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Short film script lwanda magere

FADE UP:

A yellowing, worn 16th century map of East Africa, supported by a foreboding score and sounds of spears, shields and brawn in battle.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Centuries ago, along the banks of the great lake, a terrible war raged between the Luo people and their sworn enemies, the Lang'o. Many lives were lost.

We hear women wailing as we zoom in and pan across the words "Maasai", "Kikuyu", "Luyia", "The Great Lake".

NARRATOR (V.O.) (CONT'D)

The Luo people turned to their God, praying for a miracle, praying for someone who would put a stop to the carnage.

We pan across the words "Luo" and "Lang'o" pencilled in on the edges of the ancient depiction of Lake Victoria.

NARRATOR (V.O.) (CONT'D)

Their prayers were answered. A hero would rise. But the cost of blood would still have to be paid.

We halt over the

TITLE:  "Lwanda Magere".

The wails and shrieks rise to a piercing crescendo.

FADE IN:

EXT. LANG'O VILLAGE ENTRANCE - EVENING

Smoke spews forth from behind a wall of piled rocks encircling the village. The cane gates burst open and bedraggled, shrieking women, covered in shoulder length ox hides, pour out, dragging half-naked children behind them.

EXT. LANG'O VILLAGE SQUARE

Thick-muscled LUO SOLDIERS, distinguishable in their impressive, white, ostrich-feather headdresses, geometric patterned shields and short spears, engage tall, lean LANG'O WARRIORS in fierce battle.

EXT. LANG'O VILLAGE ENTRANCE - EVENING

Troops of LUO SOLDIERS emerge from the bushes surrounding the village and charge the open gates. Leading the attack is LWANDA MAGERE (30), dark, clean-shaven, lean and strong. His thighs ripple with every powerful step, taut arms accentuated by arm rings and wrist ornaments. His head dress of short evenly-trimmed black ostrich feathers ruffles in the wind. An ivory disk sits in the middle of his forehead - an ancient good luck charm. He brandishes twin broad-tipped spears. No shield.

In front of them, LANG'O ARCHERS range up and fire. A swarm of arrows darkens the sky. The Luo soldiers hold aloft their shields. But not Lwanda. He only sees the SMALL LANG'O BOY who has fallen to the ground, a hundred paces before them, right in the path of the fast descending cloud of death.

Unencumbered by a shield, Lwanda outpaces the pack of soldiers, and drops to his knees beside the wide-eyed boy. He covers him with outstretched arms even as the arrows descend thick and fast, pounding the ground, pelting his firm arms and shoulders. Sparks fly off his body. The metal tipped arrows flick off him harmlessly. His skin is rock like. indestructible.

The deluge ends. The Luo soldiers charge past them. Lwanda regains his feet. The boy stands up, dazed.

LWANDA

Go. Don't look back.

Lwanda sprints into the village. The boy watches in astonishment.

CUT TO:

EXT. LANG'O VILLAGE SQUARE- MOMENTS LATER

The evening sun glints off Lwanda's broad-tipped spear as he glides through the melee with grace. With long sweeping strokes, he leaves a path of bodies in his wake.

The Lang'o warriors pile upon him, spears and swords finding their mark with trained precision. Each blow glints off Lwanda's skin with a loud metallic ring and a spark - metal hitting stone. The shattered weapons fall to the ground, useless.

Consternation marks the face of those still standing. A LANG'O WARRIOR raises an antelope horn to his lips and sounds the retreat.

VOICE (O.S.)

NO!

KIPTEN (40), Chief of the Lang'os, a head taller than everyone else, stabs the Lang'o Warrior through. He grabs the horn from the Lang'o Warrior as he pushes him off his spear.

KIPTEN

Attack!

Lang'o Soldiers scamper past him. Kipten spots Lwanda and roars. He drops his shield and spear and picks up two short swords from a fallen Lang'o warrior.

He charges Lwanda. Twin blades flash. Each hacking blow finds its target, but none leaves a mark on Lwanda. Lwanda, driven back by the sheer ferocity of the attack, slips and falls. Kipten grabs his throat and squeezes. Lwanda pushes him away. The two roll on the ground, brawling.

INT. LANG'O HUT - CONTINUOUS

A stunning young woman, CHEMTAI, 28, is huddled in the corner of the hut with TWO YOUNG CHILDREN huddled against her.

