Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Blood on the Ice is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, in which the Dragonborn must investigate a series of murders in the city of Windhelm. In recent days, several young women have been found dead and mutilated, with the most recent being Susanna the Wicked. With the Windhelm guard busy with the Skyrim Civil War—as well as a generally unhelpful disposition towards the murder spree—it is up to the Dragonborn to find "the Butcher" and bring them to justice. The investigation takes the Dragonborn all throughout the city as they unravel the mystery, beginning at the murder scene interrogating witnesses; after an autopsy, the Dragonborn eventually stumbles into Hjerim in a state of necromantic sacrifice. Enough evidence can be found in the house to begin piecing the crimes together—but depending on the Dragonborn's choices, the wrong killer may be apprehended due to a lapse in judgement, and further murders will occur under their watch. Only upon deducing the proper culprit and having them dealt with will peace finally be brought back to the streets of Windhelm.

Thanks to occurring in the city of Windhelm, the quest only functions properly when done when the city is under the control of the Stormcloaks; otherwise, Hjerim may not be properly obtainable as a home. Not only that, but the quest has many back-end issues that can cause it to run incorrectly, frequently becoming permanently broken. It is advised to complete "Blood on the Ice" as soon as possible and to save frequently in order to avoid being locked out of getting Hjerim.


Windhelm is plagued by a shadowy killer. I've been asked to help investigate the latest murder.


  1. Question the witnesses
  2. Report to the guard
  3. Talk to Jorleif
  4. Examine the crime scene
  5. Talk to Helgird
  6. Get access to Hjerim
  7. Look for clues
  8. Follow up on clues from Hjerim
  9. Meet Viola outside of Hjerim (if spoken to)
  10. Investigate Hjerim with Viola (if spoken to)
  11. Talk to Jorleif
  12. Patrol the streets of the Stone Quarter at night
  13. Catch the murderer
  14. Talk to Jorleif for reward
  • Get assistance from Jorleif (continuous until the murderer is caught)


"A recent string of murders has many Windhelm residents fearing for their lives..."
Loading screen[src]
Susanna Murder Scene

The murder scene.

The quest takes place exclusively in the city of Windhelm, the capital of Eastmarch, where several young women have been killed alone at night by an unknown murderer dubbed "the Butcher." They have all been killed in a similar manner, left mostly naked with distinctive lacerations.

The Dragonborn will encounter a murder scene at night, between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM; several bystanders and a guard stand around the corpse of Susanna the Wicked atop a burial slab in the graveyard of the city. The guard will approach the Dragonborn, telling them to keep their distance from the scene. After asking what happened and offering to help investigate, the quest will begin.

"Hold it there. Keep your distance."
What happened here? "Another girl killed. This is Susanna, from Candlehearth Hall. Served me a drink just a few nights ago... but I can't say I knew her. Susanna's the third. It's always the same: young girl, killed at night, body torn up."
Are the murders being investigated? "We're stretched thin as it is with the war. Nobody has the time to spend on this. Not pleasant, but it's the truth."
Sounds like the guards aren't doing their job. "Look, there's a war going on, if you hadn't heard. We barely have enough soldiers to walk the streets, much less patrol every corner."
Could you use some help? "If you want to help, ask some of these gawkers if they saw anything useful. I'm going to examine the body before the rats can get to it."

As the guard directed, the Dragonborn should ask the witnesses gathered around the body if they saw anything. The witnesses include Calixto Corrium, Silda the Unseen, and Helgird.

Corrium will have the following conversation with the Dragonborn:

"Always sad when someone dies."
Did you see what happened here? "Sorry. I thought I saw a fellow running away, but didn't get a good look at him."

Silda will have this to report:

"Another one. Terrible."
Did you see what happened here? "I heard a scream and came running, but she was already... like this... when I got here."

And Helgird will tell the following:

"This is a shame."
Did you see what happened here? "Eehhh… no. Sorry. But I did notice that her coinpurse was still intact, so whoever did this wasn't after gold. I'm going to keep prepared the body, if you'll excuse me."

As Helgird notes, although the corpse of Susanna will not have any clothes, she will still have various items such as gemstones, jewelry, and gold. It is clear that this was not a robbery, but rather something much more dubious.

After the Dragonborn has spoken to all three of the witnesses, they should speak again to the guard at the scene of the murder.

