I painted this Mixed Media piece of Iris van Everec for a school exhibition. I chose Iris because I just watched a lot of Witcher 3 deep lore videos on Hearts of Stone and I love the spooky theme and the keys are absolutely perfect. So because it’s Halloween and I want to tell you a spooky tale, I’m gonna retell the tragic yet oddly beautiful story that sets off the events from The Witcher 3 Hearts of Stone.
Not too long ago, there was a fair maiden, her hair as dark as the night sky and her eyes as bright as the stars. Her name was Iris. She fell in love with a strong, well dressed man from a wealthy family and he fell in love with her. His name was Olgierd van Everec. He walked like a nobleman, adored the beauty of art and his room was lined with shelves full of books he would read on the cold winter nights in his families noble manor. But beneath that he also took pleasure in the unsavory, the immoral. He and his beloved brother, the incorrigible Vlodimir van Everec, spent their free time raiding, pillaging and plundering those weaker than him, often taking pride in the unspeakable acts they committed.
But everything has consequences, there are powers at work in the universe that ensure that justice will be served.
First the family made bad investments, a failed crop the next year, then a lost lawsuit. It goes like that, when it rains, it pours. Olgierd had lost his families fortune, their property, the heritage of the Van Everec line was auctioned off to greedy aristocrats and then, humiliating the proud Olgierd even more, Iris’ family paid off his debts, to not besmirch their precious daughters name.
During this time, Iris took to the last thing that made her feel at ease: Painting. Once she was delighted to paint a large portrait of her and her bethrothed, both of them laughing and eagerly planning the future they would have together. Now Olgierd didn’t keep her company anymore, often times he locked himself into his library, as if the tomes would start to talk and help him out of his misery. She wished for this to finally be over, she wished to have the man back she once loved. But instead her family grew more and more impatient with Olgierd and decided to terminate her engagement to Olgierd and promised her to a prince from far away lands.
Olgierd was shocked and outraged by this development and cursed the foreign prince but on the last raiding tour, a wandering witch had told him about a powerful man, who would surely help him solve his problems albeit to no small cost. Of course, this man was no ordinary vagrant although he was said to be a salesman of mirrors. So Olgierd studied his books and found out how to summon this master of mirrors, the man of glass. His help would not come free, he would ask for something in return, a soul and the contact had to be signed in blood, so the tomes said. Iris found out, Olgierd was tampering with the occult and much to his surprise, she wasn’t taken aback. Together, they developed a plan on how to trick Master Mirror, how to swindle him so the both of them would get their happy ending, but no one would have to make a huge sacrifice.
Olgierd summoned Master Mirror and requested to be granted three wishes. Master Mirror agreed but to grant Olgierd his three wishes, he would have to pay with his soul. Smitten with his diabolical plan, Olgierd confirmed that Master Mirror would indeed recieve his soul but only after another three wishes had been fulfilled by a proxy and him and Master Mirror would be standing on the moon together. Then and only then would he give his soul.
Master Mirror knew that Olgierd intended to cheat him, it was not the first time someone attempted to treat him as a fool. But he was wise and patient so he agreed and let Olgierd make his first three wishes.
Firstly, Olgierd wished to reclaim Iris’ hand in marriage, which Master Mirror granted by manifesting the curse Olgierd uttered on the foreign prince, turning the prince into a monstrous toad.
Secondly, Olgierd wished to have his fortune back and because Olgierd was a bandit in a nobleman’s cloak, Master Mirror gave Olgierd a band of fearsome outlaws as his followers.
Thirdly, Olgierd wished that Iris and him would live like there was no tomorrow, so Master Mirror made Iris and Olgierd immortal, by turning Olgierds heart to stone and damning Iris to live on after her body had died, as a wraith inhabiting the Van Everec estate.
Then, Master Mirror reminded Olgierd that the pact had to be sealed with blood so with a heavy heart, he had to agree that his beloved Brother Vlodimir would be taken as a sacrifice.
After Vlodimir died on a raiding tour, the life of Iris and Olgierd slid downhill quickly. Iris’ father attempted to annul the now formed marriage between her and Olgierd, whose heart had turned to stone by now. Unable to feel any affection, without any reservations, he killed Iris’ father in cold blood. When he realized, that Iris still had feelings and that she was in turmoil about loosing everything that was dear to her, Olgierd left her alone, in a particular cold winter, leaving her nothing but a violet rose and a vague letter, not planning to return.
From then on, Iris lived a sad life until she died of sadness, alone and bitter. But because Olgierd had wished for her immortality, she was forced to continue to exist, but only as a wraith, living in the paintings that she had made, long ago, when she was still hopeful, still happy. There she spends her time, waiting for someone to free her of her pain, although even she doesn’t know how.
There you have it!
Of course, this isn’t my original story, it’s got to be credited to the writers from CD Project Red, but I thought it deserved to be told, because it is tragically beautiful.