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【书籍搬运】2920, MidYear (v6) 2920,年中月(卷六)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_MidYear_(v6)

翻译:sevil

第六部:年中

年中月,2日,2920年

巴尔莫拉,晨风

“帝国军在南方集结,”凯索说,“他们全部着重甲,距Ald Iuval和Coronati湖有两周行程。”

维威克点点头。Ald Iuval和它在湖对面的姊妹城Ald Malak是战略上十分重要的堡垒。他早就预料帝国军会攻打它们。他的指挥官从墙上取下一张晨风西南部的地图,顶着窗外扑面而来的一阵轻柔的夏日海风将它铺开。

“你说他们全部着重甲?”指挥官问。

“是,先生。”凯索说,“他们在Bethal Gray附近的Heartland扎营,我举目所见,他们皆着乌木甲、矮人甲以及迪德拉护甲,带着上好的兵器和攻城器械。”

“有施法者和船只吗?”维威克问。

“有一大群战斗法师,”凯索回答,“没有船。”

“既然他们如此重型武装,他们必定要花至少两周才能从Bethal Gray抵达Coronati湖,正如你所言。”维威克仔细研究着地图,“如果其后他们想绕行到Ald Marak北边,便会陷入沼泽。因此他们必将穿过这条狭窄河道,直取Ald Iuval,随后沿湖绕行至东面,从南部攻占Ald Marak。”

“如果我们在他们通过河道时进攻,”指挥官说,“在他们过河过了一半,无法退回Heartland的时候进攻,他们将难以招架。”

“你的情报再一次体现出了价值,”维威克向凯索微笑。“我们将再次击败帝国侵略者。”

年中月,3日,2920年

Bethal Gray,赛瑞迪尔

“您胜利后,会从这条路返回吗?”Bethal勋爵问道。

朱历克王子几乎没有留意身边的人。他正注视着军队拔营。这是森林中一个凉爽的早晨,天空万里无云。这一切都预示着下午的行军将十分炎热——尤其是穿着如此厚重的盔甲的时候。

“如果我们很快归来,那就是失败了。”王子说。在下面的牧场中,他能看到大领主瓦西狄·赛尔将食物、酒和妓女的花销付给勋爵的侍从。一支军队的开销总是非常之巨。

“王子殿下,”Bethal勋爵关心地问,“您的军队要向正东开进吗?朝那个方向前进,你们只能到达Coronati湖的湖岸啊。要通过河道,你们得向东南方向前进啊。”

“你只管确定你的商人们拿到金子就好了,”王子咧嘴一笑,“让我来操心我军队的行进方向吧。”

年中月,16日,2920年

Coronati湖,晨风

维威克看过广阔的碧蓝湖水,看到他和他的军队在水中的倒影。可是,他却没有看到帝国军的倒影。如果森林中没有出什么意外,他们现在一定已经到了河道。湖边高大而细瘦的树木挡住了看向河道的大部分视线,但一支军队——尤其是一支身着重甲,缓慢前行的军队——不可能无影无踪、无声无息地前行。

“让我再看看地图,”他向指挥官喊道,“确定没有另一条路吗?”

“我们在北部沼泽安置了哨兵,以防他们真的蠢到走那条路然后统统沉到下面去。”指挥官说,“如果他们走了那里,我们至少该听到消息。但除此之外,没有其它的路过湖了。”

维威克又看向他的倒影。它在水中扭曲着,好象在嘲笑他。他又看向地图。

“间谍,”维威克唤来凯索,“你说帝国军有一群战斗法师。你为什么肯定那些是战斗法师?”

