Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Quiet Young Woman With the Adventurous Heart

When Celestine has her first confrontation with Cat-ara, Ka-puki steps in and smooths things out. The reader meets this young Jabuani woman in Travels to Fahdamin-Ra, and Kapuki's story continues in Across the Savannah, and in Firebloods.

 Mary McAvoy edited Travels, and she thought that Ka-puki was as young as Celestine. I had to go back and correct things, because Mary knows what she is talking about. I thought of Ka-puki being an eighteen-year-old, and she hung around with sixteen-year-old Cat-ara, because being older and wiser, she knew that the insolent Cat-ara was lacking manners, good judgment, and friends. Ka-puki is loyal to her friends and family, and does not want to hear gossip or criticism of them. She is soft spoken, small of stature, but has a strong will and a big heart.

Ka-puki's mother is Artist Teacher Fay-ola, so she is one of the Becca, the five women who govern the tribe. Her father is the quiet O-nani, who slips in and out of scenes occasionally. I wanted a female character that was cute and nice, but had a lot of depth to her once the reader got to know her. She comes from a quiet, hardworking family. She had two older brothers who were a year apart in age, but they disappeared. Her parents believe that the boys were killed by crocodiles, which live in a swampy area near the ocean, and are a hazard to the Jabulani that pass by them on rafts.

Both Cat-ara and Ka-puki were in training to be possible future Becca in their tribe. Fay-ola taught Ka-puki from birth about the making of pottery and tiles, weaving and decorating of cloth, and other crafts in which the Jabulani excel. Ka-puki, like her mother, tends to listen to other people talk and then work for a way to have everyone come to a compromise. This has made Ka-puki mature for her age, and most Jabulani tend to favor her to follow her mother into the post of Artist Teacher. Cat-ara, on the other hand, is disliked by most of the Jabulani and only her foster mother, Qui-ana thinks that she would be a fit leader of the Becca one day.

When Ka-puki becomes an Exchange Youth and goes to Harun, she, like most Jabulani, does not know how to read or write. Prince Kayin decides to personally teach her and the other Exchange Youth, Nas-sor. Ka-puki is thrilled with learning and after she and Nas-sor have to leave Harun, Prince Kayin talks to Councilor Raymond about continuing to teach them in Jabulan. Raymond was all for education, so he asks King Zayas to spare his son, so of course the king complies, and Kayin happily moves into a hut at the stone circle and starts teaching at Jabulan every day.

Stop right here if you haven't read Travels to Fahdamin-Ra, because I am going to give some story line away. Kayin and Ka-puki start seeing one another. Kayin is infatuated with her, and she is very attached to him. Even though the City Director is looking for another bride for Kayin, he does not care and is determined to have his fling with Ka-puki. The young Jabulani woman knows that Kayin will go back to Harun one day, marry a hand-picked bride, and settle down to a somewhat happy life, so she decides to have a fling with him as long as she is able. It is sheer luck that Ka-puki and Kayin are chosen to go across the savannah with the Creators, giving them a chance to be away from their tribes, and giving them more time. By then, Kayin has a bride that he knows about, and Ka-puki resigns herself to the fact that when the journey ends, she will have to give up the prince, return to her tribe, and eventually select a husband from the many men who adore her.

Or so she thinks.....