I've spoken to the witnesses. "Just like always – nobody saw anything useful. The bastard's escaped again."
There might be more to this if you'll let me help. "Look, friend, if you think you can do better than the legion of guards, be my guest. You'll need to talk to Jorleif, though. We can't just let anyone go around claiming to be on official business. If he's willing, then we'll talk."

Although the Dragonborn can directly begin looking for clues into the murders, they will not receive any hints from the guards or the steward if they do so. If the Dragonborn reports to the steward, Jorleif, he will have the following conversation:

I've heard about these murders. "These are difficult times indeed, when men stalk their brethren like beasts. My men are stretched thin as it is. If you offer your aid, I gladly accept. The guards will be told to assist you as necessary. I'm happy to lend my hand as much as I can, as well."

Once the Dragonborn has received permission from Jorleif to investigate the murders, the guards will assist the Dragonborn by providing advice and hints that will lead to the advancement of the quest. Upon returning to the guard at the crime scene, the body of Susanna will be gone and the guard will render assistance.

Jorleif has granted me permission to aid in the investigation. "All right, then. I noticed a trail of blood away from here. Helgird's taken the body into the Hall of the Dead to prepare for burial. She's a little crazy, but if she knowns anything, it's dead bodies."

Additionally, after reading one of the pamphlets across the city, the Dragonborn can ask a guard about the killer who the pamphlet has been calling the "Butcher":

Can you tell me anything about the "Butcher"? "Uf. Have you been talking to Viola Giordano? She posts those all over the city, and someone keeps taking them down. Ask her about it if you want an earful."


The Dragonborn can choose to follow the trail of blood leading away from the crime scene or enter the Hall of the Dead to speak with Helgird.


Going to the Hall of the Dead is optional; however, it can yield some useful information. Helgird will say the following on this matter:

Have you noticed anything strange about the body? "Well, she's dead. But I guess that's not unusual, at least not for somebody in here. I mean, someone who's not me, that is. Sorry, was only joking with you."
It's all right. But have you found anything? "Not really."
So, the body? "Oh, yes, right, of course!"
"The only unusual thing is the shape of the cuts. They look like they were made with.. well, the ancient Nords used these kinds of curved blades when they embalmed their dead. I don't know who in Windhelm would even have something like that. Other than me, of course."
Let me know if you find anything else. "I wouldn't hold out too much hope."
Did you have anything to do with this? "I'm too busy tending to the dead to spend my time making more of them. And I wouldn't very well tell you about the cuts if I had made them, now would I?"
"Now, I really got to get back to the body. Lot of work to prepare her for the grave."
Helgird Investigates Susanna

Helgird performs an autopsy on Susanna.

Talking to Helgird here will reveal that the lacerations on the bodies of the victims were unmistakably caused by curved blades indicative of ancient Nordic embalming tools. Despite Helgird being the only person to obviously possess ancient Nord embalming tools, she insists that she had nothing to do with the murders. This indicates that the murderer also possesses such tools.

Following the blood trail

A trail of blood leads away from the crime scene and up to the upper residential level of the city. The Dragonborn can proceed to follow the trail of blood leading from the cemetery to Hjerim, a manor to the northwest. Approaching the door will complete the "Examine the crime scene" objective and remove the marker over the tomb near where the victim was found. The manor is master-locked and can be opened if the Dragonborn successfully lockpicks the door or by retrieving the key. Speaking to a guard will reveal that the only person with a key to the house is Friga Shatter-Shield's mother, Tova Shatter-Shield, as the house once belonged to her daughter before she was murdered by the Butcher.

How do I get into Hjerim? "Friga Shatter-Shield's old place? It's been abandoned ever since she was killed. I think her mother, Tova, has the key. (If Nilsine Shatter-Shield was killed during the quest "Mourning Never Comes": "Her mother would have had the key, but she... that family is cursed, I tell you.")"

The Dragonborn does not need to talk to a guard before speaking with Tova, and can go straight to her instead. The Dragonborn, if skilled enough, can pickpocket the key from Tova directly or can just speak with her to gain access to the house.

"Not really sure what to do with myself anymore. I just miss her so much."
I have some questions about your daughter. (If the Dragonborn has asked before: "I'm sorry to trouble you, but I have some more questions.") "I'm sorry – she was very dear to me, and it's rather painful to think about. I'd rather not talk about my daughter, if you'll excuse me."
I have authority in this matter, and need your cooperation. "Well... all right. What exactly do you need to know?"
I'm trying to find out who did this. I was hoping you'd help. "Well... all right. What exactly do you need to know?"
Do you want to find your daughter's killer or not? "I've had enough troubles recently. What is it that you're after?"
I'd like to investigate her house, but I'll need the key. "Hjerim? Well, I'm not sure what you think you'll find there, but you're welcome to have a look."
I'm sorry to have troubled you. "Good day."
Hjerim Bloodpool and Clues

Blood and clues in Hjerim.

