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【书籍搬运】2920, First Seed (v3) 2920,初种月(卷三)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_First_Seed_(v3)
翻译:sevil
校对&修正:nihilee

第三部:初种

初种月,15日,2920年
苏维奥城堡,赛瑞迪尔

身处山峦高处,皇帝莱曼三世依旧能看到帝都的高塔尖顶,但他知道自己离炉厅家堂很远很远。格拉维乌斯爵士有一座豪华的庄园,但远不足以容下整个军队。帐篷一座连一座地在山坡上竖起,士兵们争先恐后地享受爵士家著名的温泉。这也难怪,因为冬日的寒意仍残留在空气之中。

“您的儿子,朱历克王子,身体有些欠安。”

执政者维斯度-沙耶突然开口,皇帝吓了一跳。那阿卡维尔人如何能悄无声息地在草地上滑过,对他总是个不解之谜。

“我敢肯定,他是被人下了毒。”莱曼阴沉地说,“给他派一个治疗师。我告诫过他,让他像我一样雇一个试吃,但这小子顽固得很,就是不肯照办。我们身边到处都是间谍,我知道的。”

“无疑您是对的,陛下。”维斯度-沙耶说,“现在时局变幻莫测,我们必须小心谨慎,以防晨风赢得这场战争——无论是在战场还是在更阴险的方面。因此,我建议您不要带领前锋出战。我知道您想亲自率领先头部队,就像您杰出的祖辈莱曼一世、布拉佐洛斯·多尔和莱曼二世一样,但那样做恐怕很鲁莽。我希望您不介意我的直言。”

“不介意。”莱曼点头道,“我认为你是对的。那么,由谁率领前锋?”

“朱历克王子是最佳人选,如果他没有生病的话。”阿卡维尔人回答,“现在没有他,我们只好委任法尔伦的斯托瑞格,而河堡城的娜吉雅女王指挥左翼,里尔莫斯的乌拉克思酋长指挥右翼。”

“让虎人指挥左翼,亚龙人指挥右翼?”皇帝皱眉道,“我从不相信兽族。”

执政者并没有觉得受到了冒犯。他知道皇帝口中的“兽族”指的是泰姆瑞尔本地人,而不是像自己一样的阿卡维尔蛇人。“陛下,我赞同您的观点,但您必须承认他们十分痛恨丹莫。尤其是乌拉克思,自哀伤要塞公爵在他的领土劫掠了那么多次奴隶之后,他可是一直怀恨在心啊。”

皇帝勉强承认了这一点,执政者便告退。尽管出乎意料,莱曼却发现,他第一次感到执政者值得信赖。他是一个值得安置在身边的人。

初种月,18日,2920年
奥德·厄尔弗德,晨风

“帝国军距离多远?”维威克问。

“两日行程,”他的副官回答。“若我们今晚整夜行军,便可于明日早晨占据普瑞艾的制高点。情报表明,皇帝将指挥后方,法尔伦的斯托瑞格率领前锋,河堡城的娜吉雅在左翼,里尔莫斯的乌拉克思在右翼。”

“乌拉克思,”维威克低语,想到了一个计划。“你的情报来源可靠吗?是谁提供的?”

“帝国军中的一名布莱顿间谍,”副官说,指向一个沙棕色头发的年轻人。他走上前,向维威克深鞠一躬。

“你叫什么名字?一个布莱顿人为什么选择为我们服务,与赛瑞迪尔人作对呢?”维威克微笑着问道。

“我的名字是德温安的凯索·惠特里,”年轻人回答。“我选择为您服务是因为,并不是所有人都能宣称自己曾为一位神做间谍的。而且我明白,为您工作的,嗯,获益很大。”

维威克大笑道,“不错,只要你的情报准确。”

初种月,19日,2920年
波德朗,晨风

宁静的村庄波德朗俯瞰着蜿蜒的普瑞艾河。这是一处恬静的场所,有着稀疏的树木,河水绕一道陡崖转向东方,向西蔓延着无比绚丽的野花草丛。晨风特有的植物与赛瑞迪尔特有的植物在边境相遇,混为一体,华丽地互相映衬。

“工作完成后,你们就可以睡了!”

