For other uses, see Boethiah's Quest.
"We are forged by Boethiah's example. We carve our will upon the world through our tongues and our blades. You? You are nothing. An empty vapor, dispersed by the slightest breeze."
Boethiah Cultist[src]

Boethiah's Calling is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Upon reaching level 30, the book Boethiah's Proving will begin spawning in various locations. Once read, the quest will start. Alternatively, if a Boethiah follower is killed, there will be a copy of the book on the corpse. Another way to start the quest is to go straight to the Sacellum of Boethiah, bypassing the first objective of finding the shrine.


I am to lead someone to the Shrine of Boethiah, instruct them to touch the Pillar of Sacrifice, and once trapped by it's magic, slay them. If I do this Boethiah will appear.


  1. Investigate the Boethiah cultist (if attacked)
  2. Find the shrine of Boethiah
  3. Find the cult of Boethiah
  4. Lead someone to become trapped by the shrine and slay them
  5. Speak to Boethiah's Conduit
  6. Slay everyone at Knifepoint Ridge stealthily
  7. Retrieve and equip the Ebony Mail


This quest can begin once the Dragonborn is at least level 30. Upon reaching level 30, the book Boethiah's Proving will spawn in various locations:

After finding the book, reading it will activate the quest, and the location will appear on the map. The Dragonborn will then need to travel to the Sacellum of Boethiah. This step can be easily bypassed simply by approaching the shrine once level 30 is reached. After reaching level 30, it may be necessary to wait for a few days, to ensure all the proper characters spawn.

After finding the Sacellum, one of Boethiah's followers (usually the priestess) will speak to the Dragonborn, asking the player to lure an unwitting character to be a sacrifice. At this time, the Blade of Sacrifice will be given to the Dragonborn.

Hello. "We are Lord Boethiah's faithful. Have you come to test your mettle?"

Is this some kind of cult? "We are forged by Boethiah's example. We carve our will upon the world through our tongues and our blades. You? You are nothing. An empty vapor, dispersed by the slightest breeze."
I'm not afraid of you. "Good. Perhaps I've misjudged."
Who is Boethiah? "The Lord of Plots, Deceiver of Nations, Devourer of Trinimac. The Queen of Shadows, Goddess of Destruction, He-Who-Destroys and She-Who-Erases... Many are our lord's lofty names, but they befit only us mortals. Intone her mighty names from now until the end of time - it is for naught. Names mean nothing to our Lord. She only cares for those who care for themselves, whose hearts are full of purpose, whose lives are full of deeds."
My heart is full of purpose, and my life is full of deeds. "If you desire a glimpse of our Dark Mistress, then this is what you must do. First, prove your tongue can wield a lie. Find someone. Gain his trust. Lead him to the shrine above. Next, instruct your thrall to touch the Pillar of Sacrifice. Its magic will ensnare him, rendering him helpless. Then, girded with certitude, plant the ceremonial blade deeply, so that the waters of his heart wash over you. If your will is strong enough, it will stir Boethiah in her Dark Mansion, and she will appear before us."
I'll do it. "That remains to be seen. But if it is so, and if Boethiah appears, then we will welcome you as one of us."
I'll do nothing of the sort. "Then you are weak and inconsequential."

Any follower can be taken to the Pillar of Sacrifice to be killed except for essential characters. Any of the initiates from any guilds, excluding the Dark Brotherhood, as their initiates are essential, will also work. Creature followers, like the dogs or the armored trolls, do not work, as the sacrifice needs to be a humanoid follower. The Dragonborn should bring the chosen victim to the Pillar and tell him or her to use it. The victim will become stuck to the pillar, allowing the Dragonborn to perform a sacrifice. The Blade of Sacrifice can be used, but any other weapon or even a spell will suffice. The Ebony Blade claimed from Mephala through The Whispering Door can also be used to slay the sacrifice, and is a good choice to restore its enchantment.

"Ahhhhgh. Wearing flesh is so... distasteful. You have caught my attention, mortal. That is most unwise. Tell me, why have you slain this one, who trusted you, here upon my shrine?"

Who are you? "I am called Boethiah. Many names have mortals given me. But I am not interested in names. I am interested only in deeds."
I have slain <Alias=DeadFriend> to gain your favor. "My favor? My good pleasure is not some trophy for mortal sport! I should slay you for such insolence!"
My reasons are my own. "Indeed. But I abide only those whose will is aligned to my own. Those who oppose my desires perish in the most dreadful of ways."
Are you some kind of god? "A god? Assuredly not! When was the last time you saw evidence of Aedra in the world? No, we Daedra are far more powerful than any god. And among my brethren, I am the most feared."
I didn't mean to offend. "Were you certain in your purpose, you would have no need to apologize. You have much to learn... But you have proven your will is strong and your heart is devoid of pity. So, perhaps you are not entirely useless... We shall soon find out."
I'm not afraid of you. "Is that so? You should be. Though a heart without fear is something I can use... Perhaps you are the one I seek. We shall soon find out."

