Skyrim:Blood on the Ice

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SR-qico-Miscellaneous.png Windhelm is plagued by a shadowy killer.
Quest Giver: Windhelm Guard (see this section for details)
Location(s): Windhelm
Reward: Allows decoration of Hjerim when purchased,
optional Necromancer Amulet
ID: MS11, MS11b
 
A serial killer is on the loose in Windhelm.

[edit] Quick Walkthrough

  1. Go to the murder scene in Windhelm's graveyard and talk to the guard.
  2. Talk to Jorleif in the castle.
  3. Talk to Helgird in Windhelm's Hall of the Dead.
  4. Follow the trail of blood to Hjerim and obtain the key.
  5. Search Hjerim for evidence.
  6. Talk to Viola Giordano and Calixto Corrium.
  7. Make an important choice.
  8. Patrol the Stone Quarter at night and catch the murderer.
  9. Report back to Jorleif.

[edit] Detailed Walkthrough

[edit] A Killer on the Loose

When you first visit Windhelm, a few of the citizens and guards will mention a serial killer on the loose. A general fear is noticeable, but nobody will really talk about the killings, and it remains nothing but a rumor. When the right conditions have been met (see this section on how to trigger), the body of the Candlehearth Hall barmaid, Susanna the Wicked, will appear in the graveyard surrounded by witnesses. If you approach the scene, a guard will stop you and explain a bit about the murders. The guard also explains about the local guards being too busy with the war to do any real investigation, and they would gladly accept some help from you. For starters, he tasks you with questioning the three townsfolk gathered around the body.

[edit] Investigator of Windhelm

On a rare venture outside the Hall of the Dead, Helgird will be little help at the moment, but will point out that Susanna's coin purse is still intact. Calixto Corrium claims he 'saw a fellow running away, but didn't get a good look at him', while local beggar Silda the Unseen never made it to the scene before Susanna was dead and the killer gone. The guard will not be particularly surprised with the lack of hard evidence or witnesses, and will point you towards Castle Steward, Jorleif for assistance and helpful advice.

"Large diagonal cut from left shoulder..."

In the Palace of the Kings, Jorleif will be shocked to hear about the third killing, and will gladly accept your help. He will promise you assistance from himself and all the town guards during the investigation. A map marker will now always point towards him, but he will rarely have anything helpful to add. Now it's time to investigate the crime scene without interference from the guard. Susanna's body will have been removed from the crime scene, and only the spatters of blood remain. The guard has noticed the blood as well, and hints that this evidence possibly holds a clue; however, for now you are urged to talk to Helgird in the Hall of the Dead. Due to her profession and life-long experience with dead bodies, she may be able to come up with some answers.

Enter the Hall of the Dead and find Helgird busy examining Susanna's dead body, obviously puzzled by the large diagonal cuts she finds. When asked, she will reveal the shape of the cuts to be somewhat unusual, like they were made with a curved blade designed for embalming, the exact tools she uses. You can choose to indicate her involvement in the killings or simply to leave the conversation, but the results are the same. Helgird will refuse to speak to you further and will ask to be left in peace so she can prepare the body for the funeral. With Jorleif and the guard not able to do anything at the moment, your only hope for finding a clue is in the graveyard.

The remaining evidence seems to be a trail of blood leading from the graveyard. Follow the bloody trail around the corner and up the stairs, where it ends at the entrance to Hjerim, a huge manor opposite the House of Clan Cruel-Sea. (If you chose to follow the bloody trail before speaking to Helgird, the map marker pointing toward her will now be gone.)

[edit] Hjerim

The front door is locked, so either pick the lock or ask Jorleif and/or any guard in town about access to Hjerim. They will briefly tell you about how the house used to belong to the deceased Friga Shatter-Shield, and it has been abandoned ever since her untimely death. They will also point you toward her mother, Tova Shatter-Shield. Wait for Tova to leave her house. She will be browsing the market between 11am and 3pm and spend her afternoons at Candlehearth Hall. When you approach the grieving mother, it becomes apparent that Friga was one of the former victims of the killer. Naturally, Tova will be more than willing to hand you the key so you can go take a look inside. If you cannot find her, she may be in her home dead after taking her own life and you can simply take the key off her body.

The secret chamber.