When the Dragonborn enters Hjerim, they will need to investigate the seemingly abandoned property, including the furniture. Upon inspecting various elements throughout the house, it will become obvious that the house is not, in fact, abandoned, but has been recently accessed. They can investigate the following, yielding individual observations for each:

  • Investigate Mead: From the dust, these look left over from when the previous occupant moved out.
  • Investigate Chest: From the marks on the floor, it looks like this box was pushed against the wall recently.
  • Investigate Pots and Pans: These haven't been used for ages. Nothing but skeever droppings and cobwebs inside.
  • Investigate Bed and Chairs: The chair is stacked on the bed in an odd fashion.
  • Investigate Wardrobe: This perfectly good wardrobe was left behind for some reason.
  • Investigate Small Shelf: This shelf is filled with more of those "Butcher" fliers from around the city. One pile looks misshapen.
  • Investigate Wardrobe: This wardrobe seems to be nailed to the wall for some reason.
  • Investigate Altar: This altar is built to unknown magic. It looks like someone is using body parts towards some gruesome end.

The crime scene inside Hjerim.

The bloody chest against the wall of the left of the entrance contains Butcher Journal 1, which details some of the Butcher's activities. In the northwest room of the first floor lie two wardrobes and a small shelf. On the shelf in this room is a stack of pamphlets entitled, "Beware the Butcher!" by Viola Giordano; obscured underneath these is an amulet with a jade carving of a skull, marked as, "Strange Amulet." The wardrobe on the right has a false back panel that hides a secret room, which contains an altar for the purposes of necromantic magic; also inside are bloody remains and Butcher Journal 2, the second half of the Butcher's personal details of his murderous activities.

Joining with Viola Giordano

If the Dragonborn chooses not retrieve the Butcher's second journal, they can speak to Viola Giordano, the author of the pamphlets, who can assist the Dragonborn in investigating Hjerim further. Initially speaking to her will yield this:

What can you tell me about the "Butcher"? "I've been following him for months now. Well, not actually following. Trying to find him. The guards won't help. The people won't help. I'm the only one who thinks he can be caught."
Why can't the guards help? "They say they're too busy with the war – I say what good is winning a war if we're still terrorized by one of our own?"
How can the rest of the people not care? "Oh, they care all right. Just none of them thinks to do anything about it. They say I'm just snooping around bothering people, but I'm trying to save lives!"
I found this poster in Hjerim. "I've been trying to put those up around the city, to warn people. Have them keep their eyes open. But someone keeps taking them down. You say you found it in Hjerim? Friga's old place. Let's go have a look around there. I've got a feeling about this one. Follow me."

The Dragonborn can then lead Giordano to Hjerim or meet her there. Once outside the house, the Dragonborn can have the following conversation with her:

Ready to check out the house? "Let's go. I'd rather not stay out here longer than I have to."

Inside, Giordano will move through the first floor of the house towards the northeast room straight ahead, where she will notice something off about the wardrobe with the false back.

Find anything? "Look here. There's something strange about this cabinet."

The Dragonborn should then, upon inspecting the cabinet, open the false back panel and enter the secret room. The Dragonborn should then pick up the journal on the altar and speak to Giordano:

"What's it say?"
It sounds like the court mage has been experimenting. "Wuunferth. There have been rumors swirling around him for years. As long as I can remember. But he's a dangerous man. It's why they call him "the Unliving". I wouldn't approach him directly. This information needs to go straight to the steward. He'll listen to you."

Alternatively, if the Dragonborn has already investigated Hjerim and found the second journal, talking to Viola afterwards and showing her the journal will also result in her suspecting Wuunferth and telling the Dragonborn to talk to the steward about him.

Appraising the Strange Amulet

The Dragonborn can then go straight to Jorleif and accuse Wuunferth the Unliving of being the Butcher, or confront Wuunferth themselves. Alternatively, the Dragonborn, after recovering the Strange Amulet, can ask a guard about it, in which they will direct them to Calixto, the curator of Calixto's House of Curiosities:

Do you know what this amulet is? "I've never seen anything like it. I would take this to Calixto at the House of Curiosities. He has a good eye for strange trinkets. Might even give you a bit of gold for it."

