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【书籍搬运】The Ransom of Zarek 扎雷克的归赎

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原文地址:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Ransom_of_Zarek
作者:马罗巴·苏尔
翻译:花溪流萤
Jalemmil伫立于花园中,读着仆人交给他的一封信函。下一瞬间,玫瑰的芬芳从手中滑落,鸟儿停止了歌唱,乌云遮蔽了天空。她精心培育的花园宛若淹没于黑暗的洪流里。

“你的儿子在我们手上”信上写着“赎金要求稍后通知与你。”

Zarek 一定没有平安抵达Akgun 。路上的某个强盗,可能是兽人,也可能是可恶的黑暗精灵,被华美的马车所吸引,所以采取了绑架行动。Jalemmil倚着栅栏支撑着身体,想象着他是否已受到伤害。毕竟他只是一介书生,手无缚鸡之力,远不是全副武装的强盗的对手,他们会打他么?只是想象那幅画面,就令一个母亲难以忍受。

“不要说你这么快已经把赎金送出去了”一个熟悉的声音叫道,然后一张熟悉的脸庞浮现在篱笆墙外。那是Zarek,Jalemmil连忙扑过去抱住她的孩子,泪流满面。

“发生什么事情了?”她哭喊道:“我还以为你被绑架了。”

“是的”Zarek说道。“三个高大威猛的诺德人在我途径Frimvorn时,袭击了马车。据我所知他们是三兄弟,名字分别是Mathais,Ulin,和Koorg。你一定没见过那么强壮的人,妈妈。我跟你讲,他们太粗壮了,以至于通过我们的前门都有问题(太壮被卡住 ORZ)。”

“发生什么事情了”Jalemmil回应道:“有人救了你么?”

“我曾经也想等待救援,但是我知道他们寄出了勒索信,这将多么令您担心。所以我想起了Akgun的老师经常说到的话,保持克制,眼观六路,寻找对手的缺陷,”Zarek笑道:“这费了我不少时间,因为这三个人都是怪兽级别的(强壮)。然后,当我探听到他们的谈话中充满了互相吹嘘时,我意识到虚荣正是他们的弱点。”

“然后你怎么做的?”

“他们把我拴在距Cael不远的一处小山营地的木头上,一条大河在山脚下流淌。我听到他们之中叫Koorg的人对他的同伙说道,他大半个小时就可以横穿大河,游个来回。同伙纷纷附和,然后我说话了。”

“我半个小时就能游个来回了”我说道

“不可能”Koorg说:“我不可能比你这个小崽子慢。”

所以我们决定进行一场比赛,从崖上纵下,游到河心小岛,然后返回。在我们前往各自出发点的路上,Koorg自顾自的向我吹嘘自己的游泳诀窍。手脚协同的时机对于游泳速度的重要性啦,拍水3到4次再进行换气,频率不能妨碍自己的速度,也不要使自己缺氧。我点了点头,对其技巧深表赞同。然后我们相继由崖上纵入水中。我花了一个多小时才完成往返,但是Koorg永远不会回来了。他跳下崖石的时候,头撞到了悬崖地步的礁石。我已经留意到了水下起伏不定礁石的迹象,所以我选择了右边的崖石纵下。

“为什么要返回?”Jalemmil愕然问道:“你不是那时逃回来的么?”

“逃跑风险太大了”Zarek说道:他们很容易就能把我抓回来,而且会把Koorg的失踪归咎于我。(回来后)我只是说我不知道他怎么样了,一阵搜寻过后,他们认为他忘记了这是比赛,游去岸边食物去了。在全程监视我游泳的过程之后,他们不会怀疑我和Koorg的失踪有任何联系。随后这对兄弟在一个防止我逃逸的理想地点,一片礁石密布的河岸扎下寨来。

“兄弟之中的其中一人,Mathai,开始对环抱河滩的泥土质量和渐次上升的岩石发表意见,他认为这是竞走比赛的理想地点,我适度的表现出了对此项运动的无知,然后他热心的向我介绍了很多竞走比赛的技术细节。他用一张滑稽的脸孔向我演示如何用鼻子吸气,然后用嘴呼出;攀登过程中,膝盖弯曲角度;双腿交替频率的重要性。最重要的是,他解释道,如果想赢,步调必须要快,但起步时不全力冲刺。他指出,跟随者是个不错的位置,可以保留更多的体力以备终点冲刺。”

“我是一个乐于尝试的学生,所以Mathais决定我们在夜幕降临前应该在河滩周围来一场竞走比赛。Ulin还告诉我们,路上顺便捎些柴火回来。我们马上沿着崖石的边缘的小路出发了。我遵从他关于呼吸,步法,以及步调的建议,但是从开始起,我就拼尽全力。尽管他有一双远胜于我大长腿,但是我仍然在第一个转角处保持领先。”

