THE SACRIFICE | Episode 2


Continues from where the immediate previous post, THE SACRIFICE | Episode 1 (in Category >Drama and Sub >>The Sacrifice) stops.

 

CHIEF PRIEST:

[shouts.] Ogun o!

AWO MEMBERS & OGUNSOLA:

[thundering.] ACCEPT OUR SACRIFICE!

 

[CHIEF PRIEST turns with the lady towards the innermost sacrifice chamber.]

 

[Light goes off centre stage right and comes on simultaneously upstage left to show YOUNG MAN and IFAWE again— IFAWE lying motionless on the ground.]

 

YOUNG MAN:

Ah! The Awo Rooster! Crowed at last!

 

[YOUNG MAN dashes into the innermost sacrifice chamber with the machete, through the erstwhile guarded door; and immediately after, the rooster is heard offstage – say over a loudspeaker – making irregular alarm shrieks that chickens make to signal the presence of danger. The alarm shrieks heightens; and then soon after, it’s not heard again, after a sort of suppressed sounds or gasps by the rooster. YOUNG MAN appears on stage again through that door, holding in his hand a big white rooster with the machete, both stained with blood and the rooster is without the head, having being chopped off. He gives a grin of accomplishment and nods, and then he puts the rooster and the blood-stained machete down on the floor and takes back his cloth.]

 

[Light goes off upstage left and comes simultaneously centre stage right to show everybody there staring in bewilderment, then OGUNSOLA springs up, with raging fury written on his face.]

 

OGUNSOLA:

[calls.] Ritual bodyguards—erm, Okusehinde!

 

[One of the bodyguards answers—not the one standing by the young lady.]

 

OKUSEHINDE:

[prostrating himself.] Kabiyesi o!

OGUNSOLA:

[calls.] Alaka!

 

[Another guard answer—also not the one standing by the young lady.]

 

ALAKA:

[prostrating himself.] Kabiyesi o!

 

OGUNSOLA:

[furiously.] Now, you two, go… go now… towards the innermost sacrifice chamber… from where we hear the commotions: any man, I say, any man—apart from the shrine guard assigned to man the door of the sacrifice chamber—any man you find there, wound him savagely with your machetes: but kill him not—bring him to me alive! I give you the order! Go now: my royal crown backs you up; no man shall hurt you!

 

OKUSEHINDE & ALAKA:

We go, Your Majesty! Ka-bi-ye-si o! [Exeunt.]

 

[Light fades centre stage right and comes on simultaneously upstage left; and the body of IFAWE still lies on the ground but YOUNG MAN hides himself somewhere. Then at once, the two guards, OKUSEHINDE and ALAKA, storm into the light upstage left, wielding their machetes. They see IFAWE lying motionless on the floor and are taken aback. Then they see the sacred Awo Rooster on the floor, already killed, and they are most startled.]

 

ALAKA:

Aargh! Eewọ!

OKUSEHINDE:

Aargh! Sacrilege!

ALAKA:

[shouts.] Show yourself!! [Pauses.] Show yourself!!!

OKUSEHINDE:

[shouts.] Now!!!

 

[YOUNG MAN comes out, walking tall.]

 

ALAKA:

[sighting YOUNG MAN.] Aha! There! Okusehinde, look at the man!

OKUSEHINDE:

Ah! Let Ogun chop your head off your body!

 

[Action in slow motion, with light effects accompanying: Then they approach him, tactically. YOUNG MAN strips himself of his white cloth and approaches them too. They began to fight with him (a wrestling fight). After a while of fight, they succeed to get him down by one hard hit of a machete on his body and then they begin to wound him cruelly by savage hits of their machetes on his body as he rolls and groans in pain. At this point, IFAWE revives from his state of fainting. Now, the motion is back to normal, and both bodyguards leave wounding YOUNG MAN.]

 

IFAWE:

[looking around.] Where am I? [He sees the horrible sight of person being wounded with machetes, and is about taking to his heel.]

OKUSEHINDE:

Ifawe, it is us; don’t fear. [Goes to him.] Ifawe, you fainted? How are you now? Normal? [IFAWE nods.]

ALAKA:

Ifawe, this is the man, uh? The man who killed the Awo Rooster? [OLUBI nods.]

 

[Light goes off upstage left and comes on centre stage right, to show everybody in a state of tension and anxiety. Soon, YOUNG MAN is carried into the spotlight, groaning, wrapped in his white cloth which is now unevenly stained with blood. He is carried in by OKUSEHINDE and ALAKA, while IFAWE comes gently behind them. They lay him in front of CHIEF PRIEST, further away from OGUNSOLA. Then ALAKA takes off his mask. As soon as he unmasks him, he (ALAKA), discovering something, springs back, startled.]

