This year the theme is all about Mystical Creatures! From transforming into a mighty dragon to facing a terrible Chimera! You got the entire 2016 to accomplish this. Good luck mortal!
You must complete each task in a separate lucid dream; you can't do more than one in the same dream.
And here are the tasks!
Dragon - Transform into a dragon and destroy an entire village, leaving nothing but flaming rubble.
Fairy - Find a fairy ring (circle of mushrooms) in a nature setting, step inside, conjure fairies and ask them to tell you their secrets. Report their response.
Unicorn - Find/conjure a unicorn and do one of two things: Ride it around the dream, skewering at least 2 DCs with its horn, OR, ride it through a portal into a whimsical new world (can't be a normal Earth-like scene)
Gnome - Dig at the base of a tree until you find a tunnel, then go down and explore until you find a gnome village. Interact with at least 2 gnomes.
Leprechaun - Find the leprechaun's gold at the end of the rainbow and steal it successfully. Leprechaun must be present and hostile once you touch his gold.
Phoenix - Burn an item of your choice and conjure a phoenix from the ashes.
Chimera - Find/conjure a goat, transform it into a full on chimera, and set it loose on some DCs! Have it kill in the following way:
Kill a DC with its power of lightning.
Kill a DC with fire breath.
Kill a DC with the venom of its snake-tail.
Freeze a DC with its icy breath and then, with its paw, smash it into smithereens.
Feel free to post any attempts and accomplishments in this thread. Good luck and have fun!
Spoiler for Members who have completed the task:
Last edited by PercyLucid; 12-28-2016 at 12:15 PM.
Failed attempt at the dragon task this morning. There were still buildings left standing...
Spoiler for Woman in Red:
People are gathered under a green tent in a field up on a hillside. While walking towards it I look down at my hands. They look perfectly normal, but everything has that vivid, brighter-than-life feeling. I feel a rush of euphoria and become lucid.
My first action is to fly over the small town for a while before recalling the dragon task of the year. Taking in a deep breath I transform with willpower, staring at my shadow down on the ground. It twists and stretches, growing bat-like wings and a tail. The body and head expand and the shadow has spikes and horns as well.
Celebrating the transformation with a roar I unleash fire breath on the closest building, melting it into the ground. I decide to try increasing my mass by drawing in deep breaths and with each one the feeling of size and power increases. Feeling a bit power crazed, I start smashing a building with my arm, which is now a clawed wing.
As my destructive path leads through the town I notice a grate down into the sewers and can see they are filled with red lava created from the burning buildings.
The townspeople are understandably terrified, running around and screaming although my attacks are limited to the buildings rather than them. In the shadow of a half destroyed wall though, stands the people's salvation; a woman in a red dress. Silver high heels. Long strawberry blonde hair. She looks up at me with a wry smile. A satisfied, knowing look... you know that one women have that says 'you're going to do exactly what I want'.
It stops my rampage instantly.
I make a tiny beckoning gesture with a claw... or finger, unsure if my dragon form has already faded. She walks out of the shadows towards me and takes my hand, yeah, she has reverted me back to human form. I run my finger along the inside of her wrist. The skin feel so smooth. I want her, and yet, want to take my time over it. This is my dream, there is no rush.
One of the few still-standing houses is an old English Farmhouse on the hill at the top of the town. We start to walk towards it, still holding hands. We spoke, but I can't remember the conversation.
Inside the farmhouse a man in a suit ducks into one of two doors. Ahead of us in a thin spiral staircase formed of metal strips. I hesitate. "You go first, so I can admire your arse." She takes the first two steps slowly, then runs. Damn! That girl can move in those heels... I dash after her, managing to keep red dress in view, but unable to catch up. I have to hunch my shoulders to fit in the spiral stair cage.
As I reach the upstairs landing the girl slips into the closest door and it clicks shut behind her. I lose sight of her and feel a wave of anxiety. Shit, why didn't I just bang her in the street, it's a dream after all... Right. My dream. So we're just playing hide and seek. It's a game.
