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【书籍搬运】The Mirror 镜之彼端

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

作者:Berdier Wreans

翻译:花溪流萤

风掠过开阔的空地,将此处本就不多的树木吹拂的瑟缩摇摆。一位头戴明绿色毡帽的少年来到军中,向统帅递交本族酋长所拟和平协定。但被断然拒绝, Ain-K奥鲁尔之战已成定局。

随后Iymbez酋长发布公开挑衅,宣称自己的骑士再次进入战备状态。该部落曾多次侵犯他国领土,且每次外交斡旋均告失败。长此以往,导致今日困局。但(宣言)对Mindothrax来说无关痛痒。不管他的联盟能否胜利,对他来言,均无关生死。在他34年的军旅生涯中,他的归属方偶尔也曾战败,但是近身搏杀,他却从未输过。

双方军队你来我往,宛若沙漠上流淌的两股湍急河流,每当号角吹起,喊声便在山峦间回荡。(休战)数月以来,鲜血首次浸染脚下泥土,浇洒于沙砾之上。在部落战士的此起彼伏的呐喊声中,联盟战士前仆后继的倒下。Mindothrax很乐于在这种逆境下单兵作战。

经历10小时毫无建树的胶着战斗之后,双方指挥官同时心照不宣的体面撤出战场。

联盟军队在一片高墙环绕的古老墓群中扎下寨来,春季盛开的花海点缀其间。当Mindothrax漫步于这片土地时,忽然忆起了自己的童年时代的故乡。那是喜忧参半的回忆,彼时蕴含的野心,令他终年都在学习战斗之道,但记忆中可怜母亲的影像却渐渐模糊不清。那是一位美丽的女子,常屹立于风中望着自己的儿子,骄傲之中隐藏着难言的忧伤。她从来不公开自己的伤痛,然而某天其独自走入了苍茫大地,数天之后被发现暴尸于荒野之中时,很少有人为此惊讶,死因是割喉自尽。

军队此时宛若蚁群,惶惶不安。战斗结束还不到半小时,他们就已经靠直觉认识到这点。在医生寻找伤员救治期间,有人意识到Mindothrax的存在,并钦佩讶异的叫道“看哪,Mindothrax竟然毫发无伤。”

“他是位伟大的剑士,”主治医师说道

“我的剑法被严重高估了”Mindothrax无视众人的溢美目光淡然说道。“战士们过于重视攻击,却忽视防守。正确战斗要义最先注重的是防守,随后才是选择合适时机向对手进击。”

“如果这样就能击败 Bjoulsae部落,那么我保留先前意见”Mindothrax随后转换语气道,以示自己并非对他们不敬。“谨记伟大剑豪歌丹·真治所讲,‘最好的技巧由幸存者传承。’,在我多达36次的战史中,从未负过一次伤。正是因为我恪守组训,首先依赖自己的盾,然后才是剑。”

“那么你的秘诀是什么?”

“将格斗当作照镜子,自己右手攻击时留意对方的左手。如果他对我的攻击早有戒备,我就停止攻击。为什么要白费力气?”Mindothrax眉飞色舞道,“如果我看到对手右手准备发力,我的左手将会握盾以备防御。要知道,正面直接阻击比从侧面进击令对方的攻击偏出要多耗费1倍力气,若你的眼睛能够分辨对手的攻击为上盘,中盘,还是下盘,便只需合理转动盾牌中轴以将其置于合适位置便可成功防下,如果需要,我的防守能坚持数小时,但是处于攻势的对手过不了几分钟甚至几秒,便会露出破绽,留给你制胜之机。”

“你最长的防守持续多久呢?”伤兵问道。

“我曾经和某个对手鏖战长达一小时,”Mindothrax回答道,“他一直在不知疲倦的进攻,不给我任何喘息机会反击。但最终,他某次举棒时间不够迅捷,胸前闪出一丝破绽,他击在我盾牌上的攻击数以千计,而我只命中他的心脏一次,这便足够。”

“所以说,他是你遇到过的最难缠对手?”医生问道

“哦,当然不是,”Mindothrax将自己伟大盾牌翻转过来,使得光滑的银质面映照出自己的脸庞,随后说道。“他在这里。”

第二天,战斗重新打响,Iymbez酋长从南方岛群上搬来的援兵亦加入了战斗。这场战斗已经事关部落,佣兵,变节骑士,甚至被卷入的河源地女巫的荣辱。当Mindothrax戴上头盔携上剑盾整装待发之际,回望此前联盟军队所驻之处,心中又浮现出母亲的身影。是什么在折磨着她?为什么他始终不曾对自己儿子展露笑颜?

