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【书籍搬运】King 国王

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

翻译:hheerraann

校对:pcsjx

作者:莱文(Reven)

亲爱的读者,除非你曾经读过本系列丛书的前三部《乞丐》、《盗贼》和《战士》,并还有印象,否则你将完全看不懂本书在说什么。我强烈建议去你们最喜爱的书商那里找来看看。

我们上次说到伊斯拉夫·埃洛尔正在逃命,这对他来说是家常便饭。他从耶伦汉姆的一位名叫索埃布德的富人那里偷走了一大笔黄金和一颗大得出奇的宝石。这个盗贼向北逃窜,和别的盗贼通常做法一样,一路上挥金如土,用于各种非法娱乐,这些细节无疑会令看到这里的绅士淑女们不悦,所以我就不细说了。

只有那颗宝石他一直带着。

他倒不是因为有什么特殊情感纽带才留着,只是因为他不知道谁能富到够从自己手中买下它。于是他发现自己陷入了徒有一颗价值连城的宝石却身无分文的窘境。

“我能拿这个和你换一间房间,一些面包和一壶啤酒吗?”他在一个名叫雷文欧德的小村庄这样问一位酒馆老板,这里已经相当靠北,村子有一半已经伸入了幽灵海之中。

酒馆老板狐疑地看着宝石。

“只是颗水晶,”伊斯拉夫赶紧说,“但它挺好看的不是么?”

“给我瞧瞧,”酒馆另一头的一位身披盔甲的年轻女人接过话。还未得到允许,她便拿起了宝石端详起来,一面冲着伊斯拉夫露出了让人不大舒服的微笑。“愿意来我这边的桌子坐坐吗?”

“说实话我有点急事,”伊斯拉夫答道,伸出手想要回宝石,“要不换个时间?”

“出于对我这位朋友、这儿的老板的尊重,我和我的手下进来的时候把武器都放外面了,”这个女人随意地说,并没有交出宝石,反而拿起吧台边上的一把扫帚。“不过我向你保证,我可以把这玩意当成钝器耍得很溜。当然了,不是武器,只是一件钝器,生理上可以击碎一两根骨头,然后——当它进入人体时……”

“哪张桌子?”伊斯拉夫忙不迭问道。

年轻的女人带他走到酒馆后面的一张大桌子前,桌子边围坐着十个伊斯拉夫所见过最膀的诺德壮汉。他们以一种礼节性的冷漠瞥着伊斯拉夫,就好像他是一只稀罕的昆虫,在捏死前值得稍微研究研究。

“我的名字是莱西菲特拉,”她说道,伊斯拉夫眨了眨眼。就是伊斯拉夫逃走前索埃布德提过的那个名字。“这些是我的中尉。我是一支很大的贵族骑士独立军团的指挥官。在天际无出其右。最近我们接到一份工作,去攻击阿尔托的一个葡萄园,迫使那里的主人,一个叫莱尔努的人,将它卖给我们的雇主,一个名叫索埃布德的人。我们的报酬将是一颗形质绝伦的宝石,非常名贵,决不会搞错。

“我们完成了要求,当我们找索埃布德索取酬劳时,他告诉我们他无法支付,因为最近发生了一起窃案。结果,虽然,他看着我们的家伙,付给了我们与那颗价值不菲的宝石等额的金币……那倒还没有让他倾家荡产,但至少意味着他再也买不起阿尔托的葡萄园了。所以我们的酬劳其实不够,索埃布德陷入了严重的财政危机,而莱尔努的宝贝葡萄也暂时绝收了。” 莱西菲特拉长饮了一口蜜酒,然后接着说。“现在,我想知道,你能告诉我,本应属于我们的宝石是怎么到了你的手里?”

