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【书籍搬运】Mystery of Talara, v3 塔拉拉之谜,卷3

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原文地址:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Mystery_of_Talara,_v3

中文翻译:

塔拉拉公主之谜,卷3

——梅拉·利吉思

戈诺布斯正要离开他全卡姆洛恩最中意的那家酒馆“碎枝”,却被人直接喊了名字。他的名字可不是随随便便就能喊错的那种,于是他转了个身,一眼就看见了坐在角落黑暗中的人,正是宫廷里的王家战斗法师艾里尔爵士。

“爵爷。”戈诺布斯向他问候,脸上挂着愉快笑容。

“我倒是没想到今晚能在这里碰上你,戈诺布斯。”艾里尔爵士咧开嘴,露出一道最尖酸的笑容,“千年庆之后我就没怎么碰上你和你的主人,不过你们一定是非常忙碌,我能理解。我想知道的就是你们都在忙些什么。”

“要在卡姆洛恩维护帝国利益可是忙得要死,爵爷。不过我估计向大使预约这样的小事,您倒也不会屈尊身体力行吧。”

“正相反,我本意正是如此。”战斗法师说,“尤其在大使最近的所作所为都是神秘兮兮且毫无外交性的情况下。我知道他从鲜花庆典上把一个婊子带回家了。我相信她的名字是吉娜?”

戈诺布斯耸了耸肩。“我猜他坠入爱河了,爵爷。恋爱让男人都变得古怪,您以前一定听过这种说法。”

“她可是最漂亮的妞。”艾里尔爵士笑道,“你没注意到她长得与死去的塔拉拉公主有多像吗?”

“我只在卡姆洛恩生活了十五年,爵爷。我从未见过去世的公主殿下。”

“其实如果他开始诗兴大发我到可以理解,但天底下有哪个坠入爱河的男人整天都呆在王宫厨房里向老佣人问东问西?就算我个人经验有限,这表现在我看来同熔化的激情也几乎搭不上边。”艾里尔爵士翻了个白眼,“他现在又在打理什么事情来着——噢,那村子的名字是什么来的?”

“安彬屯?”戈诺布斯回答说,话刚一出口就立刻后悔了。艾里尔爵士是个过分狡诈的戏子,绝不会流露出半分所思所想,但戈诺布斯胃里一阵抽搐,明白了战斗法师原本甚至不知道斯特雷尔爵士已经离开了国都。他必须赶过去通知大使,但接下来的游戏还必须小心谨慎不能失手。“他明天才会出发。我估计就是去给需要帝国印章的某些合同盖个戳而已。”

“就这样?这么无趣,还真可怜了他。那在他回来之后我再去拜访他吧。”艾里尔爵士微微鞠躬,“感谢你告诉了我这么多情报。后会有期。”

王家战斗法师的身影刚从街角消失,戈诺布斯就立刻跳上他的马。也许他一两杯啤酒接连下肚确实是喝得有点过了头,但至少他还知道自己必须抢在艾里尔爵士的探子之前找到去安彬屯的路。他一路向东疾驰,心中祈祷沿路一定要有路标。

与此同时,坐在一家被霉斑和酸啤酒气味充盈的客栈里,斯特雷尔爵士正在对帝国密探布里希恩娜女士总能在最公开场合进行最隐秘碰头的行动惊诧不已。如今正是安彬屯的丰收时节,全体农夫都在以最吵吵嚷嚷的方式把他们的微薄薪水扔到酒杯里。爵士本人穿了套配合周围环境的衣服,粗布裤,农夫衫,但他还是觉得自己太过显眼了。如果是与他的两名女同伴相比较,那确实如此。坐在他右手边的女人曾经是个普通娼妓,是匕落城下等酒馆的常客。而坐在他左边的布里希恩娜女士更是从根本上就像属于这里的人。

