Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

None of us closed our eyes last night. We were too alive to the moment.
The silence of the night early gave way to the sounds of hasty preparation. While the first rays of light revealed rank upon rank of the opposing armies stretched out in endless lines.

The blood trickling down the rocky stream bed under the stone bridge was only the harbinger of what was to come, down in the valley.

Elijah stood to his feet and raised his staff over his head and intoned judgement on both armies.

Then across each rank and down each line, blood sprouted like a crimson bloom above each individual, a veritable fountain as they fell.
Like grapes in a wine press.

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Day One Thousand Two Hundred Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah with his staff and Mawuli with his sling made short work of the wild dogs. Dispatching fully half of them before the remainder scampered away in a panic.

Things returned to normal after that. The new normal anyway.

As a plus the incident seemed to restore Mawuli’s equilibrium.

And the cold snap ended. Another welcome circumstance.

But it all changed again in the middle of my morning watch. Out on the perimeter the wild dogs reappeared. Everyone responded to my alarm. Thus, we all saw them stop in their tracks, turn and flee.

None of us had time to ponder this as immediately the ground shook and the terrain around us undulated like the waves of an unruly sea.

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 Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After our comrades recovered from the suddenness of our return, we decided not to venture beyond our thicket – but pressed further back into its wild undergrowth. And there passed the night.

Come the morning we were surprised when Quasimo discovered a huge water reservoir nearby. Reuben recognized the structure and led us around to the other side where he knew of a path that could take us east.

We eschewed the side where the tanker trucks were adding their loads to the reservoir. Even then someone must have spotted us for a warplane dropped down from a great height and lined up on our position.

Elijah raised his staff and the jet tumbled from the sky – but not before firing.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The wisdom of the directions only became clear after the events unfolded. I received confirmation of the instructions as related by Reuben (and reiterated by Elijah), but they gave me great difficulty, for they required me to break the covenant struck between Elijah and me – to never separate.

But I set my mind to obey and we did.

When Moglen left the high place, I crossed over to it while Elijah and Reuben distracted the drone.

I crushed the idol with any rocks that came to hand and tossed the pieces into the fire.

After giving the drone a chance to record the proceedings, Elijah brought it down with his raised staff.

Swiftly I rejoined my friends and we departed.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Stop and go all day, in effect slowing our progress greatly. Many units of reinforcements have crossed our line of march, forcing a halt. Sometimes for as long as an hour. The longer halts were occasioned by caravans of wounded returning from the front.

We then knew for certain that we were behind the lines of the army of the North. In one instance we were close enough to see the insignia on their vehicles.

The image of Moglen again haunted my thoughts in between times. When Elijah noticed my absence from the present, he called me back from my revery. I do believe that had I not responded immediately each time he would have rapped me with his staff.

Day One Thousand Ninety #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Finally word came down that our long-awaited audience would come to pass today. So we were notified and given leave to prepare ourselves. That is, we were each expected to see to our ablutions. And more than just our dusty feet.

The guards who were to accompany us were not exempted. (If anything they needed it the more, or so was the considered judgement of our own Mei).

I volunteered first, then held Elijah’s staff as he saw to himself.

Not long after we had finished we were ushered up to the penthouse and seated in a reception area. And again waited.

Soon the double doors swung open and in walked the Supreme Commander and at his elbow, our Tomas.

Day One Thousand Eighty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We haven’t budged from where we were captured yesterday. Our captors haven’t been too harsh beyond the first encounter. The bruises on Sy’s and the Captain’s heads notwithstanding. Despite our protestations that we are not spies, nor hold any animus against them, we are kept corralled together and forced to be quiet under the constant vigil of three guards.

The leader of the unit has no time for us and is intent on setting his defenses. So we have no one with which to plead our case to be taken to the Supreme Commander.

At least they are not curious about Mei’s presence with us. And they have not confiscated Elijah’s staff. Evidently they assume he needs it to walk.

Day One Thousand Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We wandered the rest of the day without striking Sy’s well. I could tell his frustration was mounting at his inability to locate it.

Finally Elijah signaled for a halt in an area we all judged fit for a camp.

Sy, however, continued to roam about, muttering he was sure it was near at hand. The next morning the Captain stumbled upon it. Actually he tripped and fell on his face.

The well had been filled in, packed with rocks. We gathered around it on our knees to remove them. Only to discover the water there had been befouled too. Unfit to drink.

Elijah took up his staff and stirred the water with its tip, drawing out all the impurities.

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.