The door CRASHES open. Chemtai gasps as Kipten and Lwanda smash onto the hard-packed floor with a sickening thud, hands locked around each other's throats.

KIPTEN

Die!

LWANDA

You cannot kill me.

Lwanda squeezes hard. Kipten's eyes widen as he chokes.

VOICE

No! Please…

Lwanda notices Chemtai for the first time. He pauses, surprised as much by her presence as by her beauty.

CHEMTAI

Please. Spare my uncle. These are his children.

Bewildered, Lwanda glances at the prone Kipten, then at Chemtai. A Luo soldier, OJWANG', enters running. He pauses on seeing the two combatants on the ground. Lwanda glances at Ojwang', at Kipten, prone on the ground. At the children. At Chemtai's pleading eyes. He exits. Ojwang gazes at Kipten, groaning on the floor, rubbing his neck.

LWANDA (O.S.)

Soldier!

Ojwang' spots Chemtai. She pulls the children in closer. Confused, Ojwang' exits.

INT. LUO WAR COUNCIL HUT - THE NEXT DAY

Lwanda kneels before KING ODERO (55), and his council of ox hide robed ELDERS. One of the elders, ODUOR, speaks.

ODUOR

So you spared him because of a woman?

Lwanda is silent. In the background, Ojwang' looks on.

ODUOR (CONT'D)

Why did you not just ravish her?

LWANDA

Because that is not our way.

The other elders nod in agreement.

ODUOR

A skin of stone is useless without a heart of stone. Never forget that.

The elders nod again in mute agreement. Lwanda's face hardens.

LWANDA

I will not be a monster.

ODUOR

Ha ha ha. Do not deceive yourself. To meet you is to shrink in fear.

Lwanda's hangs his head.

KING ODERO

You acted foolishly son of Magere. You had a chance to end this war.

Deep silence. They all wait. The tension is palpable.

KING ODERO (CONT'D)

Son of Magere, in light of your past deeds,

(beat)

I grant you pardon. You may go.

Lwanda rises, bows to the King and to the elders. He exits.

INT. CHEMTAI'S HUT - DAY

A pot simmers over an open fire. Chemtai stirs. A figure darkens the door of the hut. She turns around to see…

KIPTEN

You saved my life yesterday. You managed to do what my entire army could not.

Chemtai falls to her knees and bows.

CHEMTAI

I live to serve you, uncle.

(Beat)

If I was not a woman, I'd take up weapons and…

She breaks off. KIPTEN stoops through the doorway and enters. He helps her up.

KIPTEN

Perhaps you have weapons that are more subtle and powerful than you think.

Chemtai turns back to her stirring.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

I know the ways of men. His skin may be of stone, but his desires are of flesh.

(Beat)

You may be our most powerful weapon yet.

Chemtai looks him in the eyes for the first time. His meaning becomes clear to her.

EXT. LUO VILLAGE STREET - DAY

A procession of LANG'O ELDERS, GIRLS AND WOMEN snakes its way through the village. The Lang'o girls sing a celebratory song accompanied by dancing and drumming.

Noisy, excited onlookers line the street. Lwanda steps out of his hut. A wave of fear silences the crowd when they see him. Lwanda shrugs, already used to it. He spots Ojwang' in the crowd.

LWANDA

What new treachery is this?

OJWANG'

We do not know. Our scouts report that they have come alone and unarmed.

Lwanda tails the crowd that follows the procession. It comes to a halt outside the largest hut in the middle of the village, and falls silent. King Odero steps out. KIPCHOGE (65), a Lang'o Elder, clears his throat.

KIPCHOGE

Greeting great King of the Luo people. The bringer of peace to our lands.

KING ODERO

Save your rhetoric, Lang'o. What do you want?

Kipchoge frowns, affronted. He recovers himself, smiles.

KIPCHOGE

We come to sue for peace between our peoples.

KING ODERO

And what is your offering?

Kipchoge steps aside to reveal Chemtai, in a bright red flowing robe clasped below her shoulders. Beads fall across her face, neck and chest. A silver ornament glints on her forehead. She is breathtaking.

KIPCHOGE

Our most beautiful maiden. Chemtai daughter of Keino.

