The Bounds of Reason
The first story of the book begins with Geralt, the witcher hunting for the legendary golden dragon, Villentretenmerth. The tale also gives more insight into the relationship between the sorceress, Yennefer and Geralt, which began in “The Last Wish.
The witcher takes on the request, to slay a basilisk which resides in a tomb near Barefield. It’s has been a while since Geralt entered the tomb. The locals begin to question if the witcher had died. Suspecting the worst, the locals reach for his belongings. At the moment the locals prepare to claim the witcher’s items, a group of warriors appear. The knight Borch Three Jackdaws arrives with the warriors Téa and Véa. Borch warns the locals against stealing the witcher’s goods and Geralt, exits from the tomb. Geralt is carrying the head of the slain beast, the locals, notice the witcher and retreat. Geralt collects the bounty for the basilisk and exchanges pleasantries with Borch.
Borch invites Geralt to spend the evening with his group in an inn, and the witcher agrees to go. Borch is curious about how willing Geralt would be to kill dragons. Geralt explains that he is against killing dragons as dragons don’t harm humans.
The next day Geralt and Borch’s group begin a journey together but are soon halted at the border. The group is then told by a guard that they need a letter of safe-conduct to proceed. Dandelion is among the mass of other travelers blocked at the border. Dandelion informs Geralt that king Niedami, is executing a dragon hunt in the vicinity.
Niedami has assembled a dragon hunting party consisting of; Eyck of Denesle, a knight, Boholt, and his followers, the Crinfrid Reavers, Yarpen Zigrin, a dwarf and his followers, Sheepbagger, a shoemaker, and a sorceress Yennefer. Geralt desires to meet with Yennefer, so he decides to join the expedition. Geralt attempts to bribe the border guard, but he rejects the offer. Borch raises the offer, and the guard allows them to pass.
Borch and the others soon encounter the king’s dragon hunting party. Geralt attempts to converse with Yennefer, but she is uninterested. Yennefer is upset because she has not seen the witcher in 4 years.
The two parties join and begin to travel together. Most of the unit manages to get across an upcoming bridge before it collapses, but some are left behind. Geralt and Yennefer fall, but Geralt manages to plant his dagger into a piece of the bridge. He then secures himself on it with both hands. Yennefer quickly grabs onto the witcher’s back for safety. Eyck decides to save the two by throwing them a magic rope.
The party suddenly encounters the legendary golden dragon. Geralt is shocked to see that the creature exists. Dandelion and Dorregaray, plead with the others to not harm the dragon, but they desire the dragon’s life. The dragon uses telepathy to communicate with the group and gives them two options. Villentretenmerth demands the party to either leave him in peace or to face him in a fair fight.
From the moment the hunt began, Eyck was eager to fight the dragon and take this opportunity to challenge the beast. Yarpen, com serenades Eyck, as he rides into the battle. However, the dragon uses its great agility to outmaneuver the knight. Then with the flick of one claw, sends the knight and his horse flying. Yennefer tries to persuade Geralt to kill the dragon, by promising that their relationship would return to the way it was. Geralt recollects her earlier declarations, which suggested that their relationship will never be the same. Geralt the states that he is against killing the dragon, as it would go against his code of honor. After seeing how easily Eyck was defeated, Gyllenstiern has become uneasy. Gyllenstiern then looks over to Boholt, who is dissatisfied with how the events have unfolded so far. Boholt accuses Gyllenstiern of using Eyck as a pawn to obtain the treasure. Sheepbagger pleads to the king, to wait for the village army to arrive. However, Gyllenstiern feels as though the situation has become chaotic and looks to the king for direction.
The king states that he no longer needs to kill the dragon and issues the order for his men to retreat, hinting for the others to follow his example.
Boholt, Yarpen, and Yennefer remain intent on killing a dragon, but Dorregaray attempts to stop them. However, the reavers and the dwarves overpower Dorregary, and Geralt and Dandelion rush to his aide. Yennefer immobilizes the witcher, and then the three men are tied to the nearby wagons. Yarpen then stealthily disorients Yennefer, and the reavers then bind her. The sorceress is then put next to Dandelion and Geralt. Boholt, his followers, and the dwarves strategize how they can take down the dragon. However, the dragon grows impatient and instead attacks them. Villentretenmerth easily defeats the remaining members of the hunting party.
Everyone who remained conscious caught a glimpse of a small dragon behind Villentretenmerth. It became clear that Villentretenmerth was fighting so furiously solely to protect his child. Suddenly, the village army arrives, with Sheepbagger leading the charge. The army then begins its assault on the dragon. The villagers outnumber Villentretenmerth, and they deploy nets at the dragon. Yennefer commands the Witcher to burn the ropes around her feet using his Igni sign. Geralt frees her feet, and Yennefer uses her foot to attack the villagers with magic. Her first attempt only changes the color of the wagon, but her next spells turn a large portion of the villagers into toads and various wild beasts.