整个上午,士兵们都在听着这句话。整夜的行军还不够,现在他们还要砍下陡崖上的树,在河中筑堤,让河水溢出来。大多数人已经累得连抱怨累的力气都没有了。

“让我确认下我是否理解了您的意图,大人。”维威克的副官说,“我们占据陡崖,是为从有利地形向下方射箭、施法。所以我们需要清理所有树木。在河上筑堤是为让河水淹过下方的平原,这样敌军将不得不在泥地里跋涉,如此便可减缓他们的移动。”

“正说中了一半,”维威克赞许地说。他抓住近旁一个正在拉倒树的士兵,“等等,我要你把最直、最坚固的树枝折下来,削成矛。找百来个人跟你一起做,几小时之内便能完成所需的数目。”

士兵疲倦地执行了命令。人们开始工作,把树枝削成矛枪。

“若您不介意我一问,”副官说,“士兵们不需要其它武器。他们已经累得连自己的武器都握不住了。”

“这些矛不是用来握的。”维威克说,随即耳语道,“如果他们累得筋疲力尽,今晚便能睡个好觉。”说罢,他便去监督士兵工作了。

矛尖锋利固然是必须的,但良好的平衡与矛尖缩细的比例也同等重要。完美的稳固尖端是三角锥形,而非是某些长枪和长矛的圆锥形。他让士兵们投掷自己的作品,以测试其力度、锐度和平衡感,若断了就下令再做一支。渐渐地,从极端的疲劳之中,士兵们学会了如何制造完美的木矛。当他们完成后,他就告诉了他们在何处如何放置这些矛。

那一夜,没有酒醉的战前狂欢,没有紧张的新兵担心着即将到来的战斗而无法入眠。太阳刚刚隐入群山,整个营帐已安然入睡,只有哨兵除外。

初种月,20日,2920年
波德朗,晨风

米拉莫尔已经精疲力竭。过去六天中,他整夜赌博、嫖妓,白天则整日行军。他期待战斗,但他更期待战斗后的休息。他在皇帝指挥的后方部队中,这点很好,他不太可能被干掉。然而另一方面,这意味着他必须踩着泥巴和先头部队扔下的大堆垃圾前进。

开始在野花从中跋涉之后,米拉莫尔和身边所有的士兵都陷入了齐踝深的泥中,就连移动脚步都十分费力。在前方很远很远的地方,他能看到斯托瑞格领主麾下前锋部队的身影出现在一道陡崖底部的草丛中。

一切就是在那时发生的。

一支丹莫军队如蠢蠢欲动的迪德拉一般在陡崖上现身,向前锋部队的头上倾泻着火焰和箭雨。与此同时,一群打着哀伤要塞公爵旗号的人策马沿河岸奔驰,消失在东边树木丛生的峡谷中。临近右翼的乌拉克思酋长发出一声复仇的怒吼,追击而去。娜吉雅女王将她的侧翼调向西边的河堤,以拦截陡崖上的军队。

皇帝一筹莫展。他的部队受泥地所阻,无法迅速前移加入战斗。他命令部队转向东,面向林地,以防哀伤要塞的人马从树林中绕过来偷袭。他们始终没有出现,但许多人面向西方,错过了整场战斗。米拉莫尔紧盯着陡崖。

一个高大的丹莫——他猜想那一定是维威克——做了个手势,战法师们便把咒语施向西边的什么东西上。米拉莫尔勉强辨认出那是道河堤。河水顿时汹涌而出,将娜吉雅的左翼部队冲到残余的前锋部队身上,又将二者一起冲向东边的下游。

皇帝犹豫了一下,好象在等待他被击溃的军队返回一样。随即他下令撤退。米拉莫尔隐藏在急退的人群中,待他们全部退去后,他尽可能不发出声响地趟向陡崖。

晨风的军队也在退回他们的营帐。他蹑手蹑脚地沿岸行走,听到他们在自己的头顶上互相庆祝。向东,他看到了帝国军。他们被无数长矛刺穿,娜吉雅的左翼军堆在斯托瑞格的前锋军上,又堆在乌拉克思的右翼军上。几百士兵的尸体串在一起,如一条项链一般。

米拉莫尔从尸体上拿了所有能带走的贵重物品,沿河向下游奔去。他要走很长一段路,河水才能恢复清澈、未被血污染的颜色。

初种月,29日,2920年
赫加瑟,落锤之地

“你有一封帝都来的信,”祭司长说着,将羊皮纸交给可达。所有年轻女祭司都微笑起来,拌出故作惊讶的鬼脸,但实情是可达的姐姐瑞嘉写信非常频繁,至少每月一次。

可达拿了信,到花园去阅读。那是她最喜欢的地方,是教院一成不变的沙土色中的一片绿洲。信的内容平平常常,里面全是些宫廷闲话、最新流行的紫色天鹅绒的服装款式,以及关于皇帝那日益增长的疑神疑鬼。