Calixto is often located at Calixto's House of Curiosities, his house and business, and will discuss the amulet with the Dragonborn, identifying it as the symbolic Wheelstone belonging to Wuunferth. He will offer to buy it for 500 Gold, claiming that it is merely of ceremonial value.

Do you know anything about this amulet? "Let me see... ah, yes. This is the Wheelstone. It's an heirloom symbol of the power of Windhelm. Traditionally it's carried by the court mage. I would... eh... be interested in acquiring it. If your willing to part with it, that is. For a piece like that, I could pay... 500 gold? (Subsequent responses: "The Wheelstone? Have you decided to sell it, yet?")"
Shouldn't the court mage have it? "Wuunferth? Bah. It's purely ceremonial, and he has no use for it. Besides, I wouldn't want to be the one to give it to him. Gives me the creeps. They say he dabbles in necromancy."
You have yourself a deal, sir. "Wonderful. This will be a splendid addition to my private collection."
I think I'll hold on to it for the time being. "Suit yourself. It's only of value to collectors, though. Good luck finding anyone else who will appraise it that highly!"

Note that if the Strange Amulet is not sold to Calixto, it will become permanently stuck in the Dragonborn's inventory with no way of turning it into the proper version later.

Confronting Wuunferth

Now, the Dragonborn must choose to speak to Jorleif or directly accuse Wuunferth.

Speaking to Jorleif First

The Dragonborn can decide to go to Jorleif and tell him that the Butcher is Wuunferth, the court wizard.

I believe the killer is Wuunferth the Unliving. "That's quite an accusation. I assume you have proof?"
We have evidence of necromancy, and found his amulet. "I don't want to believe it. Wuunferth has been a trusted friend to Ulfric for many years. It pains me to see that the whispers had truth to them. Wuunferth shall be apprehended. I thank you or your diligence in getting to the bottom of this matter. The streets of Windhelm are now safe."
Wuunferth is Confronted

Wuunferth is accused of murder.

Jorleif will then direct a guard to follow him to arrest Wuunferth and proceed to his location, usually his quarters. It is not necessary to witness Wuunferth's arrest, however doing so will yield the following:

Wuunferth: "What is the meaning of this?" Jorleif: "You're under the arrest [sic] [Do not change this to arrest. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.], for the Murder of Susanna of Candlehearth Hall. And Friga Shatter-Shield. And all the rest. We're wise to your scheming, you coward." Wuunferth: "Has the whole city lost their brains? I've been scrying and auguring to find the murderer myself." Jorleif: "Make your excuses from the Bloodworks, wizard. Get him out of my sight." Windhelm Guard: "Yes, sir! I'm sorry, sir. But you'll have to come with me." Wuunferth: "This isn't over, Jorleif!"

Wuunferth is Led Away

"The Butcher" is escorted to the Bloodworks.

Wuunferth will now be imprisoned in the Windhelm Barracks, to which the guard will curtly say, "In you go," before closing and locking the cell.

With the quest complete, Windhelm appears safe once again; however, following a period of three days, the body of a young female with similar cuts to the previous victims will appear outside of Candlehearth Hall. A guard nearby will have the following conversation with the Dragonborn if spoken to:

What happened here? Another killing? "Indeed. I... I thought you captured the Butcher. You said the city was safe, now. How could this have happened?"
The killer must still be out there. "Obviously. You should visit the Bloodworks to talk to Wuunferth – we need to figure out where the evidence went wrong."

With Wuunferth still behind bars, it appears that the Butcher has eluded arrest after all. Talking to Wuunferth, located in his cell in the Bloodworks of the Palace of the Kings, will make it clear that he is not the killer:

The killer has struck again. "Oh, isn't that a shame. And here I am in the Bloodworks. Looks like you aren't such a sharp investigator after all."
I'm sorry. Please help me find the real killer. "What made you think I was to blame in the first place? I've actually been after the killer myself."
You can be resentful or you can help me. Your choice. "What made you think I was to blame in the first place? I've actually been after the killer myself."
I found one of your journals, all about necromancy. "Necromancy? I am a member of the College of Winterhold, in good standing! They haven't allowed necromancy for hundreds of years!"
So what can we do now? "I've been noting a pattern to when the killings happen. Now that we know they're tied in to some sort of necromantic ritual, I think I know when the next might occur. Let's see. From a Loredas of Last Seed until a Midas of Heartfire... it will happen soon. Very soon. Keep watch in the Stone Quarter tomorrow night. That's almost certainly where the killer will strike next."
I found your journals and amulet where the Butcher worked. "My what, now? I've never kept a journal, I can assure you. What exactly did this amulet look like?"
Eight-sided. Jade, ringed with ebony. A worn carving. "I know it well. Or at least, I've heard of it. I would wager that carving once depicted a skull. That is the Necromancer's Amulet, of legend. It appears you were at least half-right. There is necromancy at the heart of this."
I guess Calixto was wrong. "Eehh... Calixto and his books are often confused about such matters. It happens to the best of us."
Wuunferth Imprisoned

