|Important Items in this Area|
|Journal of a Thief, Part II|
|Holger Blackhand's Horn|
The next leg of the quest "The Family Blade" requires a different approach. while its location (along the eastern coast of Skellige) seems to give you a great excuse to explore your way there, the simple fact of the matter is that many of the map markers you might want to clear along the way involve dealing with foes who are probably quite a few levels above you. Skellige, however, is an island nation (if nation is the right word), so perhaps it's time to turn your attention to the sea? There are, after all, plenty of map markers aren't on dry land.
Note: There are a lot of "Smuggler's Cache" events in the waters of Skellige, and despite being loads of loot that's easy to claim, it can be tedious to sail and kill the same foes over and over again. There's a good reason to put up with it, though: the loot you'll find will probably not be worth wearing over Witcher sets, but the numerous pieces of relic-quality arms and armor you'll find can be dismantled into rare and expensive components. You'll need to think of the not-so-distant future when you're wanting to craft and upgrade higher-end Witcher set gear, where these components will become invaluable. It might take some time, bother, and in-game currency, but not having to worry about where you're going to find that one rare component you need to make that mastercrafted sword will be worth it.
Person(s) in Distress (Level 12)
Fast-travel back to Rannvaig (backtracking to Fyresdal and using the signpost there is probably the quickest way) and commandeer a boat, then sail it along the shore to the west. Why west instead of north? Why not? Don't worry, there's a method to this meandering madness - and that method is exploration!
At some point along the shore you'll find a "Person(s) in Distress" event. Land and kill the Bandits (level twelve), then loot them to find a "Cage Key" . Use it to free a Blacksmith, who will invite you to meet him at Farylund when you wish to do business. Fair enough. Loot some containers near a jetty for some minor loot, then get back on your boat and embark.
Hidden Treasure (Level 19)
Sail west to find some small islands, the skies over which are populated by Ekhidna (level nineteen), which act like larger Harpies that can poison you. Land the ship on an island where you can engage them, knock them out of the sky with your crossbow, the Aard Sign or a well-timed parry and dispatch them on the ground.
When the Ekhidna are all dead, continue sailing to the western-most island to find a "Hidden Treasure" event. Explore the eastern edge of the island to find a rotten corpse, on which is a "Chest Key" . Now you just need to make your way onto the north-central part of the island. There's no clear path up, but if you make your way west onto the southern part of the island, you can determinedly jump your way over the rocks to reach the northern half of the island, where you'll find a chest unlocked by the key you just picked up.
Smugglers Cache(s) (Level 13)
Board your boat again and pilot it north and slightly east to find a "Smuggler's Cache". You know how this works by now, three chests are anchored by some barrels, swim down and score the easy loot. There are some Sirines (level thirteen) below the surface, but they can be easily dispatched with your crossbow. There are several similar events to the north (the entire coast of Skellige must just be littered with smugglers) just sail north-west and loot another three chests, then go north-east and score another three.
Note: Sirines are easy enough to kill, if you can knock them out of the sky - use your Crossbow or Aard for this, or simply attack them when they swoop down to attack. They also don't do much damage. They're more of a nuisance enemy, as they'll latch themselves onto the side of your boat as you sail and rip pieces off the ship off. A swarm of Sirines is more than capable of sinking your ship... but they'll only attack your ship while your actively piloting it.
A Hallowed Horn (Level 12)
If you remember back to Novigrad, you once promised a man named Nidas that you'd help him to recover a Black Pearl. To the west you'll find three sizable islands forming a broken line running north-south. Nidas awaits you on the southern end of the middle island. Sail west and slightly south and land towards the middle of the eastern end of the central island... more specifically, on a small bit of land to the south-east of the central island, which is connected to the larger bit of land by a small land bridge.
On this small almost-island you'll find some Renegades (level fifteen). Kill them, then loot a campsite where, in a chest you'll find the "Journal of a Thief, Part II" and "Holger Blackhand's Horn" . Picking these up begins the quest "A Hallowed Horn" , normally started by picking up the notice in the village of Holmstein, far to the south. Getting the horn directly just skipped an inconsequential step.
Treasure Hunt: Pearls of the Coast (Level 13)
Cross the land-bridge connecting the land you're on to the larger part of the island to the north-west. Continue west until you find a road, then follow said road until you come across some Pirates (levels twelve and fourteen). Search uphill to the east to find the Pirate's main camp, which also happens to be the site of a "Hidden Treasure" event. Kill the Pirates and search the camp to find a bag of loot on some board, which contains an "Unsent Letter" . Take it and read it to start the quest "Pearls of the Coast" .
