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【书籍搬运】2920, Sun's Height (v7) 2920,日高月 (卷七)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_Sun%27s_Height_(v7)
翻译:sevil

第七部:日高

日高月,4日,2920年
帝都,赛瑞迪尔

莱曼三世大帝和他的大领主瓦西狄·赛尔在帝国花园中漫步。遍布雕塑和喷泉的北花园很对皇帝的胃口,尤其它还是炎热的夏季中,整个城市最凉爽的地方。他们所过之处,花坛中盛开着朴素的蓝白和绿色花朵。

“维威克同意了王子的和平条件,”莱曼说,“我儿子将在两周之内归来。”

“真是好消息。”大领主谨慎地遣着词。“我希望丹莫能信守诺言。也许我们本可以提出更多要求。比如说,Black Gate的城堡。不过我相信王子知道怎样做才合情合理。他不会仅为和平而削弱帝国的力量。”

“我最近在想瑞嘉,想她为什么会密谋杀害我。”皇帝说,停了一下欣赏一座奴隶女皇阿丽西亚的雕像,然后继续开口。“我惟一能想到的解释就是她看上了我儿子。她也许会为我的权力和身份而爱我,但我儿子,不管怎么说,既年轻,又英俊,有朝一日还会继承我的王位。她一定是想,如果我死了,她就可以拥有一个既年轻又有力量的君王了。”

“王子……也参与了密谋?”瓦西狄·赛尔问。推测皇帝猜忌的下一个牺牲品会是谁,是一个很困难的游戏。

“哦,我不这么想。”莱曼微笑,“不会的,我儿子很爱我。”

“您知道瑞嘉的妹妹可达吗?她是赫加瑟的Morwha教院的一名祭司学徒。”大领主说。

“Morwha?”皇帝问,“我忘记了,那是什么神?”

“约库达人的性欲旺盛和多产的女神,”大领主回答,“不过不象Dibella那样旺盛。很娴静,但无疑也很性感。”

“我受够了性欲旺盛的女人。皇后,瑞嘉,她们的欲望都是那么旺盛——对爱的欲望转变成了对权力的欲望。”皇帝耸耸肩,“不过,一个有着健康性欲的受训女祭司听起来是个理想的选择。好了,你刚才说到什么Black Gate?”

日高月,6日,2920年
Thurzo堡垒,赛瑞迪尔

瑞嘉安静地站在冰冷的石地板上,眼看着地面。皇帝开始讲话。他以前从没见过她如此苍白和漠然的样子。听到她即将被释放、遣送回家的消息,她至少应该高兴才对。如果她现在出发,甚至在商人节时就能回到落锤之地。但她对他所说的一切都没有任何反应。在Thurzo堡垒监禁的一个半月似乎带走了她所有的元气。

“我在考虑,”皇帝最后说,“把你的妹妹可达接进宫里一段时间。我想,相比赫加瑟的教院,她会更喜欢这里。你说呢?”

至少这次,她有了反应。瑞嘉看向皇帝,目光中带着野性的仇恨。她狂怒地扑向他。她的指甲在监禁期间已长得很长,她用它们抓挠着他的脸,抠入他的眼睛。他痛苦地嚎叫,他的守卫将她拖开,用剑脊狠狠地敲打她,直到她陷入昏迷。

一名治疗师立即被传唤了来,但莱曼三世大帝已经失去了他的右眼。

日高月,23日,2920年
巴尔莫拉,晨风

维威克从水中起身,感到一天的炎热从身体上被尽数洗去。他从一个仆人手中接过一块毛巾。索塔·希尔站在阳台上看着他的老友。

“自从上次见你以来,你似乎添了不少新伤疤嘛。”术师说。

“阿祖拉保佑,暂时不会再添了。”维威克笑道,“你什么时候到的?”

“一个多小时前,”索塔·希尔说,走下台阶来到水边。“我想我是来结束战争的,不过看起来你已经自己办妥了。”

“是啊,八十年无休无止的战争也该到尽头了。”维威克回答,拥抱着索塔·希尔。“我们作出了让步,他们也一样。等老皇帝死去后,我们便会进入一个黄金时期。朱历克王子拥有超越他年龄的智慧。阿玛莱西娅在哪里?”

“她去接哀伤之城公爵了。他们明天下午便能到。”

宫殿角落里突然出现的一幕打断了二人的对话——一名骑手正穿过城区疾行而来,直奔前台阶。很明显,这个女人已经全速骑行了很长一段时间。他们在书房接见了她,她一头撞进房间,气喘吁吁。

“我们被背叛了,”她喘着气,“帝国军攻占了Black Gate。”

日高月,24日,2920年
巴尔莫拉,晨风

自从索塔·希尔前去亚蒂姆,十七年来,这是晨风审判席的三名成员第一次齐聚在同一屋檐下。三个人都希望他们重聚时的情势不是现在这个样子。

“就我们得知的消息,在王子向南返回赛瑞迪尔之时,另一支帝国军从北方发动攻击。”维威克对他面无表情的两名同伴说,“我们可以假定,朱历克对这次袭击毫不知情。”

