Witcher Lore: Avallac’h

Avallac’h is an elven sage who appears in Witcher 3 as well as the Witcher books. He plays a prominent yet somewhat mysterious role in The Witcher universe.

In this second installment of our Witcher Lore series, we’re going to fully explore Avallac’h’s character in the game and the books. What are his intentions? Is he good or evil? Why is he interested in Ciri?

We’ll also cover other key lore elements like the Elder Blood and the Conjunction of the Spheres.

Disclaimer: While we’ve done our best to avoid spoilers, proceed with extreme caution if you haven’t finished reading the Witcher books or playing Witcher 3’s main questline.

Who is Avallac’h?

Avallac’h, whose full name is Crevan Espane aep Caomhan Macha, is an elven Sage. Sages, also called Knowing Ones, are highly intelligent, powerful elves who can predict the future and use magic.

Avallac’h belongs to the Aen Elle — a tall race of elves that live on a separate world.

The Aen Elle were originally part of the Aen Seidhe elves who currently inhabit the Continent — the world where most of the Witcher games and books take place — but settled on a different world thousands of years ago.

Avallac’h is exceptional because he can travel between Aen Elle and the Continent. He was supposed to marry and have a child with an elf named Lara Dorren, Ciri’s ancestor, and the daughter of Auberon Muircetach, the Aen Elle elf king. Lara carried the Elder Blood, also called the Lara gene. 

This gene was the result of an extensive elven genetic modification project that involved selective breeding and possibly magical intervention. 

Ithlinne’s Prophecy

The Elder Blood is linked to the prophecy of the elven diviner Ithlinne. This prophecy said that the world would end in an Ice Age (the White Frost, which also occurs at the end of the Witcher 3) and the only way to save the elves would be a Child of the Elder Blood. 

A world consumed by the White Frost encountered in the Witcher 3 quest “Through Time and Space.”

This child would also enable the elves to once again open the interdimensional gate they previously used to conquer their current world.

But instead of marrying Avallac’h as planned, Lara fell in love with a human sorcerer named Cregennan of Lod after the Conjunction of Spheres — the event that first brought humans to the Continent.

Their relationship ignited chaos and outrage among humans and elves alike. The humans murdered Cregennan for impregnating Lara, who later died while giving birth to their daughter, Riannon.

Avallac’h and Auberon believe the humans “stole” the Lara gene from the elves when Lara bore Cregennan’s child, shattering their prophecy. 

Avallac’h in The Witcher books

Avallac’h appears in the last two books in the Witcher series: The Tower of the Swallow and The Lady of the Lake.

Avallac’h in The Tower of the Swallow

Geralt first encounters Avallac’h on his journey to find the druids of Caed Dhu. He hoped the druids would be able to help him find Ciri using magic.

 When Geralt ends up with a bounty on his head, he splits off from the traveling party and sends Dandelion, Regis, and Milva to the edge of Toussaint to find the druids.

When the party reconvenes later in the book, Regis delivers a message to Geralt from the druids:

“‘The Witcher-who-is-not-a-witcher will prove he is capable of humility and sacrifice. He will enter the sombre mouth of the earth. Unarmed. Having laid down all weapons, all sharp iron. All sharp thoughts. All aggression, fury, anger and arrogance. He will enter in humility. 

‘And then in the abyss, the humble not-witcher will find answers to the questions which torment him…’”

Geralt insists the message is a hoax. But he descends into the cave to find Avallac’h painting a mural of a purple bison on one of the walls.

When Avallac’h reveals that he knows Geralt’s name, profession, and mission to find Ciri, Geralt concludes that he can foresee the future. 

When asked if he is willing to share his knowledge, Avallac’h launches into a pretentious tirade about the superiority of elves to humans.

The two talk philosophy for a bit before Avallac’h opens the magically sealed passage behind the mural. The elf leads Geralt into Tir ná Béa Arainne. This elven cemetery houses Amell marble statues of prominent elves, including Lara Dorren.

