Continues from where the immediate previous post, THE SACRIFICE | Episode 7 (in Category >Drama and Sub >>The Sacrifice) stops.
ACT FOUR | Scene 3
[Day VII: Before Cockcrow]
Enter ADEROPO with his travelling load. He throws it on the bed and falls heavily on the bed. Then at once, he stands up, takes off his clothes, revealing him now only clad in a bantẹ underpants and a magical undergarment waistcoat with amulets all over it; and he now throws a broad white cotton cloth around his body, as he is clad in his first appearance (as YOUNG MAN) in ACT ONE, SCENE 1. He does not take off the beads on his wrists but he takes off the neck’s. He sits on the edge of the bed and rests his back on the bed. Then he hears EFUNSETAN call from behind the door.
[almost shouting.] Arẹmọ! Arẹmọ!
Mother—or who is it?
Yes, it is me your mother!
There’s an important issue!
What is that? Can’t it wait till daybreak? This is still a great while before dawn.
Son, it’s of utmost urgency—in fact, as time passes a misfortune looms!
Huh! Misfortune!? [Springs up, goes to the door and opens.]
[Speaking as she enters. She only ties a white wrapper around her body and is without a buba.] I could not close my eyes to sleep. I was just waiting for you to return from your journey. Thanks to the gods you’re back at last. Thanks to the gods!
Is something wrong, Mother?
Our people say that it is not wise to leave a burning lamp on the roof and go to sleep—but alas, the roof itself is ablaze!
What is it, Mother? Pray explain to me.
Son—hmm—it is Eniafe!!!
[ADEROPO freezes. A moment’s absorption. Emotive flute music begins. He moves, slowly, dreamily, to EFUNSETAN, with arms open as though he will suddenly embrace her. He makes as if to speak and then suddenly shuts the open mouth back as though short of words. Then at last he speaks.]
What… what happened to her, Mother?
[solemnly.] She is the one
the gods choose… for themselves!
She’s… presently in the shrine, perhaps
just about to be… to be offered!
[freezes at once, and then suddenly shakes himself vigorously.] AARGH!!! NO!!!
[A moment of tensed silence and then music continues.]
[with a tremulous voice.] I saw her with my two eyes when she was led away—I recognize her face well. But what could I do to help? The gods have made their choice; no man can challenge them! O gods, have pity! Have pity!!
[very gravely.] But why? Why should it be her that the gods please to choose as the sacrificial offering? [He shakes himself and groans hard…] WHY!? WHY!?
[soberly, calmly.] No one questions the gods, son;
no man challenges them.
They are gods and we… mortals!
And this is a great while before dawn; a little while past midnight—ah, they shall just be about to offer her now! Aargh!!
At the first crow of the Awo Rooster they shall offer her, as is the custom.
No! The rooster shall not crow this dawn!
The rooster shall not crow this dawn!
I shall save her! I swear by my life,
I shall save Eniafe! [Picks up a mask from inside his load and makes towards the door.]
[runs to him and holds him back by the hand.] Ah, my son, my son—no man dares to do this sacrilegious thing you are set to do, save he who desires to die!
[rather fiercely.] Who cares about death?
Who cares about cruel ritual—
When he does slay me who slays my Eniafe?
Sacrilege taboo I defy—Eniafe shall not die!
[Shakes off her hands and exits.]
I have seen love—I have seen love so raw:
gods, I have never seen this kind before!
[Day VII: Early Cockcrow]
(Soft flute music continues, in the background.)
Shrine of Ogun. Same place as ending of ACT ONE, SCENE 1. The setting also is the same. ENIAFE is now kneeling beside ADEROPO, although her hands are still tied behind her. She is sobbing. CHIEF PRIEST is now seated, on his mat.
