The Ebony Blade is a two-handed weapon found in Dragonsreach in Whiterun Hold. Resembling an Akaviri Sword or a Blades Sword, the Ebony Blade is a Daedric artifact belonging to Mephala. Killing kindred with the blade bolsters its power. Followers can wield the blade, but cannot fortify the enchantment unless instructed to kill an ally. The blade itself is a Kanmuri-otoshi style katana, with the back thinning out drastically about three-quarters up the blade from the hilt.
The blade has changed hands many times over the years. It is believed that the Eternal Champion himself once wielded the blade when it was discovered in Valenwood. Later, it was rewarded to the Hero of Daggerfall sometime after the War of Bretony. In the late Third Era, the Hero of Kvatch was granted the blade by Mephala. Later, in the Fourth Era, it was discovered by Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun sometime before the events of Skyrim, and he had it hidden underneath Dragonsreach ever since.
The Ebony Blade is obtained in the Daedric quest "The Whispering Door," which can be initiated after reaching level 20 and completing the "Dragon Rising" quest, by asking Hulda, the barkeeper at The Bannered Mare in Whiterun, if she's heard any rumors. If Hulda has been killed, Ysolda, who will have since taken over the inn, will not begin the quest. In this case, it can only be started using the console command
setstage DA08 10.
The blade cannot be upgraded. This is explained in Admonition Against Ebony which states that: "Not even the hottest fires of the Skyforge could melt it; indeed the coals themselves seemed to cool when it was placed within," revealing the sword's immunity to heat or normal forging/smithing techniques.
This weapon starts with a 10-point Absorb Health enchantment that can be increased by slaying friendly characters. For example, anyone whose favor has been completed or who has been won over during any type of quest can be absorbed by the blade. For every two such characters killed, the weapon's Absorb Health enchantment increases by four points. Killing ten friendly characters maximizes its power at 30 points Absorb Health per hit.
The enchantment has unlimited uses and never needs recharging. This makes this weapon ideal for followers, especially if they frequently sustain large amounts of damage.
Mephala's voice sounds each time the enchantment improves, commenting on the progress of the blade. Her dialogue, in order, is such:
|Kill||Dialogue of Mephala|
|2nd||"Excellent work, child."|
|4th||"I can feel their heartbreak swelling in my blade."|
|6th||"Their tears shine the ebony to a sharpest gleam."|
|8th||"Ah, the blood of deceit is a nourishing flow."|
|10th||"At last, my blade is returned to its full glory. Now, go forth, child. Continue your tiny subversions against the orders of trust and intimacy."|
If the hilt glows red, the blade has gained power.
Characters who say things such as, "It's a fine day with you around." or "You've been a good friend to me, that means something." are considered friendly to the Dragonborn and will count as a charge. Another indication is whether or not taking low-value items from their home counts as stealing. Anyone to whom the Dragonborn sells firewood, ore, food, or alchemical ingredients via a dialogue option (not the barter menu) will become friendly. The Dragonborn can also make friends by dropping a weapon or a piece of armor somewhere, prompting characters to approach them and ask whether or not the item is free for the taking. Saying "yes" will make them friendly.
The following is a list of potential targets for upgrading the Ebony Blade:
- Adelaisa Vendicci, after completing "Rise in the East."
- Carlotta Valentia, after helping her with Mikael.
- The Chief of Thirsk HallDR allows at least seven rieklings to become followers.
- Most beggars, after giving them a single piece to gain favor (an exception being Noster Eagle-Eye).
- Animal companions, including owned horses and Meeko from Meeko's Shack.
- Orc Strongholds – Upon retrieving the Forgemaster's Fingers. Killing everyone in at least two of the four strongholds, including the miners, will charge the blade fully.
- Cicero during "The Cure for Madness."
- Amaund Motierre – Killed at the end of "Hail Sithis!" after he reveals where the gold is.
- The quest "The Forsworn Conspiracy" will offer two chances to charge the weapon. The first character who will yield a charge is Betrid Silver-Blood. Killing her before her inevitable death will grant a charge, after which the Dragonborn can try yielding and paying the fee, then continue with the quest. Subsequently, the second charge is provided by Uaile.
