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【书籍搬运】2920, Frostfall (v10) 2920,霜降月(卷十)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_Frostfall_(v10)
翻译:tails

2920年 霜降月 10日
Phrygias,高岩
那魔物在她面前眨巴着眼睛,一脸茫然,目光呆滞,血盆大口一张一阖,仿佛正在重新领悟它的功能。利齿间垂下一滴唾液,悬挂在半空。图娅拉从未见过这种生物,它形似蜥蜴,硕大的身躯却靠两条后腿支撑,好像人一般。米妮斯塔见此情形竟热烈地鼓起掌来。 “我的孩子,”她得意地说,“这么短时间你就有了如此大的长进。能不能告诉我,在你召唤这条魔龙时,脑子里想的都是什么呢?” 图娅拉感到脑中一片空白,花了好一阵才回过神来。她只记得自己方才好像脱离了尘世的束缚,堕入了湮没地狱之中,然后她抓住这只肮脏的魔物,用意念把它召唤进了现实世界,那种感觉仍令她惊悸不已。 “我只想到了红色,”图娅拉努力回忆着,“想着它的醇厚与清澈。突然我感到浑身充满了渴望,于是我念动咒语,就召唤出了这么个东西。” “渴望是一位年轻女巫的力量之源,”米妮斯塔说道,“只有渴望才能解释这种情形。如果不是纯粹的精灵作祟,这只魔龙也不会出现在你跟前。那么,你能否与刚才一样,轻松地化解掉自己的渴望呢?” 图娅拉闭上双眼,念出了驱除咒。那魔物瞬间就像阳光下的水渍般得无影无踪,临走前仍不忘眨巴双眼,仍旧一副不解的表情。米妮斯塔上前拥抱了她这位黑精灵学生,笑容中透露着欢喜。 “我真是不敢相信,你来女巫团才一个月零一天,就已经比这里的大部分人走的都要远了。你的力量简直与生俱来,图娅拉,你与精灵是如此情投意合,仿佛恋人一般。总有一天,你会担负起领导这个女巫团的重担——我不会看走眼的!“ 图娅拉笑了,她喜欢听到人们的赞扬。哀伤城的公爵曾夸耀过她的美貌;家人也表扬过她的举止,可那是在她给他们蒙羞之前。凯索不过是个随行的旅伴,他的褒奖一文不值。然而在米妮斯塔身边,她感觉到了家的温暖。 ”您还会领导女巫团很多年的,老师。“图娅拉说。 “我也希望如此。可精灵在时间问题上总是模棱两可,尽管它们能时刻与你伴你,向你传授真知。但你不用怪罪它们,时间对它们来说已算不了什么。”米妮斯塔说着打开棚屋的门,一阵轻盈的秋风钻进来,吹走了魔龙留下的腐臭。”言归正传,我打算让你去维瑞斯特走一趟。骑马的话大约一星期能到,往返要两周。让多丽莎和赛尔菲娜也和你一起去。虽说我们这儿的东西大多能自给自足,但有些草药还得到别处去采,而且宝石也快用光了。另外得让城里的人知道,你已经是斯凯冯顿女巫团麾下的一员了。很快你就会发现,有个坏名声能给你带来的好处远比麻烦要多得多。” 图娅拉领命去了。她与两个姐妹整理好行装,跨上马鞍,就看见米妮斯塔抱着五个月大的博斯瑞尔前来与母亲吻别。女巫们都很疼爱这个幼小的丹莫婴儿,她的父亲是位恶毒的公爵,她母亲却是在走投无路之时,于帝国腹地的丛林中由一位埃雷德精灵协助将她产下的。图娅拉知道这些养母们一定会用生命去保护这个小家伙。一阵依依惜别后,三位年轻的女巫策马钻进了茂密的森林,在一片暮秋的怀抱中踏上了旅途。
2920年 霜降月 12日
德温安,高岩
