A Posh Reception
Now it’s finally time to stop screwing around and go to this party we’ve been avoiding. Before you go, grab some strong alcohol from the Waitress or from your stash and concoct a Wive’s Tears potion. Rubbing elbows with VIPs always means drinking is involved.
Head on upstairs to find pretty much everybody who is anybody in Vizima. Talk to Triss first and she’ll encourage you to mingle-as well as to stop sulking. Before we can get into the messy politics, we need to talk to everybody of interest. Leuvaarden, Adda, Velerad, and Thaler all need to be spoken to. After you’ve talked to everybody and glutted your journal full of new entries Triss will leave you to your own devices.
First thing to do is "talk" to Erkyn Blunt. Under normal circumstances one would find his conversation boring, but Geralt doesn’t seem to mind the silence. Drink with him and down three bottles of strong alcohol to get him to speak. He’ll reveal that Thaler hired him to be there, rather than Thaler being his mouthpiece, as he claims. He’ll ask you not to reveal Thaler’s plans, and will give you the "House of the Night Signet Ring" . We already learned from Shani that Thaler is the head of Foltest’s secret police. He must be up to something at this party…
Now talk to Thaler, who is obviously playing a different persona now than his "Fence" role in the Temple Quarter. Geralt speaks straight, and Thaler will respond in kind, and warn Geralt that there’s trouble coming, and when it does, Geralt must choose one side or the other-there is no room for neutrality. Thaler is, of course, refering to the intrigue within the royal court itself (the two factions we found hints of at the Workshop) but it’s more than that-there’s also the racial troubles brewing, which is a semi-related, yet distinct conflict in its own right.
He’s not just playing the tired "you’re either with us, or against us" card, either. His observations are quite astute-our friends, Triss, Shani, Zoltan, Dandelion, Seigfried, among others, will fall on various sides of these struggles. Not to mention Salamandra’s obvious political maneuverings. We’re involved whether we like it or not, and clinging to our neutrality might be a good idea to stay out of trouble-but it’s likely to cause more harm than good when we’re already in trouble. It’s as the saying goes, no answer is worse than no answer.
You can get information from Thaler about Leuvaarden-who heads a trans-national collection of merchants, bankers, and other high-rollers. He warns us not to trust Triss quite as much as we do, and tells us that de Wett is a Nilfgaardian with dick-envy that serves as Adda’s stooge. Geralt points out that Adda might have her own game going, and Thaler responds that Adda might be another’s pawn, as well. Whatever the case, his opinion on de Wett seems fair enough, in my opinion.
Ask about Thaler himself, and he’ll be surprisingly direct, and retort by questioning your vendetta with Salamandra. My neutral Geralt responds by saying his grievances with Salamandra are personal-the other two Geralts respond by saying "both". This answer does have some bearing on Geralt’s identity, and suitably it updates the quest "Identity" .
|For talking to Thaler about your personal and political motivations||2000 XP|
Talk to Velerad. Geralt will question the status of Adda’s curse, which honestly seems to be more dormant than dispelled. Velerad won’t say much about the issue-he’s obviously not as close to Adda as Foltest’s right-hand man should be. He will, however, say that he thinks Adda needs a good lay. Whether he means she needs to get knocked up to put a proper heir in the picture, or whether he’s saying somebody needs to screw the crazy out of her is anybody’s guess. Given the opinions of the Vizimans we’ve talked to around the Trade Quarter, the answer is probably both.
We can now talk to Adda again, who is apparently in the mood to talk. She’ll send her poodle away on an obviously meaningless errand to allow us to talk freely. She’ll start out by comparing politics to sex, and it’s obvious she’s just angling for our disposition on both topics. It’s a rather interesting conversation, no matter how you respond. It’ll ultimately boil down to Geralt inquiring about Foltest’s politics, at which point Adda will become pointedly bored and ask you to fetch her favorite meal.
Talk to Velerad and ask what meal the Princess enjoys. He’ll demand a stronger drink before speaking. Give him some strong alcohol and he’ll tell you that Adda’s childhood left her with a taste for raw meat… one of it’s many, obviously lingering effects. He also informs you that Thaler’s agents scour the country looking for the source of this delicacy. Now talk to Thaler, who, as a spy and somebody generally in-the-know might know what Adda’s appetite calls for. He’ll tell you to obtain a letter from an adjoining room and he’ll reveal what Adda fancies.
