Skyrim Ebony Blade Guide

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In the world of Elder Scrolls, there are multiple planes of existence that are dark and chaotic, and they are the Planes of Oblivion. The inhabitants of these planes are called the Daedra, powerful beings with different kinds of abilities. Yet, a particular number of them are heralded as the most powerful of their kind: the Daedric Princes.

Mortals and even deities commonly worship the Daedric Princes. There are 17 of them, and in the fifth installment of the series, Skyrim, 16 appear in the game. Each of them can bestow you a powerful item that you can use after you have accomplished your quest. They are known as Daedric Artifacts.

Out of the 16 artifacts, one, in particular, is very sinister, belonging to Mephala, the Daedric Prince of secrecy and obstruction. Mephala’s artifact is the Ebony Blade, a two-handed weapon you can wield to slay your enemies. If you are interested in obtaining it, read on further to find out how.

Bottom Line Up Front


The Ebony Blade is Mephala’s artifact and a two-handed weapon that resembles a black Japanese sword. You can find it in Whiterun Hold, Dragonsreach, and its special effect is that it can absorb the health of its foes and transfer it to the user. It strengthens from killing friends, and for every two deaths, the effect increases by four points.

Below is a quick summary of the weapon.

  • Name: Ebony Blade
  • Weapon Class: Two-handed Weapon
  • Weapon Type: Daedric Artifact
  • Base Damage: 10
  • Weight: 10
  • Base Value: 2000
  • Special Effect: Absorbs the health of enemies and transfers it to the user. This effect is strengthened every time the user kills a friend.

What Is the Ebony Blade in Skyrim?

The Ebony Blade is a two-handed weapon that you can get in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is one of the 16 Daedric Artifacts in the game, belonging to the Daedric Prince of secrecy, Mephala. You can find this weapon in Whiterun Hold situated in Dragonsreach. It has a weight of 10 and a base value of 2000 gold. You can get it after accomplishing the Daedric quest, “The Whispering Door.”


This weapon resembles a nodachi, a long sword typically used by the samurais during the feudal era of Japan. The backside of the blade gradually thins out as it goes down. This style of blades is known as the Kanmuri-otoshi style. Ebony is a type of dense wood that is notable for its dark color; thus, the Ebony Blade got its name due to the sword being black from head to toe.

Damage and Special Effect


The Ebony Blade has a base damage of 11. Like other Daedric Artifacts, it has a special effect; it can absorb the health of your opponents and transfer it to yours, effectively healing you. Initially, this effect starts with ten points.

However, every time you kill two NPCs that consider you as their friend, the effect strengthens by four points. The maximum number of points for this weapon’s effect is 30, meaning you can maximize it by killing ten friendly NPCs. I will talk about the special effect more and in detail after I discuss how to get the weapon.

How to Get the Ebony Blade in Skyrim

You can get the Ebony Blade by completing the Daedric quest, “The Whispering Door.” Below is a set of steps that you can follow, including the requirements needed to initiate the quest. If you have not received the quest yet, visit the “How to start the Whispering Door quest” section first.

However, if you have it and want to know how to complete it, visit the “How to complete The Whispering Door quest” section.

How to Start The Whispering Door Quest

To start the quest that lets you have the Ebony Blade, you need to fulfill the set of requirements first listed below.

  • You must be level 20 or above.
  • You must complete the “Dragon Rising” quest.
  • Hulda, the barkeeper in The Bannered Mare in Whiterun, must be alive.

Leveling up to 20

Leveling up in Skyrim is different from the typical formula of enemies giving experience points when you defeat or kill them. Instead, you gain experience points when your skills level up in proficiency. All skills have different ways of leveling up, like the one-handed skill, which can go up in proficiency the more you use one-handed weapons.

Dragon Rising Quest

As for the “Dragon Rising” quest, it is available to you after completing the “Bleak Falls Barrow” quest. Both quests are given to you by Farengar Secret-Fire, Whiterun’s court wizard. To initiate it, go to him in the hold and follow his instructions.

