He simply vanished…
The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone introduces tons of new quests to the game and the northern realms. One quest added into the mix is Without a Trace. This quest can be found on the notice board in Novigrad and must be taken to the halfling herbalist located in the city.
Otto, the herbalist, who made the request, is worried about his apprentice, Folkert. He had sent him to gather herbs in the Deadwight Wood, yet he has yet to return. It was a routine trip but things may have gone horribly. Geralt, if he agrees, will have to head over to the nearby village to gather clues.
When you head over to the village you will find it almost completely deserted. There is one elderly couple to in a house to the left after you enter. Approach them and a cutscene will begin. Geralt asks about the whereabouts of the halfling herbalist apprentice. Luckily, the couple did in fact see him. He had stopped by for a night inquiring about where he could find the herbs he was sent to seek out.
He was so determined to make his master proud that he journeyed into the woods in the dead of night, even while knowing that vicious wolves hunted the area. Howling and screams were heard, but nothing was known of Folkert’s fate.
Seek out Folkert’s wagon to find it attacked. Bloody footsteps will lead Geralt down a winding path before ending abruptly, leaving the witness testimony as the unfortunate truth. Poor Folkert entered the woods and was met by a pack of wolves. Though there is no body to bury, his untimely death is most definitely a certainty.
Head back to Otto in Novigrad to complete Hearts of Stone’s Without a Trace quest.