星期五晚上,怨妇酒吧里人声鼎沸,屋子中央的坑洞内火苗腾腾,每个人的脸上都映着一股幽光,仿佛阿克图斯异教挂毯上所绘的饱受折磨的众生相。凯索和表弟找了老位子坐下,要了一壶麦芽酒。 “你去见过男爵了吗?”帕里斯问道。 “是的,说不定他还能在Urvaius的宫殿里给我讨份差使呢。”凯索骄傲地说,“具体的我不方便透露,你也知道,所谓的国家机密。这该死的鬼地方今晚怎么人这么多?” “有一群黑暗精灵刚刚上岸。他们从战场上来的,我还打算等你来后向他们介绍介绍,好歹你也算是个老兵。“ 凯索的脸顿时羞得通红。但他很快就镇定下来,问道:“他们到这儿来做什么?不是已经休战了吗?” “具体的我也不清楚,”帕里斯说,“不过很明显,皇帝和维威克又开始了新一轮谈判。那些黑精灵在这儿投了些钱,急着要来照看,结果发现码头这儿还算太平。不过想知道个究竟,还是亲自去问问他们吧。” 说着,帕里斯就硬拽着表兄的胳膊,把他强行拉到了酒吧的另一边,凯索费了好大的劲也没能把他挣开。桌子的四周围坐着一群丹莫旅行者,他们和当地人有说有笑。这伙人年纪不大,性情随和,穿着和举止都很体面,一看就是生意人,他们边说边比划,借着酒的后劲,肢体语言显得相当丰富。 “打扰了,”帕里斯打断了他们的谈话,“我这位腼腆的表兄凯索也上过战场,他为现世神维威克效过劳。” “我只认识一个叫凯索的,”一位醉醺醺的黑暗精灵上前握住凯索的另一只手,脸上满是友善而大度的微笑,“全名是凯索•惠特里,维威克称他是史上最蹩脚的探子。都怪他那漏洞百出的情报,害我们丢掉了Ald 玛拉k。看在你的份上,朋友,希望今后不会有人把你和他混起来。” 凯索干笑着,听那年轻人开始讲述他的事迹,期间还有不少添油加醋的成分,爽朗的笑声不时在桌子上空回荡。数双眼睛落到凯索身上,不过还是没有当地人愿意站出来戳穿那个故事里的傻瓜正是他们跟前的这个家伙。这其中最惊讶的当属他的表弟帕里斯,这个年轻人满心欢喜地以为自己的表兄是位荣归故里的大英雄。而过不了几时,这话也会传到男爵那里,只要有人再复述这个故事,他的愚钝就将再平添一分。 凯索浑身上下的每一片灵魂几乎都在咒骂现世神维威克。
2920年 霜降月 21日
帝都,赛瑞迪尔
可达身着洁白如雪的赫加瑟莫萨教院女祭司制服,在冬季第一场风暴过去前抵达了帝都。阳光刺破云雾,年轻貌美的红卫姑娘在护卫的陪同下骑马穿过宽阔的街道,慢慢步向皇宫。她与姐姐很不一样,瑞嘉身材高挑,面庞消瘦,神色傲慢,可达却生得小巧玲珑,有着一双棕色的大眼睛。人们见此情形,不禁纷纷对比起来。 “这瑞嘉夫人被处决到现在还不到一个月吧,”一位女佣嘟哝着,把头探出窗外,正与邻居们挤眉弄眼。 “估计她出修道院也不过一个月,”另一位妇女点点头,加入了闲话的行列,“这姑娘太可怜了,她姐姐真是死有余辜,瞧瞧她如今落得个什么下场。”
2920年 霜降月 24日
德温安,高岩
凯索站在码头上,望着初冬的冻雨一滴滴落入水面,心想自己会晕船真是今生一大憾事。如今整个泰姆利亚都已没有他的栖身之处,维威克有关他那蹩脚探子的趣闻已经传遍了大陆的每一座酒馆,德温安城的男爵也撤销了与他的合约。毫无疑问,匕首瀑布的人们此刻也在嘲笑他,还有晨星,利尔莫兹,瑞蒙,翠心城,甚至阿卡维尔和约库达。也许还不如干脆沉入海底了事。但这样的想法并未在他脑海中逗留太久,萦绕在他心头的并非绝望,而是愤怒,一股不能平息、无以名状的怨愤。 “对不起,先生,”身后突然传来一个声音,把他吓了一跳,“很抱歉打扰您,您能否为我推荐一所酒馆,好让我今晚能有个地方落脚呢?” 在他身后是位年轻的诺德人,肩上扛着一只麻袋。很显然他刚下船。一星期以来总算有个人愿意搭理凯索,而不是拿他当笑料了。尽管情绪无比低沉,但凯索还是友好地和他聊了起来。 “你刚从天际省来吗?”凯索问。 “不,先生,其实我正打算上那儿去。”小伙子说道,“我要回家。