Here, Avallac’h recounts Ithlinne’s Prophecy and the story of Lara’s relationship with Cregennan. He advises Geralt not to seek out Ciri because he will lose her forever anyway.

Avallac’h in The Lady of the Lake

The Aen Elle capital city of Tir ná Lia in Witcher 3.

At the end of The Tower of the Swallow, Ciri unknowingly teleports to the Aen Elle world through the Tower of the Swallow. She enters the tower to escape Nilfgaardian bounty hunter Leo Bonhart. Her journey to the tower is tied to her destiny.

Ciri quickly discovers a magical barrier, created by Avallac’h, imprisoning her in the Aen Elle realm. 

After 8 days of inhabiting the Elves’ capital city, Tir ná Lia, Ciri learns that they wish for her to bear a child with their king, Auberon Muircetach, presumably to fulfill Ithlinne’s Prophecy.

Avallac’h tells her they will not let her return to her world until she does.

She refuses at first, determined to escape on her own — but, seeing no other option, finally agrees. Avallac’h gives Ciri his word that she’ll be free once she fulfills her task, and reminds her that it’s insulting to question an elf’s word.

Not long after this conversation, Ciri makes her way to the stables for her daily ride with her mare. Eredin, an Aen Elle general and the leader of the Red Riders (known as the Wild Hunt to the humans of the Continent), enters the stable. He instructs her to follow him and reveals that Avallac’h lied to her:

“‘They won’t let you leave,’ he repeated. ‘They won’t accept that, contrary to the prophecy and myths, you’re no one and nothing, a meaningless creature. They won’t believe it and they won’t let you leave. They hoodwinked you with a promise to ensure your submission, but they never intended to keep that promise. Never.’

‘Avallac’h gave me his word,’ [Ciri] said hoarsely. ‘Allegedly it’s an insult to doubt the word of an elf.’

‘Avallac’h is a Knowing One. Knowing Ones have their own code of honor in which every second sentence there’s mention of the end justifying the means.’”

We’ll stop there — we don’t want to spoil the rest of the book!

Avallac’h and Lara Dorren

The pain Avallac’h endured from losing Lara Dorren still affects him. In the books, Avallac’h alludes to their relationship while talking to Geralt:

“…Lara Dorren wasn’t an ordinary she-elf. She was genetic potential. Especially prepared. The results of many years’ work. In combination with another charge — an elven one, naturally — she was meant to bear an even more special child. Engaging with the seed of man, she ruined that chance, wasted hundreds of years’ planning and preparation. At least so it was thought at the time.”

Aside from his own personal pain at losing Lara to a human, her union with Cregennan derailed the elves’ carefully laid plans for fulfilling the prophecy.

In the Aen Elle world, Ciri becomes frustrated with how long her task is taking and accuses Avallac’h of cheating her. When she mentions that Auberon said she has Lara’s eyes, he snaps:

“‘…Oh, I know, I see who you are. You are not the daughter of Lara. You are the daughter of Cregennan. You are a thoughtless, arrogant, selfish Dh’oine, a simply perfect representative of your race, who understands nothing, and must ruin and destroy, besmirch by touch alone, denigrate and defile by thought alone. Your ancestor stole my love from me, took her away from me, selfishly and arrogantly took Lara from me. But I shall not permit you, O his worthy daughter, to take the memory of her from me.”

Although elves might not experience love the same way as humans, it’s clear that Avallac’h cared about Lara. Moreover, her abandoning Avallac’h for a human, a race he views as inferior, is painful and still affects him.

Avallac’h in Witcher 3

Avallac’h’s storyline in Witcher 3 deviates slightly from the book lore. In the game, Avallac’h’s imprisonment of Ciri and attempts to get her pregnant by Auberin is mentioned only briefly. In any case, Ciri appears to have gotten over it and trusts him.

Avallac’h saves her from the Wild Hunt by hiding her on The Isle of Mists. He also helps Ciri control her new powers after the Battle of Kaer Morhen.