The room contains many people having a small party. Ignoring them I start to search in any place where a woman could hide.
False awakening. The bed is in a large greenhouse. All around are plants in pots growing up thin canes. I get up and start wandering around. There are people from RL standing around chatting. I'm still lucid and mentally kicking myself for the woman in the red dress getting away.
Then she walks up and grins at me. Not taking any chances this time I hug her tight and kiss her. (And then get down to business, but I'll spare you the details )
I was at my grandparents house and babysitting a toddler. My mother and her friend told me that they wanted to go swimming somewhere, so I went along. We were going to meet up with Kestrel and Ginger at the pool.
As I we were riding in the car, two different dreams started happening at once. In the other dream, there was a woman working in a morgue with her partner. She found some shocking evidence about something.
Back in the original dream, we were about halfway to our destination when we stopped at a bus terminal and got on a flying bus thing. This caused me to become lucid. I continued flying, and imagined with intent that where ever I was flying, I wound find a fairy ring.
I landed in a suburban neighborhood. It was dark outside. I walked behind someone's house. They had a big backyard full of trees. Right on the edge of the forest line was a fairy ring.
I sat down inside the fairy ring and mentally called out for the fairies. Instead, toilet paper rose up from the earth. Ugh. That's not what I meant.
"Need some help?" A DC man walked over to me, "what are you trying to do?"
"Just summoning some fairies."
"Well you'll need two people for that," he announced. Whatever, if this helps my subconscious summon the fairies, then I'll do it. He walked inside the fairy ring and sat down across from me. We took hands and mentally called for the fairies.
The mushrooms around us began to glow and shimmer in the night time darkness. They were glowing all sorts of different colors, like Christmas tree lights. Eventually, the little colorful firefly-like fairies rose from the earth. I couldn't see their individual make up. They were like multicolored fireflies buzzing around us.
I thought about how to go about asking them what their secret was. I didn't want to sound like a creep and just flat out ask, what are your secrets?, but then I remembered that I'm a total creep anyways so this wasn't going to change anything.
"What are your secrets?" I whispered to them.
In one unified voice, they responded, "toilet paper."
I remembered the fairy task, but thought it was to become one in my dream. I found them flying outside my window, called one over, and then began to eat it. I thought it'd transform me into a fairy if consumed. So that was a big fail I guess. Stupid dream memory.
[Shrugs] Not the most challenging tasks--more month-worthy--in mine opinion, but I'll get them done, assuming I have less dry spells than last year. Now that I've graduated and am done with school (for the time being), I should have less distractions plaguing mine dreams.
I attempted the Dragon task and failed yet again. I'm curious though, does Godzilla count as a dragon?
After some weird tree hugging - quite literally, dream logic - I flew about until I found a skyscraper. Then I turned into a dragon/Godzilla hybrid. I looked mostly like Godzilla, but had these really long claws like a dragon. I tore down a couple floors of the building before the dream ended. It was kind of fun actually.
Hehe this night in a semilucid a DC talked about transformation with me... after i got into the void and was lucid with not that high awareness i remembered to turn into a dragon. i tried to morph myself and it might even started a little but suddenly a dragon appeared infront of me. i stopped moving so maybe he dont see me (like with t-rex xD) but he ate me...
I had a few attempts at the gnome task which didn't get that far.
Spoiler for Mmmmm doughnuts....:
On the road outside is a Harley motorcycle - an Iron 883 probably. I jump on and start riding down the hill, becoming lucid. There are people lying in the road as if it is a beach. Also large logs are lying around the place. I continue down the hill but the road gets even busier. Fine, I'll do a task.
I fly up into the air. The town seems larger than expected, the suburbs of a city. The next street over is actually a canal filled with brilliant blue water. I fly over and see the opposite bank is a wall with large windows and trees growing behind it. I phase through to the trees and kneel down next to the closest one, starting to dig down to find the gnome village for the TOTY.