Head into the room near the stairs and loot a chest to obtain a "Mysterious Letter" . When you do, a "Wealthy Merchant" will barge in and demand to know what you’re doing in here. When the privy excuse doesn’t fly, Geralt can either say he’s looking for superior booze, at which he will be prompted to share some… although you can just exit out of the gift screen without giving anything and the Merchant will walk off. Or you could just threaten to mutilate him horribly, which scares him off. Read the note before you return to Thaler to learn more politics you probably shouldn’t. When you hand the letter over, Thaler will reveal that Adda enjoys a slab of rare Catoblepas steak. Rare in both senses of the word.
|For finding out Adda's favorite dish||500 XP|
We’ll need a miracle to score some Catoblepas here… fortunately, we know Triss. Talk to her and ask her to conjure up some Catoblepas, and she’ll grudgingly agree. Wait a moment, and after seeing Triss magic up some food, talk to her again. She’ll derisively and crudely joke before giving you the steak.
|For getting Triss to conjure up some Catoblepas||500 XP|
Present the meal to Princess Adda and she’ll gleefully invite you to meet with her in several minutes. Follow her to the room where you scored the "Mysterious Document" for Thaler, and talk to Adda. There’s no second-guessing what she wants from Geralt, and in all honesty, her unwholesome eagerness is almost off-putting… Still, if you want the "Adda" Sex Card , you’ll acquiesce. She’s somewhat more feral than either Shani or Triss, and the game can’t help but foreshadow her nature by showing how Geralt’s amulet reacts to the princess… which Adda wisely tears off.
|For discussing "politics" with Adda||1000 XP|
Afterwards you’ll run into Triss again, who will tell you that Declan wants to speak with you. Return to the room where the high-rollers originally congregated and talk to Leuvaarden. Geralt is uncharacteristically snippy with Leuvaarden, and for no good reason, it seems. Perhaps all this socializing has put him in a foul mood? He’ll ask you to help disrupt Salamandra by hitting them where it hurts-their Fisstech business. This ends the quest "A Posh Reception" and begins "Lock and Key" . We’ll also recieve the book "Scroll of white Raffard’s Decoction" , a potent healing potion. Since we’ve already stopped Salamandra’s drug trade (Declan’s information clearly isn’t up to snuff) we can progress "Lock and Key" further by simply talking to Declan again.
|For scheming with Declan Leuvaarden||3000 XP|
To get Declan talking again, however, we need to leave the Inn and return… which is just as well, as there’s something outside for us to do. Leave the Inn and you’ll see Thaler confronted by de Wett and a number of guards. Count de Wett has produced an edict from Foltest that strips Thaler of his position. Thaler contends that the letter is a forgery.
We have no room for neutrality here-this won’t resolve until we resolve it. Since neutrality is out the window, we have two choices-side with Thaler, a dubious figure but genuine secret agent who has helped us in the past and whom we are certain is not part of Salamandra, or de Wett, a racist in cahoots with Adda whom we know despises us. If you have a partial stroke and side with de Wett, Thaler will fight back against the overwhelming odds arrayed against him. Afterwards, Count de Wett will tell you to forget what you saw here-hardly the response of an innocent man who was legitimately upholding the King’s edict.
If you side with Thaler, de Wett wisely chooses not to press the issue. Geralt tells Thaler to lie low for a while, but Thaler insists he has some information for Geralt. He’ll be waiting in the New Narakort… which is fortunate, since we intend to return there, shortly. As in now. Either way you resolve the matter, it updates the quest "All the King’s Men" .
|For resolving the issue between Count de Wett and Thaler||500 XP|
Return to the New Narakort and have a chat with Thaler, who will show you proof that he was placed in charge of Vizima during the absence of Foltest. Velerad might be responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the city, but Thaler is clearly in charge of the more important-and less visible-business. The absence of the King’s signature on the recent royal edicts paints them as forgeries. Somebody is making a power play. Somebody who has de Wett in their pocket.
Also keep in mind the "Royal Letters of Safe Conduct" both the Bleinheim brothers had. Thaler is against Salamandra, and whomever has been forging these documents is giving safe conduct to Salamandra. The enemy of our enemy might not be our friend, but the friend of our enemy may just be our enemy… "All the King’s Men" is updated again, and we’re free to pursue other matters.
|For discovering the true depth of Thaler's role in Viziman politics||1500 XP|
Head upstairs and talk to Leuvaarden again, who is finally willing to listen to you. Give him the "Key to Salamandra Code" and the "Encrypted Message" we recieved from the Bleinheim brothers. Leuvaarden tells us it’ll take a day to decipher, during which time, we’ll be rather busy, ourselves…
|For giving Leuvaarden the notes obtained from the Bleinheim brothers||500 XP|
Return to the Trade Quarter and run around until a Child runs up and tells you that the bank is being robbed, and that Velerad requested a Witcher. Head over to the bank and approach Velerad, who will initiate dialogue. He’ll tell you that the bank is being robbed by the Scoia’tael, and that Siegfried is leading the assaut. It’s another fight between the Order and the Scoia’tael, and Geralt is caught in the middle… and again there’s no room for neutrality.
You can’t just walk away and let them settle matters themselves (the only possible neutral option): you’ll either have to help the Scoia’tael or the Order. You’re not yet being forced to pick one side or another, but if you help one, you cannot side with the other later on in the story. After this quest, you’ll have two options-neutrality, or to side with the group you helped here. It’s the biggest decision we’ve made so far in this game… or rather, it’s the biggest decision we can make where there’s no wrong answer.
