It was evening on Motunui. The sun was just beginning to slip below the sealine, casting a golden glamour across the shimmery palm frawns, and turning the dirt a moist rust red. Grandma Sina, or just Sina to some of the other villagers, walked through the village. She helped where she was needed, but otherwise enjoyed the feeling of wandering aimlessly, watching the villagers perform tasks before nightfall.
Men were hauling in the last of the fish from the days sail, while women finished husking the coconuts, and were taking laundry off the lines. Children hauled water, or skipped stones into dirt squares outside their fale, under the watchful eye of dozing grandmothers and fathers. And in the distance, smoke rose from the nights bonfire, where Sina would once again tell the village a story of their ancestors.
Currently, the Chief of Motunui was away on voyage. Moana had always been a free spirit. Even after she returned from her great journey to return the Heart of Tangaroa, her spirit yearned to be on the ocean. She tried to force herself to say on the island after Maui. She took up her place as chief, she married and had a child. But even that couldn't keep her at home. The longest she had ever stayed was two cycles of the moon, after Tui (Sina's husband) died unexpectedly from an illness. Moana had stayed and mourned, but was eventually called back to the sea and vanished once again.
She always came back, so Sina didn't worry too much. But Motunui was always a bit emptier without Moana's spirit around to guide them,
The older woman in question glanced up from her wandering, seeing Hali hurrying in her direction. Hali was a girl the same age as Moana. She was tall and dark, with
Coconut colored hair pulled into a messy bun filled with flowers. She was supposed to be keeping charge of Moana's daughter, and Sina's granddaughter. But the 6 year old was currently not present,
"Aloha, Hali," Sina greeted calmly, ignoring the fact that the babysitter was huffing, like she had been running,
"Sina, have you seen Kailani? She ran off and I've searched everywhere for her!"
"Everywhere?" Sina questioned, lifting a greying brow as Hali nodded rapidly,
"Yes! The groves, the beach, the cliffs. I've probably checked every fale. And I simply can't find her!"
"Calm down, Hali, calm down. I'm sure she's fine. Go down to the bonfire and warm up, I'll go look for my granddaughter,"
"Are you sure? I-I mean I didn't mean-"
"Go on," Sina insisted, giving the girl a quick honi as reassurance, "I'll find her,"
"Well...alright. Thanks Sina,"
Nodding, Hali disappeared towards the bonfire as Sina exhaled deeply and shook her head. Kailani was very similar to her mother in several ways. She was free spirited and couldn't sit still. Very rarely did she stay in the village during the day, and it wasn't uncommon for her to slip away from Hali (who was easily distracted) unnoticed. But ever since she was born, Sina noticed something about her granddaughter which directly opposed Moana. Kailani stayed as far away from the ocean as possible.
Sina had been humored by this aspect of Lani's character since her birth. Moana, greatest wayfinder in the islands, partner to a demigod, and a demigoddess herself. Yet her daughter had never once stepped foot on the beach, or touched the ocean surf. In fact, she seemed to actively avoid it. Sina smiled slightly at that as she made her way towards the mountain of Motunui, where the stones of the chiefs proudly sat.
If Lani was anywhere, she would be there. Why she retreated to that particular spot, Sina didn't know. Moana tried to keep away from it, as it was too far inland for her to go more then once. And Sina herself was positive Moana had yet to take Lani up herself to explain the tradition of the stones (and conch) now sitting on the mountain. Hauling up the narrow path, Sina thought about her old age as she heaved herself to the flat top of the mountain. Just as she originally suspected, Lani was there, sitting against the column of moss covered rocks and looking out at the sea.
Unlike Moana, whenever Lani looked at the sea, Sina almost thought the expression was scornful. It certainly wasn't a happy face, and currently, the face was in deep, deep concentration. Kailani, like her mother, was round faced. Long, lush curls the color of moist dirt pooled from a crown of flowers on her small head. She was a beautiful girl, but ever since her birth Kailani had a very specific trait which set her apart from the rest of the island. Unlike Moana's eyes, which were warm and dark, Lani's eyes were like shallow pools of ocean water. They sparkled like the clear tide, and darkened like a coming storm in her sadness. Currently, they were flashing like lightning.
Sina, as a mother herself, didn't fail to notice the pink conch in her granddaughters lap, or the died tear stains on her cheeks which shined slightly in the evening sun. Frowning, Sina approached the girl and lowered herself to sit beside her with a slight grunt.
