A journey through the Journey - Part 2: Weapons, auras and 2-D cosmetics
Gwen’ts Journey and our journey through it is far from over, now that we had a break we can continue our travels and have a look on the rest of the cosmetics. We can still dwell in the fond memories of our first part of the travel where we already discussed Ciri’s skins and head cosmetics, but each Journey has to continue and eventually come to an end.
You can click the card names to see their premium versions.
All card art and premiums were taken from The Voice of Gwent.
You can view all the cosmetics on the dedicated Journey page of the official website.
The weapon skin which comes together with the standard Ciri on Journey level 1 is called “Gwyhyr”, which is not to be mistaken for the name of the sword itself. Instead it is the name for old Gnomish swords which craftsmanship remains unsurpassed to this day. This means the Silver Zireael you can unlock is a Gwyhr, namely the one Geralt gifts Ciri in what is considered the “good ending” of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
The next unlockable weapon would be a one handed axe, meant to suit the Skellige Skin. As we already wrote in our article about female Skellige leaders, the animations for this one-handed axe still use the move set of a hand-and-a-half sword, so they look extremely awkward. The axe itself is fine, but Ciri handling it kills the whole skin for me.
The wooden training sword may not look like much, but has a nice little Easter Egg to it: The words “Winds Howling” are carved into the blade, making it a reference to Geralt’s occasional comments on the weather while idling in The Witcher 3. Those weather comments themselves are tied to old Slavic religions, where weather changes held a lot of meaning. Howling winds specifically were considered heralds of something bad that was about to happen – and Ciri certainly did not have it easy after leaving Kaer Morhen.
The Nilfgaardian Sword you can unlock seems more like a ceremonial weapon than actually meant for combat. It would be a waste to use a sword with golden inlays and the overall flashy design in battle. This is further emphasised by its similarity to a Gwent card from Beta.
A Katana which fits the Japanese theme of the Ronin outfit is the last weapon to unlock. In fact there are two versions, where the latter has an added blood effect to its blade. While I can appreciate war and bloodshed, Poppy thinks the blood is a tad too much and it would have looked better with just the recolour and a clean blade.
Auras is a new type of cosmetics introduced with Ciri’s Journey, poor Geralt did not have this option in his one. While the category per se a good idea, not all of them appeal to me. I do like the snow and the light shaft auras, as both of them are a nice subtle addition to the leader model. If you use Ciri’s Skellige skin the light snow really adds to the overall spirit of the Isles. The light shafts go well with the yellow Ronin outfit, as taking a walk in the sunshine while wearing such a nice dress truly is pleasing – not only visually. The cherry blossom petals have the same vibe to them. While I adore this rain of blossoms, I would have liked to have it separated from the tails, making those two cosmetics. Another tail version without the glow would have been appreciated as well, the fancy version only matches the Scarlet Ronin outfit. But how it does! In fact Scarlet Ronin with tails, mask and Nilfgaardian sword is my favourite combination. <3 And yet the red glow looks somewhat misplaced in combination with the other options.
This leaves us with two auras to have a look at: Nova and Swallows. While the swallow aura’s effect looks gorgeous and has a Saovine-fitting eerie touch to them, it is just too much. All the particles and effects of the Nova aura are even more over the top. The focus should lie on the pretty leader skins battlefield, and those auras are too distracting for my taste.
Titles, borders and avatars
Of course all of the titles are Ciri-related. “Lion Cub of Cintra” for example is a nickname for Ciri, as she is Calanthe’s granddaughter who was known as the Lioness of Cintra. “Ashen One” deserves a special mention, as it is one of many references to other popular media in Gwent: The term might refer to Ciri’s hair colour, but the title is a rather obvious pointer towards the Dark Souls video game series, where most NPCs address the protagonist with it.
When it comes to avatars and borders, we have some more or less obvious combinations like the Kaer Morhen Adept avatar and the Kaer Morhen border. But I do urge you to experiment with them and find your own style. The various colours of the swallow-portal combination are similar to the Witcher Signs combinations in Geralt’s Journey. While it is nice to have different colours for every taste, unlike the signs they are essentially just that: Recolours with no change whatsoever. But there are some avatars we want to highlight:
The Cirilla Fiona Ellen Riannon avatar is, as the name already gives away, taken from an official occasion: It is part of a whole painting made by a royal artist at the court of Cintra, where they put Ciri in this utterly adorable yet impractical dress. While I would love to pat her head like this (Those little ribbons are so cute!) she looks not happy at all. While we are at the topics of paintings: The Painting of Ciri by Viceroy Ge’els looks quite surreal and just like Pablo Picasso would have been tasked to draw her. If you are an avid reader of our blog, you surely remember our BeggArt article where we already discussed this style.
The last avatar we want to discuss is also the last avatar of the standard Journey: Ciri depicted in the Japanese style of the Ronin skin. Ciri is depicted in the traditional makeup of a Geisha (female Japanese entertainer) consisting of the foundation oshiroi(白粉 – “white powder”) and red lipstick known as beni. The avatar itself also mimics the style of old Japanese paintings.
