the first time ciri saw geralt of rivia she immediately noticed two things.
firstly, he looked terrible. not that she had any ground to stand on, really, but he had an aura of pure exhaustion.
secondly, his hair was short? she had heard the tales of the white wolf, with his long white hair braided down his back. but as she looked at him, she could see that it was barely above his ears.
he embraced her, and for the first time in weeks she felt truly safe.
over the next few days she realized that something was off, with geralt. something was missing.
he would constantly turn around, a word on the tip of his tongue only to realize the only other person there was her, and would swallow whatever he had been about to say with a sigh.
sometimes he would reach out for something, to be met with the cold air instead.
he would run his hands through his hair, obviously expecting it to be longer than it was. she had caught him staring at his hands after one such incident, once. she wondered if he could see blood on them.
it was as if he was moving automatically, with no will of his own. through the motions he moved, get them food, get them water, make a camp, repeat.
“who are you missing?”
she had asked him once. for she knew it had to be a who, not a what.
he had stopped cleaning his sword and looked at her, sharply. she might have been intimidated, once, but she was scared of very little after her experiences after the fall of cintra.
“no one.” came the reply, his deep voice slightly harsh.
“don’t lie to me. i’m not a fool, and no stranger to loss. i can tell.”
that night he told her of the bard. his bard.
it was the most open and vulnerable she had ever seen him.
he told her of the nights they spent in the woods, with only each other and roach as company.
he told her of the songs the bard had sung.
he told her how the bard had left, and had taken with him the soul of geralt of rivia.
he didn’t tell her how his hair was cut, but she could read in between the lines.
she wondered if the bard would have liked her.
he seemed like someone she would have liked, certainly. someone with a sense of humor, someone who could bring the two of them joy even in the dark, cold forest. she thought that geralt rather needed some joy.
maybe the task would fall to her now. in honor of the bard.