“但我们同样可以假定他以和谈为借口迷惑我们,好让皇帝进攻Black Gate。”索塔·希尔说,“这必须被视为破坏和约。”

“哀伤之城公爵在哪里?”维威克问,“我想听听他的看法。”

“他去Tel Aruhn会见夜之母了。”阿玛莱西娅轻声说,“我劝他先来听听你们的话,但他说这事已经拖得太久了。”

“他要找莫拉格帮?他想把不相干的事情牵扯进来?”维威克摇摇头,转向索塔·希尔:“拜托,请你尽力去阻止这件事。暗杀行为只能让事情变得更糟。这件事必须通过和谈或战斗来解决。”

日高月,25日,2920年
Tel Aruhn,晨风

夜之母在她那仅由淡淡月光照亮的客厅中接见了索塔·希尔。她穿着一件式样简单的黑色丝质长袍,慵懒地斜卧在她的长沙发上,透出一种残酷的美丽。她作了个手势,遣散了身披红斗篷的守卫们,递给术师一杯葡萄酒。

“你正好错过了你的公爵朋友,”她细语道,“他很不高兴,不过我想我们会解决他的问题的。”

“他雇佣莫拉格帮暗杀皇帝了吗?”索塔·希尔问。

“直奔主题,不是吗?很好。我喜欢直来直往的人,那节省很多时间。当然,我不能与你讨论公爵和我商议的事宜,”她微笑道,“这样是有损于生意的。”

“如果我给你同等数目的金子,请你不去暗杀皇帝呢?”

“莫拉格帮不仅仅为利益而谋杀,更是为了梅法拉的荣耀。”她对着自己的酒杯说,“我们不是仅仅杀人而已。那样是亵渎神圣的。三天之内,一旦公爵的酬金抵达,我们便会完成这笔交易。并且,恐怕我们不会想接受一笔相反的交易。尽管我们既是一个教派,亦是一件生意,我们并不屈从于给予和索求,索塔·希尔。”

日高月,27日,2920年
内海,晨风

索塔·希尔观察水面已经有两天了,他在等待一艘特别的船舰。现在他看到了它,一只飘扬着哀伤之城旗帜的重型船只。术师在它接近港口前阻截住了它。火焰从他身上喷出,裹住他的身形,将他的声音和形体伪装成一个迪德拉的样子。

“弃船!”他吼叫道,“除非你们想与它一起沉没!”

实际上,索塔·希尔可以一个火球就炸掉整艘船,但他选择了等待,给船员们一个潜进温暖海水中的机会。当他确定船上已经没有人后,他聚集能量,释放了一场毁灭性的波涛。空气与水的剧烈震动中,船只与公爵给莫拉格帮的酬金一起沉入了内海海底。

“夜之母,”索塔·希尔飘向岸边去提醒海港主有一些海员需要救援时,心想,“没有人能不屈从于给予和索求。”

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Book Seven of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
Sun's Height
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 7 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire


4 Sun's Height, 2920

The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The Emperor Reman III and his Potentate Versidue-Shaie took a stroll around the Imperial Gardens. Studded with statuary and fountains, the north gardens fit the Emperor's mood, as well as being the coolest acreage in the City during the heat of summertide. Austere, tiered flowerbeds of blue-gray and green towered all around them as they walked.
Vivec has agreed to the Prince's terms for peace,” said Reman. “My son will be returning in two weeks' time.”
“This is excellent news,” said the Potentate carefully. “I hope the Dunmer will honor the terms. We might have asked for more. The fortress at Black Gate, for example. But I suppose the Prince knows what is reasonable. He would not cripple the Empire just for peace.”
“I have been thinking lately of Rijja and what caused her to plot against my life,” said the Emperor, pausing to admire a statue of the Slave Queen Alessia before continuing. “The only thing I can think of to account for it is that she admired my son too much. She may have loved me for my power and my personality, but he, after all, is young and handsome and will one day inherit my throne. She must have thought that if I were dead, she could have an Emperor who had both youth and power.”
“The Prince ... was in on this plot?” asked Versidue-Shaie. It was a difficult game to play, anticipating where the Emperor's paranoia would strike next.
“Oh, I don't think so,” said Reman, smiling. “No, my son loves me well.”
“Are you aware that Corda, Rijja's sister, is an initiate of the Morwha conservatorium in Hegathe?” asked the Potentate.
“Morwha?” asked the Emperor. “I've forgotten: which god is that?”
“Lusty fertility goddess of the Yokudans,” replied the Potentate. “But not too lusty, like Dibella. Demure, but certainly sexual.”
“I am through with lusty women. The Empress, Rijja, all too lusty, a lust for love leads to a lust for power,” the Emperor shrugged his shoulders. “But a priestess-in-training with a certain healthy appetite sounds ideal. Now what were you saying about the Black Gate?”
 


