| ||For Skellige's glory!|| |
| - Crach's war cry, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game|
Crach an Craite (d. 1272), also known as Tirth ys Muire ("Sea Boar") and the "Wild Boar of the Sea", was a nephew of King Bran Tuirseach of Skellige and was mentored by Eist Tuirseach, his other uncle.
In his early years he was a contender for the hand of Princess Pavetta of Cintra, however, it never came to anything. After King Bran passed the throne to Eist Tuirseach Crach became Jarl of Skellige, the main commander of the military forces. He also had a brief affair with Yennefer and remained fond of her afterward, which he demonstrated by helping her in her search for Vilgefortz in 1268.
He was known for sometimes showing his fiery temper as well as a healthy appetite. During his youth, he was described as a broad shouldered man with a mop of red hair. Later when he was a grown adult, his eyes were said to be hawk-like.
Early life Edit
Crach was born in early 13th century on Skellige to the clan of an Craite. His mother was from the clan of Tuirseach. Not much is known about his childhood, only that he was taken by Eist Tuirseach, his uncle, as his pupil, and young Crach learned many things from him. When he was a young man he met the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg and the duo had a short affair. Even though they separated Crach remained fond of the sorceress for the rest of his life. Some time after their split Crach met a woman that eventually became one of his wives. This woman gave him a son, his first born, Hjalmar. Crach, now a father and married man, lived happily in the typical Skellige style. A little over 2 years later, he was part of the Skellige envoy sent to the kingdom of Cintra where he was one of the contestants for the hand of princess Pavetta.
Cintrian courtship Edit
Queen Calanthe of Cintra invited many noble guests to the courtship of her daughter Pavetta, who just turned 15 and thus was ready for marriage. One of the main groups invited were those from Skellige. Above all, the queen wanted Pavetta to marry a Skelligan to ensure peace with the islanders. Among those sent from the islands were Crach an Craite, Eist Tuirseach, druid Mousesack and skald Draig Bon-Dhu. There were also other contestants, after all, the princess was a very beautiful young lady. Apart from the Skellige party, there were lords such as baron Eylembert of Tigg also known as Coodcoodak, prince Windhalm of Attre, and all three sons of Lord Strept. There was however another guest who did not appear to be interested in the hand of the princess. The honorable Lord Ravix of Fourhorn. Unknown to the most of guests, Ravix was in fact just an alias of the witcher Geralt of Rivia who was personally invited by the queen and who sat next to her for the entire feast.
The queen thanked all the guests and offered them an incredibly rich feast. Crach, as is common amongst his people, revelled and drunk like a true Skelliger. After some time, the princess appeared and joined the feast. She however, was not very happy and barely looked up. Thus the feast continued quite normally until a commotion occurred in the throne room, and an uninvited guest appeared. It was a knight in full plate armor who introduced himself as "Urcheon of Erlenwald". He stood before the queen and told her about his past. He told her that 15 years ago, he saved King Roegner, husband of Calanthe, and invoked the Law of Surprise. That law granted him the child of the king - Princess Pavetta.
To the great shock of all the guests, the queen admitted, that what the knight says is true yet she has no intentions to give him his daughter. Instead, she tricked him into removing his helmet. As he did, he revealed, that he was no man at all but rather some hedgehog-like creature, covered in spines with a muzzle full of fangs. Triumphant, the queen said that the Law of Surprise stands yet the princess has to agree to go with him. Calanthe was sure that seeing that he is a monster, Pavetta will reject him immediately. That however did not happened and to great surprise - and horror - Pavetta agreed to go with the monstrous knight. Calanthe collapsed to her chair, and the fight erupted. Cintrian knights as well as suitors attacked the Urcheon and pinned him to the ground. That was however a grave mistake. Pavetta, seeing Urcheon knocked to the ground, burst into an explosion of raw Power. That eruption was extremely dangerous and threatened everyone's life. The storm created by her was so strong, that nobody was able to move properly.
The witcher Geralt, and druid Mousesack were eventually able to calm the princess and stop the eruption. When the situation calmed down, the princess explained, that she and the Urcheon, whose name is Duny, were secretly seeing each other for over a year and that they fell in love. Duny was in fact human but suffered a curse that turned him into a monster, though after midnight he recovered his human form. Calanthe had no choice but to agree with their union. This decision was very difficult because of her fear of Skellige. Eist however took this chance, and proposed to the queen. Surprised, the queen eventually agreed to marry him thus fulfilling her desire for a union between Cintra and Skellige. Duny thanked the witcher and promised him anything. As is common amongst witchers, he invoked the Law of Surprise because he did not wish anything from the young couple. To a great surprise, Pavetta admitted, she was with child, a child which now belongs to the witcher.
