Wuunferth the Unliving is an elderly mage serving as the court-wizard for Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak. He also teaches Adept-level Destruction magic.

Location[edit | edit source]

Wuunferth resides in the Palace of the Kings in Windhelm. He has a room at the end of the hall on the second floor – the first door on the left when entering the Palace of the Kings – which has an arcane enchanter and alchemy lab. If accused of crimes during "Blood on the Ice," he will be moved to the jail of the Windhelm Barracks, known as the Bloodworks. After being exonerated, he will return to his normal duties.

Background[edit | edit source]

Quotebg.png
"Strength and steel are well and good, but magic is the true power in this world."
―Wuunferth the Unliving[src]

In addition to being a member of the College of Winterhold, Wuunferth the Unliving is aware of the nature of the Necromancer's Amulet, apparently knowing it "well."[1] He has never kept a journal, even for study,[1] a fact which supports his innocence.[2] Wuunferth has been investigating "the Butcher's" murders for some time before the Dragonborn, to which he has noted a pattern to the killings,[1] although without the Dragonborn's help, he is unable to know exactly what this means.[2] Calixto Corrium claims that he dabbles in Necromancy,[3] and Viola Giordano will note that rumors have circled around him for years.[4] Wuunferth will later rebuke this, saying that he in "good standing" at the College, and that they have banned Necromancy for centuries.[1]

Personality[edit | edit source]

As a court mage, Wuunferth expresses heavy interest in magic, unlike the rest of the Stormcloaks in Windhelm, and, unlike someone more physically-inclined, Wuunferth believes that magic is the "true power" of the world and that brains are better than brawn.[1] Viola Giordano regards him as a "dangerous man," supporting his title as "the unliving."[4] He appears somewhat arrogant in this regard, claiming that everything said about him is "probably true" and that most of his research would confuse the Dragonborn.[1] He also acts spiteful when he is turned against, proclaiming that the city has "lost their brains" and that it "isn't over" to Jorleif when arrested.[2] Despite this hostility, though, Wuunferth is loyal to Windhelm and Ulfric Stormcloak. He is willing to do favors to Ulfric without hesitation,[1] and is actively investigating the murder spree of the Butcher while the city guard are preoccupied with the war.[2] He puts aside his previous grievances with the Dragonborn to do this, showing that his spite does not blind him to his duties, and that he is willing to move on in order to save the people of Windhelm.[2]

Interactions[edit | edit source]

Hired Muscle[edit | edit source]

It is possible that Wuunferth is the target of a radiant quest for the Companions. Farkas asks the Dragonborn to intimidate a citizen of Skyrim. It is the Dragonborn's duty to track down the person of interest and "rough them up" by initiating a bare-knuckle fight with them until they yield; killing the target while on the job will result in failure, although since Wuunferth is essential, this is impossible without console commands. Returning to Farkas completes the quest.

Blood on the Ice[edit | edit source]

An initial investigation leads the Dragonborn to believe that Wuunferth the Unliving is the Butcher responsible for the killings on advice from both Viola Giordano and Calixto Corrium. He can be reported to Jorleif as such, to which he will then be imprisoned; the quest will end, with the Butcher seemingly caught. After this, though, murders continue, proving that he was innocent after all, and that he was in fact framed by Calixto. Alternatively, the Dragonborn can accuse him of Necromancy directly, to which the truth will come out that he was in fact investigating the murders himself. Regardless, he will tell that the Strange Amulet was in fact the Necromancer's Amulet, and that there appears to be a ritual at play. He will then instruct the Dragonborn to survey the Stone Quarter, where he predicts a new murder will take place.

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

Blood on the Ice

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."

If Wuunferth was imprisoned first:

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.
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 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."
I found one of your journals, all about necromany. "Necromancy? I am a member of the College of Winterhold, in good standing! They haven't allowed necromancy for hundreds of years!"

Conversations[edit | edit source]

Wuunferth the Butcher

Wuunferth: "What is the meaning of this?"
Jorleif: "You're under arrest, for the Murder of Susanne 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!"

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Quote Condition
"Mind what – or who – you practice this on." Training
"Ah yes, the extract, good. Poisonous, of course, but it has its uses. I suppose you want something for your trouble? Here." Delivery
"Strength and steel are well and good, but magic is the true power in this world." End Conversation
"A strong sword-arm wins battle, but a keen mind wins wars."
"What is the meaning of this?" Accusation
"Has the whole city lost their brains? I've been scrying and auguring to find the murderer myself."
"My what, now? I've never kept a journal, I can assure you. What exactly did this amulet look like?"
"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!"
"This isn't over, Jorleif!"
"Oh, isn't that a shame. And here I am in the Bloodworks. Looks like you aren't such a sharp investigator after all." Barracks
"What made you think I was to blame in the first place? I've actually been after the killer myself."
"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." Investigation
"Eehh.. Calixto and his books are often confused about such matters. It happens to the best of us."
"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."
"Yes, I'm a powerful wizard. No, I won't put on a magic show for you." General
"Whatever you've heard I can do is probably true."
"If Ulfric needs a favor, he has it. Anyone else better pay well for the service."
"I'd explain my research, but you'd just be confused."

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • During the quest "Blood on the Ice," Wuunferth may be confronted with the possibility of being the Butcher. He denies the allegations by mentioning that, as a Mage of the College of Winterhold, Necromancy is not allowed; however, when asked, Phinis Gestor, will specifically mention that Necromancy was in fact never disallowed at the College. He considers the Mages Guild's ban on Necromancy to have been an "archaic policy."
  • If the Dragonborn sides with Imperial Legion and finishes the Civil War quest line, his disposition will decrease, and he may refuse to offer services or training.
  • If an Atronach is summoned in his presence he may shout, "You're going to get us all killed, you damn fool!"
  • Despite what his name suggests, Wuunferth is not a vampire. He will show up with the Detect Life spell and not show up with the Detect Dead spell.
  • Wuunferth may attend the wedding of a person who invests in him. He will also send Hired Thugs after the Dragonborn if he is stolen from.

Bugs[edit | edit source]

This section contains bugs related to Wuunferth the Unliving. 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.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The game may fail to load Wuunferth, and any quests that involves him cannot be completed.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Dialogue with Wuunferth the Unliving
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Events of "Blood on the Ice"
  3. Dialogue with Calixto Corrium
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dialogue with Viola Giordano
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