Hulda’s Gossip


Finally, Hulda must be alive to start the quest. She is the barkeeper that you can find in The Bannered Mare, a tavern and inn in Whiterun. To start it, ask for the gossip around town from her. She will mention that there are strange tales surrounding the Jarl’s children. Below is the exact dialogue.

“Been hearing some strange tales of the Jarl’s children. Say the one’s turning wicked, and the others have an ill-favored look to them. Best to keep clear.”

This will trigger a miscellaneous quest that will start the “The Whispering Door” quest.

How to Complete The Whispering Door Quest

After hearing Hulda’s gossip, a miscellaneous quest will start, which will eventually lead to “The Whispering Door” quest, so open your journal and focus on it. Below is the order of objectives, and their in-game description is given during the quest.

  1. Ask about Balgruuf’s strange children.
  2. Find out what’s wrong with Nelkir.
  3. Listen to the whispering door.
  4. Speak to Nelkir.
  5. Obtain the key to the whispering door.
  6. Open the whispering door.
  7. Retrieve the Ebony Blade.

Below is a thorough walkthrough to get the Ebony Blade.

Ask about Balgruuf’s Strange Children

Balgruuf the Greater is the Jarl of Whiterun Hold, and he is the one you need to talk to. His location depends on some aspects. Prior to the Civil War, he resides in the hold he governs. However, if you sided with the Stormcloaks during the war, you can find him in the cellars of the Blue Palace in Solitude. If not, he would still be in Whiterun Hold.

Approach and talk to Balgruuf when you find him. You can ask him about his children, to which he will tell you about his youngest son, Nelkir. According to the Jarl, he is having trouble with Nelkir’s behavior, which he finds to have taken a dark turn in terms of his personality. Doing so will end the miscellaneous quest and officially start “The Whispering Door” quest.

Find out What’s Wrong with Nelkir


Nelkir is always in Dragonsreach, regardless of Balgruuf’s location. You need to talk to him about your recent conversation with his father. When you find him, talk to him, and he will say a bunch of disrespectful words and his father’s dirty secrets. Your conversation will go in the order as follows:

  1. [You: Your father said to speak to you.] “So, the disgusting pig sent you to bother me? One day, I’ll tear his face apart so he can leave me alone. My father doesn’t know anything about me. But I know about him. And about the war. More than he might think.”
  2. [You: What sorts of things?] “I know that he still worships Talos. That he hates the Thalmor almost as much as the Stormcloaks do. That he worries about being chased from Whiterun. That he… that I’m… that I don’t have the same mother as my brother and sister.”
  3. [You: How do you know these things?] “This castle is old. Lots of places nobody’s been in a long while. Places where you can overhear things. See things. And the Whispering Lady.”
  4. [You: Who’s the Whispering Lady?] “She won’t tell me her name. I’ve gotten good at listening to keyholes. At the door in the basement, I hear her talking to me. I thought I was caught, but she started telling me even more secrets. But I can’t open the door.”
  5. [You: Where is this door?] “In the basement. Trust me, you’ll see it. I bet she’ll talk to you, too.”

After this conversation, you need to find the door. Go to the kitchen in Dragonsreach, then go down the stairs. Go to the small servant’s room and open the closet door within. There is a bloodied locked door behind it.

Listen to the Whispering Door

Go to the locked door, and the game will prompt you to listen to it. The following conversation will then occur.

