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【书籍搬运】2920, Morning Star (v1) 2920,晨星月(卷一)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_Morning_Star_(v1)
翻译:sevil
校对&修正:nihilee

第一部:晨星

晨星月,1日,2920年
哀伤要塞,晨风

阿玛莱西亚躺在她毛皮铺就的床上,漂游在梦境中。直到阳光从她的窗间直射而入,将房间浅淡的颜色笼罩在一片乳白色的光芒之中,她方才睁开双眼。一切都那么寂静安详,与她满溢鲜血与庆典的梦境形成极鲜明的对比。有一段时间,她只是凝视着天花板,尝试理清她梦中的预示。

她宫殿的庭院里有一座沸腾的水池,在冬日早晨的寒冷中冒着蒸汽。她挥一挥手,蒸汽消失,水中现出她在北方的爱人维威克的脸孔和身形。她不想立刻就开始说话:他身穿暗红色的长袍,像每天早晨一样写着他的诗篇,看起来是那样的迷人。

“维威克,”她说,他抬头微笑,在千里之外凝视着她的脸。“我看到了战争结束的景象。”

“已经八十年了,我不觉得谁还能想象出一个结果来。”维威克微笑着说。但他相信阿玛莱西亚的预言,很快变得严肃起来。“谁会获胜?晨风还是赛瑞迪尔帝国?”

“如果索塔·希尔不在晨风,我们就会输。”她回答。

“我的情报告诉我,帝国会在早春攻打我们的北部,最迟在初种月。你能去亚蒂姆,说服他回来吗?”

“我今天就出发。”她简短地回答。

晨星月,4日,2920年
吉迪安,黑沼泽

皇后在她的房间中踱步。冬季给了她多余的能量,而在夏日她只能坐在窗边,感激每一丝为她带来凉爽的腐朽沼泽风。房间的另一端,她那没织完的描述皇家庭院舞蹈的挂毯似乎在嘲弄她。她把它扯下来撕成碎片,碎片散落在地板上。

然后,她为自己无意义的反抗行为而哈哈大笑起来。她有足够的时间把它修补好,甚至再织一百张。皇帝将她锁在乔维塞城堡中已有七年,很有可能就把她关在这儿直到他们两个中有人死去为止。

她叹了口气,拉拉绳索召唤她的骑士祖克。几分钟后他出现在门口,身着符合帝国守卫身份的全套制服。大多数黑沼泽土生土长的寇思林奇部落民都喜欢赤身而行,但祖克对衣着风格有一种积极的兴趣。他银色、镜面一般的皮肤只显露出脸、脖子和手的部分。

“殿下,”他深鞠一躬。

“祖克,”塔维亚皇后说,“我很无聊。今天我们来聊聊暗杀我丈夫的方法吧。”

晨星月,14日,2920年
帝都,赛瑞迪尔

南风祷的钟声在帝都宽阔的林荫道和花园中回响,召唤所有人到神殿中去。皇帝莱曼三世总是在至高神殿参加仪式,他的儿子——皇太子朱历克却觉得每个宗教节日都去不同的神殿更加有政治意味。今年的仪式,是在玛拉的仁爱大教堂。

幸运的是仁爱教堂的仪式很短暂,但皇帝直到下午才能够返回皇宫。这会儿,竞技场的武斗者们正在不耐烦地等待庆典的开始。观众比他们要安静得多,因为执政者维斯度-沙耶安排了一场虎人杂技演团员的演出。

“你的宗教真是比我的方便得多,”皇帝带着歉意对执政者说。“第一场是什么?”

“两个能干的战士一对一决斗,”执政者说着起身,覆盖鳞片的皮肤吸收着阳光。“使用体现他们文化的装备。”

“听起来不错,”皇帝说,拍了拍手。“竞技开始!”