Last but not least there is the NANI?!! avatar which is unlocked via the level 110 Journey contract. The runes on the right side spell the avatar’s name and means “What?!!” as in being surprised. It is a reference to the manga Fist of the North Star and the catchphrase of its protagonist Kenshirō “You are already dead.” (お前はもう死んでいる, Omae wa mō shindeiru) just before an adversary’s death, on which said adversary reacts like Ciri shown in the avatar. Be warned of comic-gore, but you can see the whole scene in an anime adaption of the manga here.
All coins follow the same base design: a crystal chip (with a red and a blue side as any Gwent coin) framed by metal. If you are wondering about the ice skates: there is a pretty epic scene in the books where Ciri fights her pursuers on a frozen lake wearing them.
Also mind the fitting design of the frames: The sword coin has a cog which emphasises the metal aspect and the unicorn coin’s frame is basically an extension of the creature’s mane.
Before we start: Please mind that the following analysis of the card backs contains heavy book spoilers. This is especially true for the second and the last one. You have been warned.
All card backs share the same frame with two stylised swallow ornaments on their top and bottom respectively. There is only a slight variance in their colour to fit the general tone of the different artworks.
In the Wild Hunt Pursuit card back you can see Ciri clinging to her trusted mare Kelpie to find some security as she seems utterly terrified by the demonic hordes of the Wild Hunt depicted as shadows in the back. The background looks ablaze, making the whole scene a visual and emotional hell alike.
The card back is inspired by the 19th century painting “Frenzy of Exultations” by the Polish painter Wladyslaw Podowinski, who painted it in several sessions until total exhaustion. To no surprise, as the painting currently at display in the National Museum in Kraków has the impressive dimension of 3,10m x 2,70m. The frenzy depicted there probably had an effect on its creator’s mind as well, as he entered an exhibition of his works and slashed the face of the woman on the horse several times with a knife. (And yet this is not where Ciri got her scar from.) Maybe he suffered a mental breakdown as he suffered from the last stages of tuberculosis, but rumour has it the rider was a woman Podowinski fell in love with who never returned his feelings towards her. Unlike the painting, the painter’s health could not be restored: he died not even a year after vandalising his own work.
The Fire Possession card back depicts Ciri’s nightmares of the Slaughter of Cintra which she describes in the 5th chapter of the Journey: “There was a wall of fire before me. I saw a frightening black knight with a winged helmet. I heard the screams of Cintrians being slaughtered.” During the First Northern War Nilfgaard sacked the city killing almost all of its inhabitants (the black knight’s hands grasping the falling swallow). A few, young Ciri who was later sent to flee with a few knights by her grandmother Calanthe, were able to retreat to the keep, but due to the hopelessness of their situation the defenders started to commit suicide rather than to surrender. Mothers killed their children, husbands their wives until the men finally killed themselves. However, nobody had the courage to help their queen to commit suicide, even though Calanthe asked them to, so she threw herself out of the highest tower’s window. This is symbolised by the falling swallow in front of the burning tower. Calanthe’s body has never been found, the burial side on Skellige besides her husband Eist and the one in the Royal Crypt below the castle created by Emperor Emhyr are merely cenotaphs.
Given the name of the Escape Portal card back, it most likely depicts Ciri in front of the portal of Tor Zirael where she tries to flee from the bounty hunter Leo Bornhart. We already wrote about the lore behind it in an earlier article. The dark hands in the foreground could be a symbol of dark thoughts like fear and regret which try to hold her back in the past. Meanwhile the ethereal swallow could represent her future self directly in front of her, if she leaves all of this behind and take a step forward to the portal. The tendrils of light are caressing and welcoming her to support this step and help her to move forward.
The final card unlockable card back Last Farewell contains many references to the Arthurian legend, just like all the Witcher novels. At the end of the book cycle, Geralt suffered a mortal wound and Yennefer is desperately trying to safe him with her magic. While she fails and collapses over him from exhausting all her magic, Ihuarraquax appears touching Geralt with his horn. Ciri then takes the bodies of Geralt and Yennefer with her on a boat to an undisclosed location, bidding farewell to her other companions. The next scene in the novels describes Geralt awakening in Yennefers arms while Ciri left their world. In the very last chapter she is riding together with Galahad in Arthurian England as she tells him her story. Galahad addresses Ciri as Lady of the Lake, which she dislikes and thus asks him to stop.
This card back depicts the flow of all this events: Ihuarraquax appearing, its shining light probably a symbol of hope that waits on that island on the card back. The island itself is yet another Arthurian reference, as it is the legendary island of Avalon (meaning: the island of apple trees) indicated by this very apple tree. Just like the Lady of the Lake took the body of the dying King Arthur to Avalon, Ciri takes Geralt (symbolised by his sword) and Yennefer (symbolised by the raven) to an island.
That’s it, lovelies. Journey and our article alike come to an end. We hope you reached whatever Journey level you aimed for and got all the cosmetics you wanted. And even If you did not reach level 175, there is no need to be disappointed as you can still be a big Ciri fan. That being written, the next Journey is already ahead and we are looking forward to what it may bring.