“不过你更希望我用哪个名字称呼你呢?”布里希恩娜女士热切询问。

“过去我被叫做‘吉娜’,也许现在非得改名字了吧。”她回答道,“当然也,也许还不用。‘婊子吉娜’说不定就是我刻在墓碑上的名字。”

“我会确保如鲜花庆典上的那种对你的不利不会再度发生。”斯特雷尔爵士眉头紧蹙,“但没有皇帝的帮助,我也不可能把你永远保护下去。一劳永逸的唯一方法就是抓住那些想要加害你的人,再把你送回本应属于你的位置。”

“您相信我的故事吗?”吉娜转而询问布里希恩娜女士。

“我身为皇帝在高岩地区的情报长官已经有许多年了,但我也几乎没停过比这更离奇的故事。若不是你的大使朋友进行了调查并发现了真相,我当即就会把你看成疯子然后轰走。”布里希恩娜笑了笑,吉娜也不得以用一道干笑回应,“但是现在,没错,我确实相信你。这让我变成了疯子也说不定。”

斯特雷尔爵士就问了一句:“你会帮助我们吗?”

“对省份王国内部事务的介入确实需要谨慎处理。”布里希恩娜女士凝视着杯中啤酒,陷入沉思,“除非对帝国自体构成了威胁,否则不出手则是最好的选择。在你的情况,我们面对的是一场发生在二十年前的混乱刺杀事件以及其后续。如果皇帝陛下要介入到他治下成千上万个臣属国的每一次即位空窗期中,那他就没精力再为泰姆瑞尔的更高整体追求出力了。”

“我明白。”吉娜嗫嚅道,“当我想起了所有全部事情,我是谁,以及我发生了什么事时,我决定还是撒手不管。实话实说,再次见到斯特雷尔爵士的时候,我正离开卡姆洛恩,走在回到匕落城的大路上。他才是要求解决这个问题的人,不是我。他把我拉回来的时候,我唯一的念头就是去看看我的表亲,告诉她我是谁,但他禁止我这样做。”

“那样做太危险了。”斯特雷尔怒吼道,“我们还不知道这阴谋的水到底有多深。也许我们永远不会知道。”

“很抱歉,我发现每次我碰上简短的问题,给出的却总是冗长的解释。斯特雷尔爵士询问我能否帮忙的时候,我应该已经回答说‘好’了。”斯特雷尔爵士和吉娜的面色顿时一变,布里希恩娜女士不由得笑出声来,“我当然会帮助你,但如果要达成好结果,我们必须让皇帝在如下两件事上满意才成。首先,必须要提供出决定性的证据,找出这场被掀开阴谋的幕后黑手究竟是谁。你们必须让某人招供。”

“而其次,”斯特雷尔爵士颔首说道,“我们必须提供足够的证据,让陛下相信这事确实值得他亲自关注,而并不是那种鸡毛蒜皮的地区小事。”

之后斯特雷尔爵士、布里希恩娜女士以及自称为“吉娜”的女子又花了几个小时讨论如何达成这些目标。在行动流程都决定下来之后,布里希恩娜女士就去寻找她的盟友普罗塞库斯,而斯特雷尔与吉娜扭身向西,重返卡姆洛恩。他们在林中骑行刚走出不远就听见顶头远方的马蹄疾驰之声。斯特雷尔爵士抽出宝剑,示意吉娜停马在他身后。

就在那时,他们被四面围攻了。这是场突袭,八个人全副武装,挥着斧子,已经等候多时了。

斯特雷尔爵士飞快把吉娜拉到自己的马上,让她躲在自己身后。他的双手简单又熟练地比划了一下,一道火环就在他们周围成形,向外激突,击中了那些袭击者。人们哀号连连,倒在了地上,而斯特雷尔策马越过离他最近那人的头顶,全速向西飞奔。

“我当你是个大使,可不是个法师!”吉娜笑道。

“我还是相信外交总会有用武之地的。”斯特雷尔爵士回敬道。

他们在林中路上碰上了不久前动静来源的奔马和骑手。那正是戈诺布斯。“爵爷,是那个王家战斗法师!他发现您二位在安彬屯了!”

