KING ELIZABETH, Act iii

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ACT iii, SCENE ii

WENENEDAH: The ogbeni broad farmland still needs cleansing and sacrifices and I am standing with some elders and my guards who were my father’s guards, today, I have become my father, the king. I see Owhor and his friend whispering aside.

OWHOR: This is now looking like a taboo, a woman serving the local gin to the gods.

HONUME:(snapping his pinky) The princess is not doing this thing empty-handed and the strange thing is that Wodivia is not saying anything against her it must have been that she has stuffed his dibia bag with manilas.

OWHOR: Eziokwu! True! True! But I must still clear a way to take her out, a mere woman tormenting me?

HONUME: It is not done. Something bigger than cricket has entered the cricket’s food hole o. Chei!

OWHOR: It has not entered the hole yet Honume. Stop that! If not for that staff of ogu in her hand, overpowering her here now is not even difficult.

WENENDAH: (shouting out to them) Owhor! Are you part of this sacrifice or not? Remember that your family will also farm a portion of this land. (they come closer) Honume you and my uncle should come and tie this tree with the sacred wrapper.

OWHOR: What?

HONUME: What did you say?

WENENDAH: I said you and my uncle should set the calabash there and tie the tree! Now! (She points the staff of ogu at them and they hurry to her command)

OWHOR: I know what to do to you.

WENENDAH: You will do nothing.

HONUME: Eli ikwe o. The gods forbid, a titled man like me.

WENENDAH: Do that fast and Owhor come with the goat to the palace.

OWHOR: What? Wenendah!

WENENDAH: Igasikwa give him the goat to drag along. Let us go! (The small crowd strolls out of the farmland while Owhor battle with the goat in humiliation.)

WENENDAH: We are making our way to the palace, I hear Owhor battling with the goat, I smile and thread fearlessly and even more majestic as three maidens greet me.

MAIDENS: Greetings Princess.

WENENDAH: Greetings my people. As we go further I know they will talk some more.

MAIDEN 1: Tufiakwa o! See Chief Owhorji pulling a goat( they laugh hard.)

MAIDEN 2: It must have been a spell, I think Wenendah is now possessed by an evil spirit that torments her parents but strengthens her,

MAIDEN 1: Ehe. True, very true. To bear the staff of ogu just like that doesn’t come empty handed.

MAIDEN 3: I even hear that Wodivia is her accomplice.

MAIDEN 2: True! For him to always look at her like that without any action.

MAIDEN 3: (spreading her hands to the air) Hmmm! Eliogu look at us o!

MAIDEN 1& 2:(spreading their hands too)  Eliogu look at us o!



ACT iii, SCENE iv

WENENDAH: I return with my guards and two elders who settle inside the obiri. Owhor ties the goat to an orange tree hard by, my sister Ola sees him and is vexed. She pulls me to the back of our hut. Ola! What!

OLA: Wenendah! Wenendahyah! What spirit is within you and has your chi grown horns?

WENENDAH: Don’t talk down on my chi like that you little…

OLA: Little what. What is making you so fierce and powerful and to have Owhor our uncle drag a goat.

WENENDAH: To them who seek evil in Rumualogu, to them it rained fire and pepples on their heads. You do not know what has been creeping within us and be thankful that I am present to fight for us.

OLA: How about the staff of ogu you wield like it is a title. Why didn’t the gods break you? I am afraid!

WENENDAH: (smiling) Do not be afraid Ola. The gods are always wise and in no time, the hot soup will become as cold as the waters of Nvamini.

OLA: Hmmm!

WENENDAH: So how many lappers have you adorned today sister?

OLA: Just two.

WENENDAH: And how are they inside?

OLA: They are just alive.

WENENDAH: Let me see them.

(They exit)

 

ACT iii, SCENE v

WENENDAH: I am in the King’s hut where the rest of my family lay half dead and half alive. Eliogu. Oh! Help us.

ALEKIRI: Iiyaaah!

WENENDAH: The herbs and the roots have not made any changes on them yet?

ALEKIRI: Not at all, they have been like they have been except your father mutters your name few times.

OLA: (dropping tears) oh! Eliogu o!

WENENDAH: (soothing her) sorry, they will be alright. Save the tears for the day that it will rain hard till our infirmities are washed away. Sorry, oo.

ALEKIRI: It has not been easy.

WENENDAH: You are right Sister to my father. Thank you for everything and how is my brother?

ALEKIRI: (bringing the child to her) He is living, for a child who do not suckle from his mother’s chest but feed on cassava and maize water.

WENENDAH: (nursing the quiet looking child cheerfully) Hmmm! He is strong. He will soon start walking and begin to race with me in the bushes.

OLA: Hah! Sister you never leave bushes out of your conversations. Take it easy.

