Original release date: December 17, 2021
The Northern Kingdoms were victorious over Nilfgaard at the Battle of Sodden Hill. While searching the battlefield for Yennefer, Geralt and Ciri encounter Tissaia; both sides part believing Yennefer is dead. Geralt decides to take Ciri to Kaer Morhen, the witchers’ hidden stronghold. Along the way, they find a deserted village; Geralt detours to the manor of an old friend, Nivellen, and finds that he has been transformed into a beast-like physique by a curse. Tissaia tortures Cahir for information about Nilfgaard’s plans. Yennefer is captured by Fringilla and some Nilfgaardian survivors; Fringilla intends to take her to Cintra. While staying the night at Nivellen’s, Ciri encounters Vereena, Nivellen’s secret companion. Geralt investigates the village and deduces it is the work of a bruxa, a vampire with the human appearance of a young woman. Geralt finds Vereena drinking Nivellen’s blood; in the ensuing fight, Vereena takes Ciri hostage, until Nivellen spears Vereena from the back. Geralt kills Vereena, which lifts Nivellen’s curse. Nivellen reveals that while raiding a temple, he was cursed by a priestess he raped and transformed into a monster form. He later found an injured Vereena in the woods and nursed her back to health; she willingly stayed with him, and he let her feed on him. However, Nivellen couldn’t control Vereena’s urges, and turned a blind eye to her targeting the villagers. He realizes that losing his true love was what lifted the curse; he begs Geralt to kill him, but Geralt and Ciri leave. Yennefer and Fringilla are ambushed by unseen forces; the soldiers are picked off until only Yennefer and Fringilla are left.
* * *
Colin! Colin, where is everybody?
[bucket continues banging]
Hello? I’m in need of lodgings for the night! I’m a merchant. I can pay. Hello? Hello!
[bangs on door]
I’m in need of lodgings for…
[screaming and crashing]
Please have mercy…
Take him. Leave me be.
4,000 dead Temerian soldiers, 5,000 dead Kaedwenians, and at least 20,000 of theirs. You won’t find her in your visions. She’s gone.
Yennefer? Yennefer… Yennefer!
I’ve seen this.
Stay on the horse.
Where is she?
And who are you to her, exactly?
Is she alive?
We won. Because of her. She bought us time until the armies arrived.
Was it worth it?
Yennefer. Can you please tell me who she is?
Doesn’t matter. She’s gone now.
Let me go. Let me go!
I sleep like shit too.
You don’t sleep at all.
Makes for fewer nightmares. Except for the one about the rock troll. Overly friendly. Tough image to shake. What about yours?
The Black Knight has me on his horse… Cintra is burning. I’m too helpless to stop any of it.
I was lucky. … I… need to understand some things. You claimed the Law of Surprise and got me. Why?
It was payment for a debt. I saved your father’s life.
Your grandmother. She didn’t want your mother marrying a… An outsider. Your father didn’t know what he was giving up.
So… I’m your destiny. Whatever that means.
You’re much more than that, Cirilla.
I miss my home.
Cintra isn’t safe for you any more.
Then what about Skellige? I have people there too. I’d be safe there.
If you want. But you’d be married off to the nearest Lord of Bad Breath. He’d be seeking to claim your throne too. The food is good there, though.
[man yells] Fire!
[woman] Over here!
[man] I’m the only fuck in here!
[Artorius] Stay with us!
Stay with us! Triss!
[moaning and sobbing]
She was stable. I don’t know what happened.
[speaking in Elder]
We’re losing her.
[both speaking in Elder]
What is it?
There is no sign of Yennefer. She’s lost for good.
And what of my niece?
Fringilla was at the front. Coordinating the Nilfgaardian attack with the prisoner we took.
She has abandoned all rules of Chaos.
She is lost too, then.
Familial disgrace can wait. We need intelligence from that prisoner now. The kings have their blood up. They want to chase Nilfgaard south.
Perhaps we should, since you’d have us be warriors in the field instead of advisers in the palace.