My efforts aren't really working, the tiny hole is going nowhere, and this is going to take ages. I try to use magic to move the earth, and somehow create a thin path that snakes off into the distance. It's on the surface though. A nearby DC tries to give me advice, which isn't helping. I try to make it into a tunnel, but the entrance collapses.
Turning around I start to walk, finding myself on a beach. A familiar head is just visible above the sand: MG. He's buried up to his neck. There are small holes around and a convenient palm tree providing shade for MG's head.
I start trying to enlarge one of the ready made holes, and find there are doughnuts at the bottom. Hmmmmm... Doughnuts. I offer MG's head a piece of a doughnut, and more DCs start to arrive and want some too.
Spoiler for Gnome Tunnel:
We start walking down one of the superstore aisles. It turns into a country lane with hedgerows either side and tall trees. At one point I turn around and realise DB is gone, becoming lucid at the same time.
I fly up over the hedgerow into an orchard. The field is full of short apple trees covered in large fruits but no leaves. I try to do the gnome task again by getting down on the ground and starting to dig.
This time is more successful than the last. I break through into an existing tunnel and see the tiny gnomes running around in panic. They flee and the tunnel shrinks in size. I try to shrink down and enter the tunnel, to find their village, but wake up instead.
Finally got some fairies to show up in a fairy ring...
Spoiler for Fairy TOTY:
My Dad is talking about declaring expensive items on the home insurance. This is because he has some bicycles with rare or unusual frames that he has restored, so they are worth more and difficult to replace. We walk into a room and I sit down on the table before realising this is a dream.
I wait for a while to let things stabilise before heading out the door.
Outside is a tree lined path. I start searching for a fairy ring for another of the TOTY. I find one in a patch of dark earth under a conifer. After stepping inside I call out for the fairies, but see nothing. The ring vanishes.
I continue the search and see a larger ring of mushrooms in the shade of a large oak tree. A dog is lying down inside the ring. I step inside and this time tiny fairies appear. "What is your secret?" I ask them. The fairies start to cast magic, which upsets the dog. It gets up and leaves the ring as the ground starts to be covered in water which rises up from the earth. The fairies all start swimming and shouting in joy. They splash water at me.
Leaving the fairies to their swimming, I start to fly and see dark clouds with bright blue sky behind them. Perfect for a rainbow... and one dutifully appears. Then I remember there is a one TOTY per dream limit and just continue flying instead. The dreamscape contains many bridges with elaborate carvings on them. I start to fly fast through them and note that some of the carvings seem to be Harry Potter-inspired.
Other DCs are flying as well, making it a race. Leaning in to the corners like on the motorbike allows me to gain speed.
Anyways, a failure for the Chimera task to share - I summoned a Chimera, but on reading the task it requires you to find a goat and transform it, which was the bit missed out...
Spoiler for Chimera Attack!:
My sister is waiting because we are supposed to go out. She tells me to hurry up. It is apparently her birthday tomorrow (false) and it occurs to me it would be good to get a card. I am using a computer and start to try and search for pictures of Chimera, planning to incubate another of the DV Tasks of the year. The search engine bar just shows up random blobs instead of text. So this is a dream. Hurrah.
Hoping out the window takes me to the roof of the building, from there I jump to the roof across the way, and then fly down to the ground. My first thought is to summon my motorbike, so I whistle. She appears from the corner of the building, riderless, with her faring off. Heh. Showing off that sweet inline 4 eh baby? Nice. I climb on and start to ride.
The surroundings seem to be a busy city. There are crowds of DCs walking around, and it occurs to me to attempt another DV TOTY. I start calling out for a Chimera and see a weird beast flying through the air. As it gets closer it is clear this is some weird animal hybrid, part lion, part snake, with goat hooves, and also feathery wings... well, my Chimera has extras, I guess...