Wuunferth in prison.

From this, it is clear that the Mysterious Amulet is actually the Necromancer Amulet, and that necromancy is indeed a core part of the murders. Wuunferth will reveal that he had been tracking the killer before he was arrested; on this note, he is able to determine when and where the Butcher will strike next according to the journals. The mage predicts that the next murder will occur within the next day or so; the Dragonborn must now patrol the Stone Quarter at night to catch the Butcher before he can strike again.

Speaking to Wuunferth First

Alternatively, the Dragonborn may approach Wuunferth immediately and accuse him of necromancy as well as the murders. The following conversation will occur:

I've heard you dabble in necromancy. "I beg your pardon? Necromancy? I am a member of the College of Winterhold, in good standing! They haven't allowed necromancy for hundreds of years!"

I found your journals and amulet where the Butcher worked. "My what, now? I've never kept a journal, I can assure you. What exactly did this amulet look like?"
Eight-sided. Jade, ringed with ebony. A worn carving. "I know it well. Or at least, I've heard of it. I would wager that carving once depicted a skull. That is the Necromancer's Amulet, of legend. It appears you were at least half-right. There is necromancy at the heart of this."
So what can we do now? "I've been noting a pattern to when the killings happen. Now that we know they're tied in to some sort of necromantic ritual, I think I know when the next might occur. Let's see. From a Loredas of Last Seed until a Middas of Heartfire... it will happen soon. Very soon. Keep watch in the Stone Quarter tomorrow night. That's almost certainly where the killer will strike next."
I guess Calixto was wrong. "Eehh.. Calixto and his books are often confused about such matters. It happens to the best of us."

Speaking directly with Wuunferth instead of having him arrested results in a similar conversation with the Dragonborn, also directing them to keep watch in the Stone Quarter at night. The Dragonborn can then proceed with the quest without having to wait for the next victim and wrongfully imprisoning Wuunferth.

Catching the Butcher

Regardless of the earlier paths taken, the Dragonborn finds themselves in the Stone Quarter in order to thwart the Butcher once and for all. In the markets in the southwest corner of the city, the killer will strike again; the Dragonborn should be ready to act immediately if they wish to save the next victim.

Calixto Murders Arivanya

Calixto murders another victim, Arivanya.

Calixto Corrium will be present in the market; however, unlike the other characters in the area, he will simply stand around and not interact with anyone. Soon, one of the following will walk into the Stone Quarter: Nilsine Shatter-Shield, Jora, Hermir Strong-Heart, Idesa Sadri, or Arivanya; if Wuunferth was not accused of being the Butcher, then Arivanya will always be the victim. Suddenly, the target will begin shouting for help as Calixto draws a knife and slowly approaches his next victim, revealing himself to be the Butcher.

""No! Someone help me! Please!""

Despite this display, the guards will not react, and so it is up to the Dragonborn. Without incurring a bounty, they may attack and kill Calixto at any time, including before he draws his knife, when he is approaching his victim, and after he has killed her. Followers may engage Calixto in combat, and it is also possible for residents, such as the Shatter-Shield clan members, or other clan members, to interfere and kill Calixto.

If Calixto is able to kill his victim, he will make his escape and proceed to run to Hjerim and into the secret room there. Entering will result in the Dragonborn being attacked; Calixto cannot be detained, and the quest will only progress once he has been killed. Once the deed is done, the Dragonborn should then speak with Jorleif to confirm that the Butcher has been stopped.

Calixto Corrium was the real killer. "Ysmir's beard! The man was always a bit odd, but I wouldn't have expected... I'm glad you were able to correct your mistake. I'll release Wuunferth immediately. (Only if Wuunferth was initially accused and jailed) You've done this city a mighty service, friend. I believe you'll find the guards to be a bit more cordial with you in the future."

