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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 29, 2007

‘Polyfantastica’: The story so far

 •  Polyfantastica
 •  Culture connection

By Meredith Desha

Solomon Enos illustration

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We know "Polyfantastica" has its loyal fans, as we've heard from some of you who are saving each week's episode and following the adventure closely. Now we'd like to hear from the rest of you. What's your opinion of "Polyfantastica?"

Do you read it every week? Is there anything about the story that you'd like to understand more closely? What works — and what doesn't work — about the comic? Would you like to participate in a bulletin board online to chat with other fans about the adventure?

Send your comments to islandlife@honoluluadvertiser.com or to Island Life/"Polyfantastica" Survey, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Please include your name, age and a daytime phone number.

Here's the incentive: We'll send 10 respondents, chosen at random, a glossy "Polyfantastica" poster, with the image from our premiere of the comic.

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"Polyfantastica" debuted in The Advertiser on Nov. 5, 2006, as a teacher began to guide his student through the story of the Moananui archipelago.

The world of Polyfantastica comprise two areas: Motunui, a great land mass, and Moananui, an ocean continent. Moananui is composed of thousands of islands, but only 17 main political regions.

Fighting is not rare in Moananui, but escalating violence has led some leaders to call a peace council at Tekihei.

Ali'i Te'a of the 'Iapo sails toward Tekihei with his son and a small retinue, but they are waylaid at a small, unnamed island by Ali'i Wapu'ata of the Kuahu. Wapu'ata claims that Te'a's campaign for peace has caused allies to abandon the Kuahu.

In a bid for power, Wapu'ata pits his son, Lomo, against Te'a's son, Hulama, in a duel to the death. The winner is to receive cooperation from the other's people, whether for peace or warfare.

Unbeknownst to Te'a, the Kuahu have found an ancient stone of power, an 'oro'ino, and Lomo hopes to use it against Hulama in battle. The Kuahu put up a shield so that the 'Iapo cannot sense the stone.

Breathing in the stone's vapors have made Lomo monstrous and deranged. He wears the stone in a gourd around his neck, calling himself "Lomo'ino" to mark his changed nature.

The 'oro'ino is too powerful for Lomo'ino, and naive friend Hulama, understanding only that Lomo'ino is sick, offers to take the stone.

Lomo'ino throws the gourd containing the 'oro'ino at Hulama — but just then, Opoata ambushers attack.

Hulama parries a blow using the gourd, and it shatters. Hulama then catches the 'oro'ino in his bare hands, and is transfixed by it as the Opoata en masse attack Lomo'ino. The Opoata are after the 'oro'ino, but Hulama and Lomo'ino are able to escape.

On their ships, offshore, the two opposing ali'i of the 'Iapo and Kuahu are cut off from their sons by a lightning storm that descends around the island. Both are forced to retreat.

Because of time constraints, Te'a is forced to continue to Tekihei. He sends word to his eldest child, Noi, to search 'Iapo outposts in the surrounding area for Hulama, in the hope that her brother was able to escape the ambush. Noi resents what she feels to be Te'a's abandonment of their family for the peace council, and she is suspicious of the Opoata.

Wapuata gathers forces and formally declares war on the Opoata. He heads back to the island, intending to recover the 'oro'ino.

However, Wapuata's nephew, Kuiomo, intercepts the war declaration. Kuiomo sets sail to the island, intent on stopping his uncle. As he sails, Kuiomo receives reports from one of his uncle's scouts, whereby he is able to track both the 'oro'ino and Wapu'ata's course.

A second wave of Opoata warriors arrive on the island. They find that everyone has been slain, and Hulama and Lomo'ino are gone.

Just moments after reporting to their Visipi Council, these Opoata are themselves ambushed by Wapu'ata and his squadron. This wave of Opoata are defeated, but more ships are on their way, thus further delaying Wapuata's search for the 'oro'ino.

Because of the Soo'a spy network, word spreads of the battles and the mysterious stone.

Two people of note who receive information are Tu'eo, a member of the Opoata's ruling Visipi Council, who does not share the information he receives with the others in the council, and Ali'i Komevemeve of the Rungo, who may use her alliance with the Mutu to capture the stone. All over Moananui, different regions seek information about the 'oro'ino.

Guided by the 'oro'ino, Hulama and Lomo'ino descend miles beneath the sea, and travel along the ocean floor. The 'oro'ino tells the young men the story of its origins and purpose.

In Tekihei, the Kuahu and Opoata diplomats negotiate, while Ali'i Deaoa mediates.

Meredith Desha, co-author of the "Polyfantastica" storyline, is a freelance writer and editor, actor and improvisor with an MA in English from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. She is a 1994 graduate from Kamehameha Schools.