“由于全身心的紧盯我的后背,Mathais并没有注意到我跳过去的某处石缝。他甚至还没有叫出声,就跌了下去。我花了一些时间,到处找了一些柴禾,然后返回了 Ulin所处的营地。”

“现在你只是在炫耀”Jalemmil皱眉道。“现在不正是逃跑的好时机么”

“你想的没错”Zarek同意道:“但是你要知道那里的地形—参天大树很少,甚至灌木丛也不多。Ulin马上就会注意到我在逃跑,并把我抓回来,而且我很难解释Mathais的失踪。然而,简单对四周进行探寻之后,我发现附近有不少树木,于是我想出了最后一个计划。”

“当我带着一些柴禾回来时,我对Ulin说,Mathais稍后会回来,因为他身后拖着一颗参天大树(回来当柴禾)。Ulin开始嘲笑其兄弟的力量,说等他拔起一颗大树并拖回来当柴火黄花菜都凉了。我也适当表达了担心。”

“看我的”他说完,轻易拔出了一株足有10尺高的树演示自己的力量。

“但是这只能算是树苗”我反对道:“我认为你可以试着拔出真正的大树。我将他带到空地尽头一株雄伟厚重的树下,Ulin抱紧树干极力摇晃试图将根部从土壤中拔出。接着,枝头高处的蜂房被摇了下来,并砸到了他的头上。”

“这就是我逃离的经过,妈妈”Zarek以一种小学生的骄傲口吻总结道:“Mathais和Koorg 长眠于崖底,而Ulin正被蜂群淹没,滚作一团。”

Jalemmil再次紧紧抱住了他的儿子。

出版者按

对于出版马罗巴·苏尔的作品,我并不是十分情愿,但是当桂利姆 联合出版社邀我编辑这部作品时,我决定藉此机会对现存资料条分缕析,以做盖棺定论。

有关马罗巴·苏尔作品的成书时期,学术界尚存争论,不容置喙的是,这些作品是由一位人称“戈尔·菲林”的剧作家所著,此人以其广受欢迎的喜剧和浪漫剧目于第一赛瑞迪尔帝国末至泰伯赛普仃崛起期间蜚声内外。现有理论指出,Felim 从其听闻的真实矮人故事中发掘灵感,并将其搬上舞台牟取利润,并衍生出多个版本。

戈尔·菲林虚构出“马罗巴·苏尔"这位可以翻译矮人语言的笔名,以使其写作更具真实性与欺骗性。记载显示,在“马罗巴·苏尔"其人其作激起广泛争议之后,并没有证据显示有人曾见过"马罗巴·苏尔”,与此同时,这个名字并不见于魔法协会,尤里安诺思学院以及其余研究机构名册之中。