The beast lands and roars. People start running. I shout out for it to use lightning, and jagged blue bolts flare out from the beast and strike the nearby DCs. "And fire breath!" I shout. It unleashes a flamethrower style gout of flame which incinerates a couple of DCs. One gets turned into a penguin, and then an animation shows it being roasted alive. It's cute in a disturbing way. This sudden jump to animation destabilises the scene.
I wake up in bed and decide it must be a false awakening... gotta finish it off! I dive out the window into a street full of people. The chimera appears once more and starts attacking with lightning again. "Use your poison snake-tail!"
Obediently the beast lashes out with it's tail and catches a DC in the neck. He gurgles and staggers around choking for a while before collapsing on the floor.
Finally it's time for the ice breath. The Chimera breathes on a DC which causes thick blue ice to form over the unlucky guy. The effect reminds me of Shiva from the Final Fantasy series. The Chimera then smashes the ice man to pieces. A DC distracts me by saying we should leave notes for the others...
My dream entries tend to be really long and I went through a lot of steps in this task (despite its superficial simplicity!), so I'll break it down into more manageable pieces. First, I decided which task to attempt and what method to use:
Spoiler for Choosing a gem and setting it aflame:
I am at my mother's house, but it is unlike any WL house. I am in a long room with high ceilings, very spacious and sparsely furnished, with no modern accoutrements. Maybe it is the medieval look of the interior that reminds me of the TOTYs, and I become lucid. Which would be a good one to do? Fairy would be easier to do outdoors. I could turn into a dragon but then I'd have to destroy everything and I don't want to wreck my mother's house. Phoenix? That would be a good one. I try to remember the details. I can't just summon it directly, I have to burn something, right? I look around the room for something suitable.
On the far end of the room is a table under a shuttered window. The table is covered with a white cloth, and spread across it is an assortment of jewels and precious stones. These look ideal. I select a faceted gem and place it in my left palm. It is small, only about six millimeters across, transparent with cobalt blue striations, like a combination of diamond and sapphire. It is faceted into what I think of as a classic gem shape. [According to online sources, this is simply called a "round" cut.] I walk slowly across the room back toward the couch where my mom is sitting, concentrating on the stone and willing it to catch fire. The stone feels inert in my hand, and I feel that I have chosen the wrong one. From the coloring, this stone is clearly attuned with ice, not fire. I should go back and pick a different one.
I return to the table and find a small stone of matte earthy red color. This is more a mineral than a gem, and it is shaped like a narrow lozenge, almost a centimeter long, pointed at the ends, and only a few millimeters wide in the middle. I begin to will it into flame, but immediately have second thoughts. The stone is so skinny and small, it would probably make a scrawny phoenix. I go back to the table to look for a better one.
I decide to find a gem that could pass for a phoenix egg, examine the options more carefully, and finally come across a good-sized stone around three centimeters across. It is also matte and reddish, but a generous oval in shape, and the top is composed of randomly assorted rounded protrusions, like bubbles. The bottom has been leveled off and already set into a metal frame. I decide that this one is ideal, put it in my left palm, and begin to invoke fire in earnest. Around this time my mom tries to talk to me about doing some household chore but I hush her: "Not now, I'm busy."
The stone resists at first, but I do not let myself doubt my ability to do this. I've summoned fire in my palm before. This time I'm just transmuting it from a substrate. I will a flame to emerge from the stone and soon it does—but I notice that in the process, the stone has transformed into a candle. The candle is larger than the stone, filling my hand. It is a 6cm tall cylinder and is conveniently fitted in a round container. Between the candle and the sides of the container is what looks like a filling of crumpled dry grass.
The flame is burning on the wick in the ordinary way, and I will it to expand and consume the whole candle, turning it into the phoenix I am trying to create. For a moment it burns quietly, but then the whole object transforms again. Briefly I seem to be holding a bundle of smoldering dried grass, around a foot in diameter, until the whole thing explodes and violently flies apart, patches landing in various places around the room. Failure? I'd better check the remains.
