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【书籍搬运】Immortal Blood 不朽之血

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Immortal Blood

翻译:sevil

星星和月亮统统隐去了踪迹,让那本就格为寂静的夜晚漆黑无比。城镇守卫需要持着火把方能巡逻;那个前来拜访我的圣堂的男人却没有携带任何光源。我知道莫瓦斯·皮库尼在黑暗中看得几乎与在光亮中一样清楚——绝妙的天赋,因为他的兴趣完全是属于夜晚的。

我的一名助手带他到我面前。从他的容貌看去,我的第一想法是他急需治疗。他的肌肤苍白,几乎是乳白色;他的脸似乎曾经十分英俊,却遭到了某种无法言说的折磨。双眼下的黑圈暴露了他的疲惫,他的眼神却是警醒而凌厉,甚至近乎疯狂。

他立即否认了我对他患有某种疾病的猜测。但他确实是来讨论一种特殊的疾病。

“关于吸血热,”他说,在我疑问的目光下顿了一顿。“有人说我应该找你来帮助理解。”

“是谁说的?”我微笑着问。

“缇茜娜·格雷。”

我立刻记起了她。一个勇敢、美丽的骑士,曾经在我的指导下学习分辨有关吸血鬼的学说中哪些是事实,哪些又是凭空捏造的童话。那已经是两年前的事情,自那以来,我还从未听到过任何证明那些教导是否有效的只言片语。

“你和她谈过话?她现下贵体可还安康?”我问道。

“死了,”莫瓦斯冷冷地回答。看到我的震惊,他又加了两句似为抚慰的话。“她说你的教导是无价之宝,至少对那一只来说是这样。我上次跟她谈话时,她正在追踪另一只。这一只杀了她。”

“那么我给她的教导就还不够,”我叹道,“为什么你又会觉得我的建言能足够于你呢?”

“好多年前,我自己就是一个教师。”他说。“不是在大学里,而是战士公会的训练师。但我知道如果学生没有请教正确的问题,老师便不能为他的失败负责。我要向你请教正确的问题。”

他的确如此做了。接下来的几个小时,他一直在问,我一直在尽我所能地回答。但他从未透漏过关于自己的一星半点。他也从来不笑。他只是用他那凌厉的双眼端详着我,把我所说的每一个字储存在记忆里。

最后,我终于得以反问他一个问题。“你说你是战士公会的训练师。你是在为他们执行任务吗?”

“不是,”他简短地说,这一刻,我终于在他狂热的双眼中看到了些许疲惫。“我想要明晚继续,如果我可以的话。我需要睡一觉,吸收这些知识。”

“你在白天睡觉,”我微笑道。

令我惊讶的是,他回报了一个微笑,尽管那更像是一个苦脸。“在追踪猎物的时候,你就要适应猎物的习惯。”

第二天,他的确带着更多、更具体的问题返回了。他想要了解关于天际大地东部的吸血鬼的情况。我告诉他,最强大的部族是沃尔基哈,他们既多疑又残酷,呼出的气体能冻结牺牲品的血液。我向他解释他们是如何居住在偏僻、鬼魂出没的结冰湖下,从不踏入人类的世界,除非是去寻找食物。

莫瓦斯·皮库尼仔细聆听,又问了更多的问题,直到他终于准备离开。

“我几天之内不会见你,”他说,“但我会回来,并且告诉你你的信息是多么有帮助。”

的确,四天后的午夜刚过,男人便返回了我的圣堂。他的脸颊上有一道新添的伤痕,但他露出了他那狰狞、却又满足的微笑。

“你的教导帮了我很多,”他说,“但你应该知道,沃尔基哈们有一种你没有提到的能力。他们不用打破湖面的冰就能通过冰面。那真是一次不大舒服的意外,在毫无防备的情况下突然从下面被抓住。”

“真是伟大,”我笑笑,“也真是恐怖。你能活下来真是幸运。”

“我不相信运气,我只相信知识和训练。你的信息帮了我很多,我的近战格斗技巧了结了那吸血鬼的性命。我从不相信任何一把武器。有太多不确定因素。即使是最棒的铸剑师也难免造过有瑕疵的剑。但你知道自己的身体能做到什么。我知道我能命中一千击而不失平衡,只要我能挥出第一击。”

“第一击?”我喃喃地说,“那你必须永远不能有意外。”