  • “At last. I’ve been waiting for someone more fit to carry out my will. The child is spirited, but lacks… agency.”
    • [You: Is there someone behind the door?] “Regrettably, I cannot reach your plane so directly. But I forgive you for not knowing who I am. Few hear my whispers anymore. I am Mephala, the Lady of Whispers. I tug at the web of connections between mortals. Love, hatred, loyalty, betrayal. The boy was good at sussing out secrets. You, I expect to take a more active role.”
      • [You: What do you want me to do?] “First, you must open this door. A piece of my power has been locked away behind it, and even my eyes cannot see past the seals. I’d much rather it be in the hands of an ambitious and talented person such as yourself.”
      • [You: I don’t want to help you.] “Suit yourself. But those who listen at doors always wonder what is beyond them. Eventually your curiosity will drive you back to me.”
    • [You: What could the boy not do?] “The boy is good at sussing out secrets, but the corruptibility of children is ultimately too limited for my purposes. You, though, I expect will prove far more malleable.”
      • [You: Who are you to expect anything?] “I forgive your not knowing my name. Few can hear my whispers anymore. I am Mephala, the Lady of Whispers. I tug at the web of connections between mortals. Love, hatred, loyalty, betrayal.”
      • [You: I’m not so easily molded.] “You may think so. But in the end, you mortals will always flit like fire with the winds of your desires and conveniences. And those winds issue from my whispers.”
        • [You: How do I open the door?] “The whole of Whiterun is ripe with paranoia and tensions. The Jarl’s court is right to fear the power I hold behind this door. The Jarl trusts few, and they will be his undoing. The dark child knows of what I speak. Let him guide your path.”

After this conversation, you need to go and speak to Nelkir again.

Speak to Nelkir

Find Nelkir in Dragonsreach and talk to him. He will tell you that the keys to the door are with Farengar Secret-Fire and his father, Balgruuf. He also promises you that nobody will notice if Farengar goes missing, indicating that you can kill Farengar for the keys. The conversation in the game is as follows:

  • [You: Do you know how to open the Whispering Door?] “I told you, I know everything about this castle. For some reason that door is special. Only two people can open it, Balgruuf and Farengar, the court wizard. How you get it from them is up to you. Nobody would notice if Farengar went missing, I promise you.”

Obtain the Key to the Whispering Door

You can get the keys from either Farengar or Balgruuf. Like Nelkir, Farengar is always in Dragonsreach regardless of which faction you sided with during the Civil War, and you already know where Balgruuf is. There are two ways to get the keys: either pickpocket for it or kill them.

You can pickpocket the keys if you have a high-enough Pickpocket skill level. The more perks in the tree you have, the better the results are. Are you having problems pickpocketing their belongings? You can wait for them to go to bed and steal from them while they sleep, which is much easier.

You can also perform spells such as Paralyze or Vampire’s Seduction, which will allow you to pickpocket for a short amount of time. If you plan on killing, note that you cannot kill Balgruuf, so the only option for this method is Farengar.

He is fairly easy to kill as he is a level 10 NPC, though if you are having problems, you can always wait for him to go to bed and kill him while he is asleep. If you have the Assassin’s Blade perk from the Stealth skill tree, you can use a dagger to instantly kill him.

Open the Whispering Door

Whispering Door

Now that you have the keys, you need to go back to the Whispering Door and open it. Inside, you will find the Ebony Blade and a book titled “Admonition Against Ebony” on a table.

The contents of the book warn you about the harm of the blade, hoping that only the Jarl and his trusted wizard has access to the room. The author writes, “only a daedra most foul could have concocted such a malevolent and twisted weapon.”

Retrieve the Ebony Blade

You need to pick up the Ebony Blade to complete the quest. When you do so, Mephala will speak with you once more. Her words are as follows:

“Excellent work. Now, I trust you’re sharp enough to see that the sword doesn’t match the description of the Ebony Blade you may know. It has languished too long outside the winds of alliance and betrayal.

To return to its past glory, it must first drink the blood of deceit. To return to its past glory, it must reacquaint itself with the hatred of this world. Your world is admirably seeped in lies and inclinations. My blade is a darling leech that feeds on deceptions, and nourishes its master.

Seek out those closest to you. The final pluck of their misguided heartstrings will accompany my blade in the song of your grandeur. The blade will feed on the ire of Tamriel. Bathe in your infamy. Feel the weight of their loathing, and my power will course through it once more.”