When entering Hjerim, a quest update will immediately tell you to look for clues, so take a look around. The blood trail leads to a chest in the southeastern corner, so investigate it and pry it open; inside, you will find eleven pamphlets called Beware the Butcher! along with the Butcher Journal #1. Even though your quest journal now encourages you to follow up on these clues, keep looking around the house. Ignore the mead scattered on the floor and proceed to the two wardrobes in the western alcove. The wardrobe to the right is nailed to the wall, so open it and remove the false back panel. This will reveal the killers' hideout, a room filled with bones, bloody remains and the suspected embalming tools. Investigate the altar and pick up the Butcher Journal #2 for more evidence. Leave the room, and investigate the small shelf between the wardrobes. It contains even more pamphlets, but also a strange amulet. This is the last piece of evidence, so make sure to pick it up. Read the pamphlet to learn about a Windhelm citizen named Viola Giordano. Before leaving, make sure you have a pamphlet and the strange amulet in your inventory. If you want to avoid investigating Hjerim with Viola later on, pick up one of the journals as well.

[edit] Follow up on the Clues

Pay a quick visit to the helpful Jorleif (or a guard) for advice on how to proceed. When you show him the amulet, he will be quite puzzled but will point you to Calixto at the House of Curiosities for an opinion. When asked about the term 'the Butcher' he will spitefully refer you to Viola Giordano, the author of the pamphlets and the one to seek out for background information on the killings. At this point, map markers will point to both Viola and Calixto, but it is recommended to visit Calixto first.

[edit] Calixto Corrium

Calixto had opened up his small museum with his now deceased sister, showcasing the various items they found during the adventures they shared back in the day. These days, Calixto spends most of his time sitting in a chair doing absolutely nothing but mourning the loss of his sister and rambling about how happy she'd have been seeing all the curious items under one roof. Not surprisingly, Calixto will, for a small fee, offer a guided tour around the small House of Curiosities and explain the background for a few of the items. It is a good idea to accept this tour, just for the investigation. When you present him with the strange amulet, he will tell you that it's the Wheelstone, traditionally carried by court mages. He will then offer to take it off your hands for 500 gold. Due to a bug with the amulet, it is recommended to accept this offer.

[edit] Viola Giordano

Viola is an Imperial who tends to wander the streets of Windhelm during the day and hang out at Candlehearth Hall in the evening. Track her down (with a "Beware the Butcher!" flyer from Hjerim in your inventory) and question her. She is understandably upset about the presence of a serial killer and the apathy of the town guards. If you failed to pick up the journal in the hidden chamber back in Hjerim, Viola will immediately take interest in the old house and set off at a running pace to help with the investigation. If you already have the journal, Viola will point to Wuunferth, the court mage in the Palace of the Kings, as the most likely person to be experimenting with Necromancy. If you chose to speak to Viola before Calixto, the map marker pointing toward him will now be gone. Still, go sell him the strange amulet before going anywhere near the Palace of the Kings. This will net you 500 gold and one less bug to worry about.

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At this point, your next decision will affect how the quest proceeds, and whether the killer is able to strike again.

Even if the map marker now points you towards the Palace and your journal tells you to confront Jorleif with the evidence against the court mage, talking to Jorleif can be fatal for the townsfolk of Windhelm. Another option is available, although it's unsaid. You can go directly to the accused Wuunferth and confront him yourself, without ever talking to Jorleif.

Your reward will remain the same regardless of your choice.

[edit] Follow Your Instincts

[edit] Wuunferth

Wuunferth the Unliving lives a secluded life in the Palace of the Kings, but you are free to go visit him at any time. During the day, he will be in his quarters (first door on the left on entering, upstairs, at the far end). He spends his nights wandering around downstairs. Confront him with the rumors about him performing necromancy. He will be quite insulted and will ramble on about him being a member of the College of Winterhold. When you mention the journals and describe the amulet he will immediately identify it as the legendary Necromancer Amulet, while he will only feel sorry for Calixto's wild theories about it being the Wheelstone.

He reveals that he has also been investigating the killings of Windhelm for quite some time. He has noted a pattern with the location and timing of the killings, so he ends up asking you to keep watch in the Stone Quarters at night, as he predicts the killer will strike again. Now leave Wuunferth alone, ignore the map marker still pointing towards Jorleif, and head to the Stone Quarters and wait until nighttime.

Proceed with the walkthrough in this section.

[edit] Jorleif

"Has the whole city lost their brains?"

When you tell Jorleif that Wuunferth is the main suspect and tell him about the necromancer lair in Hjerim, he will be shocked at first; he will, however, find the evidence convincing enough to take action. After thanking you for making the streets of Windhelm safe again, he will set off towards the guard patrolling the palace entrance and order him to come along for an arrest. At this point, the quest will end and you will be left behind in the main hall, without any reward whatsoever.

