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- Missing Brother: Mikel
- My true-born brother, Mikel, is missing. Anyone who finds him or at least finds out what fate has met him will be generously rewarded - and I'll slip a good word to the baron about you as well. You'll find me at the Inn at the Crossroads.
Geralt may pick up this notice at the bulletin board in the Velen hamlet where he first arrived with Vesemir, Inn at the Crossroads, after some time honing his abilities in the swampy wasteland. The premise of his task is straightforward: A man's brother is missing, and he is willing to pay to have the brother found.
On encountering the bulletin's author, Bruno, inside the eponymous inn, Geralt may learn of how Bruno's brother, Mikel, took it on himself to care for several women that were displaced when the war with Nilfgaard destroyed their village. Bruno will tell Geralt that Mikel went to an old mine in the northeast to provide shelter for the refugees, in defiance of Bruno's pleas to stay out of the situation. Geralt will have the chance to haggle the fee for this mission up to a little more than 310 crowns, if he so chooses. Bruno will insist that Geralt return his brother alive and will give Geralt a detailed description of Mikel and his clothing, which will cause Geralt to remark that this is unlikely considering the creatures known to inhabit the mine. Bruno will become offended at this before dismissing Geralt to his task.
After entering the mine and encountering monster tracks that appear to have been made by several limbs, Geralt will follow the trail deeper inside and eventually through a submerged passage which contains a chest featuring several useful diagrams and materials. On the other side, Geralt will encounter several arachasae egg groups and determine that the eggs must be destroyed with witcher signs, most appropriately Igni; it is highly advisable for him to do this in preparation for the conflict that is to come. At the end of the egg chamber is a large, musky domain inhabited by Harrisi, a giant Arachas queen who Geralt will immediately recognize as dangerously venomous. Also present will be a number of young arachasae hatchlings, who will spawn throughout Geralt's fight with Harrisi if he has neglected to destroy the eggs in the previous room. Here, tragically, Geralt will also find Mikel and all his companions dead at Harrisi's fangs.
Harrisi is a very dangerous insectoid and Geralt should not contemplate fighting it until he is well progressed in his career as a witcher in Velen, and equipped with the best available swords, armor and alchemy products. Examples of substances that are most useful are, obviously, Insectoid oil and the best known recipe of Tawny owl; Harrisi will quickly overwhelm even a well-equipped Geralt if he does not maintain his Quen shield and stagger/damage her over time with Igni, so stamina regeneration will be important. Harrisi will initially hang back while her children attack Geralt, apparently in the belief that he is just more prey for her hungry young like Mikel's company. Once the witcher has dispatched the first round of young insects, who will hopefully no longer be a factor if Geralt took the proper precautions, the queen will begin to attack directly. She will rely on her highly toxic fangs and claws, as well as three special abilities: Pulling Geralt into her reach with a rope of webbing, poisoning the room with the venom sacs growing on her back, and shooting Geralt with a high-speed volley of deadly saliva.
During the struggle, Geralt will most advantageously maintain his shield to avoid succumbing to Harrisi's venom before he can react at any given moment. Every other opportunity of full stamina should be taken to blast the queen with Igni. This will stagger her, possibly cause residual fire damage and clear the area around her of poison, giving Geralt space to maneuver and go to work with his silver sword. It is somewhat possible to kite Harrisi around the chamber and into damaging Yrden traps with the right spell abilities, relying on short-range Igni blasts and the occasional crossbow bolt to wear her down. Staying alive will be Geralt's main concern, as it is highly possible to deplete Harrisi until she is on the precipice of death only to have her whirl around and end Geralt in a moment with her powerful hits and venom. Axii and Aard should be avoided as their utility is low in slaying the insect. If Geralt did not end the respawning young arachas threat, Geralt's resilience will especially be a concern.
Eventually Harrisi will collapse and Geralt will take his trophy and navigate back out of the mine. His troubles for this day will not yet be over; back at the inn, Bruno will take the news of his brother's death very hard and refuse to pay up, arguing that Geralt was required to return Mikel alive (the bulletin had clearly said a person who "at least finds out what fate has met him" would be compensated). Geralt will realize that in this popular inn that is not far from major cities, beating the coin out of Bruno is out of the question. That leaves appealing to the man's recognition of how Geralt will have risked his life, which will earn the witcher no more than 1/3 of his previously agreed pay. If Geralt is skilled with Axii, Bruno will prove very susceptible and pay the full sum. Otherwise, Geralt will denounce the cheat and observe that Mikel was a better man for his selfless care for others, before walking away empty handed.
Journal entry Edit
- Though Geralt had plenty of other worries, he had not forgotten about his trade – which is, let I remind you, slaying monsters. While striving to practice his profession he cam across a contract offering an altogether attractive sum in return for tracking down a certain missing individual. No mention of monsters, true, but Geralt had seen enough incidents of its like to suspect one might turn up – and besides, when it comes down to it, coin is coin...
- In my experience, mines either hold precious metals or (more frequently) deadly monsters. The latter, in the form of arachasae, were present in great abundance in the Velen pits. Geralt knew he had to annihilate them for good - meaning he had to kill the female and destroy all the eggs she had lain.
- Arachasae are incredibly dangerous beasts, but a witcher is not just some run-of-the-mill adventure seeker. In a bloody battle whose echoes could be heard throughout all of Velen, Geralt killed the old arachas queen and put an end to her vile line.
- Talk to Bruno.
- Find the missing brother in the mine near the Inn at the Crossroads.
- Explore the mine using your Witcher Senses.
- Find out where the monsters in the mine are coming from using your Witcher Senses.
- Use witcher Signs to destroy all the eggs (12).
- Investigate the arachas' lair using your Witcher Senses.
- Kill the arachas.
- Take a trophy from the arachas' body.
- Collect your reward.