Alternatively, one may kill all of the cultists. This will also cause Boethiah to appear, though with slightly different dialogue.

"Ahhhhgh. Wearing flesh is so... distasteful. You have caught my attention, mortal. That is most unwise. Tell me, why have you slain those who profess to follow in my ways?"

My reasons are my own. "I abide only those whose will is aligned to my own. Those who oppose my desires perish in the most dreadful of ways. I have a purpose for which you might prove useful. But first I must test the deftness of your guile, and the strength of your purpose. Make a thrall. Lure him to my shrine. Prove your will is stronger. Convince him to embrace the Pillar of Sacrifice, and then slay him without mercy. Do this and I shall remember you and bestow an important task upon you. Do this not, and I shall forget you, and your soul will waste in obscurity."

If this option is taken, they still tell you to bring a thrall to the altar for sacrifice. If Knifepoint Ridge is traveled to without making a sacrifice, the lower portion of the mine will still be caved in. This means that no matter what way you choose, someone has to be sacrificed to complete the mission.

Boethiah will use the sacrificed body as a conduit. The corpse will be reanimated and the Daedric Prince's will speak through it. After listening to the speech and following the other cultists down the stairs, everyone present will be told to fight to the death in a free-for-all. One strategy is to observe that the other cultists will fight amongst themselves, so holding back and waiting for them to kill each other off before finishing the remainder can reduce the difficulty of the fight. The player can also use ranged attacks.

If the player has multiple followers active, they can prove to be a formidable line of defense. Essential followers will also be helpful as they cannot be killed.

Cultist 1: "Our Lord! She has come!"
Cultist 2: "(Gasps)"
Cultist 3: "She is here, among us."
Cultist 1: "Shhh! Be still. Beware her anger!"
Boethiah: "Listen. All of you! Hear me! I have need of a warrior. Only the most ruthless, cunning, and agile will do. You have gathered here night after night, sacrificing fools upon my shrine, and sparring aimlessly with yourselves. But which among you truly exceeds the rest? Prove yourselves to me! I have a special task for whichever of you is left standing."

After defeating them, Boethiah will use the last killed person as a conduit, saying she is bored of her current champion, who now runs his own gang at Knifepoint Ridge. She orders the Dragonborn to kill them all silently, thus denying the current champion any opportunity whatsoever to defend himself.

"Well done. You have proven the strength of your will and your tongue's gift for lies. You have shown ferocity and prowess in combat. Now the time has come for a final proving. Are you able to cast aside your honor and strike with the hidden blade?"

I'll do whatever you ask. "I have little need for mindless thralls. My servants serve their own purposes. But, if their will is insufficient, nor suitably aligned with mine, I simply destroy them. Which brings me to my present concern."
"Honor" is a coward's tool. "An astute observation. Skyrim is a beautiful and harsh mistress, but her people cling to such a petty notion of honor."
"My previous champion displeases me. It is time he is replaced - in the traditional fashion."
Who is he? "I am loath to utter his name... one cannot erase a thing if it has a name to be remembered."
Where can I find him? "You will find him holed up at Knifepoint Ridge, where he plays king to bandits and highwaymen."
What has he done to displease you? "For a time he served his purpose, but that time has ended. He uses my gifts for his own amusement, and the only amusement I tolerate is my own."
Say no more. He's as good as dead. "Kill every single member of his band. Do so as silently and invisibly as you can, for this is not about you. You are to be my instrument in this. Slay him in the coldest of blood. Do not give him the dignity of defending himself. Once his corpse lays cold upon the ground, and all trace of his followers erased, retrieve my Ebony Mail. A gift fit only for my true champion."

Despite Boethiah specifying to kill her previous champion in silence, it does not matter whether the Dragonborn achieves this through stealth or otherwise.

Tips for killing the gang silently:

  • Using spells or a bow after having invested in Archery perks to kill at long range.
  • Jump off the walkways and land behind them for a fast kill (easiest with the Assassin's Blade perk, combined with the Berserker Rage power of the Orcs and appropriate enchanted gear that doubles backstab damage, for example the Shrouded Armor).
  • Invisibility and Muffle can be used to approach the gang members while being hidden. Note that enemies will be alarmed if Invisibility is cast near them without the Quiet Casting perk.
  • To defeat Boethiah's champion without being noticed, the Dragonborn can climb the boxes behind his house and fall through the hole in the roof.
  • Beast Form in tandem with Hircine's Ring works in a manner similar to not acquiring a bounty after a werewolf rampage in a town.
  • Being a Vampire Lord may also help with stealth-based combat, and can be useful if the player forsakes sneaking.

