Day Eight Hundred Seventy Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The authorities had given up their recent strategy, and no longer attempted to locate us. Instead they hit on the idea of making us come to them. They wanted us to surrender in exchange for the remaining widows and orphans in their control.

Neither Meesa nor Jezer were amenable to letting us act on that offer.

I was of the same frame of mind, but none of us knew what Elijah’s thoughts were on the matter.

For he had not been appraised yet about their demand. He had sequestered himself late yesterday.

And such we thought was still the case.

Then all of a sudden we answered a knock at the door and Elijah entered, widows and orphans in tow.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Over night Elijah and I separately received confirmation that today was our day to enter. We timed our arrival at the gateway to coincide with the morning rush. However, we were intercepted on the way by Meesa and our guest at the desert well, Jezer.

She had been on the way out to our spot to introduce us, and to inform us about the best strategy for entry.

A few awkward moments ensued, then we were talked into entering later in the day as part of a labor crew bringing scraps from outside for reuse.

The stratagem worked. This evening we are within Damascus. And thankful for the Spirit’s timing, for without Meesa’s intervention we would have been turned away.

Day Five Hundred Fifty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I met with the Hamashiachites early. We had exciting news. Our queries had led us to a group that meets under the sign of the fish. They are eager to meet with and join our people in their pilgrimage.

We have much to prepare before tomorrow. And we will have to adopt the same strategy to get them ashore as we did to get them on the ship, sending them out by twos and threes.

And all by the end of tomorrow, for the Captain tells us our business will be complete here and we’ll no longer have a reason to remain.

He also learned the other ship needs our help. They do not bear the mark either.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas kept an eye on the pilot as he directed the ship out of the harbor. And for good reason as it turned out. Tomas countermanded his order to increase speed at a critical juncture, and relieved him. The Captain then sent him back to his tug.

Tomas finessed the ship out to the channel. He set a straight course for the northern end of the island, but Elijah convinced Tomas and the Captain that a better strategy would be to continue north out to sea and to come at the island port city from out of the north.

So it was a long but uneventful passage. And we arrived in time to see the departure of a robotic warship.

Day Four Hundred Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

At one point we considered switching our travel time to the night hours, but our mishap with the quagmire decided us against that strategy. It would be unwise in the extreme. Instead we will move in the cooler parts of the day and so continue until we get to the end of this salt flat.

We feel it is slowing our passage, but it is difficult to measure, for we can’t tell how far we’ve traveled today. We can’t even make out our morning starting point. And when we look before us it is impossible to judge how long it will take to put this all behind us.

It all makes one wonder out loud how the Purser’s family fared.

Day Two Hundred Fifty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Left our host and his safe haven in the early morning hours. We easily avoided the patrol that changes the guard at the wall. I had observed its activity as well as that of another that swings through the area around noon.

Elijah is unhappy about slinking around. He’d prefer advancing right out in the open and let happen come what may.

I agree on the strategy (or lack of one), just not for this side of the river. I want to wait until we get to the other side before we get into any confrontations.

From where we are held up now we can see the towers of the bridges. We need to decide the best one to cross.

Day One Hundred Fourteen PM #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Kip asked me not to mention anything to the guards about my stay at his place last night.

That surprised me. I inquired was I in trouble? Or worse yet was he?

He didn’t think so, pending what happened when we got to the gate.

That was another surprise, he accompanied me to the gate.

He went through without a problem and waited for me on the other side.

I passed through after a brief lecture from the head guard and a promise that another such infraction would land me in front of the authorities.

Lyle joked it might be a worthwhile strategy if we can’t locate them on our own.

I introduced Kip all around. He returned before curfew.

Day Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Had to wait on Lyle this morning. Rufus got away from him, and he wouldn’t leave without his bird.

It took a while, but Lyle managed to pinpoint Rufus’ new roost. We would send our drones up, but fear they would be counterproductive.

And Rufus appears to have acquired some new friends, so it may be very difficult to win him back.

We must have scouted the whole area for about five hours straight. We just couldn’t get close enough.

After much thought, Lyle came up with the strategy. Since one of Rufus’ new companions is female, we’ll concentrate on her capture. Lyle says that once we have her, Rufus will fall right in line. Sounds reasonable, now to execute.