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【书籍搬运】2920, Rain's Hand (v4) 2920,雨手月 (卷四)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_Rain%27s_Hand_(v4)
翻译:sevil

第四部:雨手

雨手月,3日,2920年
Coldharbour,湮灭

索塔·希尔趟着齐腰深的黑水,在宫殿漆黑的大厅中尽可能以最快的速度前进。在他身边,令人作呕的胶状生物受到惊吓,疾奔入芦苇丛中;白色的火苗不断冒出,照亮大厅上层的拱顶,随即消失;厅中的气味扑面而至,一时是腐朽的死亡气息,一时又是甜腻的香水气味。他曾数次拜访过湮灭界域中的迪德拉王子们,但每一次,都有一些不同的东西等待着。

他知道他的目的,不为这一切所扰乱。

八位声名显赫的迪德拉王子在那半熔化的穹顶房间中等待着他。阿祖拉,暮晓之神;勃耶西亚,诡计之神;赫玛·莫拉,知识之主;赫希恩,猎杀之神;玛拉凯斯,诅咒之神;莫拉恩斯·达根,灾难之神;莫拉格·巴尔,愤怒之神;希奥格拉斯,疯狂之神。

在他们的集会之上,天空投下扭曲的影子。

雨手月,5日,2920年
亚蒂姆,夏暮岛

索塔·希尔的声音从洞穴中传出,在空气中回响着。“移走石块!”

学徒们立刻照办,将Dreaming Cavern洞口的巨石滚到一边。索塔·希尔从洞中现身,脸上沾染烟灰,神情疲惫。他觉得自己似乎离开了几月、几年,但时间只过了几天。莉拉莎扶住他的臂膀,但他只是慈蔼地笑笑,摇摇头,拒绝了她的帮助。

“你……成功了吗?”她问。

“与我谈话的迪德拉王子们同意了我们的条件,”他淡淡地说,“像吉佛戴尔那样的惨剧不会再发生了。只有通过特定的媒介,像是女巫或是术师,他们才能对凡人的呼唤作出回应。”

“那你答应给他们什么作为回报呢?”诺德男孩韦勒格问。

“与迪德拉的交易,”索塔·希尔说,一边向伊阿奇斯的宫殿前行去会见这位赛伊克组织的大师。“是不能与纯洁之人相讨论的。”

雨手月,8日,2920年
帝都,赛瑞迪尔

狂风拍打着王子卧室的窗户,潮湿的空气灌入房间,与熏香和药草的味道奇妙地混合在一起。

“您的母亲,皇后殿下,来了一封信。”递信者说,“她十分担心您的健康状况。”

“我的父母都这么容易受惊啊!”朱历克王子在床上笑道。

“母亲担忧儿子,本就天经地义,再正常不过。”大领主的儿子萨维利恩·卓拉克说。

“在我的家里,任何事情都不正常,阿卡维尔。我那被流放的母亲害怕我父亲会把我当成个觊觎皇位的叛徒,然后把我毒死。”王子苦恼地躺回枕头上。“父亲大人坚持要我学他那样,找个人试吃我所有的饭菜。”

“世上有许多阴谋诡计啊。”阿卡维尔人同意道,“您已在床上躺了将近三星期,几乎整个帝国的治疗师都曳着脚跳慢舞一般地在您房中进进出出。不过至少,您已经开始恢复了。”

“希望我很快便能率领前锋,与晨风交战。”朱历克说。

雨手月,11日,2920年
亚蒂姆,夏暮岛

学徒们安静地在露天长廊上站成一排,注视着前方那道壕沟。沟长而深,两侧铺以大理石,当中燃烧着熊熊火焰,周围的空气因热度而扭曲。每个学生的表情都坚定而平静,就像一个真正的赛伊克应该做到的那样。但他们的恐惧却是明明白白,如同火焰的温度般触手可及。索塔·希尔闭上双眼,念出抵抗火焰的咒文。他跃下沟底,缓缓走过跳动着的火焰,从另一边爬上来。他毫发无伤,连身上的白袍也没有毁坏分毫。

“如同所有法术一样,这段咒文随着你们释放的能量,以及你们的技能而增强。”他说,“想象力和意志力是关键。你们并不需要一个法术来抵抗空气或是抵抗花朵;当你们施放这个咒语后,你们必须忘记自己还需要用法术来抵抗火焰。不要误解我的意思:抵抗火焰并不是否认火焰的真实性。你们能感到火焰的存在,感到它的每丝每毫,感到它的饥渴,甚至能感到它的温度。但你们知道它无法伤害你们。”

学徒们点点头,一个接一个地施展法术,走入火焰。有几个学徒甚至弯下腰,掬起一捧火,让空气从其间流过;它像肥皂泡一样扩散,从他们指间退却。索塔·希尔露出微笑。他们正在令人钦佩地战胜自己的恐惧。

大督学塔格里斯沿长廊匆匆跑来,“索塔·希尔!阿玛莱西娅到了。伊阿奇斯让我来叫你。”

