While the quest is given by Quartermaster Tavar Eggebracht, due to him being in the furthest southeast corner of Velen, the player can find out what happened to the patrol before actually speaking to Eggebracht.
- Notice about missing soldiers
- Soldiers in the service of His Imperial Majesty Emhyr var Emreis went missing while performing their duties. A reward shall be paid to anyone who assists in finding them. For more information see the quartermaster at the Army Group 'Center' camp.
Head to the Nilfgaardian Army Group 'Center' Camp in the furthest southeast part of Velen and either find Eggebracht's notice on the notice board here or speak directly with the quartermaster and ask for work to pick up this quest. He'll inform you that he sent some scouting troops out but they haven't returned so he needs you to find out what happened to them, then gives you a location west of the House of Respite.
At the location is a campsite, where you can examine the campfire and some tracks nearby that are of both armored and barefoot prints. Following them will lead to another set of Nilfgaardian prints that go on for a bit until Geralt comments on a stench. Following the stench to the right will lead to some wolves and green goo that can be examined that will point to a draconid but the path ends here. Following to the left will go on a long winded trail with various versions of the same green goo, a couple bandits, and eventually ends near some nekkers, though by this point you can probably hear the wyvern with your Witcher Senses.
Back to following the tracks, you'll eventually find a corpse, which you can examine. If Geralt already examined one of the green spots to determine a draconid was in the area, examining the body will confirm it and give the objective to kill the draconid. Continue following the footprints and you'll eventually come across the wyvern and another body. Once the wyvern is dead, loot it for a wyvern trophy. At this point you can return to the quartermaster but you can investigate further if you wish.
Backtrack a bit to just before you ran into the wyvern to find mounds of dirt that you can examine to learn bodies were buried there before necrophages dug them up. Now examine the second body and the blood on the ground and follow this new trail to a cave where Geralt will comment on it being a ghoul's nest. Head inside to find some more bodies, but this time on examining them Geralt will note they're not Nilfgaardian. With this in mind, you can now head back to talk to Eggebracht about what you've discovered.
If you didn't investigate further, or did and still accept payment, you'll get 10 and 50 . If you investigated and refused payment, you'll get 35 but no payment. Consequences: if you didn't investigate further and haven't done Blood Ties yet, Eggebracht will tell you the information by just asking. If you did investigate further, he'll refuse and you'll need to use Axii or bribe him instead.
- If picked up from Eggebracht:
- Those who stray off the beaten tracks in the bogs of Velen rarely live to amend their error. Even the Nilfgaardian soldiers stationed in the Army Group 'Center' camp would at times disappear in the marshes without a trace. After yet another patrol failed to return, the quartermaster of the camp posted a call for some brave soul to search them out and bring them back, or, barring that, at least determine their fate.
- If picked up by finding the patrol before talking to Eggebracht:
- Velen might lack for many things, but one it has in great abundance: monsters. Travelers who stray from the trails crossing its bogs and woodlands usually end up butchered by some claw-riddled creature or another. Geralt was thus not particularly surprised when he came across signs of a monster attack in the Velen bush. The call of his witcher duty screeching in his ears, he decided to investigate the matter.
- If picked up from Eggebracht:
- From footprint to muddled footprint, from one broken branch to another, Geralt retraced what had happened in the woods outside the Nilfgaardian camp. Oblivious to the danger, the Nilfgaardian soldiers had strayed into a wyvern's hunting grounds. Their thick plate did not stop the ferocious beast from tearing them to shreds.
- If Geralt does not investigate further:
- Geralt passed the sad news on to the quartermaster and collected his bounty. The Nilfgaardians' love for order and organization might not make them very good lovers, but it does make them excellent paymasters.
- If Geralt investigates further:
- Further investigation revealed this already rather gloomy story had an even gloomier twist. They [sic] fallen Nilfgaardians had not been wandering the Velen woods on a run-of-the-mill patrol - they had gone there to kill Redanian prisoners of war and hide their bodies. What they did not realize was that the monsters of the swamp could sense the stench of rotting corpses even through thick layers of soil - and never pass up the chance to feed on the dead.
- If Geralt accepts the quartermaster's pay:
- The Nilfgaardian quartermaster brushed off Geralt's accusations of war crimes with a shrug of his shoulders. The witcher was disgusted by this response, but felt outbursts of indignation would not do much to change the course of the conflict, whereas a purse of gold would do a great deal to change his material circumstances. He thus took his pay and marched straight out of camp.
- If Geralt refuses the quartermaster's pay:
- The Nilfgaardian quartermaster brushed off Geralt's accusations of war crimes with a shrug of his shoulders. Though the witcher had most certainly earned his pay and needed the coin, he refused to accept the quartermaster's gold. Even a hired monster slayer has his principles.
- Talk to the contract issuer.
- Go to the abandoned camp.
- Search the area using your Witcher Senses.
- Kill the draconid.
- Take a trophy.
- Return to the Nilfgaardian camp.
- Inside the cave with the bodies is a chest with the Enhanced Griffin Silver Sword diagram.