Day Eight Hundred Ninety Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I are wanted men. So Jezer reports after his southern expedition. Our pictures are everywhere. Not as numerous or as large as those of Stan. And nowhere were there any reports of what Elijah had said. Instead we are listed as disturbers of the peace.

I launched my new drone. Not to disturb the peace, but to preserve our own. I’d like to send it out on a wider search for our friends too. But it doesn’t have the range.

What may help instead is sending Meesa out. And Elijah has just cleared her participation with those who had originally spoken against it.

We all agree that the specter of capture remains but finding our people overrules it.

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Day Eight Hundred Ninety Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It happened much as Elijah planned.

We entered Jerusalem with the morning crowds. And made our way to its heart. There were depictions of Stan on every side. Much nicer than the paper posters we’d seen to date.

And soldiers stood guard on every street, scrutinizing every passerby.

In fact, one left his post to follow us. Elijah took the attention in stride. I moved to keep myself between the two. And to shield Elijah.

We emerged onto the Temple court and there Elijah announced to the multitudes the continuation of the drought. And closed his announcement with the promise of its deepening.

A great roar of anger arose.

And the guard made to seize us, but we were gone.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have Damascus in sight. Meesa led us off the road to a ridge above its outskirts, where we have a commanding view of the road and a neighboring one to the west. We can see where each enters the city. And are in a good position to evaluate our options.

Meesa had listened to our explanations with avidity, and peppered us with questions. Before leaving she had proposed another solution by offering to affix a mark like hers upon our persons – an offer we both declined.

We shall not stoop to subterfuge, but we shall oppose Stan and his ilk face to face.

That being said, we shall stay put until we have clarity as to when and how.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The villages we passed through yesterday and today were quiet and almost empty, for their inhabitants were out laboring in the fields. The requisite posters of Stan increased in number as we grew closer to Damascus.

And as we were getting closer, Elijah and I strategized about our entry.

We decided that we would hold up at a distance and observe the patterns of movement into and out of the city.

It would also need to be an out of the way site, the better to seek the Spirit’s direction.

We have noted already that at certain times of the day the road traffic slows due to an increase in vehicles and backs up. This may prove an important factor.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We did not make any progress towards Damascus today. We encamped on the outskirts of a larger town last night – the capital for this district, as we soon discovered. For we decided to begin the day’s journey by strolling through rather than around it.

The telltale posters of Stan hung everywhere with extra added touches of adornment.

We were no sooner in its central square than we were surrounded by a convergence of celebratory citizens that clogged all the exits.

We were a captive audience.

When the officials spoke we learned that they were collected to celebrate the anniversary of the world government coming to their rescue in the drought.

When it broke up, the day was too far gone.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We kept well off the road as we made our way west. The traffic thereon has been noticeably less than we remember. Tanker trucks were still in the majority, but more appeared to be headed west than we had seen rolling down to the megapolis.

Quasimo thought it an indication of big changes in store for the region and for the world. Stan always talked about moving west to Jerusalem. The financial levers would remain in Babylon. What he had planned for the City of David was on a whole other level.

Quasimo was silent for a spell, obviously disturbed by his thoughts.

Elijah moved beside him to encourage, and to tell him that certain things must come to pass.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The skies were clear above the megapolis for most of the day. Only the occasional drone could be seen making the rounds on its patrol. Quasimo opined that the warplanes were no doubt back to their job of running sorties against the army of the East.

I asked him if he had knowledge about the conflict.

He replied that any contacts between these forces were minor by Stan’s design. And only used as a means to draw the army of the East where he wanted it.

We ended our day near the point of our parting from Tomas and the Captain, and Mei and Raj P – where the road to the west crossed the northern approach to the towerless city.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We divided our attention today between watching our steps and observing the activity in the skies over the megapolis. The ground was uneven, so at times treacherous. Hence our caution. But the presence of fleets of drones and circling warplanes over the city were a another source of concern.

Quasimo thinks we have no need  to worry.  He was certain that they are celebrating his “successful” assassination of Elijah and myself. Even if he had to bring down the building to accomplish that end. (Though he joked that Stan would not be above charging him for the value of the structure).

I just hope we can make it out of the area before they ascertain that our bodies aren’t there.

Day Eight Hundred Twelve #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

While now we saw the cage with which Stan thought he could contain us, I was left wondering by what means he meant to neutralize us. By that I meant, kill us.

I no more expressed that thought out loud when Elijah motioned me to be silent.

He turned and announced to the empty room, “You can come out now.”

A diminutive man did so.

He’d been ensconced behind a sliding panel in an alcove behind the podium of the audience chamber. His hands held high, and one holding a dagger. As he advanced he let it fall harmless to the floor.

Having observed us the past few days, he had decided to defy his master and help us instead.

Day Eight Hundred Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Stan could not have been more wrong. And we were content not to disabuse him of his mistaken notion. Not that he left us any means to communicate that back to him. Unless, of course, he had some kind of “eyes” on us. In which case he might guess at the reason behind our unconcern.

For what would he make of the fact our staying the night? Or that we took our ease and went on walks around the megapolis seeing the sights and taking the measure of our adversary?

For as in other places we’ve been through, his image was everywhere, wreathed in honor and pomp.

Very sad, really. Such an immense pride shall surely have a great fall.