An Encrypted Manuscript is a quest in Chapter III of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
The text of the manuscript actually contains reads:
|GUR SNZVYL BS QNFUJBBQ UNQ YBAT ORRA FRGGYRQ VA FHFFRK. GURVE RFGNGR JNF YNETR, NAQ GURVE ERFVQRAPR JNF NG ABEYNAQ CNEX, VA GUR PRAGER BS GURVE CEBCREGL, JURER, SBE ZNAL TRARENGVBAF, GURL UNQ YVIRQ VA FB ERFCRPGNOYR N ZNAARE NF GB RATNTR GUR TRARENY TBBQ BCVAVBA BS GURVE FHEEBHAQVAT NPDHNVAGNAPR. GUR YNGR BJARE BS GUVF RFGNGR JNF N FVATYR ZNA, JUB YVIRQ GB N IREL NQINAPRQ NTR, NAQ JUB SBE ZNAL LRNEF BS UVF YVSR, UNQ N PBAFGNAG PBZCNAVBA NAQ UBHFRXRRCRE VA UVF FVFGRE.|
Employing the ROT13 Caesar cipher to this (i.e. each letter is replaced by the one 13 places further on in the alphabet, so that A becomes N and B becomes O etc.) reveals the cleartext to be
|THE FAMILY OF DASHWOOD HAD LONG BEEN SETTLED IN SUSSEX. THEIR ESTATE WAS LARGE, AND THEIR RESIDENCE WAS AT NORLAND PARK, IN THE CENTRE OF THEIR PROPERTY, WHERE, FOR MANY GENERATIONS, THEY HAD LIVED IN SO RESPECTABLE A MANNER AS TO ENGAGE THE GENERAL GOOD OPINION OF THEIR SURROUNDING ACQUAINTANCE. THE LATE OWNER OF THIS ESTATE WAS A SINGLE MAN, WHO LIVED TO A VERY ADVANCED AGE, AND WHO FOR MANY YEARS OF HIS LIFE, HAD A CONSTANT COMPANION AND HOUSEKEEPER IN HIS SISTER.|
which is actually the first three sentences of the book Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, admittedly not much related to the Witcher world.
Taking it to Bras of Ban Ard will reveal that the following items are needed to complete this quest:
There are bullvores and rotfiends in the sewers beneath Loc Muinne, and harpies on a ledge, but you would be well prepared to have all these items prior to finishing Chapter II, especially the nekker blood and the pheromones (Do not sell those items or accidentally use them in Alchemy). There are two ways to get the nekker blood and the pheromones in chapter 3. One involves the quest Lillies and Vipers. When you are escorting her there is a cave that you can venture into. In the cave are nekkers where you can get the blood and there is a door to the east which leads back outside. Right outside are 3 egg sacks and if you destroy these a queen will appear and you can get the pheromones which will enable you to complete this quest.
The second way to get the nekkar blood and queen pheromones requires exiting Loc Muinne and turning to Geralt's right, going into the Camp of the Red Rose and following the wooden path through the camp in an upwards direction. You'll reach a low wooden gate with more tents beyond which you will enter and continue through the upper camp until you reach the edge of a forest. A pop-up will ask if you wish to remain in Loc Muinne or enter the forest. Choose enter the forest, follow through the forest in an northwesterly direction and you will find three Endrega egg sacs. Open and destroy them. You'll be rushed by at least two Queens and a few warriors. Kill them, collect the pheromones and return to Loc Muinne. There is also a cave in the forest where a large group of nekkers will attack when you encroach. Kill them and take what you need, then return to Loc Muinne.
Return to Bras with the items, and he will discover that the book contains the Diagram: Caerme, which he gives to Geralt.
- In one of the ruined passages in Loc Muinne, Geralt found a manuscript written in a strange language. He could not understand a thing of it, so he decided to find a professional who would help him decipher the document.
- This professional was Bras of Ban Ard, a sorcerer enamored of antiques. He decided that the book is encrypted with a spell, but that it could be broken. He needed ingredients for the counter spell: the pheromones of an endrega queen, the blood of a nekker warrior, the brain of a bullvore (a rare thing!) and a harpy egg, though a rotfiend's rongue would serve as a cheap substitute for the egg. With no other choice, the witcher started looking for the ingredients.
- And his effort was rewarded. Bras used the ingredients and cast a decoding spell. He revealed that the book contained instructions for creating a powerful sword named Caerme. Bars (sic) knew a thing or two about weapons and was a sorcerer on top of that. He was able to prepare the blade for the witcher!
Quest fails if Geralt follows Triss along to "A Summit of Mages":
- Geralt never learned the contents of the manuscript, however. When the sorcerers started dying at Loc Muinne, they had no time or inclination to study the wisdom of treaties.
If you have accidentally used the above items, you can use either of the following mods to add the items to a near merchant for purchase: