| ||They're as old as this forest. Cruel, vindictive... Not to be crossed.|| |
|- Johnny telling Geralt about the Crones, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt|
The Crones, also called the Ladies of the Wood, are three witches who live in a cabin in the swamps of Velen. Legend suggests the three are sisters and the daughters of the original "Lady of the Wood", also known as "She-Who-Knows". They are named Brewess, Weavess, and Whispess.
The Crone is also the third aspect of the goddess Melitele.
They found Ciri, who had been teleported into their bog, and took her to their cabin. They realized she possessed Elder Blood. The Crones argued whether to devour Ciri, but decided they would simply eat a limb before handing her over to the general of the Wild Hunt - Imlerith. Ciri overheard them and fled. Later, they charged Geralt with getting rid of an old enemy of theirs at the Whispering Hillock.
The ealdorman of Downwarren, a servant of the Crones, cut off his ear and gave it to Geralt as the payment that the witches desired. This was common payment as tribute to the Crones, as they use the ears as a way to monitor the woods. When Geralt returned to the bog, he placed the ear upon the stone, the Crones came to him in person. Regardless of whether Geralt frees or kills the spirit, they tell him of their encounter with Ciri.
Geralt can return with the Baron and his daughter to retrieve Anna, but if the Whispering Hillock was freed, the Crones punish Anna by turning her into a water hag because she allowed the children to escape. They send monsters, including a fiend to attack those trespassing on their land.
Later, when Geralt and Ciri return to the bog to kill Imlerith, they split up and Ciri battles the Crones. She found that the three witches had taken on a more attractive form. The male volunteers found themselves victim to the Crones' deception and their remains can be seen boiled in a stew created by Brewess. The Crones are alerted to Ciri and transform into their original forms. Ciri managed to kill two of the Crones, the Brewess and the Whispess. The Weavess, however, managed to escape, snatching Vesemir's medallion from Ciri as she fled.
If Ciri dies at the final battle, Geralt hunts down the Weavess, looking to retrieve the medallion she stole from Ciri. He finds her in the cabin in Crookback Bog where she summons monsters to fight with her. He kills her, and retrieves the medallion, but the monsters of the bog converge on him, despite the death of the final Crone.
- Sister crones, hand in hand, terrors of the sea and land, thus do go about, about: thrice to thine and thrice to mine, and thrice again, to make up nine.
Macveth, Act 1, Scene 3
- The isolated corners of our world harbor creatures older than humans, older than academies and mages, older even than elves and dwarves. The Crones of Crookback Bog are such creatures. No one knows their true names, nor what breed of monstrosity they in fact are.
- Common folk have given these three sisters the names Weavess, Brewess and Whispess, and call the threesome "The Ladies of the Wood" or simply "The Good Ladies." The Crones act as the true sovereigns of Velen, whose inhabitants they help survive through harsh times in return for unquestioning obedience. They wield powerful magic, but one different from that of mages. They draw power from water and earth and are bound to the land in which they live. The Crones can hear everything that happens in their woods, predict the future, twist the threads of human lives and bring blessings as well as curses.
- The Crones seem for all intents and purposes to be immortal. Magic elixirs keep them from aging and allow them to take the appearance of young women. These elixirs and their mystical ties to the swamps in which they live also give them supernatural strength and vitality.
- They are heavily inspired by the Baba Yaga, being from Slavic Mythology.
- They are heavily inspired by the three Weird Sisters in Shakespeare's Macbeth, who are mighty creatures and define destiny, which is what the Crones are in Velen. Their Beastiary entry mentions the presumed play Macveth, which makes the affiliation to Shakespeare's play even clearer.
- In Slavic Mythology, there are three sisters of fate called Rozhanitse or Sudjaje (depending on region in Slavic territory), who are believed to weave fates of each newborn child. One weaves its death, one weaves its strengths and weaknesses, while third one weaves luck, long life and prosperity. It's possible that Crones were inspired by them.
- Myth about Sisters of Fate is common in all European Mythologies. In Greece, they were called Moirai, in Rome were called Parcai, while in Norse/Germanic territory were called Norns.
- You can gain Gwent cards which depict Weavess, Brewess, and Whispess.
- Each of the Crones share skeletal model and movement animation with one common enemy type from the game. Weavess with Water Hags, Whispess with Foglets and Brewess with Sylvans or Gargoyles.