“能离这一切远远的,你真是太幸运了,”瑞嘉写道,“皇帝坚信他上次战斗失利完全是因为宫殿里有奸细。他甚至开始质问我了。愿拉普伽保佑你,让你永远不会过上像我这般有趣的生活。”

可达倾听着沙漠的声音,向拉普伽许下了完全相反的愿望。

这一年继续流入雨手月。

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Book Three of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
First Seed
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 3 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire


15 First Seed, 2920

Caer Suvio, Cyrodiil

From their vantage point high in the hills, the Emperor Reman III could still see the spires of the Imperial City, but he knew he was far away from hearth and home. Lord Glavius had a luxurious villa, but it was not close to being large enough to house the entire army within its walls. Tents lined the hillsides, and the soldiers were flocking to enjoy his lordship's famous hot springs. Little wonder: winter chill still hung in the air.
“Prince Juilek, your son, is not feeling well.”
When Potentate Versidue-Shaie spoke, the Emperor jumped. How that Akavir could slither across the grass without making a sound was a mystery to him.
“Poisoned, I'd wager,” grumbled Reman. “See to it he gets a healer. I told him to hire a taster like I have, but the boy's headstrong. There are spies all around us, I know it.”
“I believe you're right, your imperial majesty,” said Versidue-Shaie. “These are treacherous times, and we must take precautions to see that Morrowind does not win this war, either on the field or by more insidious means. That is why I would suggest that you not lead the vanguard into battle. I know you would want to, as your illustrious ancestors Reman I, Brazollus Dor, and Reman II did, but I fear it would be foolhardy. I hope you do not mind me speaking frankly like this.”
“No,” nodded Reman. “I think you're right. Who would lead the vanguard then?”
“I would say Prince Juilek, if he were feeling better,” replied the Akavir. “Failing that, Storig of Farrun, with Queen Naghea of Riverhold at left flank, and Warchief Ulaqth of Lilmoth at right flank.”
“A Khajiit at left flank and an Argonian at right,” frowned the Emperor. “I never do trust beastfolk.”
The Potentate took no offense. He knew that “beastfolk” referred to the natives of Tamriel, not to the Tsaesci of Akavir like himself. “I quite agree your imperial majesty, but you must agree that they hate the Dunmer. Ulaqth has a particular grudge after all the slave-raids on his lands by the Duke of Mournhold.”
The Emperor conceded it was so, and the Potentate retired. It was surprising, thought Reman, but for the first time, the Potentate seemed trustworthy. He was a good man to have on one's side.
 


18 First Seed, 2920

Ald Erfoud, Morrowind

“How far is the Imperial Army?” asked Vivec.
“Two days' march,” replied his lieutenant. “If we march all night tonight, we can get higher ground at the Pryai tomorrow morning. Our intelligence tells us the Emperor will be commanding the rear, Storig of Farrun has the vanguard, Naghea of Riverhold at left flank, and Ulaqth of Lilmoth at right flank.”
“Ulaqth,” whispered Vivec, an idea forming. “Is this intelligence reliable? Who brought it to us?”
“A Breton spy in the Imperial Army,” said the lieutenant and gestured towards a young, sandy-haired man who stepped forward and bowed to Vivec.
“What is your name and why is a Breton working for us against the Cyrodiils?” asked Vivec, smiling.
“My name is Cassyr Whitley of Dwynnen,” said the man. “And I am working for you because not everyone can say he spied for a god. And I understood it would be, well, profitable.”
Vivec laughed, “It will be, if your information is accurate.”
 