当两名战士在观众的吼声中入场时,皇帝莱曼三世突然想起他是在好几个月前批准了这场打斗,现在已经把这件事忘得一干二净了。一名斗士是执政者的儿子,萨维利恩-卓拉克,蛇人的乳白皮肤闪耀着光芒,细瘦、看似柔弱的手臂持着武士刀和短腰刀。另一名则是皇帝之子朱历克王子,身着玄璃甲,头戴一顶野蛮的兽人盔,盾牌和长剑握在身体两侧。

“这会是一次极度迷人的演出啊,”执政者嘶声说道,狭长脸庞上的嘴咧了开来,露齿一笑。“我似乎从来没有看过赛瑞迪尔人和阿卡维尔人这样的打斗呢。向来都是军队对抗军队。现在我们终于可以断定谁的哲学更正确了——是像你们那样创造铠甲来对抗剑呢,还是像我们这样创造剑来击破铠甲。”

事实上,观众里几乎没有人希望萨维利恩-卓拉克获胜——除了少数几个零星就座的阿卡维尔顾问和执政者本人。但看到他优雅的动作,所有人同时倒抽一口气。他的剑像是他身体的一部分,一条长在臂膀上的尾巴,就像他身后真正的尾巴一样。这是小蛇保持平衡的窍门,能让他滚翻成一个圈,以进攻的姿势转到场地的中间。王子却只能用不算好看的传统方式缓慢地往前挪。

他们跳向对方,而观众愉悦地吼叫着。阿卡维尔人精准地绕着王子运动,轻易转到了他的身后企图背后一击。可王子迅速转身,用盾牌格挡了这一击。他的反击击中的只是空气,他的对手直直倒地,从他双腿间滑过,将他绊倒。王子跌倒在地,撞击声清晰可闻。

萨维利恩-卓拉克的剑令人眼花缭乱地舞动,对王子狂风暴雨般地攻击。王子的盾挡下了每一记击打。

“我们的文化里是没有盾牌的,”维斯度-沙耶细声对皇帝说。“我想,那东西对我儿子来说很奇怪。在我们的国家,如果你不想挨打,那么你就躲开攻击。”

萨维利恩-卓拉克正要开始另一系列眩目的攻击时,王子抬脚向他的尾巴踢去,迫使他后退了几步。他马上恢复了过来,但王子也站了起来。两个人绕着对方转圈,突然蛇人迅速前冲,武士刀举在身前。王子领会了对手的计划,长剑与盾牌分别挡住了武士刀和短刀。盾牌上的尖钉刺穿了剑身的金属,令萨维利恩-卓拉克失去了平衡。

王子的长剑挥过阿卡维尔人的胸膛,剧痛令后者的两把武器双双落地。仅仅一瞬间,一切都结束了。萨维利恩-卓拉克倒在尘埃之中,王子的长剑抵着他的喉咙。

“比赛结束!”皇帝高喊,但他的声音被场内雷鸣般的掌声淹没了。

王子咧嘴一笑,帮助萨维利恩-卓拉克站起身,扶他去治疗师那里。皇帝拍拍执政者的后背,松了一口气。当战斗开始时,他还没有意识到他儿子获胜的希望有多么渺茫。

“他会成为一个杰出的战士,”维斯度-沙耶说,“也会成为一名伟大的帝王。”

“记住,”皇帝笑道,“你们阿卡维尔人挺会作秀,不过只要我们一次攻击成功,你们就全完了。”

“哦,我会记住的。”执政者点头道。

莱曼在余下的竞技期间一直在思考那句话,无法静下心来观赏。执政者会是另外一个敌人吗,就像皇后被发现是个敌人一样?这件事值得深究。

晨星月,21日,2920年
哀伤要塞,晨风

“为什么不穿我送你的那件绿色外衣呢?”哀伤要塞公爵看着少女穿衣服,问道。

“那件不合适,”图娅拉微笑道,“而且您知道我喜欢红色。”

“那件不合适是因为你越来越胖啦。”公爵笑道,将她推倒在床上,亲吻她的乳房,她的肚腹。她痒得笑起来,但还是爬了起来,把她的红色长袍裹在身上。

“女人就应该丰满,”图娅拉说。“明天我能见到您吗?”

