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In the Heart of the Woods is a contract quest in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Contract: Woodland Spirit
Warriors of Skellige!
If there's man of ye brave enough to face the Woodland Spirit, the cruel oppressor of the inhabitants of Fayrlund, he'll get a reward that'll keep him in mead for a long while. We're not rich, but we've gathered a fair bit of coin between us.
Come to Fayrlund and ask for Sven


You can pick up this quest either through the notice or by finding the group on the road southwest out of Fayrlund.

When you reach the area, you'll find a group of onlookers while several elders and younger men argue around a man's body, mangled by tree branches. Approaching close enough will automatically pull you into the conversation. You can ask them more about the Woodland Spirit and clearly see they're split on what to do, if anything: the elder Harald wishes you to leave the spirit be, claiming it makes the villagers strong warriors, while one of the younger men, Sven, explains it's a common beast that kills anyone that wanders into its territory.

Before you decide on who to back, it's time to investigate to learn what the spirit really is. The trail will lead you out to a spot where you'll find a dead dog to examine, then leads you further west to find another dead body pinned to a rock. The final clue, even further west, will take you to a ring of stones with several wolves. Once they're killed, examine the scratch marks. Once the final clue is examined, Geralt will deduce it's an ancient leshen, earning 10 XP earned based on the Story and Swords! difficulty level. You'll then need to open your bestiary and read about the spirit, which will then point you to talk to Harald and Sven.

Head back to town and, if you wish, you can talk to both before you decide on a course of action. Despite it being a leshen, Harald is convinced it's the reason they're the strongest warriors in Skellige, even if it kills off many who set out to do the ritual, and urges you to lay out a sacrifice to reinstate the pact of his ancestors. Sven, naturally, wants to do the opposite and have it killed, but before you can do that you'll need to have the marked one dealt with otherwise it'll be reborn again.

Missable achievement: if you side with Harald, you'll miss out on the Woodland Spirit achievement. If you wish to get it but still side with Harald, do a separate save here.

Side with Harald[]

If you choose to side with Harald, head out to the altar in the woods and, once close enough, five white wolves will spawn that you must defeat. Once they're all dead, loot each of them to get a total of 5 wolf hearts, then place them on the altar. A cutscene will start, indicating the leshen accepted the pact, and netting you 20 XP earned based on the Story and Swords! difficulty level.

Now make your way back to Fayrlund to speak to Harald. You can respond to him however you like and he'll reward you before Sven approaches with the other young men, proclaiming they killed off the other elders and are coming after Harald. You can choose to stand down or protect Harald. Note that if you choose to protect him, he can still be killed in the fight so kill them off quickly if you choose this. If you instead stand down, Sven and Geralt will exchanged heated words before the men kill Harald. Regardless which choice you made, you'll earn 50 XP earned based on the Story and Swords! difficulty level and 60 Oren3.png and complete the quest here.

Side with Sven[]

If you choose Sven, you'll need to find the marked person. While there's no trail, if you've learned enough about leshens, you know just to follow the crows. In this case, head to the last house to the west to find several crows on the roof and, using your Witcher Senses, once you're close enough Geralt will spot the marked person: Hilde, a young woman that's involved with Sven. Bring the bad news to Sven, who still believes it's one of the elders. Before you reveal who it is, you can tell him the person could simply be exiled or let them be killed. After that, once you reveal it's Hilde, Sven will either agree to let her be killed if you chose the killing method, or inform them to run her out of town and not come back if you chose the exile method.

Regardless what happens to Hilde, you must now head into the woods and destroy the 3 totems to make the leshen appear. The first one won't be protected, but the other two will have several wolves guarding them. After the third is destroyed, head to the designated spot for a cutscene where the woodland spirit reveals itself along with several more wolves.

Once it's dead (50 XP earned based on the Story and Swords! difficulty level) loot it for the Leshen trophy and head back to Fayrlund to speak to Harald. As you approach though, you'll see what looks like a massacre: apparently while you were gone, Sven rounded up the others and killed off the elders. No matter what you say, Sven makes it clear your work is done as is his. The quest will then complete, earning 50 XP earned based on the Story and Swords! difficulty level and 60 Oren3.png.

