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【书籍搬运】Father Of The Niben 尼本之父

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原文地址:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Father_Of_The_Niben

中文翻译:

尼本之父

——弗罗林·加里尔(Florin Jaliil)

引言

给任何人写传记都是一项挑战。通常问题出在对材料的评估上,要将一部编年史中的偏见看法同第二部、第三部分别比对。据我了解,渥金·贾思在写作他那部获评甚高的孤寂城狼女王系列作品时,参考了超过一百部同时代的论述。虽然我的任务也面临类似的问题,但与之相比我就没什么好抱怨的了。

关于那个名叫“领航员托帕”之人的记录只有一部,这个人是已知最早的探索泰姆瑞尔的艾德莫探险家。史诗《尼本之父》只有四节暂短的片段留存至今,但也提供了一幅精灵纪元中期的有趣,或者说极富争议的画面,也许正是在那个年代领航员托帕环绕着泰姆瑞尔进行了航行。

尽管《尼本之父》是对领航员托帕的旅程的唯一书面记录,它倒不是证明他存在的唯一证据。在夏暮岛伟大水晶塔的财富中就有他粗糙却迷人的地图,这是他留给全泰姆瑞尔的财富。

对艾德莫文的《Udhendra 尼本u》,即《尼本之父》的翻译是我亲自完成的,而对我某些用词的选择我也接受其他学者的不同看法。我并不能保证我的翻译能保持原文那般的优美:仅仅为保持句意前后连贯就让我着实苦干了一番。

片段一:

第二艘船,帕斯昆聂,领航员伊利欧

掌舵指引,跟随直指南方之指路石;

第三艘船,名为尼本,由领航员托帕

负责指引,跟随指向东北之指路石;

依据来自水晶塔的命令,

他们将要持续不断前行,

八十盈缺在此之后,就要回还通报。

只有尼本回归第一要塞,船上装满

黄金香料还有各类羽毛,异兽珍禽,

无论标本还是圈养生擒。

尽管,唉唉,远古大陆托帕并未寻见,

他讲述了各类故事,关于探索之地

这些故事都是充满惊奇。

昼夜交替六十六整,他航行并翻越

凶海怒涛,通过漩涡,以及穿过惊险

重重迷雾,燃烧似火,最终他便到达

一片海湾,择其河口,他便就此登陆

于一小谷,其中牧场,雅致阳光灼灼。

他与手下就此休息,可怕怒吼传来,

恐怖兽人,川流涌出,他们来自泥泞

幽深峡谷,食人巨齿,凝固血块腥腥

许多个世纪以来,在远古的埃德莫沉船与码头遗址中出土了一些奇怪的水晶球,都是可以追溯到精灵纪元乃至黎明纪元的奇怪物件,在被证实每个水晶球都有旋转角度到某一特定方向的趋势之前,这些东西迷惑了不少考古学家。水晶球有三个变种,一种指向南方,一种指向东北,而第三种指向西北。

它们以何原理工作还是个谜,但它们似乎与某些特定的能量线同调。这些就是片段中的“指路石”,每个领航员都用它来为船队指明要去的方向。片段中没提到名字的那艘船航向了西北,去往瑟拉斯与约库达。帕斯昆聂(Pasquiniel)拥有南方路石,一定是朝派安多尼航去的。托帕和他的东北路石就找到了泰姆瑞尔大陆。

从片段中透露的信息极为清楚地显示了这三艘船被指派的任务——寻找回到远古大陆的航线,这样已经居住在夏暮岛的艾德莫就可以知道他们的故土现今状况如何。由于这本书是为了研究领航员托帕而写,这里就没有多少空间留给艾德莫出走远古大陆的不同理论了。

如果我只能把这首诗作为唯一的信息源,那我就不得不同意那些相信传统看法的学者了,即有几艘船离开了远古大陆却遭遇了风暴。幸存者航行到了夏暮岛,但没有指路石,他们就无法得知家乡的方位。不然的话,又怎么能解释三艘船驶向三个相反的方向却只为寻找单独一个地点呢?

