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【书籍搬运】Withershins 逆时针

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

作者:亚昆特·塔瓦什

翻译:花溪流萤

“好吧”Kazagha说道:“你不想说两句么?”

扎基放下手中的蜂蜜酒杯,盯着妻子看了数秒。最终不情愿的说道:“很多东西都在和我交谈,亲爱的,从A到Z,要说也说不完,所以我还是少说两句为妙。”

“你难道你没想过这些?”Kazagha小心的问道。“这并不是你第一次产生疯狂偏执的妄想。想象一下,忠于黑沼泽的战斗法师们带着猥亵的表情潜伏于树下,目的是把你这个肥胖的秃顶中年裁缝掳获以作其性奴?如果你要寻求治疗,对此不需隐晦,这只是希奥格拉丝不时将于我们的小小疯狂。”

“Kazagha,闭嘴”Zaki咆哮着甩门而出。甚至差点撞上他的邻居,Siyasat。

“对不起”Siyasat向着Zaki的背影道歉。他捂住耳朵,充耳不闻,径直向街道深处奔去,转弯来到了他的裁缝店。他的的首位客户正在店前等待,冲他微微一笑。Zaki试着平息自己的怒火,取出钥匙,对顾客还以微笑。

“天气不错啊”年轻人说道

“天哪”Zaki大喊道,精准的一拳将年轻人击飞,然后夺路而逃。

尽管他拒绝承认Kazagha 说的是对的,但很显然,他再一次需要药剂师的草药鸡尾酒了。象征健康,精神和体质的Tarsu神庙坐落于北方,距此只有几条街的距离,那是一座令人印象深刻的三角碑状建筑。进入大厅以前,他见到了药剂师们的领袖Halqa。

“你今天还好吧,Sa’Zaki Saf?”

“我需要和Tarsu见上一面”Zaki用最冷静的口吻说道

“请稍等,我看下日程表”Halqa看着一卷卷轴说道。“紧急情况?”

“大概吧”Zaki说道,随后懊恼的拍了拍头。为什么自己不能说“是”,“当然”,“确定”。

“让我看看”Halqa皱眉道。“我只能给你下周三的预约。这样可以么?”

“星期三”Zaki哭喊道:“下周三,我就完全疯了,不能再早点了么?”

他在出口之前就已经预料到了结果。预约从来不会改变。某种意义上来讲,他必须接受现实。如果他刚才回答“是"就好了。

“恐怕不行”Halqa说道。“非常遗憾,请问你还需要(周三的)预约么—?”

Zaki咬紧牙关走开了。他低着头在街上徘徊,避免与任何人交谈,当他抬起头来才发现自己正在朝码头走去。亲切的微风吹拂在水面上,他深深的呼了几口气让自己平静下来。当他冷静下来之后,他再次想道,那些与字母间的谈话或许不是幻觉?如果他不是偏执,只是无比敏锐?他知道问题所在了:是自己疯了,还是发生了某些超自然现象?

路上有家名字叫做ParaDocks的店铺,橱窗展示着药草,水晶,以及魔法球。窗户上写着“从早到晚的Mystical Consultation(神奇会诊?)”这值得一看,Zaki将信将疑。唯一前来码头接受治疗的人是一个愚蠢的冒险家,其他所知不详。

里面焚着香,金色与紫色的烟雾缭绕,若出其里。挂在墙上的Jijjic死亡面具怒目而视,烟雾从天花板一直延伸到地面,地上有一排诡异的书架。一张古老的桌子后面有一个小矮人正在和一个年轻女人讨价还价。

“好了”男人说道:“这些份量一共15金,我为你免费添加了一定比例的有助健康的滋补剂。请记住,只有遇到不洁之物方可点燃蜡烛,曼陀罗根茎的功效在其偏爱的黑暗中方可大放光彩”

顾客害羞的朝Zaki静静一笑,离开了商店。

“请救救我”Zaki说道:“我听到的每句对话好像一堆字母在嗡嗡叫,我不知道是我疯了,还是受什么怪诞的力量影响”。实话实说,我曾经对你的治疗方法深表怀疑,但是我已走投无路。你能结束我这场噩梦么”

小菜一碟”男人轻拍着Zaki说道:“当字母表数完的时候再进行对话,字母表是从后往前的逆时序还是从前往后的顺时序?”

