|Important Items in this Area|
Blood on the Battlefield (Level 20)
Your stated goal is to talk to Avallac'h about your next movie... but really, it's about talking to everybody about what happened. Do so, then pay your respects at the pyre if you wish. When you're done, head north to meet with Ciri, Yennefer, Avallac'h, and possibly Triss.
Yennefer will propose stronger allies of a somewhat controversial nature, since conventional force didn't fare so well at Kaer Morhen. Her bargaining chip might just be enticing to them, especially considering Radovid's actions of late. Ciri will interrupt your scheming and demand a say in her future before ultimately storming off.
Ciri: Confidence or Doubt #1 - Snowball Fight
A number of choices you'll make throughout the game concerning Ciri might seem fairly innocuous... but they aren't. Various responses will affect Ciri's confidence in the long run and influence the ending of the game. One such choice is coming up. After Ciri and Avallac'h exit Kaer Morhen keep, you'll get a chance to either console Ciri by saying "Relax, you don't need to be good at everything." or cheer her up by saying "Think I know what might lift your spirits." The first option causes her to doubt herself, while the latter causes her to gain confidence. If you picked the latter option you'll also get to indulge in a snowball fight; throw snowballs with the same mechanics you use for throwing bombs, picking more snow off the ground when you run out of ammo.
Ciri: Confidence or Doubt #2 - Politics and Greed
Do what you will and after some time passes Ciri will wake Geralt up and propose a bold plan to get revenge, which starts the quest "Bald Mountain". After she explains the plan, you'll get a timed dialogue response, which is as momentous - if not more-so - than the last one. Pick the option "Gotta visit the Emperor first." to suggest that they travel to Vizima en-route to Velen to see Emhyr. Alternatively you can pick the dialogue option "All right, Velen it is." to skip going to Vizima entirely... and keep Ciri from ever having political ambitions.
If Ciri goes to Vizima, not only will this enlighten her to future political possibilities, but you'll be offered the other half of your pay, which presents you with another chance to influence Ciri via a timed dialogue option. Pick the dialogue option "I definitely need it more than you do." to collect 2,000 Crowns, but it comes at the cost of infecting Ciri with doubt. Alternatively you can choose the dialogue option "Didn't do it for the coin." to turn down the money and bolster Ciri's confidence. In the latter case you'll still be compensated in horse flesh. After the decision, chat with Voorhis, then leave with Ciri, who'll be rather upset... with Emhyr, and possibly Geralt, depending on whether you took the coin or not.
|For bringing Ciri to Vizima and accepting your pay||2,000 Crowns|
Bald Mountain (Level 26)
After visiting Vizima or not, Ciri and Geralt will land near Bald Mountain, along the southern reaches of Velen. Nearby is the "Road to Bald Mountain" signpost, which you can't use presently. Talk to Ciri a bit, then head along a trail to the south-east a short distance before following her up some stairs to reach the revelers. You can activate your Witcher Senses to spot some tracks if you wish, but the way forward should be pretty obvious. When you approach the revelers you'll be met with hostility before older, wiser heads prevail. After the tension dies down take a seat and chat with Stregomir - on of the revelers - learning of the give-and-take relationship between the ladies and the peasants (it seems to be a rather one-sided relationship). More importantly, they'll tell you about a way you can potentially get at the objects of your vengeance
Once done with the conversation, you'll be free to wander around; there's a Trader here who will sell copious amount of Mandrake Cordial and Cherry Cordial, should you need any to make White Gull... which is in turn needed to make the most advanced alchemical recipes. There's also a Blacksmith nearby, who'll perform a variety of useful functions. Repair your weapons, dismantle and sell any junk you've picked up, and craft new weapons (he's a Journeyman level craftsman). Take advantage of him while you have the chance.
Head along a trail north of the village and you'll run into Johnny... and perhaps Sarah, if you smoked her out of Novigrad. Chat with the Godling(s), who will try to speak sense into you, and when that fails, will point you to Thecla. Continue north-west, between some rocks, over a bridge and north through another encampment of revelers. There's another Trader here, but he doesn't sell anything interesting.
Continue north up some stairs, then head down a wooden ramp/bridge and continue past a line of peasants to find find Thecla in a tent. She'll talk to you when you approach the tent and she'll be quick to send Ciri to see the ladies. Well, that was easy. Geralt, however, is not so lucky, and will have to agree to complete a challenge to have the "honor" of meeting the ladies. Fair enough, accept the challenge and you'll be led outside.
Dive into the water and shoot two Drowners (level five) then swim east into an underwater cave. Activate your Witcher Senses and snatch the "Defiers Oren" from the ground... and perhaps loot a chest in the cave. No sense in exploring the cave too much, though - the passage to the south just leads to a dead-end.
Swim back to the west to where you dove into the water and scale some ledges to the west, then, if you've got a bit of extra pluck, head south along some bridges to find a Fiend (level twenty-six) near a cave. Don't fight him along the bridges, as you're liable to get knocked off, instead lure him back north to more open ground. Defeat the Fiend, then cross its bridges to find a cave - the skeletons littered around should dispel any notion that the Fiend itself wasn't part of the challenge. Head into the Fiend's cave and head north-east, then south-east until you reach a fork, at which point turn south and exit the cave. Run south-west across a bridge, scale a ledge, and head uphill to the south-east and east to return back to the reveler's village, from which it shouldn't be hard to find your way back to Thecla's tent...
...Or, if you don't care to tangle with a Fiend, follow a trail north, then east from the water in which you dove for the coin. Climb two ledges and head east up some stairs and you'll find yourself north-west of Thecla's tent.