结果自然是只有一艘船回来了,而我们不知道其余两船中的一艘或者两艘是找到了远古大陆,还是死在了海上,又或者是落入了远古派安多尼人、斯劳德或约库达人的手中。我们必须如此假定,否则就只能认为艾德莫特别愚蠢,以为三艘船中至少有一艘方向正确。托帕说不定也差点碰上了同样情况,因为他向东北方行进的距离并不足够远。

于是,托帕从第一要塞出发向东北方航行,结果偏巧在阿贝希安海中,朝这个方向行进就能避开全部陆地持续航行最远距离。如果他向正东走,他就会于几周之内在今日塞瑞迪尔的科洛文西土某处登陆大陆。要是他驶向东南,几天内他就能到达瓦伦林地的驼峰角。但我们的领航员,从他自己的和我们当代的地图判断,笔直驶向了东北,穿过阿贝希安海,进入了髂骨湾,在持续航行两个月后才第一次登陆于靠近今日安提克莱(Anticlere)的某处。

这首诗中南高岩延绵不断的青翠山岭绝不会被错认为他处,任何去过当地的人都能立刻判断出来。当然问题就是,这里十分清楚地写出了兽人占领了这片区域,而我们从中能推断出什么。传统看法是在艾德莫定居于大陆之前,兽人还并不存在,因为他们是作为瑞斯丹时代著名的屈尼马克与勃耶西亚之战的结果而成为独立种族的。

有可能传统看法是错的。也许兽人是在艾德莫殖民大陆之前就存在的土生部落。也许这些只是另一种“被诅咒之民”——艾德莫语中的“欧西莫(Orsi莫)”,也就是“兽人”,而这个名字将会被安放到另一个时代的兽人身上。很遗憾片段就在这里结束了,这导致通向真实的更多线索毫无疑问遗失了。

片段一与片段二中间的丢失部分倒可以推测出来。这中间一定超过了八十个月,因为托帕目前已经跑到了泰姆瑞尔大陆的另一边,在寻找远古大陆失败后打算向西南航行,返回第一要塞。

片段二:

钢铁峭壁,巍然耸立,毫无西去航道

如此悬崖,赫然突起,犹如巨人之颌,

于是尼本只能航行向南。

正当他们驶过孤岛,遍布沙滩树木

宛若圣地和平缭绕,于是众人欢呼。

好景不长,巨影升起,狂喜化为惊恐,

出自树木,长有皮翼,仿佛延展披风。

蝙蝠蜥蜴身形巨大,甚若船只但是

好领航员托帕举弓,一箭射中头颅。

巨影坠跌,他问“波孙”,“你觉得它已死?”

巨影接近白髯波涛,但未等它落入,

又是一箭射入心脏,只为确保亡故。

之后又是四十六日,尼本继续南行

我们能看出托帕除了是一名非凡的领航员、制图师、生存专家以及故事王,还是一位箭术大师。当然这可能只是诗的破格,但我们确实有考古学证据显示精灵纪元的艾德莫都是些技术老道的射手。他们的多层木弓与银丝线角美丽非凡,而且据我从专家口中听来,即便在数千年之后也依旧致命异常。

在这个片段开头托帕他们遇见了一种生物,将其想象成一条龙的看法很吸引人,但这种生物看上去更像是如今晨风的那些峭壁鸟的祖先。那凶险的悬崖海岸很像奈克洛姆周边区域,而戈恩(Gorne)岛也许就是那只“蝙蝠蜥蜴”的巢穴所在地。现如今在东晨风,根据我的了解,并没有类似的生物存在。

片段三:

