The Witcher 3 Ladies of the Wood quest and how to find the Crones of Crookback Bog

The Witcher 3 Ladies of the Wood
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

The Witcher 3 Ladies of the Wood quest is a big, multistage mission in the game's opening act that involves reading books, following treats, dealing with a godling and more. There's a lot going on, so you'll probably welcome some help with this weighty objective.

The Ladies of the Wood quest forms a big part of a larger storyline in The Witcher 3 and you'll need to complete the Witcher 3 Wandering in the Dark first to access it. It's  full of powerful magic and dark creatures that will take some time to see through but it's obviously worth it. So, get comfy and keep our Witcher 3 Ladies of the Wood quest guide to hand as you embark...

1. Read the Ladies of the Wood book

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During the Wandering in the Dark quest, Keira Metz will have given you a book called Ladies of the Wood. You’ll need to go into your inventory, to quest items and read the book to continue.

2. Find the Trail of Treats

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Inside the book you’ll find that to find the Crones of Crookback Bog you'll need to follow a Trail of Treats - a path that parents would send their young children on in order to give them to the Crones. Finish reading the book and the map with where to go next.

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Keep following the marker on the map until you stand in front of a clearing where you can see a wooden sculpture, covered in sweets.

3. Follow the Trail of Treats

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Using your Witcher senses will let you follow the Trail of Treats with ease. It’s mostly a winding path, and the only way you’ll get lost is if you see some enemies nearby and want to give them the smackdown.

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Keep on following the trail until you get to a clearing and can see three buildings ahead. This is Crookback Bog where things get interesting. Well, more interesting.

4. Talk to the Children of Crookback Bog

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You'll trigger a cutscene when you reach Crookback Bog and be treated to a lovely, not-at-all creepy song about eating a dog in order to see who’ll fetch firewood.

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After the song is over, Geralt will reveal he’s in the bog trying to find Ciri. Exhaust all the dialogue options until you can ask more about Ciri. The children won’t have seen her, but one of them will mention someone called Johnny might know something

However, before you can ask more about who Johnny is, someone else will get involved.

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At this point Gran will appear and isn’t happy with you sniffing around her kids. Despite asking her numerous times about Ciri, she doesn’t seem to be able to answer your questions.

Depending on how you answer Gran’s evasiveness, one of the children, a small boy, will mention Johnny once again. But his answer will cause Gran to get angry, and she’ll send the boy inside for a ‘time out’.

5. Talk to the Boy

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Head into the house where the boy has been sent and talk to him... Or at least try - Gran will once more appear and tell you to leave. You’ll have to somehow get Gran out of the house if you want to talk to the boy.

6. Get the Orphans To Help

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You’ll need to reach out to the orphans and ask for their help but they'll only do that if you help them first. You’ll be given two dialogue options to proceed throughout the quest:

  • Fine: Geralt will play hide-and-seek and count to twenty. He’ll then will chase after the children. You’ll have to use your Witcher senses for this, so make sure you follow their footsteps. You’ll need to locate four children altogether.
  • Isn’t there anything else you want?: The kids will ask for something sweet to eat, which Geralt will just have on his person anyway. This is usually the best option if you just want to proceed without really doing anything.

Once you’ve finished, the orphans will hold up their end of the deal and will distract Gran to get her out of the house.

7. Talk to the Boy (Again)

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With Gran out of the way, Geralt can talk to the boy. He’ll have changed his tune from last time and, as long as Geralt promises not to hurt Johnny, will tell him where he is. As it turns out, Johnny did mention seeing an ashen-haired woman to the boy. 

The boy will then tell you where Johnny’s burrow can be located: towards the east of the bog.

8. Find Johnny

Johnny’s location will now be on your map so make your way towards it. You'll encounter drowners nearby as you get closer and no matter what you do, you’ll be unable to avoid this battle. A water hag may also appear too, so be sure to get dodging as it can attack twice in quick succession.

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Once you’ve dealt with the drowners and water hag (don’t forget to loot them) use your Witcher senses to track Johnny down - you’ll find his footsteps leading throughout the bog. 

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Keep following the footsteps, fighting drowners and water hags along the way, until you come across Johnny’s burrow.

9. Talk to Johnny and help him

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Calling Johnny will get him to appear from out of his burrow where you'll discover he's a godling - a rare creature than can speak the common tongue and are known to live in marshy, swamp-like areas.