战斗从清晨一直持续到黎明。头顶的蓝天被地下延绵的战火映照的通红,双方一次又一次的奋起厮杀。Mindothrax 所到之处,对手无不披靡。敌人的斧头雨点般的落在他的盾牌上,但每个人的攻击都被Mindothrax 带偏并随后被Mindothrax击败。一支长矛甚至首次攻击就差点刺穿盾牌,但Mindothrax深知如何化解攻击,将其重心晃失,令其空门大露(并将其杀死)。最终,他遇到一位同样装备剑盾并头戴金色铜盔的佣兵,他们的战斗持续了1个半小时。

Mindothrax 使尽浑身解数。当佣兵扬起左手时,他举盾迎击,当对手举剑劈来,他的盾牌也随之举起熟练挡下。在他的生涯中,还是首次遭遇另一位防守大师。双方均稳若磐石,谨慎无比,保留的能量足以支撑一天的持久战。间或有其他战士加入战局,来自Mindothrax军队和对手的都有。这些干扰很快就被轻松排解,随后两位大师继续对决。

这场战斗中,两人不住的兜圈子,你来我往,你进我退,夕阳下,Mindothrax仿佛在与自己的完美镜像对决。

这场战斗渐渐超越血战本身,变成更像游戏,甚至接近舞蹈。直到Mindothrax 失去节奏,操之过急的选择进攻时机,令自身方寸大乱才宣告这场对决结束。下一瞬间,Mindothrax 感觉到,更应该说看到,佣兵的剑从喉咙劈下直达胸口。漂亮一击,恰如他曾经施以对手身上那样。

Mindothrax倒在地上,感受着生命的消逝。佣兵站在他的面前,准备给予自己伟大对手最后一击。在他看来这种奇怪行为蕴含了浓厚的敬意,Mindothrax因此深深感动。战场对面,他听到人们在喊一个名字,那个名字和他很像。

“Jurrifax!”

雇佣兵脱下自己的头盔,以回应呼唤。在他脱下头盔的霎那,Mindothrax 从头盔的余光中瞥见了男人的倒影。靠的很近的双眼,红棕色的毛发,宽阔的大嘴,圆润的下巴,这些都与他何其相似。他惊讶的看着头盔好一会儿,随后佣兵踱了回来,给予他致命一击。

Jurrifax回到己方统帅身边,并因对日间胜利所做贡献,收获了优渥的酬劳。退下之后,众人趁着星光来到曾被敌人占据过的墓园中一个古老石碑前庆祝。佣兵望着大地,意外的陷入沉默当中。

“你以前到过这里么,Jurrifax?”雇佣他的某位部落男子问道

“同你们一样,我生下来就是骑手。当我还是孩子的时候,妈妈把我卖掉了。我常常在想,如果我没有被遗弃,我人生该是何种模样。大概我也不会成为一个佣兵吧。”

“多重因素影响着你的命运,”(身旁的)女巫说道,“将自己置于假想人生境遇中思考自身未来殊为不智,你就是你,比较本身毫无意义。”

“有意义的,我有参考样本”Jurrifax仰望着星空说道。“在我恢复自由之前,我的主人曾告诉过我,妈妈当时诞下的是双胞胎,但她只能养活其中一个,因此在世界的某处,有一个长得和我一样的男人。我的兄弟,真想见到他。”

女巫望向眼前虚空,她知道这对双胞胎早已见过。但她只是沉默不语的望着篝火,并将这个念头深埋心中,真相有时不说为妙。

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The Mirror
by Berdier Wreans
About a skilled fighter's showdown with his greatest enemy


