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    Dream Battle / Rainbow Tasting / What's Up My Sleeve? (DILD)

    by , 06-14-2015 at 08:18 PM (595 Views)
    A woman and I are running from a pursuer, another woman. "Faster, faster!" the first woman urges me. "Don't look back, it will slow you down." I don't see why I have to run away, but fine, I'll play along... I do look back, however, and I'm surprised how close the pursuer is. This motivates me to try to put some distance between me and her, so I run harder... and yet I can't seem to make much gain on her. I'm perplexed: I know I should be able to do this, I'm dreaming, it's not like I have to rely on my physical stamina. I wonder if the answer is in running with more short strides rather than trying to cover more distance with each step, much as one is advised to run in WL, so I try out variations. I'm making progress, but concentrating so hard on my running form is becoming tedious. "Imagining running is almost as hard as the real thing!" I comment to the woman fleeing with me. Getting bored with this situation I decide to put an end to it, and succeed in sprinting ahead to the point where I can turn a corner and leave the pursuer's field of vision, at which point I figure I've made a fair escape.

    However, it turns out that my pursuer had an accomplice: I now find myself in a struggle with a huge brawny man with a shaggy brown beard. I perceive him as a Viking, and I'm aware that his name is Torvald. He is connected somehow with the woman who was chasing me earlier, and is likewise an antagonist. Our struggle manifests partially as a kind of combat, but it feels as much like a battle of dream control as a physical battle.

    I easily resist Torvald's initial attempts to subdue me, but his immense confidence makes me wonder if I should doubt my own. I go on the offensive and try to put him out of action more permanently, trying various tactics to destroy his body. For instance, at one point I imagine his body being crushed by a great weight from above, and although this has him stretched out supine on the ground for as long as I'm actively thinking it, he is soon back on his feet. I try crushing his heart and throat from inside his body, but he is only briefly inconvenienced.

    I wonder if fire would do the trick, and visualize Torvald's body burning to ash. Though I've said nothing aloud, he appears to understand my intentions, and rather than actively resisting like he did with my other attacks, he simply denies the efficacy of this approach. "Fire won't work," he tells me flatly. I refuse to acknowledge this and continue contentrating on the image of fire consuming him. "Fire won't work," Torvald tells me again. I'm thinking: how could this be? It's my dream, isn't it? Fire should work if I say it should work. So I redouble my focus on the fire. With patient indifference, Torvald insists: "Fire won't work." I find this disconcerting, because apparently my confidence is unable to overcome his. Aren't I the dreamer? But there is no time for philosophical questions; we are still in combat. I switch tactics: if he is resistant to fire, how about ice? I start to try to freeze him—even if it doesn't destroy him it might at least slow him down temporarily—but Torvald has found the opening he needed and pins me to the ground.

    Torvald's inexplicable ability to ignore my attempts to burn him makes me wonder if I should worry that he could actually harm me. But I have a superpower too: as the dreamer, I am invulnerable... aren't I? I decide to play it safe, and secretly project my "real" identity to the roof of a nearby building. It is a large square brick structure about 8–10 stories high, and I crouch behind the low brick railing that surrounds the flat roof, tempted to peek out at the combat occurring down below but not wanting to let Torvald see me and discover the trick. So I transfer my perceptions back to my body on the ground, which I now regard as a mere DC, and thus disposable. If my attacker succeeds in destroying this body, it won't matter: I've secured my identity elsewhere. Torvald actually glances up toward the roof when I think this, and I quickly realize that I need to guard my thoughts as well.

    "Do you have someone watching me?" Torvald asks. I am relieved, because although he suspects that there is an observer on the roof, he hasn't seen through my whole trick—he doesn't seem to recognize that the person up there is actually me. I project a new thought toward him, gleefully: I recall how undercover police have been tracking him, and that I've been using our encounter to distract and delay him until they were in position. Maybe none of this was true earlier, but it doesn't matter: this is a dream battle, so it is true now! When Torvald looks back down at me, I grin mockingly and deliberately call him by the wrong name, "Harald," just to annoy him further. The game is up, and my undercover officers move in and force Torvald to release me. I'm not sure what happens to him after that... pleased with having solved the dilemma, I simply walk away.

