Set in a pre-colonial African past, Tilai is about an illicit love affair and its consequences. Saga returns to his village after an extended absence to discover that his father has taken Nogma, Saga's promised bride, for himself. Still in love with each other, the two begin an affair, although it would be considered incestuous. When the liaison is discovered, Saga's brother, Koudri, pretends to kill Saga for the honor of the family and village. Saga and Nogma flee to another village, but when Nogma's birth mother dies, he returns home. Having brought ruin on the family, Saga is shot by Koudri, who walks off into exile and probable death.