Next, I discovered that I had succeeded! But my baby phoenix needed help:
Spoiler for Nurturing the baby phoenix by the fire:
I wander around to a couple of the smoking remnants, but see nothing notable. I remember that I need to keep my expectations high, so as I walk toward a third, larger patch, I anticipate finding a baby phoenix. Sure enough, when I prod at the charred dried grass, underneath I discover a tiny, long-necked, bird-like creature! The phoenix has hatched! But it is it skinny and completely limp. What can I do to help? As a creature of fire, I reason, it must need heat. It is probably freezing to death.
I gently pick up the baby bird, which drapes across my hands with no sign of life, and take it to the fireplace. Luckily there is already a good fire burning. There is a kind of metal chain screen separating the fire from a metal grate on the hearth. Sprawled on the grate, soaking up the heat, is a long iguana-like lizard that I had previously noticed on the table when I was selecting jewels. I figure it must be a salamander, with the same need for warmth as my new phoenix. Should I place the phoenix in the fire directly, or on the grate? Since my hypothesis about the wisdom of putting the phoenix in the fire is as yet untested, I decide to lay it on the grate in case I need to remove it quickly.
The experiment goes well. As soon as I lay the baby phoenix next to the fire, its body begins to perk up and fill out. It grows until it resembles a toucan in shape and size, though red in color and with a sleeker bill. Success!
Then I couldn't remember if I had completed all the parts of the the task—I was mixing it up with the chimera TOTY, which involves battling DCs—so to play it safe, I thought I'd better take my new phoenix outside and fight something:
Spoiler for Going outside to look for a fight:
But was there more to the task? I can't remember if we were also supposed to fight something, and figure I'd better do that as well as long as I can maintain dreamstate. "Let's go fight something!" I say to the newborn phoenix, and it hops up on my shoulder.
I head past the table with the jewels and open the window in the end wall. The window is a square aperture about three feet on a side, fastened with a single wooden shutter. The shutter is hinged on one side, flush with the wall when closed, and opens inward to the left. This truly resembles a medieval house in that there is no glass in the window, so it is easy to climb up and out. I pause on the sill and bid the phoenix to fly on ahead. Meanwhile, I hang up the long metal hook that I used to open the shutter so that I can grab it when I come in later, then use another device that resembles a hook attached to a wire loop to suspend myself from the sill and ease the drop to the ground, which is far enough below that it requires some precaution. I have the feeling that I have done this many times before.
Once on the ground, I look around for someone or something to fight. I am on a grassy lawn that extends between a number of different buildings. The buildings themselves don't leave a distinct architectural impression—I wish I had taken a closer look. Instead I was scanning the ground between them, but all I see are ordinary people walking about, none of whom seem like suitable opponents. I don't want to be an unprovoked aggressor.
The dream begins to fade. I worry that the abrupt transition to a different space might have unbalanced it, and I immediately take steps to stabilize, falling on my knees and examining the details of the grass while running my hands over it for texture. For a moment the grass turns grey and although I see all the usual plants among it, like clover, everything looks unusually small. But then a voice hails me from above and the dreamstate resumes its integrity: "Do you want to fight?" I promptly agree.
The fight proceeds and the poor phoenix is killed... but the handy thing about a phoenix is that they are never dead for long!
Spoiler for The death and rebirth of the phoenix:
I am facing a man who is accompanied by a creature resembling a muscular, short-haired white dog. The man has a sword, and immediately begins to strike at me. Although I am unarmed, I find that I am able to parry his blows with my hands without too much discomfort. I suspect that I could turn the fight to my advantage if I want, but the whole point of this exercise was to fight in tandem with the phoenix. Where is that bird? "Phoenix? Phoenix!" I call anxiously.
The blade keeps falling, and I keep catching it and pushing it aside, but luckily the dog is hanging back for now. Suddenly to my relief the phoenix swoops in, aiming a stream of fire at the dog. More gouts of flame follow, consuming the man and dog, but they do not do down easily. I watch the phoenix, who has now taken human form, take a blade right through his stomach, angling up toward his chest. It is an unmistakably lethal blow, and I run over to him as he falls. I feel guilty for having put him in this predicament—but recall that for a phoenix, there should be a way to fix this.