Later deeds Edit
Crach returned from Cintra empty handed. But his loss was not that great as he already had at least one wife and a beautiful and strong son. Around this time, his wife was pregnant again and soon gave him his second child, this time a girl. A girl named Cerys. He eventually ascended to the title of Jarl of the an Craite clan and the ruler of Kaer Trolde. When his uncle and mentor Eist married queen Calanthe, he became her and Pavetta's relative. After Pavetta and Duny died during their sail trip he swore to Calanthe that he would always guard and give any help needed to their baby daughter Cirilla, commonly known as Ciri. Young Ciri was then sent to Skellige, to live in Crach's house. The little lion cub enjoyed her time in the an Craite house where she befriended Hjalmar. Crach also begun to care deeply for her and watched with great pleasure as she and his son grew closer. Their relationship went so far that the two "married". When Calanthe learned of this, she was angered as she planed to marry her grand daughter to some Nordling prince. She immediately sent for her and returned her to Cintra.
Crach became notoriously known throughout the Nilfgaard for his raids. As a matter of fact, he was so feared that Nilfgaardians gave him name Tirth ys Muire meaning "Sea Boar" and the "Wild Boar of the Sea",
During the second of the Northern Wars, Crach helped Yennefer and provided her with sanctuary as she was looking for Ciri, who was kidnapped. Thanks to his help, the sorceress made a great discovery and found a portal leading from Skellige to Nilfgaard. Even though the sorceress was arrested and tortured afterwards, eventually she and Geralt succeeded and rescued Ciri in no small part thanks to Crach.
Crach continued his rule as a Jarl and watched as his children grew into strong adults worthy of the an Craite name.
The Third War Edit
During the Third War, Crach still ruled Kaer Trolde. The Islands were largely intact by the war and apart from some occasional raids, life on Skellige was pretty calm. That is until the year 1272. That year, king Bran Tuirseach died. It was a grave loss for the islands since everyone loved their king. Crach held a funeral for the fallen king on Kaer Trolde and it was him who shot the flaming arrow that set the king's boat ablaze. After the funeral ceremony, Crach invited all who held the king dear to the Kaer Trolde keep for a feast and selection of a new king. On Skellige, kingship is not given by birth. Each new king has to be selected by Jarls and the contestant who committed the most heroic deeds will be selected. A special guest invited personally by Crach was his old friend Geralt of Rivia along with the sorceress Yennefer, who were there looking for Ciri.
The feast was rich and everyone remembered and glorified Bran. Once they all bit their farewell, it was time to choose a new king. Thus Crach announced that all those who see themselves fit to be the king, should step forward and toss their weapons - as a sign of their participation on the selection process. Crach tossed his son's sword as Hjalmar was already on his kingly quest on the isle of Undvik. To great surprise of all, including Crach himself, Cerys, his daughter, also applied for the contest. This was very uncommon since there was no record of any woman ever entering the contest before.
Later, Crach had a discussion with the witcher and the sorceress. The duo wanted to explore a local forest that suffered a magical explosion in hopes, it will tell them something about whereabouts of Ciri. Crach granted them their wish yet he asked Geralt to help his children with their quests if he can. He shown Geralt, that he wanted to support both of his children equally in the contest. The Witcher agreed yet the priority for him was obviously Ciri. He eventually found out where Ciri was but he also learned, that if he went for her, it would immediately lure the Wild Hunt to them. Geralt decided to face the hunt in Kaer Morhen but for that, he needed allies willing to help him. He went to Crach and asked him for help. When Crach learned that Geralt knew where Ciri was, and needed help, he agreed at once. However he wanted to face the Hunt on Skellige. When Geralt told him that such a thing would cause countless innocent lives, and that the only place suitable for the battle would be the witcher's keep, Crach was sad for he knew his duty as a Jarl and that he cannot send an army on such a long and dangerous journey with Nilfgaard possibly planning an invasion. He apologized to Geralt and explained himself to him. Crach however would not let the witcher leave empty handed, and gave him a very precious sword that had been in the an Craite family for generations.
A new ruler Edit
When all the contestants for the throne of Skellige finished their respective quests, they, along with all the Jarls, gathered in Kaer Trolde for the election. Crach had a heated disscussion with Birna Bran, widow of the late King Bran and Crach's aunt. She strongly disagreed with the custom of electing the king and wanted her son Svanrige, to become one. When she left, Crach explained to Geralt what the argument was about. During their talk however, a pack of wild bears attacked the feast. Though the bears were eventually killed, they murdered many guest including almost all the contestants. The only three that managed to survive were Hjalmar, Cerys and Svanrige. The Jarls accused Crach and demanded an explanation. They gave a chance to his children to find evidence of who was responsible for the carnage. Otherwise, the an Craite clan would be held responsible for the slaughter.
