The passage of the task “The Whispering Hill” in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt poses various moral and ethical problems for the player, the resolution of which affects the fate of some characters in the game. Options for completing the quest are presented in this guide.
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There is a so-called best Whispering Hill ending, which allows you to achieve minimal victims within the concept of the “lesser evil” so familiar to fans of the Witcher universe. Achieving this ending is possible if some specific conditions coincide, and first of all, it is necessary to clearly follow a certain sequence in the passage of the plot.
Important: it is believed that such an ending is fully possible only in the early versions of the game, and with the latest updates it loses some of its “prosperity”. Since the quest chain was supposed to push the player with the severity of the choices and their consequences, the developers considered the ability to save all the participants a mistake and presumably fixed it. If you decide to experiment with the bug described in our article, we strongly recommend that you make an additional save before your first visit to Whispering Hill.
To satisfy our and your curiosity, we indicate a chronological execution sequence that allows move towards such an outcome, but we urge you to remember that you have the right to make your own choices and evaluate this story solely for your own reasons.
Whispering Hill on the world map
The huge oak tree on top of the mountain is highly visible and can attract the player's attention even before the start of the story mission. The approach to the cave under the tree is guarded by a werewolf of level 6, and the monster that has grown into the rhizomes will turn out to be Black Mara – the progenitor of the current Mistresses of the Forest, they subsequently imprisoned her spirit in this place. You can read more about her story in the book “She Who Knows”, which Geralt can find in his travels.
Important: to get a good ending, it is supposed to visit the cave under the oak before accepting the Whispering Hill quest, and in the dialogue with the ghost of the witch, you need to promise to think about her release, without helping her until the next visit, by which time the witcher would already know about the situation in the swamps.
Ladies of the Forest
According to the plot of the game, the quest “Mistresses of the Forest” is sent to the inhabitant of the Whispering Hill mentioned in the previous step, during which Geralt, in search of information about Ciri, wanders into the swamps, where grandmother Anna, the wife of the Bloody Baron, looks after homeless children.
In exchange for information about the young witch, three old women will demand from the White Wolf to deal with the troubles of the village of Steigers, the essence of which will be hidden under the roots of an ancient oak.
Whispering hill: to kill the Black Mara or not
The Witcher is faced with a choice, deal with the ghost of the hill or free him in exchange for a promise to save the children. There are two (or three if the bug version is considered separately) scenarios for this dilemma.
Kill the spirit of the witch
In this case:
- marsh witches eat children;
- some Steigers are executed by witch hunters;
- because of the death of her pupils, Anna goes crazy, but later the Baron saves her and takes her to the healer to heal the disease.
If you choose this option, you will have to fight the creatures that the spirit will call for its protection. Between the advancing waves of monsters, a window will appear for attacks on the witch's ghost itself.
By the way: you can also kill her by deceit – first agreeing to perform the release ritual, but eventually refusing by choosing in the dialogue an item saying that Geralt changed his mind about helping Mara.
Free the spirit under the hill
In this case:
- the ghost saves the children (they can be visited later in the Mirabella shelter in Novigrad), but cracks down on all the villagers for their cooperation with the three witches;
- Anna is overtaken by a spell, she dies anyway, and the Baron hangs himself, unable to bear the death of his wife.
The main condition for the “best ending” is the first conversation with Mara before accepting the quest to kill her, so if you want to try just such a scenario, this item will also suit you. In this case, the witches do not touch Anna, which looks like an obvious bug that leads to different consequences than in the previous two “normal” options. Since everything is fine with his wife, the Baron has no reason to commit suicide, and according to the agreement, Mara must save the children as well.
The ritual of freeing the ghost itself includes the search for the following items:
The feather of the raven is already in the bag of the White Wolf after the previous quests with Ivasik in this chain, the bones of the raven are not far from the exit from the cave, it is enough to drive a little to the west, following the direction sign. There are plenty of monsters around, so it's best to stick to roads whenever possible. The location of the black horse is marked on the witcher's map immediately after receiving the bones. You need to influence the obstinate mare with the Aksy sign, then she will allow herself to be saddled and lead to a ghost under a tree.
Having taken possession of the body of a horse, the powerful druid will go to administer her justice in Steigers and fulfill her promise, and Geralt will have to finish with the affairs remaining in the swamps.
Family matters: how to save Anna
An additional condition for the best ending: you must first find the daughter of the Baron, Tamara. She is in Oxenfurt, the witcher can meet her in the process of completing one of the previous quests – “Family Matters”.
This story will continue with the Bloody Baron's attempt to free his wife in the “Return to Crooked Bog” quest. If Tamara is found before the troops arrive in the swamps, she will arrive there along with the witch hunters.
When Geralt tells Philip about his wife and daughter, he and a detachment of his people will attack the base three witches, after which an argument will begin. If the witcher supports the baron in dialogue or at least refrains from negative remarks, the relatives will reconcile.
We hope our guide has helped to sort out the intricacies of several closely related quests, the outcome of which depends on the player's decision in the Whispering Hill quest.
Two endings of the Whispering Hill can be considered canonical: killing the spirit of Mara and the subsequent death of the children during the survival of the village, Anna and the Baron, or the release of the ghost and the salvation of the children at the cost of the death of everyone else.
If all the conditions specified in the article are met, you can get the “best ending”, in which it turns out to save Anna and Baron, and homeless people from the swamps, although you have to exchange the lives of the villagers for the resurrection of the spirit of Black Mary. In this case, the dialogue with the three witches splits into two: in some lines they consider the children alive, in others they are eaten. Some of the players immediately find orphans in the orphanage, some meet them there after the “List of Harlots” quest, some don't find them at all. It is difficult to say why it happens this way, perhaps there is interaction with other chains of tasks.