“他们穿着绣着神秘符号的灰色长袍,”凯索说,“我看出他们是法师,那么多的法师和军队一起行进,不是战斗法师又会是什么呢?他们不可能全是治疗师。”

“你这蠢货!”维威克吼道,“他们是修习改变系法术的秘术师。他们一定是给整个军队施放了水下呼吸的法术。”

维威克奔向一个新的制高点,看向北方。湖的对岸,地平线的尽头,他们能看到Ald Marak城墙上冒出片片火焰。维威克狂怒地吼叫着,指挥官立即让军队沿湖行进,前去防御城堡。

“回Dwynnen去吧,”在向战场骑行之前,维威克直截了当地对凯索说,“我们不再需要,也不想要你的服务了。”

当晨风军抵达Ald Marak时,已经太迟了。帝国军已经占领了城池。

日中月,19日,2920年

帝都,赛瑞迪尔

大领主在一片欢腾的气氛中抵达了帝都,街道上布满了为攻下Ald Marak而向他欢呼的男男女女。说实话,如果王子回来了,街上的人数会远比这更多,瓦西狄·赛尔知道这一点,不过他依然很满意。在此之前,泰姆瑞尔的居民们从未为一个阿卡维尔的到来而欢呼过。

莱曼三世大帝用热情的拥抱迎接了他,随即迫不及待地读起王子托他捎来的信。

“我不明白,”他最后说,既喜悦又疑惑。“你们去了湖底?”

“Ald Marak是一座非常坚固的堡垒,”大领主解释道,“请容我补充一句,正如晨风的军队所意识到的,现在他们在这座堡垒的外面了。为了拿下这座堡垒,我们必定要全副武装,且要攻其不备。凭借水下呼吸的法术,我们盔甲的重量被浮力所抵消。我们以维威克料想不到的速度前行,从堡垒西边的水岸发起进攻,那里是他们防御最薄弱的环节。”

“太棒了!”皇帝得意地叫道,“你真是个非凡的战略家,瓦西狄·赛尔!如果你的祖辈在这方面都和你一样出色,现在泰姆瑞尔就该是阿卡维尔的领土了!”

大领主本没想抢夺朱历克王子的战略功劳,但听到皇帝言语中提及他的族人二百一十六年前一次侵略的可耻失败,他暗自作了决定。他谦逊地笑笑,接受了皇帝的赞扬。

日中月,21日,2920年

Ald Marak,晨风

萨维利恩·卓拉克滑到墙边,透过箭孔看着晨风军撤回沼泽和城堡之间的林地。这似乎是出击的理想时机。也许他们可以烧掉树林,将晨风军一并烧毁。也许趁着维威克在他们手中的机会,他们可以威胁晨风军将Ald Iuval一并交出。他把这些话讲给了王子。

“你似乎忘了,”朱历克王子笑道,“我已经作出了保证,在和谈期间不作出任何攻击。难道你们阿卡维尔的战争中没有荣誉可言吗?”

“王子殿下,我是在泰姆瑞尔出生的,我从来没到过我族人的家乡。”蛇人回答,“但即便是这样,你们的一切对我来说依然很陌生。记得五个月前我们在帝国竞技场打斗时,你并没有期待我手下留情,我也没有那么做。”

“那只不过是一场游戏。”王子回答,对侍从点点头,示意让丹莫领军进来。

朱历克以前从没有见过维威克,但他曾听说他是一个现世神。而来到他面前的,只不过是一个人。他是一个强大、英俊,有着一张充满智慧的脸的人,但无疑是一个人。王子很高兴:他可以和一个人谈话,却无法与一个神谈话。

“敬致问候,我值得尊敬的对手,”维威克说,“看起来我们陷入了僵局。”

“这没有必要。”王子说,“你们不想把晨风拱手让人,这点我不能责怪你们。但我必须占据你们的海岸线,以及边境的一些战略要地,像是这座城堡,以及Ald Umbeil,Tel Aruhn,Ald Lambasi和Tel Mothrivra,以保证帝国不受外来的侵略。”

“那么,回报呢?”维威克问。

“回报?”萨维利恩·卓拉克笑道,“你忘了,这里的胜利者是我们,不是你。”

“作为回报,”朱历克王子谨慎地说,“帝国军将不再进攻晨风,除非你们首先挑起争端。帝国海军将保护你们不受外来入侵。你们可以向黑沼泽扩充领土,占领你们想要的任何土地,前提是帝国对其没有正当需求。”

“合情合理。”维威克停顿了一会,说。“请原谅我,我对赛瑞迪尔人为自己取得的东西作出回报很不习惯。可否给我几天时间决定?”