The quest will then be completed and the Dragonborn will now have the ability to purchase and decorate Hjerim from Jorleif if they did not arrest Wuunferth; notably, this will only be available if the Stormcloaks were sided with in the Skyrim Civil War or if Windhelm was taken with the Imperial Legion. If the Dragonborn sold the Strange Amulet to Calixto previously, it can be recovered from his corpse, now becoming the Necromancer Amulet that Wuunferth mentioned; in addition, Calixto carries a key that unlocks a chest that lies on the small second level of his house. This chest contains items such as ancient Nordic embalming tools, definitively indicating that he was the Butcher.


Blood on the Ice – MS11
ID Journal Entry
10 Windhelm is plagued by a shadowy killer. I've been asked to help investigate the latest murder.
  • Objective 10: Question the witnesses
  • Objective 20: Report to the guard
  • Objective 30: Talk to Jorleif
40 Windhelm is plagued by a shadowy killer. I've been asked to help investigate the latest murder. Jorleif, the steward, may have advice from time to time.
  • Objective 40: Examine the crime scene
  • Objective 41: Talk to Helgird
  • Objective 50: Get access to Hjerim
  • Objective 60: Look for clues
  • Objective 70: Follow up on the clues from Hjerim
  • Objective 76: Meet Viola outside of Hjerim
  • Objective 80: Investigate Hjerim with Viola
  • Objective 90: Talk to Jorleif
100 I discovered that Wuunferth the Unliving was the Butcher of Windhelm, and helped bring him to justice.
  • Quest complete
  • Objective 1: Get assistance from Jorleif
  • Objective 120: Patrol the streets of the Stone Quarter at night
  • Objective 130: Catch the murderer
  • Objective 150: Talk to Jorleif
250 I discovered that Calixto Corrium was the Butcher of Windhelm, and helped bring him to justice.
  • Quest complete
Blood on the Ice – MS11b
15 The Butcher has struck again in Windhelm, after Wuunferth the Unliving was imprisoned. It appears he may have been innocent. I need to find the real killer.
  • Objective 110: Speak to Wuunferth
  • Objective 120: Patrol the streets of the Stone Quarter at night
  • Objective 130: Catch the murderer
  • Objective 150: Talk to Jorleif for reward
20 I discovered that Calixto Corrium was the true Butcher of Windhelm, helped bring him to justice, and exonerated Wuunferth.
  • Quest complete


  • If the Strange Amulet is not sold to Calixto, The Necromancer Amulet cannot be obtained. Calixto may also send hired thugs after the Dragonborn.
  • When visiting Calixto Corrium, it is possible to sell him the Strange Amulet and then pickpocket the amulet back in order to then sell it again. Each successful attempt is rewarded with 500 Gold and a high Pickpocket experience (no Pickpocket perks are required). Once Calixto's shop is left, it will remain open for the rest of that day, but will lock and stay locked (Expert) from then on. This only works for one day, for he will not be in there ever again.
  • After killing Calixto and obtaining the key from his body, the Dragonborn can find another journal in addition to the embalming tools in the chest upstairs. It reveals that he was killing women in order to assemble body parts to resurrect his sister, Lucilla Corrium.
  • Pickpocketing the key from Calixto while he is alive and stealing his journal is not enough to get him arrested; in addition, the guards will not help the Dragonborn in the Stone Quarter even if they witness the murder.
  • Interestingly, Wuunferth the Unliving dissuades his involvement with necromancy with a comment about being in good standing with the College of Winterhold. However, according to Phinis Gestor, necromancy is not forbidden at the college and that restrictions on it "died" with the Mages Guild. This may cause a member of the College to think he is guilty because of this inconsistency, though there is no dialogue to point this out.
  • If the Dragonborn is part of the Dark Brotherhood and completes the quest "Mourning Never Comes," which results in the killing of Nilsine, Tova will be dead on the floor next to a suicide note in her house. Instead of talking to her, the key to Hjerim can be taken from her body.
  • When "Blood on the Ice" is started and the witnesses are questioned, the Dragonborn can walk straight to Hjerim and investigate it, thereby skipping a significant section of the quest.
  • When attacking Calixto in the marketplace at night (or late afternoon), there is a chance that he will flee to a nearby store, such as The White Phial, and try to hide within. If the store owners had been helped in a quest beforehand, they will likely help the Dragonborn in killing Calixto.
  • If the Dragonborn purchases and upgrades Hjerim after accusing Wuunferth and completing the quest, Calixto will still retreat to the house, and may attack other characters that currently reside inside such as Calder or the Dragonborn's spouse.
  • If Susanna's corpse is turned into a pile of ashes at the start (using a Raise Zombie, Reanimate Corpse or Revenant spell), it will "reassemble" back into the regular body when Helgird takes it into the Hall of the Dead.
  • The blood trail leading to Hjerim may not be visible on low graphical settings.
  • If Hearthfire has been installed, Calixto may try and kill Sofie; however, since Sofie is a child, she will not die.


