|This article is about the main quest. For The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt characters, see Crones. For the in-game book, see The Ladies of the Wood.|
Read "The Ladies of the Wood" Edit
Open Geralt's inventory and read the book located in the quest items section or the books section called The Ladies of the Wood which Keira gave to Geralt at the end of the last quest. This book tells a fairy tale of witches, presumably the "Ladies", that will take in children and in exchange hear the pleas of those that supplicate at their shrine. This book makes reference to the trail of treats that may be recalled as the same trail that Gretka mentioned to Ciri in the quest Ciri's Story: The King of the Wolves.
Find the Trail of Treats Edit
Travel to the marker on the map to begin following the trail. Fast travel if some of the nearby sign posts have been revealed. Travel by boat is also advisable if the Wandering in the Dark quest was just completed as Geralt will be placed at the shore of Velen's interior lake.
Follow the Trail of Treats Edit
The first marker for the start of the Crones trail is a shrine. Use Witcher Senses and the shrine itself should light up. Examine it and view a short cutscene. Now simply follow the path of flowers and occasional hanging strings of sweets. Follow the trail into what appears to be a settlement to find a group of children singing a strange rhyme. Approaching the children Geralt asks them if they've seen a woman fitting Ciri's description recently. Navigate the dialogue options to learn that this is a group of orphans being raised by a woman named "Gran". Unfortunately, Gran isn't forthcoming with any information regarding any women fitting Ciri's description. Before Gran orders the children inside, one of them named Travik, mentions that someone named Johnny might have more information.
Talk to the Boy Edit
Enter the house where Gran is keeping Travik from speaking to Geralt. The witcher won't be able to find out anything about Johnny while Gran stands nearby.
Lure Gran Away Edit
The children can be recruited to help distract Gran in exchange for something. Speak with one of the children outside to learn more about Johnny and Travik. When Geralt asks the children to help him distract Gran they agree on the condition they the witcher play a game of hide and seek with them or possibly something else if Geralt is not inclined to go searching the swamp for little children. They'll ask for sweets. After they eat their fill the children willl keep their promise and lure Gran out of the house and away from Travik with some fictitious story. Speak with Travik and Geralt can learn about the terrible circumstances that led to this boy being orphaned and an approximate location for Johnny's burrow whom recently saw an Ashen haired woman in the swamp.
Note: Geralt always seems to have sweets available to give to the children making it much simpler just to use that in exchange for their help. It costs nothing and takes far less time than actually playing hide and seek, unless that's your cup of tea. If you choose to play hide and seek continue, if not skip down to here.
Find the Children Edit
Using witcher senses makes this task almost unfair. All four children can be tracked down by following their footprints to their respective locations in no particular order below:
- Mikula: A trail of footprints leads into the Northwestern hut where she's hide just behind the door
- Yagna: Her footprints lead through the Eastern hut and out the back window to a spot behind some bushes close to the rear corner
- Aynara: Footprints lead to a thicket behind the Southwestern hut.
- Genny: Apparently scrambled over a roof to land in a haystack on the opposite side of the Eastern building.
After all the children have been found, they'll keep their promise and lure Gran out of the house and away from Travik with some fictitious story. Speak with Travik and Geralt can learn about the terrible circumstances that led to this boy being orphaned and an approximate location for Johnny's burrow whom recently saw an Ashen haired woman in the swamp.
Look for Johnny/Find Johnny's Footprints Edit
Follow the quest marker and fight off some drowners and a water hag before picking up Johnny's trail using your witcher senses. Follow Johnny's footprints mostly North through the bog to reach his burrow.
Lure Johnny Out EditCall Johnny out of his home to have a chat about the ashen haired woman he saw in the bog. When Johnny emerges and Geralt tries to talk to him, he'll find that Johnny has lost his voice. Johnny will indicate that the witcher must follow him to help him get his voice back if further answers are to be obtained.
Follow Johnny Edit
Follow Johnny through the swamp.
Defeat the Monsters Edit
When a group of drowners and a waterhag appear, Johnny will run away and hide. Geralt must defeat the monsters before continuing.
Follow Johnny Edit
Johnny will lead the witcher to the foot of a cliff, indicating that the solution to his lost voice can be found in the nest atop the steep ledge.