Journal Entry[]

Geralt's first clue? A brutally murdered and mangled body. The villagers all agreed the Woodland Spirit had killed the man - but their explanations of this creature's motives could not have been more different. The elders among them claimed the Spirit, who had cared for their village for generations, was now punishing them for having broken the pact they had once made. As for the youth present, they claimed the Woodland Spirit was nothing but a cruel brute that killed for its own pleasure - and that rather than worship it, they should get rid of it once and for all.
Geralt promised to help with their problem - though he did not yet know which side was right. The witcher exercised his better judgment and decided his first move must be to find out what this Woodland Spirit really was - and why it had begun to kill.
If Geralt sides with Sven:
Fayrlund's supposed guardian turned out to be a leshen - a rare and dangerous monster that can force animals, plants and, as soon became clear, even people to do its bidding. For generations the villagers had worshipped[sic] it and offered it sacrifices, and all the while it leeched off their life force, a parasite masquerading as a guardian. A band of young warriors led by Sven questioned the old order and asked Geralt to take care of the monster in the manner of witchers.
Geralt agreed. While he was away tracking the leshen in the nearby woods, Sven decided to usher in the new era himself by murdering all the village elders. When Geralt arrived back in the settlement it was too late to save it from fratricidal bloodshed. He thus collected his reward from a man who had killed more people in one afternoon than the monster had in years and walked away from the village without a backwards glance.
If Geralt renews the pact...
Geralt made two discoveries during his investigation. First of all, the Woodland Spirit turned out to be a leshen - a rare monster, though one known to witchers. Secondly, to his great surprise Geralt found that this beast truly did help the village of Fayrlund, training the villagers in dark rituals how to become unequaled hunters and warriors. Those who didn't survive its trials never returned from the woods - though it exacted a price in human lives.
...but then walks away at the end:
The monster had become intertwined with the village - so integral to their way of life that Geralt decided it was safer to renew the old pacts made with the beast than to kill it. The village youth, however, could not be reconciled to a return to the old order. Though lacking the courage to kill the hated Woodland Spirit themselves, they mustered enough bravery to rise up against the elders who worshipped[sic] it. Geralt left the village before the bloodshed started. After all, the role of a witcher is to protect men from monsters, not from themselves.
...then defends Harald:
Even so, the witcher decided more good would come from renewing the old pact between the villagers and the leshen than from killing the beast. Harald, leader of the village elders, rewarded the witcher for keeping the old traditions alive. The village youth, however, with Sven in the lead, could not be reconciled to a return to the old order. Though lacking the courage to kill the hated Woodland Spirit themselves, they mustered enough bravery to rise up against the elders who worshipped[sic] it.
It fell upon Geralt yet again to choose the lesser evil. He defended some men by killing others - even more, perhaps, than the monster he was supposed to protect them against.


  • If you found the contract notice first:
    • Talk to Sven about the contract on the Woodland Spirit.
  • Check what happened.
  • Examine the tracks in the woods using your Witcher Senses and find out what's killing the villagers of Fayrlund. (10XP earned based on the Story and Swords! difficulty level)
  • Learn more about the Woodland Spirit by reading the Bestiary.
  • Talk to Harald about the leshen.
  • Talk to Sven about the leshen.
  • Siding with Sven:
    • Find the person marked by the leshen by using your Witcher Senses.
    • Talk to Sven about Hilde.
    • Destroy the leshen's totems. (3/3)
    • Find the leshen using your Witcher Senses to follow the sounds it makes.
    • Kill the leshen.
    • Collect your trophy.
    • Collect your reward from Sven.
  • Siding with Harald:
    • Approach the altar.
    • Kill the wolves.
    • Collect the wolf hearts. (5/5)
    • Place the offerings on the altar.
    • Collect your reward from Harald.