However, at the beginning of Act III, Ciri and Yennefer reveal to Geralt that Avallac’h has a secret laboratory in Skellige. Avallac’h wanted to teleport back there to get something but forbade Ciri from going with him.

Geralt, who is wary of Avallac’h’s intentions throughout the game, agrees to explore the lab with Yennefer and Ciri. They discover a large genealogy tree and extensive notes charting the Lara gene and Avallac’h’s attempts to replicate it. 

They also find a female Aen Elle elf who reveals Avallac’h has told her “a great deal” about Ciri. 

She regards Ciri with disgust, calling her a “degenerate half-breed” whose only purpose to Avallac’h is to help him with his task. After Ciri “does what she must”, the elf claims that Avallac’h will finally be free of her.

When Geralt confronts Avallac’h, he claims his goal was to protect Ciri and all carriers of the Lara gene. 

If Geralt mentions the female who claimed Avallac’h hated Ciri, he denies this, but retorts, “You really don’t expect me to reveal my feelings to you?”

Finally, near the end of the game during the quest “Tedd Deireadh, The Final Age” Avallac’h helps Ciri end the White Frost that’s occurring due to the second Conjunction of the Spheres.

What are Avallac’h’s Intentions?

Avallac’h’s true intentions both in the books and The Witcher 3 are as mysterious as the elf himself. 

Conjuction of Spheres, Ithlinne’s Prophecy, and the Elves

To fully understand Avallach’s goal, we need to first talk about other lore elements like Ithlinne’s Prophecy and the Conjunction of the Spheres.

The Conjunction of the Spheres was the cataclysmic event responsible for humans, monsters, and magic appearing on the Continent. Prior to that, the Continent was inhabited by the elves, who controlled Ard Gaeth, or the Gates Between Worlds, also known as the Forbidden Doors. 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/witcher/images/7/7a/Gwent_cardart_monsters_ard_gaeth.png/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/340?cb=20200630134855
Ard Gaeth interdimensional gates.

Some of the elves used these gates to travel to another world.

When the Conjunction of the Spheres happened, the gates closed, separating the elves into two groups: the Aen Elle who traveled to the other world, and the Aen Seidhe who stayed behind on the Continent.

According to Ithlinne’s Prophecy, a White Frost (essentially, an Ice Age) will come to the Continent, ending the world and eradicating the humans.

Only the child of the Swallow — Ciri’s child — will have the power to open the gates and save the Aen Seidhe elves from this calaclysm.

Avallac’h’s Intentions in the Books

On the surface, Avallac’h’s main goal throughout the books is to marry Auberon and Ciri to produce the Child of the Elder Blood and fulfill Ithlinne’s Prophecy.

Auberon, Avallac’h, and other Aen Elle claim they want to reopen the gates to save their Aen Seidhe cousins from the White Frost. Avallac’h also tells Ciri that they plan to save not just the elves but also the humans.

Later on, Ciri discovers an enslaved human in the Tir ná Lia stables of the Aen Elle world, realizing that humans originally inhabited the Aen Elle world. She also encounters a sea of human remains in a ravine.

It becomes apparent that the Aen Elle killed all of the humans on their current world. However, it’s not clear whether this was done in revenge for Lara, or simply to prevent the fate of the Aen Seidhe on the Continent, who became second-class citizens in their own world when the humans arrived after the Conjunction.

How can Ciri trust that Avallac’h, who makes no secret of his disdain for humans, really plans to save them from the White Frost, too?

Ciri concludes that Avallac’h used her as a means to an end — to save his people and make it possible for them to travel between worlds once again.

Avallac’h’s Intentions in Witcher 3

Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t finished the main questline, we encourage you to scroll past this section.

Avallac’h seems more reputable and trustworthy in the games. Because the Tower of the Swallow story is omitted from the games, the player learns little of the canon lore behind his character. (Excluding his research on and fascination with the Lara gene.)

It’s true that Avallac’h sacrifices himself by hiding Ciri away on the Isle of Mists before The Wild Hunt curses him. 