Following Jorleif and the guard into Wuunferth's chambers and eavesdropping during the arrest will prove quite unsettling. A frustrated Wuunferth will claim that he was investigating the murders as well, and will shout that this isn't over when the guard drags him to the barracks. At this point it is impossible to talk to any of the characters, but there's an unsettling feeling that something is terribly wrong and that Windhelm may not be freed from the nightmare just yet. Wuunferth the Unliving, the only person with the answer, will be behind bars and will offer no information.

"Looks like you aren't such a sharp investigator after all."

After three full calendar days spent outside Windhelm, you will see a familiar scene upon your return. A guard will be standing next to yet another slain victim (she is on the right of Candlehearth Hall when looking from the Palace of the Kings) an Altmer named Arivanya from Windhelm Stables. The guard will be devastated and quick to inform you of your failure. A new quest with the same name will pop up in your journal, and the guard will suggest you attempt to make things right by talking to the imprisoned Wuunferth. Head to the barracks underneath the Palace and speak to the wizard. When you tell him that the Butcher has claimed yet another victim, he will point out that he is behind bars and take a stab at your abilities as an investigator. When you tell him about the journal and the amulet, he will deny any knowledge of a journal and will ask for the shape of the amulet. He will then identify it as the rare and legendary Necromancer Amulet. While he will reject Calixto's Wheelstone theory on the spot, he will reveal that he has noted a pattern in the location and timing of the killings, and will end up asking you to keep watch in the Stone Quarters at night, as he predicts the killer will strike again.

[edit] Catch the Killer!

The killer strikes again.

When you head outside, the Stone Quarter will be incredibly quiet. During the night, the entire market is usually devoid of people, although a guard may be present. You can spot the murderer following his final potential victim through the graveyard and the alley and up the steps into the market from the east. As they enter the market, you will witness elderly museum owner Calixto Corrium sneak up behind a female citizen (see notes), with his knife drawn for the next kill. You can attack on sight or use a spell on Calixto and save one of Windhelm's young females. If you fail to dispose of him before he slits her throat or if you save her, he will panic and take off at a running pace towards his necromancer chamber in Hjerim. Follow him and be ready for a fight, though Calixto shouldn't pose much of a problem. When he falls to the ground, loot his dead body for the now restored Necromancer Amulet and a few other valuable items. Make sure to pick up his key as it will help you reveal the truth behind his murderous scheme. If you managed to slay him outside, the guards will now arrive, but will do nothing but point you towards Jorleif for one final conversation. Jorleif will thank you.

While optional, it is worth your time to pay a visit to Calixto's now abandoned museum of curiosities, just to find out the reason for all the bloodshed. In the upstairs area, you will find his chest, unlocked with the key you claimed from his body. Inside are all of his embalming tools, along with the first part of his Journal. When reading through it, it becomes apparent that the untimely death of his sister Lucilla drove him to madness and that the murders, body parts and necromancer rituals were all part of a desperate attempt to bring her back to life.

[edit] How to Start the Quest

This quest is triggered by a counter that starts at the beginning of the game which will increase each time you visit the city of Windhelm or the immediate surrounding area. When it reaches four, the Blood on the Ice quest will be available, although two more conditions must be met:

  • The player has to enter Windhelm, either through the main gate, the docks gate, or by fast-traveling, between 7pm and 7am. The graveyard scene should then be triggered and the quest ready to go.
  • Tova Shatter-Shield and Arivanya need to be alive (see bugs section).

The easiest way to trigger the quest is to walk back and forth between Windhelm Stables and Brandy-Mug Farm two-three times, then enter Windhelm between 7pm and 7am. If the graveyard scene is not triggered by this, there's little hope you can trigger the quest at all.

NOTE: You can always check whether or not you have met the requirements for the quest to start, as the lock to Hjerim will change from a “key required”-lock to a Master-level lock when the quest becomes available.

If Tova and Arivanya are alive, the quest has not yet initiated because the counter is less than four, and you obtain a key to Hjerim, then you can trigger this quest by entering Hjerim with that key and picking up one of the Beware the Butcher! pamphlets. However, the quest will not start in the same way as outlined in the walkthrough above; you will have to figure out what to do on your own without help from Jorleif, however all of the same options will be open to you except that none of the witnesses will be present in the graveyard; you can sell Calixto the Strange Amulet, you can have Wuunferth arrested or talk to him to catch Calixto, and you will have to talk to Viola in order to continue on with the quest after picking up a pamphlet.