How to Upgrade the Ebony Blade in Skyrim

You cannot make the Ebony Blade stronger through smithing. According to a book in the game titled “Admonition Against Ebony,” the sword will not melt even against the hottest fires of the Skyforge. Instead, The Ebony Blade’s enchantment, Absorb Health, grows stronger after every two kills on friendly NPCs.

The enchantment has a base power of ten but will increase by four when you kill two friendly NPCs while using it. So, killing ten would reach its power to 30 Absorb Health points per hit, the maximum power for the sword. Furthermore, it does not require charging as its use is unlimited.

Who to Kill to Upgrade the Ebony Blade

Stone Ebony Blade

You can encounter friendly characters all over the place, and below is a list of indicators about them. When you find these traits in an NPC, it is most likely that the blade considers them as friendly. Thus, killing them would count as powering up the enchantment.

  • NPCs that would often tell you that it is a fine day when you are around or that you have been a good friend to them.
  • NPCs whose low-value items in their homes are not counted as stolen goods when you take them.
  • NPCs who buy goods such as firewood, ore, food, or alchemical ingredients from you.
  • Beggars you gave gold to (except for Noster Eagle-Eye).
  • Orcs in Orc Strongholds when you finish “The Forgemaster’s Fingers” quest.

Additionally, there is a method to make particular characters be friends with you. You just need to drop a weapon or a piece of armour around the area, which will prompt them to go near the item. They will then ask you if they can take it for free, and if you say yes, they will become friendly.

List of Possible Ebony Blade Victims

In this list are the characters that you can kill to strengthen the Ebony Blade’s enchantment. Note that not all possible victims are listed here. Those mentioned in this list are merely examples of who you can kill. Also, note that you only need to kill ten of them to maximize the sword’s power.

NPC Location Prerequisite
Adelaisa Vendicci East Empire Company, Windhelm Complete “Rise in the East” quest
Aicantar Calcelmo’s Laboratory, Dwemer Museum, Markarth Only killable after or during the “Hard Answers” quest
Alfhild Battle-Born Whiterun Sell her vegetables
Alvor Riverwood, Whiterun Hold Complete the “Before the Storm” quest
Andurs Hall of the Dead, Whiterun Complete “Andurs’ Arkay Amulet” quest
Amaund Motierre Volunruud;


The Bannered Mare

Only killable after or during “Hail Sithis!” quest
Banning Markarth Stables, Markarth Complete his delivery quest
Camilla Valerius Riverwood, Whiterun Hold Complete “The Golden Claw” quest
Carlotta Valentia Whiterun Complete her request to speak with Mikael
Cicero Whiterun;


Falkreath Sanctuary;

Dawnstar Sanctuary

Only killable during “The Cure for Madness” quest
Cosnach The Warrens, Markarth Win a brawl against him
Danica Pure-Spring Temple of Kynareth, Whiterun Complete “The Blessings of Nature” quest
Eydis Old Hroldan Inn, The Reach Complete “The Ghost of Old Hroldan” quest
Farkas Whiterun None
Gerdur Riverwood, Whiterun Hold Complete the “Before the Storm” quest
Golldir Hillgrund’s Tomb, Whiterun Hold Complete “Ancestral Worship” quest
Iddra Kynesgrove, Eastmarch None
Lucan Valerius Riverwood, Whiterun Hold Complete “The Golden Claw” quest
Kematu Swindler’s Den, Whiterun Hold Turn in Saadia alive during the “In My Time of Need” quest
Kjeld Kynesgrove, Eastmarch None
Kjeld the Younger Kynesgrove, Eastmarch None
Lisbet Arnleif and Sons Trading Company, Markarth Complete “Lisbet’s Missing Shipment” quest;