You weren’t there, Artorius. We won. But barely. We do not know the troops that Nilfgaard have in reserve, where they are reassembling, what they are planning next.
[sighs] The prisoner. What do we know?
Our spies don’t have much. Only that he orchestrated the fall of Cintra. And that he doesn’t answer to the generals, only to the emperor himself. No one’s been able to break him.
He will give us everything we need… If I can have time with him.
We have rules.
She wasn’t asking your permission.
[muffled] She’s awake.
[muffled] Welcome back.
Wasn’t sure you’d make it.
[Ciri] So, what exactly is Kaer Morhen?
[Geralt] It’s where witchers go during the winter. There, we can rest up and heal. Replace armor and elixirs. It’s my home.
How come I’ve never heard of it?
Because we like it that way.
There was an attack. A long time ago, when I was a boy. Almost wiped us all out. So now, we like to keep a low profile.
[Ciri] Hmm. In Cintra, I used to dress up like a boy just so I could play knucklebones.
[chuckles] We both need to keep a low profile, it seems.
Were you attacked because you’re different?
Sure. We can’t see the future like you can. Back on the battlefield, when you saw me and that woman before it happened.
Yes, well, it was… it was more like a dream. Hazy. It was… It was weird.
How did you do that?
It’s called axii. It’s a calming sign.
Magic. Like… like a druid?
We should keep moving.
Oh, thank gods. Think there’s an inn?
Hmm. Come on, Roach.
What is it?
[Geralt] There are no guards.
[Ciri] Maybe hiding from…
[bucket continues banging]
There are no barking dogs, either. This place never sleeps.
So what now?
I know somewhere nearby. An old friend.
Stay on Roach.
[crashing, men yelling]
What the fuck are you doing here, you old whoreson?
This is your friend?
[Geralt] Yeah… But he’s changed.
[Nivellen] I know. I look a tad different since you saw me last. But I could say the same of you. Put away your knife and come in out of the cold, Witcher. I’ll tell you everything.
A fire for my guests. And you, my dear…
Well, Ciri, what say you to a hot bath to warm your frozen bones?
Oh, I’d love one.
We’re only staying until the storm dies.
[Nivellen] Splendid. Bath!
[Nivellen] You can bathe in the next room.
You, my friend, are very far from fine. You reek of old horse.
Part of my charm.
You always were a horse’s arse, anyway.
How long’s it been? 13 winters since we last saw each other?
Nivellen, I’m not one to slight the rite of hospitality, but I do need to know that she’s safe here.
You see my tusks and think I would… bite the throat? Hmm. She is. I’m still me. Well… Lights!
That’s not a bad trick. You gonna tell me what happened to you?
That’s a tale requiring wine. What of you?
That’s a tale requiring a wine cellar.
[light skittering sounds]
[pattering and cooing]
[creaking and tapping]
[Nivellen] Numbskull took one look at the place, tucked tail and ran so fast, his feet didn’t touch the ground. Brigands were tougher in our days, eh? [chuckles]
[Ciri] Thank you so much for this. My other clothes were ready to run away by themselves.
But of course. Uh… You look lovely.
Roast venison, sage truffles, sweet wine, and lots of it! And for you, only the best. Witchers’ quail.
That’s a good one.
[Nivellen] I jest, I jest! Mountain pheasant for my friend!
Very good, eh?
Mmm, very good indeed.
Has he told you how we first met?
No. He’s not especially chatty.
[Ciri] I’d like to hear, though.
It’s my favorite tale. You see, this snow-capped sourpuss here was hired by the most horrible monster of all, my father, to clear our woods of a wyvern infestation.
I’ve seen those in books.
[Nivellen] Horrid creatures. See that weak young whelp of a lad? That was me. And I tried to prove myself to my father by killing one first. But instead… [chuckles] …I fell into the damned beast’s lair. This one pulls me up by the scruff of my neck and slays the wyvern snapping at my nethers. What do you think he does next?
Gives me a hiding for being such a cretinous twit? No. He hands me the wyvern’s head and tells my father I was the one that killed it.
I had to clear the forest of the entire pack. Got paid either way.
