The histories of every world, even the Continent, are rife with tragedies, of love’s loss and lives ended too soon. Yet, few tragedies sting with a bite like that of the tragedy of Lara Dorren. This Aen Elle princess was born in Tir ná Lia, but her life was not filled with the customary leisure afforded to the princesses of the Aen Seidhe. Lara’s birth and her life were but the byproduct of the Elder Blood selective-breeding experimentations begun among the Aen Elle by her father, King Auberon, upon seeing the devolution of the Aen Seidhe. Motives may have been fear, and actions may have been vile, yet they birthed the most potent form of the Elder Blood seen in an age with the young Princess Lara.
While little is known of her childhood, experiments were likely done on her to test her Elder Blood capabilities, resulting in the more potent Elder Blood gene that she possessed. The nature of the experiments and horrors done to her in her early life is unknown. However, any genetic manipulation in this era was the byproduct of horrors beyond imagination. Despite this, Lara was given an incredible education, her skill in magic and history reaching skills due the prestigious title of Aen Saevherne.
Once Lara reached maturity, she was promised to the powerful sage Avallac’h in hopes that their offspring would manifest a stronger form of the Elder Blood gene. Their planned marriage may have been the byproduct of royal decree, but their relationship managed to produce love nevertheless. Avallac’h adored Lara, willing to go to any lengths to protect her and her eventual descendant, Ciri, with everything he had. While it’s unknown whether or not this love was ever shared by Lara, she never directed any malice or ill intent at Avallac’h. She merely loved another.
As a bearer of the Elder Blood, Lara could freely traverse the universes with ease. The motivation for the choice of destination is unknown, but on one such excursion, Lara ventured to the realm of the Aen Seidhe upon the Continent. While based on no tangible evidence whatsoever, it’s plausible to assume that she was curious either about her evolutionary cousins, the Aen Seidhe, or about the homeworld of her servants, the humans. It was here that Lara encountered Cregennan of Lod, a human mage of unbelievable talent. Their relationship soon turned to love and passion, any responsibilities of race or lineage cast aside for any chance to be together.
While the Aen Seidhe took no issue with their union, the humans took great offense to their coupling; it infuriated them. Both hiding from the Wild Hunt – likely sent to reclaim their princess – and from the humans that wished to end the abomination that was their affair, these two lovers fled. The wrath of humanity only deepened upon the revelation that Lara was with child, a sacrilegious half-breed growing within her womb. With the support of the government, Cregennan was accused of treason, sedition, race-mixing, and elven sympathies, leading to a sentence of death. A group of humans hunting the lovers discovered them and slaughtered Cregennan, though Lara managed to escape.
With her escape came a great blizzard, the likes of which the Northern Kingdoms had not seen for an age. Lara struggled through the ice and snow, fighting for every breath taken and every step reached. Her soon-to-be-born child depended upon her mother’s fortitude. Before this beaten and harrowed mother could find shelter to safely birth her child, the next generation called, demanding freedom. There, upon a frosty forested hilltop near the Redanian Capital of Tretogor, Lara’s final labor began. Her final moments are described by the elves as follows:
“When a severe frost descended in the night, Lara breathed her last on the forested hilltop, giving birth to a tiny daughter, whom she protected with the remains of the warmth still flickering in her. And though she was surrounded by the blizzard, the night and the winter, spring suddenly bloomed on the hilltop and feainnewedd flowers blossomed. Even today do those flowers bloom in only two places: in Dol Blathanna and on the hilltop where Lara Dorren . . . perished.”
So passed Lara Dorren, Aen Elle princess. Yet, her daughter Riannon survived, her bloodline introducing the Elder Blood gene into humanity. The death of Lara incited a bloody war betwixt the humans and the elves, deepening racial tensions and causing immense atrocities to be committed by both races through the 13th century.
