A princess among the Menehune and the eldest daughter of Chief Makani, Kanani holds a special position in the village of Moe’uhane. Someday, when her father dies, she will step into the role of high chief. Kanani began her preparations at an early age. The Menehune believe that only a lifetime of training can prepare one to be chief.
Kanani has studied the diplomatic and judicial responsibilities of a chief. She has learned to run with the warriors and shoot with the hunters. She has crafted beautiful leis from the island’s blossoms and shells. She has spent long hours with the kahunas, memorizing Menehune history and learning the ways of the Umbra. And, most importantly, she has studied mana, its uses, its nature, and its value. Although nowhere near as wise or knowledgeable as her father, Kanani has reached a point in her life preparation where he would be accepted as chief if her father were to die. The villagers call her ali’i ki, or little chief. This places her one step above the other ali’i of the village.
Kanani adores her father. She would do anything for him and for the other Menehune, her sense of duty outweighing any personal needs or desires she might have. Raised in a protected environment amidst the beauty of the Kaua’i rainforest, with its magnificent waterfalls and beaches, Kanani embodies the typical Menehune innocence. However, she has experienced the dangers of the mortal world, seen its extravagances, and its wastefulness. Although she does not understand the evils she has seen, she knows enough to distrust strangers. Their odd ways frighten and shock her.
Kanani spent some time in Hilo and it has had an adverse effect on her health and her mana. Living amidst the Banality of the city drained her mana, and the horrible events she witnessed affected her peace of mind. Although she has regained some of her vigor, she fears it will never return to its full glory.
Kanani personifies the beauty of the island on which she lives. Her long, black hair glistens like flowing water, and her quick intelligence sparks within the dark depths of her almond-shaped eyes. Empathy and kindness show in the broad yet delicate features of her face. She has both an inner and an outer beauty.
Hard-muscled and lean yet gentle, her strength hides behind her femininity and the intangible vulnerability she acquired in Hilo. She has copper-colored skin: smooth, soft, and unblemished. She wears the traditional clothing of her people, tying tiny pearls, shells, and flowers into her hair. Her adornment, like her beauty, comes from the gifts offered by the island itself: hibiscus, plumerias, and ilima blooms; pink seashells and rich Mokihani berries, the emblem of her totem.
Kanani has been raised with the weight of impending responsibility. From early on, she learned that her first obligation must always be to the village. She has never resented this, but has accepted it as a given fact. She serves the chief and the Menehune. She will do anything, even leave her village, if it serves the greater good of the Menehune. She associates mana, the island, and life all as one. She values those treasures and does not approve of their waste. She distrusts all visitors to the village; their ways make her uncomfortable. Because of her duties, though, she will ignore her disquiet and make a courageous attempt to understand them. She would hold an everlasting grudge, however, if any one of them did anything to harm the Menehune.