The crowd murmurs. Lwanda pushes his way to the front.

KING ODERO

I remember him. He would have a made a better leader that your chief. He valued peace.

KIPCHOGE

And that is why we hope his only daughter will be a fitting bride for your hero, Lwanda Magere.

A gasp of astonishment ripples through the crowd. Faces turn to find Lwanda Magere. He stands unmoving, a statue carved out of the rock on which he stands. Only the glint in his eyes betrays his wildly pulsating heart.

KING ODERO

Your gesture is surely generous. But it may be little more than some new deception you have conjured. Go well.

He turns to enter the hut. Kipchoge raises his voice so that all can hear him.

KIPCHOGE

Would the King of the Luo people, he that defends their freedom, rob his most mighty son of the freedom to choose his own destiny?

The King freezes, turns around to find Lwanda staring at him.

KIPCHOGE (CONT'D)

The man is immortal. Nothing can harm him. We seek not treachery but honor.

The King looks at Lwanda.

KING ODERO

Son of Magere. The choice is yours to make. Choose wisely.

He holds Lwanda in an unblinking stare. The crowd falls silent.

Lwanda turns to Chemtai. She avoids his gaze.

LWANDA

Are you not afraid of me? I am a monster.

Chemtai looks into his eyes. No fear. Lwanda takes her hand in his. The Lang'o girls erupt in rapturous applause and ululating.

EXT. LWANDA'S HUT - EVENING

A brace of fish bobs against a muscular leg. Lwanda notices wisps of smoke from the ceiling of his hut in front of him. He smiles.

INT. LWANDA'S HUT - EVENING

Chemtai stokes the fire in the middle of the hut. The brace of fish lands in front of her.

LWANDA

I hope you know how to cook fish.

Chemtai's eyes widen with apprehension. She has no idea. Lwanda grins.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

I'll teach you. First we clean them.

He grabs the fish and a pot and exits. Silence for a beat. Lwanda sticks his head in.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Coming?

Chemtai jumps, surprised. He grins, shakes his head in disbelief. Chemtai smiles and gets up.

INT. LWANDA'S HUT - EVENING

Fish simmers inside a pot. Lwanda sniffs it and smiles.

LWANDA

Not bad. At least one fish made it.

CHEMTAI

Sorry.

Lwanda laughs. Chemtai hesitates, also laughs.

LWANDA

You have a beautiful laugh. I wish I could hear it more often.

CHEMTAI

I have forgotten how.

LWANDA

What could make you forget?

Chemtai hesitates.

CHEMTAI

When my father was dying, he promised he'd never leave my side. He promised he would have a grave, and there we would speak just like in the old days.

(Beat)

But that is not our way. They threw his body to the beasts. And so I do not laugh.

Lwanda takes her hand in his.

LWANDA

I will never leave you. Not even in death. I promise.

Intense silence. Lwanda leans in for a kiss. Chemtai pulls away.

CHEMTAI

We forgot the tomatoes!

Lwanda's face falls. Chemtai takes a knife and tomato, starts slicing over the pot.

LWANDA

No, not yet.

He snatches the sharp end of the blade..

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Wait until the water's boiling.

(Beat)

What?

Chemtai is looking at his hand, dumbstruck. She grabs it and examines it. A scratch runs across his palm.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

What is it?

CHEMTAI

You cut yourself.

Lwanda pulls his hand away and slices the tomatoes. Chemtai is in a daze.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

But you don't bleed.

(To herself)

It's true.

LWANDA

Of course I bleed. Just not like everyone else.

Chemtai looks at him with eyes full of questions.

CHEMTAI

Show me.

Lwanda ignores her. Chemtai gets to her feet, grabs one of the spears leaning against the wall.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

Show me how you bleed.

Lwanda tends to the fire.

LWANDA

I can't.

CHEMTAI

I am your wife.

Lwanda stands up.

LWANDA

You are also Lang'o.

CHEMTAI

Our war is over. Or don't you trust me?

Lwanda approaches her, gently takes the spear.

LWANDA

To tell you my secret is to put you in harm's way. And that I cannot do.

He holds her face up to the light, caresses her cheek.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Let us eat. I am hungry.

He puts the spear back in its place.

