Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim gives players plenty of opportunities to stimulate their brains and put their investigation skills to the test. Its ‘Blood on the Ice’ side quest sees a shadowy killer targeting innocent women of Skyrim and murdering them.
You, as the Dragonborn, have to track The Butcher down and bring him to justice. As the quest is a bit complex for a lot of players, I will provide you with a complete walkthrough for ‘Blood on the Ice’, easing things up for you. I will also mention the rewards for finishing the quest.
So, without ado, let us see how to easily complete this quest and free Skyrim from this pestiferous menace.
How to Start the ‘Blood on the Ice’ Quest?
What I find funny concerning the ‘Blood on the Ice’ quest is that a large number of gamers think that the quest just occurs randomly during their playthrough. But that is a wrong notion. There are certain prerequisites that one must meet to trigger ‘Blood on the Ice’.
For the unaware, the quest takes place in Windhelm. The game has made it mandatory for players to visit Windhelm and its adjacent regions no less than four times to access the quest. Players are free to choose their preferred method of achieving this number.
They can either fast-travel out of the city and revisit it or simply walk out of Windhelm and return through its front gate. While this is a major prerequisite, it is not the only one.
There are two other requirements for the quest to start. First, both Arivanya and Tova Shatter-Shield have to be alive. And second, you have to visit Windhelm between 7 pm and 7 am. Otherwise, the quest won’t trigger.
The quest starts when you enter the graveyard district close to the Temple of Arkay. There you will encounter a Windhelm city guard, the latest murder victim Susana the Wicked – the Candlehearth Hall barmaid, and a trio of witnesses.
After you come near them, the guard will inform you about the serial killer whom the guards are incapable of catching promptly. When you offer him your assistance in the investigation, the quest will commence.
Initial Interrogation and Acquiring Jorleif’s Permission
As soon as ‘Blood on the Ice’ begins, you have to interrogate all three of the witnesses to find out if they have any useful information regarding the recent murder. However, to your dissatisfaction, the interrogation session won’t be fruitful, as none of them possesses any concrete leads.
After you inform the guard about your vain questioning, he tells you that he had already guessed something like that to happen. So, he will direct you to Jorleif – the Steward of Windhelm.
Jorleif is Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak’s assistant, and his permission is necessary for you to progress with your investigation. You can find him easily inside the Palace of the Kings – Ulfric’s keep.
I have noticed where to locate him within the palace depends on the time of the day you visit it. During the daytime, Jorleif will often be near Ulfric’s throne. After the sun sets, you may discover him snoozing on a bedroll in the kitchen close to the throne room.
Converse with him to offer him your help, and Jorleif will give you the green light to proceed and promise his as well as the city guards’ support if need be. Upon obtaining his permission, go back to the crime scene and update the guard about Jorleif’s go-ahead to continue with the probe.
Tracking the Blood Trail
Upon informing the Windhelm guard about Jorleif’s permission, you will have a brief conversation with him. There he will talk about a trail of blood he observed at the crime scene. Besides, he will also point you to Helgird – a priestess in the Hall of the Dead.
According to the guard, Helgird might have additional info about the murder victim. Now, you are free to choose between two options – first, you may visit the Hall of the Dead and converse with Helgird. Second, you can skip this conversation part and follow the blood trail straight to Hjerim in northern Windhelm.
I feel that speaking to the priestess is pretty pointless, as it delivers no significant result other than giving some extra minutiae. And in the end, you have to follow the trail no matter what.
Nonetheless, if you still wish to talk to Helgird, enter the Hall of the Dead, head downstairs, and then walk on the path to your right for a while. You can find her near Susana’s corpse.
The priestess will inform you about the murder weapon – a curved blade similar to one of her own embalming tools. She also says that apart from those who embalm dead bodies, she had only seen Necromancers use such a weapon. Although this is a fascinating fact, it is no concrete lead. The wrongdoing Necromancer could be anyone.
Once the conversation is over, follow the trail of blood leading away from the murder scene, and you will soon reach Hjerim. In case you were unaware, Hjerim is a purchasable house that once belonged to Friga – the daughter of Tova Shatter-Shield. After Friga’s killing, the house became deserted.
How to Enter Hjerim?
When you reach the main entrance of the desolate house, you will find that the door is locked. So, you have to find an alternate way to enter Hjerim. If your Lockpicking Skill is sufficiently high, you may try picking the lock. But if you still have not invested in your Lockpicking Skill, there is another way to get into the house.