Nonsense! He’s a big softie. I tell you no word of a lie, young Ciri. It was the first and last time… [sighs] …I saw my father proud of me. After that, Geralt and I became friends, of a sort, over many a summer.
Since we’re telling no lies, tell us about your curse.
In front of the girl?
She’s tougher than you think.
[sighs] I was a gormless young twat. That’s how. Fell in with a bad lot. I trashed the Temple of the Lionheaded Spider. High on godflesh mushrooms.
All the mushrooms in the world wouldn’t make anyone that stupid.
[Nivellen] If only it was so. After the damage was done, this priestess cursed me to live like this. Forever. Alone.
Hmm. All curses have cures. What did she say?
She screamed something about love and blood. I don’t remember. I’ll be honest. I’ve tried to end it, Geralt. More than once. But I kept coming back. That priestess won’t let me off so easy.
The village below was abandoned.
What happened there?
After the Battle of Sodden, the… Countryside is a dangerous place. Hungry soldiers, deserters…
Not reason enough for an entire village to leave their homes.
It is… When the Wild Hunt’s riding over the horizon. I saw them myself. Just last week. Riding their skeletal horses across the southern sky. A portent of doom.
The Wraiths of Mörhogg? My grandfather saw them just before Cintra fell.
Her grandfather was a drunk. He saw a lot of things.
I’m simply saying, the North and South at war, monsters roaming when they should be hibernating, pestilence sweeping the land… Maybe it’s the end of days.
I’ve lived through a whole dark age and three supposed end of days. It’s all horseshit.
No, something has changed, Geralt. The world’s acting of its own strange accord these days.
Far outside the reach of kings and men.
[scratching and cooing]
[Ciri] Nivellen, do you have a cat? The poor thing might be stuck in the ceiling.
I do, in fact. She’s fine. Vereena, she’s called. I’m very glad of her company, even if she’s a shy wee thing. Not fond of strangers.
Didn’t you say you were cursed to live alone?
Didn’t you say cats are afraid of witchers?
How about a show?
How about we scout the property? Make sure it’s secure for the night.
[Ciri] Go on, Geralt. We’ll be all right.
What a welcome sight. [spits] Are you my inquisitor or executioner?
See where the night takes us.
[scoffs] Do what you will. Make no difference in the end. The White Flame will cleanse us all.
I need to know what Nilfgaard wants.
[grunts and coughs]
Resist or submit. It makes no difference.
[Tissaia] ‘Tis not in my nature… To be cruel. But you have taken someone from me. Someone I care about deeply.
So now I will take your knowledge…
…your memories, your very being, and leave you cold and helpless, trapped in the eternal darkness of your own mind. I know. I know you want to scream. [whispers] But it’s too soon. [shivering] It’s too soon because I haven’t even started yet.
[crunching and shrieking]
If evolution has traced any groove at all in your brain, I will plough it somewhat deeper.
And then you will know what a scream can really be!
This the best you can conjure up? The battle must have really taken it out of you.
Unlike you, I’m not one to waste Chaos on frivolous nonsense.
I wouldn’t call burning half your forces frivolous.
Pity you’re in dimeritium chains behind enemy lines, then. Or else you could conjure us up a boar to eat.
You’re on the run. We won.
A battle. The war’s just begun.
The refrain of the defeated, how sad.
Sodden was merely a raindrop before the storm.
Look at you. Why are you doing this?
Because I’m loyal to my kingdom.
No, your precious leader’s after something. You’re a pawn to get to it. I can’t imagine… What’s his name, Emhyr? My humble apologies, the mighty White Flame himself… Can’t imagine he’ll be too happy to see you return, tail between your legs. You know I won’t turn. That the Brotherhood won’t negotiate.
They won’t want you back. You’ve broken their sacred law, tapped into fire magic.
At Tissaia’s behest.
I’ll be lauded for saving them.
I’m sure they’ll be most understanding. All leaders are.
You’re offering me up as a sacrifice. A bloody mea culpa for fucking up Nilfgaard’s great push north. At least conjure me up some decent food before we get to Shitgaard.
