Death Symbolized is a quest in Chapter 2 of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
Cecil Burdon tells Geralt that the lost standard of the Dun Banner may be seen as a symbol of death, and that he can likely find it in the dwarven catacombs outside Vergen (on Iorveth's path, it is advisable to complete this quest in conjunction with the quest With Flickering Heart to save time).
In the catacombs Geralt encounters numerous wraiths, corpses to examine (one of which is part of With Flickering Heart and requires the surgical tools for an impromptu autopsy), and weakened walls to tear down with Aard.
The Wraith guarding the Dun Banner standard introduces himself as "Ekhart Henessy – ensign and color bearer of the Dun Banner". He is hidden behind a weakened wall on a lower level of the catacombs. Geralt can then choose to either deceive the Wraith by pretending to be a former member of the Dun Banner, or destroy it.
To deceive the Wraith, Geralt uses the following dialogue answers (All the information required to answer these questions is furnished by talking to Zoltan, Yarpen and Sheldon at The Cauldron, or to Zyvik at the Kaedweni camp):
- "I served in the Banner."
- "You got it wrong."
- "Menno Coehoorn."
- "Coehoorn is dead."
- "Vandergrift and Seltkirk."
- Iorveth's path: "Biggerhorn took me prisoner." or
- Roche's path: "I was lead out by a priest."
If the witcher answers incorrectly, the Wraith attacks him. However, if Geralt is in possession of a beaver cap and / or the Dun Banner cloak the wraith concedes that he might actually be a former Dun Banner member and allows him to give one incorrect answer without triggering a fight (the beaver cap is obtained by finishing Baltimore's Nightmare (Iorveth's path), or from Zyvik in the Kaedweni camp (Roche's path).
After successfully deceiving the wraith, Geralt gets the Dun Banner's standard and the Sword of the Dun Banner by looting the sarcophagus. If he destroys the Wraith instead, the sword is not there and he gets only the standard.
The quest is complete once Geralt takes the Standard.
- If Geralt has beaten Skalen Burdon two times at dice, he receives the Dun Banner cloak, which does not seem to have a specific location for this quest. Indeed, it could be quite misleading if you decide to try to deceive the specter of Henessy without having the basic information required from Cecil Burdon. This can be done on either Iorveth's path or Roche's path.
- On Iorveth's path, before venturing into the catacombs, paying a visit to Felicia Cori and getting the surgical tools is adviseable. They are needed for the quest With Flickering Heart. They are easy to spot because they are marked as "quest items" in her shop inventory.
- On Roche's path, the quest can be carried out simultaneously with Hatred Symbolized and The Spear of Destiny, while the witcher is still in Vergen.
- Also on Roche's path, don't forget to leave Zyvik's beaver cap on the Dun Banner sarcophagus, before going back to Vergen.
- Roche's path:
- It seemed very likely that the standard of the Dun Banner, the famous unit of Kaedweni light cavalry, was the symbol of death, and thus one of the artifacts Geralt needed to lift the curse from the battlefield. At least so thought Zyvik, King Henselt's soldier who'd seen a lot in life. The witcher decided that where war craft was concerned, the veteran could be trusted. Unfortunately, the standard was buried with the fallen men of the unit in the dwarven catacombs on the other side of the spectral mist. For now, the symbol of death remained beyond our hero's grasp. The witcher needed to cross to the other side of the mist, but was forced to wait for an opportunity to do so.
- And the opportunity arrived when Geralt was forced to go to Vergen in search of a spearhead supposedly in Iorveth's possession. With Dethmold's help, the witcher could pass through the mist and use the opportunity to look for the standard as well.
- Geralt met Yarpen Zigrin and Skalen Burdon in Vergen and they told him about the catacombs in the forest. The Dun Banner's standard rested somewhere in the depths of the tomb. So the Witcher headed into the forest, looking for the crypt's entrance.
- Iorveth's path:
- One of the artifacts needed to lift the curse from the battlefield was to symbolize death. Having no idea what he was to look for, the witcher took Philippa's advice and decided to talk to Cecil Burdon. Vergen's alderman knew a lot about the battle between the Kaedweni and Aedirnian armies, so he would likely give Geralt a good lead.
- After hearing the witcher out, Cecil Burdon stroked his beard and began his tale of the Dun Banner. The Dun was a unit of Kaedweni light cavalry, known far beyond the borders of Henselt's kingdom. Its soldiers had taken part in the battle, and their standard, easily recognized by any veteran from the North, could very well be the symbol of death. The unit's standard was buried in the forest crypt, alongside the fallen soldiers. The witcher had to find the tomb and the artifact.
- The dwarves told the truth, the standard was indeed in the catacombs. But the symbol of death had a guardian - the wraith of a Dun Banner veteran. The Witcher could acquire the item he sought by defeating the ghost in battle or by using deception. The latter choice would force him to impersonate a unit member and appeal to an old brother-in-arms.
- Destroying the Wraith
- Geralt destroyed the wraith. Now nothing stood between him and the standard.
- Deceiving the Wraith
- Geralt managed to deceive the ghost and it showed him the sarcophagus containing the Dun Banner's standard.
- The symbol of death was now in the hands of Geralt of Rivia. The curse would soon be lifted from the battlefield.
- It is possible for wraiths to kill the ghost of the Dun Banner if they attack him, which breaks the game. - Patch 1.2 fixes this issue.
- Sometimes you can't use Dun Banner cloak.
- Sometimes the wraith does not drop the standard, which breaks the game and forces you to load a previous save.