[weeping.] Ah,worthy Prince! I spurned your love! I doubted your true love! Your interest in me, a mere slave, I did not appreciate! Ah, I have done you the most evil of a thing to do! But despite my haughtiness, you still love me, and now you even come here to save me! Ah! Aderopo! I’ve never seen such mighty love! But pray, most worthy Prince, forgive me if only this once! Just this once! Although I am not worthy of your love, but if only this once, pray receive me! I now give my whole heart to you. I will love you with my whole being! My heart, my being, my body, will be for you! Though I only deserve to be the least of your slaves; yet if you find it in your heart to take me as a wife, I will count it sheer unmerited favour! Pray forgive me, my dearest one! Please, if only this once! Pray forgive me, I beg of you!
Hmm, I forgive you!
I forgive you! Why shall I not, my dear?
Why shall I not, Eniafe?
However, I am afraid you shall no longer
have me with you,
as I now depart!
Depart!? To where, Your Highness? What…? Or –
Now I do take your place, Eniafe. I have given my love to you, although you spurned it; but now, much more, and as Destiny have it, I am giving my life a ransom for you! It takes something as strong as death to break the strong ancestral, traditional bonds; and now love that is as strong as death breaks it! There is no love a man can have that supersedes this—to sacrifice your life to rescue your beloved!
[ENIAFE bursts into more tears.]
What a pity! Such a thing as this has never happened in Adáyélabálà! What a tragedy this is! [Pauses.] Aderopo my Prince—ah, I never knew it was a person connected to you that the gods choose—I mean, your love! I never even knew that you were in love with a lady! Ah, what a tragedy this is! Aderopo, if I had known you were the one in the innermost sacrifice chamber earlier on, would I have given the order to smite you? Ah, I never knew!
But you couldn’t help it, could you?
No, my son; I wish I could.
Ah it was because of me
that he was wounded!
It was because of me
That he was bruised!
The smiting that rescued me,
it was upon him they landed!
Ah, I don’t deserve this!
Aderopo, I don’t deserve this!
[groans hard.] Aargh!
The weight of the burden
of her heavy sentence that I bear!
[Music ceases. Fierce lightning strikes around ADEROPO, and he yells hard. Everybody on stage springs back from him. OGUNSOLA moans and takes his face away slowly, covering it with his hands. Then ADEROPO speaks, very weakly…]
Aargh, Father… Father—why?
You are turning your eyes away from me!
[agonizingly.] Aargh, Son,
the king must not behold this!
It is a taboo! We cannot help it!
[taking his wrist strings of beads off, and as one of the AWO MEMBERS takes it from him and gives OGUNSOLA.] Now is that
which has been predestined…
COMPLETED! [And then he breathes his last.]
[Choral dirge in the background. ENIAFE cries. Everyone hangs their head and shakes them in sorrow.]
AWO MEMBER 1:
Ah, I have witnessed sacrifices
as a member of the Awo from my youth.
I have seen sacrifices of animals
and I have seen human sacrifices:
but this that a man gallantly
laid down his life for a maiden
through such a cruel death…
AWO MEMBER 2:
I have been young,
and now I am old.
I have been in love,
and I have seen youths fall in love:
but this kind… love in a prince of eminence
to someone that is a captive slave…
gods, this is wondrous!
AWO MEMBER 3:
[Enter the ritual bodyguards.]
Carry away the body of the great hero.
We shall give him a befitting burial.
Evermore shall Adáiyélabálà hallow this place
for his memorial!
[Dirge heightens. Bodyguards carry ADEROPO, wrapped in another white cloth, with only his head and feet uncovered. They bear the body, passing through the audience and moving with some elegant solemnity: and everyone on stage—the ransomed offering and the ritual occultists and the royal order—stands as a mark of final respect to a man whose death means something to everyone of them.]
Same place. Same characters. (The body of ADEROPO has just been carried out.)
Dirge fades out. Everybody is seated but ENIAFE is kneeling. Light changes distinctly as NARRATOR enters.
… So, when words get lost
it is proverbs,
it is riddles,
that finds them out:
when high mysteries
it is in earthly semblances,
it is in human tales,
that man finds illustration,
whatsoever; like the White Man
David and Anna Hinderer’s taught.
