Clever Kail-Perwa and the Great Boast, Volume 2

As Retold by Nalae-Polek, Poet Laureate to Potentate Versidue-Shaie

Kail-Perwa found it very difficult to sleep that night. The warrior in gold had claimed that she would be visited by three of her cleverest ancestors. Should Kail-Perwa fail to prove her wit to all three of them, she would be punished. But how would she be punished?

Kail-Perwa was clever enough to know that the warrior in gold who visited her was an ancestral spirit. As such, the spirit had the power to grant her both great fortune or misfortune, depending on his ruling. He could even drag Kail-Perwa to the afterlife, should he be truly angered.

Would she be able to pass these three trials? Would she be killed if she failed? Such questions kept Kail-Perwa awake late into the night, until at last she fell asleep.

When Kail-Perwa next awakened, she was not truly awake. She was inside a dream, of this she was sure, but her consciousness had never been so clear and aware in a dream as it was now. Truly, it felt like she had been transported into another realm.

And what a strange realm it was. The land around her was covered in a thin layer of water, cold against her feet. The sky above was an endless white. The only distinguishing feature was a twisted, black tree, jutting out from the water. And next to this tree was a lone woman, dressed in red.

Kail-Perwa instantly knew this was the first spirit to would judge her.

The woman in red smiled. She was young and beautiful with a noble bearing, and when she spoke, her voice was like the wind which foretells a great storm.

“I have come to judge you,” said the woman in red, “for you have claimed to be more clever than I. As your ancestor, I bear right to test that cleverness. Do you accept my judgement?”

Kail-Perwa bowed deeply and said, “I do.”

“My task is simple, then. You must walk to me. This is all.”

Kail-Perwa worried her lip, for she doubted the task was as simple as the woman in red declared. Still, the only action she could take was to move forward. But as Kail-Perwa walked, she quickly found herself moving further and further away. It was if the tree and the woman in red leaned away from her, just as swiftly as she walked forward.

“All is not as it seems,” thought Kail-Perwa. “There is a trick to this place that I have yet to see.”

So she looked behind her, and saw but endless water. She looked above, and saw but endless sky. But then she looked below, and saw her own reflection. And this reflection, as impossible as it may have been, was facing away from the woman in red.

Kail-Perwa could almost laugh! What a simple trick. As she moved forward, her reflection was moving her away from the woman in red. In order to walk towards the spirit, she must move her reflection in the correct direction, not herself.

And so Kail-Perwa turned away from the woman in red and began to walk. It was an odd sensation, as her steps seemed to pull the land ahead of her further away. Very quickly, she heard a tinkling laugh near her ear. She turned around, now face to face with the mysterious spirit.

The woman in red smiled and said, “Very good, Kail-Perwa. You have solved my task. But tell me, do you realize the lesson learned?”

Kail-Perwa bit her lip and shook her head, for she did not know.

“To go forward, sometimes you must go back,” the woman in red gently explained. “Let this lesson be your guiding words, for there are still two trials ahead.”

And with that, Kail-Perwa awoke to the morning sun.

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