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A song of ice and fire--chapter one

(2008-07-12 14:04:35)
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杂谈

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer. They set forth at daybreak to see a man beheaded, twenty in all, and Bran rode among them, nervous with excitement. This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his lord father and his brothers to see the king’s justice done. It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran’s life.
   The man had been taken outside a small holdfast in the hills. Robb thought he was a wildling, his sword sworn to Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall. It made Bran’s skin prickle to think of it. He remembered the hearth tales Old Nan told them. The wildlings were cruel men, she said, slavers and slayers and thieves. They consorted with giants and ghouls, stole girl children in the dead of night, and drank blood from polished horns. And their women lay with the Others in the Long Night to sire terrible half-human children.
   But the man they found bound hand and foot to the holdfast wall awaiting the king’s justice was old and scrawny, not much taller than Robb. He had lost both ears and a finger to frostbite, and he dressed all in black, the same as a brother of the Night’s Watch, except that his furs were ragged and greasy.
   The breath of man and horse mingled, steaming, in the cold morning air as his lord father had the man cut down from the wall and dragged before them. Robb and Jon sat tall and still on their horses, with Bran between them on his pony, trying to seem older than seven, trying to pretend that he’d seen all this before. A faint wind blew through the holdfast gate. Over their heads flapped the banner of the Starks of Winterfell: a grey direwolf racing across an ice-white field.
   Bran’s father sat solemnly on his horse, long brown hair stirring in the wind. His closely trimmed beard was shot with white, making him look older than his thirty-five years. He had a grim cast to his grey eyes this day, and he seemed not at all the man who would sit before the fire in the evening and talk softly of the age of heroes and the children of the forest. He had taken off Father’s face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell.
   There were questions asked and answers given there in the chill of morning, but afterward Bran could not recall much of what had been said. Finally his lord father gave a command, and two of his guardsmen dragged the ragged man to the ironwood stump in the center of the square. They forced his head down onto the hard black wood. Lord Eddard Stark dismounted and his ward Theon Greyjoy brought forth the sword. “Ice,” that sword was called. It was as wide across as a man’s hand, and taller even than Robb. The blade was Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke. Nothing held an edge like Valyrian steel.
   His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel, the captain of his household guard. He took hold of Ice with both hands and said, “In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, by the word of Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, I do sentence you to die.” He lifted the greatsword high above his head.
   Bran’s bastard brother Jon Snow moved closer. “Keep the pony well in hand,” he whispered. “And don’t look away. Father will know if you do.”
   Bran kept his pony well in hand, and did not look away.
   His father took off the man’s head with a single sure stroke. Blood sprayed out across the snow, as red as summerwine. One of the horses reared and had to be restrained to keep from bolting. Bran could not take his eyes off the blood. The snows around the stump drank it eagerly, reddening as he watched.
   The head bounced off a thick root and rolled. It came up near Greyjoy’s feet. Theon was a lean, dark youth of nineteen who found everything amusing. He laughed, put his boot on the head, and kicked it away.
   “Ass,” Jon muttered, low enough so Greyjoy did not hear. He put a hand on Bran’s shoulder, and Bran looked over at his bastard brother. “You did well,” Jon told him solemnly. Jon was fourteen, an old hand at justice.
   It seemed colder on the long ride back to Winterfell, though the wind had died by then and the sun was higher in the sky. Bran rode with his brothers, well ahead of the main party, his pony struggling hard to keep up with their horses.
   “The deserter died bravely,” Robb said. He was big and broad and growing every day, with his mother’s coloring, the fair skin, red-brown hair, and blue eyes of the Tullys of Riverrun. “He had courage, at the least.”
   “No,” Jon Snow said quietly. “It was not courage. This one was dead of fear. You could see it in his eyes, Stark.” Jon’s eyes were a grey so dark they seemed almost black, but there was little they did not see. He was of an age with Robb, but they did not look alike. Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast.
   Robb was not impressed. “The Others take his eyes,” he swore. “He died well. Race you to the bridge?”
   “Done,” Jon said, kicking his horse forward. Robb cursed and followed, and they galloped off down the trail, Robb laughing and hooting, Jon silent and intent. The hooves of their horses kicked up showers of snow as they went.
   Bran did not try to follow. His pony could not keep up. He had seen the ragged man’s eyes, and he was thinking of them now. After a while, the sound of Robb’s laughter receded, and the woods grew silent again.
   So deep in thought was he that he never heard the rest of the party until his father moved up to ride beside him. “Are you well, Bran?” he asked, not unkindly.
   “Yes, Father,” Bran told him. He looked up. Wrapped in his furs and leathers, mounted on his great warhorse, his lord father loomed over him like a giant. “Robb says the man died bravely, but Jon says he was afraid.”
   “What do you think?” his father asked.
   Bran thought about it. “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”


晨色清冷,带着一丝寂寥,隐然暗示夏日将尽。为数二十人的队伍于破晓时分启程,布兰策马置身其间,满心焦虑又兴奋难耐。这次他年纪总算够大,可与父兄同往刑场,一观国王律法的执行。这是夏天的第九年,布兰七岁。

  死囚已被领至小丘上的庄园,罗柏认为他是个誓死效忠"塞外之王"曼斯·雷德的野人。布兰想起老奶妈在火炉边说过的故事,不禁浑身起了鸡皮疙瘩。她说野人生性凶残蛮横,个
       


个都是贩卖奴隶、杀人放火的偷盗之徒。他们与巨人族、食尸鬼狼狈为奸,趁黑夜诱拐童女,还以磨亮的兽角啜饮鲜血。他们的女人则相传在远古的"长夜"里与异鬼媾合,繁衍半人半鬼的恐怖后代。