我刚从哨戒城乘船过来,之前还经过了Stros M’Kai,再往前是瓦伦森林的Woodhearth,我是从夏暮岛的亚蒂姆出发的。我的名字叫韦勒格。” 凯索也做了一番自我介绍,握住了他的手。“你说你从亚蒂姆来?你是赛伊克教团的人?” “不,先生,已经不是了,”小伙子耸了耸肩,“我被开除了。” “你知道怎样召唤迪德拉吗?是这样,我想诅咒一个特别厉害的家伙,有人管他叫现世神,可我至今仍一筹莫展。男爵不愿见我,男爵夫人还算可怜我,准许我用他们的召唤间。”凯索滔滔不绝地说,“可我用尽了各种仪式,献了无数祭品,也还是没有结果。” “那是因为我以前的老师,索塔·希尔,”韦勒格略带酸楚地回答,“他与迪德拉王子们做了交易,现在迪德拉不会再受任何普通人的召唤,除非战争结束。只有赛伊克才能与迪德拉交流,此外还有一些流浪的巫师或女巫。” “你刚才说,女巫?”
2920年 霜降月 29日
Phrygias,高岩
苍白的日光在薄雾中时隐时现,洒在繁茂的森林间,图娅拉、多丽莎和赛尔菲娜正骑马并行着。潮湿的泥土上覆盖着一层薄霜,夹杂着落叶,令没有道路的山坡变得湿滑难行。图娅拉努力抑制着回家的兴奋,前往韦瑞斯特的旅途精彩纷呈,她喜欢当地居民们那种恐惧而敬畏的目光。但这几天来,她心中只希望能尽快回与姐妹与孩子相见。 刺骨的寒风吹起她的头发,遮蔽了她的视线,她只好全神贯注地盯着眼前的道路,连有人逼近也浑然不觉,直到他差点和她撞个满怀才回过神来。她转过头去,发现竟是凯索,不禁大叫起来,声音中带着与老友重逢的欣喜。他脸色苍白,面容憔悴,她以为那也许只是旅途劳顿。 “你怎么回Phrygias来了?”她笑道,“难道你在德温安不招人待见吗?” “待见得很,”凯索说,“我是来找斯凯枫顿女巫团的。” “和我们一起走吧,”图娅拉说,“我领你去见米妮斯塔。” 四人结伴而行,女巫们向凯索讲了她们在韦瑞斯特的经历。很明显,能离开老巴贝恩农场,对多丽莎和赛尔菲娜来说也是一次难得的机遇,她们生在农场,是作为女巫的后代被养大的。高岩的日常生活对她们来说仿佛另一处天地,对图娅拉也一样。凯索很少插话,只是微笑着,不时点点头,算是一种肯定。幸好她们没有听到有关他的传言,也有可能是她们不愿意说。 多丽莎讲起了她在酒馆听到的一个故事,说有个小偷在当铺里被关了整整一夜,欢声笑语间,他们已经翻过了一座熟悉的山丘。突然,她的表情僵硬了。原本谷仓所在的地方竟什么都看不见了。其他三人顺着她的目光望向浓雾的远端,瞬间悟到了什么,慌忙策马奔向原本应当是斯凯冯顿女巫团的所在地。 火已经灭了很久。地上尽是灰烬,还有几具骷髅和一些破损的武器,什么都没剩下,凯索立刻明白了这是遭到兽人的洗劫。 女巫们跌下马来,在废墟中狂奔呼喊着。赛尔菲娜发现了一块染有血渍的破布,那是米妮斯塔身上的斗篷,她将碎布凑到眼前,嚎啕大哭起来。图娅拉呼喊着博斯瑞尔的名字,但回答她的只有尘土间呼啸的寒风。 “是谁干的?”她哭叫着,眼泪不停滴落脸颊,“我发誓要召出湮没地狱中的每一丝火焰!他们把我的孩子怎么样了?” “我知道是谁干的,”凯索平静地说,他翻身下马,走向图娅拉,“我认得这些兵器。我在德温安见过这些无恶不作的魔鬼,没想到他们居然会找上你们。这是哀伤城公爵手底下的刺客干的好事。” 他欲言又止,这一串谎话几乎信手拈来,但他能看出来,她立马就相信了他。虽然她对公爵的怨恨已经有所减退,却从未消弭。望着她愤怒的双眼,他知道就算此刻告诉她要召唤出迪德拉,将他们的复仇之火烧遍整个晨风,她也绝不会有半点犹豫。更重要的是,他知道她们一定会听的。 她们确实听了,比渴望更深一层的力量是愤恨,即便那愤恨用错了地方。