“不费吹灰之力,我必须补充一句。”艾里尔爵士的声音从树林里传出。戈诺布斯、吉娜和斯特雷尔爵士搜索着阴暗树丛,但树丛遮蔽了一切。战斗法师的声音似乎无处不在,却也无处可寻。

“我罪该万死,爵爷!”戈诺布斯哀叹道,“我用了最快速度想要提醒您的!”

“在你的来世,说不定你还能记得,绝不要把计划放心透露给一个酒鬼!”艾里尔爵士大笑道。他们都在他的视线范围之内,于是他施放了法术。

戈诺布斯是第一个发现他的,看见了从他指尖跃出的火球光亮。然后艾里尔爵士就想知道这傻瓜接下的行动到底是出于什么目的。也许他是想冲上前,把斯特雷尔爵士扑出火球路径外。也许他是要逃出这条毁灭路径保全自己,结果本应该朝右跑却跑向了左边。也许,虽然可能性怎么想怎么不大,他是想牺牲自己保全主人。不管是什么原因,结果都是一样。

他挡路了。

能量爆炸填满了整个夜空,爆炸的回响惊飞了一里之外的群鸟。以戈诺布斯和他的马原先站立的地方为中心,几平方尺的土地上除了黑玻璃什么都不剩了。他们连一丝蒸汽都没留下。吉娜和斯特雷尔爵士被向后震了出去。他们的马刚一恢复知觉就以最快的速度逃走了。透过法术爆炸延迟不去的闪光区域,斯特雷尔爵士的视线直接穿透树林,对上了战斗法师瞪大的双眼。

“该死的!”艾里尔爵士扔下一句扭头就跑。大使立刻起身追击。

“这法术可很耗费魔力,就算对你来说也一样。”斯特雷尔爵士边跑边说,“除非确信你和目标之间没有阻碍物,否则不要使用远距离法术,你是知道的还不够清楚还是怎样?”

“我没想到——那个傻瓜——”艾里尔爵士悲叹还没说完就被从后方击中,一下子被按倒在森林的湿地上。

“你想什么可并不重要了。”斯特雷尔爵士冷静地说,把战斗法师转了个身,用膝盖死死压住他的手臂。“我并不是战斗法师,可就连我也知道不要在你的那场小突袭中拼尽全力。也许这纯粹是思路的问题,身为政府探员我更偏向于保守战术。”

“你想干什么?”艾里尔爵士呜咽道。

“戈诺布斯可是个好人,我最得力的手下之一,所以为此我要让你好好受罪。”大使稍微动了动,他的双手开始闪出亮光。“这是已经确定好的部分。之后你还要受多少罪取决你会告诉我们什么。我要你告诉我前奥洛尼公爵的事情。”

“你想知道什么?”艾里尔爵士尖叫出来。

“全部一切。”斯特雷尔爵士以完美的耐性回答道。

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The Mystery of Princess Talara, Part III
by Mera Llykith
Part three of the story of Princess Talara