He’s transformed into a disfigured-looking humanoid creature nicknamed “Uma”, short for Ugliest Man Alive. Had he not encountered Geralt, the curse might never have been lifted.

However, the player later learns his motivation was to protect Ciri’s genes. He likely didn’t sacrifice himself because he cared for her outside of that. 

One might surmise that he does care for her because she’s the descendant of Lara Dorran — however, this is at odds with his disdain for humans.

Avallac’h’s reason for teaching Ciri to control her powers likely serves what he considers to be the greater good: preventing the destruction her powers might cause. 

Protecting Ciri from the dangerous effects of her uncontrolled power, like severe mental illness, is only a secondary benefit, not his primary motive.

Ciri and Avallac’h: Forbidden Romance?

https://i2.wp.com/oyster.ignimgs.com/mediawiki/apis.ign.com/the-witcher-3/d/df/Skellige_BattlePrep_Ciri_Drawing.png?w=825&ssl=1
Drawings of Ciri in Avallac’h’s lab.

Some fans also speculate that Avallac’h fancies Ciri in the Witcher 3 because she shares Lara Dorran’s features. The main piece of evidence for this is the drawings you find in Avallac’h’s lab that look a lot like Ciri.

It’s a plausible theory, although it’s not clear whether this romantic interest would be the main or secondary reason for why he goes through so much trouble to help Ciri.

Others also claim its Ciri that has a crush on Avallac’h in the game. The fact that she seems to trust him even after Avallac’h essentially imprisoned her and tried to force her to have a child does suggest that she may have feelings for him.

There’s also the fact that Ciri gets visibly upset when the female elf at Avallac’h’s lab implies that he is only interested in Ciri for his work and can’t wait to be rid of her. Ciri is in fact so mad after meeting her she wants to destroy the lab.

Is Avallac’h Good or Evil?

Now that we have some idea of Avallac’h and his goals, it’s a good time to ask the big question: is he evil or good? The answer depends on the perspective.

To the elves, Avallac’h is serving and protecting his people, working to fulfill the prophecy that will save the Aen Seidhe and enable the Aen Elle to travel between worlds again.

To the humans, Avallac’h imprisoning Ciri and forcing her to bear a child is a deplorable act. Not to mention the Aen Elle’s treatment of humans in their own world. 

There’s also the difference between the books and the game. It’s easier to call Avallac’h evil in the Witcher books because we learn about his imprisonment of Ciri and nasty attitude towards humans.

Meanwhile, in Witcher 3, his backstory with Ciri is only briefly mentioned and Avallac’h’s main contribution is protecting Ciri and helping stop the White Hunt and the White Frost. So he looks more like the good guy.

Ultimately, Avallac’h is a complex character, and it’s impossible to describe him as completely good or evil.

What do you think? Is Avallac’h ruthless, racist, and power-hungry, or is he just doing what he has to do to protect his fellow elves? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.


Interested in more Witcher 3 lore? Check out our piece on Gaunter O’dimm, the mysterious villain of Witcher 3’s Hearts of Stone expansion. After that, read up on the Nilfgaardian Empire and its emperor and learn more about Vesemir, the oldest living Witcher and Geralt’s mentor.

About Mel Lee-Smith

Mel Lee-Smith is a freelance writer, managing editor, and Witcher nerd. She usually spends her free time slaying monsters, playing Gwent, and foraging for herbs in Beauclair. She's currently replaying TW3 NewGame+ on DeathMarch.

5 thoughts on “Witcher Lore: Avallac’h”

  1. Avallac’h’s background in Tower of the Swallow/LOTL is mentioned: both by Ciri – who acknowledges what Avallac’h did but “has gotten over it” when in conversation with Ge’els after the quest Through Time and Space – and by Avallac’h himself in conversation with Geralt where Geralt accuses him of having imprisoned Ciri the first time he met her (to which Avallac’h replies: “I did not imprison her. It was her Destiny.”