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Book Ten of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
Frostfall
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 10 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire


10 Frostfall, 2920

Phrygias, High Rock

The creature before them blinked, senseless, its eyes glazed, mouth opening and closing as if relearning its function. A thin glob of saliva burbled down between its fangs, and hung suspended. Turala had never seen anything of its kind before, reptilian and massive, perched on its hind legs like a man. Mynistera applauded enthusiastically.
“My child,” she crowed. “You have come so far in so short a time. What were you thinking when you summoned this daedroth?”
It took Turala a moment to recall whether she was thinking anything at all. She was merely overwhelmed that she had reached out across the fabric of reality into the realm of Oblivion, and plucked forth this loathsome creature, conjuring it into the world by the power of her mind.
“I was thinking of the color red,” Turala said, concentrating. “The simplicity and clarity of it. And then -- I desired, and spoke the charm. And this is what I conjured up.”
“Desire is a powerful force for a young witch,” said Mynistera. “And it is well matched in this instance. For this daedroth is nothing if not a simple force of the spirits. Can you release your desire as easily?”
Turala closed her eyes and spoke the dismissal invocation. The monster faded away like a painting in sunlight, still blinking confusedly. Mynistera embraced her Dark Elf pupil, laughing with delight.
“I never would have believed it, a month and a day you've been with the coven, and you're already far more advanced than most of the women here. There is powerful blood in you, Turala, you touch spirits like you were touching a lover. You'll be leading this coven one day -- I have seen it!”
Turala smiled. It was good to be complimented. The Duke of Mournhold had praised her pretty face; and her family, before she had dishonored them, praised her manners. Cassyr had been nothing more than a companion: his compliments meant nothing. But with Mynistera, she felt she was home.
“You'll be leading the coven for many years yet, great sister,” said Turala.
“I certainly intend to. But the spirits, while marvelous companions and faultless tellers of truth, are often hazy about the when and hows. You can't blame them really. When and how mean so little to them,” Mynistera opened the door to the shed, allowing the brisk autumn breeze in to dispel the bitter and fetid smells of the daedroth. “Now, I need you to run an errand to Wayrest. It's only a week's ride there, and a week's ride back. Bring Doryatha and Celephyna with you. As much as we try to be self-sufficient, there are herbs we can't grow here, and we seem to run through an enormous quantity of gems in no time at all. It's important that the people of the city learn to recognize you as one of the wise women of Skeffington coven. You'll find the benefits of being notorious far outweigh the inconveniences.”
Turala did as she was bade. As she and her sisters climbed aboard their horses, Mynistera brought her child, little five-month-old Bosriel to kiss her mother good-bye. The witches were in love with the little Dunmer infant, fathered by a wicked Duke, birthed by wild Ayleid elves in the forest heart of the Empire. Turala knew her nursemaids would protect her child with their lives. After many kisses and a farewell wave, the three young witches rode off into the bright woods, under a covering of red, yellow, and orange.
 


