Day One Thousand Seventy Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mawuli accompanied Sy on a side trip to check out a well. They found it easily enough, but so had an army unit. In fact, it looked to be a more or less permanent arrangement.

From what they could tell water was present, just no way to get to it. Tire tracks run to and from the site, and the soldiers looked to be expecting something – probably a tanker truck.

Sy could make out no flag or other designation that would tell us whose they are. Though who they are made little difference to our next decision. For we chose to avoid them and agreed to press further from our current path to another well Sy believes he alone knows.

Day One Thousand Sixty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our movements we feel were well beyond the army’s patrols. And the lack of drones too, was a comfort.  All the more so as we came down from the hills and onto the plain.

Sy directed us to a well by midday, but it proved a disappointment. He said the water was simply too deep to reach.

Thankfully our need is far from pressing. There was a point after Sy had spoken when I looked to Elijah, but he shook his head, so I knew that it was not quite the time.

Elam was a great help. For he had driven his tanker truck through this area many times, and knew the best places to pass over those routes undetected.

Day One Thousand Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas and Jezer passed through on their last trip from the well. The last until the drought ends or a miracle intervenes – it would take one in Tomas’s estimation.

Jezer thinks it may recover before then.

But now it is apparent we shall need to move on as soon as possible.

Mawuli and I met with his father to calculate how long our water will last. We concluded that we must begin to ration.

The matter had me thinking back to that snowfall in the desert. It had not been what I prayed for, but it was what we needed.

I was kept so busy over these issues that I forgot to discuss my suspicions with Elijah about the drone.

Day One Thousand Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The matter of the tribal discord weighed heavily upon me. So I made it a point of intercession all the way back to the second village and on through half the night, taking it up again upon waking.

All the while, Elijah kept a respectful silence, breaking into it only as necessary when attention was demanded elsewhere.

The situation dictated the topic as the Purser saw it. Everyone has now arrived at this second stage and are settled in. His thinking calls for a longer stay to prepare for a longer transit around the ruined city.

And two further complications were added when Jezer and Tomas reported that the well at the crossroads was failing and a drone was sighted.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have settled in for the night after a long day of travel. So thankful for the camel Mawuli has with him, as we thus were enabled to offload our burdens.

Unlike usual Tomas kept close contact to us throughout the day. Still he was the first to spot a young man approaching on another camel.

Thus we met one of Mawuli’s counterparts on his way to the well, one of the volunteers on the all important rotation that supplies water for the Purser’s group. Unlike Mawuli he wore a uniform.

When I asked Mawuli about it, he laughed and said there are more than one type of uniform in their camp, from practically every land they have passed through.

Day Eight Hundred Ninety Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Overall we were encouraged by developments today. This despite the need to rein in my drone when a massive swarm of government drones appeared in our area.

For Meesa returned with promising results from her scouring of the area near Damascus. A small band was reported wandering about in the desert to the south. None bearing the mark.

Jezer will investigate in that direction tomorrow as he is quite familiar with that section. (That we know because we first met him at a well in that very desert).

Elijah talked about going out by himself, but I reminded him of our long-standing agreement to never wander around without the other again.

He grudgingly acceded, concluding we’ll go out tomorrow.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We planned to let a whole day pass before setting off on the road to Damascus. Neither of us wanted to overtake Jezer and fall into his company.

We had just collected ourselves together when an army truck rolled up to the well and accosted us. They couldn’t understand us and we couldn’t understand them.

The man in charge searched us, then dismissed us in disgust. They remounted and sped away north.

The way ahead looked much the same as our route from the south, more rock cliffs channeling our path.

I fell into a discussion with Elijah about our former guest.  I supposed that the soldiers were in pursuit of him.

Elijah nodded and said, “His mark was false.”

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I twisted my ankle on our transit last night. Elijah caught me before I hit the ground. Otherwise the injury would have been more serious.

As I sat there he rubbed his hands together creating heat from the friction. Then seized the point of the swelling. I could sense warmth radiating from there throughout my body.

In moments I was able to stand. He loaned me his staff as a precaution against further missteps.

We called an end to our night walk early for we came upon a well at a crossroads.

We drank our fill and found a place nearby to rest and pass the day.

Given the crossroads we had another decision to make, hopefully not under duress.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I still heard barking in the distance on the way and kept my attention directed to it. It appeared to gain on us, then passed off to our right. And was silent.

When I saw mounting clouds to the west, blocking out the stars, I guessed the reason behind the actions of the trailing animal. I called Elijah’s attention to the coming storm. He concurred that we needed to seek shelter.

But there was none. All we could do was watch and pray. And to our amazement the storm front veered to the south and passed by.

So another night march and still no well. Elijah remains unperturbed. We continue to keep rested each day, despite our rounds of watching.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We left the easy path behind us at the well. It’s all up and down sand dunes now, so it’s hard to keep straight as Quasimo advised. We were supposed to keep the path of the moon perpendicular to ours. Hard to do as it was cloudy most of the night.

Though I was losing my bearings, Elijah kept steadfast. And our finding the next well depends upon it.

Upon the uphill trudge I would wonder what everything would look like in the daylight, but on the downhill slope all such thoughts fly off.

I realized I needed to focus my thoughts on something else. Something with weight.

As we settle in at daylight we hear barking in the distance.