With Skyrim's hundreds of quests, dungeons, and mods to explore, there is no shortage of content for this legendary RPG. The game's variety is second to none in the genre, which can be seen through Skyrim's various quests.

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One of the game's most interesting quests is "Blood on the Ice," a murder mystery that tasks players with uncovering a murderer that roams the streets of Windhelm. The quest has a surprising amount of branching paths for players to take, and it offers a great reward compared to most side quests. Here is a complete guide to the "Blood on the Ice" quest in Skyrim.


Updated on November 6, 2021, by Anastasia Maillot: Skyrim's 10th-year anniversary is just around the corner, making it a perfect time to revisit a game that has stood strong through the test of time. Even years after, the characters and quests of Skyrim remain memorable, and one of the most interesting quests was without a doubt "Blood on the Ice."

The quest might not yield significant rewards, but it's one of those cool murder mystery quests that has players guessing who the true culprit could be. The guide has been updated with additional tips to make it easier than ever to get through this murder investigation in Windhelm.

Starting The Quest

  • Enter Windhelm between 7 PM and 7 AM in-game time.

The quest takes place in the city of Windhelm. Enter the city at the specific in-game time and head over to the graveyard located on the left side of the city from the main entrance. If players fulfill these conditions, they should notice a crime scene at the town's graveyard with several bystanders.

Once players see the corpse and copious amounts of blood, the game will start the quest.

Speak With The Guards

Via: DeviantArt.com
  • Interact with the guard found on the scene, and offer to help with the investigation.
  • Optional: Speak with Jorleif about the murders.

Windhelm's guards already know about the issue by the time players report it to them. Sadly, this isn't the first time someone has been murdered.

Multiple women have been murdered similarly before. The guards have no clue who it is and are too busy with the Civil War to investigate, so they allow the player to investigate the crime scene and bring this "Butcher" to justice. Players can also talk to Jorleif first before speaking with the guards and offering their help.

Investigate The Crime Scene

Skyrim Blood on the Ice graveyard crime scene.
Via: The Elder Scrolls Wiki - Fandom
  • Question witnesses at the scene of the crime.
  • Optional: Speak to Helgrid in the Hall of the Dead.

After speaking with the guards, it's time to take a look at the crime scene. Players will be tasked to speak with one of three witnesses: Calixto Corrium, Silda the Unseen, and Helgird. Talking to all three will reveal little of anything. Reporting back to the guards will yield no hints on how to continue, so players will need to continue investigating the scene.

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Players can also talk to Helgrid in the Hall of the Dead for some additional information on the victim's autopsy, although it is mainly irrelevant for completing the quest. Further inspecting the body will reveal a trail of blood. Following the trail will lead to Hjerim, an abandoned house in Windhelm.

Entering Hjerim

Skyrim Hjerim Home in Windhelm
  • Gain access to Hjerim.

Unfortunately, Hjerim can't be accessed without a key or good lockpicking skills. Bringing this up with the guards will direct the player to Tora Shatter-Shield, the mother of the previous owner of the house. Talking to Tora will reveal that she has a key to Hjerim that players can use. Simply talk to her and she will grant the players a key to the house.

Alternatively, players can steal it from her if they are proficient with Pickpocketing or pick the Master lock on the door of Hjerim.

Optional: Meet Viola

Skyrim Viola Giordano
  • Optional: Ask Viola to help investigate Hjerim.

Once players enter the house, they might notice that a pamphlet named "Beware the Butcher" is lying on a shelf. Players can choose to continue investigating the house or seek out the writer of this pamphlet named Viola Giordano.

If players wish to do the latter, they can find Viola in the Candlehearth Hall in the evening. Talk to her and she will assist the player in investigating the house. This is totally optional, and won't affect the quest significantly.

Investigate Hjerim

Via: GTGaming203 (YouTube)
  • Investigate the following objects: chest, wardrobes, mead, pots and pans, bed and chairs, small shelf, and altar.