  然而眼前这个老人削瘦枯槁,比罗柏高不了多少,手脚紧缚身后,静待国王的旨意发落。他在酷寒中因冻疮失去了双耳和一根手指。而他全身漆黑的衣服,与守夜人弟兄们的制服没有两样,只不过衣衫褴褛,脓疮四溢。

   人马的气息在清晨的冷空气里交织成蒸腾的雪白雾网,父亲下令将墙边的人犯松绑,拖到队伍前面。罗柏和琼恩直挺背脊,昂然跨坐鞍背;布兰则骑着小马停在两 人中间,努力想表现出七岁孩童所没有的成熟气度,仿佛眼前一切早已司空见惯。微风吹过栅门,众人头顶飘扬着临冬城史塔克家族的旗帜,上面画着白底灰色的冰 原奔狼。

  父亲神情肃穆地骑在马上,满头棕色长发在风中飞扬。他修剪整齐的胡子里冒出几缕 白丝,看起来比三十五岁的实际年龄要老些。这天他的灰色眼瞳严厉无情,怎么看也不像是那个会在风雪夜里端坐炉前,娓娓细述远古英雄纪元和森林之子故事的 人。他已经摘下慈父的容颜,戴上临冬城主史塔克公爵的面具,布兰心想。

  清晨的寒意里,布 兰听到有人问了些问题,以及问题的答案,然而事后他却想不起来究竟说过了哪些话。总之最后父亲下了命令,两名卫士便把那衣衫褴褛的人拖到空地中央的铁树木 桩前,将头硬是按在漆黑的硬木上。艾德·史塔克解鞍下马,他的养子席恩·葛雷乔伊立刻递上宝剑。剑名"寒冰",身宽过掌,立起来比罗柏还高。剑刃乃是用瓦 雷利亚钢锻造而成,受过法术加持,颜色暗如黑烟。世上没有别的东西比瓦雷利亚钢更锐利。

  父亲脱下手套,交给侍卫队长乔里·凯索,然后双手擎剑,朗声说道:"以安达尔人、洛伊拿人和'先民'的国王,七国统治者暨全境守护者,拜拉席恩家族的劳勃一世之名,我临冬城公爵与北境守护,史塔克家族的艾德,在此宣判你死刑。"语毕,他将巨剑高举过头。

  布兰的异母哥哥琼恩·雪诺凑过来。"握紧缰绳,别让马儿乱动。还有,千万别扭头,不然父亲会知道。"

  于是布兰紧握缰绳,没让小马乱动,也没有把头转开。

  父亲巨剑一挥,利落地砍下死囚首级。鲜血溅洒在雪地上,殷红一如葡萄美酿夏日红。队伍中一匹马嘶声跃起,差点就要发狂乱跑。布兰目不转睛地直视血迹,只见树干旁的白雪饥渴地啜饮鲜血,在他的注视下迅速染成暗红。

  人头翻过树根,滚至葛雷乔伊脚边。席恩是个身形精瘦,肤色黝黑的十九岁青年,对任何事物都觉得兴致勃勃。他咧嘴一笑,扬脚踢开人头。

  "混账东西。"琼恩低声咒道,刻意放低声音不让葛雷乔伊听见。他伸手搭住布兰肩膀,布兰也转头看着私生子哥哥。"你做得很好。"琼恩神情庄重地告诉他。琼恩今年十四岁,观看死刑对他来说已是司空见惯。

  冷风已停,暖阳高照,但返回临冬城的漫漫长路却似乎愈加寒冷。布兰与兄长并骑,远远走在队伍前方,他跨下小马气喘吁吁方能跟上兄长坐骑的迅捷步伐。

  "这逃兵死得挺勇敢。"罗柏说。高大壮硕的他每天都在成长,他承袭了母亲的白皙肤色、红褐头发,以及徒利家族的蓝色眼眸。"不管怎么说,好歹他有点勇气。"

   "不对,"琼恩静静地说,"那不算勇气。史塔克,这家伙正是因为恐惧而死的,你可以从他的眼神里看出来。"琼恩的灰色眼瞳深得近乎墨黑,但世间少有事物 能逃过他的观察。他与罗柏同年,两人容貌却大相径庭:罗柏肌肉发达,皮肤白皙,强壮而动作迅速;琼恩则是体格精瘦,肤色沉黑,举止优雅而敏捷。

  罗柏不以为然。"叫异鬼把他眼睛给挖了罢,"他咒道,"他总算是死得壮烈。怎么样,比赛谁先到桥边?"

  "一言为定。"琼恩语毕两脚一夹马肚,纵骑前奔。罗柏咒骂几句后也追了上去,两人沿着路径向前急驰。罗柏又叫又笑,琼恩则凝神专注。马蹄在两人身后溅起一片翻飞雪雨。

  布兰没有跟上去,他的小马没这般能耐。他方才见到了死囚的眼睛,现在则陷入沉思。没过多久,罗柏的笑声渐远,林间归于寂静。

  太过专注的他,丝毫没注意到跟进的队伍已赶上自己,直到父亲骑马赶到身边,语带关切地问:"布兰,你还好吧?"

  "父亲大人,我很好。"布兰应答,他抬头仰望父亲,父亲穿着毛皮大衣和皮革护甲,骑在雄骏战马上如巨人般笼罩住他。"罗柏说刚才那个人死得很勇敢,琼恩却说他死的时候很害怕。"

  "你自己怎么想呢?"他的父亲问。

  布兰寻思片刻后反问:"人在恐惧的时候还能勇敢吗?"


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