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The Witcher 3 - Ladies of the Wood, Trail of Treats, Johnny, Whispering Hillock, ealdorman

A step-by-step guide to completing the Ladies of the Wood quest, from tracking down Johnny to joining up with the ealdorman of Downwarren.

This page covers Ladies of the Wood, Trail of Treats, Johnny, Whispering Hillock and ealdorman. If you're looking for more assistance, our Witcher 3 walkthrough can help.

To begin the quest, open up your Inventory and read the book 'The Ladies of the Night' under your Quest Items. Once you've learned more about the Trail of Treats, mount your steed and ride to the windswept forest indicated by your objective marker.

Ladies of the Wood

Use your Witcher Senses to find the shrine that marks the start of the Trail of Treats

On arrival at your destination, start exploring the area until you locate the strange wooden statue adorned with a necklace of delicious, sugary sweets.

Follow the Trail of Treats using your Witcher Senses

Next, activate your senses and follow the trail of goodies along the dirt track running south-east. Continue onward as it winds through the marshland until you reach the small cluster of buildings.

Speak to the children playing in the clearing and ask them about the ashen-haired woman. When the old woman interrupts your conversation, work your way through the dialogue options, telling her that you're looking for someone.

Go to the hut and talk to the boy

To learn more about the mysterious Johnny, head inside the building to the south and speak to Travik - he's the boy standing by Gran. Once you've ask him where you can find Johnny, Gran interjects to bring the conversation to a close. You'll have to use a bit of cunning if you're going to get the information you need. You've two choices here: you can either attempt to lure Gran away yourself, or you can get help from the children outside.

Play hide-and-seek with the children

Ask the children in the swamp village about Johnny

If you opt for the latter method, head outside and talk to the group of children loitering by the hut. Work you way through the conversation options and ask them to help you out. Agree to play hide-and-seek to continue.

Find the hidden children using your Witcher Senses

When the children have disappeared, activate your Witcher Senses and start the hunt. Immediately look at the ground to locate a freshly-made trail of footsteps. Follow it along until you find the first child hiding inside the hut.

Go back outside and head east to the little bridge. Another set of footprints lies on the other side of the pond, so nip over and follow them around the side of the building. You can't climb the ladder, so walk around to the back of the hut and look for the pile of leaves on the porch. Talk to the girl hiding beneath them to continue.

From here, walk around the hut in a clockwise direction and locate the footprints leading south. Once you find them, immediately look right to find the next child hiding in a bush. Talk to her, then turn your attention back to the trail of footprints.

Follow them along and enter the building when you reach it. The footprints stop at the window inside, but you're too small to fit through. Go outside again and run around to the back of the hut to resume the trail. Follow it along until you reach the boy hiding by the water. Talk to him to bring the game of hide-and-seek to a close.

With Gran out of the way, speak to Travik again and ask him where you can find Johnny. When the conversation is over, leave the hut.

Find Johnny in the swamp

Look for Johnny in the swamp using your Witcher Senses

Back outside, head north-east in the direction of the objective marker until you reach the little meadow. Deal with the Drowners and Water Hag in the area before continuing.

Find Johnny's footprints

Next, activate your Witcher Senses and start scouring your surroundings for footprints. Examine them once you've found them.

Follow Johnny's footprints using your Witcher Senses

Johnny's footprints run around a little, then begin heading north-west. Follow them through the swamp until you run into another group of Drowners. Take them out, then continue tracking the footprints through the undergrowth. Eventually, you'll reach a small burrow.

Lure Johnny out of his burrow

Interact with the burrow to call Johnny out. Work your way through the (rather one-sided) conversation, then start following the godling through the swamp.

Follow Johnny

Continue forwards until you spy the group of Drowners roaming the clearing.

Kill the Drowners, Water Hags and Harpies

Defeat the monsters

Unsurprisingly, you'll need to defeat the creatures to proceed. Fight them in the usual way, but try and stay clear of the poisonous gas spewing from the swampy earth. Once the monsters are dead, rejoin your tiny charge.

Follow Johnny

Continue through the swamp until you reach the sheer rock face. When you're done talking to Johnny, you'll need to do a bit of climbing in order to complete your next objective.

Search the raven nest

Locate the stream directly ahead and begin following the small path running alongside it. A little way up the hill, you'll come to a small waterfall. Leap over the gap and continue along the dirt track. When the route splits, look to the left and make your way towards the small wooden platform. Hop on up and approach the nest on the cliff's edge nearby.

A group of harpies attack almost immediately. They're pretty weak, but stay vigilant as its easy to be overwhelmed if they drop down from the sky when your attention is elsewhere. When peace is restored, examine the nest to retrieve the sealed bottle and raven's feather.

Give the bottle to Johnny

Carefully make your way back down the hill and give the bottle to Johnny on your return. When the godling's voice is restored, work your way through the dialogue options and ask about the ashen-haired woman. Convince Johnny to speak to Gran, then end the conversation.

Follow Johnny to the swamp village

Next, follow the godling back through the swamp until you reach the village, dealing with any hostile creatures that you encounter along the way. Back at the village, ask Gran to lead you to the Crones when Johnny has finished his song.