Regardless of the player's decision to seek Viola's assistance, entering Hjerim will reveal a rather sparse home with a few objects to inspect. Walk up to some of the items in the room and interact with them to investigate. If the player brought Viola with them, she will have additional dialogue pertaining to the Butcher and how the town is not investigating the murders due to the Civil War.

After investigating the wardrobe on the ground floor, players will find a panel that leads to a hidden room. Inside the room is a Strange Amulet that is beside a necromancy altar. Pick up the journals and amulet.

Determine The Strange Amulet's Owner

  • Ask Calixto and Wuunferth about the amulet.

After getting the amulet and journal from Hjerim, players need to figure out who owns the amulet and the journal. They can consult two people in Windhelm: Calixto or Wuunferth. Bringing the strange amulet to either Wuunferth or Calixto will cause both to offer a Gold reward for turning it in.

While this isn't strange for Calixto as he's a collector, it might seem odd that Wuunferth wants it. Players can question him about it and even accuse Wuunferth to be the Butcher if they so desire.

Optional: Imprison Wuunferth

Via: Postcards From Skyrim
  • Optional: Have Wuunferth arrested for the murders.

Players who believe Wuunferth is guilty can openly accuse him of being the murderer. They can either talk to the court wizard directly and question him about practicing necromancy or, alternatively, take the issue to Jorleif and insist that Wuunferth is the Butcher.

Doing the latter will put Wuunferth in jail, which is an event the player can witness themselves.

Speak To Wuunferth About His Investigation

Skyrim Imprisoned Wuunferth
  • Ask Wuunferth about his investigation into the Butcher.
  • Note: If players imprisoned Wuunferth, they must first wait three days.

If players imprisoned Wuunferth in the previous step: everything seems back to normal once he's in prison, but waiting three days will reveal yet another murder. Talking to Wuunferth in prison at this stage will reveal that he was investigating the Butcher. He will direct the player to investigate the Stone Quarter at night to look for suspicious activity.

If players chose not to imprison Wuunferth in the previous step: he will tell the player that he is investigating the Butcher extensively and believes he roams the Stone Quarter at night. Both options ultimately lead to the same objective, but one delays the quest by a few days.

Patrol The Stone Quarter At Night

Via: The Elder Scrolls Wiki - Fandom
  • Patrol the Stone Quarter at night and catch the real criminal.

At this point, players will need to head to the market district known as the Stone Quarter at some point between dusk and dawn. Keep an eye out for one of four NPCs to appear: Nilsine Shatter-Shield, Jora, Hermir Strong-Heat, or Arivanya. Players that talked to Wuunferth first and did not imprison him will always see Arivanya appear.

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Regardless of who shows up, players will soon notice Calixto Corrium appear from the shadows. He will draw a knife and proclaim himself as the feared Butcher of Windhelm. Guards won't react to this, so the player needs to intervene.

Bring The Butcher To Justice

Via: PostcardsFromSkyrim
  • Defeat Calixto before he kills his next victim.

When Calixto reveals himself to be the Butcher, players need to kill him before he kills the murder victim. Killing Calixto on the streets will not incur a bounty on the player, even if it's right next to a guard.

Should the player fail to kill Calixto in time, he will murder the victim and retreat to Hjerim. Run back to his home to find him in the hidden altar room. Kill Calixto to finish this step.

Talk To Jorleif

Via: Postcards From Skyrim
  • Claim the quest rewards from Jorleif by speaking to him.

Upon killing the Butcher, players will be tasked with talking to Jorleif. Speaking with him will complete the questline, granting players the ability to claim Hjerim as their own and decorate it as they please.

The Strange Amulet will also change to the Necromancer's Amulet, a powerful pendant that grants +50 Magicka and reduces the cost of Conjuration spells by 25% at the cost of 75% Health and Stamina regeneration.

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was released on November 11, 2011, and is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. As of November 2021, it is also available for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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