伊斯拉夫没有立即回答。

他反而从左边凶神恶煞般的大胡子野蛮人的盘中拿起一块面包吃了下去。

“我很抱歉,”他一边嚼一边说。“我能先吃点吗?当然,我知道就算我想也没法阻止你们拿走宝石,但其实我根本不在意。就算不告诉你们它是怎样落入我手中的也一样无济于事。我是从你们的雇主那里偷到的。当然了我不曾想到会对你和你的贵族骑士造成任何伤害,但是我能理解一个小偷的话对于你这样的人来说很不配。”

“恩,”莱西菲特拉皱着眉答道,不过眼神中流露出些许兴趣。“根本不配。”

“但在你们杀掉我之前,”伊斯拉夫又抓起另一块面包,说。“告诉我,你们这样的贵族骑士完成一次任务收两份酬劳很合适么?我自己没什么尊严,但我想既然索埃布德损失自己的利益支付了你们,而现在你们又要这颗宝石,你们漂亮的收益同样谈不上什么尊严。”

莱西菲特拉抄起扫帚看着伊斯拉夫。然后她笑道,“你叫什么名字,小偷?”

“伊斯拉夫,”小偷回答。

“我们会拿走宝石,因为它本来就是我们的。但你是对的。我们不应为同一份工作收取两份报酬。所以,”这名女战士说着,放下了扫帚。“你是我们的新雇主。你希望你的军队为你做些什么呢?”

许多人都能从私兵上找到相当多的妙用,但是伊斯拉夫不在此列。他搜肠刮肚,最终决定这个人情留到以后再说。从她蛮不讲理,他了解到莱西菲特拉是个单纯的女人,由她指挥的军队养大。战斗和荣誉是她唯一知道的事情。

等到伊斯拉夫离开雷文欧德时,他有了一支谨遵他号令的部队,但是名下一个硬币都没有。他清楚用不了多久又得去偷东西了。

当他在树林里转圈觅食的时候,他被一种熟悉的感觉所包围。这片树林他还是孩子时曾经来过,当时同样忍饥挨饿,同样在找吃的。等他出来走到路上,他发现自己又回到了这个儿时由亲爱的、愚蠢的、腼腆的女仆德拉斯巴抚养长大生活过的国度。

他如今站在了埃洛尔加德的土地上。

这里比他在童年离开时更加令人绝望。那些曾经拒绝施舍给他食物的商店已被木板封死,人去楼空。留下的人目光空洞而绝望,苦于重税、专制和野蛮劫掠已久,甚至无力挣脱。伊斯拉夫意识到他小时候出走是多么幸运。

尽管如此那里还是有一座城堡和一个国王。伊斯拉夫立刻着手计划去掠夺财宝。像往常一样,他仔细地观察了这个地方,记录下每一处安全措施和守卫们的习惯。这花了些时间。最后,他搞清楚了这里根本没有安全措施,没有守卫。

他从前门走了进去,穿过空荡荡的走廊走向他的财宝。确切地说,那里装满了空气,除了一个男人。他与伊斯拉夫同龄,但看起来很显老。

“没什么可偷的了,”他说,“以前倒是还有。”

伊诺普国王,虽然过早地衰老了,但还有着与伊斯拉夫同样的白金发色和如碎玻璃般湛蓝的眸子。实际上,他与索埃布德和莱西菲特拉也长得很像。并且尽管伊斯拉夫与阿尔托的破落地主莱尔努素昧平生,他俩长得也很像。没什么好奇怪的,因为他们是五胞胎。

“这么说来,你一无所有?”伊斯拉夫轻声问道。

“除了我贫苦的王国什么都没了,可恶。”国王抱怨道。“在我即位之前,它强大而富有,但我什么都没有继承到,只继承了个头衔。我的一生都肩负着重任,但从来没法处理好。我遍观这与生俱来的荒芜景象,我恨它。如果真有可能偷走一个王国,我不会动一根手指头来阻拦你。”

然而,结果发现,真的而且很有可能偷走一个国家。伊斯拉夫成为了众所周知的伊诺普,因为他们长得很像,很轻易地蒙混过关了。而真正的伊诺普,改了个名字叫伊莱基尔努,高高兴兴地离开了他的领地,最后成为了阿尔托葡萄园里一名普通的工人。他第一次放下肩负的责任,以极大热情投入了新生活,岁月逐渐消融了他的壮志。

