Upon last leaving The Witcher 3, Geralt and his crew (and me) had just recovered from an intense battle at Kaer Morhen, one which was brought to an end in an awful and unexpected explosion of magic brought on by none other than Ciri. As terrifying as that was for everyone, it was not enough to stop the Wild Hunt’s pursuit of Ciri, et al. Its leader, Eredin, and his armored crew might have made their retreat, but world had not yet been saved from it or the devastating “White Frost” that promised to engulf the Continent in never-ending winter. And so, Geralt had to pursue some “Final Preparations.”
After taking a quick detour to battle/defeat one of Eredin’s generals, Imlerith, the first thing on Garealt’s to-do list was to rescue two sorceresses – Phillippa Eilhart and Margarite Laux-Antille — per Yennefer’s order. Rescuing both made for some interesting gameplay, however Margarite’s captors proved most unnerving! With several shielded enemies and heavy fighters guarding the way out, it was all I could do keep Geralt alive. For the first time in the game, I had to purposely switch him into a set of heavy armor I had been carrying around for what I thought was no good reason. Seemed I just needed to wait until that reason presented itself. Geralt eventually cleared the way for Margarita by the skin of his teeth and with his dignity just barely intact. Oh, the things he does for Yennefer!
Upon returning to his crew and tackling a couple “fun” things with Ciri, like talking with a circus troupe stealing horses from a jerk because he deserved it, he was whisked away by the Elven sage Avallac’h so that they could converse about next steps, namely: what to do about Eredin’s two remaining generals. To get to one of them, Ge’els, Geralt had to travel to a place Tir ná Lia, and getting there was no easy task. For me, this occurred during a late night (or was it early morning?) session, so my brain can’t recall the details. Magical planes and portals aside, we eventually reached Tir ná Lia and somehow managed to convince Ge’els to join forces against Eriden. Fine by me, as I was just ready to get on with it.
Alas, there was yet more to do before any major combat could take place. According to Avallac’h, Geralt needed one more thing, and elven artifact called the Sunstone, and one more person, another captured sorceress named Fringilla Vigo, before he, and especially Ciri, could take on Eriden. Much questing ensued. But as much fun as it was to locate the artifact and “save” Fringilla, the real bonus of this particular section was a small offshoot quest called Skjall’s Grave. No seeking or fighting was involved, rather, Ciri only wanted to visit the grave of Skjall, a resident of Skellige who aided a damaged Ciri when she first “landed” on the island. As well, he also helped her escape once the Wild Hunt had found her. In an among all that had happened since, she learned of Skjall’s passing and wanted to pay her respects. The crux of the quest lay in Ciri’s discovery that Skjall had not been given a proper burial, and the results didn’t change anything in the story. But it provided a few very touching, humanizing moments between Ciri and Geralt, further cementing their relationship and “realness” within a fantastical world.
At this point, with everything finally in place, I don’t know what I was expecting, only that I didn’t think the battle with Eredin would happen so quickly! In a matter of what felt like minutes, everyone was sent to their battle stations, and there was Avallac’h using the Sunstone to call Eredin demonic ship to Undvik. There was still the matter of taking care of Eredin’s last general, Caranthir, which did actually take a strategical turn, but reaching Eredin himself occurred so soon after, the two battles felt one in the same. Eredin, of course, proved to be a formidable foe, and I wasn’t about to duck out and switch Geralt’s armor this time! It was only a matter of time before Eredin fell and Geralt was…victorious?
Nope, not quite. Because apparently, Eredin wasn’t the bad guy. In the throes of death, he revealed to Geralt that Avallac’h was, in fact, the real enemy, and that his plan all along was to setup both of them so that he could make his escape with Ciri.
Huh, really now?
Ciri was nowhere to be found (so maybe it was true?) as Geralt and Yennefer set off to find Avallac’h in Undvik’s snowy mountains, all the while chased by the dreaded White Frost. Their destination, or rather Geralt’s (since Yennefer always know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em), was Tor Gvalch’ca, a massive, mountaintop elven tower. Here Geralt finds Avallac’h all right, but he also finds Ciri!? As the trio spoke, it appeared that Ciri had had a plan all along to end the White Frost herself, in sacrifice if need be, but she could only do it with Avallac’h’s help. She and Avallac’h kept the whole ruse under wraps from everyone, especially Geralt, as she absolutely did not want him to find out the truth. During the conversation, it became immensely clear that Geralt couldn’t do anything to change Ciri’s mind, and so, he let her go do that which she intended.
I’ve read that there are three different endings to The Witcher 3, and the one you get depends on the number of positive choices Geralt made throughout the game. Mine must have fallen in the middle somewhere, because I got the general ending, the one that found Nilfgaard on the losing side of the war and Ciri still alive (and ready for battle, of course!) in White Orchard. I was pleased with the latter, as once the epilogue began, I felt quite forlorn at the thought of Ciri’s loss. How could I not after all that the duo had been through? Geralt and Ciri, Ciri and Geralt – like peanut butter and jelly, they are each fine on their own, but they are much better together.
With this, my time with The Witcher 3 comes to a close, for now, anyway. I ended with about 70 hours under my scabbards, and I know there are still hundreds of hours of hunts and side quests left yet to do. It goes without saying that The Witcher 3 is a grand game, full of immersive intrigue, rousing action, and a land that’s robust with life from corner to corner. I’m glad I finally took the time to explore its surface, at least. Maybe someday I’ll dive deeper into its secrets, but until then I’m fine with calling the game “done” and leaving Geralt and Ciri to their own monster-hunting devices.
All images (© CD Projekt S.A.) in this article were taken by author during PS4 gameplay of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.