Ask him more about whether or not he’s seen Ciri. He’ll answer in the affirmative, but doesn’t seem to be able to say anything else in detail. This is because, for some reason or other, his voice has been stolen. Offer to help Johnny get his voice back and follow him.

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You won’t need to worry about your sense of direction in this quest as following Johnny is all you have to do. 

But as with everything else so far, you may be expected to fight some creatures along the way as Johnny has a terrible sense of direction and likes to lead you into fights.

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Once Johnny stops, another cutscene will trigger and you’ll see that Johnny wants you to retrieve something from a nest on the edge of the cliff you’re near.

10. Get Johnny’s Voice Back

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Circle around to the left so you can climb up to the nest on the right. As you make your way up, you’ll hear a screech. Looking up, you’ll see that a wyvern, as well as three harpies, are circling where the nest is, leaving you no other choice but to fight them to get what you want.

We advise firing the crossbow at the wyvern to get its attention first and lead it to an area where you’re just fighting it one-on-one instead. That way the fight between the harpies will be much easier.

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Once you've dealt with the wyvern, you’ll need to get rid of the harpies. Using the Axii sign with the harpies in the air will cause them to drop to the ground, allowing you to finish them off in one move.

With that done, head over to the nest, grab the bottle with Johnny’s voice in and head back down to where he is.

11. Go back to the Swamp Village

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Once you give Johnny his voice back, he’ll be grateful and will tell you more about meeting Ciri. It seemed, at least to him, that she was running away from the Crones of the bog, but because he had lost his voice, couldn’t call out to her.

After this conversation, Johnny will agree to help you with contacting the Crones. But first, you’ll have to make your way back to where the orphans and Gran are located.

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Again, you’ll most likely encounter drowners and water hags. These are easily disposed of, but if you want to just avoid them completely then rush back to the village without following Johnny. He’ll make his way to you eventually.

Back at the village, Johnny will sing and persuade Gran to contact the Crones on Geralt’s behalf.

12. Talk to the Crones

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Inside one of the huts, there will be a tapestry of three beautiful women. Gran will simply state that these are ‘The Ladies’ that Geralt seeks to speak to.

Once Gran touches the tapestry, three different voices will speak from her lips. These are the Crones and Geralt will ask them more about what they wanted from Ciri, as well as her location. But the Crones are not interested in telling Geralt anything until he does something for them.

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The task they’ll present is for you to head to Downwarren and speak with the ealdorman, who will tell you more about what Geralt has to do. Until that’s done, they’ll reveal nothing else about Ciri.

13. Talk to the Ealdorman in Downwarren

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Downwarren is only a little further north from where the bog is, so it won’t take long to get there. When you arrive, the ealdorman will be waiting but won't be talkative until you reveal you work for the crones. Then he’ll then tell Geralt about a strange evil in the forest that’s killed men, women and children.

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Geralt will agree to go and drive out this evil, thus starting the quest The Whispering Hillock and putting Ladies of the Wood on hold.

If you’ve already dealt with this evil spirit, Geralt will not have to go into the forest at all and the quest The Whispering Hillock will automatically be completed.

The rest of this guide will assume that you’ve completed The Whispering Hillock. If not, return to this guide once you have.

14. Return to the Ealdorman

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After getting rid of the evil spirit return to the ealdorman and tell him that it’s been dealt with. Depending on what you did in the quest The Whispering Hillock, the ealdorman will react very differently if you choose to tell him the truth. Ultimately, his reaction won’t matter as he’ll still give you proof of your service to the Crones.

Once you’ve finished your conversation, the ealdorman will return with his payment: a severed ear, one of the best things to have in any thriving economy.

With that said and done, you’ll now have to return to Crookback Bog to talk to the Crones and hopefully learn more about Ciri.

15. Talk to the Crones

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Make your way back to the bog, where you’ll be met by the Crones of Crookback Bog. Though this time, they won’t look half as beautiful as they appeared in the tapestry. 

Depending on choices made in The Whispering Hillock quest, the Crones will either be pleased or displeased with Geralt.

You’ll also make the realization of just who Gran really is during this interaction with the Crones. See our Witcher 3 Family Matters mission guide for more.

Regardless, the Crones will reveal what they know about Ciri and you’ll play through another small section of Ciri’s story. Once that’s finished and the Crones disappear, the Ladies of the Wood quest line will officially be completed.

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