尽管如此,大部分"马罗巴·苏尔"笔下的矮人与描述中令黑暗精灵,木精灵,Redguards闻风丧胆,至今仍有遗迹不为人知的深埋于地底的神秘可怕种族大相径庭。

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Jalemmil stood in her garden and read the letter her servant had brought to her. The bouquet of joss roses in her hand fell to the ground. For a moment it was as if all birds had ceased to sing and a cloud had passed over the sky. Her carefully cultivated and structured haven seemed to flood over with darkness.
"We have thy son," it read. "We will be in touch with thee shortly with our ransom demands."
Zarek had never made it as far as Akgun after all. One of the brigands on the road, Orcs probably, or accursed Dunmer, must have seen his well-appointed carriage, and taken him hostage. Jalemmil clutched at a post for support, wondering if her boy had been hurt. He was but a student, not the sort to fight against well-armed men, but had they beaten him? It was more than a mother's heart could bear to imagine.
"Don't tell me they sent the ransom note so quickly," called a family voice, and a familiar face appeared through the hedge. It was Zarek. Jalemmil hurried to embrace her boy, tears running down her face.
"What happened?" she cried. "I thought thou had been kidnapped."
"I was," said Zarek. "Three huge soaring Nords attacked by carriage on the Frimvorn Pass. Brothers, as I learned, named Mathais, Ulin, and Koorg. Thou should have seen these men, mother. Each one of them would have had trouble fitting through the front door, I can tell thee."
"What happened?" Jalemmil repeated. "Were thou rescued?"
"I thought about waiting for that, but I knew they'd send off a ransom note and I know how thou does worry. So I remembered what my mentor at Akgun always said about remaining calm, observing thy surroundings, and looking for thy opponent's weakness," Zarek grinned. "It took a while, though, because these fellows were truly monsters. And then, when I listened to them, bragging to one another, I realized that vanity was their weakness."
"What did thou do?"
"They had me chained at their camp in the woods not far from Cael, on a high knoll overlooking a wide river. I heard one of them, Koorg, telling the others that it would take the better part of an hour to swim across the river and back. They were nodding in agreement, when I spoke up.
"'I could swim that river and back in thirty minutes,' I said.
"'Impossible,' said Koorg. 'I can swim faster than a little whelp like thee.'
"So it was agreed that we would dive off the cliff, swim to the center island, and return. As we went to our respective rocks, Koorg took it upon himself to lecture me about all the fine points of swimming. The importance of synchronized movements of the arms and legs for maximum speed. How essential it was to breathe after only third or fourth stroke, not too often to slow thyself down, but not too often to lose one's air. I nodded and agreed to all his fine points. Then we dove off the cliffs. I made it to the island and back in a little over an hour, but Koorg never returned. He had dashed his brains at the rocks at the base of the cliff. I had noticed the telltale undulations of underwater rocks, and had taken the diving rock on the right."
"But thou returned?" asked Jalemmil, astounded. "Was that not then when thou escaped?"
"It was too risky to escape then," said Zarek. "They could have easily caught me again, and I wasn't keen to be blamed for Koorg's disappearance. I said I did not know what happened to him, and after some searching, they decided he had forgotten about the race and had swum ashore to hunt for food. They could not see how I could have had anything to do with his disappearance, as fully visible as I was throughout my swim. The two brothers began making camp along the rocky cliff-edge, picking an ideal location so that I would not be able to escape.
"One of the brothers, Mathais, began commenting on the quality of the soil and the gradual incline of the rock that circled around the bay below. Ideal, he said, for a foot race. I expressed my ignorance of the sport, and he was keen to give me details of the proper technique for running a race. He made absurd faces, showing how one must breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth; how to bend one's knees to the proper angle on the rise; the importance of sure foot placement. Most important, he explained, was that the runner keep an aggressive but not too strenuous pace if one intends to win. It is fine to run in second place through the race, he said, provided one has the willpower and strength to pull out in the end.
"I was an enthusiastic student, and Mathais decided that we ought to run a quick race around the edge of the bay before night fell. Ulin told us to bring back some firewood when we came back. We began at once down the path, skirting the cliff below. I followed his advice about breath, gait, and foot placement, but I ran with all my power right from the start. Despite his much longer legs, I was a few paces ahead as we wround the first corner.
"With his eyes on my back, Mathais did not see the gape in the rock that I jumped over. He plummeted over the cliff before he had a chance to cry out. I spent a few minutes gathering some twigs before I returned to Ulin at camp."
"Now thou were just showing off," frowned Jalemmil. "Surely that would have been a good time to escape."
"Thou might think so," agreed Zarek. "But thou had to see the topography -- a few large trees, and then nothing but shrubs. Ulin would have noticed my absence and caught up with me in no time, and I would have had a hard time explaining Mathais's absence. However, the brief forage around the area allowed me to observe some of the trees close up, and I could formulate my final plan.
"When I got back to camp with a few twigs, I told Ulin that Mathais was slow coming along, dragging a large dead tree behind him. Ulin scoffed at his brother's strength, saying it would take him time to pull up a live tree by the roots and drop it on the bonfire. I expressed reasonable doubt.
"'I'll show thee,' he said, ripping up a ten foot tall specimen effortlessly.
"'But that's scarcely a sapling,' I objected. 'I thought thou could rip up a tree.' His eyes followed mine to a magnificent, heavy-looking one at the edge of the clearing. Ulin grabbed it and began to shake it with a tremendous force to loosen its roots from the dirt. With that, he loosened the hive from the uppermost branches, dropping it down onto his head.
"That was when I made my escape, mother," said Zarek, in conclusion, showing a little schoolboy pride. "While Mathais and Koorg were at the base of the cliff, and Ulin was flailing about, engulfed by a swarm."
Jalemmil embraced her son once again.
Publisher's Note
I was reluctant to publish the works of Marobar Sul, but when the University of Gwylim Press asked me to edit this edition, I decided to use this as an opportunity to set the record straight once and for all.
Scholars do not agree on the exact date of Marobar Sul's work, but it is generally agreed that they were written by the playwright "Gor Felim," famous for popular comedies and romances during the Interregnum between the fall of the First Cyrodilic Empire and the rise of Tiber Septim. The current theory holds that Felim heard a few genuine Dwemer tales and adapted them to the stage in order to make money, along with rewritten versions of many of his own plays.
Gor Felim created the persona of "Marobar Sul" who could translate the Dwemer language in order to add some sort of validity to the work and make it even more valuable to the gullible. Note that while "Marobar Sul" and his works became the subject of heated controversy, there are no reliable records of anyone actually meeting "Marobar Sul," nor was there anyone of that name employed by the Mages Guild, the School of Julianos, or any other intellectual institution.
In any case, the Dwemer in most of the tales of "Marobar Sul" bear little resemblance to the fearsome, unfathomable race that frightened even the Dunmer, Nords, and Redguards into submission and built ruins that even now have yet to be understood.

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