INT. LWANDA'S HUT - LATER

Dying embers on the fire. Lwanda and Chemtai lie next to each other. Chemtai gets up and wiggles her way out of Lwanda's embrace. She steps into the night.

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

The full moon shines overhead. Chemtai inches her way through the forest. She hears an owl hooting nearby and freezes, waiting for something. There's a rustle in the undergrowth.

Three Lang'o Warriors, GUARDS 1, 2 and 3, emerge from the gloom and fan out to surround her. Kipten steps into the circle.

KIPTEN

Were you followed?

CHEMTAI

No my Lord.

KIPTEN

You speak the truth. We've followed you since you left the village.

CHEMTAI

My Lord. He will not reveal his secret.

She glances round at the soldiers, one by one.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

He is done killing. All he wants to do is live peacefully and raise a family.

KIPTEN

You sound like a woman who has found what she has been seeking.

CHEMTAI

There are better men amongst the Lang'o.

KIPTEN

Still. I have never trusted a woman.

Chemtai's eyes glint with hatred.

CHEMTAI

The idea was yours my Lord.

Kipten grins.

KIPTEN

Indeed it was. Here. Put some of this in his food. It won't kill him, but it will encourage him to trust you more.

He disappears into the undergrowth. The soldiers melt away after him. Chemtai is left alone.

EXT. LAKE SHORE - MORNING

The sun rises over the lake.

EXT. FARM LANDS - DAY

Lwanda digs the hard ground with a hoe. Long furrows in the grey soil trail out behind him. He stops to examine his hard work, sweat trickling down his chest. Chemtai approaches, gracefully balancing a gourd on her head.

CHEMTAI

I hope you will take a break.

Lwanda smiles. Chemtai takes the gourd off her head and offers it to Lwanda. He sips it.

LWANDA

Mmm…It's good. What is it?

CHEMTAI

Honey wine. It will give you strength.

Lwanda downs the rest of it. Chemtai watches him keenly. He hands her back the empty gourd.

LWANDA

Shall I bring some more fish this evening?

Chemtai laughs, walks away. Lwanda watches her go, smiling.

EXT. LAKE SHORE - NIGHT

The full moon casts a sliver of silver across the lake's rippling surface.

INT. LWANDA'S HUT - EVENING

The fire burns low. Lwanda tosses and turns on his pallet, sweating profusely. Chemtai lies awake, strangely calm. Lwanda sits up, gasping for breath.

CHEMTAI

What is it my love?

She feels his forehead. She is strangely calm.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

You're burning.

LWANDA

Malaria. I need adugo leaves. You know what they look like?

She nods and runs out. She returns in a moment, holding a sprig of adugo.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Crush it with some water. Just a little.

Chemtai does as instructed. Lwanda inches over to the fire, edging closer to the wall. His shadow dances against the wall. He measures carefully along the outline of his shadow on the wall, and makes an incision into the wall. He winces in pain. A cut appears just above his elbow. Blood trickles out. Chemtai gasps and steps back in terror.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Do not be afraid.

Lwanda reaches out for the mixture. Chemtai hands it to him with trembling hands. He puts swathes of the concoction in the wound, presses them firmly in place. Chemtai watches, wide-eyed. Lwanda strains back to his pallet and collapses on it, breathing hard. Chemtai is lost for words. Lwanda falls into a troubled sleep.

CHEMTAI

(hesitant)

I will get more adugo.

She steps out into the night.

EXT. LANG'O VILLAGE - NIGHT

Sentries stand watching at the village gates, torches burning bright beside them.

INT. KIPTEN'S HUT - NIGHT

Kipten is seated on his throne, wide-eyed. Chemtai kneels before him.

KIPTEN

Unbelievable. You're sure about this?

CHEMTAI

I saw it with my own eyes my Lord.

Kipten stands up, paces up and down.

KIPTEN

So he is a man after all. If he can bleed, then he can die.

He pauses, turns sharply to face her.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

You have served your people well. You will be well rewarded tomorrow morning.

CHEMTAI

I intend to return to my…to the Luo. They may suspect.

Kipten gazes at her meaningfully.

KIPTEN

Has he known you?

Chemtai blushes, shakes her head. Kipten keeps his eyes on her. She meets his gaze.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

Then you will remain here. You will make a good wife for Kipchoge.

