Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I was shocked to hear all that Elijah’s disciples have been through. They have borne the brunt of the enemy’s fury in the region. Steadfast and uncomplaining. And they have kept the hiding place safe. No word of its location has escaped their lips.

Elijah was deeply affected. He went around the circle and hugged each one and prayed over them.

We agreed with their advice that it would be good to set out in the dark immediately, and we concurred to do our traveling at night going forward.

We maintained a strict silence enroute to where they passed last night. And held up there through the day.

Lots of martial activity-in the air, and down in the valley.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When viewed yesterday, the high place seemed only to be a day’s journey more, but the actuality turned out otherwise.

We got a peek at it every so often as the path weaved to and fro. It is unmistakable that the idol of Stan has been replaced. And it is now even larger than the one we destroyed days ago.

I am sure that it is clearly visible to his troops far below in the valley.

We saw no movement in its vicinity, but we knew something was going on.

A wisp of smoke commenced at noon, and thickened into a column by day’s end.

The uppermost question now is – what will we do when we arrive on the scene?

Day One Thousand Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We went out with the morning work force. Elijah wanted to look about those debris fields again.

Some other groups coming up from the valley, left the road and mingled with those from the slave quarter. Filthy rags hung on their emaciated frames. They attempted to shoulder their way among the workers from the city. It was obvious they desired to gain access to the slave quarter but in their weakened state they were easily forced away.

They looked pitiful, yet cunning, as they slunk back down the road.

Who knows what they would be capable of given the strength and the chance to wield it.

And for that matter, those opposing them were little better.

Things are spiraling downward.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I got us out of there as fast as we could go. Which meant climbing down from the rock shelf and feeling our way around its base until we sensed a level path beneath our feet.

At that point the snowfall slowed and soon turned to mist. We kept going. Through the rest of the day and through the night.

Elijah called a halt in a valley created by towering rock formations. They appeared to stretch onwards forever, corralling the slow moving sea of sand within the boundaries dictated by their will.

We looked back from whence we came. The sky was empty, holding the promise only of another hot day.

That’s when Elijah asked if I had any confirmation.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are one night’s march along the corridor of this valley, and the ‘hill’ at the far end has indeed “grown.” We are more confident than ever we are adhering to the path laid out for us by Quasimo. Hence today we have brought our fast to a close.

I had much to ruminate about in my times on watch. Over night it was much colder than ever before. Elijah thinks we may see snow in the next day or so. I can believe it.

The barking has ceased to dog our steps. Whatever they were must have continued on north. Silence instead muffled our ears – then and now.

Two more night marches should bring us out of the desert.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

More barking. And not just one or two. The thought that a pack may be trying to work up the courage to attack caused us to greet the morning with thankfulness.

We stood down in a valley between two ranges of dunes. We were pleased to see that our hill had gained in stature, in great part due by comparison, I am sure, to our position within this sort of valley.

Elijah pointed down its length and said, “Tomorrow we shall turn the corner.”

On my watch I resolved to rein in my excitement at the new step ahead of us. I knew if I were to fail, it would only eat away at me and sleep would be impossible.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have turned aside after a long day of ascents back and forth across the face of the highest mountain in the area. Definitely our last choice for a way out of the valley.

We turned aside because the way ahead is choked with snow and ice. And Tomas judged it to be too hazardous. Instead he thinks a nearby cavern will lead to a passage that will take us to where we want to go.

So, we made camp inside the mouth of the cavern while he chases down the flutter of air coming from somewhere further on.

Mei begged to be allowed to accompany him, arguing forcefully that no one should undertake this particular task alone.

We agreed.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The lake has shrunken. Due to our distance from it, not because of the water taken out of it. Though I suppose, given time, that will have its effect too.

Three tanker trucks were visible, applying their pumps, upon our last view before we descended into a valley the other side of the foothills. Perhaps we will see it again when we climb into the next pass.

Our road parallels a river which carries scarcely a trickle. If it ever reached the lake below, I don’t think it could now.

It seems to me that Tomas is returning to check in more often than he used to. He converses with Elijah almost always. And sometimes the Captain.

Mei notices him.

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 Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It was strange to see other human beings going about everyday tasks. Such sights seem like forever ago.

We have entered the valley which we found dotted with small farms, and a town or small city rises from its center.

Much of the activity hereabouts deals with bringing water up from the river.

The Captain discovered why. The irrigation ditches are empty, the river being too low to feed them.

My concern grew. What would be their reaction if they knew Elijah was responsible?

We pushed on into the town. And there found an inn.

We plan to stay a few days, as Elijah has now told us he plans to end his fast in four days.

He needs rest.