Find the Source of the Voice Edit
The quest starts once Geralt makes his way to the Ancient Oak. He hears a voice telling him to stay away, but Geralt ignores it. The witcher will need to defeat a werewolf guarding the entrance to the cavern below the tree where the voice is coming from. A place of power that buffs Igni sign and provides an ability point is also located just outside the cavern entrance. Once inside the cavern, navigate the short waterway path to reach the beating heart at the base of the tree.
Speak to the Spirit Edit
Geralt will have to decide whether the spirit trapped beneath the tree is good or evil and act accordingly by either releasing the spirit from its bonds or killing it in place.
Spirit Savior Edit
This is basically a short treasure hunt to retrieve the items needed to free the spirit (a black horse from nearby, feathers - from the raven nest earlier, and the bones of the spirit's body).
Find the Bones Edit
Head out the newly opened passage then head roughly Westward into the swamp. Geralt will have to fight off a few enemies and then continue to search the area with witcher senses to find the grave site where the bones can be retrieved.
Obtain a Raven Feather Edit
If Geralt failed to collect the raven feathers from the nest in the Ladies of the Wood quest he will have to go back to the same nest, climb the hill and retrieve the feathers. Travel to the map marker and retrieve them dealing with any avian enemies that have returned to the nest if necessary.
Calm and Mount a Wild Horse Edit
Head towards the objective marker and use Axii sign on any of the dark horses Geralt can get close enough to. Once it's been subdued, mount the horse like mounting Roach and ride back to the cavern below the tree along with the rest of the ingredients and prepare to conduct the ritual
Once Geralt returns with the items, start the ritual to free the spirit and transfer its being into the body of the black mare.
Note: Geralt could still refuse the spirit, initiating a fight. He could free the spirit by presenting the items to it, and stabbing the heart, and having the mare consume the blood, transferring the spirit to the mare. Or Geralt can trick the spirit, presenting the feather and bones, but refuse to stab the heart, which will cause the spirit to wither and die without a fight.
Once the spirit has been dealt with, the mission ends, continuing the Ladies of the Wood quest.
Spirit Slayer Edit
Destroy the Heart Edit
If Geralt outright refuses to help free the spirit, it will summon Endrega Worker minions to protect it. These will appear in waves, which Geralt must defeat and in between waves Geralt should focus on hacking at the heart of the tree. Once the spirit is dead, the Ladies of the Wood quest resumes. The quest will end upon the monster's defeat.
Journal entry Edit
- Something about life in dreary backwoods settlements leads their inhabitants to hide the truth with misleading names. This takes the form of both hyperbole - a clump of bare trees called "Dragon Spike Forest" or a hole in the ground two paces deep named "The Chasm of Eternity" - and understatement - a horrid massacre calmly referred to as "the incident." Velen fit the mold in this regard, as Geralt learned while he wanted through it in search of Ciri. There he encountered a trio of highly suspicious magical sisters called the Ladies of the Wood, who directed him to a clump of bogside huts known as Downwarren. Geralt was to solve their "problem": a rash of mysterious murders. He spoke to the ealdorman and learned that the evil power behind the killings dwelled in the Whispering Hillock. Wherever else?
- The truth hidden under the Whispering Hillock? A woman's spirit, imprisoned in a cave within it.
- If Geralt frees the spirit:
- Geralt felt sympathy for the ill-treated ghost and helped it enter the body of a horse, thus regaining its freedom.
- If Geralt kills the spirit:
- Geralt concluded this foul being was responsible for murdering the inhabitants of Downwarren, and so destroyed its heart, loosening its last grasp on our world.
Additional Info Edit
The following consequences are observed in the quest Return to Crookback Bog depending on your choice of whether to free or kill the trapped spirit:
- Spirit dies: If Geralt kills the spirit (whether through direct fighting or tricking it), the village of Downwarren is safe. The orphans in the bog, however, are taken by the Crones, most likely to be eaten. Anna, while left alive, goes crazy over the loss and her husband takes her away from the bog to seek help from far away.
- Spirit is free: If the spirit is freed, it saves the children from the Crones, and eventually places them in the care of Marabella at Novigrad. However, the spirit attacks Downwarren, killing most of the villagers. The Crones punish Anna for losing the children and curse her as a water hag. When Geralt removes the curse, Anna dies due to the nature of the curse keeping her alive, and her husband commits suicide over the loss.
- Spirit is freed BEFORE consulting the Ealdorman: If the player releases the spirit before consulting the Ealdorman in the Ladies of the Wood quest the game will have an odd consequence in the Return to Crookback Bog quest. The village of Downwarren will be attacked but Anna will not be turned into a water hag. Additionally a dialogue element will give the impression that the orphans have been saved, this turns out not to be true as there is no reference to the orphans' survival later in Novigrad as there normally is when they are saved.
- If the spirit dies before consulting the Ealdorman: the normal spirit dies consequence occurs.