And a native illustration
I have found in the tragic love tale,
to explain the dazzling
heavenly mystery of the great
of Jesus Christ the Son of God
who in love, so unearthly,
gave His sinless, guiltless life
a ransom for a world
who never loved Him,
who never received Him!
Yet to die to save man
He was foreordained;
and to save man He did
sacrifice his life.
AWO MEMBER 3:
[to others.] Why do we wait, members of the Awo?
Why prolong things again?
Or why delay further?
Let’s get started with
all over! Uh? [Looks to the other AWO MEMBERS as though for response of approval. Each immediately turns away from him with a noticeable look of disgust and without a reply. He seems lost. NARRATOR speaks on during the action.]
Does a single bee
sting a person two times?
When man has been substituted
as the sacrificial lamb,
shall he still atone
for his sin by his own blood?
When the price and penalty
of man’s sin and sins—
when they have been borne
by the meek and sinless Lamb of God
on the cruel cross at Calvary
as a one-time sacrifice
must man still bear them
If man trusts in this
God-borne costly sacrifice
of atoning the costing
shall man still have to pay
to atone for himself
by his own hands?
I declare to all members
of the ritual cult:
The Prince has laid down
his life for this damsel,
our sacrificial offering;
and in as much one has,
unjust it shall be
that we offer her
[CHIEF PRIEST rises and goes to untie the hands of ENIAFE, who goes on her knees, the former aided by one of the Awo Members—while NARRATOR speaks on.]
Thus the just Almighty declares
them free, who believe
in the all-atoning costly sacrifice
of the Righteous Christ
on a sinner’s cross
at Mount Calvary.
Them only the Almighty declares
free, who trust whole-heartedly
in the love-born redemptive price
of this spotless Lamb of God
to be all-sufficient!
For in that He offered Himself for sin,
He did once and for all;
and the soul that receives His love
shall not have to pay the price
or bear the penalty of sin
I hereby declare
to His Royal Majesty
and to all the land of Adáiyélabálà,
that now have we found the blood
of a man that was not condemned,
which, having been shed, is efficacious enough
to redeem this land once and for all.
So then, I declare by divine authority,
that there shall nevermore be human sacrifices
in Adáiyélabálà, so long as Adáiyélabálà stands!
[OGUNSOLA rises, goes to ENIAFE who is still kneeling down, and puts ADEROPO’s strings of beads in her hands—while NARRATOR speaks on during this action.]
And while the final sacrifice
of a man to save someone dear
preserves the life of the rescued
here on earth; much more,
the redemptive sacrifice
of the divine Christ imbues the redeemed
with life in verity here and
eternal life in the world hereafter.
And while the sacrifices
of an innocent man to rescue
a beloved from an ancient ritual rite—
while the sacrifice
of a man to rescue another man
answers for a tradition
in the confine of that land,
the sacrifice of the righteous God-Man,
Jesus the Son of God and the Son of Man,
speaks to the haunting curse
of man’s fall and his decadent world, here;
and the looming judgment of world to come—
for the redeemed soul.
And what is more,
the Son of the Heavenly King
laid down his life and paid the ransom;
and the Heavenly Father adopts
as heirs of His glory, they
who have trusted
in His Son’s final sacrifice
For what great love it is that He shows
that we should now be called His sons
And this I declare
by my crown and by my royal staff:
Eniafe is hereby freed from bondage,
and shall be no more
a captive slave henceforward!
And today that she is redeemed
I adopt her into my royal family
as a royal daughter
and heir of all that I have!
And for all our captive slaves
in the land, they are today set free,
young and old,
man and woman!
[ENIAFE, still on her knees, bursts into tears of unutterable joy and makes gestures showing gratitude. Then she makes as if to cling to OBATERU in appreciation but hesitates for fear. OBATERU notices this and holds her to him warmly, she also clinging to him in the leg. Light fades out on the other characters and spotlighting on NARRATOR.]
And many a sceptre have ruled and passed on;
Many a war lord have risen and fallen;
Many a hero have come and gone:
But let it be said, let it be said we live…
Because the Son of God died.
And never has been a greater price
Than that of His supreme sacrifice!
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