You remember that Jorleif pledged his and his men’s support to help you in your assistance, right? So, go to any guard in Windhelm and ask them about Hjerim. They will tell you that Tova Shatter-Shield possesses the key to Hjerim.
An objective marker will show up for Tova on your compass shortly. Yet, if you still cannot locate her properly, let me tell you a little secret: go to the House of Clan Shatter-Shield or the market in southern Windhelm. Tova frequently visits these two places.
As luck would have it, Tova is extremely supportive. Hence, you won’t need to struggle at all to get the key from her. Just let her know about your role in the ongoing probe, and she will happily hand the key over. Once obtained, utilize the key to open the Master Lock and go inside Hjerim.
Collecting Evidence Inside Hjerim
After entering Hjerim, you will notice cobwebs all around and a thick layer of dust on the floor. While this may signify the apparent absence of human life here for a long time, the truth states otherwise.
Upon closer inspection, you will find another blood trail leading to a blood-soaked chest in the recess to your left. Investigate the chest to discover some flyers where the author – a local woman named Viola, cautions the readers about a nocturnal creature named ‘The Butcher’, and a journal.
The journal belongs to The Butcher, and reading it will familiarize you with its author’s terrible intentions. You will also get to know why the killer is doing what he is doing. Seems like The Butcher is gathering body parts to achieve some wicked objective.
Navigate farther to Hjerim, and you will see a closet and a bookcase on the far wall. Also, you will notice another closet to your right as you go through a little recess.
Although the first closet only has some clothes, the bookcase has numerous more of the flyers you found inside the chest earlier. Plus, you will find a weird-looking amulet underneath the pamphlets. Upon inspecting the second closet, you will discover a false back, opening to a concealed room.
Enter the room to find bloodstained, skeletal remains of The Butcher’s past victims scattered on the floor. In the middle of the room, you will see an operation table with thickened blood staining its top.
On its left side, a few shelves bear the tools that the murderer utilized to dissect his victims’ bodies. Interestingly, one of the shelves will contain another journal where The Butcher makes his evil intentions clearer.
The journal states that he needs the body parts to perform a necromantic ritual but does not possess all the vital elements. Therefore, he is about to commit another murder, and that too, soon. And with that, you have got your hands on all the major clues. So, it is time to leave the house.
How to Catch The Butcher?
After exiting Hjerim, talk to the first guard you see. Ask them about the bizarre amulet you found inside the house, and they will send you to a curio shop owner, namely Calixto Corrium.
Regarding the flyers, the guard will say that their author has been trying to raise awareness using these pamphlets since the homicides began. But unfortunately, both locals and guards feel annoyed by them.
Next, converse with the curio shop owner, and he will tell that Jarl’s court wizard – Wuunferth, usually carries such an amulet. He will then express his willingness to buy the amulet for 500 gold. Regardless of whether you sell it to him or not, your following lead is Viola. Speak to Viola about her flyers, and she will inform you that there have been rumors about the court wizard practising necromancy.
Now, you can either disclose Wuunferth as the killer to Jorleif or listen to what he has to say. If you go the first route, the court wizard faces imprisonment. However, another homicide occurs soon, suggesting that he is not the killer.
Speak to the court wizard to learn he has been examining the murders himself and has detected a pattern. He reveals all of the murders have occurred on dates and times significant to Necromancers.
Moreover, he tells you that another murder is likely to happen before long within the market district.
Taking his advice, start patrolling the market district without delay when The Butcher (Calixto Corrium) comes and kills another young woman after 5PM. Chase him back to Hjerim and kill him.
You can kill him before he murders the young woman too. No matter what you do, report to Jorleif about what has happened to earn his appreciation and end the quest.
Rewards for ‘Blood on the Ice’ Quest
The rewards for finishing ‘Blood on the Ice’ are:
- Enabling decorations for Hjerim upon purchase
- Necromancer Amulet (optional)
Also Read: How to Increase Carry Weight in Skyrim
Now that you know how to complete the ‘Blood on the Ice’ side quest without hassle, don’t wait any longer. Wear your deerstalker, pick your magnifying glass up, and awaken your inner detective. Hope this step-by-step guide will help clarify any confusion you may have regarding this complex quest. Happy gaming, Dragonborn!
Just like The Butcher, Skyrim is full of memorable characters. You can take a look at the most intriguing ones in our list of the best Skyrim characters!