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【书籍搬运】2920, Sun's Dusk (v11) 2920,日暮月(卷十一)

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原文:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:2920,_Sun%27s_Dusk_(v11)
翻译:Loskit

2 日暮月, 2920 塔尔-阿鲁恩,晨风行省
“有人求见,尊敬的夜之母,”卫兵通报道,“是一个Kothringi部落的人,自称是来自黑沼泽的祖克领主,他以帝国吉迪安守备军的名义前来觐见。”

“你觉得我可能会有兴趣见他吗?”夜之母用着一种恶毒的甜蜜腔调问道。

“他说他带来了一封赛瑞迪尔帝国前任女皇写的信。”

“看来今天会很忙啊,”她微笑道,愉悦的轻拍着双手,“带他进来。”

祖克来到房间里。尽管他的着装很厚重,只露出脸部和手掌,但那金属般的皮肤立刻反射出了炉火以及窗外夜晚的暴风雨中的闪电。夜之母同时还留意到,她在注视他的时候,同样也能看到自己,如此高贵、充满魅力、令人敬畏。他一言不发的递上了女皇的信。夜之母一边品尝着她的美酒,一边拆信阅读。

“晨风公爵在今年早些时候也向我允诺了一大笔钱,作为刺杀皇帝的报酬,”她说道,一边将信折起来,“可是他的承诺石沉大海了,这笔报酬没有兑现。这种行为十分令人烦恼,尤其是我已经在宫殿里安插进了我的一名特工了。为什么我要相信你这一大笔如此慷慨的报酬会真的到账呢?”

“我已经带来了,”祖克用简练的语言说道,“就在外边的马车里。”

“那么就搬进来吧,然后我们的交易就成立了,”夜之母微笑道,“皇帝最多活到年底。你把金子留在亚帕拉迪斯那里,然后就可以走了,还是说留下来喝一杯?”

祖克婉拒了夜之母的邀请,选择了离开。在他走出房门的一瞬间,米拉莫尔悄无声息的从帷幔后面闪了出来。夜之母赏了他一杯酒,他也接受了这个盛情。

“我知道这个家伙,祖克,”米拉莫尔谨慎的说道,“但是我不知道他为那个老女皇效命……”

“如果你不介意的话,我们还是聊聊你的事吧,”夜之母说道,尽管她已经知道这个人其实不会介意。

“让我来向您展示一下我的价值吧,”米拉莫尔说道,“给我这个机会,让我来做那个人吧,那个结束皇帝性命的人。我已经杀死了他的儿子,而且你也已经见证了我的本领,我可以藏起来,任何人也发现不了。刚刚你有看到那张帷幔动过一丝一毫吗?”

夜之母满意的微笑着。事态的发展十分合她心意。

“如果你的匕首用的也不错的话……你可以去Bodrum找到他,”她说道,然后指示他应该如何去做。
3 日暮月, 2920 哀伤要塞,晨风行省
公爵凝视着窗外。现在是清晨,连续第四天,一片红雾笼罩在城市上空,闪着霹雳。一股怪异的强风呼啸着吹过街道,把旗帜从城垛上吹飞,让他的子民都战栗不已。一个恐怖的事物正要来到他的领地。他并不算是一个学识特别渊博的人,但是他看得出这种不祥的征兆。当然,他的臣民也能。

“我的信差什么时候能抵达三神那儿?”他咆哮道,怒气冲冲的转向他的城堡总管。

“维威克在遥远的北方,正在与皇帝就条约一事进行谈判,”总管答道,他的身体和声音都因为恐惧而颤抖着,“阿玛莱西亚和索塔·希尔都在奈克洛姆,或许只需要几天的时间就能够联络到他们。”

公爵点了点头。他知道他的信使都很迅速,不过,湮灭地狱的魔掌可能会更快。
6 日暮月, 2920 Bodrum,晨风行省
在这场迷蒙的大雪中依旧燃着一些火把,给人以一种恍若隔世的感觉。两个营地的士兵都突然发现他们都莫名其妙的乱挤成一堆,围着世界上最大的营火:寒冬将常年争战的敌人聚在一起。虽然很少有丹莫士兵会说赛瑞迪尔话,不过他们发现在寻找温暖这件事情上他们是有共同语言的。一名美丽的火卫士少女来到他们之中,想要让自己暖和暖和,她没来得及回到条约谈判的帐篷里,许多人都抬起头来看着她,赞赏她的美丽。