新的伊诺普找到莱西菲特拉让她兑现承诺,用她的军队重新给埃洛尔加德王国带来了和平。现在这里安全了,商业贸易重回这片土地,伊斯拉夫削减了野蛮的重税以促进贸易增长。听说了这些,一直担心失去财富的索埃布德选择回到了他出生的土地。当他许多年后去世时,由于贪心他拒绝选定一个继承人,于是王国接收了他的全部财产。

从伊诺普那里听说了阿尔托葡萄园的巨大价值之后,伊斯拉夫用其中一部分钱将其买了下来。

这样,埃洛尔加德又繁荣如初了,而带来这一切的是伊特洛夫国王的第五个孩子——伊斯拉夫·埃洛尔,一个乞丐、盗贼、战士(某种意义上来说)和国王。

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King
by Reven
The final chapter in the adventures of Eslaf Erol


Gentle reader, you will not understand a word of what follows unless you have read and commited [sic] to memory the first three volumes in this series, 'Beggar,' 'Thief,' and 'Warrior,' which leads up to this, the conclusion. I encourage you to seek them out at your favorite bookseller.
We last left Eslaf Erol fleeing for his life, which was a common enough occurance [sic] for him. He had stolen a lot of gold, and one particularly large gem, from a rich man in Jallenheim named Suoibud. The thief fled north, spending the gold wildly, as thieves generally do, for all sorts of illicit pleasures, which would no doubt disturb the gentleman or lady reading this, so I will not go into detail.
The one thing he held onto was the gem.
He didn't keep it because of any particular attachment, but because he did not know anyone rich enough to buy it from him. And so he found himself in the ironic situation of being penniless and having in his possession a gem worth millions.
'Will you give me a room, some bread, and a flagon of beer in exchange for this?' he asked a tavernkeep in the little village of Kravenswold, which was so far north, it was half situated on the Sea of Ghosts.
The tavernkeep looked at it suspiciously.
'It's just crystal,' Eslaf said quickly. 'But isn't it pretty?'
'Let me see that,' said a young armor-clad woman at the end of the bar. Without waiting permission, she picked up the gem, studied it, and smiled not very sweetly at Eslaf. 'Would you join me at my table?'
'I'm actually in a bit of a hurry,' replied Eslaf, holding out his hand for the stone. 'Another time?'
'Out of respect for my friend, the tavernkeep here, my men and I leave our weapons behind when we come in here,' the woman said casually, not handing the gem back, but picking up a broom that was sitting against the bar. 'I can assure you, however, that I can use this quite effectively as a blunt instrument. Not a weapon, of course, but an instrument to stun, medicinally crush a bone or two, and then - once it is on the inside ...'
'Which table?' asked Eslaf quickly.
The young woman led him to a large table in the back of the tavern where ten of the biggest Nordbrutes Eslaf had ever seen were sitting. They looked at him with polite disinterest, as if he were a strange insect, worth briefly studying before crushing.
'My name is Laicifitra,' she said, and Eslaf blinked. That was the name Suoibud had uttered before Eslaf had made his escape. 'And these are my lieutenants. I am the commander of a very large independent army of noble knights. The very best in Skyrim. Most recently we were given a job to attack a vineyard in The Aalto to force its owner, a man named Laernu, to sell to our employer, a man named Suoibud. Our payment was to be a gem of surpassing size and quality, quite famous and unmistakable.
'We did as we were asked, and when we went to Suoibud to collect our fee, he told us he was unable to pay, due to a recent burglary. In the end, though, he saw things our way, and paid us an amount of gold almost equal to the worth of the prize jewel … It did not empty out his treasury entirely, but it meant he was unable to buy the land in the Aalto after all. So we were not paid enough, Suoibud has taken a heavy financial blow, and Laernu's prize crop of Jazbay has been temporarily destroyed for naught,' Laicifitra took a long, slow drink of her mead before continuing. 'Now, I wonder, could you tell me, how came you in the possession of the gem we were promised?'
Eslaf did not answer at once.
Instead, he took a piece of bread from the plate of the savage bearded barbarian on his left and ate it.
'I'm sorry,' he said, his mouth full. 'May I? Of course, I couldn't stop you from taking the gem even if I wanted to, and as a matter of fact, I don't mind at all. It's also useless to deny how it came into my possession. I stole it from your employer. I certainly didn't mean you or your noble knights any harm by it, but I can understand why the word of a thief is not suitable for one such as yourself.'
