Contract: The Mystery of the Byways Murders is a contract quest in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Contract: Missing Soldiers
Let it be known the the Imperial Army is in need of a man who knows the area - a hunter or a scout, for example - to help us find a missing patrol.
It is possible the soldiers fell prey to a monster. If this suspicion is confirmed, anyone delivering the beast's head will be paid a reward by the undersigned. Address any and all question to the same individual.
Glory to the Emperor!
-Milan Noran, commander of the division stationed in Oreton

Walkthrough Edit

You can start this quest by either finding the notice first on Oreton's notice board or by exploring and finding Byways. If you talk to the officer, Milan, first, you have the option to haggle for a better reward.

Regardless, the quest will take you to the village in far southwestern Velen and where it's currently overrun by ghouls. Once you kill the ghouls off, a short time later 2 survivors will come out, but are obviously hiding something. You can choose to continue poking holes in their story or to back off and leave. If you back off and go back to Milan, he'll thank you for your report and reward you with 300 Tw3 icon xp and 195Oren3 (or 146 Oren3 if he wasn't talked to prior).

However, if you choose to be nosy (or say you're being paid if Milan was talked to prior) you can examine the pig and dog carcasses but what you really need to examine are the 2 soldiers' bodies and where Geralt will pick up on a scent. Follow it up the hill to the hut and Bytomir will still try to deny anything suspicious before eventually caving, revealing the villagers found elven ruins beneath their village and were plundering it for treasure to make some money when they awoke a terrible beast within and proceeded to try and bury the entrance. Unfortunately for the Nilfgaardians, they tried to re-enter the tunnels only to be killed by the creature before it ran back to its lair. Bytomir will then give you the key to the hut so you can investigate.

Enter the hut and you'll find some fur just inside that, when examined, Geralt will conclude it's an ekimmara, Sarasti, earning 25 Tw3 icon xp. Move the planks and head down into the tunnels, where you'll find another body you can examine if you wish, before eventually finding the monster's lair. Note this area is tight quarters, so keep that in mind as you fight Sarasti.

Once it's dead, loot it for Bloed Aedd and the ekimmara trophy, then head back to the first hut Bytomir was hiding in. He'll be glad you killed it, though reluctantly gives a reward of 25 Tw3 icon xp and 210 Oren3 if you found the village before talking to Milan or hid the fact someone was paying you. If, however, you revealed you were being paid, the villagers won't give you anything. The quest will then conclude here if you found the village first (as Milan will have left Oreton so you can't talk to him further). However, if you want to double dip while finding the village first, don't turn it in just yet to Bytomir but instead head to Oreton to get the notice and talk to Milan to get 300 Tw3 icon xp and 146 Oren3, then head back and talk to Bytomir.

Journal entry Edit

If the village is discovered first:
While traveling across Velen, Geralt happened across a village which seemed to have been abandoned. The ghouls lurking amidst the huts gave him a bad feeling about its former inhabitants' fates, so the witcher decided to kill the monsters and investigate what had happened.
If the notice is read first:
A Nilfgaardian patrol had gone missing near the village of Byways. Geralt took an interest in the matter, for the local Nilfgaardian commander suspected a monster was involved and Geralt knew imperial soldiers were always upfront and honest when it came to pay.
Geralt discovered that local villagers had decided to make a few extra crowns by digging in an ancient elven mine. Since the old underground complex hid its fair share of unpleasant surprises, it wasn't long before they ran into trouble.
The self-taught treasure hunters had awakened a particularly nasty kind of vampire known as an ekimmara, and this enraged beast had attacked the Nilfgaardian patrol as it passed through Byways. Geralt decided to eradicate the beast and tracked it to the ruins outside the village.
If the villagers give a reward:
The villagers were grateful to the witcher for his help in slaying the ekimmara, so much so they even agreed to pay Geralt a reward.
If the villagers don't give a reward:
When the ekimmara had been defeated, the villagers of Byways did not prove very grateful. With long years of witchering experience under his belt, Geralt did not find this very surprising.
If Milan was talked to first to start the quest:
The Nilfgaardian soldiers proved themselves honorable men and paid the witcher without a murmur, handing him not only what he was owed for killing the ekimmara, but also a reward for having discovered the truth of what had happened to their missing patrol.
If Geralt reports to Milan after finding the village first:
Geralt told the Nilfgaardian commander what had happened to the missing patrol and received his reward. The commander brought no dishonor to his uniform and paid in full, without haggling or backpedaling.

Objectives Edit

  • Read the notice:
    • Talk to the commander of the Nilfgaardian patrol.
  • Find out what happened in Byways.
  • Deal with the ghouls prowling the village.
  • Find the surviving villagers.
  • Investigate further:
    • Explore the village using your Witcher Senses.
    • Follow the scent of blood using your Witcher Senses.
    • Explore the tunnels under Byways using your Witcher Senses.
    • Find and kill the ekimmara.
    • Take a trophy from the ekimmara.
    • Talk to Bytomir.
  • If Milan was talked to first:
    • Report back to the Nilfgaardian patrol commander.

Notes Edit

  • Even if you choose not to learn about the ekimmara, it appears there are no consequences from this and the surviving villagers remain unharmed.

Videos Edit