ACT IV, SCENE I Okorgbule has again sharpened both spear and matchet, his neck, ankle and elbow talismans dangle at the eave of his thatched hut. He hears the loudest drums of Afia and sways
ACT IV, SCENE I
Okorgbule has again sharpened both spear and matchet, his neck, ankle and elbow talismans dangle at the eave of his thatched hut. He hears the loudest drums of Afia and sways about, setting his antelope skin accessory to the tongue of the maturing sun. Obim saunters towards him yawning.
OBIM: Nnam, you are preparing. I just woke up from a deep sleep. (Yawns again, adjusting a restless lapper.)
OKORGBULE: Of course you will sleep, you are pregnant, where is Tata?
OBIM: She joined them to the farm again.
OKORGBULE: A child that hasn’t seen two farming seasons, hah, Mankor must take away everything around you so that you can have your sleep. Is it not?
OBIM: (Refusing to smile) Hmmm.
OKORGBULE: You did not laugh, what is it?
OKORGBULE: What is it Obim?
OBIM: My husband, in my dream, there was a thick falling darkness before you on your way to Afia, please do not journey to Afia, please, viko.
OKORGBULE: What will I call this one?
OBIM: My husband I plead with you.
OKORGBULE: (Settling the skin on the roof) I can see the woman venom in you dancing like a new masquerade. I am going to get a new wife, is that not why?
OBIM: (Falls on her knees, pleading) Nooo! No! That is not my feeling towards your new wife, no. I am saying what I saw, please my husband, Okorgbule, the skull hunter, the great one of Akarah, the strength of our gods, and please hear the cry of your wife.
OKORGBULE: (Roars fiercely) Get up! I said get up now this woman and run to your hut, now! (Obim dashes away, trembling.) Women and their tricks, look at!
Okorgbule continues to prepare for his journey, he plods into his hut, whistling. After some time, he matches out gallantly, endowed as a great hunter, he wears his talismans and antelope skin, pitching his spear and knife about his body. Suddenly, a strong wind blows down a thatch from his roof, the dried mess crashing on his feet. Okorgbule quickly looks up, the cloud is rapidly and angrily darkening, a heavy destructive downpour pursues immediately, flinging Okorgbule into his hut. The man escapes into his inner hut for more charms.
ACT IV, SCENE II
Ogazi is pacing beside her hut with Omuime, Odah storms in with a report.
ODAH: The village square is already full of many people.
OGAZI: How many?
ODAH: How many people?
OGAZI: How many men have come for me you goat?
ODAH: Two, Ohaka and a man from your great grandmother’s place, the hunter that came with Ejike for his rimenna festival.
OGAZI: The hunter…..hmmmm.
OMUIME: What do we do now?
ODAH: Nothing, where is the palm wine? I am thirsty from the race.
OGAZI: Yes palm wine, bring the palm wine, let us drink again, again (laughing horribly) again and again.
ACT IV, SCENE III
Ogwueru is sitting with Ejike, amidst their other kinsmen. Young men of broad shoulders and strength litter the whole gathering like stalwarts. The suitors sit in line with the right hand of King Ishi, Ogazi occupying his very right side. Her mother and brothers surround their father. Ogazi appears like a hen about to be pushed out of a circle. Ogwueru whispers to Ejike.
OGWUERU: I hope this palm-wine is very good. Are you sure you got it from Wakanmma?
EJIKE: Oweh! Yes for the third time. Words have come that Okorgbule has suddenly fallen ill.
OGWUERU: That evil gorilla, serves him right since he cannot be with his two wives in peace.
EJIKE: You should tell yourself that, nnam.
OGWUERU: Shut up,…… look, look ahead, Ogazi is indeed a perfect wife for me.
EJIKE: Yes. (To himself) May iroko tree fall on you right now, what a shameless fellow…..oh the gods, what can I do now? What must I do to stop…but…I pray the other suitor have her not Ogwueru, hah. Gods of my fathers, please, let her pick the other suitor and in our next life, I must have been a great warrior before her father makes this kind of arrogant pronouncement again. I must be, I must be….
OGWUERU: Hear what the king is saying…hear what..hear…Ejike..Ejike.
EJIKE: (Returning to consciousness) eh? Eeerh?
OGWUERU: What is wrong with you?
OGWUERU: Oh… you must be sick, leave my side, you are not even supposed to sit with me, leave my side, let my fellow men sit with me, you have no respect, you should be standing behind us and killing flies… go away, what a child.
Ejike purses and departs his side.
ACT IV, SCENE IV
Ogwueru, Ohaka and another warrior stand in front of their own clan, waiting to receive the gourd in Ogazi’s hands. Each warrior had hitherto stated their brave conquests. Ogazi dances in circles, smiling for the people.
OGAZI: (Soliloquising) How the gods answer prayers, I have two other better men to choose from, Ohaka you are doomed. I will never dance to your side.
The people’s eyes travel with Ogazi’s dancing steps from Ogwueru to the other men.
OGAZI: (Soliloquising) What a man, his forehead looks too strong, he might have used them to break palm kernels…hmmm. Why must he not return the smile of a maiden, I have to dance away to the hunter that Odah think she knows. He looks like a man with a simple mind, but I see hunger and thirst in his unreasonable smile…hmmmm.
Ogazi dances to Ogwueru again, the people cheer in suspense, Ejike frowns, Ogazi lowers herself to a waist dance around Ogwueru, stops in front on him, looks up with a new smile and extends the promise in her hands towards him. Ejike jumps in between them from behind, the drink joins Ogwueru to the ground, Ogazi is saved my Ejike’s swift hands. The crowd gasps the abomination.
EJIKE: (Bowing while holding her right hand.) Long live the mighty king of Afia, you will reign much more than your ancestors, I greet my king, King Ishi of Afia.
The king adjusts subduing a little anger.
EJIKE: My king, but there is a gift in a true warrior that you have not mentioned. I am Ejike, the youngest great hunter of Iroh and I am a climber. I will tell you that I live among trees, I can climb six palm trees at the same time. My king, no warrior can show you their bravery but I can. I can show you how I climb six palm trees at a time, let the wonders of my bravery please you tomorrow with your people before you give out your daughter.
Ogazi flings away his hand and runs to her father.
EJIKE: My king, let my true words please your mind, my people know me, my people know me.
Manze also jumps in and bows towards King Ishi.
MANZE: Yes my king, he is a great young man, let his bravery please you tomorrow my king.
Ogwueru shamefully gets up and attacks Ejike, the elderly man and the young lad torment the earth of the village square, exchanging strength. With gnashing teeth, Ejike dash his ageing back to the ground. The people cheer!
ACT IV, SCENE V
King Ishi is on his throne discussing the new matter with his people.
NNOCHI: It might be a taboo my king.
KING ISHI: What I desire cannot be a abomination. You can not call out a taboo to the ceremony I am making for my daughter, it is my pain to let her out to another man.
KEKE: My king, let us consult the oracle on behalf of our princess again.
KING ISHI: May the gods always be pleased with me.
KING ISHI: Still the young man interests me.
Enter Ogazi graciously, she kneels before her father.
OGAZI: May you live long my father, elders, I greet you.
ELDERS: Oweei! Adah oma, good daughter.
OGAZI: Nnam, please I have come to ask of you, the young man, Ejike is indeed a great man and I have just heard of many things about him from my mates and some kinsmen, please Nnam, on your will, give him the chance to prove his words.
King Ishi turns to the elders.