Chemtai freezes in horror. Kipchoge leers at her from the shadows in the corner, grinning.

CHEMTAI

He is of my grandfather's age group.

KIPTEN

No one else will touch you, woman. You are orphaned. Soiled by the Luo. He's taking you off my hands for a handsome price.

He resumes his seat, turns to Kipchoge.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

Dispatch messengers. We declare war on the Luo. The battle will be tomorrow evening on Keiyo's plain. I will march alone against them - for I challenge only one man. Lwanda Magere.

Kipchoge nods and exits. A smile broadens across Kipten's face as he gazes into the raging fire. Chemtai is stricken by grief.

EXT. LUO WAR COUNCIL HUT - MORNING

Flames lick the fireplace. King Odero watches with thoughtful eyes. Lwanda stands across from him. Firm. Erect.

LUO KING

Your domestic issues are no business of mine, son of Magere.

LWANDA

It's no longer domestic. The Lang'o have taken her.

Tense silence.

ODUOR

Our peace with the Lang'o is fragile.

He gazes at the Elders lined against the wall.

ODUOR (CONT'D)

Why jeopardize it because you went against our counsel?

LWANDA

There would be no peace had I not gone against your counsel.

Lwanda turns to King Odero. The King gazes at the fire. Ojwang' enters.

OJWANG'

Great King. Live forever. A messenger arrives from the Lang'o.

All eyes turn expectantly to the door as Lang'o Guard 3 walks in. He bows low to the floor and remains there while speaking.

LANG'O GUARD 3

Great King of the Luo. I come in peace to deliver a message from our Chief, Kipten.

ODUOR

Speak.

LANG'O GUARD 3

Chief Kipten son of Keter challenges your great warrior, Lwanda Magere, to a duel to finally put an end to our war and solidify peace.

Oduor gasps. Lwanda doesn't flinch. Only the glint in his eyes betrays his surprise.

LANG'O GUARD 3 (CONT'D)

If he accepts, the duel is to be this evening at sunset, in the Lang'o village. He may come alone or accompanied, if he so desires.

Lang'o Guard 3 falls silent. All eyes are on Lwanda.

LWANDA

Do you have my wife?

Lang'o Guard 3 flinches, remains silent. Lwanda gets to him in one step, hauls him off the ground by the neck and squeezes.

LANG'O GUARD 3

(wheezing)

Yes, she is at the village. Our Chief will not let her go until you defeat him in battle.

Lwanda lets him fall to the ground.

ODUOR

There is treachery in the air today.

LWANDA

Tonight there will be blood.

He turns to the guard.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Go and give your chief this message. Lwanda Magere will come.

Lang'o Guard 3 bows and scurries out.

ODUOR

It's a trap Lwanda. Leave that woman be.

Lwanda looks at them all in turn.

LWANDA

She is my wife. Never have I asked anything of my people. Not until today.

KING ODERO

You brought this on yourself Magere. If you die, you will die alone.

Lwanda stands firm. Erect. He exits without bowing.

EXT. LAKE SHORE - EVENING

A shadow flits along the water's edge. Pull back to reveal Lwanda Magere, two spears in his hands, running hard on the beach.

EXT. FOREST CLEARING - DUSK

Lwanda paces through the undergrowth, into a clearing. The forest is eerily silent. He pauses and stares into the bushes straight ahead of him.

The bushes part and Kipten steps forward, flanked by Guards 1 and 2.

KIPTEN

So you have come alone then.

LWANDA

I had the company of your men. They've followed me for hours.

Kipten grins. All around him, LANG'O WARRIORS step out of the bushes and surround Lwanda.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

I do not want to kill you or your men, Kipten. Give me back my wife, and I will let you live.

KIPTEN

Your wife? That whore has already been sold for twenty head of cattle to a man twice your age. She was glowing after their first night together.

The men burst out laughing. Lwanda leaps at the closest man and rams his spear through his chest.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

NOW!

A net falls from the branches overhead, ensnaring Lwanda. He struggles to release himself. The stricken warrior lies dying on the ground. Kipten approaches Lwanda flailing in the net.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

You fool. To think one of our daughters could love you Luo trash?

Lwanda swipes at him with his spear but the nets hold him back. Kipten gazes at Lwanda's shadow on the ground.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

She betrayed your secret.