The Champion of Boethiah is wearing Ebony Mail, a unique cuirass that excretes poison. The poison effect does not begin until the champion notices the Dragonborn. Once he is defeated, Boethiah tasks the player with recovering, and wearing, the Ebony Mail. Boethiah will speak to the Dragonborn. Depending on how the Dragonborn conducted the kill, what she says may differ. If you have not killed her Champion in secrecy she will express her annoyance, but ultimately name the Dragonborn her new Champion and reward the Ebony Mail.

"I desired stealth and secrecy, but you executed the task with as much subtlety as a enrage mammoth. But my purpose was ultimately gained. My previous champion was erased, and a new one born. If you can learn to be subtle in rendering death, perhaps I will share more of my power with you. You may keep my Ebony Mail, a token of my appreciation to my new champion. Its gifts will resonate with your talents. Now go. I have strings to pull that require my full attention. You may pursue your own course wherever it leads you. Remember always this: As you will it, so it shall be."

However, if one follows her instructions and uses stealth, she will appear very pleased.

"You have done well, my Champion. You have earned my respect, a feat few manage and live to tell about. I shall write your name upon the Tablet of Absolute Darkness. You may keep my Ebony Mail, a token of my appreciation to my new champion. Its gifts will resonate with your talents. Now go. I have strings to pull that require my full attention. You may pursue your own course wherever it leads you. Remember always this: As you will it, so it shall be."

After she finishes her speech to the Dragonborn for one final time, the quest will end.

Alternative methodsEdit

There are some alternatives to being forced to sacrifice a companion:

  • Typing setstage da02 15 in the console will advance the quest without requiring any follower's death. After talking to Boethiah's Conduit, it will be required to run this command: setstage da02 20
  • If a sacrificed companion is resurrected via the console, Boethiah will take over the body briefly to talk to the Dragonborn. Once Boethiah has vacated the body, the companion can be resurrected successfully, but talking to them will simply restart the conversation with Boethiah. Once the quest has been completed, the companion should be alive, normal, and waiting at their home or recruitment point. This does not work with any Housecarls.

Broken ObjectiveEdit

Upon going deeper into the game's files, one may find a broken or deleted quest objective which involves killing Jarl Elisif. This is rare, speaking with Sybille Stentor after sacrificing a follower will have her explain to you about the Jarl feeling paranoid, the Dragonborn will offer to bodyguard Jarl Elisif in her room. After that, no more interaction is available.

There was going to be another quest the Dragonborn could do for Boethiah after becoming her champion, called "Boethiah's Bidding." It involved killing Jarl Elisif for the Daedric Prince. After she was killed the new Jarl of Solitude would have been Erikur. Solitude guard's dialogue support this. The quest however was unfinished, likely due to the conflict it would have with the Civil War questline.


DA02 Hook – WEDA02
ID Journal Entry
  • Objective 10: Investigate the Boethiah cultist
Boethiah's Calling – DA02
1I found a book that mentioned a cult of Boethiah in the mountains near Windhelm.
  • Objective 1: Find the shrine of Boethiah
5I have discovered a shrine to Boethiah in the mountains near Windhelm.
  • Objective 5: Find the cult of Boethiah
10I am to lead someone to the Shrine of Boethiah, instruct them to touch the Pillar of Sacrifice, and once trapped by it's magic, slay them. If I do this Boethiah will appear.
  • Objective 10: Lead someone to become trapped by the shrine and slay them
15Boethiah has appeared using <Alias=DeadFriend>'s corpse as a vessel. She will give a special task to whichever of her cultists are left alive after we fight to the death.
  • Objective 15: Slay the other cultists
  • Objective 101: Speak to Boethiah's Conduit
20Boethiah revealed herself to me. I am to slay her previous champion, and having done so, don the Ebony Mail. So doing, she will make me her champion.
  • Objective 20: Slay everyone at Knifepoint Ridge stealthily
  • Objective 30: Retrieve and equip the Ebony Mail
  • Objective 30: Retrieve and equip the Ebony Mail
40I have proven myself to Boethiah, and she has made me her new champion.
  • Quest complete
  • Quest complete