恶臭沼泽,以及其上那些人类蜥蜴

向东退却,而后托帕还有船员全体

心情喜悦,畅快淋漓,只为最终得见

钻石蓝色,纯净无比,那片甜美洋面。

整整三天,他们雀跃,航行转向西北

第一要塞,于彼召唤,但是希望破灭

因为陆地,令人恐惧,如同巨大盾牌

缓缓升起于他们的面前。

而领航员托帕本人,也是愤怒难安,

亲手绘制精细地图,举起细细查看,

由此向南,是否最佳之选

大陆有终,还是另辟蹊径,

转而向北,蛇形河道蜿蜒。

“向北行进!”听他高吼,船员神色悲伤。

“转向北方!不要恐惧!我们船向北航!”

跟随托帕的足迹,我们发现他沿着晨风的边缘航行,深入到了黑沼泽南部,似乎决定好要最大限度地跟随指路石的指向。他离开的沼泽也许靠近今日的吉迪安。根据我们目前了解的托帕的性格,我们就能理解他被卡在黑沼泽与艾尔斯维尔之间的海湾时会有多么沮丧。

这个人绝对遵守命令,而且知道他原本应该向东南方航行,穿过河道回到第一要塞。看看他的地图,我们就能明白那时他正在寻找那条河道,因为他画出了晨风的内海,还有黑沼泽的几条支流,结果就像在他之后的许多其他冒险者遇到的那样,他们毫无疑问地被当地的疾病以及凶猛的亚龙人部落赶出来了。

对照如今的泰姆瑞尔地图,我们就能发现他选择北上而不是南下犯下了错误。他那时肯定不知道他以为是无尽大陆的其实只是个突出的半岛。他只知道他已经朝南走过头了,所以他做了一个聪明而错误的选择,沿河逆流而上。

讽刺的是这项伟大的计算失误在现今倒成为了他的历史标记。他原以为是无尽大洋的海湾现在名叫托帕湾,而那条把他带离正确方向的河流与他的船同名,就是尼本河。

片段四:

猫形恶魔,四足或二,飞奔沿着河岸,

河岸漫长,托帕航船,不出他们视线

目露绿光,嘶嘶叫喊,他们厉声叫骂,

汹涌狂暴呼吼愤怒无限。

不过水手,反倒不用涉险上岸面对,

水果树木,沿着河岸全部枝条低垂,

仿佛正在欢迎精灵,于是人们纷纷

最快速度摘下水果,躲过偷袭猫人。

十一天里,他们向北,直到最终到达

水晶湖泊,对影湖岸,则是小岛有八,

美丽出众而又平静非凡。

有羽生物聪慧漂亮,身上色彩灿绚,

开口问好用的却是,那艾德莫语言。

浮想联翩,精灵陷入疑惑,

直到最终,精灵这才明白,

他们只是,重复精灵发言,

词句意义,他们并不理解。

于是水手只能狂笑连连。

那领航员托帕本人,却被岛屿迷住,

有羽生物居于此地,也是美不胜收。

尼本于此,停留一月,此间一众鸟人

终于学会,使用语言,表达理解深深,

利爪之足也终学会书写。

获得知识,喜悦有加,众鸟推举托帕

作为大王,而准备好,特别礼物送发,

那自然是他们居住八岛。

托帕言称,终有一日他必归还不过

首要任务,他必须先找到正确通途,

去往第一要塞,如此遥远。

出于多种原因,最后的片段可谓是苦乐参半。

我们知道托帕遇见的这类奇特且友善的有羽人种将会消失——实际上,这首诗是唯一提到塞瑞迪尔这种鸟类生物的材料。托帕教会了他们读书写字,但这肯定未能保护他们逃离最终命运。他们极有可能是灭绝在那些“猫形恶魔”的手里,我们推断这些应该就是远古的虎人。

