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"Do you really wish to know?"
Spoilers from the books and/or adaptations to follow!

Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, or better known as Ciri (b. 1250), was the sole princess of Cintra, the daughter of Pavetta and Duny, as well as Queen Calanthe's granddaughter.

After Geralt of Rivia helped lift Duny's curse, Duny asked what reward the witcher would like and Geralt proclaimed the Law of Surprise, as it turned out Pavetta was pregnant with Ciri, unbeknownst to Duny.

Biography

Massacre of Cintra

Dressed up as a regular citizen, Ciri was playing a game of knucklebones in the streets with other children when the princess' stand-in rushed over to say goodbye to the group, including the young princess, before heading off.[1] As Ciri went back to the game, she lost her focus, feeling someone was watching her, but when she looked over, nobody was there.[2] After she failed to win, one of the knights, Lazlo, arrived to take her back to the castle to attend a knight induction ceremony headed by her grandmother and grandfather, Queen Calanthe and King Eist.

"Did you win this time? Like I showed you."
"I would have, if the horsemen of doom hadn't ridden up like that."
"If you can't win a game of knucklebones for fear of a few horses, what'll you do when you go into battle?"
- Eist and Ciri, The End's Beginning

Afterwards, the family attended a celebratory feast where Calanthe, Eist, and Mousesack, a close advisor and druid, discussed the encroachment of Nilfgaard. Overhearing this, Ciri inquired what they were talking about and while her grandmother tried to hide the truth, Eist immediately revealed there was a war going on. Calanthe then gave Ciri advice regarding a fight, before they were interrupted by a nobleman and his young son, Martin, who asked to dance with Ciri. As Ciri started to say no, Calanthe butted in saying Ciri would love to, making Ciri get up to go dance with him.

Two days later, Ciri, having been locked away in the castle with Mousesack and Lazlo as her grandparents were off fighting the Nilfgaardian invaders, had grown agitated and Mousesack gave her a very short story regarding the curse of the Black Sun in which young girls were locked away in towers and systematically killed to prevent a prophecy of them causing the end of the human race from happening. She then asked Mousesack if her grandmother would be alright but he dodged the question, instead responding that she, Ciri, will be alright.

Shortly after, a badly injured Calanthe returns from the lost battle, in which Eist was also summarily killed. Calanthe tried to reassure her granddaughter everything would be fine as Nilfgaard invades the city before sending her away so the queen can rest. Ciri then found Mousesack as he created a magical barrier around the keep, though he remarked it'll only hold as long as he holds. By nightfall, the barrier finally fails and Nilfgaard breaches the keep.

"In the face of the inevitable, Cirilla, good leaders should always choose mercy. In the future, you will be wise to do the same."
- Calanthe to Ciri, The End's Beginning

Back in her grandmother's chambers, Ciri watched Calanthe give orders to her men before calling Ciri over and gives her her second lesson in war, revealing Nilfgaard brutally slaughters and tortures and doesn't take prisoners. Mousesack then returned, mentioning "he's gone". At this news, Calanthe called for Lazlo to get the princess to safety, but not wanting to leave, Ciri screams, unintentionally releasing a magical pulse that rattled nearby glasses. The queen then tells the young princess she needs to find Geralt of Rivia as he's her destiny, and this time a reluctant Ciri leaves.

Lazlo and Mousesack then escort Ciri through the underground tunnels but are discovered by a group of Nilfgaardian soldiers as they exit the keep. Mousesack stays behind to fend them off, allowing Lazlo and Ciri to flee on horseback, but the pair are quickly set on by another Nilfgaardian, Cahir, who shoots and kills Lazlo, knocking the knight's body, along with Ciri, off their horse. Cahir then takes Ciri and escapes with her but as he races outside the city, Ciri, seeing Cintra burning, screams, releasing yet another powerful magical pulse that scares Cahir's horse, knocking them both to the ground. As Cahir tries to grab her again, Ciri releases several more screams, each time getting more and more powerful, preventing Cahir from getting her as she puts more distance between them. After one such scream, a nearby stone monolith collapses and causes the ground to split and create a chasm between the two, allowing Ciri to escape.[2]

Evading Nilfgaard's Soldiers

Three days after the attack on Cintra, Ciri finds herself traveling alone through the woods and having to hide as Nilfgaardian soldiers are trying to find her so, in an attempt to further obscure her appearance, she uses mud to darken her hair.[3] As she continues to travel, she spots some berries and tries to pick them but something is thrown at her hand, stopping her from doing so, and she soon spots the perpetrator: a young man hiding nearby who signals the berries are poisonous before gesturing for her to come to him. On joining him, he motions at a rat running around as food, but she declines. However, the boy isn't as picky of an eater and the two set up a small campfire where he cooks the rat and eats it while Ciri asks him questions, though the boy still doesn't say a word. He then offers her the cooked rat again and this time she accepts it before the two set out once more. As they travel silently together, Ciri sees her new companion's hands are cold and gives him one of her gloves to help. Right after though she spots a nearby Cintran refugee camp and runs over to it, but when she turns around "rat boy" is gone, having disappeared back into the forest.