Téa and Véa appear and swiftly deal with the remaining members of the army, and go on to free the dragon. Villentretenmerth immediately hunts Sheepbagger, who soon meets a gruesome end. Vea is about to slaughter Yennefer, but Villentretenmerth intervenes and demands Vea to spare Yennefer’s life. He then commands Vea, to free the prisoners and then asks the dwarves to assist the Reavers who are in serious condition.
The violence, halts and the dragon takes on human form and reveals himself to be Borch Three Jackdaws. Borch is a dragon who can freely take on human form. Borch expresses his gratitude to Geralt and Yennefer and goes on to say that they would make a good couple. Borch goes on to inform Yennefer that his power cannot cure her infertility. Borch proceeds to promise his kinship to Geralt and then leaves the area in dragon form.
A Shard of Ice
Geralt and Yennefer are staying in an inn in Aedd Gynvael. The couple discusses Yennefer’s relationship with Istredd, who has recently moved into town. Yennefer reveals she has both working and sleeping with him. Geralt becomes expectedly jealous, but he remembers that he has a bounty to collect and takes his leave. The witchers stopped by Cicada, a mercenary, and bodyguard, to Herbolth, who is the benefactor. Circa’s eyes gleam as he takes the witcher’s sword for safety. After the witcher receives less than the agreed amount from Herbloth, he goes to see Istredd in his home.
Istredd states that he is in love with Yennefer and that he wishes to marry her. Yennefer and himself are meant to be together, Geralt rebuttals. Istredd states that witchers are unable of having human emotions, insisting that the witcher is merely being used. Geralt becomes enraged and insists that Istredd is the one Yennefer uses. The two men continue to argue without coming to any agreement. The two men decide to settle their dispute with a duel.
Herbolth confronts Geralt in the inn, with the originally agreed sum for the bounty trying to persuade the witcher to leave town. Herbolth also tries the deter the witcher with various arguments against carrying out the duel. However, the witcher remains unmoved, and Herbolth leaves in frustration.
Geralt decides to spend the evening, before the day of the duel, in the stables rather than the inn. While the witcher rested, a bird delivers a message from Yennefer to him. Morning arrives, and Geralt goes to meet with Istredd but, Cicada and his men interrupt him. Cicada is eager to fight Geralt, but, he is swiftly beaten and humiliated in a short altercation.
Geralt meets the mage for their duel. Geralt learns that Istredd also received a message of rejection from Yennefer. Geralt chooses not to fight and bids the mage farewell.
The witcher now in Novigrad is observing a heated dispute, between Dandelion and his fiance Vespula, without the couple realizing. Dandelion eventually notices Geralt and leaves with him to visit a local tavern. While walking, Geralt mentions to Dandelion, about his separation from Yennefer. When the duo reaches the tavern, Dandelion meets with his friend Dainty Biberveldt, who is a halfling and a merchant. The trio sits down, to converse, and after a few minutes, another Dainty burst through the tavern door. The second Dainty attacks the first, Geralt immediately joins the fight. One of the Daintys strangely begins to walk on all fours, running into another patron. Geralt corners, the Dainty which ran, that soon reveals itself to be a mimic.
A mimic is a beast who can transform its appearance into another’s and precisely imitate them after having time to study them. The mimic introduces himself as Tellico Lunngrevink. The mimic explains that he attacked Dainty in the forests near Novigrad and robbed him. Tellico set out to ruin Dainty’s reputation and waste his savings. Geralt is against killing the mimic who later escapes. However, Dainty is stopped by a city official who is there to collect taxes on from Danity, who doesn’t have the needed sum. Dainty is given until noon of the following day to pay his debt.
Chappelle, a minister of security explains that stories of a mimic being inside the city can’t be allowed to spread. This is because the citizens of the city believe that they are protected from monsters by the Eternal Fire, which burns across the city. Thus anyone who spreads the stories runs the risk of being imprisoned and or killed.
Tellico’s seemingly random buys were done to hide other purchases, which have been resold for a healthy sum. Since Tellico has been operating under the guise of Dainty, this allows the merchant to pay his debt. However, the mimic is still wandering the streets using Dainty’s appearance.
Eventually, Geralt accompanied by Dandelion and Dainty finds the mimic and chases him down. Tellico begs the trio to allow him to live in the city. The mimic tries to escape by transforming into Dandelion and running into the market, where he abruptly attacked and subdued by Vespula. Tellico is captured again but Chappelle obstructs the proceedings and reveals that he is also a mimic.
A Little Sacrifice
Geralt is hired by Duke Agloval to be his wingman in his proposal to a water nymph by the name of Sh’eenaz. The Duke attempts to persuade Sh’eenaz to become fully human so that the pair may live together on land. Sh’eenaz argues that Agloval should instead become a nymph so that they may live in the ocean. Neither is willing to budge, so the proposal ends in disappointment. Agloval refuses to pay the witcher because as far he is concerned he didn’t do his job.