- As with the above quest, "Lights Out!" allows you to charge the weapon twice by slaying Jaree-Ra and Deeja.
- Nilsine Shatter-Shield during "Mourning Never Comes." "Blood on the Ice" must be completed first.
- Hroggar during "Laid to Rest." Sell some firewood to him before breaking into Alva's House and then killing him there with the blade.
- Aicantar in Calcelmo's Laboratory.
- Farkas in the Companions.
- The contract quests of the Dark Brotherhood are particularly beneficial. Players can slay Narfi and Beitild during the "Contract: Kill Narfi" and "Contract: Kill Beitild" (the Dragonborn needs to complete Narfi's quest and sell ore to Beitild first). Similarly, Hern and Helvard can also provide a charge during the "Contract: Kill Hern" and "Contract: Kill Helvard" (provided you have sold wood to Hert and you are Thane of Falkreath).
- Gerdur or Alvor after "Before the Storm."
- Either Sven or Faendal after completing their respective quest.
- Ondolemar, after retrieving Ogmund's Amulet of Talos for him. He must be killed before the Stormcloaks capture Markath, at which point he will be killed off-screen.
- If the Dragonborn chooses to slay Astrid instead of any of her captives during the "With Friends Like These..." quest, and the members of the Dark Brotherhood during the "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" each provide a charge.
- Lucan Valerius and his sister Camilla Valerius after the Golden Claw is returned.
- Roggi Knot-Beard, after finding his Ancestral Shield.
- Saadia, after "In My Time of Need", if the players side with her.
- Madanach and his followers during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine." This can only be achieved if the Dragonborn decides to play both sides and attack Madanach as he is leaving the ruins. Killing the followers can grant charges as well.
- Sigrid, Alvor's wife, in Riverwood after completing "Before the Storm."
- Stump, a dog in Alvor and Sigrid's House in Riverwood
- Kjeld, along with his wife and son.
- Mercenaries that are hired will be counted as a friend and therefore will give a charge when killed.
- Uthgerd the Unbroken and Cosnach if a brawl with them is won.
- Melka, after "The Affairs of Hagravens."
- Andurs, after completing "Andurs' Arkay Amulet."
- Danica Pure-Spring in Temple of Kynareth after finishing The Blessings of Nature.
- Eola during The Taste of Death or after going into Markarth's Hall of the Dead.
- Lisbet if you have completed her quest or invested in her store. Should she perish, her assistant will take over the shop.
- Banning if you have completed his radiant delivery quest.
- Eydis if you have completed The Ghost of Old Hroldan.
- Pavo Attius and his assistant operate Kolskeggr Mine. They will pay you to destroy the enemies within, but will not do so again when the opposition respawns.
- Temba Wide-Arm – after collecting 10 bear pelts for her.
- Severio Pelagia – as long as one has sold him vegetables earlier, he will automatically perish when "Battle for Whiterun" starts. Because of this, it is important that he is slain before getting to that point of the Civil War questline.
- Alfhild Battle-Born can be slain after selling her vegetables.
Players are advised to acquire this weapon as soon as possible before beginning the rest of the Daedric quests. Using the Ebony Blade throughout this particular questline will provide almost all the kills required to return its enchantment.
- The House of Horrors – During the quest, the Dragonborn is told to kill Tyranus, a Vigilant of Stendarr, by Molag Bal, who will provide a charge.
- Boethiah's Calling – Involves slaying both a companion (first charge) and the cult leader who gives the quest upon investigation (second charge).
- Pieces of the Past – If the Dragonborn chooses to obtain Mehrunes' Razor, killing Silus will provide a charge.
- Ill Met by Moonlight – Killing Sinding, should the Dragonborn choose the Savior's Hide instead of the Ring of Hircine. Killing the dying hunter J'Kier after speaking to him inside the entrance to Bloated Man's Grotto may also provide a charge.
- Waking Nightmare – Much like Mehrunes' Razor, if the Dragonborn chooses to obtain the Skull of Corruption, Erandur counts for another charge.
- The Taste of Death – If the player sides with Brother Verulus and slaughters the Coven of Namira, the option can provide up to 3 charges.