索塔·希尔仅仅转向了塔格里斯片刻,但就在这时尖叫声传来,他立刻明白发生了什么。诺德男孩韦勒格没有正确地施放法术,结果烧了起来。头发和血肉灼烧的气味令其他学生惊慌失措,手忙脚乱地拉着他想爬出沟底,但斜坡太陡,离出口又太远。索塔·希尔一挥手,驱散了火焰。

韦勒格和其他几个学生被烧伤了,好在并不严重。术师向他们释放了治疗法术,随即再次转向塔格里斯。

“我马上就过去,为阿玛莱西娅接风洗尘。”索塔·希尔又转向学生,声音平板地说,“恐惧并不能破坏咒语,但疑虑和无能是施法者最大的敌人。韦勒格大师,你可以收拾行李了。我会安排一条船,明天一早送你回大陆。”

术师在书房见到了阿玛莱西娅和伊阿奇斯,二人正喝着热茶,谈笑着。他比她记忆中的更加美丽,尽管他从没见过她如此衣衫凌乱的样子。她裹着一条毯子,正在火上晾干她乌黑的长发。看到索塔·希尔,她跳了起来,张开双臂拥抱了他。

“难道你是从晨风一路游泳过来的吗?”他微笑道。

“从长天堡到海岸,都下着倾盆大雨。”她解释道,回报给他一个微笑。

“只有半里格远,这里就从来不下雨。”伊阿奇斯自豪地说,“当然,我有时也会怀念夏暮群岛主岛的刺激,有时甚至会想念大陆。不过,我仍然十分钦佩那些大陆出身还能干出一番事业的人。那是个充满迷惑和混乱的地方啊。说到混乱,我听到的战争是怎么一回事?”

“你是说那场让大陆流血八十年之久的战争,大师?”索塔·希尔问道,激起了兴趣。

“大概就是那个吧,”伊阿奇斯耸耸肩。“那场战争怎样了?”

“除非我能说服索塔·希尔离开亚蒂姆,否则我们就会输。”阿玛莱西娅说,笑容从脸上隐去了。她本想与她的朋友私下谈这件事,但老艾特莫给了她继续下去的勇气。“我看到了映像,我知道那是真的。”

索塔·希尔沉默了一会,看向伊阿奇斯。“我必须回晨风去。”

“我很了解你,如果你必须做什么事情,便去做罢。”伊阿奇斯叹气道,“赛伊克的道路不可以被扰乱。战争永不停息,王朝兴起灭亡。你必须离开,我们也一样。”

“什么意思,伊阿奇斯?你们要离开亚蒂姆岛?”

“不,是亚蒂姆岛将离开大海。”伊阿奇斯说,声音中带了一股梦幻的味道。“几年之内,浓雾将笼罩亚蒂姆,我们便会消失。我们是天生的解惑者,但泰姆瑞尔已经有太多的顾问。不,我们将会离去,当大陆再次需要我们之时——或许在另一个时代——我们便会归来。”

老艾特莫费力地站起身,喝干杯中最后一滴茶水。“别错过最后一班船。”他说,随即转身离去,将索塔·希尔和阿玛莱西娅单独留在房中。

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Book Four of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
Rain's Hand
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 4 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire


3 Rain's Hand, 2920

Coldharbour, Oblivion

Sotha Sil proceeded as quickly as he could through the blackened halls of the palace, half-submerged in brackish water. All around him, nasty gelatinous creatures scurried into the reeds, bursts of white fire lit up the upper arches of the hall before disappearing, and smells assaulted him, rancid death one moment, sweet flowered perfume the next. Several times he had visited the Daedra princes in their Oblivion, but every time, something different awaited him.
He knew his purpose, and refused to be distracted.
Eight of the more prominent Daedra princes were awaiting him in the half-melted, domed room. Azura, Prince of Dusk and Dawn; Boethiah, Prince of Plots; Herma-Mora, Daedra of Knowledge; Hircine, the Hunter; Malacath, God of Curses; Mehrunes Dagon, Prince of Disaster; Molag Bal, Prince of Rage; Sheogorath, the Mad One.
Above them, the sky cast tormented shadows upon the meeting.
 


5 Rain's Hand, 2920

The Isle of Artaeum, Summurset

Sotha Sil's voice cried out, echoing from the cave, “Move the rock!”
Immediately, the initiates obeyed, rolling aside the great boulder that blocked the entrance to the Dreaming Cavern. Sotha Sil emerged, his face smeared with ash, weary. He felt he had been away for months, years, but only a few days had transpired. Lilatha took his arm to help him walk, but he refused her help with a kind smile and a shake of his head.
“Were you ... successful?” she asked.
“The Daedra princes I spoke with have agreed to our terms,” he said flatly. “Disasters such as befell Gilverdale should be averted. Only through certain intermediaries such as witches or sorcerers will they answer the call of man and mer.”
“And what did you promise them in return?” asked the Nord boy Welleg.
“The deals we make with Daedra,” said Sotha Sil, continuing on to Iachesis' palace to meet with the Master of the Psijic Order. “Should not be discussed with the innocent.”
 


