Oh boy! This is amongst the toughest choices in Witcher 3. This game has some of the best in gaming and somewhat cruel quest designs and choices. And no other quest best accentuates this fact than The Whispering Hillock. Here you will be tasked to either kill or release a Tree spirit with some crazy consequences that you will have to live with.
It is quite tough to choose this quest but sadly we have to power through it. And the biggest question is whether you should kill the Tree in Witcher 3 or not.
Yes, you should kill the Tree Spirit in the Whispering Hillock quest in Witcher 3 if you want the village of Downwarren to stay safe. Anna will go crazy and the Barren will take her to get her healed. However, the decision to free the Spirit will result in the children being safe and the destruction of Downwarren. So get ready for a moral dilemma.
We will go through all the consequences of this quest in the article so you can make an informed choice however saddening it will be.
The Whispering Hillock
The Whispering Hillock is one of the toughest choice-wise quests in Witcher 3. It can either be triggered as the main quest while progressing through the Ladies of the Wood main quest or can be accidentally run into if you are in the vicinity of the Tree it is associated with. Although, it will be considered a secondary quest if it was triggered latterlyy.
We do urge you to complete it through the main quest progression as it weaves into the whole main storyline.
However way you begin the quest, you will come across a hill with a giant tree and a voice that is luring you in. Locate an opening underneath the tree guarded by a Werewolf. Enter it and soon you will reach the Tree Spirit’s heart.
The choices you will be given while talking to it will depend upon the way you approached the quest. The Ladies of the Wood path has some interesting choices concerning the orphans of the Crookback Bog. So please consider this route for an added gut punch to the mix.
Tree Spirit’s Fate
This damn Tree has a sob story to tell and has its reason to punish the residents of the nearby village. It does sound convincing enough but there is so much more to it than what meets the eye (more on this later). After talking to the Tree you will essentially be given two choices: release them or kill them.
There will also be a choice to trick it but that has the same consequence as killing it.
The choice you make at this point will have ripple effects on the Downwarren’s villagers, the orphans in Crookback Bog, and the Bloody Baron’s family. So read the next parts carefully to understand the consequences of your action.
First Choice: Releasing the Spirit
First, let us see the other choice other than killing the Tree Spirit entails. If you choose to release the spirit from its predicament, it will ask you to first gather three things:
- A Raven Feather: A common item to find while you are roaming the world. It can be found in harpies’ nests or nests of any kind.
- Spirit’s Bones: The game will place a marker on the map to find the remains of the spirit. Defeat the Water Hag at the location. Once she is killed, use your Witcher Senses to locate the Spirit’s grave and interact with it to get the item.
- A wild Black Horse: Another objective marker will guide you to the horses’ location. Try to slowly move towards them otherwise, you can spook them and they will run away. Use Axii on one of them to make them docile and mount it then take it to the tree’s location.
Doing all of them will trigger a cutscene and then you will essentially be given 3 choices: release the spirit, trick it to let it die, or kill it.
Continuing the Releasing the Spirit choice, Geralt will begin a ritual that will transfer the spirit to the horse. It will then be known as Black Beauty. The Spirit will be free.
But wait, there are consequences that you would know about first and will have dire impacts on other quests in the game.
2 types of consequences can stem from this choice depending on the way you triggered this quest (main quest or secondary quest):
- Main Quest:
- The Spirit will save the orphans from the Crones and place them in the care of Marabella at Novigrad. You can check on them later in the game too.
- The Spirit will attack the Downwarren Village and will wipe out most of it.
- The Crones will punish Anna (Baron’s wife) and transform her into a Water Hag. If Geralt removes this curse on her then she will eventually die and the Baron will commit Suicide.
- Secondary Quest: This will have similar consequences as the main quest ones with some exceptions.
- The Spirit will decimate the Village of Downwarren.
- Anna will not be turned into a Water Hag.
- It will be suggested that the orphans are saved but it might not be true as you won’t find them later on in Novigrad.
Second Choice: Killing the Spirit
We will clump both tricking the spirit and killing it in the same category as the consequences are similar.
Tricking the Tree Spirit in Witcher 3 will lead Geralt to start performing the releasing ritual only to stab the vulnerable spirit in the heart and kill it instantly. It is an easy solution if you don’t want much hassle as it will skip the boss fight altogether.
As for the Killing the Spirit choice. This will trigger a boss fight with the tree itself. The boss fight is just you trying to fend off waves of enemies it will throw at you and chopping the roots that protect the heart of the tree. Once the heart is exposed and you chip away at its health fully, the spirit will die and the quest will end.
Now let us look at the consequence of this choice.
If Geralt kills the spirit by either tricking it or killing it the following consequences will occur:
- The Village of Downwarren will be safe.
- The Orphans in the bog will be fed to the Crones. This is the saddest consequence in all of the game and makes you question your choice.
- Anna will stay alive but will have a mental breakdown and the Barren will take her away to seek help from some hermit in the Blue Mountain.
Of course, we will never make this choice for you as you can see the dilemma in both cases. It took me at least an hour just to go over all the consequences and make the damn choice about the tree in Witcher 3. On the one hand, you will have to sacrifice the whole village and on the other, you will have to sacrifice the orphans with whom you have formed a bond of sorts earlier.
Not to mention the heart-wrenching Anna and Barron’s fate connected to this choice. Although this is a mark of top quality quest in an RPG that makes you ponder over your choices but damn you CD Projekt Red why do you do this to us!