During the quest The Whispering Hillock, Geralt is to help a man in Downwarren, once going to Downwarren he will inform Geralt of Whispering Hillock where people are vanishing and never showing up again.
Upon arrival, Geralt finds out that the tree is possessed and has the choice of either destroying what is possessing the tree or to help it.
The Witcher is given the contract to kill what is described as an evil spirit that is killing the people of Downwarren and driving creatures crazy by the Crones, Witches of Crookback bog. When the Witcher arrives near the location he will be attacked by a werewolf just outside the caves entrance. Once the werewolf is dead he ventures forward into the cave. Diving under water to gain entrance to the room where the spirit is held.
When dialogue opens the Spirit will state that the orphans of Crookback Bog are in danger and that it can rescue them, giving the option to free the spirit. If the Witcher asks why the villagers of Downwarren were killed by the spirit, the spirit will state that when possessed, the creatures do not know the difference between people who want to do harm and those that are innocent. It is then up to the Witcher to decide whether to free the spirit or kill it.
Freeing the spirit Edit
The spirit will require three items: a horse, feathers and the spirits bones. Once all three items are collected Geralt will have to pierce the spirits heart thus releasing it and taking control of the horse. Unknown to the witcher once the ritual is completed the possessed horse will attack the people of Downwarren killing the villagers in revenge and then taking the children. Doing this affects the quest Family Matters, as when the Witcher returns to the Witches of Crookback Bog he notices the woman known as "Gran" is really the Baron's Wife, Anna.
If the spirit takes the children Anna is blamed by the Witches for letting them escape thus needing to be punished. In another quest related to Crookback Bog. Anna will be cursed by the Witches as punishment and die, thus making the Baron hang himself.
Freeing the spirit before receiving the quest from Downwarren's ealdorman: if Geralt stumbles upon the area before receiving the quest to destroy the spirit, the spirit will sense no ill will towards Geralt and won't try to bargain with him. If the witcher then releases the spirit it will wreak havoc upon Downwarren but won't save the children since that was never part of the deal.
When Geralt then goes to the ealdorman for his quest he will state that he has already dealt with the problem. Returning to the crones later will not lead to Gran being punished since the children weren't taken away. The witcher can then later reunite Anna and the Baron though she is still affected by her experiences and they will both travel to the healer in the Blue Mountains.
Killing the Spirit Edit
Choosing to kill the spirit will lead with the spirit shielding itself with tree branches, cut those away to be able to attack the heart however the tree also summons endregas to attack the Witcher. If the spirit is killed, the people of Downwarren will not be harmed later, however, it is hinted that the Witches of Crookback Bog kill and eat the Orphans of Crookback Bog. Anna will not die thus the baron will not commit suicide.
Trick the Spirit Edit
You collect the items the Spirit needs enable for it to free itself. Geralt brings the items to the tree, but once he presents the feather and bones, he doesn't stab the heart to release the Spirit, and the Spirit withers and dies. This will result in the same consequences as killing the Spirit, but it avoids a fight.
Journal entry Edit
- The Whispering Hillock – if the world were not as it is but as it should be, this name would denote a place of hidden nooks and lovers sharing heartfelt lies in hushed voices. Instead, it stood for danger and terror, for a place where wild animals, driven by some mysterious power, had killed many an inhabitant of Downwarren. Geralt agreed to investigate the problem, and soon discovered the animals were controlled by a spirit entrapped in a tree growing atop the hill. The spirit spoke to him in a woman's voice, and claimed to have once been a druidess who had kept watch over the Velen grove until the Crones murdered her and imprisoned her ghost in the tree. The forces of nature she had once served now protected her from the fiendish sisters' further designs. The unfortunate locals had died as collateral damage, for, the spirit attested, nature's wrath is unrestrainable and distinguishes not between unwary innocents and unwelcome ill-wishers.
- The spirit begged Geralt to lift her curse and free her from her torment. In exchange, she promised to rescue the orphans from the swamp clearing, who would otherwise face a cruel death at the hands of the Crones.
- If Geralt decides to kill the Ghost in the Tree:
- Yet too much innocent blood had been spilt on the Whispering Hillock. Geralt did not believe the spirit's explanation and destroyed its cursed heart. In doing so he expulsed it from this world for good.
- If Geralt decides to spare the Ghost in the Tree:
- These whispered words convinced Geralt and, following the spirit's instructions, he lifted the curse, transferring the druid's ghost into the body of a black mare. And so the spirit was set free, and the dark powers afflicting the Whispering Hillock were dispersed.
- The text She Who Knows contains a legend about the spirit that lives beneath Whispering Hillock.
- The book mentions that this is actually the mother of the Crones, giving the following evidence:
- When being given instructions on how to free the spirit, you will hear a female voice instead of a male voice.
- When looting the spirit's remains, Geralt will comment "Strange bones, don't seem human to me." This could mean that, like the Crones, the Ghost's original appearance was not truly human.
- When asking the Crones the identity of the spirit, they will say that it is the one that once cheated death, but she cannot trick Geralt.
- It is worth mentioning why the Crones are so powerful, yet cannot get rid of the Spirit. This is due to the fact that, as she was the Crones' mother, they still fear her after the unsuccessful plot to murder her — as mentioned in the book.