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We finally understand the entire story of the Witcher games

Geralt of Rivia: the White Wolf, the Butcher of Blaviken, the Witcher. To tell the story of the Witcher games is to tell his story, all his exploits and adventures. Geralt's primary concern is hunting monsters, but it's the schemes of men that more often entangle him in trouble. Geralt's world is made up of bellicose kingdoms and petty sorcerers and sorceresses. People love to use him and his impressive skills, training, and witcher mutations as a tool for getting tasks done. There is no shortage of fetch quests in the Witcher games

Destiny is also to blame for why Geralt's story is a complicated one. An orphan himself, Geralt has made a makeshift family by tying himself to two extraordinary women: Ciri and Yennefer. Old prophecies, magic, and ancient grudges make it so that their lives are anything but typical, and they're forced to be apart most of the time. But we'll get into all those little details as we explain the whole story of Geralt of Rivia: the Witcher.

Geralt of Rivia: amnesiac - The Witcher

At the very beginning of the first game, we meet our brave hero face-down in the mud. Geralt is suffering from a serious case of amnesia. Luckily for him, fellow witchers from his old home of Kaer Morhen find him and take him into the fortress to rest and recover. Triss Merigold, an auburn-haired sorceress, is also there. She has ... history with Geralt, to put it mildly. Before she can help to restore his missing memories, Kaer Morhen is attacked. 

Witchers get their enhanced strength, eyesight, and other senses from surviving trials involving mysterious, mutagenic potions. The bandit gang, known as the Salamandra, is led by a mage and an assassin who seem to know an awful lot about these potions. They nab them and escape through a portal before Geralt can do his sword-swinging thing. Geralt and Triss travel to the Temerian capital of Vizima to get their sleuth on, but Vizima turns out to be a fairly unwelcoming place. The king is away, allowing for the Order of the Flaming Rose to freely prosecute non-humans like elves, purportedly to protect the citizens of the city from the elf rebels known as the Scoia'tael.

The Order or the Scoia'tael? - The Witcher

Geralt earns his way into the city by slaying a hellhound but is soon arrested for his trouble. He earns his freedom by killing a cockatrice in the sewers. Finally free to look for the Salamandra, he discovers they are an infamous network of drug dealers. Dismantling the organization requires Geralt to rub elbows with politicians and princesses. He must make some hard decisions as to which side he favors: the Order, led by Jacques de Aldersberg, or the Scoia'tael. 

Jacques turns out to have been hoarding the witcher potions all along. He has seen a vision of the future: the White Frost that overtakes the world. He planned to use the potions to create an army of superhumans to ensure the survival of the human race. King Foltest returns and effectively sics Geralt onto Jacques, wrapping up the mystery of the missing potions. Geralt is rewarded by the king, and then saves Foltest's butt again when he is nearly assassinated by — gasp! — another witcher!

No one appreciates Geralt - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The next game starts with Geralt in prison, accused of killing King Foltest. But wait: didn't he just save Foltest's butt? It turns out Foltest had made Geralt his very own bodyguard as he laid siege to the castle of his half-children, who had become his heirs. Big brother Aryan La Valette wasn't too keen on that, and there was also a dragon attack that made this custody battle quite bloody. 

The monk protecting Foltest's heirs turned out to be — gasp! — yet another witcher! This witcher assassinated Foltest and left Geralt to take the blame. The head of the Temerian secret service, Vernon Roche, believes Geralt's side of the story. He helps him escape and reunite with Triss so that they can seek out the real kingslayer in the city of Flotsam. The Flotsam welcome wagon includes a heated encounter with Iorveth, the leader of the Scoia'tael in these parts. Once in the city, Geralt does his butt-saving thing and saves his two best friends, the poet Dandelion and the dwarf Zoltan, from the Flotsam scaffold. 