This section contains bugs related to Blood on the Ice. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
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Fixed Bugs

  • Patch 1.5 resolved the bug where Calixto did not die properly on some occasions.[1]
  •  PS3   Patch 1.5 fixed the issue where if Viola Giordano is killed before purchasing Hjerim, the quest will start but be impossible to complete, and no upgrades will be purchasable for the house.[1]

Unpatched Bugs

  •  PC   360   PS3   NX   If the player does not sell the Strange Amulet to Calixto during the quest, it becomes permanently assigned to one's inventory when the quest is complete, meaning that it can never be dropped, given to somebody else, or sold. The only way to get rid of it is to place it on Susanna the Wicked or Arivanya on consoles, though PC players can use console commands to remove it.
  • After Dawnguard is installed, vampires may attack Windhelm at night. If the Windhelm guard who initiates the quest is killed by the vampires or their thralls, the quest cannot be initiated. Therefore, the only option is to acquire the key to Hjerim, and start the quest alternatively, skipping most of the dialogue.
  • If a dragon attacks the city before the Dragonborn starts this quest and kills too many guards, there is a chance that the quest cannot be started, even though there is a murdered body in the cemetery.
  • After chasing Calixto into Hjerim he remains invincible but will still become hostile when the Dragonborn enters.
  • After starting the quest, the quest journal permanently states "Get Assistance from Jorleif" and nothing else, rendering the quest unable to be finished. Jorleif will also bug, so he will be unable to provide any assistance.
    • A possible fix for this is to pick up a butcher flyer and show it to Jorleif, who will then direct the Dragonborn to Viola. As long as they picked up the amulet and showed it to Calixto, they should be able to question Viola about the flyer and then accuse Wuunferth.
  • Sometimes, going to the marketplace shortly after the conclusion of the quest may cause nearby townsfolk to become hostile for no apparent reason (no bounty added). A way to avoid this is to leave Windhelm and return a few days later.
  • Killing any of the Windhelm guards may make it impossible to start the quest.
  •  PC   Even after taking the Strange Amulet, the Butcher journals and the pamphlets in Hjerim, the quest may not progress beyond "Look for clues" objective. The quest marker will point at Jorleif, but he will not have any dialogue option to advance the quest.
    •  PC (Fix)   Enter setstage MS11 70 in the console.
  •  PC   Sometimes after investigating Hjerim, Calixto is untraceable, making it impossible to sell him the amulet. Talking to Viola Giordano still completes the quest, but the Necromancer Amulet will be impossible to obtain.
  •  PC   If the Dragonborn proceeds with the quest by showing the evidence to Viola and speaks to Wuunferth without speaking to Calixto about the amulet, the option to say to Wuunferth "I guess Calixto was wrong" will still appear, and the Dragonborn will speak of the amulet as through they no longer have it. The quest will still proceed and be possible to complete, but after speaking to Wuunferth, Calixto's house will be locked and he will not be there, making it impossible to sell him the Strange Amulet and thus the Necromancer Amulet cannot be obtained.
  •  PC   If the Civil War Questline has been completed, the mission is unable to be started, as no Imperial Guards spawn at the crime scene.
    •  PC (Fix)   Attempted workarounds such as entering Hjerim (after finishing Mourning Never Comes), reading the Butcher Journal and Beware the Butcher!, talking to Herlgird, Viola, or Nilsine's father, breaking into Calixto's house, or taking the third journal do not work. It is also impossible to buy Hjerim, as Jorleif (who is still the only one selling Hjerim) says, "There is a house available but there was some... unpleasantness," however this does not start the quest.
  •  PC   Sometimes, the previous map markers will not go away when proceeding to the next objective, causing them to all stay marked at once. This will occur if all of the marked locations have been visited properly.
  •  PC   The quest will start, but no journal entries will show up; only the title will.
  •  PC   Sometimes, as Calixto goes to the Stone Quarter for the final murder, he and the other character may get stuck, and will stand in the Quarter indefinitely. Calixto cannot be spoken to during this time. The only way to finish the quest is through console commands, but the characters will remain stuck there. Wuunferth will also remain, in the jails, despite being exonerated.
