The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt takes place in an unforgiving world where you can only choose the lesser evil. There is hardly any quest where you can say that Geralt went away with a happy ending.
“The Whispering Hillock” is one of the main quests that you will find yourself in early on in the game. The quest will start right after you are done with “Ladies of the Wood” in Crookback Bog.
You will encounter a spirit trapped inside an ancient oak tree. Speaking with the Ealdorman will lead you to find that the spirit has been the cause of several deaths in Downwarren, a village located near the swamps in the southern part of Velen.
In the end, you will have to decide whether to kill or free the evil spirit. You might think that killing it is the logical solution considering the number of deaths on its hands. However, it is not that simple.
Both decisions are going to impact the main storyline as well as the world in a heart-wrenching manner. Hence, you need to know beforehand what is going to happen if you decide to free or kill the evil spirit in the ancient tree.
What happens if you release the tree spirit
You need to gather three different items to free the spirit in the tree. You must move outside the cave to find a black horse. Use the objective marker, as it will make the search easy. Upon seeing the horse, do not get too close and use Axii to tame it.
Secondly, you need to have a raven’s feather. You can find one by going to the Harpy nest on the west side of Downwarren. Additionally, you could already have picked one up if you have completed the early quest, helping Johnny.
Lastly, collect the woman’s remains from Crookback Bog, next to the water hag’s area. After collecting all three items, go back to the evil tree.
Once your free the tree spirit, all of the orphans will be saved from the Crones. You will find them taking shelter in Novigrad under the care of Marabella. However, the evil spirit will kill everyone present in the Downwarren village.
Losing the orphans will also make the Crones angry, and they will curse the Baron’s wife by making her a Water Hag. Geralt can remove the curse in the Baron’s questline, but that will kill Anna because the curse was the only thing keeping her alive. The loss of his dear wife will make Baron commit suicide
Can Anna be saved?
If you do not speak with the Ealdorman in the Ladies of the Wood quest and free the tree spirit, everyone in Downwarren will die like before but Anna will not be cursed to become a Water Hag. The orphans will also be saved at the same time.
What happens if you kill the tree spirit
The second choice is to kill the spirit trapped in the tree. You can do this right after completing dialogues with the tree spirit or after collecting the three things mentioned previously. However, in every case, the spirit will call Endrega Workers for protection, but they are easy to defeat.
Eliminate the protectors and concentrate your attacks on the heart of the tree. You will be done with the fight very quickly.
The outcome of this decision will result in the orphans becoming food for the Crones. But in this scenario, you can save the village and the Baron’s wife. However, she will get insane due to her children’s death and will be taken away from Velen by her husband.
The Baron and his daughter take the woman away from Velen so they can heal her. The villagers will escape death and start worshipping the Crones again. But the orphans are not so lucky.
Ultimately, the choice is all yours; you will lose something to save others. If you are not willing to sacrifice the orphans, then be ready to give away the lives of the whole villagers. Let’s leave the decision to you now.