"Is there a reason you ran away from Hali, again?" Sina asked softly, trying not to pry as she didn't need her granddaughter shutting her out. The girl didn't say anything, just pouted and shrugged instead, "did she say something to you?"
Lani hesitated, and looked as if she were just going to shrug again, but sighed in a small, almost defeated way,
Sina lifted a brow. Lani ran away from her babysitter because she was talking about the ocean?
"Why did this upset you?"
Sina was genuinely confused about her granddaughters actions, and listened intently as the girl fingered Moana's shell with white knuckles,
"I...I hate the ocean,"
Taken aback, the mother of the chief sat confused. Never before had she ever heard that phrase spoken by anyone other then Tui, in his early years of chiefdom. Reaching out and pulling Lani into her lap (she was significantly smaller in size then Moana had been at her age), Sina played with her dark curls,
"What has the Ocean done to deserve your hatred? It gives us fish, and cools our shores-"
The ocean was selfish? Sina could believe that it was stubborn, unpredictable and dangerous. But selfish?
Lani hesitated again and glowered at the shell in her lap before throwing it aside angrily. Sina made a move to chide her for the action, but the tears of her granddaughter dropped the words from moving past her tongue,
"Lani, what's the matter?"
"It takes mom away!" the girl howled angrily, pushing to stand from Sina's arms as she ran and kicked a pebble off the mountain, "the ocean calls to her, and she goes. She leaves! She comes back, but then she leaves again! The ocean is selfish and I hate it!"
Sina was, for the lack of a better word, speechless. She knew Moana's absence had an affect on Motunui, but never had she thought of the effect on Lani,
"Why do you not learn to sail?" Sina suggested, "then you could travel with her?"
"No! I hate the ocean," Lani growled, "it'll take me too, just like it takes mom."
Lani plopped down onto the grass as she rubbed her eyes, which filled with salty tears. Quick to act, Sina scooped the girl up and held her close, whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
"Shhh. The Ocean does such great things for us, Lani," pulling away from her granddaughter slightly, Sina pressed her forehead against the smaller girls, "how bout a story?"
Nodding weakly, Sina settled back down onto the ground, Kailani sitting in her lap again, "a long time ago, when the world was still new, Te Fiti created many islands. But none were quite as spectacular as Ehiku. It was a spectacular place, and rivaled Te Fiti in its beauty. The island was so powerful in fact, that seven different gods and goddesses were born from its spirit. Pleased, Te Fiti adopted these young demigods as her children. Their names were Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lāna'i, Ni'ihua, and Kahoʻolawe."
"That's a lot of kids," Kailani mumbled, fiddling with the conch which she had picked up sometime during the story. Nodding, Sina pursed her lips,
"Yes. The siblings were so connected to the earth and ocean, that they were able to ride on top of the waves on boards created for them by their islands."
"Oh yes. Our ancestors were amazed at their great skill, and gave them the name wave-riders. But, soon, the oldest of the siblings, Hawai'i, became angry. He didn't didn't want to share Ehiku, and insisted that his other siblings leave. Their arguing created storms unlike any other, storms which nearly tore the world apart,"
Sina stopped her story to look out at the sea, where the sun was barely a sliver against the ocean horizon.
"What happened, grandma?"
Drawn back by Kailani's urging, Sina chuckled and pushed some hair away from her granddaughters cheek,
"With such loud arguing, Te Fiti was awoken from her eternal slumber. Angry at her children for their greed and selfishness, Te Fiti split the islands, and trapped her children's spirits there forever. They lost their incredible powers, but legends say that our ancestors could still see incredible beings riding the waves on boards made of light,"
"Wow," Kailani's blue eyes were no longer dark as she looked to the ocean, her scorn lost in wonder, "have you ever seen a wave rider grandma?"
"I thought I did once, long ago." Smiling, Sina pushed to her feet, "the sun is almost set my little coconut, time to go back,"
Reaching out her hand, Kailani's sadness was forgotten as she skipped beside Sina,
"Grandma, do you think I could learn to be a wave rider?"
"Hmm, maybe. If the ocean likes you that is,"
"Oh..." Kailani blanched slightly at the thought of the ocean as Sina chuckled, waving to Aisake whom was standing in the fale. Allowing Lani to run to her father, blabbering on about gods who rode on waves, Sina smiled and looked towards the ocean, where moonlight was settling.
"I have to remember to speak with Moana about Lani when she returns."
A/N: And there it is, everyone! The prologue. I actually had this written out right after I finished The Heart of Tangaroa, but didn't get around to tweaking it till just now. Be sure to leave comments down below, and I'll try and update soon. Cheers!