Invest in her store

Nimriel Whiterun Sell vegetables to Severio Pelagia. Kill her before the “Battle of Whiterun” quest as she automatically dies during it.
Meeko Meeko’s Shack, Hjaalmarch None
Melka Blind Cliff Bastion, Blind Cliff Cave, The Reach Complete “The Affairs of Hagravens” quest
Roggi Knot-Beard Kynesgrove, Eastmarch Complete “Find Roggi Knot-Beard’s Ancestral Shield” miscellaneous quest
Saadia The Bannered Mare, Whiterun Complete the “In My Time of Need” quest by siding with her
Severio Pelagia Whiterun Sell him vegetables. Kill him before the “Battle of Whiterun” quest as he automatically dies during it.
Sigrid Riverwood, Whiterun Hold Complete the “Before the Storm” quest
Stump Alvor and Sigrid’s House, Riverwood, Whiterun Hold None
Temba Wide-Arm Ivarstead Complete the “Grin and Bear It” quest
Uthgerd the Unbroken The Bannered Mare, Whiterun Win a brawl against her

Mephala’s Comments on the Killings

After every two kills using the Ebony Blade, Mephala will speak about your actions. During the 2nd to 8th kill, she will say one of the following quotes:

  • “Excellent work, child.”
  • “I can feel their heartbreak swelling in my blade.”
  • “Their tears shine the ebony to a sharpest gleam.”
  • “Ah, the blood of deceit is a nourishing flow.”

On the 10th kill, she will say, “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.”

How to Use the Ebony Blade in Skyrim

How to use the blade

When you have it, simply equip the weapon, and you can benefit from its enchantment. You will find yourself being healed by it when you hit an opponent using it. However, note that non-living creatures like the automatons in Dwemer Ruins are not affected by the enchantment, meaning you cannot absorb health from them. So, do not use this weapon when exploring said areas.

It deals low damage, yet its fast attack speed makes up for this weakness. Plus, you do not need to charge the weapon to utilize its special effect, which is a huge bonus. It can become stronger by strengthening the Absorb Health enchantment.

Possibly due to a programming error, the weapon did not benefit from two-handed weapon perks or damage boosts prior to patch 1.9, despite being classified as a two-handed weapon. Instead, it benefited from one-handed weapon perks. After the patch, though, it got its bonuses from its rightful skill tree.


Question: How good is the Ebony Blade in Skyrim?

Answer: It is surprisingly a good Daedric Artifact due to its enchantment and the fact that you do not have to charge it to utilize it. It deals low damage but makes up for it in the Absorb Health damage and its high attack speed.

Question: How do I level up the Ebony Blade in Skyrim?

Answer: You can level up the Ebony Blade’s Absorb Health enchantment by killing friendly NPCs. For every two characters you kill, it gets stronger by four points. After killing ten of them, the blade has been restored to its fullest potential and now deals 30 Absorb Health damage on top of its base damage of 10.

Question: What level should I be for the Ebony Blade in Skyrim?

Answer: The quest to get the Ebony Blade can only be started when you reach level 20.

Question: Where do I get the Ebony Blade in Skyrim?

Answer: The Ebony Blade is in Dragonsreach, particularly within a room downstairs from the kitchen. It is behind a locked door, so you need to follow “The Whispering Door” quest so that you can open it.

Question: How do I know if the Ebony Blade is fully upgraded?

Answer: The sword’s hilt glows red when it has garnered power. Furthermore, Mephala will speak during the last necessary kill, saying that the blade has returned to its full glory. If you are still unsure, you can simply kill two friendly NPCs, and if the hilt does not glow, the weapon’s enchantment is already at its maximum power.

Skyrim Ebony Blade Guide: Conclusion 

The Ebony Blade is a good Daedric Artifact to get, especially when you reach level 20. It is advisable to get it as early as possible. Its quest, “The Whispering Door,” is not hard to complete, more so if you are highly skilled in pickpocketing.

It is a sinister sword, requiring you to kill allies so that it can become stronger. Some players make a backstory or a set of moral guidelines for their characters. So, if you are one of them and killing friendly NPCs goes against those morals, the Ebony Blade is not for you.

It has a low base damage of 10, a weight of 10 in your storage, and a base value of 2000 gold. Its special effect is Absorb Health, which can transfer a hit target’s health points towards yours. After killing ten friendly NPCs, it reaches its maximum potential, dealing 30 points of Absorb Health damage.

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