Gnorbooth was leaving his favorite pub in Camlorn, The Breaking Branch, when he heard someone calling his name. His was not the sort of a name that could be mistaken for another. He turned and saw Lord Eryl, the Royal Battlemage from the palace, emerge from the darkness of the alley.
"Milord," said Gnorbooth with a pleasant smile.
"I'm surprised to see you out this evening, Gnorbooth," grinned Lord Eryl with a most unpleasant smile. "I have not seen you and your master very much since the millennial celebration, but I understand you've been very busy. What I've been wondering is what you've been busy doing."
"Protecting the Imperial interests in Camlorn is busy work, milord. But I cannot imagine you would be interested in the minutiae of the ambassador's appointments."
"But I am," said the battlemage. "Especially as the ambassador has begun acting most mysteriously, most undiplomatically lately. And I understand that he has taken one of the whores from the Flower Festival into his house. I believe her name is Gyna?"
Gnorbooth shrugged: "He's in love, I would imagine, milord. It can make men act very strangely, as I'm sure you've heard before."
"She is a most comely wench," laughed Lord Eryl. "Have you noticed how much she resembles the late Princess Talara?"
"I have only been in Camlorn for fifteen years, milord. I never saw her late majesty."
"Now I could understand it if he had taken to writing poetry, but what man in love spends his days in the kitchens of the palace, talking to old servants? That hardly sounds like molten passion to me, even based on my limited experience." Lord Eryl rolled his eyes. "And what is this business he has now in - oh, what is the name of that village?"
"Umbington?" replied Gnorbooth, and immediately wished he hadn't. Lord Eryl was too canny an actor to reveal it, but Gnorbooth knew at the pit of his stomach that the battlemage did not even know Lord Strale had left the capitol. He had to get away to let the ambassador know, but there was still a game to be carefully played. "He's not leaving for there until tomorrow. I believe it's just to put a stamp on some deed that needs the Imperial seal."
"Is that all? How tedious for the poor fellow. I suppose I'll see him when he returns then," Lord Eryl bowed. "Thank you for being so informative. Farewell."
The moment the royal battlemage turned the corner, Gnorbooth leapt onto his horse. He had drunk one or two ales too many, but he knew he must find his way to Umbington before Lord Eryl's agents did. He galloped east out of the capitol, hoping there were signs along the road.
Seated in a tavern that smelled of mildew and sour beer, Lord Strale marveled at how the Emperor's agent Lady Brisienna always found the most public of places for her most private of conferences. It was harvest time in Umbington, and all of the field hands were drinking away their meager wages in the noisiest of fashions. He was dressed appropriately for the venue, rough trousers and a simple peasant's vest, but he still felt conspicuous. In comparison to his two female companions, he certainly was. The woman to his right was used to frequenting the low places of Daggerfall as a common prostitute. Lady Brisienna to his left was even more clearly in her element.
"By what name would you prefer I call you?" Lady Brisienna asked solicitously.
"I am used to the name Gyna, though that may have to change," was her reply. "Of course, it may not. Gyna the Whore may be the name writ on my grave."
"I will see to it that there is no attempt on your life like that the Flower Festival," Lord Strale frowned. "But without the Emperor's help, I won't be able to protect you forever. The only permanent solution is to capture those who would do you harm and then to raise you to your proper station."
"Do you believe my story?" Gyna turned to Lady Brisienna.
"I have been the Emperor's chief agent in High Rock for many years now, and I have heard few stranger tales. If your friend the ambassador hadn't investigated and discovered what he has, I would have dismissed you outright as a madwoman," Brisienna laughed, forcing a smile onto Gyna's face to match. "But now, yes, I do believe you. Perhaps that makes me the madwoman."
"Will you help us?" asked Lord Strale simply.
"It is a tricky business interfering in the affairs of the provincial kingdoms," Lady Brisienna looked into the depths of her mug thoughtfully. "Unless there is a threat to the Empire itself, we find it is best not to meddle. What we have in your case is a very messy assassination that happened twenty years ago, and its aftermath. If His Imperial Majesty involved itself in every bloody hiccup in the succession in each of his thousand vassal kingdoms, he would never accomplish anything for the greater good of Tamriel."
"I understand," murmured Gyna. "When I remembered everything, who I was and what happened to me, I resolved to do nothing about it. In fact, I was leaving Camlorn and going back home to Daggerfall when I saw Lord Strale again. He was the one who began this quest to resolve this, not me. And when he brought me back, I only wanted to see my cousin to tell her who I was, but he forbade me."
