Kaer Tiele – the Home of Wolves
Location and Economy
The School of Wolf is situated in the kingdom of Temeria, two weeks of horseback ride from Vyzima. Although it is surrounded by dense forests, there are many trade routes leading to it – a testament to the Wolf School’s reputation, earned throughout the last couple of years. The area is quite safe. The witcher adepts, under their masters’ close scrutiny, eradicate every monster in the vicinity from time to time. There are no other threats around – the grim fame of the monster hunters is enough deterrent for those who would desire someone else’s wealth or life. That is why the school has many visitors, mainly merchants, bards and other travellers, who (if the Grandmaster allows it) can find in it a safe haven before they continue their journey.
There are a few quite prosperous villages situated nearby Kaer Tiele. Under an agreement between the Grandmaster Svar of Novigrad and the Crown, the peasants are obliged to supply the witchers with food. Most of them are fine with this agreement – after all, it’s better to give their yield to the monster slayers than to the tax collectors. Thanks to such a state of affairs, the witchers can focus on training their adepts, as well as on their trade. The castle servants are also recruited from the villagers living nearby. Although they are no strangers to a superstitious fear of “the witchermen”, many peasants consider working in the stronghold as quite an honour and a good opportunity to make some money – the school’s steward, Bertram, is very generous to those who do their job properly.
More than thirty years ago, Kaer Tiele belonged to count Alister von Tiele, the head of an influential noble family, who was engaged in politics and put some pressure on the still young king Geddes.
Agents of the Temerian special forces, the precursors of the infamous Blue Stripes, had learnt that Alister was dabbling in black magic, including it’s most vile aspect – necromancy. The king knew that if the rumours turned out to be true, even the well-trained agents of the Crown would stand no chance against the power of Alister von Tiele. That’s why he discreetly turned for help to the Chapter of Wizards, but it refused to get involved in politics, especially when there was no hard proof.
An old wizard by the name of Cosimo Malaspina, who was exchanging letters with the king, gave him rather unusual advice: “Hire the witchers, my good Lord”. He even suggested particular candidates: seven monster slayers led by Raven, a witcher already famous throughout the whole continent. The king decided to heed to the mage’s advice and personally contacted the witchers.
The attempt to conduct an investigation and take control of the castle turned into a bloody slaughter. Von Tiele turned out to be a powerful magic user, and the castle dungeons were brimming with twisted abominations, created by foul experiments. Many brave soldiers died and only thanks to the witchers it was possible to kill the necromancer and end his horrible practices – from which even his family wasn’t spared. Both Rose, the count’s wife, and their small, unnamed child died during a terrible ritual stopped by the monster hunters.
After the castle was cleansed from evil, the king decided to give it to Raven and his group. It became clear to him that the monster slayer trade was worthy of respect and the witchers themselves deserved a seat for their guild. That’s how Kaer Tiele was established, the home of the School of Wolf. The name chosen by Raven was supposed to remind everyone of the monster Alister von Tiele. Soon after that he and his fellow masters started training adepts. The culmination of that training was the Trial of Grasses supervised by Cosimo Malaspina. The old mage decided that if thanks to him the witchers earned the king’s respect, then it was up to him to make sure that the adepts of Kaer Tiele became worthy of that praise as well.
Since that event, the School of Wolf has entered a period of great prosperity. Unlike the infamous Vipers or lone Griffins, the Wolves earned respect and trust of the citizens of Temeria. Witchers hailing from that school came into many privileges within the borders of the kingdom and it wasn’t uncommon that folk sent their children to Kaer Tiele of their own volition, so they could learn the trade of a monster slayer.
Years passed, and only four masters remained from the founding seven: Raven, who became the Grandmaster of the Wolf School; Svar of Novigrad, the fencing master; Gregor of Dorian, a specialist in witcher Signs; and Meinard of Mettina, who assisted Malaspina during the Trial of Grasses. All of them trained the next generations of adepts.
Ten years after the school was established a tragedy happened – during what seemed to be a routine hunt, Raven was killed by a manticore. Svar took control over Kaer Tiele and during his rule, he strengthened the political bonds between the School of Wolf and the Crown. As a result, the Blue Stripes, Temerian special forces, would from time to time visit the school and recruit new soldiers from among adepts, as per agreement between the Grandmaster and the king. Not all witchers liked that, but no one would openly oppose the will of the Grandmaster. After all, he was the closest friend of the legendary Raven. No one doubted that he would do everything in his power to keep Kaer Tiele safe and prosperous.