A Towerful of Mice: Love and Curses in ‘The Witcher 3’

A Towerful of Mice: Love and Curses in ‘The Witcher 3’

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I’ll be the first to admit that I have a habit of skipping through quest dialogue frequently and relentlessly. That isn’t to say I don’t try hard to focus – I mean, I’m a writer… I feel obligated to – but those darn developers make games so fun nowadays that talking to Jimmy the Quest Giver is the last thing I want to do. And, honestly, I really don’t care about how he needs seven bear hides from the beasts wandering the forests just north of Townington in exchange for 50 XP, some pocket change, and a family heirloom of unknown magical power. That said, I’ve been pacing myself and slowing down, actually letting characters talk and storyline unfold just as God (and the game developers) intended. Turns out, sometimes NPCs actually have interesting things to say.

After reading an article on Kotaku on The Witcher 3‘s “The Bloody Baron” quest and having been playing The Witcher 3 quite a bit lately, I figured I’d try my hand at discussing other quests of note. As you could’ve guessed by reading the title, that choice would be “A Towerful of Mice,” a secondary quest given by your sorceress pal Keira Metz after spelunking through “Wandering in the Dark” looking for young Ciri.

Even though “A Towerful of Mice” is relatively short in comparison to other quests, its events are nevertheless impactful on the world of The Witcher. And, yes, if you were wondering, I read/listened through every line of dialogue (even the optional ones). And to prove it, I want to discuss how the quest’s story shed’s light on how love, emotion, and words evoke magic in the universe of The Witcher 3.

Yup. You’re gon’ learn today.

(Also, before we begin, it’s important to note that, while this isn’t a strategy guide or walkthrough of the quest, this article contains spoilers regarding “A Towerful of Mice.” So turn back now, ye who seek to learn this knowledge on your own.)

The Story Thus Far

Keira has a task for Geralt: rid Fyke Isle of a curse that has tainted its surroundings with plague and pestilence. While she has no personal investment in the matter, Keira’s simply annoyed with the villagers pestering her, calling her title as their local witch, healer, and guardian of all things magical and supernatural into question. Armed with a magic lamp that allows its user to talk to ghosts, Keira’s boat, and a firm pat on the ass, Geralt was on his way to lift the curse.

Wading through reeds, muck, and the fresh remains of hastily-dealt-with Drowners, Geralt comes upon the tower that looms over the isle. Once belonging to a mage named Alexander, the tower served as the safe haven (and final resting place) of a local lord and his family, seeking refuge from a populace starving from famine brought on by war. Lamp in hand, the spirits of peasants and their former feudal caretaker meander in its light, reliving their last moments again and again throughout the tower.

As Geralt ascends to Alexander’s secret laboratory, not only does he discover heinous experiments performed on human test subjects and rats involving the transmission and evolution of The Witcher‘s equivalent to the Spanish flu mixed with the bubonic plague, but the very source of the curse. This source took the form of Anabelle, the spirit of the noble’s daughter.

Indeed, her demise was not enviable. When the peasantry stormed the tower and killed everyone within it, Anabelle was left alive to be a “prize” for the men–something Graham, a fisherman among the rabble and Anabelle’s forbidden lover would not allow. However, overwhelmed by sheer numbers, Graham was separated from Anabelle. Fearing her fate, she drank from a vial of a mysterious potion Alexander had given her, rendering her dead. Like all love stories involving maidens in distress swigging strange tonics from soothsayers, she wasn’t truly dead, but in a dead-like state. When she awoke, however, she wished it was poison she had drank.

The restless spirit claims that when she came to, her body was still numb and useless from the sleep paralysis. While plausible, I personally felt it might have more to do with the little matter of RATS EATING HER ALIVE FROM THE INSIDE. Since her grizzly fate, she has been bound to the tower, alone and abandoned, confused as to why her lover left her to die. Anabelle directs Geralt to a nearby fishing village where Graham still lives, begging him to deliver her remains so that he may see what has become of her.

Now, there’s two ways this can play out: Geralt can accept Anabelle’s request and scoop up whatever he can of her and present the remains to Graham. Upon meeting the young fisherman, Graham confesses he left her but didn’t know she was still alive, having been convinced that the potion was poison. After leaving him with the remains, screams come from the cabin and Anabelle reveals her true form as a pesta – a sort of female wraith that carries plague and disease – and kills Graham.

Of course, you can always turn her down and try to leave the tower, leaving her nasty ass remains where they lie. But given her attachment issues, she fears your abandonment as well and attacks you preemptively. After neutralizing the threat for the time being, you find Graham and tell him of his darling’s fate. Explaining that Graham needs to pay Anabelle a visit to clear the air (see what I did there), Geralt escorts him to the tower and a confrontation ensues.

Long story short: she doesn’t believe he loves her, he says he does and he’s sorry, she wants him to kiss her to prove it, he does, she turns from corpse bride into not-so-corpse bride, he dies because he kissed the undead manifestation of sickness right on its two-foot-long tongue, the curse is broken, the cloud of plague around the island dissolves, the souls of the undead can find rest, and Geralt gets to keep his shiny new lamp along with some experience points.

The End.

(Continued on the Next Page)




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About author

Anthony Magestro

Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.