|Important Items in this Area|
|Hound of the Wild Hunt Trophy|
|A Mother's Letter|
You've finally got around to helping Triss, scored some diagrams for (and hopefully crafted) some new Witcher gear, and generally are ready to leave Novigrad behind. Before you head off to Skellige, however, there's a bit of lucrative exploration that can be done. The city of Novigrad has been well-quested (ignoring the few quests that are still high enough of a level as to be worth postponing) as have the environs south and south-east of Novigrad. A few quests have given you plenty of excuses to explore enough to discover the "Carsten", "Vegelbud Residence" and "Wheat Fields" signposts, but anything north of that is spotty, at best. The goal of this exploration section will be to explore and quest the lands east of Novigrad, while avoiding anything that's too high of a level or part of the "Hearts of Stone" DLC.
Fast-travel to the "Wheat Fields" signpost if you have it, or to the "Vegelbud Residence" signpost. In the latter case head north-west to find the "Wheat Fields" signpost, from which you can follow a road north and north-east (leap a fence to stay on the right road!) to reach Alness - the village and the signpost. Your stay here will be brief; just check the Notice Board here to reveal several map markers, two of which happen to be nearby.
Place of Power
Leave Alness by backtracking down the road to the south-west. Leap over a fence to reach another road when you must, then follow this road east, then south-east to work your way around the southern end of the map marker south-east of Alness. Leap another fence to the east and follow the road when it turns north to circle around to the east of the map marker. Keep your eye to the west as you head uphill to the north to spot a stone ledge you can climb on. Do so, then head south-west to find a gap you can leap across to reach a Place of Power overlooking the land below. Claim your ability point and return east to the road.
Bandit Camp (Level 7)
Continue north along the road until the road turn west, at which point you'll find a Bandit Camp off the northern end of the road. Kill the Bandits (level seven) and loot the chest near their camp fire.
From the Bandit Camp event follow the road west until it bisects another road running north/south, at which point follow the new road north. This road will shortly turn west and lead you past the "Dancing Windmill" signpost, near the namesake of which you'll find a few containers to loot. Continue down the road to the west until you find a house to the south, where an old lady named Yanina is busy complaining about her chickens. Chat with her and she'll tell you her mundane problems - problems that seem to require the assistance of a Witcher. She seems to think so, anyways, and is willing to put her money where her mouth is, so who is Geralt to gainsay her?
Activate your Witcher Senses and investigate some odd prints near the stone wall to the south-east. Leap the wall and follow the tracks down a pond to the south-east, where you should re-examine the tracks again. Strange how they've changed so quickly... Cross to the southern bank and pick up the tracks again and follow them a short distance to the south to find a camp. Confront the hen-stealing monsters, hear their back-story and excuses, then return to Yanina and either warn her of the thieves or advocate on their behalf. Either way, this little quest will wrap up.
|For discovering the hen-stealing monsters||10 XP|
|For informing Yanina of the monsters||25 XP / 20 Crowns|
Contract: The Apiarian Phantom (Level 14)
From Yanina's house continue west on the road until you find a bridge. Cross it and continue north-west to find the "Honeyfill Meadworks" signpost. Enter the stately house on this estate and find the owners - the Meiersdorf family, led by their patriarch Holofernus. Talk to him and he will at length tell you about some "apiarian phantom" that's threatening the family business. Haggle for more coin if you wish, then he'll provide some details about this phantom before ultimately sending his sons to show you the site where the phantom killed one of their farmhands.
Follow the runts to an artificial hive south-east of the estate and turn on your Witcher Senses. Investigate the hive, some old blood on the ground, then some tracks adjacent to the hive, after which you'll be able to follow a trail south-west to a lake. Geralt has nothing but contempt for this body of water and the Drowners that inevitably lurk around it. Follow the shore south and kill any Drowned Dead (level eighteen) and Drowners (level four) you come across and use your Witcher Senses to relocate the tracks left by this "phantom" along the south-eastern end of the lake.