As Ciri makes her way through the camp, she unintentionally cuts into a soup line and quickly learns not everyone has such a great outlook on her grandmother, blaming her for failing to save Cintra. Another bystander notices her cloak, informing her he recognizes it as one his father had made for Cintra's finest. As Ciri follows him, the young man, Adon, realizes she's staring at his "necklace": a collection of elf ears, for each one he killed for revenge over Filavandrel aén Fidháil's uprising that caused his brother's death. He then leads Ciri off to a nearby tent to meet all that remains of his family: his mother, Lilja, and a brother, Zeke. Realizing it's best to hide her real identity, Ciri introduces herself as "Fiona" while the boy's relatives show differing views on the elves and Calanthe. On noticing Ciri's worn out shoes, Lilja then offers to replace them, but when Ciri accepts, it turned out she meant for their halfling slave, Abbott, to give up his shoes to replace Ciri's, which Ciri accepts from him, though rather reluctantly.

At night, as they all lay in bed, Lilja tries to tell Ciri she's safe but when Ciri asks if the widow knows Geralt of Rivia, she unfortunately doesn't know who he is. Lilja then asks about Ciri's family, to which Ciri responds that her parents died years ago and her grandmother died in the attack, before apologizing for what happened to the widow's family. Lilja then affirms they'll all make it out together. However, later that night Nilfgaardians attack the camp and the mother angrily orders Abbott around but when he doesn't catch a bag thrown at him, she physically and verbally abuses him, to which he snaps and starts to stab her to death as Ciri backs up into a corner. Someone then cuts into the tent's fabric right next to Ciri and pulls her through, only for Ciri to see it's rat boy rescuing her. She proceeds to follow him to get out of the camp while it's being attacked, though she stops briefly when she finds a dead Adon. As she mourns him, she sees Cahir nearby and quickly puts her hood up before taking off once more with rat boy into the woods to escape.

The following morning, as Ciri and her companion drink from a stream, she looks up to see he's removed his hat for once, revealing elf ears. While they're both initially startled at her discovering he's an elf, Ciri thanks him for everything he's done in helping her and he finally speaks to her for the first time, introducing himself as Dara.[3]

Entering Brokilon Forest

An unknown time later, Ciri wakes up from where the two fell asleep in the forest, initially startled. However, she quickly falls under a trance and calmly begins to make her way through a clearing to the forest on the other side, not even noticing all the human skeletons in the clearing or Dara chasing after her, screaming her name before he's subsequently shot in the shoulder by an unknown assailant.[4]

As Ciri continues to follow the whispering voices she's hearing, she enters a part of the forest that appears more like a lush jungle than the barren, snow-covered forest she came from before suddenly snapping out of her reverie just in time to be surrounded by armed dryads. Their general only speaks in Elder Speech though to Ciri, who tries to plead for mercy, having gotten lost and not sure how she ended up there in the first place. The dryad's queen, Eithné, approaches and, in Ciri's own language, asks for her name, to which the princess once again gives the alias "Fiona". Still having no clue where she is though, Ciri asks, only to find out she wandered into the sacred Brokilon Forest, before the queen has Ciri follow her.[5]

As they head deeper into the forest, Eithné reveals some of the world's history, remarking how there used to be many forests like Brokilon before the Conjunction of the Spheres and how mankind fought against the dryads so only the ones in Brokilon remain. They're interrupted though on hearing someone's groans and Ciri realizes it's Dara and runs off to find him nearby just as another dryad removes the arrow and heals his wound with the waters of Brokilon. Eithné then tells the two in no uncertain terms they'll need to drink the waters to reveal if they bear ill intent to Brokilon, in which case they'll die, or if they're pure in heart, in which case they'll live and may stay there in the forest. The queen does note another side effect though: over time the waters will lessen the suffering they've endured but does so by making them forget.

As night falls and Ciri and Dara sit off to the side from the dryads, Dara then asks Ciri why the queen referred to her as Fiona and Ciri informs him she was told by Mousesack not to let anyone know who she was outside the castle before revealing to Dara her real identity as Princess Cirilla. On learning this, Dara becomes angry as he tells Ciri how her grandmother, Queen Calanthe, ordered his family and many other elves to be slaughtered after Filavandrel's uprising and how her soldiers laughed as they raped the women and killed babies. He then notes the only reason he even survived was because he hid but now regrets how he didn't try to save them or fight back, even if it meant dying with the rest. Ciri's left stunned, not knowing what to say, but Dara simply remarks there's nothing she can say before revealing his desire to stay there in Brokilon and how he hopes to forget who he was. He then advises Ciri to do the same, but Ciri says she can't and that she has to find her destiny.