    You are omitting that Avallac’h actually spoils the ending of the books to Geralt under Tir na Bea Arainne. Which means he must have had an inkling that Ciri escapes from Tir na Lia. He is not lying to Geralt: Geralt WILL lose Ciri forever in the end of the books. And these are interesting details, since he does absolutely nothing to impede Geralt under Mount Gorgon.

    Why wouldn’t elves and Sages be able to experience romantic love?

    The fact that Aen Elle used the Gate of Time to travel to other worlds and conquer them is untrue. The book gives no such information – the only known instance is in the world of the Aen Elle but not anywhere else. Auberon makes it sound like they were used to leaving places that became boring/no longer suited them. Nowhere is it mentioned they enslaved and conquered everywhere they went.

    We also don’t know why Aen Elle killed the humans of their world – was it policy (not to end up like Seidhe on the Continent), was it revenge for Lara’s death? We don’t know. We do know that they took an entirely indifferent view to humans in the world of the Witcher and left it preferring instead someplace more interesting.

    As to Ciri having a crush on Avallac’h – that is pretty obvious in the game. Since the connection between the books and the games is never denied, she knows Avallac’h is in it for her genes. She finds nothing new in the lab. Yet she gets super upset anyway – she is jealous, in other words. She also outright states to Geralt she wishes she would have stayed in the world where Eredin couldn’t find them with Avallac’h. Avallac’h on the other hand draws pictures of her (no they are not of Lara Dorren – Geralt has seen the statue of Lara at Tir na Bea Arainne – he knows the difference), he risks everything for her, clearly doesn’t “hate her” in the conventional sense and so on. It’s a Love/Hate type thing and the details written into the game are not uninentional, illustrating well how Ciri has a tendency to come to lean on just about anybody due to her PTSD and abandonment issues.

    Reply
    • Excellent points, I made some edits, thanks for the detailed comment Josh. I only played the games and missed the part about Avallac’h’s backstory mentioned during the portal quest. What do you think about Avallac’h’s portrayal in the game? Is it faithful to the books?

      Reply
    • Thanks for reading and taking the time to write such a detailed comment! My apologies for missing some things. Even though I was poring over the books while writing this, I clearly missed a few things. I love the Witcher and don’t want anything to be inaccurate, so I really appreciate this.

      Thank you for pointing out that the tower was mentioned in the games. I couldn’t recall it either, like Nathonas. It’s a brief mention in a huge game.

      I would like to point out a few things, though. The original post didn’t say elves couldn’t experience romantic love at all; it said they might not experience romantic love in the same way as humans. Which is true, especially considering that Avallac’h mentions that elves get bored of each other and mate with humans in The Tower of the Swallow. But in hindsight, this is only a minor observation anyway.

      Also, according to the Witcher Wiki, the Aen Elle did use the Ard Gaeth to travel between worlds and conquer them: “Aen Elle controlled one or more such Gates once, which they used to leave the Continent and conquer other worlds.”

      As for the books, Auberon does confirm in The Lady of the Lake that the elves traveled between several worlds, although he doesn’t mention specifics:

      “We, unlike our cousins, the Aen Seidhe, left that world long ago. We chose another, more interesting universe. For at that time — you will be astonished by what I say — one could move quite freely between the worlds. With a little talent and skill, naturally. Beyond all doubt you understand what I have in mind.”

      Then later, he says, “We used to say to ourselves, what’s the difference, we’ll spend some time here, some time there, so what if the Dh’oine insist on destroying this world along with themselves? We’ll go somewhere else…”

      As for Ciri’s crush, sure, there’s some suggestion there, but to me personally, it didn’t feel overt enough to draw a concrete conclusion. She obviously cares for Avallac’h deeply. He saved her life more than once, they traveled together for a long time. He did make an incredible sacrifice by allowing himself to bear the curse. But the nature of her feelings for him are unclear. I guess that all comes down to perspective and interpretation though. Which is the beauty of playing the games — everyone experiences them differently and draws different conclusions. 🙂

      Reply

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