Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei and Mawuli brought us in to the hiding place with a minimum of difficulty. There was no quelling the celebration that greeted our safe return. Only the news about Tomas and the Captain dampened the spirits of some, those that knew and loved them.

At the first opportunity Reuben and Sy sought an audience to relay important intelligence. Both had just returned from Jerusalem. Stan is indeed there, gloating over his ‘complete victory.’ A conclusion he claims since he is the ‘last leader standing.’ And though triumphant the general feeling among his followers is an abiding hatred towards Elijah and his followers.

Because they realized we would soon be going there, they were begging the honor to accompany us.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We depended upon Mawuli to lead us around to one of the last remaining approaches to the hiding place. Besides the difficulty of negotiating the terrain of the route he had another problem to deal with.

Small groups of soldiers kept impeding our forward movement. It was apparent these men were no longer organized patrols, and all were moving in one direction. Up to Jerusalem.

We were halted waiting for one such group to pass, when Mawuli led a guest back to us.

We crowded around Mei, overjoyed to see her.

Then it fell to me to break the news of the deaths of the Captain and Tomas.

Hiding tears she put on a brave face and led us in.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Had we entertained beforehand the thought of going to Damascus, we would have changed our minds when the city came into view. It was a city no longer. What was left was little bigger than a village. A village broken down and smoldering.

I had a flash of concern for our people in the hiding place. And wondered if what befell Damascus had spread its impact that far afield.

Elijah spoke up and put my mind at ease with his assurances.

Tomas, soon after, diverted us onto another path and what was left of Damascus slipped from our view.

I wish I had talked once more with Tomas before he and the Captain took the lead and departed this life.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were signs of a recent occupation when we reached the village at the edge of the wilderness. But we didn’t realize just how much until we set out this morning.

One entire building was filled up with dead bodies, our attention drawn to it by a swarm of buzzing flies. A makeshift hospital I assumed, but Mr. Kagi called that into question when he observed that all of them wore the uniform of the army of the North. A detail that bore a more sinister connotation.

While Tomas and the Captain ranged ahead, picking a way for us off of the beaten path, Elijah walked with Mawuli.

Mr. Kagi and I marveled at the depth of the lad’s understanding.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the redoubt empty and in disarray. It had been abandoned in a hurry. Whether it was to join the battle or to flee we didn’t know.

Mawuli and Tomas opted to keep vigil. Through the whole night.

But I took over at midnight and sent them in for a much deserved rest.

Actually there was nothing to watch or guard against. Save wild animals. And none put in an appearance.

Elijah led us out in the early morning. He wants to reach the village at the edge of the wilderness by tonight.

No matter how late.

Along the way the Captain shared a premonition. He doesn’t think he and Tomas will arrive at the hiding place with us.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are bone weary, but alert. Throughout the slaughter of yesterday, either Tomas and myself, or the Captain and Mr. Kagi stood by Elijah and helped him hold his arms aloft.

What before our eyes whirled in ceaseless motion, finally settled into the stillness of death behind the passage of something the likes of which I can only describe as a wave. Leastways until the clouds of carrion birds arrived. Rising and falling at their whim and gorging themselves.

Mawuli was the only one of our number who desired to descend into the valley for a closer look.

We all know he seeks Stan. He did so, against my advice. And despite the Captain claiming to have seen him flee.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the road unencumbered by patrols or checkpoints until we neared the area of the stone bridge. Well before then, Tomas guided us up to the level above the destroyed altar.

Though still in ruins people were hard at work attempting to make it serviceable. All the more ugly.

Mr. Kagi was the first to notice. Then I recognized the people being forced to work on the edifice – the prisoners paraded through the world government camp but a few days ago.

After a quick calculation in my head (and my memory of the shape of last night’s moon) I knew that tomorrow marks the return of the new moon.

My blood ran cold over the fate of these prisoners.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah called for Tomas and tasked him to scout a new position for us on the route back to Sy’s old redoubt. He set up a camp with Mawuli a day’s march away.

It was late in the evening before Mr. Kagi, the Captain and Elijah and I caught up with them.

Yesterday the army of the East was stopped and held at bay by the elite forces of the world government. And it was clear today that Stan was sacrificing that group because the troops supporting them were being withdrawn.

They did so in perfect order and easily outpaced us.

The din from the opposing forces increased even as they dropped from view.

All was left to our imagination.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas had to reposition himself at his lookout point to stay out of view of an observer set up further down these heights and closer to the skirmishing.

The Captain, after talking with him, was just about to do something to this interloper, when Elijah appeared and settled him down. Indeed, he said there was no need, as we would soon be departing back for Sy’s redoubt.

As though to confirm his point, the army of the East burst forth from their forward positions at that very instant. Just in time to vacate ground that erupted under an artillery barrage.

I turned to see my friend already consumed in the throes of intercession.

It proved to be an interesting day.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Small pitched battles pock-marked the plain as the opponents sent out feelers to test the other’s mettle. Tomas guesses that the elite troops of the world government were successful at keeping the other two armies in check close to their lines.

Meanwhile the numbers of the army of the East were swelling in their positions on their front lines. It’s easy to see that when they reach a critical mass, they will burst forth and carry all before them.

In all this, Mawuli called my attention to a vehicle circulating about the camp of the world government. He is sure it is Stan’s. When it had accomplished its purpose it set its heading and sped out to the north.