8 Rain's Hand, 2920

The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

A storm billeted the windows of the Prince's bedchamber, bringing a smell of moist air to mix with the censors filled with burning incense and herbs.
“A letter has arrived from the Empress, your mother,” said the courier. “Anxiously inquiring after your health.”
“What frightened parents I have!” laughed Prince Juilek from his bed.
“It is only natural for a mother to worry,” said Savirien-Chorak, the Potentate's son.
“There is everything unnatural about my family, Akavir. My exiled mother fears that my father will imagine me of being a traitor, covetous of the crown, and is having me poisoned,” the Prince sank back into his pillow, annoyed. “The Emperor has insisted on me having a taster for all my meals as he does.”
“There are many plots,” agreed the Akavir. “You have been abed for nearly three weeks with every healer in the empire shuffling through like a slow ballroom dance. At least, all can see that you're getting stronger.”
“Strong enough to lead the vanguard against Morrowind soon, I hope,” said Juilek.
 


11 Rain's Hand, 2920

The Isle of Artaeum, Summurset

The initiates stood quietly in a row along the arbor loggia, watching the long, deep, marble-lined trench ahead of them flash with fire. The air above it vibrated with the waves of heat. Though each student kept his or her face sturdy and emotionless, as a true Psijic should, their terror was nearly as palpable as the heat. Sotha Sil closed his eyes and uttered the charm of fire resistance. Slowly, he walked across the basin of leaping flames, climbing to the other side, unscathed. Not even his white robe had been burned.
“The charm is intensified by the energy you bring to it, by your own skills, just as all spells are,” he said. “Your imagination and your willpower are the keys. There is no need for a spell to give you a resistance to air, or a resistance to flowers, and after you cast the charm, you must forget there is even a need for a spell to give you resistance to fire. Do not confuse what I am saying: resistance is not about ignoring the fire's reality. You will feel the substance of flame, the texture of it, its hunger, and even the heat of it, but you will know that it will not hurt or injure you.”
The students nodded and one by one, they cast the spell and made the walk through the fire. Some even went so far as to bend over and scoop up a handful of fire and feed it air, so it expanded like a bubble and melted through their fingers. Sotha Sil smiled. They were fighting their fear admirably.
The Chief Proctor Thargallith came running from the arbor arches, “Sotha Sil! Almalexia has arrived on Artaeum. Iachesis told me to fetch you.”
Sotha Sil turned to Thargallith for only a moment, but he knew instantly from the screams what had transpired. The Nord lad Wellig had not cast the spell properly and was burning. The smell of scorched hair and flesh panicked the other students who were struggling to get out of the basin, pulling him with them, but the incline was too steep away from the entry points. With a wave of his hand, Sotha Sil extinguished the flame.
Wellig and several other students were burned, but not badly. The sorcerer cast a healing spell on them, before turning back to Thargallith.
“I'll be with you in a moment, and give Almalexia the time to shake the road dust from her train,” Sotha Sil turned back to the students, his voice flat. “Fear does not break spells, but doubt and incompetence are the great enemies of any spellcaster. Master Welleg, you will pack your bags. I'll arrange for a boat to bring you to the mainland tomorrow morning.”
The sorcerer found Almalexia and Iachesis in the study, drinking hot tea, and laughing. She was more beautiful than he had remembered, though he had never before seen her so disheveled, wrapped in a blanket, dangling her damp long black tresses before the fire to dry. At Sotha Sil's approach, she leapt to her feet and embraced him.
“Did you swim all the way from Morrowind?” he smiled.
“It's pouring rain from Skywatch down to the coast,” she explained, returning his smile.
“Only a half a league away, and it never rains here,” said Iachesis proudly. “Of course, I sometimes miss the excitement of Summurset, and sometimes even the mainland itself. Still, I'm always very impressed by anyone out there who gets anything accomplished. It is a world of distractions. Speaking of distractions, what's all this I hear about a war?”
“You mean the one that's been bloodying the continent for the last eighty years, Master?” asked Sotha Sil, amused.
“I suppose that's the one I mean,” said Iachesis with a shrug of his shoulders. “How is that war going?”
“We will lose it, unless I can convince Sotha Sil to leave Artaeum,” said Almalexia, losing her smile. She had meant to wait and talk to her friend in private, but the old Altmer gave her courage to press on. “I have had visions; I know it to be true.”
Sotha Sil was silent for a moment, and then looked at Iachesis, “I must return to Morrowind.”
“Knowing you, if you must do something, you will,” sighed the old Master. “The Psijics' way is not to be distracted. Wars are fought, Empires rise and fall. You must go, and so must we.”
“What do you mean, Iachesis? You're leaving the island?”
“No, the island will be leaving the sea,” said Iachesis, his voice taking on a dreamy quality. “In a few years, the mists will move over Artaeum and we will be gone. We are counselors by nature, and there are too many counselors in Tamriel as it is. No, we will go, and return when the land needs us again, perhaps in another age.”
The old Altmer struggles to his feet, and drained the last sip of his drink before leaving Sotha Sil and Almalexia alone: “Don't miss the last boat.”
The Year Continues in Second Seed.

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