The wind blew over the open plain, jostling the few trees within to move back and forth with the irritation of it. A young man in bright green turban approached the army and gave his chieftain's terms for peace to the commander. He was refused. It was to be battle, the battle of Ain-Kolur.
So the chief Iymbez had decreed his open defiance and his horsemen were at war once again. Many times the tribe had moved into territory that was not theirs to occupy, and many times the diplomatic approach had failed. It had come to this, at long last. It was just as well with Mindothrax. His allies may win or lose, but he would always survive. Though he had occasionally been on the losing side of a war, never once in all his thirty-four years had he lost in hand-to-hand combat.
The two armies poured like dual frothing streams through the dust, and when they met a clamor rang out, echoing into the hills. Blood, the first liquor the clay had tasted in many a month, danced like powder. The high and low battle cries of the rival tribes met in harmony as the armies dug into one another's flesh. Mindothrax was in the element he loved.
After ten hours of fighting with no ground given, both commanders called a mutual and honorable withdrawal from the field.
The camp was positioned in a high-walled garden of an old burial ground, adorned by springtide blossoms. As Mindothrax toured the grounds, he was reminded of his childhood home. It was a happy and a sad recollection, the purity of childhood ambition, all of his schooling in the ways of battle, but tinged with memories of his poor mother. A beautiful woman looking down at her son with both pride and unspoken sorrow. She never talked about what troubled her, but it came as no surprise to any when she took the walk across the moors and was found days later, her throat slit open by her own hand.
The army itself was like a colony of ants, newly shaken. Within a half hour's time after the end of the battle, they had reorganized as if by instinct. As the medics looked to the wounded, someone remarked, with a measure of admiration and astonishment, “Look at Mindothrax. His hair isn't even out of place.”
“He is a mighty swordsman,” said the attending physician.
“The sword is a greatly overvalued article,” said Mindothrax, nevertheless pleased with the attention. “Warriors pay too much attention to striking and not enough in defending strikes. The proper way to go into battle is to defend yourself, and to hit your opponent only when the ideal moment arises.”
“I prefer a more straight-forward approach,” smiled one of the wounded. “It is the way of thehorse men.”
“If it is the way of the Bjoulsae tribes to fail, then I renounce my heritage,” said Mindothrax, making a quick sign to the spirits that he was being expressive not blasphemous. “Remember what the great blademaster Gaiden Shinji said, 'The best techniques are passed on by the survivors.' I have been in thirty-six battles, and I haven't a scar to show for them. That is because I rely on my shield, and then my blade, in that order.”
“What is your secret?”
“Think of melee as a mirror. I look to my opponent's left arm when I am striking with my right. If he is prepared to block my blow, I blow not. Why exert undue force?” Mindothrax cocked an eyebrow, “But when I see his right arm tense, my left arm goes to my shield. You see, it takes twice as much power to send force than it does to deflect it. When your eye can recognize whether your opponent is striking from above, or at angle, or in an uppercut from below, you learn to pivot and place your shield just so to protect yourself. I could block for hours if need be, but it only takes a few minutes, or even seconds, for your opponent, used to battering, to leave a space open for your own strike.”
“What was the longest you've ever had to defend yourself?” asked the wounded man.
“I fought a man once for an hour's time,” said Mindothrax. “He was tireless with his bludgeoning, never giving me a moment to do aught but block his strikes. But finally, he took a moment too long in raising his cudgel and I found my mark in his chest. He struck my shield a thousand times, and I struck his heart but once. But that was enough.”
“So he was your greatest opponent?” asked the medico.
“Oh, indeed not,” said Mindothrax, turning his great shield so the silvery metal reflected his own face. “There is he.”
The next day, the battle recommenced. Chief Iymbez had brought in reinforcements from the islands to the south. To the horror and disgrace of the tribe, mercenaries, renegade horsemen and even some Reachmen witches were included in the war. As Mindothrax stared across the field at the armies assembling, putting on his helmet and readying his shield and blade, he thought again of his poor mother. What had tortured her so? Why had she never been able to look at her son without grief?
Between sunrise and sundown, the battle raged. A bright blue-sky overhead burned down on the combatants as they rushed against one another over and over again. In every melee, Mindothrax prevailed. A foe with an ax rained a series of strokes against his shield, but every one was deflected until at last Mindothrax could best the warrior. A spear maiden nearly pierced the shield with her first strike, but Mindothrax knew how to give with the blow, throwing her off balance and leaving her open for his counterstrike. Finally, he met a mercenary on the field, armed with shield and sword and a helm of golden bronze. For an hour and a half they battled.
Mindothrax tried every trick he knew. When the mercenary tensed his left arm, he held back his strike. When his opponent rose his sword, his shield rose too and expertly blocked. For the first time in his life, he was battling another defensive fighter. Stationary, reflective, with energy to battle for days if need be. Occasionally, another warrior would enter into the fray, sometimes from Mindothrax's army, sometimes from his opponent's. These distractions were swiftly dispatched, and the champions returned to their fight.
As they fought, circling one another, matching block for blow and blow for block, it dawned on Mindothrax that here at last he was fighting the perfect mirror.
It became more a game, almost a dance, than a battle of blood. It was not until Mindothrax missed his own step, striking too soon, throwing himself off balance, that the promenade was ended. He saw, rather than felt, the mercenary's blade rip across him from throat to chest. A good strike. The sort he himself might have delivered.
Mindothrax fell to the ground, feeling his life passing. The mercenary stood over him, prepared to give his worthy adversary the killing blow. It was a strange, honorable deed for an outsider to do, and Mindothrax was greatly moved. Across the battlefield, he heard someone call a name, similar to his own.
“Jurrifax!”
The mercenary removed his helmet to answer the call. As he did so, Mindothrax saw through the slits of his helmet his own reflection in the man. It was his own close-set eyes, red and brown hair, thin and wide mouth, and blunt chin. For a moment he marveled at the mirror, before the stranger turned back to him and delivered the death stroke.
Jurrifax returned to his commander and was well paid for his part in the day's victory. They retired for a hot meal under the stars in a garden by an old cairn that had previously been occupied by their foes. The mercenary was strangely quiet as he observed the land.
“Have you been here before, Jurrifax?” asked one of the tribesmen who had hired him.
“I was born a horseman just like you. My mother sold me when I was just a babe. I have always wondered how my life might have been different had I not been bartered away. I might never have been a mercenary.”
“There are many things that decide our fate,” said the witch. “It is madness to try to see how you might have taken this turn or that in the world. There are none exactly like yourself, so it is foolish to compare.”
“But there is one,” said Jurrifax, looking to the stars. “My master, before he set me free, said that my mother had twin sons when I was born. She could only afford to raise but one child, but somewhere out there, there is a man just like me. My brother. I hope to meet him.”
The witch saw the spirits before her and knew the truth that the twins had met already. She remained silent and stared into the fire, banishing the thoughts from her head, too wise to tell all.

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