The kidnapping kingslayer - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

After doing some monster-killing and meeting the sorceress Sile de Tansarville, Geralt and the gang find out that the kingslaying witcher named Letho plans to betray the Scoia'tael, who had previously been helping him. Ioverth doesn't quite believe Geralt, so he pretends to be captured, Geralt his captor. Upon seeing Ioverth captured, Letho spills the beans: he has killed a bunch of monarchs and has no love for the Scoia'tael. Oh yeah, and that he also plans to kidnap Triss. 

Geralt remembers a lady love of his being kidnapped before ... Yennefer was taken by the Wild Hunt ... but Geralt doesn't have time to dwell on lost memories. Aedirn is where Letho has taken Triss, another city under serious tension as a local king wants to take Vergen off the hands of the local heroes. Here we meet King Henslet of Kaedwen on one side and Saskia of Vergen, slayer of dragons, on the other, leaving Geralt to choose sides again. The fight between the two sides triggers a curse and summons Saskia's friend and sorceress, Phillipa Eilhart. If you guessed that they have to do something about that curse before finding Triss, you get five gold pieces. Good job.

The rebel dragon - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

On the side of Vergen, Saskia is a big deal for non-humans. They see her as a hero, a worthy ruler. When she's poisoned, Geralt must save her by gathering up magical ingredients, one of which Triss just so happened to have. On the way to finding her, Geralt is captured by soldiers of the ever-expanding empire of Nilfgaard. They have Triss trapped inside of a collectible figurine. 

With Saskia cured, Kaedwen sieges Vergen. Also, Saskia reveals to Geralt, and Geralt alone, that she's a dragon. (Yes, the very same from before.) With this fun fact, Vergen wins independence, but it turns out that Saskia is enslaved: mind-controlled by Phillipa, who plans to use the dragon as leverage at a meeting between royals and magicians. At Loc Muinne, Geralt is faced with a difficult decision: save Phillipa from the dungeons in order to save Saskia? Or save Triss from the hands of the Nilfgaardians? Regardless of who he saves, it is revealed that the Lodge of Sorceresses, an order of powerful women, had been using Letho to kill kings, aided by Nilfgaard.

Geralt: judge, jury, and slayer of dragons (or not) - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Sile de Tansarville was also in on this and uses Saskia in dragon form to attack the meeting. Geralt can kill Sile as she flees or save her and earn some valuable information about Yennefer. He can also choose to save or kill Saskia. Geralt's final big choice of the game decides Letho's fate: he can kill him or let him go. Letho will also reveal some fun facts about how Yennefer fared after Geralt had sacrificed himself to save her from the Wild Hunt all those years ago ... and sparing him will resurrect the witcher School of the Viper in a world where witchers are hard to come by. 

With the game winding down, players bear witness to what their choices wrought: if you didn't save Triss, non-humans and magic users are slaughtered. If you did, the Conclave, a ruling body of magic users, is restored. Regardless, Geralt heads south in search of Yennefer with his buddies. Having successfully destabilized the region with all the kingslaying and magical shenanigans, Nilfgaard invades.

Welcome to the Wild Hunt - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Welcome to The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. Geralt remembers himself better than ever before and is in search of his kind of sort of family: Yennefer and Ciri, the daughter of the Nilfgaardian emperor and Geralt's former ward. He and Vesemir, who taught Geralt everything he knows, go to the village of White Orchard on the tail of Yennefer and the bloody battles Nilfgaard has started to wage. There, they hunt a gryffin, among other things, before Yennefer herself shows up. 

Yennefer has been tasked with bringing Geralt to Emperor Emhyr var Emreis of Nilfgaard in Vizima. On the way there, they are attacked by none other than the Wild Hunt. It's almost as if they have some history. Geralt also appears to have a history with Emperor Emhyr, who also thinks of Ciri as a daughter ... because she really is his daughter. She's also of the Elder Blood, heir to an ancient elvish bloodline with the power to manipulate space and time. Destiny and such is in the works here. Geralt is tasked with finding her, following up on some reported sightings of a young woman with ashen hair.

