The Theory: bright gold and cornflower blue make emerald green.
Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon is a child of magic. Elder Blood courses through her veins – a trait which she inherited from her mother. Pavetta’s power is a formidable force in itself... but it’s not the entirety of Cirilla’s magic. In fact, it’s only about one-third of it.
The reasons for it are unknown but what is assumed to have happened is this: at the declaration of the Law of Surprise, Pavetta’s power reached out. Guided by pure chance or perhaps Destiny’s hand, it touched two people in the room and tied their magic together with itself. All three forces became conjoined in the life that has just been revealed to the world.
When Cirilla looked upon the world for the first time, everyone was shocked to find that her eyes were in a shining, emerald green colour, as if the blue of the skies and the gold of the sun merged into one.
From a look, a song and unwanted friendship, new lives are born.
The stack of firewood is swallowed up by flames the moment Geralt casts Igni.
“Oh, I love that trick,” Jaskier says and puts his hands close to the fire, warming them after his fingers got stiff from playing the lute in the chill of the autumn evening. “Why don’t you use it every time, I wonder?” the bard asks, observing his companion sitting across the bonfire. “It’s so much easier.”
The witcher only grunts in reply, as is his way, and continues munching on a strip of beef jerky. Jaskier isn’t deterred by the silence, however, and continues staring at Geralt expectantly. His questioning gaze is like a physical touch. It sends a tingling sensation down the witcher’s spine, the way it always does.
With a resigned sigh, Geralt answers, “I usually want to save my magic for when I really need it, but you were whining so much about the cold that I just wanted to shut you up quicker.”
Jaskier gasps and lays a hand on his breast, about to dramatically take offence, but doesn’t voice his hurt in the end. Something else intrigued him. “Save your magic?” he asks, “what do you mean?”
The witcher measures the bard with the blank “no more questions” look for long enough that any sane person would give up. Jaskier isn’t exactly sane, in Geralt’s (and some others’) opinion, and stares at the witcher right back, unmoved. When it comes to stubbornness, their relation is a diamond cut diamond type of situation.
Finally, Geralt gives in, huffing in irritation. “Magic always has a price. When you take power from Chaos, you have to give something back. The give and take tends to affect your physiological well-being, especially when the stakes are high.”
“So...” Jaskier begins, confused about his understanding of the matter, “casting signs weakens you and that’s why you don’t use magic often?”
“No,” the witcher answers, confusing his companion even further, “My extra mutations... they must’ve changed it. Using magic doesn’t have any effect on my body.”
“Fascinating,” Jaskier replies, then immediately gets up to rummage through his travel pack. He comes back to sit across Geralt with a notebook and a pencil in his hand. “What is the price you pay, then?” he asks the witcher and starts writing something in the notebook without waiting for a reply.
“Jaskier,” Geralt growls, “I haven’t told anyone about this.”
The bard’s head snaps up and he stares at Geralt in shock. Then, understanding dawns on his face. “Oh.” He clears his throat. “Alright.”
The next moment, the page is torn out of the notebook. It lands in the bonfire and turns into ash. Geralt stares into the flames silently while Jaskier waits for him to speak up.
“My powers deplete themselves,” the witcher says, “It takes time for the magic to return.”
“Peculiar,” the bard remarks, “And a pretty shitty deal, too. I’d rather have it affect my physiology than have to wait after every silly spell.”
Geralt shakes his head. “There’s something else. It’s... hard to explain. In a way, I can negotiate with Chaos. Make my magic not exhaust itself as quickly as it should. It’s useful when I’m in a fight.” His mouth sets into a grim line. “I still haven’t figured out the price I pay for that, though.”
Jaskier smiles a wry little smile, not commenting for once, and Geralt lets himself look at the bard, who meets his eye squarely. The bright gold connects with the cornflower blue and time stands still. Just between the two of them, the colour of the bard’s irises is suddenly so vibrant that it alerts Geralt’s witcher instincts. Jaskier tends to have that effect on him. The bard is always full of energy – all flutter and movement, brightness and sounds – and it’s too much not to be suspicious. Too much for Geralt’s heightened senses as well; Jaskier’s constant chatter almost gives him a headache every day. His singing is even more bothersome, considering that Geralt’s medallion reacts to it.
“Maybe the price is putting up with you,” the witcher jokes, deadpan.
“You!” Jaskier cries, directing an accusing pointing finger at Geralt, “You bastard! I’m a delight and a gift to this world!”
Geralt huffs out a laugh but does nothing to deny it. Jaskier may be annoying and strange but he’s a blessing all the same. Since he joined Geralt two years ago, he’s been working relentlessly on improving Geralt’s image and changing the public perception of all witchers. The bard wants him reborn as a hero, which is a fool’s errand, but he’s grateful for it anyway. The thank-you gets stuck in Geralt’s throat whenever he wants to say it, even though he’s already less spat at in villages. Fortunately, Jaskier seems to understand. Many things pass between them with little words.
Later, when they lay down to sleep, Jaskier’s quiet question reaches the witcher’s ears.
The bard walks a few steps ahead of Geralt, who follows him on his horse’s back. Jaskier is composing. He’s always in front of Roach when he’s preoccupied with the creative process. The song about the healing of the Striga that he’s working on is in the middle stages – the first version of lyrics is ready but every single line needs perfecting. This is exactly what Jaskier is doing now: trying out the sound of every word and looking for ones that fit the melody better.
The bard is so engrossed with the task that he doesn’t notice the obvious – how the nature around him moves to get closer to his voice. Geralt’s keen eyes notice the way each straw of grass and every leaf lean in, just a touch, to “listen”. The air has gone completely still and the meadow is eerily silent; even Roach seems to be holding her breath. Geralt’s medallion vibrates.
