|Important Items in this Area|
|Letter of Safe Conduct|
Confronting the Baron
Read the bestiary entry on Botchlings, then return to Crow’s Perch to find the city in disarray. A building is on fire, bells are ringing, and peasants are standing around gawking. Oh, if only they had smartphones… head up to the keep and you’ll be confronted by some soldiers, one of whom asks you to save his brother, who - along with the horses - is trapped in a burning stable. Make a timed decision to help or not, it’s not a terribly difficult event, and there’s no downside for helping out, so you might as well.
Head south-west to find the stable. The front door is blocked by debris, so you’ll have to climb a ladder to the second story. Once you’ve climbed the ladder, your breath gauge will show up. You know the drill, run out of breath and you’ll start taking massive damage, so be quick. Turn south-east and score a chest, then turn north-west and blast some barrels blocking the way with Aard. Continue north-west and use Aard again on more debris, and when you reach the edge of this level over-looking the barn below, climb down another ladder. Blast some more barrels to the north-east, then head past where the barrels stood until you find the barn door.
Geralt, the horses, and the stable boy will flee the barn, then the Baron shows up. Geralt’s unkind words end in fisticuffs; riposte his strikes, then when he’s off-balance, fast strike him a few times. Repeat until he falls, after which he and Geralt will have a talk about his poor conduct as a husband. He’ll come clean about what really happened regarding Anna and Tamara, a vile tale of spousal abuse at its worse, which confirms the pellar’s augury.
Inform the Bloody Baron of the ramification of his actions and Geralt will propose two courses of action; you can either lift the curse and turn the Botchling into a Lubberkin, or you can kill it, and use its blood. Either way, the result will be potentially learning the location of Tamara and Anna. Of the two, the Bloody Baron seems to be in favor of the former. You can stall for time if you’re not ready to confront the Botchling yet, but when you’re ready to go, tell the Baron so and the two of you will make a plan of action.
That night the two set out. Follow the Bloody Baron to the site where the miscarried child was buried, where Geralt will find the unmistakable signs that the Botchling is, in fact, on the prowl. Fortunately the creature doesn’t take long to show itself. You have two options, as suggested earlier; battle the Botchling, or try to removes its curse and turn it into a Lubberkin. Follow the text under the heading that reflects the option you chose, after which both paths will reunite under the heading "Tamara, Lost and Found" .
Battling the Botchling
The straight-forward approach, Geralt will attack the small but hideous creature, only to have it transform when a threat presents itself. It’s not too strong at first, it’s attacks are predictable, although it does take quite a few hits to whittle down. On Death March difficulty, your primary damage dealer will be Igni, rather than your Silver Sword, so be sure to pepper Igni blasts in between sword combos.
Smack it around until its health is halfway gone, at which point it’ll extend some quills from its back, start reflecting damage, regenerating health, and summon some Wraiths. Kill the Wraiths quickly, then turn your attention back to the Botchling. Sword strikes are ill-advised while its quills are out, unless you have Quen up, as you’ll take damage from your own attacks. Igni still works wonders, but the best option is to hit the Botchling with Axii, as it’ll pacify the creature temporarily and cause it to retract its spikes and stop reflecting damage and regenerating - a mandatory move in Death March mode, since otherwise the creature’s regeneration will just outpace your damage. Once the beast is dead Geralt will take its blood… after the Bloody Baron expresses his dissatisfaction with Geralt’s methods.
Loot the area, then head north-west to return to Crow’s Perch. Leave the city and fast-travel back to Blackbough, from which you need to travel north-west to visit with the pellar again. Talk to the pellar, ask him about the ritual, then tell him to perform it. Now follow the pellar south to the village, then east along the northern road leaving Blackbough. The two of you will make small talk as you walk, including the fate of the old lord of these lands, and the pestilence the Nilfgaardians are suffering from… you might even have to smite the odd pack of Wolves (level five). When you reach the shrine you’ll be instructed to light some fires, and you’ll be given the opportunity to question the ritual you’re about to witness. When you’re ready, light the fires and the pellar will take that a sign to begin the ritual.