This is what you do to keep yourself entertained?
To keep myself sane, yes.
It’s a famous piece I first saw as a lad whilst studying at Oxenfurt.
It tells the tale of a doomed young Elven warrior and a human she falls in love with.
What’s it called?
The Fall of the Elders.
Elven warrior, human mage
Ordained by hate to kill
Instead found love and ran away
Against their people’s will
Into bliss, the two did wed
A baby on the way
A child born to parents dead
That fateful winter’s day
It’s as if she’s determined to do the opposite of the thing that’ll keep her safe. Verbose when I need her to be quiet. [sighs] Stubborn and sullen when I need her to talk. Looks like you’re in good company.
You remind me of an old friend. Mousesack. Sometimes it doesn’t seem real. That he’s gone. And I just… I wish I could go back in time and save him. Save everyone.
Can I come with you? I have a few things I should like to change myself. [chuckles]
What’s it like? Being alone because of what you are?
It’s what eats you alive. Loneliness.
Have… have you ever tried to cure yourself?
Oh, I’ve plied many a lass with treasure to kiss me, hoping there was a grain of truth to those fairy tales.
Maybe you just haven’t found the right one yet. Mousesack told me of a hedgehog man who was cured by true love.
Lucky chap. He was probably worthy. You saw my statue garden. All my servants are buried there. I killed them the day I turned, not knowing what I was, not knowing my own strength. I deserve my destiny.
Come. I’m being a bore. And you must be tired. [chuckles]
[Nivellen] Here we are. It’s been a treat.
Those people you killed… You didn’t mean to.
[chuckles] Sometimes… I think I’m still a man. But mostly… I know what I really am.
I watched my entire home burn to the ground at the hands of another. My family trapped inside. You don’t seem like a monster to me.
I appreciate that, my dear. Monsters are more than just horrid looks and claws and teeth. Monsters are born of deeds done. Unforgivable ones.
Good night, Nivellen.
Finest mead from the rarest Korathian desert honey.
Let’s play a drinking game.
Oh, now we’re talking! What sort?
We throw daggers. Whoever misses your dear father’s head drinks… And tells a truth.
Prepare to lose. You first. [chuckles]
[Nivellen laughs] Let’s start with the obvious. How in the name of all that’s sacred… How did you find yourself looking after a young girl?
I promised her grandmother before she died.
[Nivellen chuckles] What’s your plan?
Keep her alive.
I can protect her from any mark of man or monster. And you said so yourself. The world is changing. Perhaps that’s why the Law of Surprise brought us together.
Oh, that devious old chestnut.
The plot thickens, huh?
[chuckles] Oh-ho-ho-ho. Bull’s-eye. [laughs]
[Nivellen laughs] You’ve become a lightweight, old friend.
So it seems.
You spend a lifetime alone, then you claim a child of an ancient promise of destiny. What changed you?
Who. Yennefer of Vengerberg.
Ooh-hoo-hoo! And where is this rarest and fairest of all maidens? The one who could crack an icy witcher’s heart?
I’m sorry, my boy. How long ago?
A few days.
How are you not heartbroken?
Who says I’m not?
Your horse, it’s lame.
[Fringilla] I know. If I dismount, my men will eat it.
Horses, whores, and mages. All useful till we’re not. Do you really think offering me as a sacrifice will be enough to spare your failure?
[sighs] You’ll watch my head roll right before your own.
Look. The North has won.
Join us. I’ll tell them you saved me. You can redeem yourself.
Redeem myself from what, exactly? You think that we ventured north to conquer? We came to liberate.
You were weak at Aretuza, but you had your own mind.
That implies choice. I was placed in a kingdom at the whim of the Brotherhood’s wants. We all were. Just gilded pawns to control kingdoms, nothing more.
We weren’t forced to do anything.
Should I have left my post as you did? Shirked my duties, wasted my talents? If I’d had Tissaia to shield me…
If you’d thought for yourself instead of licking others’ boots. Eager to please. Easy to wound.