As Ciri sleeps, she's plagued by nightmares of soldiers attacking and killing elves before her nightmare takes on a different form of Cahir moving to cut her down before she jolts awake to find Dara drinking the water. He then assures her everything's going to be ok before Eithné passes the bottle to Ciri and tells her to drink and leave her past behind and join them. After a moment, Ciri proceeds to drink as well but doesn't feel any different. On asking why it didn't work, Eithné simply notes Shan-Kayan calls to her and leads Ciri to it: a large tree in the center of Brokilon. She then cuts into the tree, making liquid stream out, and tells Ciri to drink directly from the source. As Ciri does, she proceeds to have a vision of herself out in the middle of a desert as a very large, luminescent tree looms over her on a hill as it asks Ciri what is she.[5]

The dryads learn the truth about Ciri from Shan-Kayan, and discuss it among themselves in Elder Speech, but Eithné makes it known to all the dryads, with Ciri in attendance, that the princess is allowed to stay in Brokilon. After the rest of the dryads leave, Ciri, not knowing what they were discussing so reliant on reading their body language, confirms her suspicions: many of them, particularly the general, don't care to have Ciri there, but the queen notes they'll still follow her orders. Eithné then presents Ciri with two options: either she can stay or she can continue her journey in search of her destiny.[6]

Reunited with Mousesack

While learning how to craft arrows with the dryads, Ciri is surprised by Mousesack being led through the forest to her and greets him before asking what happened to him after they split off in Cintra, but he waves it off, merely answering all that's important is he found her and he's to take her back to her rightful place. When Eithné tries to step in, saying Ciri chose to stay with them, Mousesack counters that he knows where to find Geralt as another dryad informs the queen Ciri was promised to him through the Law of Surprise.

Making up her mind, Ciri thanks Eithné and the dryads for their hospitality, but strongly feels Geralt is her destiny and she must continue on. She then turns to Dara, asking him to join her once again and that she considers him family. The dryad queen proceeds to say goodbye, but warns Ciri to always be vigilant and ask the right questions. Afterwards, Ciri hugs her goodbye and departs with Mousesack and Dara.[6]

As the trio make their way out of Brokilon, Ciri bombards Mousesack with questions regarding Geralt, the Law of Surprise, and why she was never told any of this before, and while Mousesack answers some, he gets her to stop after he tells her she and Geralt will be together soon.[7] They then reach Brokilon's exit and start to walk through the winter forest outside. While Ciri's stopped asking questions as they continue to walk, Dara speaks up, asking how the druid escaped Nilfgaard's attack, having been told by Ciri he vanished into thin air, abandoning the princess if that's true. Mousesack then informs them that he was actually pulled through a portal into Nilfgaard, where he was held prisoner for days before Geralt rescued him and sent the druid to retrieve Ciri. As Dara questions the logic of this, Mousesack waves it off, noting Dara can ask the witcher himself as he's waiting in a nearby town as Mousesack continues to lead them to safety. However, Dara pulls Ciri to the side, voicing his suspicions something isn't right and Mousesack might have been turned by Nilfgaard. Further away, Mousesack gets the princess' attention, revealing he saved Calanthe's royal sash and Ciri excitedly takes it from him and continues through the woods as Dara follows from a distance.

As they trek through a small clearing, Ciri, having thought over what Dara and Eithné said, begins to ask Mousesack if he ever stopped missing Skellige, as he left home to help raise Ciri in Cintra, and he confirms he was very homesick. Ciri then begins to bring up related memories from the times she visited Skellige before asking if Mousesack missed the cold as well. As the druid responds he also missed the cold, Ciri stops in her tracks, realizing he's not who he appears to be, and gets angry, stating how the real Mousesack had arthritis and thus hated the cold, and while he was from Skellige, he always said home was in Cintra, with Ciri and her family.

The imposter, called the Adonis, then grabs Ciri, revealing they killed Mousesack and took his form to get her but before they can do anything else, Dara pulls out his silver knife and tries to attack, making the Adonis drop Ciri and grab the knife's hilt instead. However, this causes the imposter's hand to burn and they drop it while trying to choke Dara but Ciri, having seen how it burned the imposter, grabs it off the ground and puts it against the Adonis' neck, burning them yet again and the imposter falls to the ground before changing to their true form: a doppler. Dara grabs the knife from Ciri and pins the Adonis, continuously burning them with the silver blade as he questions the doppler on who wants Ciri and why, though Ciri herself answers it's the man with the winged helmet and that there's something special inside her. However, when Ciri orders Dara to kill the doppler, Dara hesitates and Ciri grabs the knife back to do it herself, but this allows the Adonis to break free, knock Dara out, and knock the silver knife away, forcing Ciri to flee into the woods.