[edit] Notes

  • When the quest is initiated, Hjerim's front door will change from requiring a key to having a Master-level lock.
  • The first murder in the chain of three mentioned known murders was Friga Shatter-Shield, the second was named Isabelle as mentioned by Adonato Leotelli as finding it hard to believe she was gone, the third is Susanna The Wicked, and the fourth potential murder would be in most cases Arivanya (sometimes he attacks other women as well). Unless he's been grave robbing, these are not the only murders he's committed, seeing as Hjerim has a number of peoples' remains in its hidden room.
  • If you've killed Nilsine in order to get a bonus reward in the quest Mourning Never Comes, Tova will be dead inside her house, and you will need to pick the lock of her house in order to get the key to Hjerim. This will only happen if you met the requirements for Blood on the Ice and then completed Mourning Never Comes.
  • After talking to Wuunferth, you can encounter Calixto attempting his next murder around the clock, not only at night. Because of the increased amount of NPCs present at the market during the day, going at night is highly recommended.
  • Sometimes, on completion of this quest, the message that the quest is completed will be displayed twice. This is because two quests with the same name are running simultaneously. The second instance of quest completion occurs due to Wuunferth being absolved of guilt.
  • When you have completed the quest, Windhelm guards will sometimes say, "You did this city a great service by catching that killer. Well done." or "I was this close to catching that killer. I swear it."

[edit] Bugs

[edit] Initiating the Quest

  • Although most of the NPCs needed for the quest to initiate are marked as essential, another quest, namely the Dark Brotherhood quest Mourning Never Comes, will encourage you to kill Nilsine Shatter-Shield. Even though she is not related to this quest, her mother, Tova Shatter-Shield, will commit suicide if Nilsine is killed, and will therefore render this quest impossible to initiate.
  • If Viola has died for some reason the quest may not start or will be impossible to finish.
  • Arivanya, the stable hand, is also needed for this quest to trigger, but is not marked as essential.
    • PC Only This bug is fixed by version 1.2.1 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
    • Pc22.png This can also be fixed by reviving the characters with the console commands prid <RefID of NPC>, enable, moveto player (for Nilsine because her body doesn't disappear), resurrect and resetAI. This fix works on Skyrim version 1.7 but only after a day has passed after resurrecting NPCs.
  • If you capture Windhelm for the Imperials before triggering the graveyard scene, the witnesses and the corpse will still show up, but the guard may not, since the Windhelm guards have been replaced by Imperial Legion soldiers. This makes it impossible to start the quest.
    • This issue has been addressed by version 1.4 of the Official Skyrim Patch; note that the fix only works if you have not yet triggered the graveyard sequence when attacking Windhelm.
    • Pc22.png Use the console command sqv ms11 to bring up a list of quest variables and search for a RefID labeled "CrimeSceneInvestigator", then use the commands prid <Investigator's RefID> and moveto player. This will move the guard to your location, allowing you to start the quest.
    • This bug can trigger even if you join the Stormcloaks. Try reloading a previous save from before you entered Windhelm.[verification needed — is this true?]
    • Follow the blood splatters to Hjerim and pick the lock to the front door. Once you walk inside you will get the quest.
    • The remaining portion of this bug has been fixed by version 1.2.4 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
  • If you acquire a key to Hjerim before the quest has initiated, then enter and pick up a copy of Beware the Butcher!, the quest will initiate and jump directly to stage 70 with no other journal notes indicating what it's about.
  • You can also initiate the quest by picking the Master Lock to Hjerim, that starts the quest with the objective "Look for clues".
  • If you begin the Dragonborn add-on's first main quest before starting this quest, then this quest may not start.

[edit] Quest Progression

  • If the quest is started and the player waits too long before continuing it, the blood splatters leading to Hjerim can disappear.
  • When you are told to question the witnesses, stay away from Hjerim. Approaching the front door will trigger the 'Gain access to Hjerim' update and clear the graveyard. This will leave you with no witnesses or map markers for the remainder of the quest.
  • The "Get Assistance from Jorleif" objective will never register as completed.
  • If you take the first journal to Viola, she will direct you to talk to Jorleif whether or not you have found the amulet. The quest will proceed as though you had found the amulet when talking to Jorleif and Wuunferth, even though you do not.
  • If the quest is started and the player does the Stormcloak/Imperial questline first, the quest can become unable to be completed. The guard near the crime scene may be missing after you question the witnesses. One possible solution is to follow the trail of blood to Hjerim in an attempt to skip part of the quest.
  • If Wuunferth is arrested and you never talked to Calixto, thus still having the strange amulet, Wuunferth will always stay guilty and the next murder will never take place, making you unable to finish the entire quest or kill Calixto.
    • Pc22.png To fix this, type setstage MS11 105 in the console to trigger the next murder and continue the quest. However, if you talk to Wuunferth after completing the quest, you may begin a second instance of the quest which can never be completed, as he will set you back to the stage where you witness another murder that will not occur.
    • This problem can be addressed by speaking to Wuunferth in his cell after the three day wait period for the second murder. The quest will be resumed after completing the dialogue with him.
  • It is possible to pickpocket Calixto's key, and open the chest in his museum/house containing the fairly obvious evidence, but it doesn't change anything in the quest. It won't prevent you accusing Wuunferth when talking to Jorlief.
    • PC Only This issue has been addressed by version 2.0.1 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch; the key will only appear if Calixto is killed.
  • When asked to patrol the Stone Quarter at night, Calixto will be standing near Arivanya but nothing will happen.
    • Normally, waiting 1 hour will cause Calixto to start moving and Arivanya to cry out for help when this happens.