'No,' replied Laicifitra, frowning, but her eyes showing amusement. 'Not suitable at all.'
'But before you kill me,' Eslaf said, grabbing another piece of bread. 'Tell me, how suitable is it for noble knights such as yourself to be paid twice for one job? I have no honor myself, but I would have thought that since Suoibud took a profit loss to pay you, and now you have the gem, your handsome profit is not entirely honorable.'
Laicifitra picked up the broom and looked at Eslaf. Then she laughed, 'What is your name, thief?'
'Eslaf,' said the thief.
'We will take the gem, as it was promised to us. But you are right. We should not be paid twice for the same job. So,' said the warrior woman, putting down the broomstick. 'You are our new employer. What would you have your own army do for you?'
Many people could find quite a few good uses for their own army, but Eslaf was not among them. He searched his brain, and finally it was decided that it was a debt to be paid later. For all her brutality, Laicifitra was an simple woman, raised, he learned, by the very army she commanded. Fighting and honor were the only things she knew.
When Eslaf left Kravenswold, he had an army at his beck and call, but not a coin to his name. He knew he would have to steal something soon.
As he wandered the woods, scrounging for food, he was beset with a strange feeling of familiarity. These were the very woods he had been in as a child, also starving, also scrounging. When he came out on the road, he found that he had come back on the kingdom where he had been raised by the dear, stupid, shy maid Drusba.
He was in Erolgard.
It had fallen even deeper into despair since his youth. The shops that had refused him food were boarded up, abandoned. The only people left were hollow, hopeless figures, so ravaged by taxation, despotism, and barbaric raids that they were too weak to flee. Eslaf realized how lucky he was to have gotten out in his youth.
There was, however, a castle and a king. Eslaf immediately made plans to raid the treasury. As usual, he watched the place carefully, taking note of the security and the habits of the guards. This took some time. In the end, he realized there was no security and no guards.
He walked in the front door, and down the empty corridors to the treasury. It was full of precisely nothing, except one man. He was Eslaf's age, but looked much older.
'There's nothing to steal,' he said. 'Would that there was.'
King Ynohp, though prematurely aged, had the same white blond hair and blue eyes like broken glass that Eslaf had. In fact, he resembled Suoibud and Laicifitra as well. And though Eslaf had never met the ruined landlord of the Aalto, Laernu, he looked him too. Not surprisingly, since they were quintuplets.
'So, you have nothing?' asked Eslaf, gently.
'Nothing except my poor kingdom, curse it,' the King grumbled. 'Before I came to the throne, it was powerful and rich, but I inherited none of that, only the title. For my entire life, I've had responsibility thrust on my shoulders, but never had the means to handle it properly. I look over the desolation which is my birthright, and I hate it. If it were possible to steal a kingdom, I would not lift a finger to stop you.'
It was, it turned out, quite possible to steal a kingdom. Eslaf became known as Ynohp, a deception easily done given their physical similarities. The real Ynohp, taking the name of Ylekilnu, happily left his demesne, becoming eventually a simple worker in the vineyards of The Aalto. For the first time free of responsibility, he fell into his new life with gusto, the years melting off him.
The new Ynohp called in his favor with Laicifitra, using her army to restore peace to the kingdom of Erolgard. Now that it was safe, business and commerce began to return to the land, and Eslaf reduced the tyrannical taxes to encourage it to grow. Upon hearing that, Suoibud, ever nervous about losing his money, elected to return to the land of his birth. When he died years later, out of greed, he had refused to name someone an heir, so the kingdom received its entire fortune.
Eslaf used part of the gold to buy the vineyards of The Aalto, after hearing great things of it from Ynohp.
And so it was that Erolgard was returned to its previous prosperity by the fifth born child of King Ytluaf - Eslaf Erol, beggar, thief, warrior (of sorts), and king.

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