The Witcher season 2 brought Ciri back to the fortress of Kaer Morhen of the Wolf hunters and began the process of combat training after a period of only running and hiding. After discovering that Ciri’s ancient bloodline could help create the drugs needed to mutate the human body and help them become witchers, Vesemir even nearly experimented on her and only stopped when Geralt promptly intervened.
So how does the process for an ordinary person to become a witcher take place? Is it just a matter of absorbing a variety of bizarre herbs (and surviving) and they’ll instantly become professional monster hunters? This process is actually much more complicated, consisting of a series of different challenges that only when completed completely, they are recognized as a true witcher.
The Choice is the first, and perhaps most important, step in forming a witcher. Children sent back to schools, like Kaer Morhen, will be taught how to use swords and how to most effectively fight both humans and monsters. In addition, they are trained in the lifestyle and diet of the witcher, and must also learn the knowledge related to alchemy to make the necessary potions.
That is why even an apprentice witcher is a very unpleasant opponent, a truly powerful warrior. In addition to their talented sword dance skills, they also know how to apply herbal remedies at the right time and place, combined with the use of basic magic from the hand seal (Sign). However, that alone is not enough, because ordinary people, no matter how good they are at fighting, can hardly stand against many large, aggressive monsters.
In addition, an apprentice can only become a true witcher when they actively make such a choice, choosing to give up their normal life to continue through the next difficult ordeal.
The Trial of the Grasses – Herbal Challenge
This is the first real test, and also the most famous, most ruthless challenge in the making of the witcher. Participants will be strapped to a table and injected with bizarre chemicals directly into their bodies in bursts, either orally or by injection. These chemicals have the effect of “rebuilding” the internal organs and mutating them to become much stronger. The apprentice witchers themselves will have to collect and search for the necessary herbs under the direction of the instructor.
The herbal ingredients used by the witchers in this challenge include fenugreek, nightshade, spearmint, weed, sage, and many other bizarre ingredients. In the original author Andrzej Sapkowski, it is described: “Mutant mushrooms, herbs and botanicals will help young practitioners’ bodies grow and develop super strength and speed“. Before this challenge officially takes place, practitioners will have a taste of herbs through drinking tea without knowing it.
The herbal challenge usually lasts for about a week, but most children who participate usually die by day 3. Those who survive, are not doing much better, often provoked by seizures. sudden madness and then fall into a state of stupor, uncontrolled. Their eyes will become cloudy, their breathing will become stronger, their voices will become hoarse, their hands will flail around to cling to what they can.
After the next injection of herbs, vomiting, convulsions, and cold sweats began to appear. At this time, the children’s immune systems were weakened, allowing the herbal mutants to penetrate deep into the body and make the eyes look like cats’ eyes on the 7th day.
Out of every 10 kids who took part in the herbal challenge, only about 3, or at most 4, survived, and the rest died in agony. In return, those who pass will possess lightning-fast reflexes, a slower aging rate than ordinary people, and greatly enhanced physical strength, stamina, and senses. This explains why witchers can hear the heartbeat of ordinary people.
Trial of the Dreams – Dream Challenge
This challenge is not mentioned too much in the original as well as other related documents. It is conducted immediately after the herbal ordeal, overseen by the shamans, to further mutate the witcher’s eyes, bone marrow, and internal hormones, and to further enhance their senses. If the essence of the herbal challenge was chemistry, the essence of the dream challenge was magic.
Trial of the Mountains – Mountain Crossing Challenge
The Trial of the Mountain, or the oracle witchers called the Locket test, was seen as a test of the trainees’ proficiency in all that they had been trained for. If only for the Wolf family, they would have to swim across a large lake near Kaer Morhen; pass through the cave of a cyclop named Old Speartip without awakening it; climb to the top of Troll’s Head and find a way to deal with the arrogant trolls; and finally go to the Circle of Elements to activate your own locket. This is why the witcher’s medallion can vibrate whenever it senses magic.
This process is somewhat recreated in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, through the quest The Final Trial, when Geralt and Lambert go to the Circle of Elements and recharge the quintessential Phylactery box. Mountain Crossing Challenges are often played out in small groups, as veteran witchers believe that while often having to work independently, monster hunters know how to work together when needed.
Trial of the Sword – Trial of Swords
This challenge will only be conducted when one of the old witchers doubts the ability of one of the younger witchers to have completed the mountain challenge. The suspect would have to prove his strength by hunting a monster on request, or fencing another witcher.
According to WitcherWiki