Skyrim: Blood On The Ice Quest [Complete Guide]

Investigate the killings of Windhelm and find the Butcher in Skyrim's Blood on the Ice quest!

The city of Windhelm has its fair share of problems in Skyrim. From the threat of the civil war that looms overhead to extremely fraught relations between the different races. And to top it all off, a serial killer is loose in its streets, stalking and murdering his victims under cover of darkness. Fortunately, the killer also known as the Butcher can be brought down by the player in the Skyrim Blood on the Ice quest.

Key Takeaways
  • The city of Windhelm in “Skyrim” has a serial killer on the loose who goes by the name of “Butcher” 
  • Players can start a quest called “Blood on the Ice” to investigate the killings.
  • The quest triggers only between 7 PM and 7 AM and players must go to the cemetery to find the latest body.
  • Players must talk to witnesses and gather information from the crime scene and a manor, Hjerim, before taking the evidence to various NPCs for appraisal.
  • One NPC, Calixto, reveals that the court mage, Wuunferth, may be involved in the killings and necromancy.
  • Players must choose whether to take this information to the steward or investigate further on their own.
  • Completing the quest leads to a confrontation with the serial killer and uncovering their motive.
  • Overall, the quest requires players to gather evidence and make choices based on their findings.

Starting Blood On The Ice Quest In Skyrim

Skyrim Blood on The Ice
The Crime Scene [Image by eXputer]
Blood on the Ice is lauded as one of the Best Quests in the game! As mentioned earlier the “Blood on the Ice” side quest takes place in Windhelm. Although, to start the quest there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Players need to make sure that:

  • They enter the town of Windhelm within the time frame of 7 PM to 7 AM.
  • Players must have previously entered and exited the town at least four times.

Once you’ve fulfilled these two requirements, simply head into Windhelm through its main gate and make your way to the graveyard. The graveyard can be found on the West side of Windhelm (if you enter from the main gate).

Upon reaching the graveyard, the player will notice a dead body with a few characters surrounding it. A Windhelm guard will approach you once you step into the scene which ultimately initiates the Skyrim Blood on the Ice Side Quest.

The conversation with the guard will reveal that there’s a killer on the loose in Windhelm, who usually targets young maidens and Susanna the Wicked is his third kill. The Windhelm guard will then assign you to investigate the murder mystery and figure out who the killer is. 

And that’s how you begin the Murder mystery side quest, aka Blood on the Ice, in Skyrim!

Question The Witnesses

skyrim Helgird windhelm
Witnesses at the crime scene [Image by eXputer]
Your first task as the detective of Windhelm will be to question the witnesses present at the crime scene. In total you’ll find 3 townspeople surrounding the dead body of Susanna in Blood on the Ice quest. Here’s what each of the witnesses will tell you:

  • Helgird: She will claim that she didn’t witness the murder but she did notice that Susanna’s Coin Purse is still intact which indicates that the killer isn’t after gold.
  • Silda the Unseen: She will say that she arrived late at the crime scene, and hence has no useful information.
  • Calixto Corrium: Similar to the rest, Calixto will also say that he didn’t witness the murder but he did see a person running away from the crime scene.

Once you’ve interacted with all the witnesses, report back to the guard. He will then advise you to seek out Jorleif the Castle Steward for further help in the murder case. 

Seeking Out Jorleif

You can find Jorleif in the Palace of the Kings. The interaction with him will be brief and conclusively he will accept your help in solving the murder case. Completing the conversation will then hand out the next objective of the Blood on the Ice quest, in which you can head out and talk to the other guards and investigate the crime scene in further detail.

NOTE: Talking to Jorleif doesn’t really make much of a difference in the quest, and neither will you get any useful information out of him. 

Investigating The Crime In Windhelm

Skyrim Blood on The Ice
Trail of Blood [Image by eXputer]
After talking to Jorleif, make your way back to the graveyard and seek out the Windhelm Guard. Players will then let him know that they have permission to investigate the crime scene. He will then tip you with two leads.