    What's next? The last incident was not one that I had intended, but now I'm free to work on tasks. I enter a wide clearing and wonder if I should try the Dragon Age task again. I've always liked the idea of aligning dream space with fictional environments from books, films, or games, but I'm still trying to figure out how to do it. I suppose the first step would be to remember a concrete environment from the game and try to insert aspects of it here. I played DA:I just last night, so I should be able to access those memories... but as I seek them out I feel a tremor of dream instability, and decide not to push it. If there's a risk of waking, I should put that task off until later. For now, there are still a few TOTMs I haven't tried this month, and I decide to work on those.

    "Taste a rainbow." That one is easy to remember. I imagine a rainbow in the sky, and produce something very faint and not at all rainbow-colored. The colors are largely ochres and earthtones, and not even in proper lines but arranged in a more tesselated pattern over the arch. I'm not being a perfectionist at this point, so I accept this as a "rainbow" and shrink it into a stick of candy in my hand. The colors have changed in the process, and for some reason the candy stick is white with swirls of red and blue. Still not rainbow-colored! But I take a bite. The texture is interesting, lots of little pieces that crunch between my teeth, but the flavor is a real disappointment: vague, muted, and blandly sweet. Apart from "sweet," no other descriptors really present themselves. This won't do. A rainbow should taste more unusual than this! I decide to start over.

    This time I put more work into the rainbow itself. I first visualize it, then focus on the faint transparent arch until it becomes more clearly visible, but this also has the consequence of making it more material. Now it appears like a physical object, a two-dimensional vertical banner in an arch about ten feet high and twenty feet long, right in front of me. I work on correcting the pattern so that it has rainbow colors in properly aligned stripes... I see some improvement, although it is a C+ effort at best. It looks better than my last attempt, anyway, so I approach the "rainbow" and try to take a bite directly out of it. The experience is like... chewing on a shower curtain. It really feels like I've put a sheet of plastic in my mouth, although the material is soft enough to crush between my teeth. Again the texture is more prominent than the taste. I put all my attention on the flavor, trying to detect anything describable, and think maybe I get some underlying fruity notes, but again it remains vague and uninteresting. Taste and smell are the least developed of my dream senses... I wonder if I could improve them if I worked at it?

    I feel like I have adequately completed the task, anyway, and wonder what to try next. In all my efforts with the rainbows I had hardly paused to note all the people sitting at various tables around this clearing, like picnickers, but observing them now, I figure it might be fun to try the magic show. What would a stage magician do? I guess the most basic tricks involve having something up one's hat or one's sleeve? I notice that I am completely naked, which has long since ceased to embarrass me in dreams, but gives me a mischievous idea.

    "What's up my sleeve?" I start circling among the various tables, challenging the audience members to come up with a response. One of the first responses is: "Following a guy from Eton to [...]?" (I forgot the second place name.) This answer reminds me of the earlier scene, and how I resolved the conflict with Torvald. This DC must have been one of my officers! "Are you an undercover cop?" I ask him in reply. He grudgingly nods. "Not anymore!" I'm joking about how he has just blown his cover, but it also feels like an appropriate analogy to my own lack of sleeves... I'm not "undercover" either.

    I continue asking, "What's up my sleeve?" and collect various other responses from the audience, all of which were non-sequiturs... but I reasoned that the illogic of the question itself (since there was no sleeve) invited such creative responses. After hearing from seven different people, I realized that I might have trouble remembering all this when I woke up, so I stopped and went over their answers again, one by one, to help fix them in memory. Already I had trouble recalling two of the answers, but one of the DCs helpfully reminded me, additionally pointing out that the answers varied between the metaphorical (things that never could go up a sleeve) and the literal ("Three shekels" was one of these answers, I think). Meanwhile I was getting ready for the grand finale to my show, when I would reveal my own answer to the question. I had been planning on the groaningly obvious "Nothing!" and was ready for the big reveal when I noticed that something had changed... now I was wearing clothes, including a short-sleeved shirt. I realized that if I was going to go for the groaningly obvious at this point, I would have to answer "My arm!"

    I felt myself start waking up, and I already had a lot to remember and report so I didn't resist the process. I woke up slowly enough that I was able to concentrate on those seven answers from the DCs and hold them in mind, with what felt like excellent clarity and accuracy. And then something happened... as I crossed the threshold, despite all my care and preparation, the memories abruptly tattered, the details dissolving. The only one of the seven answers I could still remember, and that incompletely, was the first—and that I suspect only because it was anchored by its reference to the earlier scene.

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    Updated 06-14-2015 at 10:11 PM by 34973

    lucid , memorable , task of the month