皇帝莱曼三世在谈判还未开始的时候就已经很想要离开了。就在一个月前,他还认为到这个维威克击败他的地点来会面可以表明他的良好诚意,只不过这个地方只给他带来了更多痛苦的回忆,远远的超出他的预料。尽管执政官维斯度-沙耶曾经严正的声明过,这里河流中的岩石天生就是红色的,但是他仍然坚信他看到的溅起的红色的浪花是他手下士兵的血。

“我们已经就条约的细节达成了一致,”他一边说道,一边从他的妃子可达那里接过了一杯尤艾尔酒,“只不过这个地方并不适合进行签约仪式。我们应该去皇宫,那里的壮观和辉煌更能烘托一历史时刻。你应该带上阿玛莱西亚,还有那个巫师老兄。”

“索塔·希尔,”执政官小声的提醒。

“何时?”维威克带着无尽的耐心问。

“一个月之后准时进行,”皇帝说道,他慷慨的微笑着,然后吃力的站起来,“我们可以举行一场盛大的舞会来进行庆祝。不过现在我必须要出去走走,天气这么冷,我的腿都要冻僵了。可达,我亲爱的,你愿意一起来吗?”

“当然,我的陛下,”她回应道,然后搀扶着他走向帐篷外。

“我能跟你一同去吗,我的陛下?”维斯度-沙耶问道。

“在下也求一同前往,”森夏尔王德罗泽尔也这么问着,他是近来才委任的宫廷顾问。

“没有这个必要,我只离开几分钟”莱曼说道。

米拉莫尔仍然蹲伏在八个月前他就藏过的草丛中。现在的地面更加坚硬,被冰雪覆盖着,草丛也因挂满冰渣而变得十分滑溜。他做的每一个细微的动作都会发出嘎吱的声音。如果不是因为聚在营火旁的晨风军队和帝国军队唱着吵闹的歌儿,他根本就不敢藏在离皇帝和他的妃子如此之近的地方。他们正站在峭壁下结冰的小溪的一道河弯旁,四周环绕着闪耀着冰晶光芒的树。

米拉莫尔小心翼翼的从鞘中拔出匕首。他向夜之母略微的夸张了他使用匕首的技巧。的确,他是曾用匕首割开了朱历克王子的喉咙,不过当时可怜的王子根本没有机会还击或是防御。不过仍然问题不大,从背后刺死一名只有一只眼睛的老人又有多难呢?如此简单的刺杀任务,需要多厉害的匕首技巧呢?

他的最佳机会主动地来到了他面前。妃子在树林的深处发现了什么东西,她认为是一个有着奇异外形的冰柱,然后快速的跑了过去。皇帝还留在后面,大声笑着。他把头扭向峭壁的方向,看着他的士兵唱着歌曲的副歌部分,将后背完全暴露给潜伏的刺客。米拉莫尔知道,时机到了。他小心的不让自己的步伐在冰面上发出声响,然后向前准备刺去,就要接近了。

几乎是在他向皇帝刺去的同时,他感觉到有一只强壮的手臂拉住了他握着匕首的手,而又有另外一只手向他的颈项里插入了一把锐物。他无法叫出声。皇帝仍然注视着他的士兵,没有发现米拉莫尔又被拖回了草丛中,而另外一双更加技巧娴熟的手正悄无声息的夺走刺客的生命。

刺客的血溅洒出来,立即在冻结的大地上结为冰晶,米拉莫尔无助的望着,他的生命正在离他而去,他看见皇帝和妃子慢慢的踱回了峭壁上的营帐里。
12 日暮月, 2920 哀伤要塞,晨风行省
哀伤要塞城堡的庭院里只剩下了一大团永恒喷发着的火焰,它向天空发出轰鸣,让云都沸腾起来。一片浓厚的、油腻的烟雾卷过街道,点燃了一切木质或是纸质的物品。一些长着翅膀的像是蝙蝠一样的生物不断的侵扰着市民,将他们从藏身之处赶到空旷地上,在那里他们遇到了一支军队。无辜平民的血洒满了整座城市,正是这些血液才使得哀伤要塞没有被完全烧毁。

莫拉恩斯·达根微笑着,看着眼前的城堡慢慢塌落。

“我差点没打算来这一趟,”他大声的说道,他的声音给这场混乱火上浇油,“简直无法想象,我险些错过了这些乐趣。”