Search the Raven Nest Edit
The cliff is too steep to climb outright, heading either East or West will lead to a passable trail that will take Geralt to the nest atop the ledge. The nest is guarded by a flight of Harpies and possibly also a Wyvern. A crossbow is the ideal weapon here the bring the flying beasts down to earth. Once those enemies are dispatched the nest will be ripe for plundering. Collect the feathers and sealed bottle and return to Johnny.
Note: Given this nest's position along the trail between the starting point of this quest and one of the closest sign posts in Downwarren it is likely that the player has already cleared the harpies and wyvern out. The enemies will not re-spawn if killed earlier.
Give the Bottle to Johnny Edit
There will be a cutscene in which Johnny's voice returns and he gets rather excited. Johnny knows quite a lot about the bog, the crones that oversee it, the orphanage and Gran. Ask him about Ciri, and then ask for his help in getting Gran to talk to about her.
Follow Johnny EditFollow him back to the village and deal with the monsters along the way. Once at the clearing in the swamp Johnny will convince Gran to help Geralt speak to the "Ladies".
Beseech I thee, answer my call,
Before you a worm crawls, wretched and small"
- Gran's Call to the Ladies
Talk to the Ealdorman Edit
Follow the map marker to Downwarren and start a conversation with the Ealdorman and show him the blade which signals you were sent by the crones. The Ealdorman will immediately apologize and offer the information needed to remove the nearby evil. He will tell you about a tree which the villagers cannot get near enough to bury the dead which have collected there.
Investigate the Whispering Hillock Edit
Follow the new map marker to a large oak tree that seems to be speaking warnings this begins the quest The Whispering Hillock. On the Western side of the tree is a cave entrance guarded by a Werewolf which Geralt may have to kill to get inside. Additionally an Igni place of power that grants an ability point sits just outside the cave entrance. Enter the cave.
Explore the Cave Edit
Swim along a small path exploring small cave beneath the giant oak above. The roots twist and creak indicating there is more here than just a normal tree.
Tell the Ealdorman the Outcome Edit
After the spirit is dealt with, Geralt returns to the Ealdorman outside the cave examining the dead werewolf. The Ealdorman is either pleased that the spirit is destroyed or upset that it has been released depending on Geralt's actions. Either way the Ealdorman cuts off his ear and gives it to Geralt as payment to the Crones.Receive 250 after completing this objective in the quest.
Put the Payment on the Stone Edit
A cutscene will trigger and Geralt will see the true forms of the Crones. The witcher also discovers Gran has a strange marking on her hand that the crones use to control her which happens to match the marking that Anna Strenger was said to have had. By further questioning Geralt surmises that Gran is in fact the missing wife of the baron and that she had made a deal with the crones to prevent her own unborn child from coming to term in exchange for a year of servitude for the crones. Since that time, Anna has been charged with maintaining the crones' stock of children which they most assuredly eat once they are sufficiently "fattened up." Continued dialogue with them will give more information about Ciri and trigger a short quest played as Ciri; Fleeing the Bog. After that quest, the conversation continues and the crones foretell that Geralt will meet them again in the future as they disappear in a haze. This conversation completes the quest and Geralt will be alone in the clearing previously occupied by Gran and the orphans. From here the main quest, Family Matters picks back up.
Journal entry Edit
- Information found in the home of Hendrik, the Nilfgaardian agent, indicated Ciri had entered into conflict with some witch in Velen. At first Geralt thought his "witch" was Keira Metz, but he later learned Hendrik had meant a different individual, one who dwelt in Crookback Bog. So the witcher ventured into the swamps, determined to find this bog-dwelling witch and ask her about Ciri.
- Hendrik had known but a portion of the truth and his notes had led Geralt astray. Ciri had in truth come into conflict with the three Crones of Crookback Bog. They had wanted to hand her over to one of the generals of the Wild Hunt name Imlerith. But Ciri escaped their clutches and fled the swamps before their vile plan could come to fruition.
- If you complete the Whispering Hillock quest and freed the spirit in the process before starting the Ladies of the Wood, it might seemed like you ended up with a better outcome with the baron and his wife saved, and the orphans saved as well. But it's more likely a dialogue bug when the witches say "twas her who took them" as when you reach Novigrad, you won't find the letter that proves the orphans were saved.
- The Crones of Crookback Bog is a story remade from the Greek-Roman "Three Fates" (Clotho-Weavess Atropo-Whispress Lachesis-Brewess)
- If you saw the pre-release demos, you may remember that this quest was featured in one part of that demo.