WENENDAH: Look at you, betrothed maiden. Out of the forest springs real life and truth. It is wild and but calm in the forest and soon I will enjoy that with Ovundah.

OLA & ALEKIRI( gasps) Ovundah!

WENENDAH: Yes! He is the heart of his father. When every part of my father is dead, can you not see that his heart still beats?

ALEKIRI: The lifting of the infants to the gods is tomorrow.

WENENDAH: I do know. It shall be done. Be careful Alekiri, let no one see my family in here. I know watching them is tedious but in no time, Eliogu will send us help. The guards are also very vigilant. Thank you.

OLA:(taking the baby from her sister) Ovundah, oh! My only brother. Talk of Ovundah. Wenendah, Ovundah the son of Alu was here earlier.

WENENDAH: Oh the gods! My brother now bears the same name with that jester? I never thought of that.

OLA & ALEKIRI:(laughing) Yes!

OLA: He admires you a lot my sister.

WENENDAH: And I admire a man not, besides Ikeh is closest to me.

ALEKIRI: That man Ovundah appears honest and seem like the son of the soil to me.

WENENDAH: And how about Ikeh? The son of the river?

OLA & ALEKIRI:(laughs) No!

OLA: Ikeh is good but his words come easy most times like something prepared.

WENENDAH: No! Do not speak of him in that tone.

ALEKIRI: I hear your name outside Wenendah.

(Wenendah leaves them.)

ACT iii, SCENE vi

WENENDAH: I rush to Ikeh calling on me in front of my hut that is now deserted. I sleep in the King’s hut these days.

IKEH: Wenem! My dear wife.

WENENDAH: Hmmm! I see no keg of palm wine coming from you and your people to my father yet.

IKEH:(smiling rather too much) That will happen in due time my wife but I am glad you let me tease you these days.

WENENDAH: That is the ways of men. Even I too tease animals a lot in the forest.

IKEH: That is fair. How is your household?

WENENDAH: They are alive and yours?

IKEH: My father is with his friend, your uncle. My mother is cooking with my sisters and my brothers…

WENENDAH: Stop reminding me that your father is my uncle, Owhor’s friend. It makes me mad these days.

IKEH: Why? But you liked it before that we are much related.

WENENDAH: That was yesterday. Today holds something brighter not darkness creeping within.

IKEH:(astonished) Wenem! What is happening? Is this about you and the staff and all the things happening, tell me what you are hiding that makes your heart heavy.

WENENDAH: Nothing. I am not hiding anything, I just care for my household.

IKEH: Then tell me about your powers you know I love and adore you my wife. Wenem.

WENENDAH: Nothing, I just found myself ordained by the gods. I am hiding nothing.

(Enter Ovundah)

OVUNDAH: (hawking) My Princess… sorry,  Wenendah I greet you my princess.

WENENDAH: Just Wenendah is enough. What is it Ovundah? You have come again today? You do not have work to do?

OVUNDAH: Wenem it is not….

IKEH:(interrupts) Wenem? Do not call her that. That is what I call her as my wife.

OVUNDAH: Wenendah how are you and how are your people?

WENENDAH: We are well Ovundah and thank you. So can you let me be?

IKEH: Leave us!

OVUNDAH: Shut up Ikeh. Have you lost fear? I do not speak with you but to my friend.

WENENDAH: Who is your friend?

OVUNDAH: (smiling) You! The eagle of her people…so will you by any chance go hunting? I will love to……I will love to…

WENENDAH: Ovundah!  Hunt when my parents, your king and your queen lay there? Hunt in this mystery and calamity? Of course I will hunt later but not only the animals, you shall be included you empty creature.

OVUNDAH: Empty? Eliogu forbid. Wenem I see you are troubled but what I do is pray to the gods on your behalf. Soon the dark cloud will vomit rain and the sky will be bright again. Be careful and trust the gods not humans. Eat well too.  Eliogu stay with you.

IKEH: Stay with you too, pest! Sorry my wife. Do not pay any heed to your very low subjects.

WENENDAH: (to myself) I cannot but enjoy how Ovundah spoke wisely. Hunting? I will do more of that…maybe with him soon.

IKEH: Wenem.

WENENDAH: Yes

IKEH: Stop the thinking. Do not mind that rat, sorry my wife. Let us go walk on the palm road that leads to Nvamini stream for you to behold your wealth so that you will forget about that pest.

(They exit)



ACT iv, SCENE i

WENENDAH: Four infants born on the same day my brother was born, they are going to lift them to the gods today, their mothers wrapped them in their best lapper, clinging them to their chest and heading to Eliogu’s shrine but I stopped them. I sent the guards to adopt them. Now the guards run into the palace with the babies and their mothers scream along, they are coming to kill me.

2 thoughts on “KING ELIZABETH, Act iii

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