他的注意力突然被天空上他散布的那片黑红色的阴云中透出的一丝针尖般细微的光亮吸引住了。他循着光线找到了来源,两个人,一男一女,站在城镇上方的山坡上。男人穿着白色的长袍,他一眼就认出来是索塔-希尔,就是那名说服了所有来自湮灭地狱的王子们,并促成那场毫无意义的和约的术士。

“如果你是为了找哀伤要塞公爵而来的,他根本就不在这儿,”莫拉恩斯·达根笑道,“但是下雨的时候,你说不定可以找到他的碎尸。”

“迪德拉,我们的确无法杀死你,”阿玛莱西亚说道,她的面容坚毅而庄严,“不过你很快就会后悔的。”

就这样,两名现世神以及一名湮灭王子在哀伤要塞的废墟中狭路相逢。
17 日暮月, 2920 塔尔-阿鲁恩,晨风行省
“伟大的夜之母,”卫兵说道,“您在皇宫中的特工发来一封信。”

夜之母认真的阅读了这份消息。测验十分成功,米拉莫尔没能藏好,于是被杀死了。皇帝差点落入险境。夜之母立刻回了信。
18 日暮月, 2920 巴尔莫拉,晨风行省
索塔-希尔的表情庄严而深不可测,他在自己宫殿前方的广场中迎来了维威克。维威克听闻战斗的消息之后,立马从他在Bodrum的营帐星夜兼程赶来了这里,他行进了很长的距离,以难以捕捉到的快速穿过了达格斯·乌尔的危险领地。他向南方望去,在整个的旅途中都可以看到红色螺旋状的阴云,意味着战斗还在继续,日复一日。在格尼西斯,他遇到了一名索塔-希尔的信使,告诉他在巴尔莫拉碰面。

“阿玛莱西亚在哪?”

“里面,”索塔-希尔疲惫的说道。在他的下巴上挂着一条很长的恐怖伤口。“她伤的很重,不过莫拉恩斯·达根很长时间也不能再从湮灭地狱来这里了。”

阿玛莱西亚躺在一张丝绸的床上,维威克的医师正在治疗她。她的脸色,甚至是嘴唇,都如用岩石一样灰暗,血迹也从绷带中渗出来。维威克握住了她冰冷的手,阿玛莱西亚的嘴无声的动了动,她正在做梦。

当时她身处一片火焰风暴中,与莫拉恩斯·达根进行战斗。在她的四周,被烧得焦黑的城堡在放肆的崩塌,朝夜晚的天空溅射出毁灭的火星。迪德拉王子的利爪刺进了她的腹部,向她的血管中注入毒液,不过同时她也掐断了他的脖子。她倒在被她击败的敌人身旁,看见被大火吞噬的城堡并不是哀伤要塞,而是皇宫。
24 日暮月, 2920 帝国都城,赛瑞迪尔
冬季的寒风侵蚀着整座城市,拍打着皇宫的窗户以及玻璃穹顶。颤栗的光线照亮了人们的轮廓,给他们一种鬼魅般的外观。

皇帝大声的喝斥这,命令他的手下们抓紧时间进行宴会的准备工作。这是他最享受的事情,当然比战争更享受。德罗泽尔王负责监管表演人员,他有着很称职的能力。而皇帝本人则在安排着晚餐的一切细节。烤nebfish,蔬菜骨髓沙拉,奶油汤,黄油helerac,鳕鱼屑,牛舌肉冻。执政官维斯度-沙耶也提出了自己的一些看法,不过阿卡维尔人的口味通常都比较奇怪。

在晚上,可达夫人服侍皇帝就寝。

这一年在夜星月结束。

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Book Eleven of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era
Sun's Dusk
by Carlovac Townway
Volume 11 of a historical series about Vivec and the Empire


