Information about earning the achievement Embodiment of the Five Virtues in The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine. How to prove you possess the five knightly virtues and how to obtain and upgrade Aerondight.
How to get Aerondight in the Witcher 3
To get Aerondight in the Witcher 3, you’ll need to complete the Side Quest There Can Be Only One, which is covered in fuller detail on its own page (see link above). To be brief, however, you’ll need to either nab the Test Yourself With Trials of the Virtues! notice from near the The Gran Palace Notice Board in Beauclair, which will tell you to head to “the isle on Lac Celavy”, or just head directly to the aforementioned island on Lac Celavy itself. See the map below for the location of this lake island.
Once you arrive at Lac Celavy, talk to the Hermit who rests on an island in the middle of the lake and you’ll be tasked with proving you possess the five knightly virtues of Generosity, Valor, Compassion, Honor and Wisdom.
How to Prove You Possess the Five Knightly Virtues
Proving you possess each virtue is something of a long-term goal, as you’ll need to make various choices during a number of quests to prove each virtue. The number of opportunities you have to prove you possess each virtue are finite, but you only have to prove each virtue once you’ve made a choice or taken an action that proves you possess a virtue, further actions are irrelevant. In other words, you can’t prove yourself unworthy after you’ve demonstrated a virtue.
For many reasons it’s best to start this quest early, as you’ll have more opportunities to prove your virtues and some proofs in earlier quests are really quite painless. Also, you’ll be informed once you’ve proven you possess a virtue if this quest has been started, and while you can prove you possess virtues without starting this quest, you won’t be informed of the fact ahead of time.
Full a full range of options to prove you possess the five knightly virtues, check out the page There Can Be Only One, but if you get started on proving you possess these virtues early you can finish this quest quite early. Arguably the easiest ways to prove you have each virtue follows:
Compassion: During the quest The Beast of Toussaint, spare the Shaelmaar.
Generosity: After completing the quest Blood Run, when you run into the messenger-boy bearing you the letter that starts the quest [Turn and Face the Strange], be sure to pay the kid for his trouble.
Honor: During the quest Warble of a Smitten Knight, enter the tourney as Geralt of Rivia and after the horse race you’ll be confronted by Prince Anseis. Agree to fight him and win the mounted duel to prove you have this virtue.
Valor: During Warble of a Smitten Knight, after discovering Vivienne’s secret and reporting back to Guillaume you’ll get the opportunity to continue the tourney or quit. Continue on with the tournament and win.
Wisdom: Near the end of the quest The Beast of Toussaint, after gathering the clues with the duchess correctly guess the answer to the riddle by responding with “It’s a greenhouse!”.
How to Defeat the Hermit
Once you’ve proven your virtuosity, return to the Hermit and you’ll be told there’s one final test - you must prove to be a combatant worthy to wield Aerondight martially. No sense in giving a legendary sword to a weakling, no matter how virtuous, after all.
Accept the Hermit’s challenge and the fight will begin. The hermit isn’t a foe to be trifled with, as he’s capable of blasting you with water and knocking you back (he enjoys starting the fight this way). He can also shoot cones of water at you and summon arcs of water to indirectly pelt you. His most impressive water attack, however (aside from the watery barrier the surrounds the pond, anyways) involves the Hermit conjuring a spout of water around himself and moving slowly towards you. You can easily keep out of range of this attack, but proximity will hurt you, and even Quen won’t fully protect you from a direct hit. On top of all that, he’s fairly skilled with his staff in melee!
Dodge towards him to deprive him of the opportunity to pelt you from afar with magic, and if he uses his water spout attack, keep your distance. If you are injured, back off and use the “Active Shield” version of the Quen spell, as you can absorb his long-range spells and heal yourself. Other than that, just close in on him and use fast attacks to deal damage. If he starts to get the best of you in melee, dodge away and assault him again.
Prove your prowess against the Hermit and he’ll descend into the lake, never to return. In his stead, the Lady of the Lake will appear and present Geralt with sword Aerondight, entrusting that he will not lose it again. Pick up your prize… and the surface of the lake will yield to the proper forces of nature, putting Geralt in a foul mood.
Be given Aerondight by the Lady of the Lake.
How to Upgrade Aerondight in the Witcher 3
Geralt has got no reason to complain, however, as Aerondight is a prize worth some wet clothes. The first of its many virtues is that it levels up with Geralt, so it should start out at whatever level you’re currently at. You can also improve the weapon’s power through proficient usage, as it’ll temporarily gain power as you strike foes with it. Every enemy hit with the weapon will give it a charge, which increases damage by 10%, and the blade can store ten charges. At maximum capacity every hit with the sword will also automatically be a critical hit. The only downside is that you lose these charges over time, or when you take damage.
If you kill a foe with a fully-charged Aerondight (ten charges - they are tracked under your life bar, like any other buff/debuff) your charges will be reset, but Aerondight’s damage will be permanently increased. The maximum amount of permanent, bonus damage Aerondight can possess is equal to ten, plus an additional ten per level you gain after obtaining it, which essentially means you don’t need to worry about out-leveling Aerondight, nor need you wait to obtain it. As long as you keep powering it up, it’ll remain a viable weapon.
As for charging Aerondight up, using the Quen sign will make this much easier, as will picking on weaker monsters and grinding up your damage. An ideal spot for this is in Velen, in the fields south of the Devil’s Pit signpost, as you’ll find numerous Nekkers prowling about. They’re weak and numerous enough that it should be a trivial matter to use them to charge Aerondight, especially if you protect yourself with Quen. You can also kill the bandits in the Devil’s Pit fort itself, as they’re weak enough that they can be slain even with a silver sword, and most of them are not competent enough foes to parry your attacks. Just spam attacks on any foes with single-handed weapons and charge up Aerondight.