我们也知道托帕和他的船员并没能从八岛,也就是现如今的帝都,找到去往髂骨湾的通路。他的地图揭示了诗歌散佚部分未能告诉我们的故事结局。

从他的记录中我们发现他沿着尼本河逆流而上到达拉玛尔湖;然后,在几条支流纷纷碰壁以后,能想象当时托帕——还有他那些苦恼连连的船员们的沮丧——他们不得不顺尼本河而下,重返托帕湾。

在那里,他们明显发现了自己先前的错误,因为我们看见他们通过了艾尔斯维尔半岛。之后他们就沿着海岸线前行,穿过瓦伦林地的海岸,最终重返家园。通常情况下史诗故事都是喜剧结束,但这个故事从一开始就告诉了喜剧结局,而这个结局是如何达成的却散佚了。

除去那些生活在现今塞瑞迪尔的离奇鸟形生物,我们还瞥见了远古兽人(可能)、远古峭壁鸟、远古亚龙人,以及在本片段中出现的远古虎人。以这首诗如此简短的数行文字,却包含了相当多的历史,而这全是因为一个人在回家途中迷了路,要往回走的时候却每次都转向了错误的方向。

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Father of the Niben
by Florin Jaliil
Translation of the fragmented journal of Topal the Pilot

 Note: Only fragments one and two appear in Online.
 Introduction:
Writing the biography of anyone is a challenge. Usually the problem lies in assessing one's sources, comparing the prejudices of one chronicle versus another versus another. Waughin Jarth, I have been told, in writing his well-regardedseries on the Wolf Queen of Solitude used over a hundred contemporary narratives. I cannot complain about my task having a similar issue.
There is but one record of the man called Topal the Pilot, the earliest knownAldmer explorer of Tamriel. Only four short verse fragments of the epic "Father of the Niben" have survived to present day, but they offer an interesting if controversial look at the Middle Merethic Era when Topal the Pilot may have sailed the seas around Tamriel.
Though "Father of the Niben" is the only written record of Topal the Pilot's voyages, it is not the only proof of his existence. Among the treasures of the great Crystal Tower of Summerset Isleare his crude but fascinating maps, his legacy to all Tamriel.
The translation of the Aldmeri Udhendra Nibenu, "Father of the Niben," is my own, and I accept that other scholars may disagree with some of my choice of words. I cannot promise my translation lives up to the beauty of the original: I have only strived for simple coherence.

Fragment One:




Second ship, the Pasquiniel, manned by pilot

Illio, was to follow the southern pointing

Waystone; and the third, the Niben, manned

By pilot Topal, was to follow the north-east

Pointing waystone; the orders from the

Crystal Tower, they were to sail forth for

Eighty moons and then return to tell.

Only Niben returned to Firsthold, laden high with

Gold and spice and fur and strange creatures,

Dead and live.

Though, alas, Old Ehlnofey Topal never found, he

Told the tales of the lands he had visited to the

Wonderment of all.

For sixty-six days and nights, he sailed, over crashing

Waves of dire intent, past whirlpools, through

Mist that burned like fire, until he reached the

Mouth of a great bay and he landed on a

Sun-kissed meadow of gentle dells.

