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"Do you really wish to know?" — Spoilers from the books and/or adaptations to follow!
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Istredd was a sorcerer who was romantically involved with Yennefer during their time at Aretuza.

Biography[]

Meeting Yennefer[]

While tending to his studies in the Aretuzan ruins, Istredd met Yennefer after she used a portal for the first time. He informed her that she had been marked, so he created an untraceable portal to send Yennefer back home and assured her that he's to be trusted. Istredd reconvened with Yennefer after she was brought into Aretuza by Tissaia de Vries.

Several weeks passed since Yennefer's arrival in Aretuza. After she failed to complete a trial and was scolded by Tissaia, Yennefer retreated to Istredd and detailed her shortcomings. He advised her to keep trying. He didn't give up and was later able to read minds. He even helped Yennefer read his mind, revealing glimpses of cicadas, warm bread and other things that she might have enjoyed.

After losing control of her emotions, Yennefer found Istredd and informed him of her fear of being sent home. Istredd insisted that they would find a way to be together. He couldn't show Yennefer what he knew because he had to ensure that the knowledge never reached the Brotherhood of Sorcerers. What that would require was magic other than that of which they were taught. It is too potent and can open doors that can't be closed. Istredd instead showed her the skulls of the elves who built Aretuza. They were the original sorcerers of the continent. When humans and monsters arrived after the Conjunction of the Spheres, elven mages showed the first humans how to turn chaos into magic. And then the humans slaughtered them so they could pretend the power had always belonged to them, rewriting history. Istredd wished to honor them rather than continue telling the false history. He gave Yennefer a Feainnewedd that only grew where Elder Blood has spilled. Using this plant, Yennefer summoned a portal with no difficulty and revealed that her real father was a half-elf. He was killed during the Great Cleansing. His blood was why she was cursed with a twisted spine and why no one could ever love her. Istredd then kissed her, as if to prove Yennefer wrong about no one loving her.

After gaining Yennefer's trust, Istredd revealed her elven heritage to Stregobor.[1]

Betrayal of Trust[]

It's initiation day, and Istredd and Yennefer are having sex in front of an illusory audience. Afterward, they share their mutual fears of being separated with Istredd exploring ruins and Yennefer working as a mage to King Virfuril. Yennefer recalls the frightened girl she once was, completely unaware of her power. She wants to go back home to Aedirn and never be that girl again.

Istredd goes searching for Yennefer after she fails to attend the initiation. He finds her in the ruins forging her father's name on a deed to declare her as his natural born daughter. Istredd apologizes for telling Stregobor her secret. She wants him to go back to the Chapter and tell them that he lied, but it's too late as Yennefer missed initiation and the enchantments are done. Istredd offers to right his wrong. The Brotherhood offered him a seat on the research chapter. He wishes to bring Yennefer along with him. However, she wants more than a life holding dustpans while he brushes bones. Yennefer storms off, but not before Istredd exclaims that she's just angry because she lost her chance to be beautiful. Not only beauty, Yennefer wants power, she admits.

Much to Istredd's displeasure, Yennefer arrives at the Aretuzan ball completely transformed. Appearing almost entirely like a new person.[2]

Excavation in Nazair[]

While working in Nazair, on a Nilfgaard ran excavation site, Istredd reunited with Yennefer after years apart. They started digging because the tunes described a "magnalith" in Nazair, but no one could find it until Istredd arrived and Nilfgaard tore through the lands. They allowed his research. Every glyph had a clue to something across the continent from a time before the Conjunction. Yennefer took a sip of the ale, which she described as having a terrible taste. However, Istredd claimed that the people of Nazair were starving before Nilfgaard's arrival. Yennefer surmised that Istredd "bought in."