[edit] Wuunferth Arrested Variation

If you speak to Wuunferth directly, instead of Jorleif, then Calixto will attempt to murder Arivanya in the Stone Quarter. If you choose to have Wuunferth arrested, then Arivanya will be found murdered. For the final showdown, a random, female NPC will be chosen as the market victim. If the game runs out of potential victims, one of two bugs will trigger:

  • After speaking to Wuunferth, the journal will immediately update to stage 130. After chasing Calixto into Hjerim, he cannot be killed. He then will not leave Hjerim and becomes hostile when you enter.
    • This bug is fixed by version 1.4 of the Official Skyrim Patch.
    • Pc22.png To complete quest, exit Hjerim and use console commands: prid 1B11D and moveto player.
  • Calixto will stay inside his House of Curiosities and will never attempt his last kill.
  • If you buy Hjerim and arrest Wuunferth, when you get the objective to patrol Windhelm's streets Calixto may appear inside Hjerim, in the room behind the wardrobe, and use any equipment you may have left in it. He will be immediately aggressive and killing him advances the quest normally (go talk to Wuunferth in jail to get next quest entry into journal). ?

[edit] Other

  • While Arivanya is needed to initiate the quest, she is scripted to be the victim found near Candlehearth Hall. This means she can be killed during the quest and a second copy of her will turn up when the quest initiates for the second time.
  • When confronting Wuunferth with the evidence, you can always mention that Calixto was wrong about the amulet, even if you haven't spoken to Calixto about it.
  • Even before the quest is initiated, speaking to Calixto outside his museum will cause him to close it permanently. Do not attempt to pick the lock, as he will become hostile. Instead, if you want information about the Amulet, find him at Candlehearth Hall between 5pm and 7pm.
  • Selling Calixto the strange amulet is the only way to turn it into the Necromancer's Amulet.
  • If you reject Calixto's offer, the strange amulet will remain a quest item and be stuck in your inventory indefinitely, though it can be placed into the inventories of Susanna the Wicked or Arivanya after they've been murdered, as long as the bodies are around.
  • Although this quest is categorized as a Side Quest in your journal, it does not count towards the "Side Quests Completed" statistic in your General Stats, nor does it count towards the Sideways achievement.

[edit] Quest Stages

Blood on the Ice (MS11)
Stage Finishes Quest 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
20
Objective 20: Report to the guard
30
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
50
Objective 50: Get access to Hjerim
60
Objective 60: Look for clues
70
Objective 70: Follow up on the clues from Hjerim
76
Objective 76: Meet Viola outside of Hjerim
80
Objective 80: Investigate Hjerim with Viola
90
Objective 90: Talk to Jorleif
100 Finishes quest I discovered that Wuunferth the Unliving was the Butcher of Windhelm, and helped bring him to justice.
110
Objective 1: Get assistance from Jorleif
250 Finishes quest I discovered that Calixto Corrium was the Butcher of Windhelm, and helped bring him to justice.
Unknown
Objective 41: Talk to Helgird
Objective 120: Patrol the streets of the Stone Quarter at night
Objective 130: Catch the murderer
Objective 150: Talk to Jorleif
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.
20 Finishes quest I discovered that Calixto Corrium was the true Butcher of Windhelm, helped bring him to justice, and exonerated Wuunferth.
Unknown
Objective 110: Speak to Wuunferth
Objective 120: Patrol the streets of the Stone Quarter at night
Objective 130: Catch the murderer
Objective 150: Speak to Jorleif for reward
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table:
    • MS11: 0, 1, 105, 120, 130, 150, 200, 205.
    • MS11b: 0, 10.

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