“这就是我来找你的原因,”莫瓦斯说,“你是世间了解这种怪物最多的人,他们在整片大陆上所有的种群你都了然于心。现在,告诉我关于瓦伦林地北部吸血鬼的情况。”

我照他要求的做了。再一次的,他的问题倾尽了我的所知。那里有许多部族。邦萨姆族的相貌与波兹莫别无二致,只有在烛光照耀下才能现出原形。奇里尔斯族可以汽化成一团雾。叶柯夫族嗜好生吞活人。恐怖的泰伯斯族以孩童为猎物,最终以他们的形象回到他们的家中,耐心等候数年,直到在毫无人性的饥渴中杀死所有人。

再一次的,他向我道别,保证自己将在几周后回来。再一次,如他所说,他在午夜刚过时返回。这一次,莫瓦斯没有新添伤疤,但他又一次带来了新的信息。

“你说奇里尔斯族被推到水下之后无法汽化,那是错的。”他说,温柔地拍着我的肩膀。“幸运的是,他们在雾化状态下无法走太远,我才成功抓到了一只。”

“对它来说一定是个足够恐怖的意外。你的专业知识已经变得很惊人了,”我说,“我几十年前就该有一个你这样的助手。”

“现在,告诉我,”他说,“关于赛瑞迪尔的吸血鬼。”

我把我知道的全部讲给了他。在赛瑞迪尔,吸血鬼只有一个部族,一个非常强大的族群。他们从这片土地赶走了所有其他的种群,就像帝国人本身曾经做过的那样。这个部族的真名已经无人知晓,湮没在历史之中;但他们极擅隐藏。只要他们每天吸血,形貌便与普通人一般无二,无从分别。他们非常文明,比其余省份的吸血鬼都要开化得多。他们喜爱在牺牲品睡着、没有知觉时享受他们的盛宴。

“他们会很难被偷袭,”莫瓦斯皱眉,“但我会找出一只来,告诉你我学到了什么。然后你就会告诉我关于高岩、落锤之地、艾尔斯维尔、黑沼泽、晨风和夏暮岛的吸血鬼,没错吧?”

我点点头。这一刻,我知道这个男人背负着永无止境的任务。只有最直白的真相才能让他满足。他需要知道一切。

整整一个月,他没有返回。他归来的那夜,我看到他的沮丧和绝望,尽管我的圣堂里没有丝毫光亮。

“我失败了,”他说,我同时点起蜡烛。“你是对的。我连一只也找不到。”

我让烛光照到我的脸,朝他微笑。他很意外,甚至是震惊地看到我苍白的血肉、永恒的双眼中那黑暗的饥渴,还有我的牙齿。喔,没错,我想那牙齿无疑使这个承受不起意外的代价的人感到十分意外。

“我七十二小时没有吸血了,”我扑向他时解释道。他没有挥出第一击,也没有挥出最后一击。

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Immortal Blood
by Anonymous
Dialogues about fighting with vampires


The moons and stars were hidden from sight, making that particular quiet night especially dark. The town guard had to carry torches to make their rounds; but the man who came to call at my chapel carried no light with him. I came to learn thatMovarth Piquine could see in the dark almost as well as the light — an excellent talent, considering his interests were exclusively nocturnal.
One of my acolytes brought him to me, and from the look of him, I at first thought he was in need of healing. He was pale to the point of opalescence with a face that looked like it had once been very handsome before some unspeakable suffering. The dark circles under his eyes bespoke exhaustion, but the eyes themselves were alert, intense, almost insane.
He quickly dismissed my notion that he himself was ill, though he did want to discuss a specific disease.
"Vampirism," he said, and then paused at my quizzical look. "I was told that you were someone I should seek out for help understanding it."
"Who told you that?" I asked with a smile.
"Tissina Gray."
I immediately remembered her. A brave, beautiful knight who had needed my assistance separating fact from fiction on the subject of the vampire. It had been two years, and I had never heard whether my advice had proved effective.
"You've spoken to her? How is her ladyship?" I asked.
"Dead," Movarth replied coldly, and then, responding to my shock, he added to perhaps soften the blow. "She said your advice was invaluable, at least for the one vampire. When last I talked to her, she was tracking another. It killed her."
"Then the advice I gave her was not enough," I sighed. "Why do you think it would be enough for you?"
"I was a teacher once myself, years ago," he said. "Not in a university. A trainer in theFighters Guild. But I know that if a student doesn't ask the right questions, the teacher cannot be responsible for his failure. I intend to ask you the right questions."
And that he did. For hours, he asked questions and I answered what I could, but he never volunteered any information about himself. He never smiled. He only studied me with those intense eyes of his, commiting [sic] every word I said to memory.
Finally, I turned the questioning around. "You said you were a trainer at the Fighters Guild. Are you on an assignment for them?"
"No," he said curtly, and finally I could detect some weariness in those feverish eyes of his. "I would like to continue this tomorrow night, if I could. I need to get some sleep and absorb this."
"You sleep during the day," I smiled.
To my surprise, he returned the smile, though it was more of a grimace. "When tracking your prey, you adapt their habits."

