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Bestiary: wraith

There are many theories regarding the origins of wraiths. Many people believe that they are the souls of those who left some unfinished business behind and now are doomed to wander the earth, waiting for someone to give them peace. Theologists have been long disputing if one becomes a wraith as a punishment, or is someone else’s ill will to be blamed.

The witchers are often summoned to hauntings, so we are experts in that field. And the answer to the question “where do wraiths come from” is: it depends. Sometimes a wraith is in fact bound to a specific place and can’t leave until some relevant conditions are met. In most cases you only have to find the deceased remains and burn them. Sometimes it can be more complicated than that and one has to first perform rites that will allow the wraith move on from the mortal realm. It can be anything, really: bringing the wraith a lost possession; bringing its descendant, so the deceased can say farewells; punishing its murderer.

Very often it turns out that the wraith is a personification of negative emotions that left an echo in a specific location. When we speak with such a wraith, we don’t communicate with the deceased, but with an immaterial simulacrum, made of hatred and regret. Such a construct will kill and feed on fear for as long as someone stops it. How to do it? First, one has to entrap a wraith in a circle made with an yrden sign. It’s not easy, since such creatures are usually quick and cunning. When the deed is done, one has to finish the job with a silver sword, covered in specter oil just for good measure.

— Reihard, a Manticore School witcher


Blackguards! Evil-doers! Heathens! Such people become wraiths when they die. Before that they lived a vile life, full of misdeeds. No wonder then that a well-deserved punishment befell them. Now, they’re doomed to wander this vale of tears, full of hatred and jealousy towards all life. They will not find peace and will endure only pain until they atone for their sins.

Remember, my children, a wraith is dangerous and wants to harm its once fellow men. During a moonless night, when the evil is in its full power, it’s very hard to banish a wraith. But fear not! The light of the Eternal Fire will cast out the damned one. With a prayer on your lips, you can make a wraith hesitate, comprehend its sins and turn its face towards the light!

— Zdavko, a priest of the Eternal Fire, killed by a wraith while performing a failed exorcism in the crypt of Hierarch Farnos.


I told Blind Pavo: “That tomb is haunted, let’s leave it be”. But no, the dumb son of a whore wouldn’t budge and ordered us all to go in there. And? And I’m the only one still alive. As soon as we broke in, a hell was unleashed. Screams, howling… Something caught Small Lars and threw him with such force that he’s fuckin’ neck just broke. It was a slaughterhouse, I tell ya. I ran away, not looking back – being loyal to your gang is one thing, but we’re talking about me life.

A week later I had a conversation with one magician. I asked him about that crypt. He spew out some drivel about ‘murals’ and ‘elven cultural heritage’. And I got it. That crypt belonged to some elven witch, who even in death still hated us, people. Well, fuck it. It’s a shame about the boys, but if anyone asks me to break into an unchecked tomb again, I will gently tell him: “Kiss my arse, ya git”.

— Bors, a thief from Dorian

Piotr Kucharski

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