The witcher later meets up with Dandelion and his close friend Essi. Duke Agloval, arrives and gives Geralt a new task. Agloval wants Geralt to investigate a pearl-diving boat that was found adrift in the ocean. The boat was devoid of life but its deck was covered with splatters of blood. Geralt undertakes his task the following morning and Essi tags along to observe the witcher. Sh’eenaz warns Geralt against venturing to the Dragon’s Fangs, which is the last known position of the boat. Despite this, Geralt utilizes Essi’s knowledge of the sea to venture to the Dragon’s Fangs later that day.
With Dandelion at the witcher’s side, they descend a staircase leading downwards into the water when they are attacked. Armored beasts wielding arms charge the pair, forcing them underwater. They are fortunately saved by Sh’eenaz, who sternly warns them against going to Dragon’s Fang again.
Agloval is committed to going to battle against the creatures which live in the hidden city of the Ys. These are the creatures Geralt and Dandelion stumbled upon. Geralt declares that he will not kill them as it goes against his code. Sh’eenaz shortly arrives in human form, certain of her desire to marry Agloval.
Sword of Destiny
King Venzlav has sent Geralt to deliver a message to the queen of the dryads, Eithne. On his journey, the witcher finds his friend Freixenet, half-alive among a pile of dead bodies. The dryad Braenn intercepts Geralt, suspicious of his presence in the area. After questioning him Braenn agrees to take the witcher to Eithne.
Geralt and Braenn slay an aggressive beast to rescue a young lady named Ciri, who then accompanies them. The trio travel to Brokilon, where the queen lives. Geralt notices that Freixenet was saved by the dryads. Geralt eventually meets with the queen and the two discuss the metaphysics of life.
The dryads desire to recruit Ciri to add to their numbers. However, Eithne gives Ciri a choice to make, to stay in Brokilon, or to travel with the witcher. Ciri requests to leave and Eithne commands that both Geralt and must Drink the water of Brokilon. The water is said to remove memories from those who drink it, however, Ciri stands unaffected. Ironically Geralt recollects that Ciri is the child promised born from the Law of Suprise. Ciri and Geralt leave Brokilon to deliver Eithne’s response to King Venzlaz when they are attacked by a group of vandals. Geralt engages the vandals while Ciri takes cover in safety. During the combat, the dryads and the druid Mousesack come to the witcher’s aide. Geralt realizes that Mousesack has come to take Ciri back to the Cintra, he chooses to abandon her.
At the start of the last story in the novel, Geralt barters the enactment of the Law of Suprise in exchange for his assistance, to a vendor. Yurga is a scared vendor who is being attacked by zombies. His servants have abandoned him, leaving him to the mercy of Geralt’s demands. Geralt is seriously injured, from his victorious battle, and the vendor kindly seats the witcher in his cart. Yurga gives the witcher a remedy for his injuries, which puts him to sleep. While asleep the witcher has multiple dreams, in one of these dreams, Geralt return on Cintra and speaks with Calanthe.
There is a group of children playing in the yard in front of them. The Queen starts a game, where he is allowed to take Pavetta’s child with him if he guesses them out of the group. However, she will not let him know if he made the correct choice. Geralt, however, is not interested in taking a child and shortly leaves Cintra. The witcher awakens to his mother Visenna, tending to his wounds questions if they were destined to reunite.
Yurga informs Geralt about the sorcerors who died in the battle of Sodden. Geralt learns of the memorial spot created in the sorcerors memory. The Witcher ventures to the point and notices an erected monolith with the names of the mages inscribed upon it. As the Witcher reads the names he recollects his past experiences with the mages when death visits him. The Witcher is left shaken from his conversation with death.
Geralt recollects a somber conversation with Dandelion, where he learned of the downfall of Cintra. Queen Calanthe took her own life, to avoid being captured by the invading army Nilfgaardians. Ciri’s body was never found in the wake of the battle, but she was also assumed to be dead. Full of dread, the witcher questions the existence of destiny.
Yurga escorts Geralt to his home where the witcher reunites with Ciri. The group learns that Ciri had escaped Cintra before the worst of the battle. Light returns to the Witcher’s eyes as he embraces Ciri .
“What is truth? The negation of lies? Or the statement of a fact? And if the fact is a lie, what then is the truth?”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, Sword of Destiny
“Only in fables survives what cannot survive in nature. Only myths and fables do not know the limits of possibility.’ Three”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, Sword of Destiny
“It’s worth rushing to the ends of the world, to oppose aggression and evil, isn’t it, Witcher?”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, Sword of Destiny
“Not lying, just embellishing, and there’s a difference.”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, Sword of Destiny
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