Time to get wet again! Either head east and dive off a cliff (if you're foolhardy) or return to the land bridge and safely wade into the water like the granny you are. Swim north past the bit of land where you found "Holger Blackhand's Horn" and dive at the mouth of the inlet between this smaller slice of land and a larger part of the island to the west to find the chest the Pirates were looking for, wherein you'll find the steel sword "Inis" , amongst other goodies.
Note: If you swim west from where you found the chest containing the sword "Inis" you'll find a cave, inside of which are several Mucknixers (level fifteen). You may end up exploring this cave later in the game, but if you want to plunder it now... not that there's any compelling loot in there, or anything. Still, it might be nice to discover the map marker for the cave for future reference.
Black Pearl (Level 13)
Swim to shore and make your way back up to the road running across the central island, this time following it south until you reach a broken bridge. Near this bridge you'll find Nidas, patiently waiting for you. Talk to him and confirm your willingness to help him, then follow him north along the western coast. Once you arrive at the coast Nidas will deliver the news that you're the one who is going to have to exhaustively search for the elusive black pearl.
Swim west until you find a search area, then dive to find the oysters you'll need to search. Kill some Sirines (level thirteen) with your crossbow so you can hunt in peace, then start investigating the shells on the sea floor. The Black Pearl in a an oyster east of the center of the search area, but it doesn't hurt to loot other shells, first, as you'll get a Pearl as your consolation prize each time.
Obtain the Black Pearl then swim to shore, where you'll find that Nidas is under attack by some Drowners (level twelve). Dispatch them then talk to Nidas, who will reveal that he kinda sorta forgot to bring your reward. Certainly it was just an oversight. Whatever you say in response to this unwelcome revelation, he'll promise to pay you back in Novigrad. Heard this one before, eh? Anyways, on your own time return to Novigrad and meet Nidas in the Golden Sturgeon, who will tell you his sad tale, then give you a paltry reward for helping him out.
|For giving Nidas a Black Pearl||25 XP / 10 Crowns|
The Shepherd Outside of Sund
There's another outstanding quest on these isles that you might as well see to while you're here. Get back on the road running the length of this isle and follow it south to the broken bridge, which you can leap over easily enough. Once you're on the northern end of the southern island immediately head to the western shore to find a beached ship - a common sight on these islands, despite the light house on the northern tip of the northern island. Anywho, dive into the water near the boat and swim to the broken end of the vessel to find two submerged chests, then board the remains of the ship to find a third chest. Neat.
Now, to continue exploring the island and score more loot. If you make your way to the south-western end of the island you'll find a small, unmarked bandit camp where three Bandits (levels thirteen and sixteen) dwell. Kill them, then make your way back to the center of the island to find the road running through it, which you should follow south-east until it ends at ANOTHER broken bridge. Nothing on this island but ruined ships and collapsed bridges. Kill the host of Ekhidna (level nineteen) flying around, then continue east along the road and broken sections of bridge until... well, until the way is impassible.
You're just going to have to get wet here, and sure, you could swim south to get to the larger town there, but a round-about route will get you an extra signpost or two. From the last broken section of bridge on the island dive into the water and swim east past another section of bridge. Reach shore, then continue east and climb up on a final section of bridge which connects to a road, which you should follow uphill to the south-east, then south, and finally east to reach a small village named Sund. Along the way you'll find a Shepherd being hassled by some Sirines (level thirteen). Kill the pests then talk to the Shepherd to learn that the critters fly in from Undvik, which sounds like a nasty enough place.
|For helping the Shepherd fight off the Sirines||50 XP|
Abandoned Site (Level 13)
Loot the houses that make up the village of Sund, make sure you get the signpost, then continue south from the village along a road to the south-west. Eventually you'll come across a fork to the south, which leads to an "Abandoned Site"... or so the game calls it. The horde of Bandits (levels twelve and thirteen) would probably disagree. Kill the squatters to ensure this site becomes inhabited by a more productive sort of Skelliger, including a Merchant.
|For liberating the Abandoned Site||170 XP / 50 Crowns|
After reclaiming the Abandoned Site return north to the road running east-west and follow it west. Along this road you'll find a child with that tried-and-true quest marker over his head. Talk to him and he'll tell you that a bear attacked his father, and for once Geralt just decides to be helpful... even though this isn't really Witcher's work. Follow the kid a short distance and some ne'er-do-wells (level thirteen) will emerge from the woods. Put them down and notice that the little bastard has run off. Jerk. Oh well. Continue west along the road and you'll find a fork - a four-way fork this time. Take the road to the north to reach the town of Arinbjorn.