12 Frostfall, 2920

Dwynnen, High Rock

For a Middas evening, the Least Loved Porcupine tavern was wildly crowded. A roaring fire in the pit in the center of the room cast an almost sinister glow on all the regulars, and made the abundance of bodies look like a punishment tapestry inspired by the Arcturian Heresies. Cassyr took his usual place with his cousin and ordered a flagon of ale.
“Have you been to see the Baron?” asked Palyth.
“Yes, he may have work for me in the palace of Urvaius,” said Cassyr proudly. “But more than that I can't say. You understand, secrets of state and all that. Why are there so many damned people here tonight?”
“A shipload of Dark Elves just came in to harbor. They've come from the war. I was just waiting until you got here to introduce you as another veteran.”
Cassyr blushed, but regained his composure enough to ask: “What are they doing here? Has there been a truce?”
“I don't know the full story,” said Palyth. “But apparently, the Emperor and Vivec are in negotiations again. These fellas here have investments they were keen to check on, and they figured things on the Bay were quiet enough. But the only way we can get the full story is to talk to the chaps.”
With that, Palyth gripped his cousin's arm and pulled him to the other side of the bar so suddenly, Cassyr would have had to struggle violently to resist. The Dunmer travelers were spread out across four of the tables, laughing with the locals. They were largely amiable young men, well-dressed, befitting merchants, animated in gesture made more extravagant by liquor.
“Excuse me,” said Palyth, intruding on the conversation. “My shy cousin Cassyr was in the war as well, fighting for the living god, Vivec.”
“The only Cassyr I ever heard of,” said one of the Dunmer drunkenly with a wide, friendly smile, shaking Cassyr's free hand. “Was a Cassyr Whitley, who Vivec said was the worst spy in history. We lost Ald Marak due to his bungling intelligence work. For your sake, friend, I hope the two of you were never confused.”
Cassyr smiled and listened as the lout told the story of his failure with bountiful exaggerations which caused the table to roar with laughter. Several eyes looked his way, but none of the locals sought to explain that the fool of the tale was standing at attention. The eyes that stung the most were his cousin's, the young man who had believed that he had returned to Dwynnen a great hero. At some point, certainly, the Baron would hear about it, his idiocy increasing manifold with each retelling.
With every fiber in his soul, Cassyr cursed the living god Vivec.


21 Frostfall, 2920

The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

Corda, in a robe of blinding whiteness, a uniform of the priestesses of the Hegathe Morwha conservatorium, arrived in the City just as the first winter storm was passing. The clouds broke with sunlight, and the beauteous teenaged Redguard girl appeared in the wide avenue with escort, riding toward the Palace. While her sister was tall, thin, angular, and haughty, Corda was a small, round-faced lass with wide brown eyes. The locals were quick to draw comparisons.
“Not a month after Lady Rijja's execution,” muttered a housemaid, peering out the window, and winking to her neighbor.
“And not a month out of the nunnery neither,” the other woman agreed, reveling in the scandal. “This one's in for a ride. Her sister weren't no innocent, and look where she ended up.”
 
 