Looking around frantically, I am pleased to discover a fireplace in my immediate vicinity. Nevermind the unlikelihood of finding a fireplace outdoors; it is just what I need so I don't question it. I drag the phoenix, currently in the form of a slim Asian boy, over to the hearth and dump him directly onto the flames. I expect the fire to heal him; instead he begins screaming as his skin burns and chars. It is horrifying, but I hold him down as he struggles—he was dying already, this is the only thing that might help. Maybe this is how it is supposed to work. A phoenix has to die to be reborn, right? The human body blackens and burns away. Sure enough, in its place I find a little baby bird, looking much like it did initially but yellow instead of red this time. I wonder if its pale color means it needs to eat. The bird pecks at some morsel of food near the fire and I try to tempt it with something better. "Here, eat a hot one." I pluck an olive-sized piece from a row of snacks baking in the fireplace (I don't feel the heat, just as I didn't feel pain from the sword earlier) and offer it directly. The little bird compliantly swallows the morsel, growing in size and turning red again.
I feel that I have completed the task to satisfaction, so even before I wake up I begin reviewing the details, making sure I commit them to memory. There is a moment when I am back in the same house as the beginning of the dream and ask someone to remind me the name of the guy I fought. "Ziggy Starduster and the Hoarfrost," comes the reply. I note that they definitely said "Starduster," not "Stardust." Since I only hear rather than see the names, I briefly wonder if the dog's name is spelled "Whorefrost" or "Hoarfrost," but decide that the latter is more appropriate on a number of levels.
Whatever happens before this is lost...
The garden has wooden trellises overhead that are covered in green vines. In a moment of clarity I reach up to touch one of the vines and at the same time decide to become lucid. Through the gaps in the vines the sky is visible. It is a deep rich blue, cloudless.
Around the garden is a wooden panelled fence. I vault over it. Beyond is a vast field of long green grass with hills in the distance. In the ground before me is a half-dug tunnel leading down into the ground. Well that's a good start for the gnome task, but there's a problem: No tree.
I hold my hands out in front of me and make a big rising gesture, focusing my will on the ground next to the tunnel. The ground shakes and a fully formed tree covered in leaves rises out of the grass. It stops growing at around house height, but that's enough.
The existing tunnel is about a metre tall, so I have to crawl inside. It is barely a metre deep, so I start digging. Everything goes black, ready for a scene change. "I'm going to see the GNOMES!" I yell loudly, before falling through the darkness and landing on something...
It turns out to be a very short male gnome, who glares at me for having appeared out of nowhere and crushed him. The floor is made from a dark form of sandstone and has been carved into cobbles which form a street. We are in a small plaza with a large stone fountain behind me. Leading off in all directions are small houses which are all carved from the same stone. They look too small for me to enter, like children's play houses.
The roof of the cave is covered in little tree roots which look like icicles. My enthusiasm and wonder at the gnomes' city quickly pacifies the gnome and he starts chatting with me. There are other gnomes wandering around, none of them more than the height of a child. Hobbit sized.
The gnome runs over to a horse and cart. He promptly introduces me to his wife, who is driving the cart, and their kids who are riding in the back. There are about seven of them peering over the edge of the cart. The horse is small, only a pony, but magnificent and chestnut coloured. It is perfectly calm. I pat the horse's neck and wonder out loud how they keep horses underground.
The gnome woman is impatient to leave and starts talking about magic and says they can teleport the entire horse and cart to the surface. It is not clear if all gnomes have this power or just the females. Anyway, I climb into the back of the cart whilst the male gnome hops up next to his wife. They prepare to teleport, and I wonder where we will end up next, but sadly wake up before finding out.