Lwanda's eyes widen even as Kipten raises his spear and buries it into the ground darkened by Lwanda's shadow.

Time slows. Pain sears through Lwanda's body. He screams in agony as blood shoots out of his thigh. The soldiers gasp, step backward.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

Impossible!

He aims another blow at the shadow, rams his spear into it. Lwanda howls in pain, collapses on one knee. Blood gushes out his shoulder.

The soldiers yell in jubilation, raising their spears in the air and cheering. Kipten beams.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

The rock can bleed!

LWANDA

(through gritted teeth)

Why don't you fight like a real man?

KIPTEN

Why should I while you've never?

He turns to address his soldiers.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

Tomorrow morning, in the presence of all my people, the rock will lose it's head. Then they will remember and tell it in the years to come, that I, Kipten, was the greatest Chief that the Lang'o ever had.

The soldiers clash their spears against their shields. Kipten stalks off. The soldiers descend upon Lwanda in a vicious heap, kicking, punching, dragging.

EXT. LANG'O VILLAGE - NIGHT

Tongues of flame from a massive bonfire lick the night-sky. Revellers leap and laugh around the conflagration, their shadows doing frenzied dances on the stamped-hard earth. Kipten looks on from his chief's throne.

On the edge of the fire, Lwanda hangs limp from a set of X shaped, upright stocks. His face is bruised. Blood trickles out the side of his mouth. Guards 1 and 2 keep watch over him.

Two LANG'O GIRLS approach the guards, giggling, beckoning them to follow. The guards hesitate and exchange confused glances. The girls wink and motion for them to follow them. The guards look at each other, shrug, and go after the girls.

Lwanda hears someone coming up behind him. He raises his head.

VOICE

(in a whisper)

Keep still. I'll cut through the bonds.

Chemtai crouches behind him. She holds a spear in her hand, a gourd slung across her chest. She saws through his bonds with the spear blade. Lwanda collapses to the ground in a heap. Chemtai cuts through the ropes binding his legs, helps him up. She offers him the gourd.

CHEMTAI

Drink.

LWANDA

Don't touch me.

CHEMTAI

We don't have much time.

LWANDA

You betrayed me.

CHEMTAI

Why did you come?

Silence. They both know the answer. Lwanda sips from the gourd. Chemtai helps him up.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

This way.

She scans their surrounding. No one has noticed them. They hobble away from the dancers and are swallowed by the night.

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT

Chemtai leads Lwanda through the forest. Lwanda falls to the ground, exhausted.

LWANDA

Stop. Please.

CHEMTAI

We need to keep moving. They'll find us here.

LWANDA

Please, let us rest a while.

She opens the gourd and hands it to him. He sips and lies on the ground, panting.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

You've done a very foolish thing.

CHEMTAI

You too.

Lwanda gazes into her eyes.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

I'm sorry.

LWANDA

Don't be.

(Beat)

So this is what it's like.

CHEMTAI

What?

LWANDA

Having a heart of flesh. Having you.

Chemtai looks away. He turns her face towards his, looks into her eyes. He pulls her in for a kiss.

Their passion is engulfed by the shadows of the night.

EXT. FOREST - DAY

The sun blazes overhead. Lwanda and Chemtai are asleep in each other's arms. A shadow interrupts the ray of sunshine playing on Chemtai's cheek. Awoken, she looks up to see a dark silhouette looming over her.

A strong arm yanks her off the ground. She screams. Lwanda shoots to his feet.

He is surrounded by a wall of spears. The Lang'o band surround Lwanda, a pack of yelping hyenas closing in on its prey. Lwanda grabs Chemtai's spear, backs away.

ANGLE ON LANG'O WARRIOR

He shoves Chemtai before Kipten. Kipten sneers.

KIPTEN

I will let you live long enough to see him die. Kipchoge will be disappointed.

She spits in his face. He grins as he wipes it off.

KIPTEN (CONT'D)

Thanks for keeping him busy until the sun came up. He was shadowless at night.

Chemtai glances  up at the sun overhead. She looks at her shadow. It's right underneath her. The realization hits her.

CHEMTAI

(to Lwanda)

My love! The sun. Your shadow.

ANGLE ON LWANDA

He looks at his shadow. It is short, falling right beneath him.

