Day Seven Hundred Sixty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei made the sighting. She was watching the skies, but was drawn to flashes on the ridge line far to the east of us. When I looked I thought it was the water survey party we passed a few days ago.

So it was good that we were all set to leave. Tomas had covered the tracks of Jordan’s group per the plan and had selected another path away from the area.

On Elijah’s order we torched the pile of debris and stepped out again for points north on a trail that must have been used by those fleeing from that direction.

Tomas stayed with the group to help us over the tricky parts.

We should have a solid lead.

Day Seven Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The majority of the camp structures have been dismantled. All that remains are our personal tents. And those can be gotten up in minutes.

Tomas, with our blessing, has surveyed the immediate vicinity, paying particular attention to the trail taken by Jordan’s people. He thinks he can obliterate all marks of their passage by precipitating an avalanche in that area. But he wants to find another way out for us first.

The Captain with Mei’s help has gathered everything combustible into one big pile. When we set it ablaze, if visible by our foes, it should focus their attention away from Jordan and place it square on us.

Elijah feels ready to rely on the Spirit’s capacity to defend us.

Day Seven Hundred Fifty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A bone weary day, with lots of ground covered, despite some down time when Tomas brought word of an army patrol. We hid easily while they passed us by.

I am sure they were looking for sources of water and not for us or their enemy.

Later, down the trail we crossed a footbridge that spanned a narrow gorge. Water rushed within its course far below.

I assume the leader of the patrol took one look and gave up on this path. There’s just no getting a tanker truck close to this source. They’ll probably find an easier access to it somewhere else.

At day’s close, Elijah predicted that sometime tomorrow we will definitely arrive at our destination up ahead.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We finally relented, and allowed Lung to go back down the trail, accompanied by Tomas. They reported that the trail was washed out by the force of the water from the glacier.  And that a huge chunk of the glacier had cascaded down to a lower elevation.

Still, Lung desires to get back to his unit with this intelligence. And to see if any of the runoff has made its way down to the lake.

Elijah advised him to continue on with us until another way down can be found.

At the same time, Mei let it be known that she does not want to return.

This caught Lung completely by surprise.

We put further discussion aside and continued on.

Day Seven Hundred Forty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas had been making as many trips back down the trail as forward. A fact that had not escaped Elijah’s notice.

Tomas just returned from a long absence in the rear and Elijah stopped him before he could set off into the advance again. Instead he dispatched him to trace our path all the way back to wherever Lung and Mei may be.

I accompanied him. And Elijah and the Captain set up camp to wait.

We came to the brook, a torrent of rushing water. And there ran into Lung descending off of the mountain. He begged us to return with him to help rescue Mei. She had slipped into a crevasse they had opened accidentally with the flamethrower.

Day Seven Hundred Forty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lung and Mei parted company from us midday. I thought I detected a little reluctance on the part of Mei to do so.

As I thought, their destination was the glacier on this mountain. They will survey the feasibilities of getting the water locked within, down the mountain to their tanker trucks.

The Captain told me that he saw a flamethrower in the pack that Lung was carrying. He lamented to me that he hoped that they knew what they were doing.

We kept on our way with frequent backward glances. And soon we could no longer make out the figures of our former companions trekking up the mountain, for our trail took us around and down the other side.

Day Six Hundred Ninety Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have wended by deserted farms and abandoned villages on this southern route around the bivouacked army. Nothing of value has been left behind. Either the inhabitants departed with their possessions, or foragers from the army scooped them up.

A number of times we were forced off the trail by the approach of patrols, and remained motionless until after they had passed. It makes our progress very slow.

On one of these occasions five peasants came up behind the patrol, in plain sight and made no move to avoid the soldiers other than leaving the road to them when passing them by.

As we were similarly attired, we were emboldened to do the same.

We quickened our pace after that.

Day Six Hundred Ninety Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The army still rested in place, and gave no sign of moving on. But we had to act if we were to get out in front of them.

The way I saw it, we only had three choices: one, skirt around to the north side of the valley, or two, go via the trail to the south, or three, stay here and wait for better options to present themselves.

I believed the last would have been the most appealing to the Captain, but he surprised us by opting for the second.

Elijah, then, set us off on the southern route.

Along the way he told us there had been a fourth option – we could have gone straight through the valley.

Day Six Hundred Ninety One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I was the one who stumbled upon the right path this time. Tomas had just returned from an unsuccessful attempt to find a way down when I arrived with the good news.

After an hourlong descent we  were on the level of the pass. Signs were everywhere of the army’s passage: abandoned and broken down equipment, strewn trash and spent fire pits. The area must have been used a multitude of times by different units of the army as it passed along.

After the briefest of rests, we took to the trail again. It was very easy going, our only impediment, having to walk around garbage dumps.

We hadn’t gotten far when the Captain noticed that we were being watched.

Day Six Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We crested a ridge this morning and got a look down into another section of the pass. We could see a mass that just might be the rear guard of the army.

Tomas departed from us down a side track to a better vantage point.

He rejoined us later with the news that it was the object of our interest. Or a section of it. And further, it appeared to be not moving. Stalled.

We were heartened that we could soon catch up, but at the same time concerned for what the reason might be for their inactivity.

Our attention was soon back to navigating the trail with Elijah pressing us onward. Tomas ran ahead hoping to find a shortcut.