Either way, talk to Thecla and present your coin, which will grant you access to the top of the mountain. Follow Marica up the mountain to some doors, which she'll open for you. Head into the cave and travel north-east, then north, dropping down a ledge to encounter a Sylvan named Fugas (level twenty-six), who will comment on the coin, then attack. Typical stuff; he'll stomp, swat with his stubby red arms and throw and breath fire, all in all fighting like a rather weak Gargoyle. It's nothing a Silver Sword can't fix, however and when the Sylvan dies, Geralt and Ciri will see to the division of labor and split up.
|For completing Thecla's challenge||300 XP|
Ciri and the Crones
As Ciri, head north-west and drop down a ledge then examine a water-fall fed chasm. Leap into the chasm and swim to the south-west to find dry land to climb onto. Continue down a passage to the south-west to reach a chamber, where you'll find the Crones embroiled in the same vile atrocities, albeit in a somewhat more alluring form. This changes quickly when Ciri makes her presence known, and violence shortly ensues.
This fight is actually pretty easy; Ciri regenerates quickly enough when she's not in combat, and the Crones aren't just aren't dynamic enough on offense to be be that dangerous. The key rule to this fight is to keep moving - if you're not dodging or attacking, you're probably doing something wrong. The Whispess acts like a Water Hag (not much of a stretch, is it?), dipping into the water and surfacing elsewhere to throw vile substances at you. Fortunately, she doesn't do this terribly often, and you'll rarely be hit if you keep moving. Also, Ciri doesn't get quite so incapacitated as Geralt does by similar effects. The Weavess is fond of teleporting via a flock of Crows (like a Leshen) and submerging into the bloody muck underfoot and leaping out to strike (like a Water Hag). The Brewess, on the other hand, shambles slowly about, using lumbering melee swats when you get into melee range, or occasionally stomping to summon up a linear, tracking ground attack which will poison you if it finds you.
Just dodge around and wait for openings, and when they arise take two or three attacks before dodging away again. When your energy meter is full, consider using Ciri's teleport-attack (hold down [R2]) or charge attack (hold down [TRIANGLE]) to score some cheap hits, just be far enough away when you start it, as it takes time to charge. When the first one falls (the Brewess, being slow, makes for an easy target) the fight becomes even easier.
Geralt and Imlerith
Once the Crones fall you'll find yourself in control of Geralt. Prepare whatever potions and bombs you prefer (it's night-time, so if you have Superior Tawny Owl, it'll be an immense boon), then head north and north-east along a trail and cross a bridge to the north. Once across the bridge immediately turn east and score a Place of Power - another helpful buff for the upcoming encounter. Continue up a narrow trail to the north-west, scale a ledge, then leap over a rock in the path to find Imlerith indulging in supernatural delights.
The pleasantries don't last long, however. Imlerith is terribly easy at first; he'll lazily swipe with his humongous maul, which, when wielded one-handed is just too slow to hit a Witcher. Wait for him to attack, then dodge around him, and hit him a few times, or simply use the "Active Shield" ability to hold the alternate form of Quen, absorb Imlerith's attack, then stagger him by dropping the shield with "Exploding Shield", after which you can score a cheap hit or two. Quen paired with a high Sign Intensity is basically omnipotent in this fight.
Repeat until he's at half health and he'll drop his shield and begin teleporting. Now sporting a two-handed grip, he attacks much faster. Spam dodge [Circle] and do nothing else aside applying Quen, and be wary, as he'll teleport behind you, forcing you to change the direction of your dodge. He'll unleash a flurry of activity, and your only job is to survive his onslaught. Shortly, he'll tire himself out, giving you the opportunity to land a good hit on him. Repeat this process until he falls.
|For avenging Vesemir||1,000 XP|
Geralt and Ciri will chat a bit after their dual victories, but when the conversation turns towards the future say "Not quite yet.", as this will allow you to explore Bald Mountain further. Return to where you fought Imlerith and loot his body to find a "Magic Acorn" . Once you've obtained this, climb a ledge to the south of where Imlerith's body lies and make your way back down from Bald Mountain, past the Place of Power and cross the bridge to the south. Follow the road until you find a man named Stregomir arguing with other peasants, who are now worrying about how they'll get along without their magic acorns. You can give them the one you got from Imlerith, or keep it for yourself. If you consume it, you'll get two ability points... Doesn't seem like much of a choice, does it?
Back to Novigrad
Ciri and Geralt will return to Novigrad, where you'll see the outcome of your choices during the quest "Now or Never". The Witch Hunters have either finished their grisly business with the mages, or, in their absence, they've turned to new scapegoats. In Dandelion's tavern you'll learn that Avallac'h is waiting for you, but there's plenty more to do before you talk to him.
The quests "Final Preparations" , "Blindingly Obvious" , "Payback" and "The Great Escape" will begin, and after a long stretch of linear gameplay you finally have options again. You also have free run of the map for the first time since you started "Isle of Mists ". Since you've gained a good bit of experience since then, you should be able to handle just about every unfinished quest in the game. Namely, if you've been following this guide and completing everything along the way, you should have a handful of map markers to clear and two Witcher Contracts left to tackle; "Contract: Missing Brother" and "Contract: The Creature from Oxenfurt Forest" . They'll be the subjects of the next section; the final Unfinished Business section.
Either go complete these last two contracts (and anything and everything else you may have put off until now), or skip to the next main story quest, "Blindly Obvious" .