“我们将在一周内再次会面,”王子微笑着说,“其间,只要你的军队不挑起争端,我们便处于和平。”

维威克离开了王子的房间,感到阿玛莱西娅说对了。战争就要结束了。这个王子将会成为一名杰出的帝王。

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Book Six of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
Mid Year
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 6 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire

 2 Mid Year, 2920

Balmora, Morrowind

“The Imperial army is gathered to the south,” said Cassyr. “They are a two weeks march from Ald Iuval and Lake Coronati, heavily armored.”
Vivec nodded. Ald Iuval and its sister city on the other side of the lake Ald Malak were strategically important fortresses. He had been expecting a move against them for some time. His captain pulled down a map of southwestern Morrowind from the wall and smoothed it out, fighting a gentle summer sea breeze wafting in from the open window.
“They were heavily armored, you say?” asked the captain.
“Yes, sir,” said Cassyr. “They were camped out near Bethal Gray in the Heartland, and I saw nothing but Ebony, Dwarven, and Daedric armor, fine weaponry, and siege equipment.”
“How about spellcasters and boats?” asked Vivec.
“A horde of battlemages,” replied Cassyr. “But no boats.”
“As heavily armored as they are, it will take them at least two weeks, like you said, to get from Bethal Gray to Lake Coronati,” Vivec studied the map carefully. “They'd be dragged down in the bogs if they then tried to circle around to Ald Marak from the north, so they must be planning to cross the straits here and take Ald Iuval. Then they'd proceed around the lake to the east and take Ald Marak from the south.”
“They'll be vulnerable along the straits,” said the captain. “Provided we strike when they are more than halfway across and can't retreat back to the Heartland.”
“Your intelligence has once again served us well,” said Vivec, smiling to Cassyr. “We will beat back the Imperial aggressors yet again.”
 


3 Mid Year, 2920

Bethal Gray, Cyrodiil

“Will you be returning back this way after your victory?” asked Lord Bethal.
Prince Juilek barely paid the man any attention. He was focused on the army packing its camp. It was a cool morning in the forest, but there were no clouds. All the makings of a hot afternoon march, particularly in such heavy armor.
“If we return shortly, it will be because of defeat,” said the Prince. He could see down in the meadow, the Potentate Versidue-Shaie paying his lordship's steward for the use of the village's food, wine, and whores. An army was an expensive thing, for certes.
“My Prince,” said Lord Bethal with concern. “Is your army beginning a march due east? That will just lead you to the shores of Lake Coronati. You'll want to go south-east to get to the straits.”
“You just make certain your merchants get their share of our gold,” said the Prince with a grin. “Let me worry about my army's direction.”
 


16 Mid Year, 2920

Lake Coronati, Morrowind

Vivec stared across the blue expanse of the lake, seeing his reflection and the reflection of his army in the cool blue waters. What he did not see was the Imperial Army's reflection. They must have reached the straits by now, barring any mishaps in the forest. Tall feather-thin lake trees blocked much of his view of the straits, but an army, particularly one clan in slow-moving heavy armor could not move invisibly, silently.
“Let me see the map again,” he called to his captain. “Is there no other way they could approach?”
“We have sentries posted in the swamps to the north in case they're fool enough to go there and be bogged under,” said the captain. “We would at least hear about it. But there is no other way across the lake except through the straits.”
Vivec looked down again at his reflection, which seemed to be distorting his image, mocking him. Then he looked back on the map.
“Spy,” said Vivec, calling Cassyr over. “When you said the army had a horde of battlemages, what made you so certain they were battlemages?”
“They were wearing gray robes with mystical insignia on them,” explained Cassyr. “I figured they were mages, and why else would such a vast number travel with the army? They couldn't have all been healers.”
“You fool!” roared Vivec. “They're mystics schooled in the art of Alteration. They've cast a spell of water breathing on the entire army.”
Vivec ran to a new vantage point where he could see the north. Across the lake, though it was but a small shadow on the horizon, they could see gouts of flame from the assault on Ald Marak. Vivec bellowed with fury and his captain got to work at once redirecting the army to circle the lake and defend the castle.
“Return to Dwynnen,” said Vivec flatly to Cassyr before he rode off to join the battle. “Your services are no longer needed nor wanted.”
It was already too late when the Morrowind army neared Ald Marak. It had been taken by the Imperial Army.
 