 

ALAKA:

[bursts out.] Aargh! Eemọ!

[Everybody becomes rather shocked and curious, hearing that.]

OKUSEHINDE:

[to ALAKA.] What’s it?

 

[ALAKA turns his gaze away from YOUNG MAN and only points his finger at him, that is, at YOUNG MAN. OKUSEHINDE looks at him curiously and springs back, covering his gaping mouth with both hands in utter surprise on discovering also what ALAKA has discovered. Everybody else, except CHIEF PRIEST and OGUNSOLA, also discovers it too and is shocked.]

 

CHIEF PRIEST:

What is the matter, children?

ALAKA:

Ah Baba, an abomination! A taboo!

CHIEF PRIEST:

Tell me, children, what you have seen;

seeing I am an old man in whose ageing eyes

perfect sight is fading.

 

[Silence, as everybody looks to the other person to speak. OGUNSOLA gets up, curious to know what everybody is shocked at.]

 

OGUNSOLA:

What is the abomination?

Tell me, Alaka. Tell me, Okusehinde.

What, when I ordered you?

[Takes a few steps forward but is quickly and subtly – but also humbly, intercepted by OKUSEHINDE.]

OKUSEHINDE:

[prostrating himself across his way.] Your Majesty, pray… pray take your seat. Don’t look at the wounded young man. We pray you, Kabiyesi; please be seated.

OGUNSOLA:

Why? Let me see what you do not want me to know. Why should I not look at him? Is the man dead? Is he not still breathing? Is it not his groaning that I hear in my ears? It is only the dead that is a taboo for us kings to behold, not a man that is yet alive. [He shoves OKUSEHINDE off and goes to YOUNG MAN, but first stares blankly at him; but after gazing intently and carefully, he springs back with full force.] Aargh, alas! Nnkan ṣe!

 

[CHIEF PRIEST too soon discovers it and shakes his head sorrowfully. YOUNG MAN looks straight at the young lady, whose eyes is covered and cannot see anybody; and in agony he forces out a smile and calls her so sweetly.]

 

YOUNG MAN:

Eniafe!

Eniafe!

The one I love!

 

[The young lady, ENIAFE, becomes very curious as she hears her name called by a voice she seems to recognize anywhere. She tries but in vain to take off the cloth covering her eyes; for her hands have been tied behind her.]

 

OGUNSOLA:

[to the bodyguard standing by ENIAFE.] Untie the cloth covering her face! Take it off!

THAT BODYGUARD:

Kabiyesi o! [He does that.]

 

[Immediately the cloth is removed from her face, ENIAFE first stares blankly, but as she is able to focus her gaze more she sees YOUNG MAN clearly and, recognizing him, she screams loud. She shakes her head, bowing it down, as she is ashamed; and then she takes to her heels, running off stage and weeping as she runs.]

 

OGUNSOLA:

Ah! All of you! Bodyguards! Go after her now! She must not get away! You must bring her back! Go now!

ALL BODYGUARDS:

[prostrating.] Kabiyesi o!

OGUNSOLA:

[furiously.] Get up; go now, I say!

 

[Exeunt all BODYGUARDS.]

 

[OGUNSOLA crouches down beside YOUNG MAN and, with a gleam of affection and sympathy in his eyes, lays his hand on YOUNG MAN’s head and shakes his own head sorrowfully; and YOUNG MAN opens his eyes and their eyes meet. They keep the gaze for quite a while. It is needful to say here that YOUNG MAN has two strings of beads on his both wrists each.]

 

YOUNG MAN:

[calls weakly.] Fa-ther!

OGUNSOLA:

[softly.] My Prince… Aderopo… My Prince …

 

[Light fades slowly to show passage of time. Light comes on again centre stage right to reveal OGUNSOLA, the AWO MEMBERS and CHIEF PRIEST already seated; and YOUNG MAN, whose name is Prince Aderopo, still lying on the floor groaning, the groaning now subsiding. Everybody except CHIEF PRIEST and ADEROPO is obviously anxious.]

 

[Enter BODYGUARDS with ENIAFE in their firm grip.]

 

OGUNSOLA:

Aha! You caught up with her! Good! [To ENIAFE.] Come nearer, girl. [She went closer to him. He turns to CHIEF PRIEST.] Chief Priest of Ogun, we do beg your indulgence; pray bear with us.

CHIEF PRIEST:

Do not worry, Your Majesty; go on. When an iroko tree stands by man’s path, man stops by to offer oblations; but when it falls down across the pathway he simply walks over it. In such strange situations as this, such things as these that you do now are just expedient. Go on, Your Majesty.

