How The Augustinian Cliffs Got Their Name

The Kanaka have many sacred areas and revered places on the island, but a few stand out from the others. The Augustinian Cliffs are one such place. Sitting in the shadow of the great peak Pu’u Kukui and overlooking the vital Kahoma stream, the cliffs are a place where one can beseech the spirits of the island for protection and the ancestors for guidance. Although it was once a Thriver outpost, it is now considered a cherished Kanaka site, and a place where you can remember the power of bravery and belief.

Augustin never dreamed of being a leader, but the fracture allowed many to find their true purpose. Before Veilcorp tore the world apart, he taught the ancient Hawaiian martial art of Kapu Kuialua in his dojo on the beach. While countless screamed and ran in terror, he remained calm and gathered those that needed shelter inside until the earth stopped shaking, and the orange rain ended.

The world that was born from the fracture was a much harder one than before, with little mercy for the weak. Augustin took in as many Kanaka as he could, but soon realized that unless they had the tools to survive, he was not truly saving them. However, there were so many that he couldn’t possibly teach them all by himself. It was then that he picked his 9 best students, including his daughter Anakalia, and made them his Kumu, each a master in an aspect of Ku’ialua. With his 9 trusted Kumu at his side he could teach the people to protect themselves quickly, and the Kanaka had a chance.

The people learned how to break bones, strike with purpose, and bend vulnerable joints. No longer prey for the wolves, bandits, and the terrors of the forest, the Kanaka began to reclaim their rightful place on the island. Word spread quickly of the teachings of Augustin and his 9 Kumu. Soon, Kanaka from across the island traveled to his dojo to learn how to protect themselves and their people. One young man caught the eye of Augustin, a gangly young son of a fisherman named Ikaika.

The boy became his star pupil. He was not the most talented physically but what he lacked in body he made up for in heart and spirit. By the end of the first year he challenged and defeated his first Kumu, and eventually proved his prowess against all the masters, even Augustin. Fifteen years after arriving at the dojo, the great chief Ikaika began to rally other Kanka to sweep the island clean of the terrors of the fracture. He eventually cleared the menehune from Front street, drove the green ladies North, and aligned with the Thrivers of Pu’u to meet the vast night marcher horde at Black Rock Beach.

The outcome of the battle was not certain. Ikaika took virtually all the able-bodied with him North, leaving many Kanaka under the watchful eye of the aging Augustin and his Kumu. The Thrivers sent the old and infirm, as well as their children, to a stronghold in the mountains for their safety, but instead of protecting their weak, they had served them on a platter. A group of night marchers heading to Black Rock Beach had noticed the vulnerable Thrivers high on the mountain, and discovered the single trail leading to the outpost.

The walls kept the initial wave from getting inside but it soon became apparent that the meager defenses would not hold, and with only one trail up or down, there was no escape. 3 runners were dispatched, and one eventually made it through the throngs of claws and teeth, all the way to the dojo for help. She was heartbroken when she found that only a handful of Koa and the old Kapu Kuialua masters were left behind. She was busy trying to convince one of the young warriors to send for help when Augustin stopped her. Laden with as much rope as they could carry, he vowed that he and his 9 Kumu would save her people.

Knowing that the single trail going up would be their doom, Augustin and the masters began to climb the cliffs, fixing anchor points and securing lines as they went. Hands hardened by years of discipline and practice, now quickly found purchase in the cracks of the rock face. The group climbed over 1,500 feet as fast as most could walk. When they crested the top they could see that they were probably too late.

The walls burst in and the night marchers howled. Without hesitation the Kumu surged forward. Where stone and wood had given way, the screaming horde found a new wall of hardened fists, clubs, and expertly placed blows. So ferocious was their attack that the night marchers withdrew for a moment to assess their new foes. This was all the time Augustin and Anakalia needed. Together they began to usher down those who could climb the ropes, and began lowering down those who couldn’t.

Sensing the Thrivers escape, the creatures rushed forward again. The Kumu fought valiantly for as long as they could, but they were too few to fight off the hundreds of night marchers. Eventually only Augustin and Anakalia were left. The Thrivers say that they were covered with the creatures when they lowered the last survivors down, but did not stop to fight back until they were sure that the Thrivers were safe.

When Chief Ikaika returned and heard the story he went to the outpost himself to look for his old teacher. However, Augustin, Anakalia, and the other Kumu were never found. Some say their bravery and prowess helped remind the night marchers of their true purpose, protecting the Kanaka and their great chiefs. It is rumored that Augustin and his 9 Kumu still guard the cliffs from those who would harm the island and its people. Whatever the truth, the Thrivers agreed to respect the warriors by never using the outpost again, and the area has been known as the Augustinian Cliffs ever since. It remains one of our most sacred and beloved places.