“不行。”公爵说,“明天我必须招待维威克,后天玄铁之心的公爵要来。你知道吗,直到阿玛莱西亚走后,我才真正开始欣赏她和她的政治技巧。”

“对我也同样,”图娅拉微笑道,“只有我不在的时候您才会欣赏我。”

“才不是呢,”公爵哼了一声,“我现在就很欣赏你。”

图娅拉走出房间之前允许公爵最后亲了她一下。她一直在想他说的话。如果他知道了她变胖是因为怀了他的孩子,他对她的欣赏会增加还是减少呢?他对她的欣赏足够让他娶她吗?

这一年继续流入了日晓月。

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Book One of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
Morning Star
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 1 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire


1 Morning Star, 2920

Mournhold, Morrowind

Almalexia lay in her bed of fur, dreaming. Not until the sun burned through her window, infusing the light wood and flesh colors of her chamber in a milky glow did she open her eyes. It was quiet and serene, a stunning reverse of the flavor of her dreams, so full of blood and celebration. For a few moments, she simply stared at the ceiling, trying to sort through her visions.
In the courtyard of her palace was a boiling pool which steamed in the coolness of the winter morning. At the wave of her hand, it cleared and she saw the face and form of her lover Vivec in his study to the north. She did not want to speak right away: he looked so handsome in his dark red robes, writing his poetry as he did every morning.
“Vivec,” she said, and he raised his head in a smile, looking at her face across thousands of miles. “I have seen a vision of the end of the war.”
“After eighty years, I don't think anyone can imagine an end,” said Vivec with a smile, but he grew serious, trusting Almalexia's prophecies. “Who will win? Morrowind or the Cyrodilic Empire?”
“Without Sotha Sil in Morrowind, we will lose,” she replied.
“My intelligence tells me the Empire will strike us to the north in early springtide, by First Seed at the latest. Could you go to Artaeum and convince him to return?”
“I'll leave today,” she said, simply.
 


4 Morning Star, 2920

Gideon, Black Marsh

The Empress paced around her cell. Wintertide gave her wasteful energy, while in the summer she would merely sit by her window and be grateful for each breath of stale swamp wind that came to cool her. Across the room, her unfinished tapestry of a dance at the Imperial Court seemed to mock her. She ripped it from its frame, tearing the pieces apart as they drifted to the floor.
Then she laughed at her own useless gesture of defiance. She would have plenty of time to repair it and craft a hundred more. The Emperor had locked her up in Castle Giovesse seven years ago, and would likely keep her here until he or she died.
With a sigh, she pulled the cord to call her knight, Zuuk. He appeared at the door within minutes, fully uniformed as befitted an Imperial Guard. Most of the native Kothringi tribesmen of Black Marsh preferred to go about naked, but Zuuk had taken a positive delight to fashion. His silver, reflective skin was scarcely visible, only on his face, neck, and hands.
“Your Imperial Highness,” he said with a bow.
“Zuuk,” said Empress Tavia. “I'm bored. Lets [sic] discuss methods of assassinating my husband today.”
 