19 Mid Year, 2920

The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The Potentate arrived in the Imperial City amid great fanfare, the streets lined with men and women cheering him as the symbol of the taking of Ald Marak. Truth be told, a greater number would have turned out had the Prince returned, and the Versidue-Shaie knew it. Still, it pleased him to no end. Never before had citizens of Tamriel cheered the arrival of an Akaviri into their land.
The Emperor Reman III greeted him with a warm embrace, and then tore into the letter he had brought from the Prince.
“I don't understand,” he said at last, still joyous but equally confused. “You went under the lake?”
“Ald Marak is a very well-fortified fortress,” explained the Potentate. “As, I might add, the army of Morrowind has rediscovered, now that they are on the outside. To take it, we had to attack by surprise and with our soldiery in the sturdiest of armor. By casting the spell that allowed us to breathe underwater, we were able to travel faster than Vivec would have guessed, the weight of the armor made less by the aquatic surroundings, and attack from the waterbound west side of the fortress where their defenses were at their weakest.”
“Brilliant!” the Emperor crowed. “You are a wonderous tactician, Versidue-Shaie! If your fathers had been as good at this as you are, Tamriel would be Akaviri domain!”
The Potentate had not planned to take credit for Prince Juilek's design, but on the Emperor's reference to his people's fiasco of an invasion two hundred and sixteen years ago, he made up his mind. He smiled modestly and soaked up the praise.
 


21 Mid Year, 2920

Ald Marak, Morrowind

Savirien-Chorak slithered to the wall and watched through the arrow slit the Morrowind army retreating back to the forestland between the swamps and the castle grounds. It seemed like the idea opportunity to strike. Perhaps the forests could be burned and the army within them. Perhaps with Vivec in their enemies' hands, the army would allow them possession of Ald Iuval as well. He suggested these ideas to the Prince.
“What you seem to be forgetting,” laughed Prince Juilek. “Is that I gave my word that no harm to the army or to their commanders during the truce negotiations. Do you not have honor during warfare on Akavir?”
“My Prince, I was born here in Tamriel, I have never been to my people's home,” replied the snake man. “But even so, your ways are strange to me. You expected no quarter and I gave you none when we fought in the Imperial Arena five months ago.”
“That was a game,” replied the Prince, before nodding to his steward to let the Dunmer battle chief in.
Juilek had never seen Vivec before, but he had heard he was a living god. What came before him was but a man. A powerfully built man, handsome, with an intelligent face, but a man nonetheless. The Prince was pleased: a man he could speak with, but not a god.
“Greetings, my worthy adversary,” said Vivec. “We seem to be at an impasse.”
“Not necessarily,” said the Prince. “You don't want to give us Morrowind, and I can't fault you for that. But I must have your coastline to protect the Empire from overseas aggressions, and certain key strategic border castles, such as this one, as well as Ald Umbeil, Tel Aruhn, Ald Lambasi, and Tel Mothrivra.”
“And in return?” asked Vivec.
“In return?” laughed Savirien-Chorak. “You forget we are the victors here, not you.”
“In return,” said Prince Juilek carefully. “There will be no Imperial attacks on Morrowind, unless in return to an attack by you. You will be protected from invaders by the Imperial navy. And your land may expand by taking certain estates in Black Marsh, whichever you choose, provided they are not needed by the Empire.”
“A reasonable offer,” said Vivec after a pause. “You must forgive me, I am unused to Cyrodiils who offer something in return for what they take. May I have a few days to decide?”
“We will meet again in a week's time,” said the Prince, smiling. “In the meantime, if your army provokes no attacks on mine, we are at peace.”
Vivec left the Prince's chamber, feeling that Almalexia was right. The war was at an end. This Prince would make an excellent Emperor.
The Year is Continued in Sun's Height.          

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