24 Frostfall, 2920

Dwynnen, High Rock

Cassyr stood on the harbor and watched the early sleet fall on the water. It was a pity, he thought, that he was prone to sea-sickness. There was nothing for him now in Tamriel to the east or to the west. Vivec's tale of his poor spycraft had spread to taverns everywhere. The Baron of Dwynnen had released him from his contract. No doubt they were laughing about him in Daggerfall, too, and Dawnstar, Lilmoth, Rimmen, Greenheart, probably in Akavir and Yokuda for that matter. Perhaps it would be best to drop into the waves and sink. The thought, however, did not stay long in his mind: it was not despair that haunted him, but rage. Impotent fury that he could not assuage.
“Excuse me, sir,” said a voice behind him, making him jump. “I'm sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering whether you could recommend an inexpensive tavern for me to spend the night.”
It was a young man, a Nord, with a sack over his shoulder. Obviously, he had just disembarked from one of the boats. For the first time in weeks, someone was looking at Cassyr as something other than a colossal, famous idiot. He could not help, black as his mood was, but be friendly.
“You've just arrived from Skyrim?” asked Cassyr.
“No, sir, that's where I'm going,” said the fellow. “I'm working my way home. I've come up from Sentinel, and before that Stros M'kai, and before that Woodhearth in Valenwood, and before that Artaeum in Summurset. Welleg's my name.”
Cassyr introduced himself and shook Welleg's hand. “Did you say you came from Artaeum? Are you a Psijic?”
“No, sir, not anymore,” the fellow shrugged. “I was expelled.”
“Do you know anything about summoning daedra? You see, I want to cast a curse against a particularly powerful person, one might say a living god, and I haven't had any luck. The Baron won't allow me in his sight, but the Baroness has sympathy for me and allowed me the use of their Summoning Chambers.” Cassyr spat. “I did all the rituals, made sacrifices, but nothing came of it.”
“That'd be because of Sotha Sil, my old master,” replied Welleg with some bitterness. “The Daedra princes have agreed not to be summoned by any amateurs at least until the war ends. Only the Psijics may counsel with the daedra, and a few nomadic sorcerers and witches.”
“Witches, did you say?”
 


29 Frostfall, 2920

Phrygias, High Rock

Pale sunlight flickered behind the mist bathing the forest as Turala, Doryatha, and Celephyna drove their horses on. The ground was wet with a thin layer of frost, and laden down with goods, it was a slippery way over unpaved hills. Turala tried to contain her excitement about coming back to the coven. Wayrest had been an adventure, and she adored the looks of fear and respect the cityfolk gave her. But for the last few days, all she could think of was returning to her sisters and her child.
A bitter wind whipped her hair forward so she could see nothing but the path ahead. She did not hear the rider approach to her side until he was almost upon her. When she turned and saw Cassyr, she shouted with as much surprise as pleasure at meeting an old friend. His face was pale and drawn, but she took it to be merely from travel.
“What brings you back to Phrygias?” she smiled. “Were you not treated well in Dwynnen?”
“Well enough,” said Cassyr. “I have need of the Skeffington coven.”
“Ride with us,” said Turala. “I'll bring you to Mynistera.”
The four continued on, and the witches regaled Cassyr with tales of Wayrest. It was evident that it was also a rare treat for Doryatha and Celephyna to leave Old Barbyn's Farm. They had been born there, as daughters and grand-daughters of Skeffington witches. Ordinary High Rock city life was exotic to them as it was to Turala. Cassyr said little, but smiled and nodded his head, which was encouragement enough. Thankfully, none of the stories they had heard were about his own stupidity. Or at the very least, they did not tell him.
Doryatha was in the midst of a tale she had heard in a tavern about a thief who had been locked overnight in a pawnshop when they crossed over a familiar hill. Suddenly, she halted in her story. The barn was supposed to be visible, but it was not. The other three followed her gaze into the fog, and a moment later, they rode as fast as they could towards what was once the site of the Skeffington coven.
The fire had long since burned out. Nothing but ashes, skeletons, and broken weaponry remained. Cassyr recognized at once the signs of an orc raid.
The witches fell from their horses, racing through the remains, wailing. Celephyna found a tattered, bloody piece of cloth that she recognized from Mynistera's cloak. She held it to her ashen face, sobbing. Turala screamed for Bosriel, but the only reply was the high whistling wind through the ashes.
“Who did this?” she cried, tears streaking down her face. “I swear I'll conjure up the very flames of Oblivion! What have they done with my baby?”
“I know who did it,” said Cassyr quietly, dropping from his horse and walking towards her. “I've seen these weapons before. I fear I met the very fiends responsible in Dwynnen, but I never thought they'd find you. This is the work of assassins hired by the Duke of Mournhold.”
He paused. The lie came easily. Adopt and improvise. What's more, he could tell instantly that she believed it. Her resentment over the cruelty the Duke had shown her had quieted, but never disappeared. One look at her burning eyes told him that she would summon the daedra and wreak his, and her, revenge upon Morrowind. And what's more, he knew they'd listen.
And listen they did. For the power that is greater than desire is rage. Even rage misplaced.

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