Want to solve a murder mystery in Skyrim? Then this quest was made for you. Blood On The Ice involves the Dragonborn investigating a string of murders in Windhelm City that all involve young women, similar to the infamous Jack the Ripper.

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Since the city guards are swamped with other duties such as the ongoing war and being generally incompetent, it’s up to you to find the culprit and put a stop to the gruesome killings. Below is a detailed walkthrough of the entire quest, including what you need to trigger it and every step you’ll take along the way.

Starting The Quest

blood on the ice quest skyrim
The way this quest works allows players to become familiar with the city of Windhelm before thrusting them into a bloody crime scene. Unlike most quests, which are generally triggered the moment a player enters the required area, Blood On The Ice has a special counter that increases by one every time the player visits Windhelm or the nearby area (such as the docks). When this counter reaches 4, the quest will start, provided that Tova Shatter-Shield and Arrivanya (two NPCs that are important to the quest) are both alive. The Dragonborn then has to enter Windhelm from the docks gate, the main gate, or via fast-traveling to Windhelm between 7 pm and 7 am, as the killer strikes by nighttime.

If you can't get the quest to trigger but the above conditions have been met, players can opt to enter Hjerim (a purchasable home in Windhelm) by picking the Master-level lock (this changes from a "key required" lock when the quest is available) and taking a "Beware the Butcher!" pamphlet.

calixto skyrim
After visiting Windhelm a few times, you'll have heard the cityfolk and guards discuss a serial killer in their midst, though it is mostly dismissed as a rumor. Sadly, you'll have the chance to confirm said rumors when this quest starts. In Windhelm's graveyard, the body of Candlehearth Hall's barmaid Susanna the Wicked can be found, surrounded by guards and witnesses to the bloody death. You'll learn more about it from a guard when you approach, including that they could use the extra help with investigating. Your first job is to question the three people surrounding the body: Helgird (Windhelm's priestess of their Hall of the Dead), Calixto Corrium (owner of Calixto's House of Curiosities), and Silda the Unseen (Nord thief and beggar).

Little info comes from this questioning, so you're encouraged by the guard to talk to the Castle Steward Jorleif for assistance. Jorleif is actually rarely helpful for the entirety of the quest, and relying on him actually risks more fatalities in the process, which will be explained later on in the quest.

susanna crime scene skyrim
Now that the guards have dispersed, you can search the crime scene without being disrupted. Note the bloodstains and where they seem to lead for later. The body has been moved to the Hall of the Dead, which is your next stop. Helgird will confess that the cuts on Susanna's body were by a curved blade made for embalming, just like her work entails. Accusing her is pointless, as she'll give the same response either way. Go back outside to the bloodstains then follow them all the way to Hjerim, a big and empty house opposite the House of Clan Cruel-Sea.

blood on the ice butcher
Hjerim belonged to Friga Shatter-Shield before her early death (at The Butcher's hands) and is now abandoned. Players can learn more about Hjerim from the guards or Jorleif, including information on how to get the key. It's in the hands of Tova Shatter-Shield, who can be found in the market area from 11 am to 3 pm (or in her home if she has died by suicide). If she has passed, players can take it from her in her house.

Of course, this is Skyrim. You don't need a key to get into most houses. Hjerim has a Master-level lock that can be picked, and once inside you'll follow a bloody trail to a chest containing almost a dozen Beware the Butcher! pamphlets, as well as the Butcher Journal #1. This is crucial evidence, but there's more to be found in this creepy house. One of the wardrobes has a false panel that reveals a secret hideout full of human remains used and abused by the killer. You'll find Butcher Journal #2 as well (both journals describe flesh magic, AKA Necromancy). Be sure to check the shelf outside the wardrobe to find a strange amulet.

blood on the ice butcher journal
You should now have 2 Butcher Journals, a pamphlet, and a strange amulet. Jorleif will recommend showing the amulet to Calixto, while reading the pamphlet will prompt you to talk to Viola Giordano. Calixto can be found in his House of Curiosities, a museum he opened with his sister (who is no longer living) that's full of the treasures they found. Calixto offers tours for a small fee. Show him the amulet and he'll say it's a Wheelstone (carried by court mages) and offer to buy it from you for 500 gold. It's recommended you sell this to him, as the item has a bug that can trap it in your inventory permanently if you don't rid yourself of it. Selling it is the perfect way to do that since you get good gold from it.

Viola Giordano is your next stop, and if you brought the Butcher Journal, you can save a trip with her to Hjerim. She'll point the finger at Wuunferth, claiming the court mage to be the one most likely involved in Necromancy.

You can now take your evidence to Jorleif, but doing so will land Wuunferth in the barracks. The quest ends abruptly as Jorleif goes to arrest Wuunferth in his chambers, much to his dismay. Wuunferth will now be imprisoned and will not speak to the player. However, your quest isn't over. Coming back to Windhelm after three full days will land you in a familiar scene: another corpse found, this time Arivanya the Altmer from the Windhelm Stables.

Turns out Wuunferth was not the killer and your mistake cost another life, which the guards will be quick to shame you for. Talking to Wuunferth after this will have him bully you for your investigation skills (or lack thereof) before identifying the amulet as the Necromancer Amulet, not the Wheelstone as Calixto stated. Wuunferth also reveals a theory on the killer's patterns and requests that you patrol the Stone Quarters at night to catch the killer.

To avoid the above scenario, players can choose to confront Wuunferth directly instead. This action can prevent Arivanya's death to the Butcher and is generally preferred among players. At first, Wuunferth will be insulted at the implication that he is a Necromancer, but afterward, he will reveal the same information about the Necromancer and the patterns of the killer. Both options here will lead you to patrol the Stone Quarters at night when it is eerily quiet and empty.

During your stakeout, you'll eventually catch sight of the killer and follow him all the way through town, through the graveyard, and eventually to the market area. It is revealed that Calixto is the killer and he will attempt to attack Arivanya (or a random woman if she has died). If you act fast enough, she can be saved. Either way, Calixto will be alarmed and start running to Hjerim for his Necromancy chamber. He's quite easy to take down, as he wears no armor and doesn't put up much fight.

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Once he's finally dead, you can grab his key and the Necromancer Amulet from him. The streets are finally safe, and Jorleif and the guards will express their gratitude from now on. Not only can you now steal all the interesting stuff from Calixto's house, but you can use the key to reveal his motivation behind his killings: trying to bring his deceased sister back from the dead. Windhelm is better for it, though it is a bittersweet victory for all the lives lost.

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