You’re blind, Yennefer.
[Geralt] Anything else?
I have nothing to hide.
From me, maybe. But have you told the girl the truth? That witchers obtain children so they can feed them with magic herbs. The few who survive become witchers themselves. All human feelings and reactions are trained out of them. They are turned into monsters to kill other monsters.
That’s not going to happen to her.
But it happened to you. For better or worse, she’s with you now. How does she feel about it? Ohh! The look of a man who’s worried he’s lost his touch. [laughs]
The look of a man who’s wondering why his old friend is cheating.
You’ve got me there! [laughs] Magic knives. [laughs]
But why? I’ve seen you piss yourself in a wyvern den. I know who you truly are. What are you hiding now?
[scoffs] I need to drain the snake and hit the silk. Go to sleep, you sullen old codger. See you in the morning.
It’s all right, Vereena.
We won’t hurt you. We’re just here for the night. Then you can have your house back.
Who are you?
I’m Vereena. A friend of Nivellen. You were having a nightmare. I came to check on you. Did you like the dress I left for you?
That was you?
Thank you. Nivellen said you were a cat.
What are you?
[distorted] I am different. I am not you.
But I am like you.
How did you do that?
I’ve never met anyone… Alone in the heart, like you. Different. Not one of many. Oh…
Why do you travel with that man? I know what he is. He kills things.
Monsters, yes. Kills them.
Are you a monster?
Are you a monster because you are different?
Monsters do bad things to people.
Humans do bad things to everybody. Mmm.
Nivellen… He hid you from the witcher. He loves you.
[distorted] This must be our secret. Until you leave.
[bucket continues banging]
Roach is by the gate. If anyone other than me leaves this place, ride for your life.
There’s a bruxa in the house.
A what? What are you doing? What’s going on, Geralt?
[growls] Move. Now.
[chittering and cooing]
He hurt me.
She’s the bruxa.
Get back to Roach.
[distorted] Don’t run. Uh… I can’t help myself if you run. He’s wrong. I don’t want to hurt you.
[clicking and screeching]
[sound of screeching traveling]
[sound of clicking approaching]
[clicking and screeching]
[clicking speeding up]
Geralt, wait. Please.
Get away from it.
I’ll rip her throat out unless you leave us alone!
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
I love you. Love you.
No! No! [yells] No!
He’ll come for you too.
It’s wrong. It’s wrong. [groans] [yells] It’s all wrong!
The curse has lifted. You are free now.
Free? This is what you call… Free?
I found her in the woods. Injured. Starving. She wasn’t scared of me. And when she healed… She chose to stay. She didn’t care… What I looked like. And to ease her cravings, I let her feed on me. But…
[Geralt] She couldn’t control herself? She was a monster.
No. That’s not true.
[Ciri] It doesn’t matter if she was or wasn’t. She loved you.
Love and blood. They both possess a mighty power. Learned men and mages have wracked their brains over it for years. And they’ve arrived at nothing except…
…true love. To lose… True love. That’s what it is. I knowingly… Turned my eyes away from what she did to the villagers, because she didn’t care that I was cursed all those years ago. Not for destroying the temple. For raping the priestess. Ciri…
Please stay. Don’t go. I beg you. Use your sword. End this. For me.
You’re mortal now. Do it yourself.
When I say run, you run.
When I say hide, you hide.
And when I say get to Roach…
I think there’s something wrong with me. Everywhere I go, people die. Sometimes, I… I feel like I could… Burn the whole world. I wouldn’t mean to. Just… It just makes me feel so afraid. All the time.
Fear is an illness. If you catch it and you leave it untreated, it can consume you.
How do you treat it?
You face it. Facing your fear is not easy. But I am here for you. I won’t let anything happen to you.
[Fringilla] Enough! To your feet! Cut what you need, and get moving. We need to reach Cintra by dawn.
Look at them. You’re leading them to a salvation that doesn’t exist. How long before they turn on you?
Release me. You know I’m more powerful. I can save us.
I’ve got nothing!
Where are they?
I can’t see ’em.