Geralt has one job - keep the flames lit. So naturally, he can’t be bothered to do it. When one of the flames goes out, Wraiths (levels five and six) will show up and start attacking in endless waves. You’ve got to relight the fires with Igni (or just by activating them, if you can get enough breathing room) for the pellar to continue. Using Tawny Owl to increase you Stamina regeneration will come in handy here, considering how much you’ll want to use Signs, and Specter Oil is a no-brainer.
|For completing the ritual||100 XP|
Geralt will tell the Bloody Baron to do… well, probably the last thing any sane person would want to do with a Botchling, and when he protests, Geralt will remind him that this was his preference. Your task now is to follow the Baron back to the keep. Along the way you’ll be attacked by a group of Wraiths (level five). Dispatch them quickly, then, when the Baron starts whining about the Botchling, cast Axii on it to calm it down. Repeat the process again as you near the entrance to the keep - there are more Wraiths here, but otherwise, same thing.
On Death March mode this can be rather obnoxious, as all enemies are meat-shields on this difficulty, and Wraiths, by their nature, aren’t cooperative about conforming to a time limit, what with all their teleporting about. You may be better off sacrificing defense and finesse for offense, using Quen, but being prepared to supplement that with healing items as you take damage. You can afford to take a few hits and use some food to heal, you can’t afford to take your time. Once the Wraiths are gone use Axii again. You’ll finish the rest of your trip unmolested, the Baron will follow your orders… after some more complaints.
Note: If you take too long fighting a wave of Wraiths, the Botchling will wriggle free from the Baron’s grasp and turn rabid, forcing you to fight it. If that’s the case, you’ll want to refer to the "Battling the Botchling" section.
|For lifting the curse on the Botchling||150 XP|
When the Baron is gone, approach the burial site and activate it to "sit and wait" for a day and a night. When next midnight rolls around, Geralt will finish the ritual. Now you just need to follow the Lubberkin to a house south-east of Crow’s Perch. When the Lubberkin stops, activate your Witcher Senses and search, in sequence, some hoof prints, a misplaced bracelet on top of some barrels, and some discarded clothing, all along the north-eastern side of the house. Return to the Lubberkin and follow it to another site, this one along the road to the north-east. At a small bridge you’ll find a dead horse carcass guarded by Rotfiends (level six) who show up in three groups of two. Examine the remains and cycle through the various options to get a clearer grasp of what occurred.
Tamara, Lost and Found
If you fought the Botchling and performed the ritual, you’ll know the name of the person you need to see. If you turned the Botchling into a Lubberkin, you’ll end up following it to the correct place… eventually. The house we’re looking for is north-east of Crow’s Perch, and regardless of what you did to get here, you had either a Lubberkin, or a good, old-fashioned quest marker to lead you here. Head inside the house and talk to the fisherman about Tamara and Anna, and, after some initial attempts at duplicity, he’ll tell you all he knows.
|For learning what happened to Tamara and Anna||300 XP|
Return to Crow’s Perch and head to the keep. Along the way, if you saved the stable boy, he’ll be waiting for you. As thanks for saving him from an agonizing death he’ll give you… 20 Crowns. Oh well, it’s probably a lot of money to him. Head to the gardens west of the keep, where one of the Baron’s men will stop and ask you about what transpired the night you and the Baron went off alone, as apparently the Baron is a changed man of late. Head into the garden and endure the Baron’s babbling before you tell him about his wife and daughter.
Despite all the work you’ve done for him, the Bloody Baron still isn’t happy, and insists he won’t be until you personally verify that Tamara is safe… and that you continue to search for Anna. If you decline, he’ll settle for just giving you a "Letter of Safe Passage" and asking you to give it to Tamara if you happen to visit Oxenfurt. If you agree… well, pretty much the same thing happens, except he’ll also give you 50 Crowns in gratitude. After this exchange, Geralt forces the Bloody Baron to live up to his end of the bargain and tell him about Ciri…
|For telling the Bloody Baron where Tamara went||Letter of Safe Passage|
|For agreeing to visit Tamara||50 Crowns|
Ciris Story: The Race (Level 5)
Ciri, the Baron, and his boys will chat around a fire until the stable boy (yes, the one Geralt can choose to save later) starts making challenges. The Baron ends up taking on the wager the stable boy started; a horse race between Ciri and the Baron, the wager being Ciri’s sword for the Baron’s horse. This race is incredibly difficult to lose, just gallop when you can, and canter when you… can’t? Once you cross the finish line the Baron will stop telling his story just as danger loomed, and will tell you to find his wife for the rest of the story. As you leave the keep, the Baron will stop you and ask you to give his daughter a "Cloth Doll" when you see her.