  • The spiral of Daedric script around the Pillar of Sacrifice is mirrored, but reads from edge to center: "I am alive because that one is dead I exist because I have the will to do so," as quoted in the book Boethiah's Proving.
  • Many followers can be used as sacrifices, but essential characters will not be able to become sacrifices.
  • The cultists are relatively difficult opponents. An easy way to kill all cultists at the shrine is to wait for a dragon attack, and then lure the dragon towards the shrine (e.g. Dragonrend shout). Hide (sneak, find cover nearby and do not attack) and the cultists will prioritize the dragon as a target. Remain hidden until most of the cultists are killed or severely weakened by the dragon, then pick off the survivors and defeat the dragon (if it has not flown away). Note that Boethiah will still try to recruit the Dragonborn when the last cultist is killed at the shrine - there appears to be no way to clear the shrine without Boethiah or a cultist attempting to recruit the Dragonborn, and that will always add the "Boethiah's Calling" quest to the journal. This method can also be used to start the quest if the cult leader dies early. Another similar method involves sneaking shortly after Boethiah orders the Dragonborn and the cultists to kill one another, then finish the survivor off.
  • When sacrificing a follower, their body can be looted twice. Once immediately after they are killed on the Pillar of Sacrifice and again when Boethiah possesses their corpse. All of their items (if their inventory is empty) respawn, allowing them to be looted again once Boethiah leaves their body. This only applies for what they naturally carry; nothing the Dragonborn gives them counts, so it cannot be used to duplicate what one has.
  • Boethiah's last words to the Dragonborn are "As you will it, so shall it be." which is very similar in nature to various religious and magical mottos, such as the Wiccan "That which I will I shall achieve," Aleister Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," and St. Augustine's "Love, and do what thou wilt."
  • Killing a thrall with the Ebony Blade will still count towards the weapon's enchantment.


This section contains bugs related to Boethiah's Calling. 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  , 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.
Click to show
  •  PC   360   Occasionally, after killing the follower on the pillar, Boethiah's conduit will not start the dialogue with the Dragonborn, making the quest impossible to continue. Reloading a previous save should fix this issue line.
  •  PS3   NX   If one tries to get a follower to use the Pillar of Sacrifice, it will not work if the controls are not set to default. Otherwise, the follower will not activate the pillar.
  •  PC   360   Upon slaying all of the Cultists, as requested, Boethiah's conduit will not start the second set of dialogue with the Dragonborn, making the quest impossible to continue. Instead, the map marker will display a random location and the objective will remain, "Kill all of the Cultists."
  •  PC   360   PS3   Sometimes, as the Dragonborn sneaks onto the walkway further in the cave, the champion will attack the bandits. This results in far less work to complete the task.
  • If an enemy is lured to attack the cult of Boethiah, the cultists of Boethiah will not retaliate. The two fighters in the arena will become glitched and cannot be attacked or talked to. None of the cultists will attempt to kill the enemy, they will not retaliate when the Dragonborn attacks them, and they will not say anything. This will make the quest impossible to finish.
  • If the Sacellum of Boethiah is discovered before level 30, the cultists will not appear, and the quest will be stuck on the objective "Discover the Shrine of Boethiah." The Dragonborn will still be able to sacrifice a follower and speak to Boethiah, but will be unable to complete the quest.
  •  360   After completing the quest, if during the Companions quest "Trouble in Skyrim" the location to raid is Knifepoint Ridge, it will not be possible to progress further into the Companions quest line.
  •  360   If Knifepoint Ridge has already been cleared, the path to the champion may be blocked. This makes the quest impossible to finish.
  • Sometimes, a chunk of iron ore in stone may appear to block the tunnel leading further into the mine. This can be solved by reloading a previous saved game.
  • If Boethiah's Proving is read while it is still in the Cultist's inventory, the miscellaneous objective "Investigate the Boethiah cultist" will remain in the quest journal, even after the entire quest is finished.
  • If the sacrificed follower is looted before Boethiah revives it, when it is revived, their inventory will be reset. The same is true for the last Boethiah Cultist to be killed. This provides an additional Blade of Sacrifice.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If all cultists are killed without making a sacrifice, the darkening of the screen and tunnel vision may be permanent. This will continue indefinitely and may make the game extremely difficult to play. It can be fixed by consuming something that adds a vision filter, such as Sleeping Tree Sap or learning a shout.
  •  360   After killing the follower on the pillar, the Dragonborn may not receive a bounty.
  •  360   Grabbing the dagger and not finishing the quest may cause the quest to freeze at the part where it asks the Dragonborn to pick up the blade, requiring the Dragonborn to pick up the blade, which is impossible since it has already been picked up.
  • If you use a mixture of stealth and non-stealth when killing the enemies throughout the camp you will still achieve the dialogue of killing the entire camp in stealth.

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