2 Sun's Dusk, 2920

Tel Aruhn, Morrowind

"A man to see you, Night Mother,” said the guard. “A Kothringi tribesman who presents his credentials as Lord Zuuk of Black Marsh, part of the Imperial Garrison of Gideon.”
“What makes you think I'd have even the slightest possible interest in seeing him?” asked the Night Mother with venomous sweetness.
“He brings a letter from the late Empress of the Cyrodilic Empire.”
“We are having a busy day,” she smiled, clapping her hands together with delight. “Show him in.”
Zuuk entered the chamber. His metallic skin, though exposed only at his face and hands, caught the light of the fireplace and the lightning of the stormy night from the window. The Night Mother noted also that she could see herself as he saw her: serene, beautiful, fear-inspiring. He handed her his letter from the Empress without a word. Sipping her wine, she read it.
“The Duke of Morrowind also offered me an appreciable sum to have the Emperor murdered earlier this year,” she said, folding the letter. “His payment sunk, and never was delivered. It was a considerable annoyance, particularly as I had already gone to the trouble of putting one of my agents in the palace. Why should I assume that your more-than-generous payment, from a dead woman, will arrive?”
“I brought it with me,” said Zuuk simply. “It is in the carriage outside.”
“Then bring it in and our business is complete,” smiled the Night Mother. “The Emperor will be dead by year's end. You may leave the gold with Apaladith. Unless you'd care for some wine?”
Zuuk declined the offer and withdrew. The moment he left the room, Miramor slipped noiselessly back from behind the dark tapestry. The Night Mother offered him a glass of wine, and he accepted it.
“I know that fellow, Zuuk,” said Miramor carefully. “I didn't know he worked for the old Empress though.”
“Let's talk about you some more, if you don't mind,” she said, knowing he would, in fact, not mind.
“Let me show you my worth,” said Miramor. “Let me be the one to do the Emperor in. I've already killed his son, and you saw there how well I can hide myself away. Tell me you saw one ripple in the tapestry.”
The Night Mother smiled. Things were falling into place rather nicely.
“If you know how to use a dagger, you will find him at Bodrum,” she said, and described to him what he must do.


3 Sun's Dusk, 2920

Mournhold, Morrowind

The Duke stared out the window. It was early morning, and for the fourth straight day, a red mist hung over the city, flashing lightning. A freakish wind blew through the streets, ripping his flags from the castle battlements, forcing all his people to close their shudders tightly. Something terrible was coming to his land. He was not a greatly learned man, but he knew the signs. So too did his subjects.
“When will my messengers reach the Three?” he growled, turning to his castellan.
Vivec is far to the north, negotiating the treaty with the Emperor,” the man said, his face and voice trembling with fear. “Almalexia and Sotha Sil are in Necrom. Perhaps they can be reached in a few days time.”
The Duke nodded. He knew his messengers were fast, but so too was the hand of Oblivion.
 


6 Sun's Dusk, 2920

Bodrum, Morrowind

Torchlight caught in the misting snow gave the place an otherworldly quality. The soldiers from both camps found themselves huddled together around the largest of the bonfires: winter bringing enemies of four score of warring close together. While only a few of the Dunmer guard could speak Cyrodilic, they found common ground battling for warmth. When a pretty Redguard maiden passed into their midst to warm herself before moving back to the treaty tent, many a man from both army raised their eyes in approval.
The Emperor Reman III was eager to leave negotiations before they had ever begun. A month earlier, he thought it would be a sign of good will to meet at the site of his defeat to Vivec's army, but the place brought back more bad memories than he thought it would. Despite the protestations of Potentate Versidue-Shaie that the rocks of the river were naturally red, he could swear he saw splatters of his soldier's blood.
“We have all the particulars of the treaty,” he said, taking a glass of hot yuelle from his mistress Corda. “But here and now is not the place for signing. We should do it at the Imperial Palace, with all the pomp and splendor this historic occasion demands. You must bring Almalexia with you too. And that wizard fellow.”
“Sotha Sil,” whispered the Potentate.
“When?” asked Vivec with infinite patience.
“In exactly a month's time,” said the Emperor, smiling munificently and clambering awkwardly to his feet. “We will hold a grand ball to commemorate. Now I must take a walk. My legs are all cramped up with the weather. Corda, my dear, will you walk with me?”
“Of course, your Imperial Majesty,” she said, helping him toward the tent's entrance.
“Would you like me to come with you as well, your Imperial Majesty?” asked Versidue-Shaie.
“Or I?” asked King Dro'Zel of Senchal, a newly appointed advisor to the court.
“That won't be necessary, I won't be gone a minute,” said Reman.
Miramor crouched in the same rushes he had hidden in nearly eight months before. Now the ground was hard and snow-covered, and the rushes slick with ice. Every slight movement he made issued forth a crunch. If it were not for the raucous songs of the combined Morrowind and Imperial army gathered about the bonfire, he would not have dared creep as close to the Emperor and his concubine. They were standing at the curve in the frozen creek below the bluff, surrounded by trees sparkling with ice.
Carefully, Miramor removed the dagger from its sheath. He had slightly exaggerated his abilities with a short blade to the Night Mother. True, he had used one to cut the throat of Prince Juilek, but the lad was not in any position to fight back at the time. Still, how difficult could it be to stab an old man with one eye? What sort of blade skill would such an easy assassination require?
His ideal moment presented itself before his eyes. The woman saw something deeper in the woods, an icicle of an unusual shape she said, and darted off to get it. The Emperor remained behind, laughing. He turned to the face of the bluff to see his soldiers singing their song's refrain, his back to his assassin. Miramor knew the moment had come. Mindful of the sound of his footfall on the icy ground, he stepped forward and struck. Very nearly.
Almost simultaneously, he was aware of a strong arm holding back his striking arm and another one punching a dagger into his throat. He could not scream. The Emperor, still looking up at the soldiers, never saw Miramor pulled back into the brush and a hand much more skilled than his slicing into his back, paralyzing him.
His blood pooling out and already crystallizing on the frozen ground, Miramor watched, dying, as the Emperor and his courtesan returned to join the camp up on the bluff.
 