The Bloody Baron's bloody big list of tasks - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The first place Geralt searches is in Velen, where the local warlord, the Bloody Baron, rules. Before he'll give Geralt any information regarding Ciri, Geralt must do his witcher thing and help the Baron with some monstrous issues involving his runaway family. Another lead, involving arguably less work, takes Geralt to the sorceress Keira Metz. She tells Geralt that an elven mage had been interested in meeting with Ciri (and that he owes her a magic lamp).

This leads them to some underground caverns, a veritable maze that only Ciri — or someone who knows her well — could solve. They're not the only ones in search of Ciri, however. The Wild Hunt is on the, well, hunt for the Child of Elder Blood, and this leads to a fight for their lives. Surviving, Geralt and Keira are unable to find hide nor ashen hair of Ciri, so Geralt goes to the Crones of Crookback Bog to see if they might know something.

Cannibalism and witch burnings, oh my - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Geralt doesn't find Ciri in the Bog, but he does find the missing wife of the Bloody Baron. She's bound to the Crones, who had tried to take a nibble out of Ciri when she was there. Just a nibble though, because even the Crones were aware that the Wild Hunt was after her. The Bloody Baron gets his family reunion: his wife addled by tragedy and his angry, bitter daughter a member of the Church of the Eternal Fire. Having made good on his promises, the Baron tells Geralt that Ciri was headed to Novigrad last he saw her. 

In Novigrad, the Church of the Eternal Fire has been turning mages into cinders. In the criminal underground, he reunites with Triss Merigold, who helps Geralt find out that Ciri had been in contact with Dandelion. Finding Dandelion means talking to a lot of spurned lovers, but eventually Geralt is able to discover that Ciri teleported to Skellige.

After traveling there, Geralt and Yennefer can choose to break the ties that bind them or stay together.

Ciri and the Seven Dwarves - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Ciri didn't land very softly in Skellige but was able to recuperate in a sauna before the Wild Hunt descended onto the island village. She was last seen being stolen away in a boat ... before her would-be rescuer spotted a twisted creature called Uma. Uma, won in a card game by the Bloody Baron, was actually Avallac'h, the elven mage that Keira had met. He had been helping Ciri all along, a mentor to her in her time hiding from the Wild Hunt in another world. 

Avallac'h tells Geralt and Yennefer that the Wild Hunt is after Ciri's Elder Blood. He hid Ciri in the Isle of Mists, where Geralt goes to find her while the gang at Kaer Morhen prepare for the Wild Hunt's eventual attack. Ciri, in a deathlike sleep, turns out to be under the care of seven dwarves. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Geralt was sure she was dead, but the light that Avallac'h had given him revived her and so that father and daughter are at last reunited.

Reunited and then ripped asunder - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Getting reacquainted, Ciri explains that the Wild Hunt is pursuing her for her power: the White Frost has taken over their world, so they want to move to the warmer world of the continent. Taking over would require an army, and Ciri's power to move between worlds is needed in order to transport the Wild Hunt's hordes. After running for years, Ciri thought she was safe ... and she wanted to head home to Geralt and Yennefer. 

Back at Kaer Morhen, after some hugs, the Wild Hunt attacks. While protecting Ciri, Vesemir is killed. Everyone mourns the old witcher, a mentor to both Geralt and Ciri, and they decide what to do next over his pyre. Enlisting the reformed power of the Lodge of Sorceresses, they plan to draw out the king of the Wild Hunt using a legendary elfish artifact called the Sunstone. Once summoned, everyone wants to get at the fleet of the Wild Hunt. The joint power of the Lodge, Ciri, Geralt, and the Nilgaardian fleet fight the otherworldly warriors of the Wild Hunt.

