When he heard the others stirring in the village he made his decision and rose to return. He watched the women prepare the morning meal and then went to the chief’s quarters to tell him what must be done.
The chief looked at him for a long time before speaking. “And you say this…thing will come to pass soon, but you don’t know when.”
“Yes” he said. “We must start preparing today. I feel there is little time.” He bore the weight of his gift without regret, but this was an especially hard thing.
The chief continued to look and then with a sigh his shoulders slumped. “How am I to tell our people of this without knowing why”?
Kalani rubbed his temples. “I know in my heart of hearts that we must go. That is all I know”.
The chief raised his chin and made to speak and then stopped. He sat down and gazed at the floor. “The oracle”, he said. “It is not that I don’t believe you, but if the oracle says so, then…” he trailed off and then got up to retrieve the box with the bones in it. He lifted the finely carved lid and scooped up the ancient sacred oracle.
The people listened gravely as the chief spoke, turning to Kalani from time to time, only to see him nodding his head. “And so it is that we must do this thing. Kalani has dreamed it. The oracle has told it true.” He finished and then sat down and waited. Several of the elders conferred amongst themselves.
One stood up and said “Then we shall begin”. As one the rest of the tribe rose and began the arduous process of uprooting their lives and moving everything into the canoes. Beautifully woven flax ceremonial dress was packed side by side with the children’s coconut shell figures with their little carved shields. The women enlisting their help to keep their minds occupied.
The process took the better part of two days, and Kalani tried hard to dampen his growing sense of unease, hoping it didn’t show. He made sure everything went smoothly, glad that there had been no real dissent. Some felt that the journey should begin the next day, but Kalani won them over to the urgency of leaving right away.
The leaving ceremony was perfunctory but necessary. At last they moved into the canoes and the lead helmsman blew a mighty blast on the conch shell and they moved as one out onto the calm sea.
They rowed through the night. The gods favored them with light winds and a following sea and so they made good progress. Their former home was only dimly within sight as the sun rose the following morning and Kalani stood and turned suddenly as an overwhelming vision came to him. He pointed back toward the smaller island right next to where they had lived, the one where the great mountain Lahainamaia, the home of the fire god sat, just as a mighty roar reached their ears and lava was thrown high into the sky, raining down devestation on their former home, the treeline bursting into angry red flames in a matter of seconds.
They all sat in shocked silence and then turned to gaze upon Kalani as he stared at the bright orange sky that had begun to fill with smoke, a great sadness in his eyes.