She questioned how much longer Istredd intended to stay in Nazair as she missed him. Yennefer asked if it wasn't too late to do what they talked about all those years ago in the cave of Aretuza. Living a life together. Istredd could excavate as she worked as a mage. He recalled how Yennefer always hated monoliths. Admittedly this was true, but Yennefer had spent decades being the object of desire, having anyone she wanted. But they all loved the power that came with her position at court. Not her actual power. And no one had ever seen that but Istredd. Yennefer then kissed him. However, he pulled away. He spent years waiting for the moment that Yennefer realized that they were meant for each other. Coming up with excuses to study at Aedirn. Anything to get closer to her, but every request he made was denied by her. It was Stregobor who snapped him out of it. He reminded Istredd of the beauty of their work. Yennefer went after the thing she loved, so she chose power. At least she kept her eyes, he remarked, before departing.[3]

Called Before the Brotherhood[]

Following the Battle of Sodden Hill, Istredd was brought before the Brotherhood and asked if he absorbed any insight into their followers while at the Nilfgaard dig sight. But he claimed to have absorbed nothing, despite later informing Yennefer that he lied as she was attempting to flee Aretuza due to the Brotherhood calling her loyalty into question and commanding her to execute Cahir. As for Istredd, he planned to leave for Cintra the following day to help the elves who were migrating and also advised Yennefer against sneaking out, as Stregobor had spies stationed on the tower.[4]

Investigating Cintra's Monolith[]

While searching for a new land route to Cintra, Istredd received an unexpected visit from Geralt, who was in need of his help after coming across a new subspecies of monster, which he suspected were emerging from a stellacite tower just outside Cintra and that the monster were nesting in the subterranean structure for years. They crawled down into the subterranean but didn't uncover a nest or any evidence of life. Historians had always theorized that monoliths were scars from the Conjunction of the Spheres, but monster didn't exist on their plane before the Conjunction. All species were on different planes until the spheres merged into one. A Conjunction like that would've required two things: a massive surge of energy and conduits to channel it, leading Istredd to suspect that the monoliths were actually conduits, meaning their monoliths were calling to the original spheres, opening a gateway between the spheres and the Continent.

Istredd demanded that Geralt tell him exactly how he knew the monsters and monoliths were linked, but Geralt was reluctant to inform him of anything, as he didn't trust Istredd, who in a moment of transparency, revealed that he actually came to Cintra in search of Yennefer. Suddenly, the ground began to shake and they heard Ciri's scream for help. However, they were forced to take cover as shards of stellacite began flying at them. This resulted in a portal opening and a chernobog of some kind emerging and flying away.

After portalling Geralt home, Istredd returned to his studies, questioning if the monolith is what Queen Calanthe was protecting all this time. He then began searching through the royal Cintran family tree.[5]

Seeking Information[]

Istredd sought out Ellis Codringher and Fenn for information in regard to what a witcher, a monolith, and a mysterious girl had to do with Nilfgaard. From them, he learned that the girl was Cirilla of Cintra, who was thought to be dead.

Istredd revealed to Codringher and Fenn that there was a gene called Leishardrathardlara that kept showing up in Cintran genealogy records, but he'd never heard of it, and it looked like mostly women had it. Codringher grabbed a scroll and Fenn read "And when the humans proved hostile, bringing death and destruction, multiplying and infesting their lands, the elves built a warrior to destroy them." Also, "And when the babe was born, a field of feainnewedd sprung up. And Lara Dorren drew her last breath, crying, 'Know this. My curse will hound your descendants unto the tenth generation. Until the columns of time and space tremble and open for my people. Then my vengeance will be born again." This suggested that Calanthe hid her elven bloodline because she knew what lurked in it. A generational weapon, Istredd remarked.[6]

Istredd tracked down the elves to inform them that Ciri was alive and that she was Hen Ikeir, meaning Elder blood.[7]

References[]

  1. Season 1, Episode 02: Four Marks
  2. Season 1, Episode 03: Betrayer Moon
  3. Season 1, Episode 07: Before a Fall
  4. Season 2, Episode 03: What Is Lost
  5. Season 2, Episode 05: Turn Your Back
  6. Season 2, Episode 06: Dear Friend...
  7. Season 2, Episode 08: Family
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