6 Sun's Height, 2920

Thurzo Fortress, Cyrodiil

Rijja stood quietly looking at the cold stone floor while the Emperor spoke. He had never before seen her so pale and joyless. She might at least be pleased that she was being freed, being returned to her homeland. Why, if she left now, she could be in Hammerfell by the Merchant's Festival. Nothing he said seemed to register any reaction from her. A month and a half's stay in Thurzo Fortress seemed to have killed her spirit.
“I was thinking,” said the Emperor at last. “Of having your younger sister Corda up to the palace for a time. I think she would prefer it over the conservatorium in Hegathe, don't you?”
Reaction, at last. Rijja looked at the Emperor with animal hatred, flinging herself at him in a rage. Her fingernails had grown long since her imprisonment and she raked them across his face, into his eyes. He howled with pain, and his guards pulled her off, pummeling her with blows from the back of their swords, until she was knocked unconscious.
A healer was called at once, but the Emperor Reman III had lost his right eye.
 


23 Sun's Height, 2920

Balmora, Morrowind

Vivec pulled himself from the water, feeling the heat of the day washed from his skin, taking a towel from one of his servants. Sotha Sil watched his old friend from the balcony.
“It looks like you've picked up a few more scars since I last saw you,” said the sorcerer.
Azura grant it that I have no more for a while,” laughed Vivec. “When did you arrive?”
“A little over an hour ago,” said Sotha Sil, walking down the stairs to the water's edge. “I thought I was coming to end a war, but it seems you've done it without me.”
“Yes, eighty years is long enough for ceaseless battle,” replied Vivec, embracing Sotha Sil. “We made concessions, but so did they. When the old Emperor is dead, we may be entering a golden age. Prince Juilek is very wise for his age. Where is Almalexia?”
“Collecting the Duke of Mournhold. They should be here tomorrow afternoon.”
The men were distracted at a sight from around the corner of the palace - a rider was approaching through the town, heading for the front steps. It was evident that the woman had been riding hard for some time. They met her in the study, where she burst in, breathing hard.
“We have been betrayed,” she gasped. “The Imperial Army has seized the Black Gate.”
 


24 Sun's Height, 2920

Balmora, Morrowind

It was the first time in seventeen years that the three members of the Morrowind Tribunal had met in the same place, since Sotha Sil had left for Artaeum. All three wished that the circumstances of their reunion were different.
“From what we've learned, while the Prince was returning to Cyrodiil to the south, a second Imperial Army came down from the north,” said to his stony-faced compatriots. “It is reasonable to assume Juilek didn't know about the attack.”
“But neither would it be unreasonable to suppose that he planned on being a distraction while the Emperor launched the attack on Black Gate,” said Sotha Sil. “This must be considered a break of the truce.”
“Where is the Duke of Mournhold?” asked Vivec. “I would hear his thoughts on the matter.”
“He is meeting with the Night Mother in Tel Aruhn,” said Almalexia, quietly. “I told him to wait until he had spoken with you, but he said that the matter had waited long enough.”
“He would involve the Morag Tong? In outside affairs?” Vivec shook his head, and looked to Sotha Sil: “Please, do what you can. Assassination will only move us backwards. This matter must be settled with diplomacy or battle.”
 


25 Sun's Height, 2920

Tel Aruhn, Morrowind

The Night Mother met Sotha Sil in her salon, lit only by the moon. She was cruelly beautiful dressed in a simple silk black robe, lounging across her divan. With a gesture, she dismissed her red-cloaked guards and offered the sorcerer some wine.
“You've only just missed your friend, the Duke,” she whispered. “He was very unhappy, but I think we will solve his problem for him.”
“Did he hire the Morag Tong to assassinate the Emperor?” asked Sotha Sil.
“You are straight-forward, aren't you? That's good. I love plain-speaking men: it saves so much time. Of course, I cannot discuss with you what the Duke and I talked about,” she smiled. “It would be bad for business.”
“What if I were to offer you an equal amount of gold for you not to assassinate the Emperor?”
“The Morag Tong murders for the glory of Mephala and for profit,” she said, speaking into her glass of wine. “We do not merely kill. That would be sacrilege. Once the Duke's gold has arrived in three days time, we will do our end of the business. And I'm afraid we would not dream of entertaining a counter offer. Though we are a business as well as a religious order, we do not bow to supply and demand, Sotha Sil.”
 


27 Sun's Height, 2920

The Inner Sea, Morrowind

Sotha Sil had been watching the waters for two days now, waiting for a particular vessel, and now he saw it. A heavy ship with the flag of Mournhold. The sorcerer took the air and intercepted it before it reached harbor. A caul of flame erupted over his figure, disguising his voice and form into that of a Daedra.
“Abandon your ship!” he bellowed. “If you would not sink with it!”
In truth, Sotha Sil could have exploded the vessel with but a single ball of fire, but he chose to take his time, to give the crew a chance to dive off into the warm water. When he was certain there was no one living aboard, he focused his energy into a destructive wave that shook the air and water as it discharged. The ship and the Duke's payment to the Morag Tong sunk to the bottom of the Inner Sea.
“Night Mother,” thought Sotha Sil, as he floated towards shore to alert the harbormaster that some sailors were in need of rescue. “Everyone bows to supply and demand.”
The Year is Continued in Last Seed.

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