- console and typing
resurrect, and killing them again. The command
player.placeatme xxx(xxx is the character's ID) also works. Killing a friendly character with the Ebony Blade, then resurrecting them by clicking on them in the
player.setrelationshiprank <refID> <4>on any unnamed enemy NPC, like a bandit, and killing them with the Ebony Blade will charge the weapon and not give the Dragonborn any negative effects. Using the console command
- Scroll of Dread Zombie, Dead Thrall or the Ritual Stone also counts. Because these abilities do not turn them into ash when they die, the character can be repeatedly killed the required number of times (Tested on patch 126.96.36.199.8). death hound followers from Dawnguard are good victims, as they will not fight back and have little health. However, this does not appear to work on Skyrim Special Edition for PS4 (Tested on patch 188.8.131.52.8). Killing a friendly person and reanimating them with reanimation Staves,
- conjure a familiar and kill it repeatedly. This provides unlimited charges and the familiars have very low health. No negative relationships will be incurred. This does not seem to work post-patch for the DLC. To quickly charge the blade, the Dragonborn may
- Steadfast Dwarven Sphere and Steadfast Dwarven Spider acquired at Kagrumez can be killed for an indefinite amount of charges, as they will respawn. To charge the blade (legitimately) without needing to kill any named characters, the Dragonborn should find the random encounter with wandering farmers, give them gold and slay them both as with other named beggars. This method can be repeated as many times as necessary. Alternatively, the two automaton followers,
- Should the Dragonborn possess the Investor perk in Speech, any merchant who has been invested in will become a potential candidate to recharge the weapon. Many merchants have assistants who will take over the shop if they perish. In fact, if the Dragonborn kills a merchant of their gender and that merchant is replaced by a person of the opposite gender, then they will gain the benefits of the Allure perk in that store from then on in addition to charging the blade.
The blade behaves as a two-handed weapon with the following exceptions:
- It swings much faster than two-handed weapons, and about as fast as most one-handed weapons.
Though it uses a two-handed mesh file, it uses the template for a one-handed weapon, resulting in improper sound files, attack speed, damage, weight, perk benefits, impact force, and stamina usage.
The Ebony Blade is, in some ways, an upgraded version of the Blade of Woe; it is two-handed and has unlimited charges. Its attack speed is faster than any other two-handed weapon (about as fast as a one-handed sword), though it has the lowest damage per hit. The unlimited enchantment charge and heightened attack speed helps to make up for the reduced damage.
Prior to patch 1.9, the blade was useful for training the two-handed skill on those who did not often use it, because its damage was dependent on the one-handed skill. This gave it a significant damage bonus over other weapons, while the two-handed skill was still low. However, for those that normally used two-handed weapons, this weapon was a poor choice, as it did not benefit from any of the progress or perks of the two-handed skill.
With patch 1.9, the Ebony Blade still retains the advantage of unlimited charges. The Ebony Blade does not affect animunculi, as it will not steal health from them; thus, this makes it a poor choice for combat in Dwemer Ruins.
- The Ebony Blade shares similarities with Stormbringer, a black, runed sword from the Elric of Melnibone novels. Stormbringer strengthened its wielder by absorbing souls, including those of friends and lovers. Elric was called the Eternal Champion, a name also shared by a previous wielder of the Ebony Blade.
- Despite Farengar Secret-Fire supposedly being aware of the blade's existence, he does not acknowledge the Dragonborn's possession of it, and it can be sold to him.
- If the Dragonborn uses the console command
coc qasmoketo teleport to the game's testing room, another version of the Ebony Blade can be found in a Dwemer cabinet. This version of the blade has an enchantment that states that the "Victim does not treat an attack with this weapon as assault." This weapon can also be obtained through the console command
player.additem 000ea29c 1.
- The Ebony Blade has a smaller range compared to other two-handed weapons despite being just as long, or maybe slightly longer, in appearance.
- Although patch 1.9 fixed the Ebony Blade's incorrect classification as a one-handed weapon, the Ebony Blade will still swing faster than any in-game two-handed weapon, and even surpass some one-handed weapons.
- While in use of the blade, it may level up two-handed, but will display a different skill increasing.
- Progress can be observed by the console command
sqv da08ebonybladetrackingand looking at the "FriendsKilled_var" line.
This section contains bugs related to Ebony Blade (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to see the list of bugs encountered.|