The time has now come to pick your friend, and by extension, your stance on politics in general. So lets review. It’s obvious from Geralt’s past that he’s a rather unconventional guy. He’s got a thing for Sorceresses, for starters (and women in general), but he’s also had a Vampire friend, and several Dwarven friends. He’s associated with Elves before, but as of now we only have our turbulent relationship with Yaevinn, and apparently a past meeting with some Toruviel lady.
Geralt’s friends, however, are a diverse bunch, and many of them have very close relations with nonhumans, which threatend to complicate things for us. Siegfried is an upstanding and noble character who isn’t pretentious, overbearing, or arrogant. He is self-sacrificing, hard-working, and loyal, and he is keenly devoted to protecting the innocent-from monsters, or from Elves. On the downside, his Order can be overzealous, and de Wett belongs to the same Order. De Wett is everything negative that Siegfried is not, and a racist and bigot to boot, and almost certainly involved-at least through his insatiable stoogery-in the political strife that is aiding Salamandra. The Scoia’tael, on the other hand, are rabid freedom fighters who are willing to engage is murder, robbery, and terrorism to obtain their ends. They’ve commited atrocities that almost place them on the same level as Salamandra, even if they do supposedly have nobler goals. It’s another typically complicated decision. Like in reality, in the world of the Witcher there is almost no black and white, only shades of gray.
Before you decide who to side with, you need to choose your approach. If you decide to assist Siegfried, you’ll have to go in to the bank and tell your friend to pull out. You’ll then go around back to City Hall, and take the back door to the Bank. If you go alone, Velerad will give you a key to an adjacent Warehouse that connects to Town Hall, which is supposedly haunted. Indeed, it’s infested with Fleders, but it’s a good opportunity to score some loot and Fleder Fangs.
This seems like a bigger decision than it really is, hence why it’s not being covering in more detail. The big decisions are made when you reach the Town Hall, where both routes will lead. Neutral Geralt goes through the Warehouse-Witchers work alone, as does the Scoia’tael-aligned Geralt-it would certainly complicate things reaching Yaevinn with Siegfried in tow. The Order-aligned Geralt, however, goes into the bank. More for the novelty of helping out Siegfried than any other reason.
If you came with Siegfried, an Elf will ask if you came to negotiate once you enter the Town Hall. Siegfried will resent any attempts to negiotiate with terrorists, and will abandon you if you try. Don’t worry, however, Siegfried and the Order aren’t adamant about this as long as you come down on their side in the end. On the other hand, if you attack the Scoia’tael at any point, you’ll end up siding with the Order. Do not kill any Scoia’tael if you wish to side with them. If you came alone or if you chose to negotiate earlier you’ll find Ren Grouver in the Bank, who will tell you to go downstairs and see Yaevinn if you want to negotiate. If you chose to fight earlier, you’ll have to fight here, too. Of course, you could always decide to attack at this junction, if you wish.
Head down to the Vault to meet Yaevinn. If you haven’t attacked any Scoia’tael yet, Yaevinn will try to lure you to his side-or to at least help him. If you attacked any Scoia’tael earlier, you’ll get a somewhat more hostile response from Yaevinn. If you have to fight the Scoia’tael, Siegfried will show up and help you put them down. If you side with the Scoia’tael, Yaevinn will ask you to help them kill some monsters in the tunnels behind them and make good their escape.
It’s obvious what the Order-aligned and Scoia’tael-aligned Witchers do, but as for the neutral Witcher… he ultimately decides to help the Scoia’tael here. If he helps the Order, he’ll have to kill people. If he helps the Scoia’tael, it is as Yaevinn says-nobody else needs to die-he’ll just have to fight off some Kikimores. Isn’t that what a Witcher is supposed to do, anyways? Save people by killing monsters?
Note: If you decide to assist Siegfried and enter Town Hall with him, then decide to ditch him and negotiate with the Scoia’tael, and ultimately end up turning Yaevinn down and siding with with Order you will only recieve 6,500 Experience, instead of 7,000. Call it a penalty for flip-flopping.
|For picking a side||7000 XP|
Either way you go, you’ll end up in the Sewers-either chasing Yaevinn (if you sided with the Order) or helping clear out Kikimores for the Scoia’tael. If it’s the former, you’ll have to fight groups of rather potent Scoia’tael. They can actually do some damage to a weaker Geralt, so Swallow might not be a bad idea if you’re level-shy.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with Kikimores you’ll have plenty of backup, and Kikimores are rather mundane by now. If you want to score a Ceremonial Sword of Deithwen, but are too cheap to buy one, just let one of the Scoia’tael die fighting and loot the body later. Of course, if you’re hostile to the Scoia’tael, you can just pick one up after killing its owner.
Once the tunnel is clear of enemies, either go talk to Velerad (if you sided with the Order) or (if you sided with the Scoia’tael) Yaevinn will talk to you. Either way, this quest ends.
|For talking to Velerad or Yaevinn||3000 XP|