I was initially looking for the fairy mushrooms, but the dream environment appeared better suited for the gnome task so I changed my mind and started digging:
Spoiler for Digging a tunnel:
My initial thought is to look for a circle of fairy mushrooms. My cement back patio is unusually life-like this time, so I cross it until I reach the fence that borders the property. In WL this is a low wall of beige-painted cinderblocks; in the dream it is a chain-link fence several feet taller than I am. With the lightness and agility of my dream body, I easily climb over it and drop down. In WL the ground slopes steeply downward here; for some reason in dreams, it is typically a steep hill going up.
I start looking for fairy mushrooms among the trees, but notice a large area where the soil looks loose and disturbed, as if recently planted with the flowers that cover the expanse at regular intervals. The blossoms are very simple in structure, a small disk encircled by six delicate purple petals. I realize that I am unlikely to find a fairy circle in ground so recently landscaped, so I decide to pursue the gnome task instead. There are trees all around, but most look young, their trunks only a few inches in diameter. I look around for the biggest tree I can find, and approach one that is over two feet in diameter, conjoined with two similarly-sized trunks to make a row of three. I can't tell if they are three trunks from the same tree, or multiple trees that grew up in close proximity.
The earth is still bare and loose here, recently tilled, so it is easy to dig my arms in and start casting it aside. I alternately cast the soil I'm displacing to the left and right and back between my legs. It is much easier to dig than it would be in WL, but it is still too slow and tedious to form a hole of the depth and dimensions I need, so I decide that I need a new strategy. If there are tunnels down there, there shouldn't be any need to displace the soil outside the hole—I should be able to drill straight through. I leave my hands in the earth and focus on pushing the soil inward. As a hole begins to form, I step in and will it to widen, so that I won't feel claustrophobic. When it is a few inches wider than my shoulders on either side, I take the plunge, willing the earth beneath my feet to drop into the tunnels and carry me along with it.
I wandered through some corridors and read gnome graffiti before finding the gnomes themselves:
Spoiler for Interesting graffiti:
I find myself in a network of spacious square hallways, about seven feet tall and wide. They are dimly lit by what seems to be electric light, though I don't investigate the source. There is nothing natural or even rustic about these tunnels—they might easily be the basement corridors of some ordinary building. I look around for evidence that they are the gnome tunnels that I am seeking, and find that the most distinctive thing about the space is the graffiti scrawled here and there on the walls. It is not high-end arty spray-painted graffiti, just ordinary lettering written in what looks like thick black marker. I step closer to one example and find it at once legible and unexpectedly funny: "Hobbits are HUGE!" It does sound like the sort of thing a gnome might write, so it gives me confidence that I've landed in the right place after all.
I continue down the corridor, looking for more memorable examples of graffiti. The next piece that catches my attention says "SpiritLA." Something about the way it is written makes me think that this is a Los Angeles-based sports team that the gnomes apparently favor. A few steps further on, and I finally encounter the gnomes themselves, about six of them congregating in a junction where several corridors meet. There is also a sort of wire gate that appears to lead into a larger open space, though it is too dark to discern any details. Despite what the graffiti said about hobbits, these figures are pretty huge themselves, coming up almost to my shoulder, so I peer closely at their faces for evidence that they are in fact the gnomes that I seek. I am reassured by their features, which have distinctively rounded, gnomish features.
Being overly pedantic, I spent my entire encounter with the gnomes taking verbal notes on the details of their dress and appearance:
Spoiler for Notes for a gnome ethnography:
"Hello," I say, curious how they will respond to my intrusion. "Hello!" they reply cheerfully, completely at ease. I have been voicing my observations (like the examples of graffiti) aloud in order to assist my recall later, so as I take note of the appearance of the gnomes nearest me, I make a vocal shorthand description of their characteristics.
"Blonde, bangs, white dojo," I comment about the first gnome to approach me. She is a female wearing a gi (the garment used in karate practice), and though I know perfectly well what a gi is called in waking life, dream logic substitutes "dojo" instead. Her hair is long and straight, of a golden blonde color. Her gi is bound with a plain white belt. She smiles amiably.
