Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Innocence Lost is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Rumors have been circulating around Skyrim that a child by the name of Aventus Aretino is trying to summon the Dark Brotherhood. This boy is in Windhelm, according to the rumors.


I heard a rumor that a boy named Aventus Aretino, in Windhelm, has been attempting to contact the Dark Brotherhood. I should find this boy and speak with him, and find out why he wants to contact a guild of assassins.


  1. Talk to Aventus Aretino
  2. Kill Grelod the Kind
  3. Tell Aventus Aretino that Grelod the Kind has been killed


While walking around Skyrim, the Dragonborn will begin to hear rumors of a "cursed child." Any innkeeper can be asked about the latest rumors and eventually, the person will mention that there is a child who is attempting to summon the Dark Brotherhood in Windhelm.

Other ways to initiate[]

  1. The easiest way to initiate the quest is to pick the lock of the Aretino Residence and talk to Aventus Aretino inside.
  2. While talking to Idesa Sadri inside Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm, there is the option of asking about a child performing the Black Sacrament.
  3. Idesa can also be overheard talking to Grimvar Cruel-Sea about the child outside the Aretino Residence.
  4. Talking to Maul on the initial entrance to Riften and asking him about Dark Brotherhood rumors will initiate this quest as well.
  5. Entering Honorhall Orphanage in Riften and listening to Grelod the Kind speak will also initiate this quest. After she dismisses the children, the Dragonborn can ask any of the children who Aventus is, and this will initiate the quest under miscellaneous.
  6. The children themselves can also be interacted with, and when they are consulted, they will say Aventus Aretino is trying to contact the Dark Brotherhood in Windhelm.
  7. It is also possible to overhear guards around Windhelm and Riften talk about Aventus, but this will not initiate the quest.

Talk to Aventus Aretino[]

"Sweet Mother, sweet Mother, send your child unto me, for the sins of the unworthy shall be baptized in blood and fear."
Aventus Aretino[src]

Aventus Aretino can be found inside the Aretino Residence located near the Gray Quarter in Windhelm. When first entering the Arentino Residence, Aventus is found chanting the Black Sacrament and asking the Night Mother why she has not answered his prayers.

After initiating conversation with Aventus, he will tell the Dragonborn that he summoned the Dark Brotherhood because his mother died and he was sent to Honorhall Orphanage, in Riften. While there, the cruel matron, Grelod the Kind, abused him and the other children, causing him to run away. Aventus believes that the Dragonborn is a Dark Brotherhood assassin, despite the character's conversation options emphasizing that is not at all the case, and will ask the player to kill Grelod the Kind. When told that assassinations do not come cheap, he claims to have a rather valuable reward.

Kill Grelod the Kind[]

Grelod can be found in Honorhall Orphanage in Riften. When talked to she will be rude and if the player tells her that Aventus says hello, she will become infuriated and swear revenge upon the boy. It is at this point that she is extremely hostile and alienated, so the player will be unable to speak with her further.

She does not prove any challenge to the Dragonborn, as one hit from any weapon, even fists, will be enough to kill her. The player can alternatively call on a follower to strike her down. The children at the orphanage will not report the Dragonborn to the Riften Guard either, but rather cheer upon her demise. It is advised, however, to carry out the deed within Honorhall Orphanage. Also be sure to ignore Constance Michel rather than to kill her, as this will trigger a bounty in the Rift.

Once Grelod has been dispatched, return to Aventus in Windhelm for the reward.


Aventus will reward the Dragonborn with the Aretino Family Heirloom which has a base value of 100 Gold. This will also initiate the next stage of the Dark Brotherhood questline "With Friends Like These...." To start this quest, sleep in any bed away from Windhelm after having received the Mysterious Note.


ID Journal Entry
  • Objective 10: Talk to Aventus Aretino
  • Quest complete
Innocence Lost – DB01
5 I heard a rumor that a boy named Aventus Aretino, in Windhlem, has been attempting to contact the Dark Brotherhood. I should find this boy and speak with him, and find out why he wants to contact a guild of assassins.
  • Objective 5: Talk to Aventus Aretino
20 The mother of Aventus Aretino recently died, and the boy was sent to live at Honorhall Orphanage in Riften. He thinks I'm a Dark Brotherhood assassin, and wants me to kill the Orphanage's sadistic headmistress, Grelod the Kind.
  • Objective 20: Kill Grelod the Kind
  • Objective 30: Tell Aventus Aretino that Grelod is dead
200 I killed Grelod the Kind, and Aventus Aretino rewarded me with a family heirloom. Now the boy can return to Honorhall Orphanage, and live out his childhood peacefully.
  • Quest complete


  • If the Dragonborn has Serana as a follower during this quest, in the Aretino Residence household Serana will begin to perform the ritual herself.
  • If the Dragonborn kills Grelod the Kind without ever consulting Aventus Aretino, the Dark Brotherhood will not immediately initiate contact. If the Dragonborn meets him after killing the mark, Aventus will be very happy ("I knew the Dark Brotherhood were good... but...") but the reward remains the same. The Dark Brotherhood will then contact the Dragonborn.
  • The Dragonborn does not have to talk to anyone prior to talking to Aventus.
  • After completion of the quest, guards in other towns will talk about it. Guards in Riften will add, "Say, didn't I see you coming out of there?"
  • Interestingly, among the items that can be looted or pickpocketed from Grelod is a copy of The Pig Children, indicating that Grelod may be racist against the Orsimer.
  • It is interesting to note that all of the guards in Riften will also acknowledge how cruel Grelod was, saying something like "the little brats are probably better off." By contrast, the guards in all other areas will think the murder was a tragedy.
  • Aventus' comments before initiating conversation imply that he has been doing the Black Sacrament for a long time. Later in the questline, Astrid implies that she knew of his efforts, but it seems that she did not believe that the contract was worthwhile, being the only contract in the Dark Brotherhood questline given by a child.
  • Even if the Hearthfire add-on is installed, the children from Honorhall cannot be adopted while Grelod lives. If the Dragonborn wishes to adopt an Honorhall child, they must kill Grelod the Kind.


This section contains bugs related to Innocence Lost. 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.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Sometimes Aventus Aretino will not appear when you enter the house, making it impossible to complete the quest.
    •  PC (Fix)   One can use the setstage console command to simulate the initial interaction with Aventus, then go kill Grelod, return to his house, and then use the console again to finish the quest and add the heirloom using the additem command.
  •  360   PS3   It is possible for Grelod's corpse to disappear into the floor after she is killed, and reappear in the children's sleeping quarters in the center of the floor.
  •  360   PS3   PS4   If the Dragonborn kills Grelod before she finishes talking to the kids it may restart the quest to before you talk to Aventus.
  •  PS3   If the Dragonborn stops talking to Aretino it will not begin the next quest.
  •  PC   PS4   If Grelod is killed before starting this quest, the quest will become glitched. When told by Aventus Aretino to kill Grelod she will already be dead, making the quest impossible to complete. This can be fixed by entering the console command: SetObjectiveCompleted DB01 20 1.
  •  360   After killing Grelod the Kind, waiting too many times for too long can cause the courier to never deliver the message.