"It would have been too dangerous," growled Strale. "We still don't know yet the depths of the conspiracy. Perhaps we never will."
"I'm sorry, I always find myself giving long explanations to short questions. When Lord Strale asked if I would help, I should have begun by saying 'yes,'" Lady Brisienna laughed at the change in Lord Strale and Gyna's expressions. "I will help you, of course. But for this to turn out well, you must accomplish two things to the Emperor's satisfaction. First, you must prove with absolute certainty who is the power behind this plot you've uncovered. You must get someone to confess."
"And secondly," said Lord Strale, nodding. "We must prove that this is a matter worthy of His Imperial Majesty's consideration, and not merely a minor local concern."
Lord Strale, Lady Brisienna, and the woman who called herself Gyna discussed how to accomplish their goals for a few hours more. When it was agreed what had to be done, Lady Brisienna took her leave to find her ally Proseccus. Strale and Gyna set off to the west, toward Camlorn. It was not long after beginning their ride through the woods that they heard the sound of galloping hoof beats far up ahead. Lord Strale unsheathed his sword and signaled for Gyna to position her horse behind him.
At that moment, they were attacked on all sides. It was an ambush. Eight men, armed with axes, had been lying in wait.
Lord Strale quickly yanked Gyna from her horse, pulling her behind him. He made a brief, deft motion with his hands. A ring of flame materialized around them, and rushed outward, striking their assailants. The men roared in pain and dropped to their knees. Lord Strale jumped the horse over the closest one, and galloped at full speed westward.
"I thought you were an ambassador not a mage!" laughed Gyna.
"I still believe there are times for diplomacy," replied Lord Strale.
The horse and rider they had heard before met them on the road. It was Gnorbooth. "Milord, it's the royal battlemage! He found out you two were in Umbington!"
"With considerable ease, I might add," Lord Eryl's voice boomed out of the woods. Gnorbooth, Gyna, and Lord Strale scanned the dark trees, but they showed nothing. The battlemage's voice seemed to emanate from everywhere and nowhere.
"I'm sorry, milord," groaned Gnorbooth. "I tried to warn you as soon as I could."
"In your next life, perhaps you'll remember not to trust your plans to a drunkard!" laughed Lord Eryl. He had them in his sight, and the spell was unleashed.
Gnorbooth saw him first, by the light of the ball of fire that leapt from his fingertips. Later, Lord Eryl was to wonder to himself what the fool had intended to do. Perhaps he was rushing forward to pull Lord Strale out of the path. Perhaps he was trying to flee the path of destruction, and had simply moved left when he should have moved right. Perhaps, as unlikely as it seemed, he was willing to sacrifice himself to save his master. Whatever the reason, the result was the same.
He got in the way.
There was an explosion of energy that filled the night, and an echoing boom that shook birds from the trees for a mile around. On the few square feet where Gnorbooth and his horse had stood was nothing but black glass. They had been reduced to less than vapor. Gyna and Lord Strale were thrown back. Their horse, when it recovered its senses, galloped away as fast as it could. In the lingering glowing aura of the spell's detonation, Lord Strale looked straight into the woods and into the wide eyes of the battlemage.
"Damn," said Lord Eryl and began to run. The ambassador jumped to his feet and pursued.
"That was an expensive use of magicka, even for you," said Lord Strale as he ran. "Don't you know well enough not to use ranged spells unless you are certain your target won't be blocked?"
"I never thought - that idiot -" Lord Eryl was struck from behind and knocked to the wet forest floor before he had a chance to finish his lamentation.
"It doesn't matter what you thought," said Lord Strale calmly, flipping the battlemage around and pinning his arms to the ground with his knees. "I'm not a battlemage, but I knew enough not to use my entire reserve on your little ambush. Perhaps it's a matter of philosophy, as a government agent, I feel inclined toward conservatism."
"What are you going to do?" whimpered Lord Eryl.
"Gnorbooth was a good man, one of the best, and so I'm going to hurt you quite a lot," the ambassador made a slight movement and his hands began to glow brightly. "That's a certainty. How much more I'm going to hurt you after that depends on what you tell me. I want to hear about the former Duke of Oloine."
"What do you want to know?" Lord Eryl screamed.
"Let's start with everything," replied Lord Strale with perfect patience.

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