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I'm the one who ordered the death of that elven baby, I had to, it was the best path to helping me.....find my daughter.
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- Family

Emhyr var Emreis was the Emperor of Nilfgaard who regained his throne from the Usurper. Known as the White Flame, he was considered by his people as a kind of messiah figure.


In exile[]

When the Usurper led a coup to take over Nilfgaard and killed Emhyr's father, Fergus, he also had the young Emhyr cursed that gave him a hedgehog-like head that only went away for a short time at midnight, before exiling him. Despite this, there were still other political families that backed the Emreis family and Emhyr eventually found himself in Cintra. Here, he used the alias Lord Urcheon "Duny" of Erlenwald to hide his real identity and in 1233, found the king of Cintra, Roegner, alone and injured.[1] After rescuing the king, Roegner then asked what Duny wished for as a reward and not thinking much of it, Emhyr invoked the Law of Surprise. However, when Emhyr later learned the king went home and discovered Queen Calanthe was pregnant with Pavetta, Emhyr abandoned all hope of claiming her and chose to just watch from afar. Destiny had other plans though and the two unexpectedly met years later in the late 1240s and fell in love, with Pavetta knowing of Duny's curse and having seen both his real human form and the cursed hedgehog one.

In 1249, on Pavetta's 15th birthday, Calanthe held a party where suitors vying for Pavetta's hand attended, though it was already all but sealed that she intended to marry her daughter off to Crach an Craite to secure an alliance with Skellige. Now in love with Pavetta though, Emhyr crashed the party as Lord Urcheon of Erlenwald, originally hiding his face but his helmet was quickly knocked off by Eist, revealing his cursed form. Calanthe then ordered the witcher Geralt to kill the monster but Geralt refused, noting it was a cursed knight, not a monster. Unsatisfied at this, Calanthe then ordered her guards to kill Urcheon just as he revealed that by the Law of Surprise, Pavetta was his. Geralt stepped in and saved Urcheon's life from a killing blow as Eist also backed them, noting the Law of Surprised had been called. This revelation wasn't well met by Calanthe nor some of the suitors and an all out brawl broke out in the hall between the differing parties.

Having lost control of the situation, Calanthe entered the fray and managed to stop the fighting but, before more could be said, Pavetta ran over to Urcheon, revealing he was Duny and that the two had known each other before he introduced himself that night. Duny then revealed how he saved Roegner all those years ago and Pavetta turned out to be his Law of Surprise he had no intention of claiming until they met and fell in love. As other guests remarked it was destiny and asked the queen to accept it, Pavetta spoke up, saying she loved Duny and would marry him. Hearing this, Calanthe handed over her sword and extended her hand to Duny as acceptance, but as he took her hand, the queen suddenly pulled out a hidden dagger and moved to stab his throat. Pavetta screamed out in horror at this betrayal, suddenly unleashing a magical shockwave that sent everyone else but Duny flying through the air, protecting Duny from being killed once again.

As her previously dormant powers emerged, creating a whirlwind around the pair, Pavetta began to speak in Elder Speech to Duny and they floated up into the air, with both oblivious to the increasing destruction the whirlwind was causing outside their protective bubble. However, Pavetta was distracted by something out of the corner of her eye and looked over just as Geralt managed to throw a sign, knocking the two out of the air and stopping the whirlwind.

Having regained awareness, Pavetta and Duny were soon approached by Calanthe. Finally accepting destiny this time, Calanthe then announced to the room that Pavetta would marry Duny while Calanthe would marry Eist that night, thereby still securing an alliance with Skellige. The queen then performed Pavetta and Duny's ceremony, giving her blessing to their marriage. As the couple then kissed, Duny suddenly transformed back to his human form. While elated at this, Pavetta questioned how that was possible as it wasn't midnight yet, to which Mousesack noted that Calanthe's genuine blessing for them to be together must have lifted the curse.

As Geralt moved to leave, Duny called out to the witcher, asking what Geralt wanted as payment for saving his life. While Geralt tried to brush it off, not wanting anything, Duny insisted, not wanting to start his new life with a life debt. Still having no idea what to ask, Geralt claimed the Law of Surprise but stated he had no intentions of coming back for whatever it was. As he did so, Pavetta suddenly threw up, revealing to the group she was pregnant and thus the child would become Geralt's Child of Surprise.[2]

Shortly after Pavetta gave birth to Ciri in 1250, word got to Duny and Pavetta of Ithlinne's Prophecy and that it was regarding their newborn daughter. Realizing people would try to kill Ciri if people started to believe it, Duny urged Pavetta that the young family needed to leave that night on a boat waiting for them. However, things went wrong and Duny and Pavetta died that night.[3]

Regaining Nilfgaard's throne[]

Unbeknownst to almost everyone though, Duny had actually managed to survive and resurfaced years later under his real name, Emhyr var Emreis, having managed to overthrow the Usurper and regain his throne and title as Emperor of Nilfgaard.[4] He then turned his focus to expanding his empire into the north.

Taking Cintra[]

Emhyr continued to push Nilfgaard's expansion into the north and by 1263, took Cintra by force, leading to Calanthe's suicide. However, Ciri managed to escape from Emhyr's knight, Cahir, who'd been instructed to find and secure the princess. Despite this, with Cintra now under Nilfgaard's control, Emhyr continued to focus on expanding further into the Northern Kingdoms, with Fringilla Vigo acting in his stead in Cintra by creating an alliance in 1264 with the elves through their leader, Francesca Findabair, who was pregnant with the first pure-blood elf in decades. While the elves were initially willing to fight for Nilfgaard to secure their own future, the birth of the newborn elf changed their perspectives and the elves decided they'd rather work on rebuilding their own society than fight and die for a human war, breaking the alliance. General Hake made sure to inform Emhyr regarding this change in his reports and Emhyr decided to take matters into his own hands by ordering an assassin to kill the newborn elven baby, knowing it'd make the elves think Redania was behind the murder and attack the Northern Kingdom in retaliation. Sure enough this worked and the elves left Cintra to attack Redania, once again fighting, even if indirectly, for Nilfgaard.[4]

He then made his way to the capital city of Cintra, where Fringilla and Cahir greeted him and, trying to hide their failings, claimed they were the ones that orchestrated the murder. However, Emhyr called them out on their lies in front of his army and had the two arrested and taken away to await sentencing.


  1. Netflix Timeline: Cintra's King is Saved
  2. Season 1, Episode 04: Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials
  3. Season 2, Episode 05: Turn Your Back
  4. 4.0 4.1 Season 2, Episode 08: Family