12 Sun's Dusk, 2920

Mournhold, Morrowind

A gout of ever-erupting flame was all that remained of the central courtyard of Castle Mournhold, blasting skyward into the boiling clouds. A thick, tarry smoke rolled through the streets, igniting everything that was wood or paper on fire. Winged bat-like creatures harried the citizens from their hiding places out into the open, where they were met by the real army. The only thing that kept all of Mournhold from burning to the ground was the wet, sputtering blood of its people.
Mehrunes Dagon smiled as he surveyed the castle crumbling.
“To think I nearly didn't come,” he said aloud, his voice booming over the chaos. “Imagine missing all this fun.”
His attention was arrested by a needle-thin shaft of light piercing through his black and red shadowed sky. He followed it to its source, two figures, a man and a woman standing on the hill above town. The man in the white robe he recognized immediately as Sotha Sil, the sorcerer who had talked all the Princes of Oblivion into that meaningless truce.
“If you've come for the Duke of Mournhold, he isn't here,” laughed Mehrunes Dagon. “But you might find pieces of him the next time it rains.”
Daedra, we cannot kill you,” said Almalexia, her face hard and resolute. “But that you will soon regret.”
With that, two living gods and a prince of Oblivion engaged in battle on the ruins of Mournhold.
 


17 Sun's Dusk, 2920

Tel Aruhn, Morrowind

“Night Mother,” said the guard. “Correspondence from your agent in the Imperial Palace.”
The Night Mother read the note carefully. The test had been a success: Miramor had been successfully detected and slain. The Emperor was in very unsafe hands. The Night Mother responded immediately.
 


18 Sun's Dusk, 2920

Balmora, Morrowind

Sotha Sil, face solemn and unreadable, greeted Vivec at the grand plaza in front of his palace. Vivec had ridden day and night after hearing about the battle in his tent in Bodrum, crossing mile after mile, cutting through the dangerous ground at Dagoth-Ur at blinding speed. To the south, during all the course of the voyage, he could see the whirling red clouds and knew that the battle was continuing, day after day. In Gnisis, he met a messenger from Sotha Sil, asking him to meet at Balmora.
“Where is Almalexia?”
“Inside,” said Sotha Sil wearily. There was a long, ugly gash running across his jaw. “She's gravely injured, but Mehrunes Dagon will not return from Oblivion for many a moon.”
Almalexia lay on a bed of silk, tended to by Vivec's own healers. Her face, even her lips, was gray as stone, and blood stained through the gauze of her bandages. Vivec took her cold hand. Almalexia's mouth moved wordlessly. She was dreaming.
She was battling Mehrunes Dagon again amid a firestorm. All around her, the blackened husk of a castle crumbled, splashing sparks into the night sky. The Daedra's claws dug into her belly, spreading poison through her veins while Almalexia throttled him. As she sank to the ground beside her defeated foe, she saw that the castle consumed by fire was not Castle Mournhold. It was the Imperial Palace.
 


24 Sun's Dusk, 2920

The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

A winter gale blew over the city, splashing the windows and glass domes of the Imperial Palace. Quivering light rays illuminated the figures within in surreal patterns.
The Emperor barked orders to his staff in preparations for the banquet and ball. This was what he enjoyed best, more than battle. King Dro'Zel was supervising the entertainment, having strong opinions on the matter. The Emperor himself was arranging the details of the dinner. Roast nebfish, vegetable marrow, cream soups, buttered helerac, codscrumb, tongue in aspic. Potentate Versidue-Shaie had made a few suggestions of his own, but the tastes of the Akaviri were very peculiar.
The Lady Corda accompanied the Emperor to his chambers as night fell.
The Year is Concluded in Evening Star.

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