Geralt and the 36 different endings - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Geralt defeats Eredin, King of the Wild Hunt, but that's not enough to stop the real threat: the White Frost. This stuff is the destruction of countless worlds, and Ciri feels that it is her responsibility as a Child of Elder Blood to stop it. Watching her go into a portal, Geralt can only hope that he'll see Ciri again. After this, there are (get ready for it) 36 different ways the game can end. 

In one, Ciri fakes her death so that she and Geralt can have witcher adventures. In another, she decides that she can do the most good by ascending the Nilfgaardian throne after her father. If Ciri is bested by the Frost, then Geralt goes after the final scrap of her: her medallion, stolen by one of the Crones. Geralt might choose to keep being a lone witcher, or retire with whichever sorceress he was keen on during the gameplay. Nilfgaard might lose the war, or conquer the whole of the north. Everything depends on the choices Geralt makes throughout the game, a lone witcher deciding the fate of the world.

Another fairy tale in Hearts of Stone - The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine

Following whatever fate Geralt is given at the end of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there are still a few adventures in store for the witcher. In the Hearts of Stone expansion, Geralt accidentally slays a frog prince, a prince that was cursed to take the form of a monstrous toad. It turns out he was set up by a man with a heart of stone, having traded his emotions for immortality. Geralt is tasked with granting three seemingly impossible wishes. But there's nothing, we've learned, that is impossible for Geralt. 

In the second DLC, Blood and Wine, Geralt travels to the idyllic land of Toussaint in Nilfgaard where the wine flows like water. Blood is being split there, too, however. Knights are being murdered under exceedingly strange circumstances, and so the Duchess Anna Henrietta enlists Geralt to investigate. Geralt deduces that the knights are being murdered in ways that reflect the five chivalric virtues that all knights of Toussaint swear to. Before Geralt can save the next victim, he discovers the Beast.

Old friends and grudges: Toussaints' old sins - The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Vampires. It's vampires. An old friend of the vampiric sort, Regis, tells Geralt that the Beast is actually his buddy, Dettlaff. Together, Regis and Geralt discover that Dettlaff is being blackmailed into killing the knights; his human lover has been kidnapped. While trying to find the missing woman, evidence emerges that the Duchess' long banished sister Syanna might be on the prowl. 

Dettlaff's lady love and Syanna are the same person, having faked her own kidnapping. This breaks Dettlaff's unbeating heart. He swears that unless he can talk to his traitorous sweetheart in the next few days, he'll destroy the capital city of Toussaint. Geralt is left with one of those infamous choices: he can free Syanna from prison so that the lovers can hash it out, or he can find the Unseen Elder, a vampire powerful enough to put Dettlaff into timeout. Suddenly Toussaint doesn't seem like such an idyllic paradise with all these vampires running around. 

The Elder can be found after getting information in exchange for saving an orphanage from a vampire at the behest of a different vampire who doesn't want her snacks being bitten. Don't worry: Geralt swears he'll return to protect the kids.

Drinking wine or mopping up spilt blood - The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Syanna can be found trapped in a book of fairy tales in the palace, where she explains to Geralt that the murdered knights had abused her during her exile. Retrieving a ribbon for her will trigger the ending that saves Syanna, but dooms Dettlaff. After that horrible battle, Geralt can discover the fifth and final intended victim of Syanna's wrath: her sister Henrietta. This discovery will lead to one of two endings: Syanna stabbing Henrietta and dying in turn, or the sisters forgiving each other. 

The other two endings see just about everyone dying: Dettlaff, summoned by the Unseen Elder, is killed by Geralt and Regis, and so Syanna goes through with her vengeance. Failing to retrieve the ribbon from the fairy tale book will lead to Syanna's death, and Geralt's imprisonment for failing to save her. Dandelion earns him a well-deserved pardon, however, and regardless of the ending, Geralt has a new vineyard estate to chill at and host a visitor, depending on the ending of the main game's campaign. Ciri, Triss, Yennefer, or Dandelion might drop by to have a drink or two in Toussaint.