 

[OGUNSOLA rises and gazes at ADEROPO with sympathy and affection and he speaks with a sorrowful tone.]

 

OGUNSOLA:

Ah! Arẹmọ[1] Aderopo!

My one and only son!

Aderopo my son and heir to my throne!

Aderopo, why?

Why have you done this?

What on earth moved you to do this?

Tell me, what flaming touch guided you to dare?

Prince of Adáiyélabálà, what brought you here?

YOUNG MAN/ADEROPO:

Father, it is love

and love so possessing.

 

Please let the elders permit

their humble lad here

to say a proverb before them.

It is you our elders that say:

‘It is the person one loves

that one knows…

one cannot actually know the person

who really loves one.’ And, yes, maybe

the person that would not return love

when loved, one should not

normally know.

 

True; but Love’s overpowering flame

that even Spurning Disdain

couldn’t quench—it lighted my path here…

because of someone dear!

 

[ENIAFE bursts into tears.]

 

[CURTAIN.]

___

 

ACT TWO | Scene 1

 

[Day I: Daybreak]

 

The surroundings of the palace of the King of Adáiyélabálà.

 

Curtain opens—simultaneously with a loud crow of a rooster offstage, signifying daybreak—to reveal ADEROPO sitting on a stump upstage, yawning often. He covers himself with broad white cotton cloth which is first wrapped around the waist and legs and then tied over one shoulder. Soft sound effects of birds and insect’s chirps in the background. Young ladies, with only wrappers tied around their bodies and carrying earthen pots of various sizes, walk singly and in twos across the stage from time to time, with the empty pots under their arms when going and the pots filled with water and balanced skilfully on their heads when returning. Royal drumming is heard offstage and which later subsides and dies down when ADEROPO starts to speak. All the while, he takes little or no notice of the young ladies passing by.

 

ADEROPO:

What a cool dawn

laden with the melodious harmonies

of birdsong

that is borne on the wings

of this hovering breeze.

 

Mo ṣe ’ba owurọ o!

I pay homage to the morning!

 

And from our mats,

the clarion call of the cock,

Olodumare’s town crier,

arouses us for the day’s work—

women to the streams,

and the men to their farms.

 

Ojumọ ire o!

A daybreak of goodness may it be!

 

Olodumare’s band

of star-guards of the night

he has now given command

to go off-duty with their flickering torchlight

and let the sun of the day

watch the Earth with his bright rays.

 

Ọlọjọ oni, mo ṣe ’ba o!

Owner of today, I pay homage!

 

The daytime is blissful for the hawk,

the nightfall for the bat:

let today be blissful for me.

 

Ẹiyẹ Ẹlulu chirrups all day;

the frog croaks all night:

may today for me never want cheer!

 

The day is ever known with the light;

and tranquillity is ever for the night:

in the daytime, may I feel bright;

and in the quiet of night,

may I repose with a heart really light.

 

[Pauses. Gazes around in admiration of the beauty of nature in the surroundings.]

 

Ah! Look how great Nature’s free

bounties are, endowed here!

One can see the mountainous terrains

and the Adalu Rock over there!

Looking around again you see

these outstretched grassy plains

and hear the distant hum of the rock spring,

bubbling and rhythmically spouting!

 

[Just as he is speaking, two particular maidens, like those who have been passing by since, going to the river, pass slowly—very slowly in front of him, and chatting along as they walked to the river. The one, Eniafe by name is fair-complexioned, plump and with rather ample bosom, and wears her hair in cornrows. The other, Abeke by name, has a slim figure; and she wears her hair in plaits. They both tie wrapper of ankara cloth around their body, from their chest downwards; and they both carry earthen pots under their arms—ENIAFE, a smaller one, and ABEKE, a big one. And they walk barefoot and are chatting along.]

 

Ah! I say to Olodumare, ‘Well done!’

for how he has so endowed

this one part of his creation alone,

that is, Nature!

Only nature!

 

[Just now, ADEROPO notices the two ladies passing by and is really transfixed at the beauty of ENIAFE and looks on with great admiration.]

 

Wait a moment…!

Káṣà! Gods! What a well-endowed

exquisite creation of Edumare is this one!

What a ravishingly beautiful damsel!

Or are these mortal eyes of mine

seeing a goddess this daybreak?

O that my head grant me luck!

O that the spirits aid me!

O that the gods back up my attempt:

and I would not let her go—

I will speak to her! I will

certainly speak to her!