Hound the tracks to the east to find an unfinished house... or more specifically, a hole leading under the house, which is too small for Geralt. Where're those damn halflings when you need 'em?! Loot various containers around the house for alcohol and other goodies (hooray, potion bases!) then search a ramp leading down to the cellar to find your way blocked by a wooden door. After banging on it a bit, one of the halflings will show up and furnish Geralt with a key.
|For finding the "phantom's" lair||25 XP|
Open the door to encounter the "phantom" which, while supernatural, is decidedly corporeal. The beast will run off and lead you on a merry chase through the countryside. Either follow on foot or with Roach, and when the critter's life bar appears on the top of your screen, you'll know it's ready for a fight. Or... if you're quick enough to hit it, it'll stop and fight the moment it takes damage - catching it before it can flee the cellar will save you some trouble. This beast should prove no trouble what-so-ever; it fights like any other Hound of the Wild Hunt. Igni will cause it no end of trouble and shorten the fight considerably, but you can also use Elementa Oil. Otherwise, just watch out for its attack cues and counter with fast attacks when it leaves itself open. When it dies, loot it for a "Hound of the Wild Hunt Trophy" , then show off your gruesome treasure to Holofernus Maiersdorf to claim your reward.
|For killing the Apiarian Phantom||240 XP / 249+ Crowns|
Your next destination is a bit of a walk to the north; just follow the road from the "Honeyfill Meadworks" signpost north, then north-west until it bisects another road running south-west/north-east. At this point follow the road north-east past a roadside encampment, which you can now loot, since you're not burdened with tracking down Dandelion and all... assuming you didn't come back and loot the place of your own volition earlier. Beyond this encampment the road will fork, whereupon you should follow the northern road, which will eventually turn north-west, then west, ultimately leading into the village of Yantra. Don't worry about the eastern road you neglected, as higher level monster contracts will give you an excuse to explore there later.
Make your way to the western end of Yantra to find some peasants arguing about some of their trivial peasant problems. Talk to them to find out that their problems might actually be of interest to a Witcher with a conscience, as some bandits - led by one "Little Red" - is plotting to attack the village and seek vengeance on a villager named Bertram. Question them about the involved parties, agree to help out, then wait until dusk (6:00 PM should do it) for the troublemakers to arrive.
They'll show up at the eastern end of town, led by Little Red, conspicuous for her... well, being the only woman amongst the bandits. She'll waste little time in talking to you and telling you their side of the story, promising to keep the bloodshed limited to only to Bertram, paying you for your trouble afterwards.
|For letting Little Red have her vengeance||25 XP / 20 Crowns|
If, on the other hand, you decide to do the right thing and protect the villagers, Little Red will reveal herself to be a beast most worthy of a Witcher's blade. You've fought beasts like Little Red before, but her Bandits (level fifteen) complicate things a bit. Just be sure to kill her men first, then focus on Little Red (level fifteen) when you only have her to worry about. Once she's dead you'll be rewarded by Bertram - the weapons Little Red's men drop will have to make up the difference in pay - and you can pick up the note "A Mother's Letter" from Little Red's corpse. Few things are black-and-white, it seems.
|For killing Little Red||50 XP / 10 Crowns|
Guarded Treasure (Level 15)
Leave Yantra and head south-west to find a lake. Head south along the eastern end of this lake to find a Guarded Treasure event, where a Grave Hag (level fifteen) guards a treasure chest on a tiny island. Kill the Grave Hag and loot then chest, then return to Yantra.
Novigrad Hospitality (Level 8)
Leave Yantra via the road to the north-west and shortly you'll find two gents - Gascoigne and Victor - camping along the side of the road. Succumb to their invitations and chat with them to find that they're most hospitable. Drink with them to excess and in the morning you'll wake up bereft of... well... many personal goods. This will not stand! Activate your Witcher Senses and follow an obvious trail back to Yantra, where you'll find the thieves in the alley north of the house the Notice Board is in front of. Confront them and they'll wisely give back the stolen goods rather than face the wrath of a Witcher. If you want to be vindictive, you can force them to hand over their own clothes, leaving them as destitute as they tried to leave you, or you can just call it even.
Now, let's try this again; follow the road north-west form Yantra and follow it as it winds west and north until you find the "Sarrasin Grange" signpost. There's not much to see or do here, but getting the signpost will make it easier to return here when you're a higher level and more capable of dealing with some of the dangers lurking around here. For now, however, it's time to return to Novigrad and start looking for a ship that'll get you to Skellige.