逆时序,”Zaiki说道,随后纠正道:“见鬼!我指的是,现在重新从头开始变成正时序了。我要死了。你能好心告诉我,我疯了么?”

“Sauriki,”男人笑着安慰道:“我不能这么讲,因为你一切正常。”

“谢谢”Zaki皱眉道:“顺便一提,我的名字是Zaki,不是Sauriki。”

“很容易搞混,呃?”男人拍着Zaki的后背说道:“我的名字叫做Octoplasm。请听我说,我这里有你需要的”

Octoplasm带着Zaki行走于桌后的狭窄走廊里。两个男人穿过布满尘埃盛满泡着奇怪生物液体的柜橱,穿过成堆古老石子的铺成的石路,穿过一排排腐朽的皮革封皮的书籍,走入了店铺潮湿的中心区域。在这里,他交给Zaki一面小小的圆柱状的滚鼓和一本书。

“吸血仪式,迪德拉的 领域,逆时序疗法,”Zaki黑暗中瞟了书几眼呢喃道。“湮灭领域于我何干?我不是吸血鬼,你看,我有古铜色的皮肤。还有,什么是逆时序疗法,多少钱?”

“逆时序,起源于古Cyrodilic withersynes,意味着倒序,” Octoplasm严肃的说:“它颠倒事情本末以控人心,击退诅咒,治愈吸血鬼,融合一切辟邪仪式。你知道有个男人听说食人鱼生活在热水里,所以他说,好吧,我们用冷水煮它们?”

“Xenophus”Zaki本能回答道,他的兄弟31年前曾经在帝国大学选修过赛瑞迪尔神秘高深的哲学课程,言于此本能祈求这不是真的。“这个圆柱状的小东西有什么用?”

Octoplasm点亮一根蜡烛移向圆柱体以使Zaki能够更加清楚的看清它。圆柱的周围充满了细小的裂纹,当Zaki凝视他们的时候,他看到一副黑白图像,一个裸男正在跨越一个箱子,下一个画面仍是这样。

“像这样旋转它”Octoplasm说道,缓慢的顺时针旋转圆柱,于是男人又开始一次又一次的跨越箱子。“这是西洋镜,很神奇吧,呃?现在,把它给你,逆时针旋转它,同时,读我标记在书上的咒语。”

Zaki接过西洋镜,借着烛光,开始逆时针旋转,然后裸男看起来在向后跳跃。Zaki小心翼翼的使裸男的跳跃稳定在某一固定频率,但是裸男逐渐难以控制,后跳的速度变得越来越流畅直到Zaki已经无法分辨单个移动的箱子的实体。看起来就像一个类人的仓鼠在做无尽的倒退运动。在他一只手旋转西洋镜时,Zaki用另外一只手打开书,读出了画线的句子。

“西洋镜转啊转/陷我生活于泥辙/我祈求神灵勃耶西亚,凯娜瑞斯,Drisis /颠倒潜在心灵危机/我生尽管平与淡/仍不愿限于狂癫/让图案继续逆时针/西洋镜啊,反旋,反旋,反旋。”

当他咏出这个魔法,Zaki发现西洋镜中的裸男身形渐然清晰,渐近自己的形象,胡子不见了,头也秃了,腰围逐渐增大,直到从形状和外表看去,似是半瘪的圆球。亚龙人式样的鳞片接踵出现。男人跨越箱子动作开始迟滞,气喘吁吁,大汗淋漓。当Zaki吟诵完咒语,镜中的男人已然疲惫的捂着胸口,被一个又一个的箱子绊的左右支拙。

Octoplasm 从Zaki手中取回西洋镜和书籍。看起来什么都没发生。没有电闪雷鸣,没有翼蛇从头顶腾起。没有炽烈的爆发。但是Zaki觉得有些事情已经改变。积极的改变。变得真实。

柜台之上,当Zaki从包中取出金币时,Octoplasm只是摇头道:“治愈你之神力亘古传承,非你我之功,理应免费。”

