"The Voice of Reason" (Polish: Głos rozsądku) is a short story written by Andrzej Sapkowski and, while the first one in The Last Wish, is also technically the framing story and is thus divided into seven parts throughout the book.
The Voice of Reason 1
The scene is followed by the short story "The Witcher".
The Voice of Reason 2
Part 2 begins with Nenneke waking Geralt and Iola up. The girl quickly leaves, and the elder priestess and the witcher talk while Nenneke checks Geralt's injuries. She chides him for 'losing his touch', for letting himself get hurt so badly by an ordinary striga. Meanwhile, Geralt's stand on faith and belief is made clear.
Later on the temple grounds, the cult of Melitele is described as Geralt walks the pathways looking for both Iola and Nenneke.
He finds Nenneke and they discuss faith once again. The priestess tries to get Geralt to agree on a trance, for she senses something 'wrong' about the man. He refuses, arguing that his lack of faith would make such an attempt pointless. She merely remarks that it would be the first time lack of faith would have any power at all.
This segues into the short story A Grain of Truth.
The Voice of Reason 3
Part 3 opens with the introductions of Falwick, count of Moën and Sir Tailles of Dorndal, both knights of the Order of the White Rose, on a mission from Prince Hereward. Nenneke doesn't like either of them, her remarks growing more scathing the more Tailles revels in his youthful righteousness. The knights demand that Geralt leave immediately; Nenneke counters by telling them that the temple is not under the jurisdiction of any duke. Tailles sees red, and throws down his gauntlet, demanding a duel with Geralt. Nenneke ignores the gesture, calmly telling the adolescent to pick up what he dropped.
The knights leave with a promise to return, throwing one of Geralt's many aliases, Butcher of Blaviken, into the conversation, thus introducing the third short story, The Lesser Evil.
The Voice of Reason 4
Part 4 is a monologue without any description other than Geralt's own, while he's sitting with the silent Iola in the gardens of the temple. Geralt tells her about witchers, how they came to be, about Kaer Morhen and Vesemir. About destiny and how he shouldn't have stuck his spoon into that soup, cuing the short story A Question of Price.
The Voice of Reason 5
Part 5 introduces Dandelion, Geralt's faithful friend. Nenneke says she despises him, but the witcher and the bard get along very well. Having hit a patch of blues, Geralt wonders out loud about the sorry state of witchers, about how he can barely make a living anymore. Dandelion doles out some words of wisdom, which lead to him asking Geralt if he remembers the events at "the Edge of the World".
The Voice of Reason 6
Part 6 takes place in the crystal-roofed caves on the temple grounds, where the air is humid and an astonishing variety of both rare and ordinary plants and herbs grow. While Nenneke tends the flora, the priestess and Geralt discuss Yennefer. The witcher wishes to give part of the reward he received for the striga to the temple, and asks Nenneke if she would forward the rest, a few gems to Yennefer, to help her finance her search for "a cure". Nenneke refuses to work as an intermediary, and they argue about Yennefer and her situation. The priestess pleads with Geralt to stay on a while longer at the temple to heal, bringing up the idea of a trance again. He refuses, again.
Finally, Nenneke asks about how this thing between the witcher and the sorceress began, setting up The Last Wish.
The Voice of Reason 7
Unlike the others, part 7 happens outside the safety of the temple walls. Geralt and Dandelion are riding down a road, when they're suddenly surrounded and stopped by lancers, knights of the Order of the White Rose, and the captain of Hereward's guards, a dwarf named Dennis Cranmer. Geralt is forced to either accept Tailles' earlier challenge, or face the gallows. The rules of the duel further state that if Geralt even touches Tailles with his sword, the witcher will be made to suffer a slow death.
Geralt accepts the challenge, and the duel is short with the witcher easily evading the inept slashing of the adolescent. The duel ends as their blades meet and Geralt's block causes Tailles' own blade to slash his face. Falwick, seeing that the boy was injured, demands that the footmen seize Geralt, but Cranmer stops him stating that the rules of the duel were fulfilled "to the letter", and that Geralt is free to go.
After a not so fond farewell to the representatives of the Order and a much fonder farewell to Dennis, Geralt and Dandelion leave. The witcher plans his route with Dandelion as they go. They make a brief stop back at the temple where Nenneke informs them that she has restocked Geralt's box of elixirs. Iola appears and brings the box to the witcher. As their hand touch, the girl is whisked away by a vision (or has an epileptic seizure).
Nenneke and the other acolytes try to calm her. Once the fit subsides, Nenneke instructs the younger priestesses to take Iola to her room and watch her. She then turns to Geralt as if to plead one last time that he undergo a trance, but the witcher merely comments that he's seen it before, that there's no point in watching over one's shoulder. Still, the priestess begs him to stay.
- Ciri (mentioned)
- Dennis Cranmer
- Ermellia (mentioned)
- Hereward (mentioned)
- Lunin (mentioned)
- Roderick de Novembre (mentioned)
- Striga (mentioned)
- Tyrss (mentioned)
- Vesemir (mentioned)
- Yennefer (mentioned)