The Witcher: Who Kidnapped the Girls from Aretuza?

Image Credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix

The third season of Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ follows Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer as they travel across the Continent, escaping their enemies, who have increased exponentially. Their main concern is Rience, a mage who wields powerful fire magic and has been chasing after Ciri to capture her for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, strange things have been happening at Aretuza, where girls have been disappearing without a trace. When it comes to Triss’ attention, she tries to share her concerns with Tissaia, but no one pays attention to her. It isn’t until Yennefer comes to Aretuza and puts all the pieces together that she realizes something sinister has been going on there. SPOILERS AHEAD

Vilgefortz: The Mastermind Behind the Kidnappings

Image Credit: Susie Allnutt/ Netflix

The young girls at Aretuza were training to be sorceresses, a training that required them to work exceptionally hard and give up comfort on all levels. Sometimes, some girls couldn’t survive the hardships and ran away from Aretuza. When Triss notices that girls are going missing one by one, Tissaia shrugs it off. She has been at Aretuza long enough to know that it is not an uncommon thing. At first, Triss thinks Tissaia is right, but then she finds blood in one of the missing girls’ rooms, which strikes her as odd.

Meanwhile, Geralt tracks down Rience to the scarlet ammonite mines in West Redania. He doesn’t find the mage, but he finds a girl, Teryn, who looks a lot like Ciri and even believes she is Ciri. Three other girls like her were kidnapped and held captive in the castle, but the mage cut off their heads from their bodies and turned them into a monster, which Geralt kills. Geralt is baffled by Teryn’s situation and takes her to Anika, where he discovers that Teryn was kidnapped by someone in Aretuza.

This proves that whoever is kidnapping the girls is also Rience’s mysterious employer. Yennefer puts two and two together and concludes that the mysterious mage must be Stregobor. On the night of the party preceding the conclave, she sneaks into Stregobor’s office. In his safe, she finds the belongings of the missing girls. In her visions, she sees Stregobor snatching those things from the girls. She also realizes that all the missing girls were half-elf and that Stregobor kept a record of them.

Image Credits: Jay Maidment/ Netflix

Stregobor’s hatred for half-elves like Yennefer is well-known, which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that he is kidnapping half-elf girls and experimenting on them. Stregobor admits his hatred but doesn’t confess to kidnapping the girls. However, the evidence is against him, and he is imprisoned to face a trial after the conclave is over. Yennefer and Geralt are relieved to have solved this mystery. However, later, as they go over the events of the party, they realize that they were wrong about Stregobor.

While Stregobor hated half-elf and snatched the girls’ belongings, he didn’t harm them. He is also not Rience’s employer. It’s Vilgefortz. He kidnapped the girls. He took them to the abandoned castle where he experimented mind control on them. He is the one who hired Rience to go after Ciri, and he is the one who Lydia has been working for. He has slipped into the shadows because he has been masquerading as the good guy who wants nothing but peace. Because no one has any reason to suspect him, he passes under everyone’s radar.

It is after Yennefer and Geralt talk about what happened at the party that they get all the pieces of the story. Geralt notices that Tissaia’s bracelet, which was given to her by Vilgefortz, is made of the same stuff that Lydia’s earrings were made of. The material is a scarlet ammonite, which Geralt saw in the mines around the castle where Teryn was held captive. Another connection is made by Yennefer, who was attacked while returning from Redania. She used a portal that couldn’t be accessed by anyone else. However, someone botched it and tried to kill her by transporting her to a place later identified as the one depicted in The First Landing, Vilgefortz’s favorite painting. This proves that Stregobor is innocent and Vilgefortz is the true perpetrator of these horrific crimes.

Read More: Who is Rience Working For?