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【书籍搬运】The Rear Guard 落跑守卫

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

作者:Tenace Mourl

翻译:花溪流萤

城池固若金汤。尽管敌人强大如斯,Cascabel Hall城墙永不可摧,但这一切都不过是Menegur.微不足道的自我安慰。实际上,他从来没有这么饿过,堡垒中庭里的水泉足以为其提供源源不断的水源,但是他的胃不时的提醒他,他需要的是食物。

他被看似满载的补给车骗了,当孤寂之王军队撤离Cascabel Hall时,把掩护撤退的任务交给了他,并宣称留下的整车食物足够他支撑一个月。但是在大部队撤离的当夜,他检视了整个马车,发现车里没有任何食物。只有一箱箱晨风样式的netch 护甲,很显然,他的诺德盟友把这些轻质的不透明材料留给他当压缩肉饼。如果那些车队被劫的黑暗精灵们知道,肯定会笑掉大牙。

Menegur 认为自己的佣兵伙伴同时也是女亲属的艾林 一定也认为这样很搞笑。作为一个轻甲专家,她曾信誓旦旦的宣称,这种甲胄在非常时期并不能像其他皮革一样食用。她不能在此享受如此窘境真是令人遗憾,他不怀好意的想着。她在王军撤离之前就已经返回晨风了。她喜欢过刺激的逃亡生活,而不是在寒冷的天际省自由自在的日子。

Cascabel Hall庭院中所有的杂草都被这位垫后的守卫在16星期内一扫而光,整个城堡已空空如也:地表之下腐烂的块茎,伯爵橱柜上满布灰尘的花束,能吃的都被吃光了。甚至城墙周围所有的老鼠和虫子(除了警觉逃离的)都被他抓来,一并吞下。除了从城堡主人房间里那些苦涩难咽的法律典籍中,抖落一些面包碎屑。Menegur甚至从石头上面刮下苔藓来吃。毫无疑问:在他的军队赶回来击退围困堡垒的敌人之前,他就已经死了。

“最糟的是”Menegur在独自困守城池的第二天就曾对自己说过:“生存看起来近在咫尺

”金黄苹果树的巨大枝桠逐渐像城墙延展开来,果实在阳光的映照下,熠熠生辉,风中飘来甜美的果香,飘进Cascabel中,折磨着他饥饿的神经。

如同大多数木精灵那样,Menegur 是一个弓箭手。他长于中远距离作战,但是如果他敢于离开城堡深入敌军营帐,在苹果树下抵近作战,他将命不久矣。某种意义上来说,他必须尝试出击觅食(出去摘苹果?),但是他一直在犹豫具体日期。此时不出,更待何时(快饿死啦)。

Menegur 首次披上了Netch护甲,这种皮革带给他毛茸茸的类似于天鹅绒的触感。与此同时还有一种难以觉察的颤动,或许是netch在被鸠杀数月后肌肉中仍然残存有毒刺细胞的缘故。两种感觉融合起来,使他觉得精神抖擞。艾林曾经描述过这种美妙感觉,而且她也说明过当穿上这身盔甲时应该如何更好地保护自己。

在夜色的掩护下,Menegur悄悄从城堡后门溜出,并用笨重的大锁将其锁上。他尽可能轻声的挪向果树,但是还是被一个路过的哨兵发现了。Menegur 并没慌张,因为艾林曾经告诉过他,对方攻击以后再行动也不迟。哨兵刺向他的佩剑划出盔甲向左偏出,并且失去了平衡。他懂的,这是个技巧:你应该随时准备被击,然后仅需要随击打方向腾挪,这个膜状盔甲即会将伤害转移开来。

用你敌人的力量击败他,艾林常这样说道

在果树下,他们进行了多次近距离交锋,但是每次挥出的斧和刺出的剑都被转移到其他地方。捧满苹果以后,Menegur且战且退回到了城堡中。他锁上了身后的大门,大快朵颐。

每一周,这个木精灵都会溜出去采集食物。敌军守卫们已经开始警惕他的突袭,但是他将时间表打乱以迷惑敌军并且始终恪守当敌人击来,承受攻击,转移之的策略。就这样,他在Cascabel Hall的独自守卫之中活了下来。

四个月过去了,当他准备进行下一次的苹果“采摘”活动之前,Menegur听到前门一阵大声喧哗。从城垛上远远望去,他看到了孤寂王的盾牌,他的盟友Cascabel伯爵,以及他的敌人Farrun之王。毫无疑问,停战协议已经被签订。