The next day, he did return with more questions, these ones very specific. He wanted to know about the vampires of eastern Skyrim. I told him about the most powerful tribe, the Volkihar, paranoid and cruel, whose very breath could freeze their victims' blood in the veins. I explained to him how they lived beneath the ice of remote and haunted lakes, never venturing into the world of men except to feed.
Movarth Piquine listened carefully, and asked more questions into the night, until at last he was ready to leave.
"I will not see you for a few days," he said. "But I will return, and tell you how helpful your information has been."
True to his word, the man returned to my chapel shortly after midnight four days later. There was a fresh scar on his cheek, but he was smiling that grim but satisfied smile of his.
"Your advice helped me very much," he said. "But you should know that the Volkihar have an additional ability you didn't mention. They can reach through the ice of their lakes without breaking it. It was quite a nasty surprise, being grabbed from below without any warning."
"How remarkable," I said with a laugh. "And terrifying. You're lucky you survived."
"I don't believe in luck. I believe in knowledge and training. Your information helped me, and my skill at melee combat sealed the bloodsucker's fate. I've never believed in weaponry of any kind. Too many unknowns. Even the best swordsmith has created a flawed blade, but you know what your body is capable of. I know I can land a thousand blows without losing my balance, provided I get the first strike."
"The first strike?" I murmured. "So you must never be surprised."
"That is why I came to you," said Movarth. "You know more than anyone alive about these monsters, in all their cursed varieties across the land. Now you must tell me about the vampires of northern Valenwood."
I did as he asked, and once again, his questions taxed my knowledge. There were many tribes to cover. The Bonsamu who were indistinguishable from Bosmer except when seen by candlelight. The Keerilth who could disintegrate into mist. The Yekef who swallowed men whole. The dread Telboth who preyed on children, eventually taking their place in the family, waiting patiently for years before murdering them all in their unnatural hunger.
Once again, he bade me farewell, promising to return in a few weeks, and once again, he returned as he said, just after midnight. This time, Movarth had no fresh scars, but he again had new information.
"You were wrong about the Keerilth being unable to vaporize when pushed underwater," he said, patting my shoulder fondly. "Fortunately, they cannot travel far in their mist form, and I was able to track it down."
"It must have surprised it fearfully. Your field knowledge is becoming impressive," I said. "I should have had an acolyte like you decades ago."
"Now, tell me," he said. "Of the vampires of Cyrodiil."
I told him what I could. There was but one tribe in Cyrodiil, a powerful clan who had ousted all other competitors, much like the Imperials themselves had done. Their true name was unknown, lost in history, but they were experts at concealment. If they kept themselves well-fed, they were indistinguishable from living persons. They were cultured, more civilized than the vampires of the provinces, preferring to feed on victims while they were asleep, unaware.
"They will be difficult to surprise," Movarth frowned. "But I will seek one out, and tell you what I learn. And then you will tell me of the vampires of High Rock, and Hammerfell, and Elsweyr, and Black Marsh, and Morrowind, and the Sumurset Isles, yes?"
I nodded, knowing then that this was a man on an eternal quest. He wouldn't be satisfied with but the barest hint of how things were. He needed to know it all.
He did not return for a month, and on the night that he did, I could see his frustration and despair, though there were no lights burning in my chapel.
"I failed," he said, as I lit a candle. "You were right. I could not find a single one."
I brought the light up to my face and smiled. He was surprised, even stunned by the pallor of my flesh, the dark hunger in my ageless eyes, and the teeth. Oh, yes, I think the teeth definitely surprised the man who could not afford to be surprised.
"I haven't fed in seventy-two hours," I explained, as I fell on him. He did not land the first blow or the last.
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