ANGLE ON KIPTEN

He looks at Lwanda's shadow. He realizes his mistiming.

KIPTEN

NO!

He thrusts his spear through Chemtai. Time slows. Chemtai's eyes widen as she falls to the ground.

ANGLE ON LWANDA

He roars with fury. He leaps over the raised spears of the Lango, landing in their midst with a CRASH. Metal meets stone. Soldier after soldier lash out at him. Sparks fly as they fall to the ground, his fists and spear crashing and tearing through the Lang'o, working his way to his quarry - Kipten.

Kipten stands his ground, grim determination on his face. Lwanda tosses aside the soldiers shielding Kipten, and stands before him, panting - eyes burning with rage. Kipten shoves his spear hard into Lwanda's abdomen. The spear shaft splinters into a million pieces. Kipten's arm quivers from the shock, hanging limp and broken.

Lwanda grabs Kipten by the throat and hauls him off the ground.  He squeezes. Kipten struggles to break free. Lwanda does not flinch. He squeezes Kipten's throat harder and harder. Kipten claws at Lwanda's vice-like grip. Lwanda breathes harder, squeezes harder. Kipten kicks madly. A sharp CRACK. Kipten legs go limp - paralysed. Lwanda lets go of him. He falls to the ground, broken.

ANGLE ON CHEMTAI

Lwanda drops to his knees beside Chemtai and cradles her in his arms. Her breathing is heavy and belabored.

CHEMTAI

Lwanda.

LWANDA

Don't speak. You'll be fine.

She strokes his cheek, shakes her head.

LWANDA (CONT'D)

Do not leave me.

CHEMTAI

It is my time.

Lwanda holds her close and rocks her.

CHEMTAI (CONT'D)

Promise me that you won't leave me out here to the beasts. Promise me that you'll bury me.

LWANDA

I promise I'll never leave you.

(Beat, whispers)

I'll be with you forever.

She sighs and stops breathing. Lwanda's head falls and rests on her chest, his short shadow falling right next to him.

A blade is thrust down hard and straight into the ground darkened by his shadow. Lwanda gasps. Blood shoots out of his neck. He stumbles back and sees Kipten twisted body on the ground, his hand still on the blade sunk into the earth.

Lwanda hauls himself over to Kipten. He tugs the blade out of the ground, and raises it high. He buries it with all his crushing weight deep into Kipten's throat. Kipten splutters and chokes on his own blood. He stops breathing.

Lwanda drags himself over to Chemtai and embraces her. His blood runs over hers. He shuts her eyes with his fingers, rests his forehead on hers.

His heavy breathing ceases. He remains motionless holding his beloved close to him.

A soft gentle breeze breaks the stolid silence. It picks up to a strong wind laden with a fine layer of grey dust. Lwanda and Chemtai's bodies are coated in the ashen dirt, making them as a granite statue.

A deep rumbling. The earth tears open and swallows the bodies of the Lang'o warriors. Kipten's corpse falls in just as the ravine spews forth rock splinters. The pillars encase the statuesque pair of Lwanda and Chemtai, and form a rock mound over them.

The rumbling ceases. All in engulfed in silence. The sun sinks towards the horizon. The granite mound stands in silent witness of the passage of a great warrior. It's shadow grows longer and longer on the ground, until all is engulfed in darkness.

EXT. ROCK MOUND - DAY

The shadow of the rock mound recedes as the sun rises over the lake.

NARRATOR (V.O.)

The Luo lost their greatest warrior. The Lang'o, their greatest chief and most beautiful daughter. Finally, the warring nations saw the value of peace.

Pull back to reveal KING ODERO and a LANG'O ELDER standing on the rock mound. They slit their palms with the same knife, and clasp them together in a firm handshake.

Behind them, watching in reverent silence, stand the Luo and the Lang'o Elders and throngs of onlookers from both nations. King Odero and the Lang'o Elder turn to the people, clasped hands raised. The people bow their heads in a moment of silence. No cheers. No celebrations.

NARRATOR

The tale of the rock was passed on from generation to generation. The cost of peace would never be forgotten.

(beat)

Never again would they forget the value of a heart of flesh.

The cheers diminish. The people fade. All that is left is the cold, hard rock.

NARRATOR (CONT'D)

Never again.

END CREDITS.

References