14 Morning Star, 2920

The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The chimes proclaiming South Wind's Prayer echoed through the wide boulevards and gardens of the Imperial City, calling all to their temples. The Emperor Reman III always attended a service at the Temple of the One, while his son and heir Prince Juilek found it more political to attend a service at a different temple for each religious holiday. This year, it was at the cathedral Benevolence of Mara.
The Benevolence's services were mercifully short, but it was not until well after noon that the Emperor was able to return to the palace. By then, the arena combatants were impatiently waiting for the start of the ceremony. The crowd was far less restless, as the Potentate Versidue-Shaie had arranged for a demonstration from a troupe of Khajiiti acrobats.
“Your religion is so much more convenient than mine,” said the Emperor to his Potentate by way of an apology. “What is the first game?”
“A one-on-one battle between two able warriors,” said the Potentate, his scaly skin catching the sun as he rose. “Armed befitting their culture.”
“Sounds good,” said the Emperor and clapped his hands. “Let the sport commence!”
As soon as he saw the two warriors enter the arena to the roar of the crowd, Emperor Reman III remembered that he had agreed to this several months before and forgotten about it. One combatant was the Potentate's son, Savirien-Chorak, a glistening ivory-yellow eel, gripping his katana and wakizashi with his thin, deceptively weak looking arms. The other was the Emperor's son, Prince Juilek, in ebony armor with a savage Orcish helm, shield and longsword at his side.
“This will be fascinating to watch,” hissed the Potentate, a wide grin across his narrow face. “I don't know if I've even seen a Cyrodiil fight an Akavir like this. Usually it's army against army. At last we can settle which philosophy is better -- to create armor to combat swords as your people do, or to create swords to combat armor as mine do.”
No one in the crowd, aside from a few scattered Akaviri counselors and the Potentate himself wanted Savirien-Chorak to win, but there was a collective intake of breath at the sight of his graceful movements. His swords seemed to be a part of him, a tail coming from his arms to match the one behind him. It was a trick of counterbalance, allowing the young serpent man to roll up into a circle and spin into the center of the ring in offensive position. The Prince had to plod forward the less impressive traditional way.
As they sprang at each other, the crowd bellowed with delight. The Akaviri was like a moon in orbit around the Prince, effortlessly springing over his shoulder to attempt a blow from behind, but the Prince whirled around quickly to block with his shield. His counter-strike met only air as his foe fell flat to the ground and slithered between his legs, tripping him. The Prince fell to the ground with a resounding crash.
Metal and air melted together as Savirien-Chorak rained strike after strike upon the Prince, who blocked every one with his shield.
“We don't have shields in our culture,” murmured Versidue-Shaie to the Emperor. “It seems strange to my boy, I imagine. In our country, if you don't want to get hit, you move out of the way.”
When Savirien-Chorak was rearing back to begin another series of blinding attacks, the Prince kicked at his tail, sending him falling back momentarily. In an instant, he had rebounded, but the Prince was also back on his feet. The two circled one another, until the snake man spun forward, katana extended. The Prince saw his foe's plan, and blocked the katana with his longsword and the wakizashi with his shield. Its short punching blade impaled itself in the metal, and Savirien-Chorak was thrown off balance.
The Prince's longblade slashed across the Akavir's chest and the sudden, intense pain caused him to drop both his weapons. It [sic] a moment, it was over. Savirien-Chorak was prostate in the dust with the Prince's longsword at his throat.
“The game's over!” shouted the Emperor, barely heard over the applause from the stadium.
The Prince grinned and helped Savirien-Chorak up and over to a healer. The Emperor clapped his Potentate on the back, feeling relieved. He had not realized when the fight had begun how little chance he had given his son at victory.
“He will make a fine warrior,” said Versidue-Shaie. “And a great emperor.”
“Just remember,” laughed the Emperor. “You Akaviri have a lot of showy moves, but if just one of our strikes comes through, it's all over for you.”
“Oh, I'll remember that,” nodded the Potentate.
Reman thought about that comment for the rest of the games, and had trouble fully enjoying himself. Could the Potentate be another enemy, just as the Empress had turned out to be? The matter would bear watching.
 


21 Morning Star, 2920

Mournhold, Morrowind

“Why don't you wear that green gown I gave you?” asked the Duke of Mournhold, watching the young maiden put on her clothes.
“It doesn't fit,” smiled Turala. “And you know I like red.”
“It doesn't fit because you're getting fat,” laughed the Duke, pulling her down on the bed, kissing her breasts and the pouch of her stomach. She laughed at the tickles, but pulled herself up, wrapping her red robe around her.
“I'm round like a woman should be,” said Turala. “Will I see you tomorrow?”
“No,” said the Duke. “I must entertain Vivec tomorrow, and the next day the Duke of Ebonheart is coming. Do you know, I never really appreciated Almalexia and her political skills until she left?”
“It is the same with me,” smiled Turala. “You will only appreciate me when I'm gone.”
“That's not true at all,” snorted the Duke. “I appreciate you now.”
Turala allowed the Duke one last kiss before she was out the door. She kept thinking about what he said. Would he appreciate her more or less when he knew that she was getting fat because she was carrying his child? Would he appreciate her enough to marry her?
The Year Continues in Sun's Dawn

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