  • Visit Hilgerd who is performing an autopsy on the dead body in the Hall of the Dead.
  • Follow the trail of blood.

Although, it must be noted that talking to Hilgerd is optional and if you plan to follow the blood trail first you will lose the chance to interact with Hilgerd in the Hall of the Dead. So if you’re someone who really wants to experience everything in the Blood on the Ice quest then make sure to visit Hilgerd first.

If players visit Hilgerd first they will learn that Susanna’s body has unusual fatal cut marks. According to Hilgerd, these cuts are presumably made by embalming tools which only she possesses. There’s nothing else the players will get out of the conversation with Hilgerd apart from the information mentioned above.

Regardless of the path you choose you will eventually need to follow the trail of blood to progress the quest. Following the blood trail will lead you to a manor known as the Hjerim.


hjerim in skyrim
Hjerim Locked Door [Image by eXputer]
When players reach Hjerim, they will notice that the main door is locked. Hence, barring them to progress Blood on the Ice quest in Skyrim. Fortunately, there are two methods you can utilize at this point:

  • If you have decent lockpicking skills then you can easily access Hjerim. Keep in mind that the door has a Master Lock.
  • If players do not have the relevant lockpicking skills then they will need to embark on a side errand. At this point, seek out Jorleif or any other guards and ask them about Hjerim. They will then point you to Tova Shatter-Shield (mother of Friga Shatter-Shield who owns Hjerim and was murdered by the mysterious killer). Tova can be found in the market around 11 AM to 3 PM, she will hand over the house keys to you once she finds out that you’re investigating the murder case in Windhelm.
  • Alternatively, players can also visit the Clan Shatter-Shield House (found next to the Hjerim). Here you will find Tova sitting on the upper floor of the house, talk to her to get the Hjerim house key.

Searching For Clues

Skyrim Blood on The Ice
Hidden Room [Image by eXputer]
Eventually, one way or another you will manage to get inside the Hjerim. Upon entering the manor the quest log will get updated and players will receive a new objective; “Look for Clues”.

Inside the Hjerim, seek out a chest to the left with blood splattered around it. Inside players can find a note which tells players to seek out Viola Giordano. The chest will also have Butcher’s Journal #1 which provides a deeper look into the lore of the quest.

NOTE: At this point, you can exit the house and find Viola Giordano for some additional information and help in searching the Hjerim. Or you could continue with the next search tips I have mentioned below.

After looting the first chest, move to the west direction and enter the room. Here you will find a small shelf against the wall, search it to obtain the “Strange Amulet” which is an important item for the Blood on the Ice quest. 

Once you grab the Strange Amulet, the quest log will get updated however do not leave the Hjerim just yet. Within the same room where you found the small shelf look for a Wardrobe next to a wall and investigate it. Once you open it you will find a false back panel inside.

Move it apart to reveal the Butcher’s hideout. Here players will find some further lore about the killer and his ongoing rituals which consist of necromancy practices. You can also find the Butcher’s Journal #2 here.

Calixto And Viola

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Calixto [Screenshot by Us]
After exiting the Hjerim, head back to Jorleif and tell him about the things you found at the house. He will tell you to visit Viola Giordano to get more information about the Butcher. Additionally, Jorleif will advise you to visit Calixto at the House of Curiosities to get the Strange Amulet examined.

It is advised to visit Calixto first. Both NPCs can be found quite close to each other on the Eastern side of Hjerim. 

  • Calixto Corrium: He will examine the Strange Amulet and reveal that it is a Wheelstone. An Amulet traditionally held by the court mage. Calixto will buy the Strange Amulet for 500 Gold.
  • Viola Giordano: After knowing about the Necromancy practices, Viola will suspect Wuunferth and tell you to take the information to Jorleif instantly.

With the information at hand, you can either head back to Jorleif and tell him about your findings. Or you could directly go to Wuunferth and confront him yourself. Even though both methods will eventually lead to the end of Skyrim’s Blood on the Ice quest, it is still best to confront Wuunferth rather than report back to Jorleif.