Once you gain an audience with the Ladies, tell them that you have something to ask. Work through the dialogue options and agree to speak to the ealdorman of Downwarren.

Where to find the ealdorman

Talk to the ealdorman of Downwarren about the village's problems

Before continuing with your task, take a few moments to loot the building. When you're done, head outside. Next, summon Roach and make the journey north, following the objective marker towards your goal. Dismount your steed once you reach the small cluster of buildings halfway up the hill. The ealdorman is stood outside a hut and dressed in green - speak to him to continue. Work your way through the conversation options, then prepare for the next leg of your adventure.

Find out what's killing villagers from Downwarren

You won't find too much of interest in Downwarren, but feel free to browse the merchant's wares before continuing on your adventure. Stock up on food if you need it, then begin the journey south-east towards the Whispering Hillock.

A voice greets you as you near the area but pay it no heed. Instead, proceed up the hill until you reach the large, gnarled tree. Take care of any wolves roaming the area, then activate your Senses.

Find a passage leading under the hill using your Witcher Senses

With the tree behind you, begin heading north-west in the direction of the pulsating marker. Navigate the steep incline and engage the werewolf loitering around at the bottom. You need to finish the creature off quickly - once it starts glowing red, its health begins to replenish.

When the werewolf is defeated, locate the glowing yellow stone on the rocky ledge nearby and examine it to receive an Ability point, plus a temporary Igni Sign boost. Look left and locate another stone ledge smeared with white paint. Climb up, then head through the cave entrance, travelling deep into the earth towards the sound of the beating drum.

Explore the cave

A little way into the cave, the path splits in two. The route to the left is blocked by writhing tree roots, however, and there's no way through just yet. Instead, take the right-hand path and jump into the water. Dive beneath the surface and swim along the passage as it bends around to the left. At the end of the tunnel, resurface and climb onto dry land. Continue along the passage until you reach the beating heart of the tree.

Work your way through the dialogue options and ask the voice how it can be freed. Eventually, you'll be given a choice. Either offer to free the spirit of the tree or tell it that you don't believe its story. Dare to doubt it and the spirit summons its minions to attack you.

Option 1 - Doubt the spirit

Eliminate the first wave of Endrega Workers and immediately turn your attention to the roots protecting the heart of the tree. Slice through them with some heavy blows, then attack the heart when its defences are down. A second wave of Endrega Workers appears shortly so deal with them and turn your attention back to the tree. Once its health bar is depleted, the spirit is no more and the Ladies of the Wood quest resumes.

Option 2 - Offer to help

If you offer to free the spirit, you'll need to secure several items for a ritual - raven feathers, a horse, and the spirit's human remains. You should already have the raven feathers from your trip to the nest a little earlier on. That just leaves two more items to find. Wrap up the conversation and prepare to begin your impromptu treasure hunt.

Our Witcher 3 walkthrough and guide can help you with the main story, including the Wandering in the Dark and Family Matters missions, and eventually, one of several Witcher 3 endings. There's plenty of side content, too, including Witcher 3 Contracts, White Orchard quests, Velen quests, Novigrad quests and Skellige Isles quests. Elsewhere, learn about the best Witcher 3 builds, the best Witcher 3 mods, how to make money in Witcher 3, find Places of Power locations, and learn how to do Witcher 3 crafting and Witcher 3 Alchemy And when you're done with all those - we can help you through expansions with our Hearts of Stone walkthrough and Blood and Wine walkthrough.

Secondary Quest: The Whispering Hillock

Find the bones of the spirit trapped beneath the Whispering Hillock using your Witcher Senses

Once you've activated the new quest (it's listed under Secondary Quests if you're struggling to locate it), leave the cave via the newly-opened passage to the north. Outside, begin heading west in the direction of the quest marker. Before long, you'll reach a small patch of swamp swarming with Drowners and a Water Hag. Take them all out, prioritising the Water Hag. This annoying creature can sink into the ground, bursting upward to deal damage from below.

When peace is finally restored, begin searching the area indicated on your mini-map. Use your Witcher Senses to locate the small unmarked grave, then loot the remains inside.

Calm a wild horse using the Axii Sign and mount it

Next, begin journeying south-east towards the objective marker. Several wild horses roam the area, so approach one slowly and, once it's been targeted, use your Axii Sign to bring it under control. Mount the horse to complete this portion of the quest.

Bring a black horse to the cave beneath the Whispering Hillock

When you're ready, head back to the Whispering Hillock and enter the cave. Return to the heart of the tree to begin the ritual. You'll be granted three choices next: two of them enable you to destroy the spirit while the third continues the ritual. Opt for the latter and you'll be left with a grateful, if slightly demonic-looking, horse. Sadly, you may have done more harm than good...

Tell the ealdorman of the Downwarren you took care of the problem

Leave the cave via the now-unblocked passage and look for the ealdorman outside. Talk to him and work your way through the dialogue options in order to receive your payment. When the old Crones reveal their true form, work your way through the dialogue options to learn more about Ciri's journey and to complete the quest.

- Our walkthrough continues with a step-by-step guide to completing The Witcher 3 - Escaping the Bog.

- Head back to the first page for the rest of our Witcher 3 walkthrough.

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