带着这些日子以来久违的解脱感,Zaki步出商店,向着自己的裁缝铺走去。

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Withershins
by Yaqut Tawashi
A humorous tale of a man's ailment and cure


"All right," said Kazagha. "Why don't you want to talk?"
Zaki put down his mug of mead and just stared at his wife for a few seconds. Finally, grudgingly: "Because everything [sic] I have a conversation, darling, it flows in alphabetical order. Just like I told you. I think the only way to stop it is not to talk at all."
"Couldn't you just be imagining this?" said Kazagha patiently. "It wouldn't be the first time you had an insane paranoid delusion. Remember when you thought the royal battlemage of Black Marsh was hiding behind every tree with lewd intent, intent on making you -- a middle-aged, fat, balding tailor -- into his personal sex slave? You don't need to be ashamed, but it's Sheogorath's way to make us all a little crazy sometimes. If you go to the healer--"
"Damn it, Kazagha!" snarled Zaki and stomped out, slamming the door behind him. He nearly collided with Siyasat, his neighbor.
"Excuse me," she said to Zaki's back. He clamped his hands over his ears as he stormed down the street, turning the corner to his tailor shop. His first customer was waiting out front, smiling widely. Zaki tried to keep his temper under control and took out his keys, returning the customer's smile.
"Fine day," said the young man.
"Gods!" hollered Zaki, sending the young man flying with a well-placed punch, and dashing away.
As much as he hated to admit that Kazagha was right, it was evidently time, once again, for one of the healer's herbal cocktails. Tarsu's temple to health, mental and physical, was several streets north, an impressive obelisk. Halqa, the chief herbalist, met him before he came in the hall.
"How are you today, Sa'Zaki Saf?"
"I need to make an appointment with Tarsu," said Zaki in his calmest voice.
"Just one moment, let me see how his schedule looks." Halqa said, looking over a scroll. "Is this an emergency?"
"Kind of," said Zaki, and slapped his head. Why couldn't he say yes, or absolutely, or sure?
"Let's see," said Halqa, frowning. "The best I can do is next Middas. Would that work for you?"
"Middas!" cried Zaki. "I'll be a complete psychotic by Middas. Isn't there anything earlier?"
He knew what the answer would be before she said it. There was no alternative. In a way, he had forced the response. If only he had kept the conversation going until "Y."
"No," said Halqa. "I'm sorry. Do you want me to make the appointment--?"
Zaki walked away, gritting his teeth. He wandered the streets, his head down to avoid all conversations, until he looked up and discovered that he had walked all the way to the wharf. A sweet breeze was blowing along the water and he took several deep breaths until he felt almost normal. When his temper cooled, he could think again. What if this alphabetical conversation wasn't a delusion at all? What if what he felt wasn't paranoia, but acute awareness? He knew it was the classic dilemma: am I crazy or is there really something weird going on?
Across the road was a shop called ParaDocks, featuring a display of herbs, crystals, and vapors trapped in orbs . The sign in the window read "Mystical Consultation sunrise to noon." It was worth a shot, though Zaki was dubious. The only people who generally came down the wharf for healing were stupid adventurers who didn't know any better.
Incense burned in copious billows of pink and gold, obscuring and then revealing the clutter within. Jijjic death masks glowered down from the walls, smoking censors hung by chains from the ceiling, and the floor was a maze of bookshelves. At a wellworn [sic]table in the back a small man wearing a headress [sic] was tabulating a young lady's purchases.
"Okay," said the man. "Your total comes to fifty-seven gold pieces. I threw in the restorative scale conditioner for free. Just remember, the candle should be lit only after you invoke Goroflox The Unholy, and mandrake root does best in partial shade."
The customer gave a quick, shy smile to Zaki and left the store.
"Please help me," said Zaki. "Every conversation I hear or get involved in seems to be arranged alphabetically. I don't know if I'm going insane or if there are some kind of bizarre forces at work. To be honest with you, I'm normally a skeptic when it comes to your type of business, but I'm at the end of my rope. Can you do anything to make this madness end?"
"Quite a common problem, actually," said the man, patting Zaki on the arm. "When you get to the end of the alphabet, do conversations then go to reverse alphabetical order or start at the beginning of the alphabet?"