Menegur打开了城门,双方兵士蜂拥而入。很多Farrun 的骑士都在寻找被他们称为苹果树下阴影的人握手,对他卓越的防御技巧表示敬仰,并对之前妄图杀死他真心的致歉。“你应该懂的,这时我们的份内工作。”

孤寂王叹道:“果藤上甚至一个苹果都没有了。”

是这样,我从外围开始采摘,循序渐进”Menegur解释道:“我带回来的水果的富余部分,我用来引诱城墙里的老鼠出洞,这样我也有些肉吃。”

“过去几个月,我们一直在商定停战协定的细节”国王说道:“真是相当费劲,无论如何,伯爵现在可以重新接管这个城堡了,但是有些小细节还值得我们商榷。你是个雇佣兵,所以我们必须为你支付佣金。如果你是我的属下,事情就不同了,在此之前我们必须遵循一些老规矩办事。”

Menegur早就料到有此一招。

“问题在于,”国王继续道:“在此期间,你吃掉了伯爵相当数目的粮食。任何意义上来讲,你吃掉的数目都足以抵消甚至超出你的雇佣费用。显然在你于艰苦卓绝的环境中守卫城堡并为之做出巨大贡献之后,我不想惩罚你,但是你应该知道,我们应该按照老规矩办事。你懂吗?”

“当然”Menegur回应道,坦然接受了事实。

“很高兴你如此爽快”王说道:“据我们统计,你一共欠Cascabel 伯爵37帝国金币。”

“我很乐意支付,秋收之后,连本带利的还给你们”Menegur说道:“不过在苹果藤上面剩下的,可不是你们想的那样(苹果都被吃光)。”

“我们都同意按照老规矩办事,在你们签订协议期间,我读过相当多的书籍。3E 246年,尤里尔四世统治期间,帝国议会为了治理天际省长期混乱之后遗留下的财产所有权问题,曾颁布法令,任何在无君主状态的城堡中居住3个月以上的人,将自动取得城堡的所有权。当然,这是很好的法律,为了预防领主缺位以及陷于敌手。”Menegur笑道,感受着熟悉的攻击划过的快感。“依据此法,我现在是Cascabel伯爵。”

这个落跑守卫的儿子现在依然是Cascabel的伯爵,而且种植着帝国境内最好最美味的苹果。

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The Rear Guard
by Tenace Mourl
How a lone man guards a besieged castle and how he obtains his food


