Day Two Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the camp of the East Enders split into two factions. None of them bearing the mark. But completely divorced from one another.

While Elijah met with them to straighten things out, I went into the city.

The West End is nothing but a hole in the ground, with the deepest pit in the locale of the First district.

A fire burns there in the depths.

Day One Hundred Seventy #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A man by the name of Flowers came to see me today. He may be what we have been hoping for. He is one of the men connected with the market in the east end, and has asked us to aid him by bringing over his parents from the west end.

The parents, we are assured, are free of the mark. Flowers who has the mark, now wishes he hadn’t. He does not care what happens to himself, so long as his parents reach freedom from  what he sees as a growing oppression.

I brought his case to Lyle with an additional caution. Flowers does not know how much longer those without the mark will be free to move about.

Day One Hundred Sixty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle’s mission yesterday bore fruit. He emerged from the west with five children. They are now scattered to other families throughout the encampment for safe keeping.

We now know that by no means is the mark borne universally in the west. But people there reported rumors that those who have, are forming bands to sweep through the city to seek out those who don’t. And Lyle saw evidence of this on his way back through the district. A band surrounded one of the west end markets and checked each customer.

Talking with Lyle about this, I was feeling overwhelmed. There must be a better way to help.

I was unsettled further when he described smoke rising from the first district.

Day One Hundred Sixty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This is definitely not the time. Lyle had no confirmation. In fact, he feels it is vital for us to remain at this time.

He went into the west end to follow up on some leads gleaned from his conversations with Grazie.

Grazie and I hiked out to the vineyard early. There, as before she stood guard while I ventured out to explore the ways down to the desert floor. After some searching I found the narrow track again. To say the descent was difficult would be an understatement, let us say, I would not want to be in a hurry.

At last, I reached the bottom. From there the track divided into two paths.

I could sense our future.

Day One Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I spent the day out in the vineyard. At one point I left Grazie on guard and ventured down towards the desert. It was a little tricky as the slope at one point dropped off sheer to the desert floor below.

I scouted around the area and found a narrow track that should be easy to navigate downwards. But judging that the time remaining to me today insufficient to get down and back, I postponed the attempt to another day.

Coming in from the vineyard with Grazie we conversed about what we might do to help those in the west end who do not want to take the mark. We both agreed that we will need some help from within.

Day One Hundred Sixty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our immediate household is all in the field today. Lyle, the widow and her son, and myself. Grazie when she learned of our return, joined us. She became very concerned when we explained the recent developments. She wants to know if anything can be done for those like herself still in the west end. Lyle asked her for the particulars.

We all clammed up, as at that moment the two east enders bearing the mark arrived at our camp. They offered their services as mediators. Lyle told them that it would never work out, as Moglen, claiming control of the whole city, needn’t bargain with anyone.

They left, and we talked long into the night.

What to do next indeed.

Day One Hundred Fifty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Pressure is mounting on two fronts.

Moglen is the undisputed leader now in the second district. It is even whispered that he may rise to rule the entire west end. We expect an ultimatum soon.

And Lyle faces opposition from two of his leaders. They were denied access to a west end market unless they bear the mark. They proposed that they take it on to represent the east end in these matters. I advised Lyle to counter their notion with the suggestion that they maintain their market here. Let the west end come to us, we set no restrictions.

Grazie worked diligently in our fields today. I worry about the return of her depression once the harvest is finished.

Day One Hundred Fifty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Grazie was inconsolable this morning. Overnight she has decided she cannot be the reason for Kip’s imprisonment. She wants to return to the west end as soon as possible.

I cautioned her to await developments and held up the value of being patient in such matters. The widow spoke out and affirmed my words in her hearing.

Still she was restless and I feared she would slip away, given the opportunity.

Thankfully Lyle brought word from Kip. The former west end leader declared he would never allow himself to be exchanged  for anyone else or anything. And as he can always refuse the mark, he is certain Grazie’s father will force it on her.

Now we await Moglen’s next move.

Day One Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle returned without Kip this morning, so we had lots to talk about on the way out to the vineyard. The gates closed while they were in Kip’s district, so they had to spend the night. And though Lyle was free to leave, Kip could not. However, he is confident that after completing some paperwork he will be allowed to depart.

Lyle reported that an offer for use of the machines was indeed made. As a condition we must all first receive a mark issued by the world government, a permit to do business with them.

We are both suspicious.

At the agreed time, Grazie joined us. She, like Kip, wants to leave the west end. And asked our help.

Day One Hundred Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The harvest in the west is done. Ours is still days away from completion.

Kip said that the west end leaders will likely approach us when they are finished with an offer to use their machines. He is certain that it will come with an innocuous “price,” but its true cost will be hidden.

Lyle concurs, but he added that some of his leaders are longing to have their own.

I then proposed to pay a visit to the gates into the west to see if they have reopened. To which Lyle re-iterated that without him I must refuse any important discussions with Grazie, if we perchance meet.

I agreed and went.

All for nought, as it turned out.