A Priest of the Eternal Fire asks Geralt to cremate three piles of dead bodies for him. This will count among Geralt‘s “good merits” the Priest tells him. As Geralt approaches the third pile of bodies he finds a man fighting off Ghouls, who then tells him that he was due to do a ‘Fisstech‘ deal with the Priest but that the so-called ‘holy man’ and his guards had double-crossed him and left him for dead among the bodies.
At the Inn at the Crossroads a small group of local thugs try starting some trouble, but Geralt plays it cool and they back off. You can fight them, but it doesn’t make your task any easier. After the confrontation the innkeep tells him where Hendrik lives, which updates the quest. Before leaving, Geralt buys some more Gwent cards from the innkeep (priorities!) and asks him about The Bloody Baron – the local authority in Velen. After that he rides off into the sunset towards Heatherton.
After five days of riding Geralt finally makes it to Velen. He starts out at Hanged Man’s Tree, makes his way through what’s left of the village of Mulbrydale, rescues some starving children from some wild dogs, and carries on to the Inn at the Crossroads where he’s supposed to make contact with a Nilfgaardian agent who’ll help him.
If you explore the courtyard at the Palace in Vizima with your Witcher senses you’ll find a stone that, once pressed, will open a secret room in one corner. Inside the room is the skeleton of Sir Roderick de Wett (a character from the first Witcher game), an old letter, and a saddle. It’s a shame there isn’t more to this little secret, but at least it’s something.
Geralt meets with Ambassador var Attre to discuss how the war’s going. The Nilfgaardian Ambassador is surprisingly frank and tells him about Nilfgaard‘s progress and all the factions involved in the war.
The Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis wants Geralt to track down his daughter, Cirilla, for “reasons of state“, and also because The Wild Hunt are after her. He’ll pay Geralt handsomely, although Geralt agrees to do it for Ciri – not for the money. Afterwards Geralt meets with Yennefer to discuss the situation.
It’s time for the fight with the Royal Griffin in White Orchard, with – of course – Vesemir‘s help. You set the bait and wait for it to arrive. On Death March difficulty, which I’m playing on here, the Griffin can be a real test and can easily kill you in a couple of hits. Watch out for it landing on top of you when it drops to the ground as this can remove most of your health. Also watch out for its torpedo-like lunge, which can severely knack you. Its wing sweeps are also quite deadly. Don’t be afraid to allow Vesemir a few swipes at the beast either – you’re fighting it together after all. If you’ve prepped well enough and use Swallow and food items to regenerate lost vitality you should be able to take it out without it killing you. If you do get injured, back off for a few seconds and allow your vitality to climb back up. After the fight: take its head to the Nilfgaardian Garrison for a reward.
White Orchard is the best place to get the Power Overwhelming achievement, which requires that you have all five of the Place of Power bonuses active at the same time. There are six Place of Power stones, all within easy ride of each other, in White Orchard. You only need five of them, though. Starting at the Yrden stone, ride anticlockwise and activate each stone in turn. Check out our guide if you need a map to help you.
The Quartermaster at the Nilfgaardian Garrison crafts the Viper Silver Sword for me, which will come in handy when I fight the Griffin in White Orchard. I also add Runestones to my weapons and an Igni Glyph to a pair of boots while I’m there. All in preparation for the Griffin fight to come. I could also craft some new armour, but I don’t bother. What I’ve got is fine.