Clever Kail-Perwa and the Great Boast, Volume 3

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

Kail-Perwa basked in her victory like a lizard in the bright sun. Why had she worried? After all, there was none so clever as she! Why concern herself about a punishment that would never come to pass?

There were just two more trials left. If Kail-Perwa succeeded in both, and she was confident that she would, her boast would become a proven truth! Perhaps her ancestors would even reward her for such a victory.

Kail-Perwa found it easy to fall asleep that night.

Just as before, she entered into a dream. Again, the land around her was covered in a thin layer of water, cold against her feet. Again, the sky above was an endless white. But this time there was no black tree or woman in read. Instead, there was black table with two black chairs. Seated at one of the chairs was an elderly man dressed in blue.

Kail-Perwa bowed to the ancestral spirit and politely said, “Greetings, grandfather.”

“Ah, Kail-Perwa. You have come at last to meet this old man,” the grandfather in blue greeted. “Please, have a seat so we may begin your trial.”

With only a moment’s hesitation, Kail-Perwa did as she was bid. She found no trickery in her steps this time, and easily found her way to the table where she took a seat.

“Now, as for your trial,” the grandfather continued, “It is very simple. We will play a single game of tihasae. Your only goal is to stop my victory. Do you understand?”

Kail-Perwa nodded, though her stomach clenched. She had played tihasae many times, this was true. It was a game which required great cunning to win, and Kail-Perwa won it often. But could she prevail against this elderly spirit, who had both wisdom and cunning on his side?

With a swipe of his hand, the grandfather in blue summoned a tihasae board. The game pieces were bone white, contrasting against the dark browns of the board. He gestured towards Kail-Perwa, inviting her to take the first move. And so the game began.

It was not an easy battle. Kail-Perwa’s hands shook as she moved her pieces across the board. Every time she went in for an attack, the grandpa in blue was there with a impassable defense. And when he struck her pieces, he struck mercilessly. Quickly, quicker than Kail-Perwa thought possible, she was on the verge of defeat.

At last, Kail-Perwa found herself one turn from losing. There was no way she could win, no way she could even escape defeat. This, she was clever enough to see.

But must she win? Suddenly, Kail-Perwa’s eyes opened wide. The grandfather in blue said to stop his victory. If this was truly a simple task, did she truly need to win against him?

Without another thought, Kail-Perwa swiped her hand across the board. The tihasae pieces scattered into the water with soft plops, sinking further and further than should have been possible. With that simple action, there was no way for the game to conclude. There was no way for either competitor to win.

The grandfather in blue chuckled and said, “Very good, Kail-Perwa. With one move, you have stopped my victory. Simple, was it not?”

Kail-Perwa panted, her breaths ragged and short. She had nearly failed the trial, and it was very possible that such a failure could have resulted in her death.

“And now a lesson for you,” the grandfather in blue continued, nodding his head. “Seek what is true, not what is obvious. Let this lesson be your guiding words, for there is still one trial ahead.”

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

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