Another female gnome is standing to my right, so I note her appearance in turn, remembering that the task specifies interacting with two of them. "Pink padded blouse and white skirt, knee-length" I say, but even at the time I realize "padded" might not be the right word. "Quilted" would probably be more accurate, since it looks like there is only a very thin layer of batting under the decorative overstitching, done with curving and intersecting lines spaced about half an inch apart. I note that the skirt has the same kind of decorative stitching over thicker cloth, with no apparent batting inside, as the stitches lay flat. "Light hair, long—no, shoulder-length," I continue, noting that her hair is exceptionally pale, almost white, and delicately textured. The way it falls reminds me of how hair was "feathered" in late '70s/early '80s hairstyles. The faces of both females look ageless, neither young nor old. Neither seems disconcerted by my weird mutterings, they both just look at me with calm curiosity.
On a roll this month! I'm recovering from an exceptionally long dry spell—pretty much the whole second half of last year—but now that my dream abilities are returning, somehow I'm finding it easier than before to accomplish complex tasks.
I anticipated that I might hesitate to perform the more violent actions specified in some of the TOTYs (it's odd that I have no problem enjoying video game violence, but dreaming feels different), and sure enough, once I was in dragon form I couldn't quite bring myself to destroy a residential village, so I substituted a factory instead. It was village-like in that it was a cluster of buildings, but with fewer potential victims. I'll leave it up to you guys to decide if this qualifies!
I lead the way to a window and lift it open. We're about four storeys up, but I jump out without hesitation and spread my arms, letting the air catch me. As I fly off to the left, I focus on trying to develop the "feel" of a dragon body: four legs, wings, tail, scaly skin. I haven't tried this before and the results are so-so, a fluctuating hybrid between the new bodymap and my usual one. I am flying over what strikes me as a mid-twentieth-century city. There are no skyscrapers, just a mixture of low commercial and residential buildings that cover a wide expanse. I recall that the task requires me to destroy a village, but the city below seems too urban to qualify. Would a neighborhood count as a "village"? But my moral qualms kick in, and I hesitate to bring wrath upon an innocent residential neighborhood.
I fly further on, toward the edge of the city, looking for a more remote target, preferably one with few occupants. After exploring the land for a while, I find a spot that, while a stretch to call it a "village," at least satisfies my ethical preoccupations: it is a cluster of buildings around a large industrial apparatus, evidently a manufacturing concern of some kind. I don't notice any people wandering around, so hopefully there are not many on site to be harmed. I can't imagine I'll find a better target (at least in relation to my own concerns, rather than the specifications of the task), so I begin circling over the site, breaking the buildings and bashing them down. Meanwhile I focus on maintaining my dragon form; this takes constant vigilence because it is so unfamiliar, and too easily slips into sensations more congruent with human limbs.
What color dragon am I? I recall that D&D dragons can take many different colors, with corresponding breath weapons. On the ruins of the factory, I test acid and frost breath in turn, trying to decide which feels more natural. I like the effects of frost—after freezing metal walls solid they shatter in a satisfying way—but then I remember that the task specifies leaving flaming ruins in my wake, so I switch to fire. There isn't much in the way of visuals; rather than great gouts of flame, my fire breath is more of an intense heat that makes metal glow red. But I dutifully knock down and burn the factory into rubble.
Afterwards, I hover anxiously over the destroyed site to see if anyone was harmed by my stunt. (I know, I know, I make a terrible dragon.) I do spot someone—something?—running around frantically, but as I peer closer, it does not look human at all. Curiously, it appears to be a small white gem that I take to be a cubic zirconia, attached to a tiny wire loop that looks like it must have once been the pendant of an earring. The sense of scale has been skewing dramatically as I have been peering closer, and now I feel back to my normal human size and form, kneeling over ruined buildings the size of an architectural model. I look carefully and spot two more little gems running around. Unless there are more I don't see, three victims isn't too bad, and at least they're still alive, even if they're looking understandably anxious. (How do gems even look anxious? It was something in the way they moved.)