Unfortunately, Ciri doesn't get far and the Adonis catches her and ties her up to a tree before taking her form to confront their employer, though is certain to come back for the princess once done. While the Adonis is away though, Dara manages to find the tied up Ciri and rescues her once more, though this time angry, stating if she'd listened to him they'd still be safe in Brokilon and all Ciri brings is death and terror wherever she goes. Fed up with everything, Dara then leaves, remarking he can't be there for her any longer.[7]

Finding Geralt

Now alone, Ciri makes her way through a village where she poorly attempts to steal food as she tries to make her way to Skellige. Overhearing this, a nearby woman, Zola, warns Ciri to be careful as it's not safe traveling through the area alone, but Ciri rebuffs this and walks off.[1]

As she passes a group of people watching a puppet skit being put on, she spots some gloves but before she can run off with them, the seller calls to her and she hands over an expensive ring that once belonged to her mother as payment. She then discards the worn out single glove she had and puts on the new ones as Zola approaches her, trying to talk her out of going to Skellige as the roads aren't safe while Ciri tries to walk off from her again. Unperturbed, Zola gets in front of Ciri to stop her and notes she just needs to finish one more errand and make room on her horses, Clip and Clop, but could offer Ciri food and a safe place to stay at her home. Ciri silently nods in agreement, but as soon as Zola heads off to finish her tasks, Ciri steals one of the horses and takes off.

Later that night, Ciri sets up a small campfire out in a field with the stolen horse nearby when she hears the sudden approach of people. Initially wary, Ciri grabs a branch to defend herself but recognizes one of the four men as Anton, one of the kids she played knucklebones with. She runs forward, happy to see him, but he rudely pushes her aside as he notes to another he knew it was her at the market before they run over to the horse and start to pilfer the bags. As Ciri tries to tell them to stop, another pushes her back, noting Nilfgaard has a nice reward for her. She then tries to plead to Anton, who reveals he never liked her, only playing and letting her win because he had to all because she was a princess. As the group then proceed to pull her to the center of the clearing, Ciri releases another magical pulse, this time with another voice speaking through her of a prophecy before she blacks out.[1]

The next morning, Ciri wakes up in the field as Zola appears over her and gets her to sit up, though as Ciri looks around, she notices not only is the field's grass somehow mowed down, but the bodies of the four men and the horse are all dead, appearing to have been thrown and subsequently impaled by various trees nearby.[8] As Zola asks what happened, Ciri responds that they came for her, to which Zola notes they got what they deserved then before taking Ciri back to her place.

As night arrives, Zola's son, Nadbor, tries to get Ciri to talk as she quietly watches him groom a horse, going as far as questioning if she's dumb when his mother hears this and slaps him upside the head, remarking Ciri's been through hell and likely not ready to talk much right now before asking if Ciri can at least teach her son some manners while she lives with them. Right after, they hear rumbling and look outside to see a fireball flying through the night sky for a target in the distance and realize Nilfgaard is attacking Sodden.

Despite going to bed, Ciri's still awake and Zola tries to comfort Ciri as they hear the battle raging on in the distance, noting Nilfgaard has no reason to attack them as they're out of the way, but if the worst comes to pass, Zola remarks she's at peace with herself, having everything she had ever wanted: a husband, son, a roof over her head, and now a daughter in Ciri.

The next morning Ciri snaps out of her sleep, having been woken up by hearing Geralt's dream where he was calling for Yennefer, and remembers her grandmother telling her to find Geralt of Rivia. With that, she leaves Zola's home and sets off into the nearby forest. At one point she begins to run, sensing Geralt, and finds him a short time later and the two hug each other, while Geralt remarks on destiny. Looking up at him, Ciri then asks him who is Yennefer.[8]

Videos

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Season 1, Episode 07: Before a Fall
  2. 2.0 2.1 Season 1, Episode 01: The End's Beginning
  3. 3.0 3.1 Season 1, Episode 02: Four Marks
  4. Season 1, Episode 03: Betrayer Moon
  5. 5.0 5.1 Season 1, Episode 04: Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials
  6. 6.0 6.1 Season 1, Episode 05: Bottled Appetites
  7. 7.0 7.1 Season 1, Episode 06: Rare Species
  8. 8.0 8.1 Season 1, Episode 08: Much More
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