After the conversation in which you give Triss' bandana to Philippa Eilhart in order to locate her, a noble outside the sorceress' house will alert you to a commotion outside of Stennis' quarters. A peasant mob is demanding his death, believing him guilty of poisoning Saskia. Note that, at this point, there is no time limit for resolving the mob. You may leave to accomplish other quests (It is also advised that you complete With Flickering Heart before this quest is even triggered by bringing Triss' bandanna to Phillipa, as this quest can make the former fail). Upon arrival, Dandelion and Zoltan will brief you on the situation; Iorveth will then step in to stall the rising violent tensions, asking you to investigate the matter.
You will not have time to question every relevant party during this quest. Or rather, you can only talk to three out of the four groups; The Dwarven Group, The Noble Group, The Peasant Group, and Stennis. Zoltan and Dandelion, and the Single Noble change the quest phase but do not add to the 'countdown'. Names of the NPCs will be randomised, so don't be worried if you can't find the NPC named in a walkthrough. You may talk to:
- The nobles grouped outside Stennis' quarters, who are no real help. They blame the peasants no matter what, and add no information aside from mentioning that it was commoners who handled serving wine.
- The peasants grouped in front of the guards, who will tell you to talk to the servant who served Saskia's wine, triggering the sub-quest The Walls Have Ears. Other than that, they voice their dislike of nobles and nonhumans, and insist that Willy (the servant) would never hurt Saskia. It is recommended you speak to this group and the Dwarven group, before leaving to complete the sub quests.
- The three dwarves, one of which speaks about the unique goblet Saskia used - Geralt asks about the possibility of a duplicate goblet and is referred to Thorak, who would be the only one capable of such, triggering Suspect: Thorak. Depending on the outcome of Baltimore's Nightmare, either speak to Thorak directly or investigate his home, but the outcome remains largely the same. It is recommended you speak to the dwarves and the peasants, then complete their sub-quests, before speaking with anyone else.
- The guards outside of Stennis' chambers: using Axii will grant you access to Stennis himself, who flat out refuses to donate his blood for Saskia, and attempts to bribe Geralt without directly implicating himself. Speaking to Stennis adds little information to the pool, aside from revealing the fact he cares little for Saskia's life.
- The Single Noble leaning against the wall who exhorts you to think of maintaining the established political order, also unnecessary. He does not add to your 'countdown' but also adds little to your information to use. He's mainly a voice to express that letting Stennis be killed would cause mayhem, and no matter the outcome of the investigation, a fair trial would be the safest option.
- Dandelion and Zoltan again, also not necessary. They add little information aside from voicing some opinions to consider. However, they do not add to your countdown, so there is no harm speaking to them.
- You can also speak with Iorveth, but he adds nothing to the quest phases nor countdown.
- You can speak with each person/group multiple times to explore every dialogue option without it adding to the countdown.
It's possible to speak to a total of five groups (Zoltan and Dandelion, The Single Noble and three out of the four other groups) of inquiry before a cutscene triggers and the mob demands Stennis be brought out to face them. However, speaking to three out of the four groups will trigger the cutscene before giving you chance to complete the sub quests. To maximize the experience it is best to talk to the dwarves and the peasants, then leave, finish the two sidequests, then return to Stennis' quarters. Completion of one side quest and returning risks triggering the cutscene without completion of the other.
Upon returning a cutscene will be triggered, wherein Silgrat (of A Score to Settle) will question you in defense of Stennis - depending on how much you found out, you will either automatically counter his arguments, or you must choose between conceding the point ("That's a good question") or supporting Kalten and the mob ("That makes sense"). Following the investigation properly insofar as possible nets you more experience, but in the end Geralt can still make the decision to set the mob loose on the Prince or see that he faces trial without having collected any hard evidence.
If you let the mob lynch the prince, you get the blood right then. If you let him live, you'll later have to convince Henselt to give it to you.
For consequences of this choice see The Decision Checklist.
- It's a shame Philippa didn't demand a crocodile's tears and a sorceress' smile as ingredients of the antidote for Saskia. I believe the witcher would have had an easier time obtaining either of those. As it was, he had to acquire some royal blood - literally. There were only two potential donors in the area: Henselt and Stennis.
- The blood coursing through the veins of Stennis, son of Demavend, was royal without a doubt. When a messenger arrived bearing news of a riot in front of the prince's abode, Philippa dispatched Geralt there immediately. Peasants recruited into the army were accusing Stennis of poisoning Saskia and threatening to lynch him, so there was no time to lose.
- Luckily, Iorveth was faster than Geralt and managed to subdue the excited mob before any blood was shed. Yet the peasants were still furious. Left to their own devices, they would sooner or later force their way into Stennis' house. The witcher decided to see if the accusations of poisoning were justified. He began talking to those gathered in the square and also went inside to speak with the prince.
- The nobility had their opinion, the peasants theirs. The man accused by the nobility was not guilty. They blamed Stennis for poisoning Saskia, as the peasant movements initiated by the Dragonslayer were not to his liking.
- The noble born thought that a peasant bribed by Henselt poisoned Saskia. Serfs are always greedy for coin - the notables standing before Stennis' chamber claimed - they have no honor, they would sell their own mothers for a handful of copper.
- If Geralt finds the peasant:
- Geralt found the allegedly bribed peasant but could not convince him to talk. Well, if bad luck haunts you, you're very likely to find that just when you're ready to get up and dance, the musicians need to leave to take a dump.
- The craftsman claimed that the people of Vergen adored Saskia. Their love was so great, that they had a beautifully adorned goblet fashioned for the Dragonslayer. The dwarf so highly lauded the quality of the adornments inside the goblet that Geralt had a terrible thought: someone could have placed the poison within the goblet, and not in the wine Saskia had consumed.
- If Geralt dissuades the peasants from lynching the prince:
- Geralt ruled that the Virgin of Aedirn should decide Stennis' fate. Of course the peasants did not like it, but nobody was keen on angering a witcher, nor to question Saskia's right to pass judgment. Everyone thought the girl's verdict would be just, that is condemning.
- Stennis was captured and led away under guard. Geralt had only one source of royal blood remaining - Henselt of Kaedwen.
- If Geralt allows the peasants to lynch the prince:
- Geralt passed judgment, and a stern judgment it was! The peasants ripped the prince apart. The death of the rightful heir to Aedirn's throne set in motion events the consequences of which affect us to this day. However, at that moment Geralt could think of nothing but obtaining a vial of royal blood. He hid it away in his jacket pocket as he walked away from the scene of the murder.
In the Enhanced Edition, when you complete The Walls Have Ears and Suspect: Thorak and get to Chapter 3, one or both of these 2 quests may be marked as Failed. You still get the XP because you completed them so it does not seem to matter.
However it does, you will notice this on the game Ending Epilogues. For example: Saskia lives and Stennis (as King Stennis I) lives = Stennis is not mentioned, meaning that the game is truly considering Stennis as killed, but not on the Journal. In other words, Stennis will be revealed that he did order Saskia's poisoning and has recived his well desired coronation. But after he becomes king, he will not be shown trying to oppose Saskia with the support of other kings.
- This quests' ID is q205_royalblood.