Day Nine Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah made the first move. Through Reuben’s good judgment he identified the guard with the most influence with the other guards. One who has resisted the despotic bent of the prison’s commandant. And no longer kowtows to the creeds and dictates of the world government headed up by Stan.

By the end of their meeting Elijah gave Magwich what he most desired, the removal of the mark.

At this change of status he immediately offered himself to his brother guards for incarceration.

This they refused to do, instead they joined him.

The word spread throughout the prison and the commandant finding no one left who was aligned with him, barricaded himself in his office (and his despondency) and hung himself.

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Day Eight Hundred Eighty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Meesa had never seen a drone before. Knew of them, in theory at least, but had never laid eyes on one.

Jezer was startled upon sighting one on his return from leading four more groups out to the hiding place. He is re-evaluating his hunch that the contention between the governmental factions would give us more time. He thinks it’s a sign that the world government has gained the upper hand by bringing these machines in from the frontlines.

I think we will have to step up our departures.

Of course the others are looking to Elijah to thwart this latest threat to our safety. But he wants to put off his direct intervention for as long as possible.

Day Eight Hundred Eighty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Jezer returned this morning.  He was expansive about our prospects for the future. In fact, he has already taken two groups out of the city to the hiding place. And they are hard at work making it habitable for those to follow.

But he also had a word of caution. Among those he led out were some men whose forced labor involved delivery of materials down in the civic center. There they gleaned that two factions, the world government versus the local, were at odds in regards to the disposition of our people.

The locals are for our expulsion. The world government officials want to round us up into concentration camps.

Jezer believes their disagreement will work in our favor.

Day Eight Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It has come to pass sooner than Jezer thought possible. Stricter controls have been dropped in place overnight between the various quarters within the city, and on all the ways in and out.

And demands have been stepped up for more work and longer hours from those who refuse the mark. Rumors are flying about that harsher measures will soon be implemented.

On the plus side Meesa has scheduled meetings for Elijah and me to reach out through the network leaders.

So Elijah and I were resting in preparation for the next series of meetings, when Jezer came in with news that a search is on for us, launched by world government forces in Damascus.

Someone has betrayed our presence.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We did not make any progress towards Damascus today. We encamped on the outskirts of a larger town last night – the capital for this district, as we soon discovered. For we decided to begin the day’s journey by strolling through rather than around it.

The telltale posters of Stan hung everywhere with extra added touches of adornment.

We were no sooner in its central square than we were surrounded by a convergence of celebratory citizens that clogged all the exits.

We were a captive audience.

When the officials spoke we learned that they were collected to celebrate the anniversary of the world government coming to their rescue in the drought.

When it broke up, the day was too far gone.

Day Eight Hundred Thirteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I am naturally suspicious. So it took awhile for me to warm to Quasimo. Elijah had no such qualms. He kept him nearby all of yesterday and together they planned for our exit.

It was necessary to remain in the audience chamber for, per his knowledge, everywhere else was under surveillance. There, I finally took some time with him this morning to get to know him better.

His family was taken up in the glorious appearance. He was left behind and bitter. And sought the kind of employment that landed him in the inner circles of the world government.

He was blinded, but now he sees.

As we set out, he turned and asked for the removal of the mark.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei came all the way from the front, back to talk to Elijah and me. Sadness tinged her countenance, but she spoke with resolve.

She was certain that the forces of the world government must be looking for us, and was puzzled how they could miss such a large group since there were only four roads for them to check, leading out of the now dead city.

And so she put her questions- was Elijah responsible for this? And was this something she should know how to do?

I was taken aback. Not for the questions themselves. But for the fact that she had an intimation of what will be required of her in the future.

Elijah took her aside.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

What a day! A veritable sea change in the power structure of this area.

And at the center of it, our friend from the subcontinent, Raj P, the twin brother of G.

Mei noticed the resemblance before we could say a word, and was able to fill in many of the blanks herself as our discussions began- discussions that lasted until we were too tired, and recommenced this morning.

P told us that he had wandered far and wide after escaping from the East, only to fall into the clutches of the hunters. He was turned over to the tribunal, and was being held as their hedge against the victor between the army of the East and the world government.

Day Seven Hundred Eighty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were unable to talk with the Captain. He was shown to us only to be whisked away. The Leader of the hunters, however, did want to interview us.

One at a time.

He passed the night grilling Elijah. And my turn came in the morning.

By his questions to me, I can guess that he pummeled Elijah with the same. He took his time but finally got around to what he wanted to know. “Was I responsible for the drought?” I answered that we serve only at the behest of the Spirit.

With that the interview ended. He told me he was charged with the task of bringing us all in – Tomas and Mei included – to the world government.

Day Seven Hundred Fifty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After seeing the latest group off, Elijah and I sat down with Jordan for a long talk. We asked about his trip here, and then about the conditions in the countries from which the followers were fleeing.

It was a dark, dark picture. Persecution, torture, and death.

When I think back on our wanderings I consider how well we have been protected and cared for.

Jordan’s journey was attended by war and conflict as brought by the world government in subjugating all the local regions within their reach. In town after town capitulated to the mark, they await secretly the great army from the East as their liberator.

But as Jordan reads it they just want to be lords themselves.