As he and his men rested, there came a fearsome howl,

And hideous orcs streamed forth from the murky

Glen, cannibal teeth clotted with gore



For centuries, strange crystalline balls were unearthed at the sites of ancient Aldmershipwrecks and docks, peculiar artifacts of the Merethic and Dawn Eras that puzzled archeologists until it was demonstrated that each had a tendency to rotate on its axis in a specific direction. There were three varieties, one that pointed southward, one that pointed northeast, and one that point northwest.
It is not understood how they work, but they seemed attuned to particular lines of power. These are the "waystones" of the fragment, which each of the pilots used to point their craft in the direction they were assigned to go. A ship with a name not mentioned in the fragment took his vessel north-west, towards Thras and Yokuda. The Pasquiniel took the southern waystone, and must have sailed down toward Pyandonea. Topal and his north-east waystone found the mainland of Tamriel.
It is clear from this fragment what the three ships were assigned to do - find a passage back to Old Ehlnofey so that the Aldmer now living in Summerset could learn what became of their old homeland. As this book is intended to be a study of Topal the Pilot, there is scarcely room to dedicate to different theories of the Aldmeri exodus from Old Ehlnofey.
If I were using this poem as my only source, I would have to agree with the scholars who believe in the tradition that several ships left Old Ehlnofey and were caught in a storm. Those who survived found their way to Summerset Isle, but without their waystones, they did not know what direction their homeland was. After all, what other explanation is there for three ships heading in three opposite directions to find a place?
Naturally, only one of the ships returned, and we do not know if either or both of the other two found Old Ehlnofey, or perished at sea or at the hands of the ancient Pyandoneans, Sload, orYokudans. We must assume, unless we think the Aldmer particularly idiotic, that at least one of them must have been pointing in the right direction. It may well have even been Topal, and he simply did not go north-east far enough.
So, Topal setting sail from Firsthold heads north-east, which coincidentally is the longest one can travel along the Abecean Sea without striking land of any kind. Had he traveled straight east, he would have struck the mainland somewhere in what is now the Colovian West of Cyrodiil in a few weeks. Had he traveled south-east, he might have reached the hump of Valenwood in a few days. But our pilot, judging by his own and our modern maps, sailed in a straight line north-east, through the Abecean sea, and into the Iliac Bay, before touching ground somewhere near present dayAnticlere in two months' time.
The rolling verdant hills of southern High Rock are unmistakable in this verse, recognizable to anyone who has been there. The question, of course, is what is to be made of this apparent reference to orcs occupying the region? Tradition has it that the Orcs were not born until after the Aldmer had settled the mainland, that they sprung up as a distinct race following the famous battle between Trinimac and Boethiah at the time of Resdayn.
It is possible that the tradition is wrong. Perhaps the Orcs were an aboriginal tribe predating the Aldmeri colonization. Perhaps these were a cursed folk -- "Orsimer" in the Aldmeris, the same word for "Orc" - of a different kind, whose name was to be given the Orcs in a different era. It is regrettable that the fragment ends here, for more clues to the truth are undoubtedly lost.
What's missing between the first fragment and the second is appreciable. It must be more than eighty months that have passed, because Topal is on the opposite side of mainland Tamriel now, attempting to sail south-west to return to Firsthold, after his failure at finding Old Ehlnofey.

Fragment Two:




No passage westward could be found in the steely cliffs

That jutted up like giant's jaw, so the Niben

Sailed south.

As it passed an sandy, forested island that promised

Sanctuary and peace, the crew cheered in joy.

Then exultation turned to terror as a great shadow rose

From the trees on leathered wings like a unfurling Cape.

The great bat lizard was large as the ship, but good pilot

Topal merely raised his bow, and struck it in its Head.

As it fell, he asked his Bo 'sun, "Do you think it's dead?"

And before it struck the white-bearded waves, he

Shot once more its heart to be certain.

And so for another forty days and six, the Niben sailed south



We can see that in addition to Topal's prowess as a navigator, cartographer, survivalist, and raconteur, he is a master of archery. It may be poetic license, of course, but we do have archeological proof that the Merethic Aldmer were sophisticated archers. Their bows of layers of wood and horn drawn by silver silk thread are beautiful, and still, I have heard experts say, millennia later, very deadly.
It is tempting to imagine it a dragon, but the creature that Topal faces at the beginning of this fragment sounds like an ancestor of the cliffracer of present day Morrowind. The treacherous cliff coastline sounds like the region around Necrom, and the island of Gorne may be where the nest of the "bat lizard" is. No creatures like that exist in eastern Morrowind to my knowledge at the present day.

Fragment Three:




The fetid, evil swamp lands and their human lizards

Retreated to the east, and Topal and his men's

Hearts were greatly gladdened by the sight of

Diamond blue, pure, sweet ocean.

