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Without a Trace

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Without A Trace is a side quest found outside of Oxenfurt added by the Hearts of Stone expansion pack.


A herbalist outside Novigrad Gate, to the right of Gustfields Farm, is looking for his missing apprentice, but no one has taken interesting in helping him despite many needing the money. Agree to look for his apprentice and the herbalist will tell you his apprentice went on an herb-gathering excursion in the Deadwight Wood.

Venture into the woods and find his cart with blood on it. Follow his blood trail through the woods using your witcher senses until you come across a small village with only two inhabitants remaining. Talk with the remaining two villagers about the missing apprentice and, after a brief discussion, you are directed back to the herbalist. The containers littering the village are not owned if you wish to loot them.

You can either return to the herbalist with your news or use your witcher senses to check the other houses. In one of the houses, there is dried old blood inside showing a person had struggled and died there, but their exact death is unknown.

Continue using your witcher senses around the couples home to detect a strange smell. Follow it to find a pile of objects covering something. Use the Aard sign to clear the entrance and proceed down into the basement and down a small tunnel. After going through a door you will discover a room with a cage large enough for a human, hooks, and a slaughtering station. In the there are dead rotting animals (a ram on the floor, a pig on a box, multiple chickens and rabbits hanging) and the halfling. The halfling has been torn apart in a manner that makes it impossible to determine death. Whether he died by wolves or not is unknown.

After returning to the surface you can confront the elderly individuals. They will respond that the wolves have been killing everyone, but because they are too old to work and get food for themselves they simply collect the bodies in order to survive. You will have two choices, kill them, or let them live as long as they swear never to eat human flesh again. If you decide to let them live, Geralt makes the statement "I'll be back" implying he might return. If you let them live, they will die anyway and their rotting corpses consumed by ghouls. If you kill them, you obtain a house key and you can find strange meat on the old woman. 

Return to the herbalist and tell him:

  1. "Cannibals ate him."
    1. If you didn't kill the couple, the herbalist will get upset and say he will take men out to kill them. 
    2. If you killed the couple, he will give you the coin. He will politely ask you to leave as he now must write to the parents of his apprentice.
  2. "Had an accident"
    1. Whether or not you killed the old couple, he will answer the same. Geralt will say a freak event happened and monsters got him, but no details are given. The herbalist is rather sad but hands over the coin.

Journal entry Edit

"Witcher" has become a synonym for "monster slayer" in many minds. While accurate as far as it goes, this does not encompass the whole truth, for witchers take on a broad variety of other tasks besides the slaying of monsters. For example, they sometimes use their superhuman senses to find missing persons. Such a lost individual was the subject of the notice hung by a certain Otto Bamber, an herbalist residing near Oxenfurt.
Otto told Geralt his apprentice, Folkert, had not returned from an herb-gathering excursion to the Deadwight Wood. Though this was not at all on Geralt's way, he decided to help the desperate herbalist. Something tells me this was not merely on account of the reward on offer – though those knowing only Geralt's surface from ballads and rumors might find this hard to believe, deep down, he was really a softy.
If Geralt does not investigate further:
Geralt did not in fact find Folkert, but witness testimony allowed him to establish the halfling's fate. The young halfling had so badly wanted to bring his master the herbs that he had ventured deep into the woods, braving the wolves that hunted there. Though no body ever was found, it is not hard to guess what had become of the poor lad.
If Geralt chooses to kill the old couple:
Geralt found Folkert – carefully gutted and salted and hanging in a larder belonging to an elderly couple living near the woods. The couple swore they hadn't killed the young halfling, but the witcher did not see that this absolved them of their crime and reached for his sword.
If Geralt choose to let the old couple live:
Geralt found Folkert – carefully gutted and salted and hanging in a larder belonging to an elderly couple living near the woods. The couple swore they hadn't killed the young halfling and had been forced into cannibalism by famine. Though Geralt condemned their actions, he decided punishing cannibals was not his duty and walked away.

Walkthrough Edit

If you didn't investigate further:

  • Ask the inhabitants of the village about Folkert.
  • Report back to the herbalist.

If you caught the scent of rotting meat:

  • Follow the scent to its source using your Witcher Senses.
  • Search the room.
  • Interrogate the peasant couple.
  • Kill the peasants.
  • Report back to the herbalist.

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