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Go Forth and Tell the Story

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The story of every man starts with his parents. And although Orin's mother was of course a remarkable Atlantean, his father was remarkable in that he was not, so his is the story that I will tell you.

Orin's grandparents were good Christians, so they gave his father a good Christian name: Arthur. Arthur “Aka” Ka‘aukai grew tall in the moku, or district, of Kohala, where kings are born.

Orin's grandparents were good Christians, but as Aka came of age, he rejected the haole religion and immersed himself in the old ways. His father's fathers were watermen, so he found a kumu to teach him the ways of building a canoe, of sailing it, of reading the winds and the waves and the movements of birds.

Aka lived in the village of Niuli‘i. When Kamehameha was king, Niuli‘i was a royal grove of coconut trees. When sugar was king, Niuli‘i was a plantation village. When the sugar kingdom, too, inevitably fell, Aka was one of a few who stayed to farm and fish, the way his forefathers had.

It so happened that the eldest daughter of the Great King of the Oceans and Seas was traveling through the more distant domains of the kingdom, and on a whim came alone to the nearshore waters of Hawai‘i Island, to see what sort of place it was. And it so happened that on that day, Aka was surfing his outrigger in Kapana Bay, as he liked to do when the waves were right.

Aka was tall and handsome and healthy, with a shining smile and a hearty laugh. Surfing with an outrigger took strength and skill. Watching him at his sport, the princess was charmed, and when he turned his canoe away from the waves and into calmer waters, she swam closer, that she might speak with him.

She told him that her name was Atlanna, but Aka knew that she was Nā-maka-o-Kaha‘i, the goddess of the sea, for only a goddess could breathe in the water like a fish, and only a goddess could be so beautiful.

For Aka and Atlanna it was love at first sight, and she stayed with him in Niuli‘i, and they were quickly married. After a time Atlanna became pregnant, and nine months later gave birth to a healthy, beaming boy. Atlanna gave him the first name Orin, a royal name of Atlantean kings, and Aka honored Atlanna's family and his own with the middle name Kekamaonākai‘ewalu, the child of the eight seas. Orin Kekamaonākai‘ewalu Ka‘aukai grew quickly, laughed frequently, and was loved.

When little Orin was four years old, a messenger came from the sea with news for Atlanna: her father, the king, had died. Atlanna wept bitterly, for the loss of her father but also because she knew she must leave her husband and son. “I must return home to Atlantis to rule as queen,” she told Aka. “I cannot take you with me. My brother is ambitious; you and Orin would be in grave danger. Guard our son, my love; I will return for you both when it is safe.” She kissed them both, and with tears in her eyes, returned to the sea.

And so Aka raised his son alone. He taught him the names of the gods, how to fish and surf and paddle a canoe. He told him of his beautiful mother, how much she loved him and how she promised to return.

When Orin was six, he came running to his father to tell him that a sea turtle has spoken to him. Aka was not surprised, for the honu was their family's ‘aumakua, their guardian spirit. When Orin began to have conversations with the fish and the whales, and the long-armed he‘e and the sharp-toothed puhi; and when Orin began, like his mother, to dive deep and stay under the water for long periods without ever needing to breathe, Aka was still not surprised, for one expected extraordinary things when one's son was a demi-god.

The years passed and Orin grew tall and tan and strong, and when he was sixteen Atlanna returned. Atlanna and Aka joyously embraced, and Orin wept with happiness, because although all he remembered of Atlanna was the touch of her lips when she kissed him goodbye, he still loved his mother.

“I am sorry that I was away for so long, my love, my beautiful son,” Atlanna told them. “Atlantis is now safe; I rule unchallenged. I have come to take Orin with me to learn the ways of the royal court, as my heir.” She looked at Aka. “My love, you cannot live beneath the sea as we do, but there is an island near my palace. You can learn to fish and sail in new waters, and Orin and I will visit you every day. Will you come with us?”

Although Aka loved Hawai‘i, his home and the home of his forefathers, he loved his family more. And so they went, the three of them, to Atlantis.

And although you know and I know that Orin became the greatest of Atlantis' kings, his exploits renowned in all nations of the world, how that came to be is another story, and I will tell it another time.