The witcher decides that this moment is as good as any to confront the issue.
“You’re not human.”
Jaskier freezes in his tracks, his body going rigid with tension. The acidic stench of fear fills the air and Geralt shifts in the saddle, disturbed by the smell for the first time in decades.
“I am not,” Jaskier replies, his back to the witcher.
“Do you want to tell me?” Geralt prompts, his voice gentle like it almost never is.
The bard turns to face him, face pale and hands trembling. “You really don’t know what I am?”
“You should be the one to say it,” the witcher answers softly.
Jaskier releases a shaky breath and nods. Stepping off the path, he walks into the tall grasses and strums his lute. When he opens his mouth, he sings in a language which the witcher has never heard in his long life. The tongue consists mostly of croons, trills, whistles and swishing sounds, and it’s enchanting even to Geralt’s ears. The air becomes thick with power immediately. It’s not Chaos, however. It’s a whole different type of magic.
The fae are creatures of nature – they are born from its energy. Guarding its Order and sustaining its sacred rhythms is their ancient task that they’ve always been fulfilling, hidden away in their own dimension of the world. They belong to the magic of nature and they don’t move out of it. Usually.
Jaskier didn’t belong anywhere, not until recently. His rhythm has always been too fast. He flutters from place to place, both quickly bored and immensely fascinated with everything and anything. The skies have always drawn him in the most – he's a fae of the skies, after all. In the end, Jaskier’s Queen found his temperament unbearable enough that she didn’t clip his wings any longer and allowed him to mingle with mortals.
Jaskier’s done his fair share of that, along with quite some mischief, but his life of adventure truly began only when he saw the brooding loner in Posada. The man’s restrained disposition and the guarded gold of his eyes were arresting, intriguing. Jaskier instantly wanted to know what secrets the witcher held. A few years later, he’s sure he won’t ever grow tired of uncovering them – every little bit of information, of understanding Geralt better, sends a thrill of rightness and belonging through his being.
Freeing his magic puts him at ease, lets him truly breathe. And so, the bard carries on singing, not afraid anymore. He smiles, radiating happiness. His glamour has dropped a bit and his sharp fangs are showing but the witcher only smiles back with the tiny upturn of his lips. Jaskier laughs in between the lines because from this moment on, he’s well and truly safe.
When the song ends, the meadow is completely silent for a moment, then the buzz of insects picks up anew and the gentle gust of wind returns.
“You’ve said enough,” Geralt remarks, and that’s all he has to say on the matter.
After that, the bard opens up to his companion even more, if that’s even possible. Geralt has a suspicion that Jaskier’s chatter was to serve as a distraction from his magic. Now that it’s out in the open, Jaskier’s silences, previously almost non-existent, has got longer. The bard doesn’t shy away from using his power around the witcher, too, and uses it in various ways to make their lives easier. He enchants a client into compliance when they don’t want to give Geralt the promised pay, or asks plants and animals to tell them where the nearest shelter is. When Geralt has a restless night, Jaskier’s humming puts him to sleep. The witcher’s medallion always vibrates then but Geralt isn’t alarmed by it any longer. It’s become a welcome thrum.
Their dynamic changes but they don’t look for any ways to describe it; they simply live the new way and enjoy it. The lazy, warm afternoons are the most pleasant, when Geralt stretches out in a shade of some tree and dozes off to the sounds of Jaskier's lute. Other times Geralt uses Aard to toss some object and Jaskier tries to catch it, laughing, his giggles lovelier than the tinkle of silver bells. Chaos and Order swirl around them, the sky is blue and the sun shines bright on the lush green grass. It could mean nothing or it could mean the world but what matters is that they both find peace. This is why Geralt doesn’t call Jaskier his friend – the word doesn’t fit.
Then Cintra happens and they part ways for three whole years.
Colours conceal and reveal when they paint a story.
Young Cirilla is different. When she says so to her mother, Pavetta chuckles and answers that it’s because she’s a princess. Ciri knows better. Her nanny told her tales about princesses and not one of them could make flowers smile when they hummed a song. The flowers don’t do that literally of course, but Cirilla can see that her singing makes them happy. Trees and other plants are also glad to hear her voice, just like birds. Birds also talk to her, always calling her “the girl in the woods”. Especially one kind of birds does that. Shrikes, as Lazlo explained once. Swallows call her "Zireael". When she tells her father about how she’s different from other princesses, Duny only smiles and calls her a very imaginative child. He wishes her sweet dreams and kisses her on the forehead.
Cirilla usually has pleasant dreams. She hears voices she doesn’t know but they don’t scare her. They are like her mother’s embrace, in different ways.
Most often, Ciri sees the sun but she hears a man. His voice is deep, rough and growly. She isn’t afraid because in her dreams, she runs to the sunny man and he puts his arms around her. It’s safe.
When she dreams of lilacs, she hears a woman. She sounds both soft and dangerous like a lightning, but Ciri doesn’t fear her. The lilac woman runs her fingers through Ciri’s hair. It’s warm.
There’s the cornflower man too. His voice is beautiful and he always sings, sometimes of strange things. She isn’t scared - the cornflower man boops her nose and caresses her cheeks. It’s like laughter.
Sometimes, she dreams of the three voices at once - she hears them talking. The sunny man’s voice blends both with the lilac woman’s and with the cornflower man’s. The three people walk with her in a meadow. The grass is very green, the sky is blue and the sun shines bright. The two men hold her hands while the woman guides her somewhere.
Young princess Cirilla doesn’t understand what all those dreams mean. She only knows, with absolute certainty, that they show her something no one else is supposed to know about.