- If Geralt decided not to help An Craite children: Neither Hjalmar, nor Cerys were able to provide any evidence of their clan's innocence. The Gathering of Jarls thus voted for Svanrige to become a new King of Skellige.
- If Geralt decided to help Hjalmar: Impulsive as ever, Hjalmar went straight to the village of Berserkers. He suspected them, because they were present during the feast and there was a legend describing them as having the ability to transform to bears. Hjalmar and Geralt tracked them and witnessed the initiation ritual. They faced many berserkers and ultimately killed their druid. Even though Hjalmar did not find who was the one behind the Berserker attack, he avenged the dead and proved that Clan an Craite is innocent. The Jarls elected him as the new king but the mastermind behind the slaughter was still free.
- If Geralt decided to help Cerys: The duo discovered that the bears were in fact Berserkers, warriors able to turn into savage bears. They found out that the mead that was served had a strange substance that triggered the transformation. When they investigated where the mead came from, they were attacked and almost burned alive, but they managed to escape. As it turned out, the would be murderer was Arnvald, an an Craite servant. They faced him and learned, that he acted on behalf of Birna Bran. When the duo stood before the Jarls, their story was strongly denied by Birna. The Jarls did not see enough sufficient evidence and decided to dismiss Cerys. Birna's son Svanrige however stood on the side of Cerys and confirmed that his mother was indeed guilty. He accused her and she admitted that she was indeed guilty.
- The Jarls sentenced her to be chained to a rock and perish from hunger. Svanrige was then exiled for he had no part in his mother's schemes. As a new ruler, the Jarls elected Cerys, as the first Skellige queen ever.
Not long after the coronation, emperor Emhyr var Emreis decided to finally conquer the Islands and sent a massive fleet under his personal command. Nilfgaardians moved their fleet to the isle of Undvik. Before any battle could begin however, the final plan for defeating the Wild Hunt was commissioned. Crach, now able to fully battle the wraiths, as the battle would be waged in Skellige, committed his men, son and himself to the fight. When the Hunt appeared in their longship Naglfar, Crach led his men against the wraiths. They even sent against them one of their ships that was set ablaze. The collision of the two vessels caused Naglfar to be set on fire. Skellige warriors then attacked the wraiths led by both an Craite and they fought their way to the Naglfar itself. Here Crach faced none other than Eredin, the King of the Wild Hunt himself. Though he was no match for the Aen Elle elf, he fought him all the same. Ultimately, Eredin was just playing with him, and gave him one wound after another, even giving him his axe back when Crach lost it. In the end, Eredin killed the mighty Crach with one strong swing of his sword.
Eredin and his Wild Hunt were ultimately defeated by Geralt, and Ciri was safe once again. Thus Crach fulfilled his oath that he gave to Calanthe all those years ago, and gave everything, including his life, to protect Ciri.
Journal entry Edit
- Skellige sagas brim with praise for war chiefs and warrior-braves of ages past, yet the saga of Crach, jarl of the Clan an Craite and lord of Kaer Trolde, will outshine them all. It will sing of his strength, his courage, his wisdom, his generosity, his loyalty to friends and his relentless pursuit of his foes.
- There will be few exaggerations in such a tale, for Crach, the mightiest of Skellige's jarls, truly did possess all the traits of a hero. He aroused terror in his enemies – in fact, Nilfgaardian mother would use his name to frighten their children into obedience, and all in that empire spoke in hushed tones of the infamous Tirth ys Muire, the Wild Boar of the Sea, who devastated coastal provinces during frequent and terrible raids.
- Geralt had known Crach for long, since a time when as a young man the jarl had sought the hand of young Pavetta, Ciri's mother.
- After Bran's demise, Crach could easily have claimed the throne for himself. Yet he preferred to support the claim of his son, Hjalmar. When his daughter Cerys announced her intention to seek the throne as well, the jarl also gave her his support, showing no favoritism when it came to his children.
- To the islanders, honor is the most prized of virtues. Crach thus agreed without hesitation to live up to the pledge he made many years ago on behalf of himself and his entire clan and supported the search for Cirilla with any means Skellige could offer.
- Crach also did not balk when the time came to stand and fight Eredin. Though Eredin killed Crach during this fight, the jarl's death did not break the islanders' spirit, instead becoming a model of how to die like a true hero.
Associated quests Edit
- Cráite means haunted, tormented/tortured or annoying in Irish, while crach means raid. Therefore, "crach an cráite" could be translated as "raid of the tormented", albeit being grammatically incorrect.
- Crach appeared in the series Hexer in episode 06: Calanthe, played by Michal Milowicz
- See the GWENT standalone game version card: Crach an Craite