NOTE: If players opt to reach out to Jorleif first, the Butcher will become successful in his fourth murder in Windhelm.

For the Best ending in Blood on the Ice quest in Skyrim, players should go straight to Wuunferth instead of Jorleif. 

Confronting Wuunferth (Good Ending)

Skyrim Blood on The Ice
The Court Mage [Image by eXputer]
Wuunferth the Unliving is mostly found within the Palace of the Kings. However, his exact location within the Palace may differ depending on the time:

  • He can be found in his room (Upstairs in the Palace of the Kings) during the daytime
  • During the nighttime, you can find Wuunferth walking around downstairs.

Once you find Wuunferth, it will be time to confront him. However, during the conversation you will find out that Wuunferth is not the killer, instead, he has been trying to find the Butcher as well. He will identify the Strange Amulet as the Necromancer Amulet and he will debunk Calixto’s theory about it. 

Wuunferth will then proceed to reveal that he found the killing pattern of the butcher. And as per his calculations, the Butcher will make his next kill at the Stone Quarters at night.

At this point, there is no need to reach out to Jorleif, simply make your way to the Stone Quarters to finally catch the Butcher and complete the Blood on the Ice quest!

Reporting Back To Jorleif (Bad Ending)

Alternatively, if you head back to Jorleif and tell him about your suspicions on Wuunferth he will demand proof. At this point, players can tell him about the Altar at Hjerim and the Amulet. Both items would be enough to make Jorleif believe in your accusations.

Jorleif will then proceed and arrest Wuunferth, who will claim his innocence and say that he was investigating the case to find the murderer. Nevertheless, at this point, it will be too late, the quest will conclude with Wuunferth imprisoned.

However, the quest will get restarted after the player spends 3 in-game days outside Windhelm. Upon entering back into Windhelm, another murder scene can be spotted next to the Graveyard entrance. The Windhelm guard will point out how the player failed in his investigation which will ultimately restart the Blood on the Ice quest.

Visiting Wuunferth In Prison

You will now be tasked to visit Wuunferth and figure out what went wrong with your investigation. At first, Wuunferth will bad mouth the player, but eventually, he will reveal the true identity of the Amulet and claim that Calixto was wrong in assessing the item.

He will then reveal his findings on the Butcher and will instruct you to patrol the Stone Quarters at night where the Butcher might be targeting his next kill. 

Finding The Killer Of Windhelm

Skyrim Blood on The Ice
Catching The Butcher [Screenshot by Us]
Now all you need to do is wait till its night time in Windhelm then head to the Stone Quarter. Wait around at the marketplace for a while which at first will seem peaceful and quiet. Keep your eyes peeled, after a while, you will notice a similar face walk by and equip his weapon!

Yes, it was Calixto Corrium all along! Now all you need to do is knock him out before he makes his fourth kill. After taking Calixto down search his body and then make your way back to Jorleif.

Here are some useful items you can find on Calixto’s body in Skyrim:

  • Amethyst.
  • Calixto’s House of Curiosities Key (can be used to learn more about his motive behind the killings).
  • Gold.
  • Necromancer’s Amulet.
  • Ring of Minor Restoration.
  • Gold Necklace.
  • Silver Ring.

Now that the Butcher of Windhelm is taken care of, simply head back to Jorleif to finish up the Blood on the Ice quest. He will thank you for bringing down the killer. Players will now have the ability to decorate Hjerim (if bought) and also acquire the Necromancer Amulet.

This was our guide on the Skyrim Blood on The Ice quest. It’s one of the most interesting side-quests in the entire game, which also helps you get one of the best houses in the game.


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Huzaifah Durrani

Huzaifa is eXputer's Review Editor, who’s all about RPG games. He loves being immersed in beautifully crafted worlds full of wacky characters. He’s got several years of experience critically judging games and writing his unbiased thoughts on them. You can also find his content published on sites like Twinfinite & GearNuke. Experience: 5+ years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Previously Worked At GearNuke & Twinfinite || Reviewed over 200+ games || Mainly Covers RPG Guides &  Latest Games Reviews

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