For three days, they sailed in great cheer north-west

Where Firsthold beckoned them, but hope died

In horror, as land, like a blocking shield rose

Before them.

Topal the Pilot was sore wroth, and consulted he

The maps he had faithfully drawn, to see

Whether best to go south where the

Continent must end, or take the river that

Snaked through a passage north.

"North!" cried he to his sad men. "North we go

Now! Fear not, north!"



Tracing Topal's movements, we see that he has skirted the edge of Morrowind and delved into southern Blackmarsh, seemingly determined to follow his waystone as best as he can. The swamp he is leaving is probably near present day Gideon. Knowing what we now know about Topal's personality, we can understand his frustration in the bay between Black Marsh and Elsweyr.
Here is a man who follows his orders explicitly, and knows that he should have been going south-east through river ways to reach Firsthold. Looking at his maps, we can see that he attempted to find passages through, as he has mapped out the Inner Sea of Morrowind, and several of the swampy tributaries of Black Marsh, no doubt being turned away by the disease and fierce Argonian tribes that dissuaded many other explorers after him.
With a modern map of Tamriel in hand, we can see that he makes the wrong choice in electing to go north-east instead of pushing southward. He could not have known then that what he perceived to be the endless mainland was only a jutting peninsula. He only knew that he had traveled too far southward already, and so he made a smart but incorrect decision to go up the river.
It is ironic that this great miscalculation would today bear his mark of history. The bay he thought was an endless ocean is now known as Topal Bay, and the river that took him astray shares the name of his boat, the Niben River.

Fragment Four:




The cat demons of four legs and two ran the river's

Length, always keeping the boat in their

Green-eyed sight, hissing, and spitting, and

Roaring with rage.

But the sailors never had to brave the shores, for

Fruit trees welcomed them, dropping their

Arms down to the river's edge as if to

Embrace the mer, and the men took the

Fruit quickly before the cats could pounce.

For eleven days, they traveled north, until they came

To a crystalline lake, and eight islands of

Surpassing beauty and peace.

Brilliant flightful creatures of glorious colors

Greeted them in Aldmeri language,

Making the mer wonder, until they

Understood they were only calling back

The word they were speaking without

Understanding it, and then the sailors

Laughed.

Topal the Pilot was enchanted with the islands

And the feathered men who lived there.

There the Niben stayed for a moon, and the bird

Men learned how to speak their own words,

And with taloned feet, to write.

In joy for their new knowledge, they made Topal

Their lord, giving him their islands for the

Gift.

Topal said he would return someday, but first he

Must find the passage east to Firsthold, so

Far away.



This last fragment is bittersweet for a number of reasons.
We know that this strange, friendly feathered people the Pilot encounters will be lost - in fact, this poem is the only one where mention is made of the bird creatures of Cyrodiil. The literacy that Topal gives them is evidently not enough to save them from their eventual fate, likely at the hands of the "cat demons," who we may assume are ancient Khajiiti.
We know that Topal and his crew never find a route from the eight islands which are the modern day Imperial City through to the Iliac Bay. His maps tell the tale where this lost poem cannot.
We see his hand as he traces his route up the Niben to Lake Rumare; and, after attempting a few tributaries which do not lead him where he wants to go, we can imagine Topal's frustration -- and that of his long-suffering crew -- as they return back down the Niben to Topal Bay.
There, they evidently discovered their earlier mistake, for we see that they pass the peninsula of Elsweyr. Eventually they traveled along its coastline, past the shores of Valenwood, and eventually home. Usually epic tales end with a happy ending, but this one begins with one, and the means to which it was accomplished is lost.
Besides the extraordinary bird creatures of present day Cyrodiil, we have caught glimpses of ancient orcs (perhaps), ancient cliff-racers, ancient Argonians, and in this fragment, ancient Khajiit. Quite a history in a few lines of simple verse, all because a man failed to find his home, and took all the wrong turns to retrace his steps back.          

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