19 First Seed, 2920

Bodrums, Morrowind

The quiet hamlet of Bodrum looked down on the meandering river, the Pryai. It was an idyllic site, lightly wooded where the water took the bend around a steep bluff to the east with a gorgeous wildflower meadow to the west. The strange flora of Morrowind met the strange flora of Cyrodiil on the border and commingled gloriously.
“There will be time to sleep when you've finished!”
The soldiers had been hearing that all morning. It was not enough that they had been marching all night, now they were chopping down trees on the bluff and damming the river so its waters spilled over. Most of them had reached the point where they were too tired to complain about being tired.
“Let me be certain I understand, my lord,” said Vivec's lieutenant. “We take the bluff so we can fire arrows and spells down on them from above. That's why we need all the trees cleared out. Damming the river floods the plain below so they'll be trudging through mud, which should hamper their movement.”
“That's exactly half of it,” said Vivec approvingly. He grabbed a nearby soldier who was hauling off the trees. “Wait, I need you to break off the straightest, strongest branches of the trees and whittle them into spears. If you recruit a hundred or so others, it won't take you more than a few hours to make all we need.”
The soldier wearily did as he was bade. The men and women got to work, fashioning spears from the trees.
“If you don't mind me asking,” said the lieutenant. “The soldiers don't need any more weapons. They're too tired to hold the ones they've got.”
“These spears aren't for holding,” said Vivec and whispered, “If we tired them out today, they'll get a good night's sleep tonight” before he got to work supervising their work.
It was essential that they be sharp, of course, but equally important that they be well balanced and tapered proportionally. The perfect point for stability was a pyramid, not the conical point of some lances and spears. He had the men hurl the spears they had completed to test their strength, sharpness, and balance, forcing them to begin on a new one if they broke. Gradually, out of sheer exhaustion from doing it wrong, the men learned how to create the perfect wooden spears. Once they were through, he showed them how they were to be arranged and where.
That night, there was no drunken pre-battle carousing, and no nervous neophytes stayed up worrying about the battle to come. As soon as the sun sank beneath the wooded hills, the camp was at rest, but for the sentries.
 


20 First Seed, 2920

Bodrum, Morrowind

Miramor was exhausted. For last six days, he had gambled and whored all night and then marched all day. He was looking forward to the battle, but even more than that, he was looking forward to some rest afterwards. He was in the Emperor's command at the rear flank, which was good because it seemed unlikely that he would be killed. On the other hand, it meant traveling over the mud and waste the army ahead left in their wake.
As they began the trek through the wildflower field, Miramor and all the soldiers around him sank ankle-deep in cold mud. It was an effort to even keep moving. Far, far up ahead, he could see the vanguard of the army led by Lord Storig emerging from the meadow at the base of a bluff.
That was when it all happened.
An army of Dunmer appeared above the bluff like rising Daedra, pouring fire and floods of arrows down on the vanguard. Simultaneously, a company of men bearing the flag of the Duke of Mournhold galloped around the shore, disappearing along the shallow river's edge where it dipped to a timbered glen to the east. Warchief Ulaqth nearby on the right flank let out a bellow of revenge at the sight and gave chase. Queen Naghea sent her flank towards the embankment to the west to intercept the army on the bluff.
The Emperor could think of nothing to do. His troops were too bogged down to move forward quickly and join the battle. He ordered them to face east towards the timber, in case Mournhold's company was trying to circle around through the woods. They never came out, but many men, facing west, missed the battle entirely. Miramor kept his eyes on the bluff.
A tall Dunmer he supposed must have been Vivec gave a signal, and the battlemages cast their spells at something to the west. From what transpired, Miramor deduced it was a dam. A great torrent of water spilled out, washing Naghea's left flank into the remains of the vanguard and the two together down river to the east.
The Emperor paused, as if waiting for his vanquished army to return, and then called a retreat. Miramor hid in the rushes until they had passed by and then waded as quietly as he could to the bluff.
The Morrowind army was retiring as well back to their camp. He could hear them celebrating above him as he padded along the shore. To the east, he saw the Imperial Army. They had been washed into a net of spears strung across the river, Naghea's left flank on Storig's vanguard on Ulaqth's right flank, bodies of hundreds of soldiers strung together like beads.
Miramor took whatever valuables he could carry from the corpses and then ran down the river. He had to go many miles before the water was clear again, unpolluted by blood.
 


29 First Seed, 2920

Hegathe, Hammerfell

"You have a letter from the Imperial City,” said the chief priestess, handing the parchment to Corda. All the young priestesses smiled and made faces of astonishment, but the truth was that Corda's sister Rijja wrote very often, at least once a month.
Corda took the letter to the garden to read it, her favorite place, an oasis in the monochromatic sand-colored world of the conservatorium The letter itself was nothing unusual: filled with court gossip, the latest fashions which were tending to winedark velvets, and reports of the Emperor's ever-growing paranoia.
“You are so lucky to be away from all of this,” wrote Rijja. “The Emperor is convinced that his latest battlefield fiasco is all a result of spies in the palace. He has even taken to questioning me. Ruptga keep it so you never have a life as interesting as mine.”
Corda listened to the sounds of the desert and prayed to Ruptga the exact opposite wish.
The Year is Continued in Rain's Hand.

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