on it, but Elijah brushed off my sense of foreboding and remained focused on our march to the city.

Posted signs appeared after that with the message praising the one responsible for all this plenteous new growth, printed beneath the smiling picture of our nemesis, Stan.

Next a drone confronted us. It stood stock still, scanning the two of us.

Elijah stood at ease; his staff remained at his side.

The drone went vertical and fled.

Day Seven Hundred Sixty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our path has become easier. More level. And word  from Tomas reported that a descent to a mountain valley lies ahead.

Still no pursuers visible behind us. But we can’t shake the feeling that someone is back there.

In a couple instances, Mei dropped behind to observe, but each time the trail remained empty.

She talked most of the time with the Captain.

He later told me that she was fixated on Elijah’s staff. At the first, he recounted the times that he had witnessed great deeds with it in Elijah’s hands, but then he realized she was forming a wrong idea about the two.

So he sent her to Elijah who gladly dispelled the false notions she was forming.

Day Seven Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We set up camp in the dark last night. It took us that long to reach the spot designated by Tomas.

It was a comfortable place in many respects. In fact we may have waited til sunup before rising if it had not been for Mei giving the alarm.

She rousted us all after waking from a dream in which drones were descending upon us. Her dream was reality.

Elijah calmed and held us in place. “Let them get a look at us,” he said.

When they ringed us, he raised his staff and they tumbled out of the sky.

With no sign of pursuit visible on the ground behind us, we broke camp and took to the trail again.

Day Six Hundred Ninety Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We passed through the first encampments of the army with ease. They subjected us only to mild scrutiny. But as we arrived at the next ring of army units we were challenged, brought to their commander and kept waiting for hours (the individual was tied up with other pressing matters, or so we were told).

All was uneventful until the arrival of an officer to make his report. He saw Elijah standing there, staff in hand, and demanded that he relinquish his “weapon.” (I believe he recognized Elijah from the broadcast).

When Elijah didn’t comply, the officer attempted to take it by force. The second he touched the staff, he fell to the ground.

The commander no longer ignored us.