"Reverse alphabetical order," said Zaki, and then corrected himself. "Damn it! I mean, it starts from the beginning, all over again. I'm in agony. Can you call on the spirits and tell me, am I insane?"
"Sauriki," said the man with a reassuring smile. "I don't have to. You're quite sane."
"Thank you," said Zaki, frowning. "By the way, my name's Zaki, not Sauriki."
"Unusually close, eh?" said the man, patting Zaki on the back. "My name's Octoplasm. Follow me, please. I think I have just what you need."
Octoplasm lead [sic] Zaki down the narrow corridor behind the desk. The two men pushed past dusty cabinets filled with strange creatures in liquids, past heaps of neolithic stones, past stack after stack of moldering leather-bound books, into the dank heart of the store. There he picked up a small, squat cylindrical drum and a book, and handed them to Zaki.
"'VampirismDaedric Possession, and Withershin Therapy,'" said Zaki, squinting his eyes to read the book in the gloom. "What inOblivion does this have to do with me? I'm not a vampire, look at this tan. And what's Withershin Therapy, and how much will it cost me?"
"Withershins, from the Old Cyrodilic withersynes, which means backwards," said Octoplasm in a serious tone. "It's the art of reversing the direction of things in order to gain access to the spirit world, and break curses, cure vampirism, and trigger all manners of apotropaic healing. You know the story about the guy who was told that slaughterfish live in hot water, so he said, 'Well, let's boil them in cold water'?"
"Xenophus," said Zaki instinctively, his brother having taken a rather esoteric upper level course in Cyrodilic philosophy as an elective in at the Imperial College thirty-one years before, and immediately wishing he hadn't. "And what do you do with the cylindrical thingy?"
Octoplasm lit a candle and held the object over it so Zaki could see more clearly. All along the cylinder were narrow slits and when Zaki peered within them, he saw a succession of old black and white drawings of a naked man leaping over boxes, one frame after the next.
"You spin it like so," said Octoplasm, slowly whirling the device clockwise so the man within leapt over the boxes over and over again. "It's called a zoetrope. Pretty neat, eh? Now, you take it and start spinning it counterclockwise, and while you're doing it, read this incantation I've marked in the book."
Zaki took the zoetrope and began spinning it counterclockwise over the candle, so the little naked man within seemed to bound backwards over the boxes. It took a little coordination and concentration to keep whirling at a steady pace, but gradually the man's awkward and jerky backjumps became more and more fluid until Zaki could no longer see the individual frames flipping. It looked just like a little humanoid hamster on an endless reverse treadmill. While he continued to spin the zoetrope with one hand, Zaki took the book in the other and read the underlined passage.
"Zoetrope counter-spin, counter-spin, counter-spin / Pull my life from the rut that it's in / I invoke the Goddesses Boethiah,Kynareth, and Drisis / To invert my potentially metaphysical crisis / My old life may have been rather pointless and plain / But I dislike the prospect of going insane / Make the pattern reverse by this withershin / Zoetrope, counter-spin, counter-spin, counter-spin."
As he chanted the spell, Zaki noticed that the little naked man in the zoetrope began to look more like himself. The moustache vanished, and the hairline receded. The man's waistline expanded, and the buttocks sagged to the shape and texture of half-inflated balloons. Scales approximating his own Argonian pattern appeared. The man began to trip as he bounded backwards over the boxes, taking bigger breaths and sweating. By the time Zaki reached the end of the incantation, his twin was clutching his chest and tumbling end-over-end over the boxes in a free-fall.
Octoplasm took the zoetrope and the book from Zaki's hands. Nothing seemed to have changed. No thunder had rumbled. No winged serpents had sprung out of Zaki's head. No fiery explosions. But Zaki felt that something was different. Good different. Normal.
At the counter, when Zaki pulled out his sachel of gold pieces, Octoplasm merely shook his head: "Are treatment radical such of effects term long the what sure be can't we, naturally. Charge no."
Feeling the first real relief he had felt in days, Zaki walked backwards out of the shop and down the road to his shop.

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