The castle would hold. No matter the forces, the walls of Cascabel Hall would never fail, but that was small consolation for Menegur. He was hungry. In fact, he had never been so hungry. The well in the atrium of the fortress supplied him with enough water to hold there until the Fourth Era, but his stomach reminded Menegur minute to minute that he needed food.
The wagonload of supplies mocked him. When his army, the forces of the King of Solitude, had left Cascabel Hall, and he had manned the battlements as the rear-guard to protect their retreat, they had left a wagon behind to supply him with enough food for months. It was not until the night after they left that he inspected the larder and found that nothing edible was in the wagon. Trunk after trunk was filled with netch armor from the army's incursion into Morrowind. Apparently hisNord confederates had assumed that the lightly opaque material was hard tack in aspic. If theDunmer whose caravan had been raided knew about this, they would never be able to stop laughing.
Menegur thought that his fellow mercenary and kinswoman Aerin would have found this amusing as well. She had spoken with great authority about netch leather, being an expert of sorts on light armor, but she had made a point to mention that it could not be eaten like other leather in occasions of hardship. It was a pity she couldn't be there to enjoy the irony, Menegur thought savagely. She had returned to Morrowind even before the king's army had left, preferring a life as a wanted fugitive to a free existence in the cold of Skyrim.
All the weeds in the courtyard had been devoured by the rear-guard's sixteenth day manning Cascabel Hall. The entire castle had been scoured: rotten tubers in the mulch pile found and consumed, a dusty bouquet in the countess's bedchamber eaten, almost every rat and insect but the most cunning infesting the castle walls had been tracked down and gobbled up. The castellan's chambers, filled with acrid, inedible law books, had yielded up a couple crumbs of bread. Menegur had even scraped moss from the stones. There was no denying it: he would be dead from starvation before his army returned to break the ranks of the enemies who surrounded the fortress.
"The worst part," said Menegur, who had taken to talking to himself on only the second day alone in the castle. "Is how close sustenance is."
A vast arbor of golden apples stretched acre after acre near the castle walls. The sunlight cast a seductive gleam on the fruit, and the cruel wind carried sweet smells into Cascabel to torture him.
Like most Bosmer, Menegur was an archer. He was a master of long and medium distance fighting, but in close quarters, as he would be if he dared to leave the castle and enter the enemy camp in the arbor, he knew he would not last long. At some point, he knew he would have to try, but he had been dreading the day. It was upon him now.
Menegur put on the netch armor for the first time, feeling the powdery, almost velvet texture of the rendered leather against his skin. There was also a barely perceptible throb, which he recognized as the remnant nematocysts of the netch's venomous flesh, still tingling months after its death with domesticated poison. The combination made him feel energized. Aerin had described the sensation perfectly, just as she had explained how to defend himself while wearing netch leather armor.
Under cover of night, Menegur crept out of the back gate of the castle, locking it behind him with a rather cumbersome key. He made for the arbor as quietly as he could, but a passing sentry, coming behind a tree, saw him. Remaining calm, Menegur did as he remembered Aerin had instructed, only moving after the attack had been launched. The sentry's blade glided against the armor and knocked to the left, throwing the young man off balance. That was the trick, as he understood it: you had to be prepared to be hit, and merely move with the blow, allowing the membranous armor to divert the injury away.
Use your enemy's momentum against him, as Aerin used to say.
There were several more close encounters in the arbor, but each swing of an ax and each thrust of a sword found purchase elsewhere. With handfuls of apples, Menegur ran the gauntlet back to the castle. He locked the back gate door behind him and fell into an orgy of eating.
For week after week, the Bosmer stole out to gather his food. The guards began anticipating his raids, but he kept his schedule irregular and always remembered when attacked to wait for the blow, accept it, and then turn. In such a way, he lived and survived his lonely vigil in Cascabel Hall.
Four months later, as he was preparing for another seizure of apples, Menegur heard a loud clamor at the front gate. Surveying the group from a safe distance on the battlements, he saw the shields of the King of Solitude, his ally the Count of Cascabel, and their enemy the King ofFarrun. Evidently, a truce had been called.
Menegur opened the gates and the combined armies flooded the courtyard. Many of the knights of Farrun sought to shake the hand of the man they had named the Shadow of the Arbor, expressing their admiration at his defensive skills and apologizing good-naturedly for their attempts to slay him. Only doing their job, you know.
"There's hardly a apple left on the vines," said the King of Solitude.
"Well, I started on the edges and worked my way in," explained Menegur. "I brought back extra fruit to tempt the rats of out of walls so I could have a little meat as well."
"We've spent the last several months working out the details of the truce," said the King. "Really quite exhausting. In any rate, the Count will be taking back possession of his castle now, but there is a small detail we need to work out. You're a mercenary, and as such responsible for your own expenses. If you had been a subject of mine, things might be different, but there are certain old rules of law that must be respected."
Menegur anticipated the strike.
"The problem is," the King continued. "You've taken a good deal of the Count's crops while here. By any reasonable computation, you've eaten an amount equal to and likely exceeding your mercenary's wages. Obviously, I would not want to penalize you for the excellent job you've done defending the castle in uncomfortable circumstances, but you agree that it's important that we observe the old rules of law, don't you?"
"Of course," replied Menegur, accepting the blow.
"I'm delighted to hear that," said the King. "Our estimation is that you owe the Count of Cascabel thirty-seven Imperial gold."
"Which I will gladly pay to myself, with interest, after the autumntide harvest," said Menegur. "There is more left on the vine than you suggest."
The Kings of Solitude and Farrun, and the Count of Cascabel stared at the Bosmer.
"We agreed to abide to the strictest old rules of law, and I've had time to read a great many books over the time you were making your truce. In 3E 246, during the reign of Uriel IV, theImperial Council, in an attempt to clear up some questions of property rights in Skyrim during those chaotic days, decreed that any man without a liege who occupied a castle for more than three months would be granted the rights and titles of that estate. It's a good law, of course, meant to discourage absent and foreign landlords." Menegur smiled, feeling the now familiar sensation of a glancing strike diverting. "By the rule of law, I am the Count of Cascabel."
The rear-guard's son still hold the title of Count of Cascabel. And he grows the finest, most delectable apples in the Empire.

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