 

[At this moment, his mother EFUNSETAN, royal wife of OGUNSOLA, enters from behind him, without him noticing. She is a woman who is known to have the spirit of the gods. She is always dressed in white top and wrapper. She ties the wrapper form her chest downwards. Her neck is decked with two strings of traditional beads, and her wrists also with two strings of beads each and she wears her hair in plaits and has a string of beads around her head. Her earrings are also of beads. She always speaks with a tone of voice that gives a sort of Olympian air. Now, the two ladies have stopped at one side downstage but are still talking quietly.]

 

EFUNSETAN:

[entering.] Aderopo, great Prince of Adáiyélabálà, is anything the matter? [ADEROPO shakes a bit on suddenly hearing the voice and looks back.] What are you doing outside this cold dawn?

ADEROPO:

[Bending forwards.] Good morning, Mother.

EFUNSETAN:

Good morning, my great son. Is something the matter?

ADEROPO:

Not at all; I just feel like taking a cool breeze outside here.

EFUNSETAN:

Is that all?

ADEROPO:

Uh-huh!

EFUNSETAN:

[chuckles.] Come on, son; you know that’s not all. You didn’t add that you’re presently falling in love!

ADEROPO:

Then why do you ask me

when you already know it?

I know you may know

even without a man

telling you and without you

peeping at me.

Queen Efunsetan, the godlike Queen

of Baalẹ Ogunsola! Is it not you?

You who has the spirit of the gods

and do peer into what is shrouded

in mystery to mere mortals

or is hidden

from the natural eye!

Is it not you? You, with whom

counsels of the deities dwells!

Is it not you? Then why do you ask me

when it is already revealed to you

by the spirits?

EFUNSETAN:

And it is that maiden with the smaller pot that you lose your heart to, isn’t it?

ADEROPO:

Yes, Mother;

but what is that to you?

EFUNSETAN:

Understand and bear with me, my great son. I am not trying to poke my nose into your affairs, but the motherly affection I have for you will not allow me to want to let go of you. I still love to cuddle you like a mother hen does her chicks.

ADEROPO:

Howu! The head does not wake up one day and becomes the foot, Mother. I am a man—or must one needs declare on top all the feats? The rooster is like his sister chicks when he is still under his mother’s wings; but by the time he grows up to carry the red crown on his head, even hens of his mother’s age will bow low when he displays! Uh?

EFUNSETAN:

Okay. You want to approach her now, right? Should I go on your behalf, because—?

ADEROPO:

Eh!? Mother… ha!! What did you say? I am a man! And men are to be respected. I am a prince! And princes are to be honoured. I am a warrior! And warriors are to be feared. I AM ARẸMỌ ADEROPO—let lesser beings stand in awe! I know my worth Mother: gallant bravery in battle—is for a valiant man; gallant attention of a man to women—is for an emotional one! Both are not the same! Mother, I need not remind you!

EFUNSETAN:

Mm, I know, Arẹmọ. I know. Actually, I said that because our custom does not allow an eminent man, not to mention a prince that you are, to go to woo a maiden himself—or have you forgotten? The Alárenà—the intermediary—must go in-between for him. Uh?

ADEROPO:

Aha—but you should never have offered to go on my behalf—

EFUNSETAN:

I am sorry.

ADEROPO:

It was an insult on my male pride! Let me hear you say sorry once more, Mother!

EFUNSETAN:

[chuckles slightly.] I am sorry, uh?

ADEROPO:

It is all right.

EFUNSETAN:

The servant could go in-between for you—

ADEROPO:

[taken aback.] What? Servant?! What did you just—?

EFUNSETAN:

I mean the servant—your servant-friend. Uh?

ADEROPO:

Oho, Sowande! Of course! Of course! But all these tradition and custom of a thing—they are just encumbrances!

 

[The two ladies start to move on, slowly.]

 

EFUNSETAN:

But they were passed down to us by the fathers—this generation cannot therefore abolish them now.

ADEROPO:

Ha, Mother, she is already going—the damsel! You shall have to go inside now, uh? Erm—and call Sowande my servant and friend here. And let your supernatural spirit smile on this move, Mother, as I go to woo the beautiful damsel.

EFUNSETAN:

Do not worry, my son. The gods shall back you up and grant you success in it. They shall inspire your sweet nothings with life and make your heart flame anew with love. [Pauses, and then solemnly, as a lone flute begins to play softly…]

 

I have an intuition that your ways

are now being guided by a greater force,

say providence, or fate!

Notwithstanding, son,

the spirits accompany you—

and fulfil in you

what you are born to be! [Exit.]

 

Watch out for Episode 3 | Posting  Thur May 7 …

Send private comments and enquiries to Kayode Taiwo Olla via kayodeolla@gmail.com, or simply text or put a call through him via the number +2347062280424.

[All Rights Reserved. Copyright owned by Kayode Taiwo Olla, 2014.]

 

[1]A prince and heir to the throne

 

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