  •  PS3   If the clues at Hjerim are investigated before Viola brings the Dragonborn to the house, the clues may not be findable again and there will be no dialogue allowing continuation.
  •  360   Sometimes after completion of the quest, even if Calixo is caught and Arivanye is saved, she may randomly turn up dead at the stables or around Windhelm.
  •  360   On some occasions when Calixto runs to Hjerim, after being caught, the marker on the map says that he is outside the city walls, although he is not. If the local map is followed, it indicates his true location (Hjerim).
  •  360   If Wuunferth is accused before speaking to Calixto, it will complete the first part of the quest; however, the amulet cannot be removed from inventory. The new quest says to capture the Butcher, but he will immortal, thus rendering the quest unable to be completed.
  •  PC   360   If the Dragonborn accumulated a bounty during the first part of the investigation and bribed the Windhelm Guards, they cannot be interacted with afterwards and will only respond with "Wait, I know you." This will cause the second part of the investigation be unable to start.
    •  PC (Fix)   360 (Fix)   Commit a crime to fix this. This will cause the guards to apprehend the Dragonborn. After the Dragonborn has paid the fine or served their sentence the guards will now be able to be interacted with.
  •  360   If, during the quest, the step to talk to Jorleif for the first time is skipped, Susanna's body may not be moved to the Hall of the Dead.
    •  360 (Fix)   A simple reload to an earlier save and then talking to Jorleif for that step may fix this.
  •  PC   360   PS4   Susanna the Wicked may never leave the Candlehearth hall, and therefore will never be killed. Commands cannot be used to force start quest.
    •  PS4 (Fix)   A way to work around the bug is to enter Hjerim. For that, pickpocket the key from Tova then examine the clues. Reading the pamphlet will start the quest.
  •  PC   360   The door to Calixto's House of Curiosities may remain permanently locked, making it difficult to sell the Strange Amulet to him. Entering his house will count as trespassing and may incur a bounty if caught. Talking to him will only make him ask the player to leave.
    •  PC (Fix)   If he does not leave by himself, using Player.PlaceAtMe 0001414A outside on the streets will allow normal dialogue again, including selling the amulet.
  • If Calixto's key is stolen and the Butcher's journal taken from the locked chest above the entrance, the quest may never start, and Calixto may disappear entirely. Finding said journal does not start the quest nor does killing Susanna or Calixto himself.
  •  360   PS3   Sometimes, after accusing Wuunferth, the body will not appear outside Candlehearth Hall. This can be remedied by talking to Wunnferth, who can be found in jail via the barracks. Trigger the next part of the quest by choosing "the killer has struck again."
  •  360   PS3   During the second half of the quest, the quest objective to search for the killer in the Stone Quarter at night may be given then immediately completed. Upon leaving the building, Calixto will be seen running through the city. If any attempts are made to stop him in any way, he will call for help and the Windlhelm Guards will come to his defense. If Calixto escapes, he will eventually make his way to Hjerim, where he will be hiding in the room hidden in the wardrobe, becoming immortal. He will not leave Hjerim, and since he cannot be killed, the quest will not end.
  •  360   One may have to repeat the quest if they do not properly complete it the first time. Dead bodies will continue to show up in the streets even after the Dragonborn completes the quest. If this occurs, the Dragonborn can either ignore the repeat quest, or finish it a second time. If the latter option is chosen, then the Strange Amulet will be regarded as a quest item for the remainder of the game.
  •  PS4   If the player completes the quest and then loads an earlier save point, they may find that the Butcher Journals are still in their inventory, Calixto is missing, and Susanna's body has been moved to the Hall of the Dead, but the quest is not logged as having been completed and it is impossible to begin.
  •  PC   360   PS3   XB1   PS4   Elda Early-Dawn may still mention Susanna during and after the quest is completed, even though Susanna will already be dead.
  •  PC   360   NX   Helgird may only repeatedly say "Large diagonal cut from left shoulder..." during and after completion of the quest for the remainder of the game. This can sometimes cause her dialogue about Susanna to be unavailable, although Hjerim can still be entered as normal and the quest will otherwise progress.
  •  PC   The objective "Get assistance from Jorleif" may be permanently listed as incomplete, even after completion of the quest; the objective "Look for clues" may do so as well.