While none exemplify grief, heartache, and tragedy like Lara Dorren, so do none exemplify villainy, treachery, or violence like Falka, the Princess of Redania. Before her infamous rebellion, which left countless dead in gruesome fashion, Falka was sent away to Kovir by her father at the tender age of one, when he met a new wife to replace Falka’s mother. Falka’s mother was not the only one to soon be replaced, as Falka too was replaced as princess and daughter in her infant home. Cerro, the new Queen of Redania, adopted the orphaned daughter of Lara, Riannon. Though not a blood relative, Riannon was raised as one with the family, benefiting from all the titles and power afforded such a position. As was customary for such a position, Riannon was betrothed and wed to a foreign royal, the King of Temeria. Riannon may have begun life as the shunned half-elf offspring of exiled parents, but she soon rose to heights befitting her mother’s birthright.
Falka and Riannon likely never met as children and shared no blood. Still, there was one trait consistent amongst these adopted sisters: they both had a substantial propensity for madness. Riannon’s later insanity came with a complete detachment from reality, unobservant of the events transpiring around her. However, Falka’s insanity was far more tangible and devastating.
Twenty-five years after her banishment from her rightful place as Princess of Redania, Falka returned with vengeance in her heart and bloodlust in her soul. It is said that with her own hands, she slaughtered her father, Queen Cerro, and her two half-brothers. This single violent night began one of the most devasting and bloody rebellions in history. Falka passed into legend as a bloodthirsty demon. Her banners carried violent decrees such as “Death To Kings,” “Death To Priests, Nobility, Gentry and Anybody Well-To-Do,” and “Death To Sorcerers.” Some scholars believe this legend was an unfair moniker, alleging that it was more likely that Falka merely lost control of a mob. Regardless, her actions led to one of the bloodiest eras in human history.
At the height of her rebellion, Falka maintained control over her generals and advisers with her womanly wiles, simultaneously satisfying her physical desires. From some unknown father, she was impregnated with a bastard. At the same time, in a distant Termerian castle, Riannon began carrying a set of twins. Falka’s Rebellion then came for Riannon’s home. Riannon was imprisoned with her children in Castle Houtborg. With little inclination towards motherhood, Falka cast off her newborn child into the care of Riannon, famously declaring, “Only queens were worthy of the honour of being wet nurses to my bastards.”
It was here when Riannon’s insanity set in, distorting her perception to such a degree that she could not tell her twins apart from Falka’s bastard. Even years later, once her madness was cured, Riannon could not recall which children were hers and which were Falka’s. Once the rebellion was crushed, and Falka was burned at the stake for her crimes, two of these children died, but no one knew which two. Perhaps as a result of grief or her own madness, Riannon, too, passed away, leaving no one to differentiate the surviving child from the two deceased.
Centuries later, it was proven that the surviving heir was indeed one of Riannon’s children, not Falka’s bastard. Through lost generations, convoluted bloodlines of activator and latent genes, and accidental incest, the Elder Bloodline descended from Lara and Riannon through the decades to Pavetta, Princess of Cintra and mother of Ciri, the powers of the Elder Blood reawakening within her.
So ends the prehistory of The Witcher, and so begins the tale of Geralt of Rivia, Cirilla of Cintra, and Yennifer of Vengerberg. Yennifer was born in 1173, with Geralt’s birth following a year later, and Ciri came in 1252. The events depicted in the Witcher novels take place between 1248 and 1268. The games follow immediately thereafter, from 1269 through 1275.
There is little hope that the coming Netflix prequel, Witcher: Blood Origin, will follow the road map laid out for them in the Witcher histories and lore. Without a canonical Conjunction of the Spheres and a noticeable difference between pre- and post-Conjunction elves, the motivations for the Aen Elle and the Wild Hunt will fall apart. Additionally, without this canonical Conjunction, the selective breeding that led to Lara’s stronger Elder Blood abilities will cease to make sense, thereby destroying any possibility that Lara’s story will be canonical. Without the more potent Elder Blood gene in Lara’s descendants, the Wild Hunt no longer has any reason to hunt down Ciri and force her to have an incestuous relationship with Lara’s father, the king of the Aen Elle elves.
Blood Origin may work internally, but it will certainly destroy all continuity within the main Witcher TV show. The many events described in this lore breakdown cannot happen in a single time frame, as Blood Origin has been confirmed to do. The books are still pure, with lore and history that track in a logical fashion. At least fans have that to fall back on as they soundly reject the abomination that has become Netflix’s Witcher universe.